We had a wonderful Christmas Day, even if I did mess up my back again from trying to do too much.
Brett and the girls woke up early, but let me sleep in a bit, so we didn’t get to breakfast and presents until almost 10:00, which is quite late for us. Everyone was very, very happy with their gifts, and I got two thumbs up from all three girls. I received a sushi ornament for the Christmas tree, a solar charger for my phone, a small Neko Atsume figure, a Secret Tokyo coloring book and a lovely set of colored pencils from the girls – I’m thrilled with everything. Brett and his sister also made sure I got plenty of all my favorite snacks, including matcha (green tea) Pocky, asparagus biscuits, and peanut M&Ms. Brett got a Baltimore Oriole’s ball cap, a bottle of port, a much-needed memory card for his camera, a year’s subscription to Wired magazine, and a New Yorker calendar from the girls. The stocking stuffers from his sister were loads of fun for everyone, too.
Meiling returns to the mainland this week, and WenYu will hopefully start picking up some hours at her old job. YaYu has swim practice all week – the team hosts a meet right after school starts up again so they have to practice during the break. In other words, things are going to start getting busy around here fairly quickly.
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I had two book downloads come off of hold from the library at the same time, with just three weeks to read them both, so I’ve set Strawberry Days aside for now and have started For the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.
- Listening to: The drip, drip, drip of rain off the roof. It was pouring when I got up this morning. It’s still quite overcast so it looks like another indoor day. The neighborhood chickens are making some noise, but otherwise it’s fairly quiet around here.
- Watching: Last week WenYu and I watched both Love, Actually and White Christmas, our two Christmas movie traditions. We also watched the first episode of Season 5 of American Horror Story. Let’s just say they’ve kicked things up a few notches with that series. We binge watched the previous seasons, but this time all we can handle is one episode at a time.
- Cooking/baking: YaYu and WenYu made fresh pasta this morning, and then used it to make pasta carbonara! We have lots of ham and macaroni and cheese left over from our Christmas dinner, so will be having more of that tonight. I baked a chocolate cake the other day and there’s still enough left of that for dessert.
- Happy I accomplished last week: The girls were all thrilled with their presents, and surprised too – yeah! We also took care of both Meiling’s and WenYu’s birthday gifts (they both have birthdays in early January) and stayed under budget for both. I got in all my daily bike rides (45+ miles, 1700+ calories burned), drank eight glasses of water every day, and didn’t miss a day of Japanese and Portuguese language study. Not my accomplishment, but Brett put in lots of driving time with Meiling. With a little more practice back in Oregon, she’ll be ready to get her license.
- Looking forward to next week: Well, I am not looking forward to Meiling leaving us on Wednesday, but she wants to spend some time with her best friend in Portland before both head their separate ways back to their respective schools, and to spend New Year’s Eve with her boyfriend. YaYu will have swim practice all next week, so I hope to get in a couple of short walks with Brett on the Coastal Path while she’s doing that. Believe it or not, I am also looking forward to putting the Christmas tree and other decorations away – that’s planned for Friday. We like to have the house clean and organized to welcome the New Year.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Besides just having an all-around good time with the girls, we got our electric service deposit credited back to us this month, so we didn’t have any electric bill this month, and still have enough credit left over to cover next month and maybe even some of February’s bill. We took the girls out for breakfast at the Tip Top Cafe in Lihue last Friday morning – they loved it. The Tip Top is very “local,” and offers several Asian-type foods on their menu, which made the girls happy (Brett and I had their pancakes, which were amazing). We had no food waste, and put a whopping 92¢ in the change/$1 bill jar.
- Grateful for: Both Brett and I so enjoy having all three of our girls here. I feel very blessed that we get along well with our daughters, and that they get along so well with each other. They enjoy each other’s company, and look out for each other and don’t compete. They of course have disagreements, but are quick to work things out and get their relationship with the other(s) back on an even keel.
- Bonus question: If you could spend Christmas anywhere else but at home, where would you like to go? We spent Christmas twice at Disney World when the girls were little, and both of those trips were fun and memorable – the girls still talk about those trips. One of the best parts of the vacations for me was getting a break from putting up and taking down all the decorations. We spent several Christmases in Japan when we were stationed there, and for a couple of years we couldn’t figure out why things felt sort of “off.” It turned out we weren’t used to all the noise going on outside – Christmas is not a holiday in Japan, just a regular, busy day compared to how very quiet it is here in the U.S. Our son and I spent Christmas Day in Hong Kong the year Brett was deployed for Desert Storm, and it was both quiet and bustle. Lots of shopping, but we couldn’t exchange money because the banks were closed! If I could choose any other place to spend Christmas now, I think I’d like to be in England or Scotland. They have similar traditions to ours, but it would be just different enough to add a bit more excitement to the holiday.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas yesterday, or are continuing to enjoy your Hanukkah festivities! Thank you to all for your good wishes, and your continuing to read my thoughts. You’re more appreciated than I can say.