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.