|Globie (team mascot) making a human table out of some "volunteers"|
|Delaney getting into the game|
|STRETCH - 7' 4"|
We started the month of December with an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). A team of 130+ inspectors from Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB, HI came to observe the 35th Fighter Wing in how we prepare for and conduct war. The inspection lasted 8 days, and overall the wing was rated as "Satisfactory" and the communications and information function was rated as "Excellent." The Comm Rockers definitely kicked some butt and earned some well deserved time off. We prepared for the ORI by having 'dry runs' or Operational Readiness Exercises every month for the about the last 7 months, so this was a great event to have behind us. To celebrate the end of the ORI, all the commanders and Chief Master Sergeants chipped in lots of $$ and held a big party at the club. After the party, the Mission Support Group commanders continued the celebration by heading downtown for some karaoke - there were only a couple good singers in the group, but we had a good time anyway!
The week after the ORI, the girls finished up their indoor soccer season. They all had their last games and end of season parties. Also that week, Megan and some other Comm Squadron spouses prepared and mailed out care packages to all of our deployed members. We took donations from everyone in the squadron and ended up with 10 very full boxes to send out to our 15 deployed Comm Rockers (some of them are at the same location, so they got to share bigger boxes).
|Callan in the traditional post game hand shake - she scored 2 goals in her last game!|
|The Red team!|
|Laney in goal!|
|Riley's last game|
|Action shot part deux!|
Also that week started a string of numerous events beginning with the Airman Leadership School (ALS) graduation on 14 December. The 35th Communications Squadron had sponsored this ALS class, so Jeff and one of the Master Sergeants got to make a speech and talk a little bit about the class. There were 5 Comm Rockers that were part of the class, and one of them took home the Academic Achievement Award and the Distinguished Graduate award - tough awards to win as you need to have the highest academic grades and be in the top 10% of the class respectively.
The next day we had the Squadron Holiday Party. The Comm Rocker booster club did a great job planning, decorating, and buying door prizes for the 80's prom themed party. The day after that, we hosed the Comm Squadron leadership (about 20 people total) for an open house at our house. Finally, we ended the weekend with a squadron kids party. We had some fun events set up for the kids - cookie decorating, ornament making, candy cane reindeer assembly, and a visit from the big guy himself! It was a jam packed 4 days, and definitely nice to take a little breather at the end of it.
|Comm Rocked this holiday party|
|Tiffany, Megan, Misty, Danielle, Karolina|
|Santa rocked as MC|
|Jeff, Santa, and the 35 CS officers|
|Jeff using his favorite move in the dance contest|
|Jeff drawing the grand prize ticket...and the iPad goes to...|
|Jeff, Colonel Griffin, and Josh Evans|
|Phillips' and Griffin's at the 35 CS party|
|Jeff and Santa (SSgt Gillette)|
The week leading up to Christmas was fairly quiet. This gave Jeff a chance to get caught up on work and a chance to spend more family time together. Delaney had her 6th birthday party at the Weasel's Den (a big indoor playground on base). One of the comm spouses made Delaney's cake, she said she only does it as a hobby, but the cake was an exact replica of the invitations. About 20 of her classmates and friends showed up to help her celebrate.
We took the girls out for a Japanese lunch and some ice skating on the 23rd. We went to Vikings, a Japanese style restaurant that has a grill in the middle of the table. You can grill your own meat, and they have a buffet with sushi, lots of fruit, and other Japanese food. Skating was a pretty rough start for everybody, but by the end we all improved dramatically. Delaney definitely won the most improved award...she started by stepping on the ice all by herself and falling pretty hard right away but finished strong by being able to skate around by herself and no help from the wall.
Christmas eve came quickly, and we were able to uphold most of our family December 24th traditions. We actually started the evening by having some friends/neighbors/coworkers over for dinner. Jeff made spaghetti, meatballs, and sausage, and some Christmas cookies with the girls. After our company left, we had our standard chocolate milkshakes, watched The Polar Express, and left Santa his cookies and beer. The only thing we left out was a drive around to look at lights...we had pretty much seen all the lights on base, and the locals off base don't really decorate so we will save that one for when we head back to the states. We had a quiet Christmas morning at home; the girls actually let us sleep until 0830 - whoo hoo! Callan got a new scooter, Delaney got a new bike, Riley got a blue ray player, and the girls all got their first bowling balls. After unwrapping gifts and eating egg & cheese sandwiches for breakfast (another tradition), we all headed to the dining facility and served lunch to the airmen. Jeff actually did the serving, and Megan and the girls walked around, greeted people, and did some eating themselves.
|Making Nonnie's cookies|
|Frosting the cookies|
|CHEERS with chocolate milkshakes|
|The dreadful wait to come down the stairs|
|Delaney celebrating her new bike|
|Callan with her Ninja Kokeshi piggy bank|
|Riley loves her purple panda|
|Serving the troops!|
The next week was fairly quiet...Jeff took Callan skiing one day. After a ROUGH first run, she started to get the hang of it, and by the end she could not wait to go back. Learning to stop and turn were definitely her biggest challenges, she just liked to get going and then fall...similar to any beginner. The ski 'resort' they went to is called Makado and is only about 36km away...but since they don't really plow the roads off base, it took 1 hr and 15 min to get to. And - even though it is that close, they had about 5 feet more snow than we do at Misawa, which made for great skiing but horrendous driving. Megan and Jeff also got to hit the gym a few times that week...which we are going to try to do a lot more often as the new year and back to school routine settles in.
|Callan on her last run of the day!|
|The road to the ski resort!|
We celebrated New Years eve at the club with some friends and our Misawa family. It was another 70's/80's themed party, and the club did a great job putting it on. They gave away over $10,000 in door prizes, had a $1000 bingo game, all different genres of music, tons of food (including breakfast), a comedian, and champagne at midnight. Fortunately we live close enough to walk home, but it was quite an eventful and memorable walk home as the side walks were extremely icy...you can only imagine...fortunately there was lots of laughter and no one got hurt.
|At the start of the party! Rockin the 70s / 80s style!|
|Megan enjoying her big beer!|
|Jeff and Colonel Griffin|
|Bustin' a move with Mrs. Griffin|
|Jeff and a couple of the Comm Rockers that were at the NYE party|
New years day was a quiet day at home. We ended up taking the girls bowling so they could try out their new balls. Then today we caught up on stuff around the house in preparation for back to school and back to work. And of course we are getting a pretty good snow storm as we write this which will make for a fun first day back!
|January 2nd snowstorm!|
BTW - we hope our Christmas cards will be in the mail soon...we ordered them on 15 November and still have not received them. Hope to hear from you all soon!