Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year 2010!!

We spent a nice, somewhat quiet evening here at the house with family. (I mean, really, how quiet can it be with 2 kids exhausted from missing bedtime?!!?) ;)
In Japanese culture, it is customary to eat a rice cake called "Mochi" for New Years. (餅) Boiled sticky rice is put into a wooden shallow bucket-like container and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden mallet. Mashing the rice, it forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January. Lucky for us, they are easy to buy in the stores, pre-made. This year, Grandad brought some over for us to enjoy. Yay!
Here is GramE cooking it for us! Thank you, Daddy & Mommy!!

Evan had his first Mochi this year! (And LOVED it, by the way!)

Because of mochi's extremely sticky texture, there is usually a small number of choking deaths around New Year in Japan, particularly amongst the elderly. The death toll is reported in newspapers in the days after New Year. I think this is the reason that Brock doesn't care for it (HA!), but we all are careful to bite pretty small pieces!
Another Japanese New Year custom is to give out pouches called "Otoshidama". (お年玉袋). :
"On New Year's Day, Japanese people have a custom of giving money to children. It is handed out in small decorated envelopes called 'pochibukuro,' similar to Chinese red envelopes and to the Scottish handsel. In the Edo period large stores and wealthy families gave out a small bag of mochi and a Mandarin orange to spread happiness all around. The amount of money given depends on the age of the child but is usually the same if there is more than one child so that no one feels slighted."
In the Castro household, we end up buying the kids a small treat for the new year. This year Emma got a blanket & carrier for her Zhu-Zhu hamster, and Evan got a couple more Chuck N Friends cars - this time, shaped as bugs! Hee hee.
A tradition we started with my family a few years ago was the burning of the effergies. (Hmm. I wonder if this blog dates back to that time...). Anyway, we all made our effergies, consisting of symbolic characteristics of the bad habits or events we want to rid ourselves of for the new year, and burn them close to the end of the year. Here is our effergies, burning away all our bad things! Goodbye, nose picking!! (Guess whose that one was!)

To kill time before the clock struck 12, we tried to catch the family up on episodes of our favorite TV show, Modern Family. It was hard to stream it from the computer to the TV, but it worked - for a little while. Uncle Brock also brought his new game for everyone to play, and Evan loved DJ-ing on it!

Finally, it was time to ring in 2010! Here is Emma pulling a popper! (Notice the confetti strings at the bottom of the photo!)

And here is the aftermath...

2009 had come and gone, and we were happy to welcome the new year!
In the days following, it just so happens that we celebrate yet another tradition from my childhood. Ever since we were very small, and for some, since they were born, the 5 Eberle sibs have played "LEGOs" over holiday break. Kurt had TONS of Legos, and we'd all build houses or forts or cars while we watched him build the newest, greatest set that usually came on Christmas. Now that we are grown, I had started my own collection for the kids, and Emma seems to have the LEGO gene, because she can't get enough of the little blocks!
Here are some pics of Legoville from this year...

Here's me with the camera! ;)

I wish that we all could have been together for the new year celebration, but I am sure that one and all had a wonderful celebration (or sweet dreams!), and I can't wait to see you all in 2010!


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