Tres Reyes Magos


Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, our winter holiday season didn’t end on the 1st of January like in most American households; we finished ours after Three Kings Day or El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos on January 6th.  In our house we would get presents from Santa Claus and our family on Christmas but on January 5th my brother and I would collect grass from outside and put it under our beds for the Three Kings’ camels. The next day there would be an extra present under the tree.  This holiday celebrates when the Three Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem to receive the King of Kings, Jesus.

This is something that I wanted to make sure that I passed on to my children.  Last year we just kept the tree up until after the 6th with no presents but this year I found a post about a Tres Reyes party for Puerto Ricans living on Okinawa.  My Spanish is terrible but decided that I would make some arroz con gandules and take my family to the Reyes party on the base.  I invited the only other Puerto Rican I know, since he’s married to a friend of mine so at least I would have someone to talk to.
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The food was fabulous and I was happy that my rice was eaten as I don’t have a lot of practice cooking it.

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The hosts had activities for the kids and even rented a jumpy castle for them.  G had a blast running around yelling at all the kids in English.  She unfortunately only knows five or six words in Spanish.

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Dani just practiced walking all over and melting hearts along the way.  They were both exhausted when we got home.


I hope to continue this each year.  If there is no party next year, I will make sure that I make Puerto Rican food to make up for it.  My husband loves pernil.  The girls LOVED the arroz I made, especially the little one. She loves to eat.

Christmas 2017


We are still trying to figure out our family Christmas traditions. My husband grew up in a traditional Korean household so Christmas doesn’t mean a lot to him, but now as we have kids it’s fun to see how the girls’ light up for the Christmas magic. Since I am a teacher, school is off for two weeks for Winter Break and that means I don’t have to work.  It works out perfectly since the girls’ daycare is off from the 25th to the 3rd of January. I was hoping for a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas (Eve?) dinner.  I was planning on making pernil and arroz con gandules.  This first week of my vacation flew by and with the prospect of moving next month I couldn’t plan ahead to get the ingredients to make the meals.  The girls won’t eat it yet anyway. We spent Christmas Eve at American Village in Chatan eating Thai food.  The baby had an accident due to the extra fiber that the doc told us to put in her diet.  Thank goodness Japan has the best baby amenities to make changing diapers a team effort.  I couldn’t imagine trying to do this in a tiny bathroom alone!IMG_2123 My husband’s friends came to visit from Korea so they treated us to Yakiniku, which is something the whole family loves. Gigi can eat ramen all day every day.  She loves how it’s free rice and ice cream too.

IMG_2139 Here are some photos of the festivities.  The girls have matching shirts with their names.  I think we will go back to the matching pajamas next year.

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

Watching Santa come up from a dive

I think it was three years ago I was walking along Sunabe Seawall one morning and saw a whole bunch of people and kids waiting on the seawall steps looking into the water.  It wasn’t until I walked back that I realized that they were all looking at Santa come up from a dive. I had forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when a “suggested” post came up about the 5th Annual Santa Dive by OkiDiveZone came up.  I found it!  That was it, and Gigi is just old enough to enjoy it.  I rushed to the Seawall at 8:30 thinking he got out of the water at 8:30, not that it when the event starts.  Luckily, there were tons of activities for Gigi to do before Santa made his entrance.

They had the biggest tree on the seawall.

They had games, prizes, musicians, and even a dressed up doggy that Gigi couldn’t get enough of.
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You can see Santa in these next shots. It was so much fun. Gianna gets so amazed seeing Santa everywhere even in the water.

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Below is Gigi not getting too close to Santa as he was “too wet” but she did enjoy talking to him.  Not enough for mommy to get a good picture of him.


It was nice of OkiDiveZone to set up this free events for families.

Pictures with Santa!

I have to get the pictures with Santa – we missed last year as I had just had a baby and was in no position to go track down Santa.

This year the Torii Station Library hosted a magical storytime with a real life Santa.  I was able to go with the girls.  There was a professional photographer, cookies, juice, and even coloring activities for the kids.  It was amazing that this program was free to the community.  I received some really cute photos.
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I am glad to hear that this Santa will be on Okinawa for at least another three years.  He really is larger than life.  I met his wife today at a playdate and he is 6’8.”

New Year and New Goals

Ha! So my goal is now to do a weekly blog.  Blogging is very therapeutic for me and I really want to document my life this way.

I can’t believe my youngest daughter is already a year old.  Here is a picture of her in a traditional Korean outfit, a hanbok.

Dani in a hanbok

Last week of School

This last week of school was a blur like it always is.  It is crazy to see the changes these kiddos go through from babies in 6th grade to the end of 8th grade, on their way to high school.  Of course there are one or two that I can’t wait to see move on.  Poor high school…

Day 13 – Here Gigi is trying out the stroller. She loves it and we need to use it more when we get back home after our summer vacation.


Day 14 – Pizza In – It’s one of our favorite family eateries.  It’s super toddler friendly and I like pizza.  You can find the amazing cheeseburger pizza which has ketchup and mustard on it.  It sounds gross, but it’s amazing.



Catching Up

Day 10/101 – Gianna just loves books. These came express from Korea. Our goals of her being bilingual aren’t coming to fruition yet but we are working on it.

Day 11/101 – Gianna just loves Minnie Mouse. She always wants to wear dresses. She chose the sneakers so she can run better. Silly girl.


12/101 – Dani turned 7 months on the 7th of June. I can’t believe it has gone so fast. She couldn’t sit up by herself in this photo taken on the 7th but now on the 13th she can sit up! So much can change in a couple of days


Is School out yet?

The last few weeks of school seem to go so quickly but drag on at the same.  It doesn’t seem possible.  We leave the day after school gets out to start our summer adventures.

I can’t believe I was ever cold last week.  This weekend we have been getting out at 8am to beat the heat.  Some of the best  parks aren’t open until 9:30 so it has made me do a little more exploring.

This is Day 8/101 – we went to Toguchi Beach again in Yomitan.


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This fits with my 52 Frames post of “Shapes.”  It was a rainy Sunday so this colorful umbrella is perfect for the theme.


Summer is coming!

I am so ready for school to get out.  It’s hard sometimes to find something to do to help me with my “101 days of summer photo challenge” when it’s raining outside and I am still working.

My brother has reserved a rental in Lake Chelan and I am super excited because we will get the whole Martinez clan together with the new babies.

The day 5 photo is of one of our favorite family restaurants, Coco Ichibanya.  It was a place I loved as a young airman stationed in Okinawa and still love as a “real” adult.  My husband was not a fan of Japanese curry until I introduced him to this restaurant.  Even Gigi is a fan.


My photo for day 6 of 101 was a rainy day addition.  I still haven’t mastered inside shots.  You can see Gigi in the background getting into trouble.


In this last photo I had forgotten my nice camera at home. I keep hearing the best camera is the one you have with you but I disagree because I have no idea why it’s such a bad quality picture!  Oh well, I did get a great shot with D and Gigi at the Family Fun Night.