Happy New Year

As with the previous years Christmas really came around with the Christmas performance at School. Last performance with Pia and Isabella – from hereon onwards Adriana will have to carry the tradition; which she surely is happy to do. Much of the show repeated itself on December 24 when Olivia plus kids were part of the Christmas mass. There are some pictures from the school performance here.

We celebrated Christmas with the rest of the Bellamys on December 23 at Adrian and Penny’s house. There was a total of 20 of us this time and the kids had a blast exchanging Secret Santa gifts. Some family members were off to Hawaii the days after – some to London while the rest decided to weather out the Californian rain storm.

Santa did come around again in 2014 and left quite a mess downstairs drinking milk and eating cookies and lettuce. Apparently for the reindeers. He forgot his glasses (again!) and must have several pairs in the sleigh. Santa filled the stockings and also left three girls a new pair of boots and Adriana an American Girl doll.

New Year came and went again without much notice. The three older girls hung out with their friends while John, Olivia and Adriana relaxed at the house. The three started 2015 with a long walk in Half Moon Bay enjoying glorious weather.

Finishing this post off with a note we came across earlier today:

Welcome to 2015.

With resolutions or without, with ups and downs, joy and sorrow, successes and mistakes, friends founds, friends lost, with passion or without, it will be the year that you make, the year that you decide, the year that you want.

Much of the above will happen but only you can turn them into positive experiences.

Happy New Year : )

Back home

Isabella came back Saturday after two weeks of summer camp at Walton’s Grizzly Lodge. She had had a great time – no sign of missing anyone except maybe for the first day or two. Mosquito bites and scratches show signs of an outdoor life, but hail and rain kept the campers inside from time to time.

Many campers were from San Francisco and Marin. Some even from Hillsborough. Good friends made so she’ll probably be busy connecting online with some of them since the lack of electronics while at camp made that impossible. She sounds like she’s ready to go back, but we’ll have to see about that come 2015.

John flew up there to pick her up. It was a pleasure flying alongside highway 80. 22 minutes is all it took from San Francisco to Reno but by going slightly the opposite direction and with check-in and all, they actually spent as much of the day traveling, as we would have in driving.

Isabella received many cards from friends and family and was very appreciative. Getting mail was her favorite part of her day and she sends her heartfelt gratitude!

John spent part of the week at a company meeting in Napa at the Meritage Resort and Spa. Nice place and very easy to get to from San Francisco. Good beer can chicken at the Bounty Hunter and ditto lunch at the Fremont Diner. The downtown area of Napa is looking much better although it doesn’t quite have the charm of e.g. St. Helena. He missed Penny’s birthday at the Paul Martin Grill on Tuesday, but Bella, Pia, Adrian and Olivia all celebrated her.

Friday Adriana had to say goodbye to Garcelle – her trusted nanny all summer long. Garcelle is going back to college starting this week, so Adriana will act as Olivia’s assistant until Saint Catherine’s is open for business in a couple of weeks. John and Adriana went night swimming in Penny and Adrian’s pool last night. No one seems to know where the lights are located; so all the light in the backyard came from the stars above (or the sun if you will…). She quickly fell asleep afterwards watching the Disney Bears movie.

Bella is back in school as the first of the four. She’s active with Cheer and is now on the final half of her high school years. She was followed to the door but a raccoon last night, but and ideas of close contact came to a quick end when Bella decided to scream from the car to the drive way. Easy to hear around the neighborhood in the middle of the night but no-one was concerned enough to call the police. At least not that we know of.

Pia is “enjoying” the summer workbook from school, but has made a pretty good dent in it. So much so that wrapping it up before school start is a realistic goal. She’s good at taking a break to make sure there are no new videos on YouTube she has not watched.

Olivia and John spent the past weekend in Carmel sans kids. Delicious dinner at the Moulin Bistro in Monterey Friday evening. They ended up at Carmel Valley Ranch for appetizers and s’mores Saturday evening and all of a sudden found themselves driving back Sunday – seemed much too soon. They relived some of their younger years earlier in the week rocking to Toto at the Mountain Winery. Toto were (still) surprisingly good nd they had much of the audience standing for the majority of the set.

Burlingame sadly seems determined on turning half of our street into restricted parking. A city hall meeting on Wednesday and a signed petition didn’t change the mind of the council members. While it won’t affect us in terms of permits, people will surely start to park closer to our home. It remains to be seen how much of a problem it will be, but it’s already tight with three cars in our driveway or on the street in front of the house.

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The last few weeks of 2012

Bella and her cheer team was part of the Burlingame Christmas Parade December 7. The grownups took advantage of a kid’s slumber party and took of for Casa Bellamia and sadly missed the parade. It all tuned out alright, Santa showed up and the cheer season was closed down properly.

The Carmel Valley visit was just for a couple of nights. These days we’ll take what we can get. It coincided with a visit from AT&T. They estimated two hours to install U-verse. Three weeks, four visits and countless hours later… It’s woking (yay!) and we feel in touch with the online world again while visiting the valley. We were excited to to hook up with Allison for a “sundowner” – our first chance to see our wonderful wedding coordinator. We ended up talking past our dinner reservation but the AT&T technician made it impossible to leave anyway (visit two of four…)

All the Christmas events at school started on December 14 with the older grades performing “A Christmas story”. It was good entertainment and very well put together. A bit of a somber mood after the Newtown tragedy that had taken place earlier in the day, but the many mentions of the Red Ryder BB gun still got a laugh and a smile.

We celebrated Adrian and Penny on December 16 – one day after the actual anniversary date. Their 50th wedding anniversary was partly why we went to Africa during the summer and David (Olivia’s brother) had put together a beautiful book with lost of photos from the two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania. Browsing through it we were all ready to go back. Our hats off to their commitment!

The four girls were all involved in the Saint Catherine Christmas performance. Even Bella who probably thought she was done reading in front of the congregation. Later on Adriana was rocking while Isabella and Pia this year – and for the next two years – dedicated their time to the nativity play. Baby Jesus enjoyed the spotlight and the whole thing was a great start to the Christmas days of 2012. We went back for the Christmas evening mass on December 24 accompanied by out neighbors. Isabella and Pia were liturgical dancers and Adrian got to speak to the congregation together with a couple of her (very loud) class mates. Following the performance we had a small family dinner at Ecca in Burlingame. Ran into the Liberty’s who’s celebrated their 22nd Christmas dinner at the restaurant. Quite an achievement. We had not seen them since our wedding – good to catch up.

Adriana and Pia arrived Christmas morning and the race to open the most presents in the shortest amount of time was immediately on. All got great gifts and no lumps of coal were spotted. Or expected, we should add. We spent the afternoon making dessert for the family dinner at Hillsborough a little later in the evening. Chris, Kara, Chloe and Colton were “stuck” in Oahu but the rest of us watched the kids exchange secret santa gifts and enjoyed a hearty meal afterwards.

December is not a quiet month for any of us. Year-end, finals, concerts and much more. Oh, and of course the shopping although some of us managed to set foot in only one Christmas shopping store in all of December. Hurrah for online shopping!

Last post of 2012. We wish all of our readers a happy 2013!

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