Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Reflections

I wanted to create a sentimental journey of 2006, but this may only serve to prove that a year cannot be summed up in 12 photographs. Maybe I should add a few more... we've been very busy, we've seen lots of family and friends and many memorable moments should never be forgotten.

January is full of birthdays, including Ron's, Nick's, Tamsyn's, Kelsey's, Janice's and Geoff's. Geoff's 40th birthday we celebrated at the park and with lots of friends and family. It was a beautiful day, especially for January.

Maybe So Cal is always beautiful. Here it is in February and the weather was just fine for Max to climb his favorite tree. We had to make a rule about how high he could climb. Max is always ready and willing to go one branch higher.

William's and Rich's weren't the only birthdays to celebrate in March, because at long last there was a new baby in the family.
Here is little Isabella Rose.

It's April and the weather is still grand! Good enough for a long weekend of camping with our friends Tamsyn, Carol and Gene. It's funny how even a little escape can make for so much fun.

My Mom makes the long trip to see us a few times every year, and on this trip we made a surprise visit to see Grandmother for Mother's Day. Another occasion with lasting memories.

June is a month full of birthdays, like Delia's, Hans', Bill's, Julie's, Phil's and Alex's. I took the children on a Monterey Roadtrip, which we filled with stops at Hearst Castle, Big Sur, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara and even a day at Bill and Alison's. By this time Geoff was getting his feet wet at his new job, and now he's way overdue for one of our awesome roadtrips.

Being busy at work doesn't mean missing all the summer fun. Geoff made it to ComicCon with us. We met Ray Harryhaussen, and saw a lot of strange and interesting characters.

I think Max really impressed me this year with his bright attitude and maturity. He turned 8 in August and he's been doing very well at school, at home, with friends and family.

Don't Ruth and Corm look happy? Grandchildren all around; I think that's how they like it. For Alex and Max it was a last week of freedom before they started their first year of school away from home.

This picture comes a little late in the photo-calendar, and Dominic came a little early, but what a welcome arrival! By October we were fully immersed in school schedules and activities, otherwise we would have rushed to meet the newest cousin.

November is another busy month, with Thanksgiving and holiday anticipation, but for me it's all about this little girl. Maria turned two and we are all marveling at her new skills and amusing antics.

Finally, I get to meet my nephew Dominic. It's hard to choose just one image to represent the last month of a great year. Holding this baby was such a great feeling, I think the memory sums up the joy I feel at Christmas.

That's 12 pictures for 12 months. There is a lot more to remember, like swimming at Steve and Andi's, welcoming Hans home from his time abroad, scrumptious dinners at James and Deanne's, Geoff's international job search, house hunting, our move, Maria learning to walk, Alex wininng two LEGO building contests, our new kitty... What do you remember about 2006?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

News Form Our Winter Break...

An update: Geoff saved the archives! I don't know how, except that it took many hours, and now the archive links work again. Now I am working to update the archive photos. The old photos were linked to the old domain name and have to be individually switched to our new domain. Remember our old *privacy* system for pictures? Obviously I've thrown that security issue out the window, but a lot of pictures are still secure, so if you are exploring in the ancient archives you can plug in "balboa park" for the username and password. Okay, the updating is going s l o w. Geoff is better at it because he doesn't stop to read every entry. I am almost through July of 2003.

Here is the Santa that Maria kisses. She enthusiastically waves hello and good-bye to the little guy by our front gate. And in her arms is her other sweetheart, Frosty, the plush doll her Grandma Boo-Boo left her for Christmas.

Last night I was feeling comfortable and content, when I suddenly remembered this is our last week of winter break. It occurred to me that I really love having all the children at home. I love that the rules, expectations, impositions and chores of School are slipping from my memory, and our own family rhythm is taking over. School culture is very consuming and for us, it's still foreign. At least we have this break. I wish Geoff had a break. His work is all consuming too, and this morning, with rain coming down, and new toys to be played with, Geoff has to leave us and go to work. Sigh. If I were benevolent leader of the world we would have 4 day weekends, 6 hour work days, health coverage for all, nap time, peace on earth and 10 weeks of paid vacation. More on this later.

Happy birthday Debbie! My Colorado cousin and I share the distinction of having post Christmas birthdays. Debbie I hope you are enjoying a very nice birthday with all the trimmings.

Holly has a pre Christmas birthday, which she celebrated with grace and good humor. Rich organized a surprise party for Holly, which I think worked... she looked surprised when she walked in to the pizza place and found friends and family waiting to fete her with pizza, beer, balloons, presents and cake. Here she is radiating wit and beauty...

And for no particular reason, here is picture of our kitty, Benjamin Franklin Thunder Cat, cowboy and explorer:

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Can I share Christmas Eve first? We were with Holly, Izzy, Nick and Rich last night, and we had a great time. It's so nice to arrive at their home, where everything looks so festive and beautiful. We did a lot, including watching the Chargers win one more, and watching Izzy try to crawl. We were fed what has become a favorite tradition: Holly's Hot Enchiladas! She can cook. What a treat. And there were gifts to exchange. Great Grandma Nancy always seem to know just what children will love. William loves his Superman gear, Maria loves her penguin, Max loves his football kicking game... Izzy and Maria looked adorable in their matching holly dresses. We can't wait to try Geoff's boogie sled on some mountain snow. I'm trying to sum it all up, which really isn't possible, so just think of laughter and anticipation, happy children, pretty lights, and the contentment we can have when we are with family, safe and thankful.

And here we are Christmas morning. We were up at 6 and now it's nearly noon. Maria still has unopened gifts. She's busy stacking lighthouse boxes that came from her Tutu and Grampa Corm. Geoff has been assembling and reading instructions since dawn. Alex already built a dragon. William is still wearing his Superman shirt. Max took his haul to his room and probably has it all in order by now. And me? I'm trying to share it all with you, with aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and grandmas and grandpas, because the only thing that could make Christmas morning more fun would be to have you here with us. Thank you for the National Geographic subscription, the books and CDs, for the rubber ducky collection and the new table cloth, the sweater for Maria and for pretty wood frames (I've already put pictures in them!) It's not all about the presents, of course. I am delighting in the collective spirit, love and good will that propels this holiday and keeps us together in tradition and joy. May the peace and cheer be with you all through the new year.