Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


Month in Review-December

For once, just once, I am going to be early with a monthly review. I had two huge motivators to get this post up. (1) I still haven't gotten around to doing a review of November and (2) because there is so much to share (especially with the Grandparents) about all our wonderful Christmas activities. I just want to share it with them before Christmas is long gone and forgotten.

Other than Christmas and all the fun things that go along with it, we still made time for a few other things. A highlight was two of our friends from Nashville, Christie and Justin, coming to visit us. Being their first time in San Francisco, we took them around to many of our favorite places, but we also managed to check out a few new things with them as well. We had an AMAZING three course lunch and wine pairing at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The food was delicious and the setting was even better.

We took a tour of Alcatraz together as well. I took my Dad when he came to visit (HERE)  but this was Adam and Landon's first time. I wasn't sure how Landon would do with the audio tour. Although I think a lot of it was over his head, he did seem to enjoy it. It also kept his interest for the entire tour which was my biggest fear. Now he likes to talk about prison and how bad guys live there. Hopefully, it had an impression and he makes sure to always stay one of the good guys.


We had so many visitors this year and just about the time I'd be getting a little homesick, a friendly face would appear and make it all better. Sometimes in life, you meet people and are instantly close friends. That was the case when I met Christie at work when we moved to Nashville. Over a year apart and it was just like we hung out yesterday. We didn't miss a beat. Even a year later, I miss my Nashville family like crazy, her most especially. As much as I love San Francisco, I'd love it ten times more if we could just bring all our family and friends out here too. I'm just hoping that they had enough fun to come back again soon!

Another real highlight in December was my story from my post "If I Had Gotten The Flu Shot" being promoted as part of National Influenza Vaccine Week. An organization called Voices for Vaccines shared an edited version of my post as part of a blog relay promoted by the CDC. Seeing other people share my story really had a profound effect on me. Watching good manifest from this post makes me actually happy to have gone through it and that was a place I had yet to reach until now. 

But of course December was primarily about Christmas and all the fun events leading up to the big day. Last year, we started a few new traditions including building gingerbread houses, ice skating, and making cookies for Santa. We had such a great time that we made sure to do all these again this year. And although we thought last year was fun, this year was by far the most enjoyable/exciting year for Landon. From the time we pulled out his Santa advent calendar, his Christmas books, and the decorations, he had so much excitement and joy for everything Christmas. Pure elation! Just the sight of Christmas lights or decorations would make him squeal with delight. 

At first, I felt really rushed this year due to some work conflicts taking up a weekend. It caused us to have to skip a few things we wanted to do this year which had me a little bummed. The weather's also been bad, being an El Nino year, so instead of cutting down a tree again this year, we ran to a tree lot between rainstorms and picked one out there. I was disappointed as cutting down the tree last year was a real highlight for me. But Landon was over the moon ecstatic which made it seem silly to be upset at all. I ended up with the stomach flu the same day as Landon's school musical so I wasn't able to watch him sing all this Christmas songs this year either. Adam told me they were the same ones as last year, but it didn't matter. It's a hard thing to miss. With the beginning of the month not going so well, I wouldn't have enjoyed this season nearly as much if the joy from Landon wasn't so contagious. On the 12th, we decorated the tree and from then on we were all feeling the joy of Christmas. With so many pictures and videos to share, I thought it would be best to make a little video slideshow. I still have a lot of learning to do on making good videos, but at least you can get an idea of just how wonderful a Christmas season we had.

Looking back at this month just makes me realize what a blessed life I have. Sometimes in the moment it is hard to step back, slow down, and take it all in. Even just in putting all those pictures together, it really hit me just how lucky I am. For us, December was the most joyful month of a blessed and an amazing year.


Month in Review - October

Here we go again ... I'm super far behind. Life has been so busy lately I haven't had anytime to share all the fun we had in October. Since I have a TON of pictures, I'll keep the chit-chat to a minimum and let the pictures tell our story. We started the month of October with our first family camping trip. The following weekend, we kicked off the Halloween festivities with a trip to Smith Family Farms to pick some pumpkins and enjoy the farm life. Between the barn yard shows, mazes, petting zoo and tractor rides, we experienced it all.

The next day, we continued our Halloween activities by heading up to Kunde Family Winery. I got to enjoy a tasting and a few of their wines while Landon got to decorate a pumkpin and get his face painted. It was a beautiful winery and I'd like to go back again to take a tour of their beautiful property.

We I also spent a good part of our weekend building ALL of Landon's Legos. I may have gotten to work on putting together a few of them and then became borderline obsessed. As a matter of fact, Landon went to bed Saturday night and I continued to build. It was the OCD in me. No surprise though that they've all already been destroyed.

The following weekend, while Adam was taking an exam, Landon and I visited the Bay Area Discovery Museum for their Halloween fundraiser. We love this place, but the Halloween event  made it even more enjoyable. The kids got to dress up in their costumes, the normal exhibits got a Halloween makeover, and they added all kinds of extra things. We had a lot of fun and spent the majority of the day hanging out there. Landon and his best buddy had so much fun that I hope we can do it again next year.

Sunday, we took a sailboat ride on the bay. While we've been out on the bay a few times before, this was our first time on a small sailboat. Our last trip on the bay was in a big catamaran so this small sailboat was a lot different. Landon didn't like that he couldn't run around like on the other boats, but this ride was my favorite thus far. I recommend everyone take a boat ride on the bay, it is the best!

During the week, we managed to carve pumpkins. This was the first year Landon could really participate in the carving and he loved it. I let him draw his face then helped him as he carved it all out. I think I might have been even more proud of his finished product than he was. Adam and I used stencils on ours and managed to not mess them up!

We also managed to squeeze in a short, but amazing weekend in the High Sierras. We tried to convince Landon to skip Halloween the following weekend so we could all go back, but he wasn't buying it. Next year, we may need to take a whole week for a trip back.

The week before Halloween, I took a very short business trip down to LA. This was the first time I flew Virgin America and now I never want to fly another airline again. Hands down, it was the best flying experience I've had so far. Despite the short visit, I did manage to take in a sunset at an LA beach. LA has bigger, sandier beaches, but Northern California is much prettier. I came back home to a work Halloween party and with little time prepare, my Mom gave me the best idea for a good last minute costume.

October was an amazing month and the last day was the best of it all. We spent the day soaking up some sun at a new beach. Near Half Moon Bay is recently re-opened beach called Martin's Beach. It's a highly photographed beach and only recently reopened to the public after a few years of legal battles with a property owner. We had a great time playing in the sand, lounging in the sun, and taking pictures. You can guess who did what.

But before the sun set, we headed back home to get ready for the main event, trick or treating. We considered going to a new area this year, but decided to go to back to the same neighborhood as last year. San Francisco is supposed to be the best place in the US for trick or treating. With lots of neighborhoods doing it up big, it was a hard decision. Crowds and parking helped us decide and we enjoyed it just as much this year. The homes are AMAZING and many of them go all out decorating. Maybe next year we will try a new spot, but it will be hard to beat SeaCliff.

We left once the bucket was full and he couldn't have been happier to have so many treats. We went home and inspected the goodies before eating a few pieces then calling it a night. October was a real treat for all of us. From our two camping trips, to our Halloween festivities, our boat ride, and our winery visit. We couldn't have enjoyed it anymore. Till next year, October!