As we have sometimes done in the past, Kate and I decided to fly down to Oakland for the weekend to meet Grandpa and Aunt Carol for the bookfair. Uncle David and Uncle Steve and Aunt Elaine were also going to be there, and Stephanie drove in for the day as well. It was fun seeing everyone and giving Kate a taste of how my childhood weekends were spent.
This was the first year that we had really meaningful discussions about our Hanukkah service and each nightly theme. I redesigned our service, and rewrote a few of the passages. From the eight night:
Tonight, as we light our eighth and final candle, we complete the pool of light. First we light our seven candles of Faith, Freedom, Courage, Love, Integrity, Charity and Knowledge. And now we light the eighth candle, without which all is meaningless. We light the candle of Peace. With Peace, we see that the pool of light is large and complete and full.
We lit candles every night, and even had friends over for a party on the seventh night. (On a side note, I think having one or two additional families over is best, not the three we invited!) We got to eat latkes and blintzes, although it appears that I am the only fan of kugels.
We had a lovely, calm, Christmas. We tried to be more retrained than in past years, and I think that, largely, we succeeded. The kids got a few games and books that they are still enjoying days later, and we had some lovely meals.
Finally, for New Year’s Eve, we invited our new French friends over: Nelly, Michael, Maureen and Armelle. Fois gras, shrimp and escargots were consumed and the kids played so much Kinect that Owen’s arm was cramped the next day!
Paul and Caitlin got a divorce this year, and although that was sad, it just meant that we had new people to love. Mariah and Jaxon came for a visit, and we all fell under their (his!) spell.