What A Celebration We Had!

Because our family is scattered all over the place and has been for a while, getting all of us together only happens once in a very few whiles. I think the last time we were together was in 2015, but that was minus one grandchild and Meiling’s partner, KN. However, with our daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and Brett and I living in Tennessee, and knowing our our son and grandson would be here for the Christmas break, the girls made plans to join us as well so we could celebrate Christmas together this year. Brett’s sister and her husband, Linda & Erik, also drove over from Dallas to see everyone so we had a very full but very happy house for several days. YaYu stayed with us, WenYu, Meiling, and KN stayed at a nearby Airbnb, and Linda and Erik stayed in a nearby hotel.

There was always some kind of game being played.

Our son and grandson had arrived in Tennessee on the 17th, the girls and KN on the 21st, and Linda and Erik on the 22nd, and we made the most of our time together. We ate together, played together, talked together, and just had a grand time being with each other. Brett and I had a blast watching the kids interact whether that was everyone playing Nintendo or the girls and KN doing wiggle dances with six-year-old K. Although Kaipo was initially upset by all the strangers that had invaded his space, he got to know everyone and loved being spoiled by all.

Christmas Eve

Of course with ten family members who hadn’t seen each other for ages there was an abundance of presents to open on Christmas morning following our traditional breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, scones, and fruit (and mimosas for some too). Meiling and our grandson served as our elves making sure things kept moving and gifts were given out in order. We all had a lot of fun and oohed and aahed over everything everyone received. Our children were very generous this year – all of them chipped in and got Brett a beautiful mountain bike and all the accoutrement (helmet, pump, lock, mirrors, etc.) and he is still floating up on Cloud Nine about that. I received a few items off of my list as well, including a much-desired Le Creuset grill pan and some beautiful pieces of silver jewelry. I think we managed to make a few of the kids’ dreams come true as well as fulfill some of their needs, and the grandkids got everything they wanted and more. I had gotten input from almost everyone of what to serve for Christmas dinner, and the final menu included ham, macaroni and cheese, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, sushi, namasu, biscuits, and apple pie and cupcakes for dessert. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off, but with help from our daughter-in-law everything got made and served on time.

Christmas Day

The day after Christmas, Brett’s sister took the girls and KN out to lunch so Brett and I could relax a bit (we still had the grandkids over for a while) and get the house back in order. We all got together at our son and daughter-in-law’s apartment in the evening and were treated to a fabulous pizza party! Afterwards, the kids took the grandkids back to their Airbnb for a sleepover to the delight of both M&M and the grandkids. On Tuesday the girls and I went to Aldi – none of them had ever been even though all three live near one – they were impressed!


It was honestly the most wonderful Christmas celebration we’ve ever enjoyed. Brett and I were in heaven with the whole family together, and even if we all were crammed into our small apartment everyone had a place to sit and there was always enough (usually more than enough) food for everyone. Actually, having so many people here made things a bit easier for me as someone was always helping to keep things picked up, putting dishes in the dishwasher, or otherwise helping to keep things organized. And, to top it off, it snowed two days before Christmas but was too cold for the snow to melt so we also enjoyed a bit of a white Christmas. However, the weather was pretty miserable overall and very cold from the deep freeze that came through while everyone was here. I have to salute Brett for going out in the cold every day to pick up Meiling, KN, and WenYu in the morning and well as taking them (and YaYu) shopping on two days and getting them back to their Airbnb every night.

On top of all things Christmas we also celebrated M & M’s 20th anniversary (they were married on Christmas Day in Japan), and Meiling & KN’s engagement!

Of course all good things come to an end, and the good times ended here when the girls and KN received word the night of the 27th that their Southwest flight the next day had been cancelled (our son and family had left for a few days in Florida). What a mess that caused! The first affordable flights back to Boston for all four were not until the 31st, and with their Airbnb rental over the girls and KN moved in with us (thank goodness we had a sleeper sofa). Meiling ended up finding an affordable ticket and returning to Boston on her own on the 29th – they have a pet that needed care and she was also running low on medication. WenYu, YaYu, and I went out and bought a bit more food on the 28th to get through the extra days they would be here, and we managed to keep everyone fed and provide them a place to sleep. We took walks, they worked out in the complex’s gym, played cards, we cooked together, and watched movies (Maverick and Glass Onion were our two favorites). Brett and I put our Christmas things away on the 29th which eased up the space somewhat, but by noon on the 31st Brett, Kaipo, I were finally on our own again. We enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve, barely staying awake until midnight, and then celebrated on New Year’s Day with a steak dinner and the sparkling wine we were too tired to drink the night before. We had had a wonderful time with our kids and were grateful for the extra time with them, but the last four days with everyone crowded into our little apartment were truthfully tiring for everyone, and we know the girls and KN were grateful as well to be back at their homes again.

Kaipo always found his spot.

In spite of all the unexpected turmoil this year we are planning to gather again for Christmas next year, either here or maybe up in Boston. Hopefully we’ll have a slightly less crazy and over-the-top occasion than we had this year, but who knows? In the meantime, we have much to enjoy as well as look forward to and celebrate this year, including our grandson’s relocation to Tennessee (for school) this month, Meiling and KN’s wedding in the summer, and some possible other upcoming travel.


32 thoughts on “What A Celebration We Had!

  1. How fun to have your grandson come to stay now too. You are going to be extra busy! What a wonderful Christmas for your family.


    1. We had such a great time! It went by (too) quickly though.

      C staying here is really going to switch things up for us and our DIL. Still lots of figuring out who needs to where and when but we’ll get there.


  2. What a wonderful Christmas you and your family had. Hope the weather has gotten better. Wishing you and Brett a wonderful 2023


    1. We had an absolutely wonderful time, even with the extra (crowded) days tacked on. We’d do it again in a heartbeat!

      The weather is now practically spring-like! Warm, sunny, thunderstorms coming through now and again. So, so weird but better than below freezing.


  3. What a wonderful Christmas celebration! I know I was exhausted afterwards (with 13 grandkids, 4 kids and spouses) but family is everything. So glad you could all get together coming from such a long distance. I have it easy as three children live in town. Jre


    1. Things got exhausting at times for us, but Brett and I kept reminding ourselves that it wasn’t going to last and just enjoy it while everyone was around.

      With all the moving around we were happy to know the last one was home safe and sound. Our son has a couple more days here before he returns to Japan, but is already back to work (remotely) so we sadly won’t get to see much of him before he goes.


    1. It was a very special Christmas this year and going to be a hard one to top.

      The wedding is going to be very small (immediate family only), but Meiling is already into the planning and starting the search for a wedding dress. One fun thing we know already: WenYu is going to officiate!


    1. Thanks, Mary – I had a good rest and am glad to be back. We’re looking forward to this year, staying put for the most part but moving forward at the same time.


  4. Truely enjoyed hearing about your Christmas and the family! Sounds like we also will be hearing wedding bells this summer as LeeAnn and Ira are going to also take the plunge in June after 8 years! It would be fun to know what the rest of our little Immersion class was up to. Hope you both have a very happy new year!


    1. Hey Sandi – Happy New Year to you and Scott! Another wedding – yeah! The only news I know of from the girls’ class is that XinXiu and her husband had a baby boy at the end of last year! It’s all sort of remarkable, isn’t it? Especially when we can remember them so small.


  5. Wow! What an amazing time with your family! And to celebrate an engagement and anniversary while everyone was together was just the icing on the cake. Sorry to hear about the flight woes, but glad everyone eventually made it home safely and you have your (somewhat) quiet life back!


    1. Happy New Year, Addy! It was an amazing time, crazy, busy, but wonderful at the same time. Our son departs for Japan tomorrow, so we’re almost back to our “new normal” (with the addition of our grandson to the mix here).

      It was our son’s anniversary that really hit us this year – 20 years! They arrived in the U.S. on Christmas Day 2002, came home, and then told us they had gotten married – Brett and I were screaming and crying we were so happy for them (they had a formal ceremony in 2006). Wedding plans for Meiling are moving along as well – it will be simple, but there’s still a lot to do.


    1. Happy New Year, Cindy! OMG, the food! And, the dishes! There was always so much eating going on, and Brett and I are still finishing things up (almost done though – just a few crackers and some cheese left). We’d do it again in a heartbeat though. We had such a good time and are all looking forward to this summer’s festivities!


    1. Happy New Year, Linda! I did not get your email (can’t find it but that doesn’t mean it didn’t arrive) – I will shoot you an email today.

      Anyway, it was fabulous. Crazy and busy too, but fabulous all the same. Brett and I are happy to be back to our more quiet life again, but we made some wonderful memories this year.


  6. What a wonderful gathering. It sounds near perfect (except for the delayed flights). I loved reading all about it and seeing pictures. And now you will have your grandson with you as well. Enjoy!


    1. Happy New Year, Laurel!

      The whole thing was wonderful from start to finish. Everybody arrived on time, and other than the problem at the end with the flights everything happened when it should. Lots and lots of happy surprises and mini celebrations as well inside of the whole big thing going on. We’re looking forward to our grandson being here although the scheduling is going to be difficult with the kids in two different schools. He is shadowing for a second day at his new school and should start next week – he says he really likes it and the kids he’s met there so far, so everybody’s fingers are crossed for a good transition.

      P.S. I have probably said this before, but my mom wanted to name me Laurel, but my dad thought it was “too theatrical” so I got stuck with Laura (their other choice was awful so no complaints from me).


      1. That is so funny. I have never thought of my name as theatrical, but the Washington Post had an article last month to figure out if your name was more human name or dog name with numbers of people or dogs per 100,000. My name is much more rare than I expected. 13/100,000. And very few dogs. LOL

        I have thought of you & Brett this week as I visit England and your time in the Cotswolds. It is dark and cold here with quite a bit of rain. I am enjoying my visit (of course) but the weather is a slog. 😊


      2. Most surprising to me is that my dad held that opinion – just doesn’t seem like something he would come up with, but he did (and, he was out serving in the Pacific near Korea at the time, so how he got the message to my mom is anyone’s guess). I don’t think they’re all that many Lauras, but probably more than there are Laurels. I don’t think many people name their dogs Laura either (or at least I hope so).

        Our last month in the Cotswolds was an eye opener as far as the weather goes – I don’t think we could make it there. But other months out of the year – yes!


  7. Looks like fun! Glad to hear it went well and everyone looks so happy in the photos. It’s also nice that your grandson will be joining you. He must be excited about that!


    1. Happy New Year, JJ! We did have so much fun. I was afraid we weren’t going to get any pictures we were so busy all the time, but Brett’s sister obliged on Christmas morning so now we have proof it happened.

      Our grandson likes the new school (he shadowed yesterday) and the kids he met there, and he especially likes the cafeteria (which they didn’t have in his Japanese school). He should start next week. Scheduling is going to be a bit messy though but we’ll figure it out.


    1. Happy New Year, Vivian! We had such a good time with everyone here and we’re looking forward to being together again next year. Don’t know if that will be here again, or up in the Boston area – time will tell!


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