Thursday, January 9, 2014

A New Years Wrap Up....

We love our Grandpa so much. 
 Every grandchild deserves a Grandpa Brown.  
My Kiddos love him so much and I guess the Christmas season really began with the arrival of my dad this year.
Every morning my kids sneak into his room and they have a really important talk about things like Santa and elves and school and friends. 
He makes them feel like this conversation is as important as solving world hunger.
He listens and listens.
He asks them questions and then he listens some more.
They feel heard, loved, and feel like they are the most interesting child in the entire world.  
I peak in from around the corner and I just smile.
I eavesdrop on their conversation and I know exactly how they feel.

I know because he has always made me feel the exact same way.

Here are some other Christmas pics...

Q is for quiet with not one little peep...

Please always fall asleep with a Santa hat on...pretty please?
playing endless games

Happy Birthday to the one I love most.
If the entire world crumbled down around me but he was holding my hand all would be okay.
I love you Tom Call...

birthday pancakes

So we headed into the best cheese shop in Noe Valley to get our fixins for our annual raclette Christmas Eve dinner.

I did not take into account how much time my dad and Tom would take in this little shop. How did I not think of this. They could spend hours in a local 7-eleven so what made me think I could get out of there...ever.

They made friends with Charles and by friends I mean BFF's forever.
I am serious.
They know everything about this man and his children and his shop and his cheese and his pate.

This is what we did for the first hour...
The second hour we went to whole foods.  It was December 23rd it wasn't busy at all...I'm totally kidding.
 I wanted to kill myself.
 After over 2 1/2 hours they surfaced with an array of liver pate and Roquefort and Stilton. And if I am being totally honest with myself I know it could of been a lot worse and I could still be outside of the cheese shop in Noe Valley right now.  The good news is the raclette cheese was amazing...the liver pate not so much (not that I even tried it) and it turned out to be the perfect Christmas Eve.  We even tried to have our own nativity scene.  That was kind of funny because 
a. none of my kiddos were wanting to be Mary Joseph and the like and 
b. we aren't singers and that means two things.
We can't hold a tune for anything
 and we really can't remember the lyrics and not even to our beloved Christmas carols.
When other people are singing we follow their lead but when it is our pathetic family we sound like this...

It came upon a midnight clear
That glorious song of old
from angels la la
la la their harps of gold
Peace on earth la la la

That didn't come out like it was in my head but
You get the idea..not pretty

No piano to even help us just horrible a cappella.
I always wanted someone to play the piano in my family but when Julia moved she took that dream with it.  :(

But no matter we all laughed and knew that we were terrible.
But no Christmas season is complete without a trip up to the house with the most est. So the kids got on their jammies, got in the car and we still sang carols at the top of our lungs that we didn't know the words to (after I separated the fighting children in the car) and enjoyed this house. The house that completes Christmas season 2013. 

Christmas morning..
I tried to be present and in the moment I really did but I knew we were going to be calling Nicholas at 11:00 a.m. 
So I watched my kids and my dad open up their presents with one eye and I watched the clock with my other eye.

the beloved kite...a new one at last

Finally Charlie is part of the 49er ju ju club
Tom,Ben and John

 For my love...well because we love it

Christmas breakfast

And then FINALLY 11:00 came!!!!!!!!
I got to talk to my boy!!!!!!!
He is sooo happy and he loves Guatemala so much and did I mention how happy he is.
It made me sooo happy but I miss him sooo much that my heart has a little hole in it and it won't be fixed until he comes home.

We talked for 2 1/2 hours.  
Ben talked to him for 45 minutes joking, laughing and confiding like only brothers can. 
I loved every minute of it!!!!!!
But the call came to an end...I had to say goodbye and there are not words for how I felt after that.

The rest of the day was a weird Christmas because we had to leave at 4:00 in the morning for Utah because my nephew is getting married.
So I washed and packed and ate egg nog cookies.

We were in Utah for 3 days and all I can say was it was nutty.

Ann, Madeline, Katy and Rachel waiting outside the temple.

Tom's dad and his brothers

Benjamin and Uncle (as Ben calls him)

The stunning bride and groom
Maggie and Elliott
They are perfect together!!

Just look at her stunning dress?
Ella looked over at me  at her open house in Cali and said, "Mom that it exactly what I want my dress to look like when I get married."  
What is the saying? Copying is the best form of flattery.
No that's not it and I can't remember but something like that...

Benjamin and me at City Creek Mall

New Years Eve

I can't explain it.

It was the combination of the company, the ambiance, certainly the food and maybe even my dad's disgusting liver and blue cheeses but it all added up to one of my favorite nights.
I love this extended family of mine.
And as we sat around the table laughing and talking and drinking teas and eating more egg nog cookies my heart was truly full. I felt grateful beyond compare for these relationships.

For 15 years we have been one big family.

I have watched their children grow from little children to exceptional adults. Their kids are my kids best friends. They have been at every important benchmark in my family and we have been there for theirs.  We have loved and supported each other during all the highs and unconditionally, without fail,  been there for the lows.
Total unconditional support.
Not everybody has that.
Maybe it was the fact that they weren't here for thanksgiving and Christmas and I seriously missed them.
But whatever the reason,
 as we celebrated the end of a wonderful year, and counted down to a new one,

I have never in my entire life been so grateful for the people in this room.

New Year's Day
Everyone headed back over to our house for a huge ham and egg breakfast the next morning.
Certainly starting 2014 out right.

Headed to Berkeley Marina to fly Ben's new kite but for the first time ever there was not even the tiniest gust of wind.


So we headed to the coast...certainly there has to be wind at fort funston.  I mean that is where the hang gliders head when they need a strong wind. 

The maiden voyage was almost a success but Benjamin started messing with a couple of dogs on the beach. He then made a fatal mistake and lost control of the kite and it hit nose first into the sand.  The dogs had been anticipating its sad landing and pounced on it and began to eat the poor kite.  Benjamin and John got to them soon after but the damage was done and the new kite was broken.

This part kills me.  
Benjamin waltzes up to the dogs owner like no big deal and informs her that her dogs broke his kite.  
She asks how much the kite was and he says probably around $80.00 and she precedes to hand him $60.00 right on the spot.
Are you kidding me?
First off the fact that he had the guts to go to her ( I am not totally sure I could have done that at 16 without wetting my pants) and hats off to her for paying him.  I love that lady...I really love her. 
We stayed and watched the setting sun fall into the ocean and I thought to myself
goodbye first day of 2014... I am so excited for you!!

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