Farewell San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo was DaddyO's top destination when taking the kids on an excursion and giving me some time off. They always returned with great stories about the animals they had seen the the facts they had learned (like an owls can turn their heads 270 degrees). It was both fun and educational for them.

I joined them for Jungle Bells and their last walk through the park for a while.

 It was a special experience getting to see the animals after dark. The lights and Christmas music gave it a festive feel.

 EJ was able to say goodbye to some of her favorite animals.

The pink flamingos.

The giraffes.

The peacocks.

And even some not normally found at the zoo.

The night was ended with a skyride to see the lights from above.

I must say I think we got a years worth of memories out of the five months we used our annual pass. It was wonderful giving the kids the chance to see animals at one of the best zoos in the world!

The Second Phase

It is time for our household goods (the majority of what we own) to be packed up.  Having this as our second move in five months, and the seventh of DaddyO's career I must say we knew what to expect and felt pretty prepared. It helped that we had everything ready for when the movers showed up on Christmas Eve and we were given the option to delay till the day after Christmas. Why not?  They would come back with a bigger crew and do it all on the same day instead of two. That gave me extra time to organized and pack and DaddyO time to break down all the furniture so we would be sure all parts would arrive together.


Since our long term storage has already been picked up the only things we needed to pull were our express shipment items (what we'll be living on the next five days) and our travel gear. The rest of the house would be loaded into crates and shipped by boat to Japan.

Four guys arrived at 8 a.m. and immediately started packing. In just a couple hours the rooms were filled with boxes.

The kids kept entertained watching them wrap and tape.

Then there were lots of fun shapes to play and climb on.

It was a toss up between the kitchen and the playroom for the most boxes. 


By 3 p.m. they were ready to start loading.


As each crate was filled they hammered it shut. The nice thing about moving overseas is that everything gets loaded into the crates in front of you and will not be opened until you break the seals at your destination. The only danger I have heard of is crates falling off the ship (but I'm not going to think of that:)


They estimate that we have around 10 thousand pounds, a thousand pounds a crate. It will be interesting to see what our actual weight is as we need to stay below a certain poundage for DaddyO's rank. We did do a bit of downsizing here in San Diego but it's hard to tell how much. It was dark by the time the final crate was nailed shut.

By the end our house was empty. We celebrated with hamburgers from In-N-Out in front of the fireplace.

Then it was upstairs for Planes on the big screen and a night on the air mattress.

Thankfully this is all quite exciting for the kids and they seem to be enjoying the move so far.

Horsing Around

The kiddos spent the days leading up to the household goods pack-out playing with toys that they probably will not see for a couple months.

EJ beaded her "elephant" and held a circus show for us all.

CJ went right to his trains and built a train track.

Their imaginations were at work as they moved around the room.

They got to pick out a couple of their favorites to bring with them on the trip. EJ chose her Jesse dolls and CJ brought his planes.

It will be Christmas all over again when the toys are finally delivered in Japan!

Christmas in Old Town

We spent the real Christmas Eve strolling around Old Town.

We had been expecting to be at home all day as the movers packed our house so it was a nice surprise to have the day to ourselves.

CJ had been to Old Town with the grandparents but didn't seem to mind going back. He just had to work hard to keep up with his sister.

There were lots of decorations to see!

My favorite spot was the Plaza Del Pasado. EJ danced on stage in front of a beautiful painting for Dia De Reyes day.

DaddyO and CJ watched.

It was the perfect spot for takeout nachos and a margarita from the Casa de Reyes restaurant.

Then we got ideas for our gingerbread house (that we may or may not make this year) as looked in the shop windows.

We ended our afternoon with a stop at the confectionery shop where the kiddos got to pick out some pieces of candy.

So much to choose from.

But EJ didn't seem to have a problem finding her favorites.

If I had to guess I'd say this was their favorite stop in Old Town.

Fortunately they still fell asleep on the ride home and were wide awake for our church's candlelit service that night.

Family Portrait

Every year we try to get a Christmas portrait. A snapshot of our family at the end of the year, a memory of where we celebrated the holiday. Here we are a family of four (plus dog) and were fortunate to celebrate in San Diego before the big move to Japan.

Our Christmas Eve

We celebrated Thanksgiving a week early this year, why not continue with Christmas? Since our household goods were to be packed up on the official Christmas Eve we really didn't have ay other choice.

DaddyO made our Christmas Eve memorable by preparing a special dinner. Christmas goose/duck has become a family tradition but a smaller fowl seemed like a good choice with everything going on.

DaddyO used these two Alton Brown recipes (Grilled Curry Cornish Hens, Cornish Game Hens with Bacon and Onions)  and made the hens two ways. He learned a new technique called spatchcocking to butcher the meat.

We gathered around the candlelit table.

Once the food was eaten (or almost all eaten) the candles became the main focus.


I guess it is only fitting seeing we were celebrating the birth of one who brought light to a dark world.

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