10. Christmas morning, when my family all came over for breakfast and to watch the kids open gifts. At one point I went in the kitchen just to cry a bit…I felt such joy at being together on this wonderful day.
9. Being with my Dad on Christmas…and my kids getting to be with their Granddad.
8. The little times throughout the day of seeing different family members hanging out together… here Hannah, Beth, and Annie are having a tea party with a new tea party set.
7. Spending Christmas with my newest niece, Isabella. We had found her a small rocking chair dated from 1840.
6. Christmas dinner cooked by my brother-in-law, Anthony. It was amazing… I think all these years when we would call on Christmas day from Japan my family under-played these gourmet Christmas dinner!
5. Visiting with my sister Hannah, visiting for six days from Montana. Annie thinks she has to be the real Hannah Montana.
4. The smiles on Christmas day.
3. The horses! I think my favorite gift that we gave this Christmas were horses for Annie and Olivia. We bought these with our hearts, not our heads, clearly not thinking that in 6 weeks we need to get these things to Japan. But the joy of these two girls in getting their own horses that neigh and whinney — it’s worth it. Olivia insisted on holding the horse on her lap in the car.
2. Owen and Annie went shopping for Christmas gifts at school for their family… I loved the sweet necklace from Owen, and the felt rose from Annie! They were SO SO proud to give it to me, and every day ask if I like it. They were my favorite gifts.
1. Christmas Night was my favorite part of the day… Our family and several other families went to a senior citizen center – my friend Kris’ grandmother’s home – and carolled. It was neat to watch our children engage the seniors, with some fear, but willing to go and shake hands and meet many who didn’t have families to come and see them. It was such a simple thing – not a lot of sacrifice on our part- but a wonderful way to end our day.