Welcome 2015

033Welcome 2015!

This is going to be a different kind of post because I don’t have a recipe attached, but there are lots of pretty photos and stories of my family enjoying a belated Christmas and the welcoming 2015.

I had such a wonderful holiday with my family! It started off with a little Christmas Caper. It wouldn’t be Christmas unless the elves were in full swing to work their magic. I’ll rewind a bit to the beginning. My parents were flying out to California for Christmas and New Year’s 029celebrations. They wanted to get my brother a grill for his backyard as his Christmas present. A few weeks ago, I went to Home Depot on my lunch break to find out if I could get a 5 burner grill to fit into my Corolla. The guy was very nice, but emphatically informed me that the box wouldn’t fit. So I had to come up with an alternative plan. Enter my brilliant co-worker who helped me hatch a plan!

The plan: We, my brother’s girlfriend Camilla and I, would send my brother to pick up the parents solo. We would then drive his truck to Home Depot to pick up the grill, already ordered and assembled. It was a success, with a few minor hick-ups along the way, including almost tipping over the grill around a road bump, left turn combo. I think that I drove the slowest of my life for those 2.7 miles!104

We had such a lovely time sitting around, drinking wine, opening gifts, and eating a wonderful crockpot chili that Camilla made. She even made a separate pot without the beans for me, since I do not eat legumes. She is the best! She is also an amazing decorator! Their new house looks amazing. 076

The next day we had a lovely dinner at a rooftop restaurant called Perch. Sadly, it was raining, but it was still wonderful! We all laughed and enjoyed great conversation. It was hilarious to watch my brother and Camilla talk about work from their differing, professional perspectives.133

On New Year’s Eve, we rented a mini-van and drove to San Francisco to spend the holiday and meet Camilla’s family. We listened to this podcast called “Serial”. It was SOOO good. If you haven’t heard it and are interested in a good true-life crime/ mystery, you should give it a shot. Anyways, it was really wonderful because after each episode we would discuss our theories, our questions, and confer back and forth. I found that this was much more bonding then simply listening to music. It was interactive and it made the drive fly by.172

We arrived in San Francisco and met Camilla’s family. Her mom immediately gave me a hug. Her almost 91 year old grandma gave me a hug too. It was such a welcoming, blending moment. We went to a place called The Cheese Board in Berkeley, where we met the rest of the family. We went to check in to our008 hotel, which wasn’t far from grandma’s house. We were trying to decide what to do for New Year’s and it just so happened that the hotel was having a party. It was the perfect spot.

The two families met up and talked for a few hours before the stroke of midnight. It was a blast!! I felt as though our families were not 023meeting for the first time, but rather had known each other for years. We danced, we laughed, and we stood in the cold on the marina to watch fireworks in the distance. We became one family.

013The next day we explored San Francisco and had dinner at Grandma’s house. We ordered a ton of Chinese food. It was Camilla’s mom’s birthday. We enjoyed more chatting. It was so wonderful to relax and spend time together. It’s nice to spend time in a room with educated people, having intelligent conversations, and people not being wrapped up in their phones.022

I had a moment when I was talking to Camilla’s dad about working out. We were talking about Tabata workouts (so awesome that he knows and does it) and Grandma chimed in that she goes to the gym too. Grandma, as I mentioned before is almost 91, has a personal trainer and lifts weights! I was and am impressed. That is a shining example of how to stay young and healthy folks, keep moving. Grandma has got it down!! Also, she eats dark chocolate every day, so she is basically my hero.

295The holiday came to a close with a hike near Berkeley. It was a nice four miler with scenic views and lovely company. I love to travel and see new places. Most of all, I love the time with family and good friends.

I am looking forward to 2015 and all the adventures it will bring.  I chose two goals that I want to accomplish this year. One, go on an adventure and visit a continent I haven’t been to before.  Two, I want to take this blog to the next level and publish an e-book.  Thanks to everyone for making 2014 a great first year for this blog.  Stay tuned for all that 2015 will have to offer!

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