Christmas Light Ride

There are several local cycling groups that put on group bike rides, and one of them (San Jose Bike Party) does an annual Christmas Light Ride that is family friendly. So, on a very chilly Sunday evening in December, I coerced my family into doing it. Bruce outfitted our bikes with as many lights as we could find. Here we are just before the ride.

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Here are a few more shots before the ride started. It was, as everything in the Bay Area is, unbelievably crowded (fitting with our unofficial Moision Family Bay Area motto: It would be awesome if it weren’t so crowded). But so fun to see all the bikes lit up — some people went all out!

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I took a video during the ride to try to get a feel for the crowd and atmosphere.

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We didn’t end up staying for the whole ride because with that many people it was just a crawl and every time we had to stop at a stop sign or light it took forever. So, mixed results but I’m still glad we did it!

Birthday Weekend in Pasadena

It all started in October when Bruce and I were graciously invited to the Kings/Sharks season opener in San Jose. The Kings lost the game, our starting goalie was seriously injured, and after suffering through the Sharks skating through a giant shark mouth, I texted my friend Sherry to say how much I missed Kings games. Sherry texted back that I should come down for my birthday because there was a game that day. I laughed it off as impossible, but it stuck and lo and behold we made it happen!

So, on December 9th we left about mid-day to beat some of the traffic. We were a little nervous to leave the kittens at home for the first time, but they were in good hands with Detchemendy/Eide family taking care of them. Here’s Julia giving some love to Emmy.

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After finding and settling into our little Airbnb house in Pasadena, we went for dinner at Zankou.

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It was sooooo good.

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In the morning I got up for an early walk which was chilly but beautiful (and not as chilly as I’m used to now!).

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Then we had breakfast with Bob, Vanessa, Reba and Thomas at Du-pars. Great to see them and enjoy some yummy pancakes and french toast. I forgot to take pictures until the very end when Finn was, apparently, grumpy over some slight. It’s a terrible shot, but I’ll put it in anyway for posterity’s sake.

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Soon it was Kings game time. It was a 1:00 game and Sherry had a surprise for me, so we left Pasadena really early. The surprise was a picture with Luc Robitaille, my favorite King. (It was a season ticket holder event with the new 50th anniversary monument that had been rescheduled to the 10th because of rain. Good luck for me!)

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After the picture, we visited the team store (stocking stuffers for the boys) and had a drink before the game started. It was a great game — not too stressful and the Kings won 4-1.

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While I was at the game, Bruce and the boys met Rob and Chapin and went ice skating at the Pasadena Ice Rink. Chatty Finn even managed to get a reluctant Chapin to try skating, so success all around! After that Bruce took the boys to visit the Bates, where I met up with them after the game. We had a lovely visit with Colleen, Darryl, Emily, and of course, the boys’ favorite, Molly.

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From there we hustled up to to Altadena for the Christmas Tree Lane lighting ceremony. We’d missed the Pintos’ pre-party but saw some friends briefly. It was super crowded! But such a fun hometown event.

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We managed to catch up with the Bannings for a few minutes so I got a shot of the kids together.

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And, more importantly, we found Erin who was going to babysit the boys while we went out for a celebratory dinner with Cari and Rob.

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We finally settled on a restaurant (Little Beast in Eagle Rock) and I actually thought to have the hostess take our picture, which never happens. Actual documentation of an adult outing, yay!

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We had a lovely time, exactly what I was hoping for to celebrate our birthdays.

The next morning, Cari and I got to have a walk together — in person, not by phone! I was happy to get some extra Cari time, knowing she had a busy Sunday and I wouldn’t see her again. As an aside, we stumbled on not one but two Little Free Libraries on our walk! They were numbers 24482 and 30115.

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After that, we cleared our stuff out of the Airbnb and drove up to the Heffernans’ for breakfast. Jerri had to work that day so she invited us up for a visit before she had to leave. Here’s a shot of all the kids.

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Our last stop was a park play date to catch up with long-lost friends. So many Cottage, Aveson and neighborhood friends showed up! Bob, Vanessa and Thomas came too for some added family time. It was a lovely meet up for us. I was too busy visiting with everyone to take many pictures, but here are a few.

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After a late lunch at Ginger Corner Market across from the park, it was time for us to go home. I got one last picture from Christina of the kittens getting some love, so we knew they were doing well.

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Our drive was long as usual, but thankfully traffic was pretty light. We were all exhausted, but it was a perfect birthday weekend.

Duets

Finn and his piano teacher (Heidi Saario) spent the last lesson of 2016 doing Christmas duets. It was super cute and I recorded them all. Here’s Deck the Halls which was Finn’s favorite of the bunch.

Deck the Halls

There are five more (short) songs. You can see them all here.

Christmas Decorating 2016

We got an early start (for us) on Christmas decorating this year because we were going to be out of town on the weekend we would normally do it. Even then, it kind of happened by accident. We were putting up the library ornament on the first Sunday in December and wanted to put up house lights but we no longer had our old house lights. So, off to OSH we went. On our way out of the store, we decided to pick up a tree too. Bruce got the house lights up quickly and everything looked very festive!

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It was fun to get out all of our Christmas ornaments again since we didn’t decorate at all last year because we weren’t going to be home. Finn was sick but Ezra helped decorate the tree.

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We had a few ornaments that didn’t survive the move. One (Ezra’s snorkeler) just needed a repair. When we noticed it was broken, I told him to put it in the kitchen for Bruce to superglue it back together. This is what I found when I walked into the kitchen later.

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Even though the tree drove the cats crazy with curiosity, they loves sleeping under it.

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Once the tree was done, the boys worked on the train.

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Here’s a short video.

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We didn’t end up running the train much, unfortunately, because everyday the cats knocked it over. Also, they kept scooting the tree skirt around which blocked the tracks. Oh well, they only ended up breaking one ornament so I’m going to call that a win.

Vintage Christmas Party

December 3rd gave us not only Finn’s piano recital but also a Vintage Christmas Party put on by a couple of our favorite Fairmeadow moms. These are our hostesses, Karen and Christina, and as you can tell from their outfits and the decorations behind them, they went all out.

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Bruce and I got dressed up vintage style as well, although I just couldn’t manage the 50s-60s hair. But I did get a petticoat and I pulled out my mother’s pearls which were definitely from that era.

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Bruce decided to go with 50s NASA engineer. I tried to get him to shave off his facial hair (which I’m pretty sure was a no-no among that ilk at the time) but he wouldn’t do it. We did manage to make a pretty accurate recreation of the pocket contents and a NASA badge. He also had his calculator on his belt like a holster.

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Here are some more pictures from the evening. Super fun!

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Finn’s Second Piano Recital

Finn had his second piano recital last month. He played Green Tea and Jingle Bells. He looked pretty sharp in the outfit he picked out. He really wanted to wear the jacket.

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Here’s the video of his performance.

And here’s the whole group of students with their┬áteacher, Heidi Saario.

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December Bike Ride

My bouts of vertigo this year have really kicked my butt and kept me from doing some of the things I love. I’ve missed a lot of the regular weekly hikes I used to go on, as well as the occasional bike rides with that group. So, the fact that I was feeling good and had no scheduling conflicts was very exciting when a ride came up on December 2nd. I rode 16.44 miles with two friends, Sonya and Leslie. Here we are at the half-way point.

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And here’s our route info.

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Hopefully 2017 will bring better health for me!