On Dec 7 - the kids and I ventured back to the states for a much needed vacation. We were gone for a month, and tried to savor every last second. It FLEW by- but at the end, we were happy to head "home" to Japan. I was happy that we finally considered it home.
The flight home was awesome. That's right, I said awesome. By myself. With 2 kids. But it really was! We left our house (the shuttle picked us up at 12:30pm) and it took less than 2 hours to get to the airport (it usually takes 3-4). We got through security and baggage, etc with no problems and the kids played with the computer and the DS quietly. We boarded the plane and it took off at 7:05pm (right on time). About 2 hours later, they served dinner and we all crashed! The kids slept for almost 8 hours - which made the trip so much better! We only had about an hour left when they woke up, and by then they were so excited to get to Tishymom's that they were on best behavior!
The only negative thing was one of our bags got lost - but they found it and delivered it the next day. It took about 4 days, but we shook the jet lag and just hung out. Literally. Some days we didn't even get out of pjs. It was gluttonous, relaxing and bonding. My littlest sister Kaitlin was also home for part of it, and I really enjoyed putting the kids to bed and hanging out with her and my mom.
We also got plenty of time to visit my Dad and Patrick's parents. We even threw a few days with the cousins! I got to see aunts and uncles, watch the Eagles comeback for an amazing win, and go out to lunch with my BFF and her kids. We got family pictures, went shopping (a ton) and I got to take a girls night (with my sisters and said BFF) to Atlantic City. Patrick's original plans to come home were ruined... but he was able to get back to the states anyway, arriving Christmas Eve and surprising the whole family. Let's just say, it was definitely a Christmas to remember. His absence/arrival meant more to us than ANY present. But I still loved the iPad and Chanel purse he bought me!
Once he left to go back to Japan, the kids and I headed west for Ohio (we had been in PA for 3 weeks by then). It was also an amazing trip...but much more hectic! We arrived at 4pm on a Thursday and I had a party to be at by 6! I got to go to my 6th annual Ornament Exchange, we had a playgroup reunion with ALL of our friends (even ones who already moved away to Detroit, SC, and other parts of Ohio), we got to go with friends to WildLights at the zoo (6th year), see old neighborhood friends, go bowling, go out to eat with the girls... basically everything i wanted to do. I shopped at Target, Easton, Tuttle and Polaris Malls. We ate at Red Robin, First Watch, Jenis, Movie Tavern and Oscars. We got to 'live' with our bestest friends for a few days and spend some quality one-on-one time with other besties. I got to visit with friends from my childhood and I realized how much I really really love Ohio. The people, places and feelings are amazing there. Oh yeah, the Buckeyes also won their bowl game!!! It was a great trip!
The trip back to Japan was not a night flight - so the kids were up for a lot more of it. They did sleep for about 4 hours - but they did a great job entertaining themselves. Each seat had its own tv and movies/games - so they used that, their DS and my laptop. They really did great! Patrick was waiting for us when we arrived (right on time) - but it was in the middle of rush hour thru Tokyo...which ended up making Evelyn car sick :-( Once she got it out og her system she was fine...but I felt bad for her! We got right on track for jet lag this way too...and didn't miss a beat. The kids started school after the weekend was over and we have been fine ever since!
I am so glad we went - and so thankful for everyone who opened up their homes, schedules and lives to us! We loves seeing each on of you and are so glad to have friends and family who love us like you do!