Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Year in Review

One of my favorite traditions each year is looking back at the past 12 months and remembering the highlights. 2018 has been another year with a lot of blessings and opportunities for our family. 

Highlight Reel & Review of 2018:  

We rang in 2018 with a bang at the Stevenson home in California

February was very sweet with this little heartbreaker. 
A thousand snuggles and kisses on the daily.

In March, we went back to Hawaii and Riley was able to participate at BYU Hawaii's Asia Pacific Career Conference and we also had a great family vacation and saw Riley's brother's Ethan and Avery at school there. 
April was especially pretty with Japanese Cherry Blossoms! Luke also took his first steps this month, but really didn't start walking around until mid-May. 
In May, we celebrated Luke's first birthday. We also had a nice break with "Golden Week" that was spent with Uncle Ethan visiting us in Japan. Our family also went to Hakone this month.
July was made up of splash pads, popsicles, and weekends eating out and playing ball with Dad.
In August, Riley participated in the Hood to Coast race for Nike Japan. We also took a trip to America and had a million good adventures and memories and celebrated Caden & Caitlin's marriage
In September, we hit our 2 YEAR mark for living internationally in Japan! So that was a pretty cool milestone. It was a very sweet month.
In October,  Riley started a new position at Nike Japan working as the Nike App Manager! We also did a lot of backpacking this month and had a great conference weekend in the woods
In December the Nike App launched in Japan that Riley has been working so hard on an we also had Aunt Nicole visit and stay with us for a week. 

This past year we have gotten a lot of joy watching our son grow and reach milestones. We loved our trip to Idaho and Hawaii and seeing our families. We are grateful to live in Tokyo and excited for another year of adventures in the city.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Meri Kurisumasu- Christmas 2018

"Wreck the Halls"

Christmas in Japan isn't quite like in the US. It isn't seen as a religious holiday or huge celebration here, as there aren't many Christians in the country. There is lots of influence from America though, and customs are getting more popular and lights in the city but with NO emphasis on Christ and the KFC man is practically their Santa. . . I'm not really kidding, it is tradition to get KFC chicken here on Christmas and they dress him up! They also eat Christmas cakes too. It isn't a national holiday either, so Riley worked today on Christmas Day too.
However, there is a national holiday on the 24th of Japan-- an Emperor's birthday! Soooo Christmas this year for us was celebrated then.  There was little "build-up" for Christmas this year for us though. Riley has been working killer hours and we have had company and yah, just hasn't felt exactly like the Christmas season with the nice fall weather. . .  We kinda joked and said this is the year we would skip Christmas. So, I think we all had pretty low expectations for the day-- but it actually turned out to be pretty dang fun and magical!

Christmas started with a family run in our borrowed jogging stroller and german pancake breakfast. We then opened presents and thanks to loving grandparents we were able to enjoy both wrapped and unwrapped gifts this season. One of our favorite gifts this year was a printed picture book for Luke from Nana with lots of family pictures and a little story to remember his family away. It was so thoughtful and cute. We are so grateful for our families and how they both made efforts to also include us in family talks and traditions. We ended the evening with seeing Christmas lights in the city, eating American food at TGIF, and watching some Christmas clips and messages from  :)

It really was a great day, despite being away from our families and home country. We both realized we can make Christmas magical on our own!
Luke and Santa at ward Christmas party
This was my favorite quote I came across this season, a good reminder for me what "Christmas spirit" actually should be, and how I can feel it in our home and lives more. . . 

"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always." 
- Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Nicole's Trip to Tokyo!

This past week Riley's little sister Nicole came to visit and it's been seriously THE BEST. We have had so much fun showing her all the best places in Tokyo and eating good japanese food and just catching up on the last few years! 

Here is a preview of our week and itinerary 

Friday Night-  
- Arrival at airport, train ride home and lots of good chatting! 

- Shibuya Scramble and Shabu Shabu 
- Purikura Photos
- Asakusa Temple
- Sushi Dinner
- Onsen!

-Walk to Park & Church
-City View with Riley at World Trade Center Building
- 'Miracle of 34th' Street Movie

-Ramen and Shopping 
-Nezu Shrine and Tori Gates
-Nike Office Tour and Thai Dinner
-Day exploring Kamakura (lots of temples, bamboo forest, big buddha)
-Odiba in the Evening- City lights, rainbow bridge, gundam statue thing, statue of liberty, coolest mall ever.
-Harajuku Vibes- Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Takeshita Street, Monster Cafe, more parikura photos and almost a hedgehog cafe. . . haha.
- Young Women's Gingerbread House activity & eating WAY too much candy.
- Fish Market and Mochi Strawberries
- Tokyo Tower 
- Lunch with Riley 

It was such a great week and was so sad to say goodbye! Thanks for visiting us Nicole. WE LOVE YOU!