Category Archives: New Year’s Eve

Catching Up

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Nathan’s 2014 Calendar – I love these calendars the kids make at school and will be so sad when the year comes that they are all too big to make them anymore.

I’d say it’s about time we do a little catching up.

No, I have not given up blogging.

No, I was not kidnapped by Aliens.

No, I did not move to the south of France to hide away from the world. Although some days, that is still on the table.

We have had a pretty challenging couple of months with some big losses in our family and my heart has been processing it all. Throw in a couple big holidays and a birthday and this unprepared lady just had no time to write or visit my favorite blogs.

I’ve missed you guys.

In early November, we received a call that my father-in-law, who had been battling cancer for last 10 years, was being moved to Hospice care with only a few days to a week before it would be his time. My husband immediately hopped on a plane to be by his dad’s side. Proving that he is absolutely the toughest guy I know, dad fought to live for another three weeks. I am so thankful my husband was able to spend most of that time by his dad’s side. After dad’s passing, our whole family flew out to say goodbye to grandpa. Well, goodbye for now anyway. We know he’s saving us a place at the best fishing hole around.

We stayed with our family in Indiana for a bittersweet but very blessed Thanksgiving.

While in Indiana, we were also able to squeeze in a trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis…

Sara was off with her cousins so I only have boy pictures and boy did they have a great time! True to their nature, David loved the history and “fact” finding opportunities and Nathan was all hands on energy. We only lost him once. He knew where we were and was evading. Nearly every gray hair I have is his doing. Nearly. They aren’t all his fault but I’m still sending him the cumulative salon bill someday anyway.

It was hard to leave grandma Judy and the family, the big blue Victorian house, the crisp fall air, the falling leaves, the warm fire and the quiet time.

We love you grandpa and we will miss you everyday. Until we meet again.

After getting home from Indiana, there was not a moment to waste getting ready for Christmas. Christmas cards and letters, decorating, shopping, baking, teacher, neighbor and co-worker gifts, brunch, parties and even a Women’s Ministry event thrown in for good measure! Thankfully, my trusty staff was on hand to help – see picture below., way below.

Oh, and a Birthday to celebrate too!

Happy Birthday, Sara!! One year from now,  we’ll have a teenager. Actually, less than a year from NOW.  Gulp.

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We try very hard to keep her birthday separate from Christmas and just celebrate her. With all that had gone on and all of the “Christmas catch-up” I had to do, Sara was very gracious about having a simple, low-key celebration this year. Low-key was officially supposed to come next year as the last of the “big” parties is sixth grade; says the parental management team. With the exception of Sweet 16 of course.

Instead of a big party, we decided it would be just as much fun to take her and as many friends as I could safely fit in the van to Jump Street where they could trampoline themselves to their hearts content.

Fun. Did I say fun? Oh my will I have to tell you all about it some time. For now, I will just let you imagine a half an hour in a car with six 11-12 year old girls, too many cell phones, too much perfume, lip-gloss and nail polish (all of which were opened, sprayed, dripped and gooped in my car at least once) and far too many pre-teen hormones. They are fun in groups of three or less. Anymore than that and a pack mentality seems to set in. A half an hour EACH WAY. Did I mention that.

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We do have a special birthday tradition just for her that we never miss. Every year, on her birthday, we take her out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and give her all of her gifts from the family. It is always a special evening and she loves it.  This year’s coveted birthday items – crazy knee socks, floral combat boots and anything with a moustache print on it.

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Nope, I wasn’t kidding. Don’t ask me?? If it is safe, appropriate and makes her happy, I don’t question.

One day soon, I will do a series of posts on some of the kids’ past parties. We’ve had some fun ones! For now you can check out the two I have posted; David’s Duck Dynasty Bash and Nathan’s Despicable Me Party.

In other news, Noodles the Elf on the Shelf was back for the Christmas Season so there was much Elf Management to be done …

The Elf Management team wasn’t quite as creative as last year but we got the job done. Mostly. When you have a six year old who misses nothing and wakes up instantly hyper-focused on a mission to find the elf, it can be complicated if the elf has not in fact been moved because management was dragging into bed at 1am and … gasp … forgot. “Oh, no someone must have touched the elf” came in handy more than once.

And then, all too soon, it was Christmas …

I love Christmas. Everything about it. Next year, my goal is to have posts ready ahead of time so I don’t miss sharing this wonderful season with my blogging friends. Unless you are prepared in advance, It is just too hard to write and keep up with all of the “busy” while desperately trying maintain focus on what truly matters. Lesson learned.

Desperately busy. Which leads me to December 26th and hibernation. I am an extrovert who becomes an introvert for about two weeks a year; December 26th until the day the kids go back to school.  I’m done. Finished. Spent. Turtle in her introverted shell. I may stay in my PJs all day. I may watch movies with the kids all day. In my PJs. ALL DAY. For many days.

Needless to say, I am not a New Year’s party girl. Well, I’m not really a party girl at all (anymore – for any of my college friends who might be reading) unless it is a dinner party or a birthday party or there’s cake. You know what I mean.

New Year’s Day consisted of bike riding and a picnic out back oh, and we did share the week with one very special and adorable house guest “Buster” or “Sassy McNoodle” as we like to call him.

And New Year’s Eve?

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Well this is about as exciting as it gets around here folks! H.I.B.E.R.N.A.T.I.O.N. Only one kid made it to midnight. I’ll give you one guess. Yup. The youngest. Party animal – just look at that face.

JanuaryAnd so, here it is the middle of January and sadly, 2014 has not had an easy start. We just returned from Oklahoma after saying goodbye to Gary’s incredible cousin Mike who passed away just after the New Year. I will tell you about Mike sometime as I will tell you about dad. For now, I will just share this from a card that was sent to us by Gary’s uncle Chuck after dad’s passing …

My prayer for you is a little light in the midst of this darkness. “We will never be the same as we were before this loss, but are ever so much better for having had something so great to lose.” – Leigh

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Indeed we are. And we are grateful to the God who loves and sustains us and we praise Him in all things. We trust in Him an look to Him for comfort even when we can’t find understanding.

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This one’s for you cousin Mike – Boomer Sooner!

Yes, it has been a difficult and busy few months for our family but we are moving forward and I am so glad you and I are finally catching up. Thank you for hanging in there with me and for your readership and friendship. A special welcome to the new visitors who have stopped by and the readers who have so graciously followed Welcome Company. I have a long list of recipes, ideas, plans for the Hacienda, stories to share and adventures to come.

I am looking forward to all that 2014 will bring.

I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful holiday and got some time of your own to “hibernate” with those you love most. May 2014 be a year of blessing, adventure, friendship, family and fun. And may we be thankful to the God who loves us in all that may come.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Blessings my friends!

 

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Is it too Late to Say “Happy New Year”?

Yes, I am three days late but I still can not miss the chance to wish you HAPPY NEW YEAR!  A BLESSED New Year full of promise and adventure. I am so hoping yours started a lot “healthier” than ours did, which brings me to the culprit behind the belated salutation – a nasty virus. For your own sake, I will say no more about it.

Despite that which I will not speak of (nasty virus), the Holiday season is still in full swing around here … siggghhhh. Yep, full swing. Long ago, crazy newlywed me thought it would be sweet to humor my adorable new husband and agree that the festivities (including decorations) shouldn’t end (or get put away) until after his early (but not nearly early enough) January birthday. I love Christmas. I love my house all done up for Christmas. I also love the fresh start of the New Year and am at this point I.T.C.H.I.N.G. to get the decorations down and the house put back in order (well as ‘in order’ as it ever is). Truth be told, with the uhum … nasty virus… it wouldn’t have all been put away by now anyway but I still find myself longing for that fresh clean slate. Silly, I know. My husband doesn’t ask for much so the Christmas lights twinkling into mid-January really isn’t that big of a deal.

So, how do the Brewers ring in the New Year? With food, of course. Even when we’re sick. We also celebrate at home in our PJs with our kids, a roaring fire, a good movie and a few fireworks (not the incendiary kind, the pop and leave steamers of colorful confetti paper all over the yard kind) wondering who will actually make it to midnight. Exciting? Maybe not, but it is my favorite kind of party and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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That is how I grew up and I have very happy memories of New Year’s Eve. I want the same for my kids. My dad was a ski-area manager so he worked late into New Year’s Eve and then was back up the mountain at the crack of dawn New Years Day. Needless to say, my parents didn’t party like rock stars, everything they did was family oriented. I think that is why I am the same way; that and the fact that I am over 40 with three young kids and could no longer party like a rock star even if I wanted to. Say what you will about keeping your mojo but I am good with my jammies and my slippers.

My mom always made the evening special for my sister and I. First of all, we got to have Dr. Pepper. For us, soda was a treat and a whole can of Dr. Pepper was a BIG deal! I actually drank a Dr. Pepper this year and it was heavenly! Partly because my throat hurt so badly it was the only thing that sounded good. Is it just me or is there something delightful about carbonation on a sore throat? She always put out fancy little finger foods and festive plates and napkins. Just to make it special. Just for us. My kids had a blast with the plastic champagne flutes that I bought just for them.

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Our feast this year consisted of pigs in a blanket, mini-quiche, cheese tarts and hot wings with homemade blue cheese dressing, sparkling cider and a little bit of good Cabernet (it was New Year’s Eve, I had a virus, I wasn’t dead).

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I had planned on making French Onion Soup from a recipe I found on one of my very favorite blogs, My French Heaven by Stephane Gabart, but I could only muster enough culinary gumption for heat and serve. I think the soup is on the menu for tonight, I am so excited to try it!

David helped me make the favorite of the night, pigs in a blanket which were created out of 7 hot dogs I had in the fridge and puff pastry from the spare freezer. You can do just about anything if you have puff pastry in the freezer.

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I told him seam side down (even showed him) but he’s eight and in the end, liked the crazy pastry puffs sticking out the side anyway.

We did fireworks at about 9pm as making it to midnight wasn’t looking good for any of us.

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Happy-New-Year-7He looks a little scruffy ruggedly handsome (he’s been sick) but it was such a cute picture that I had to put it in.

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If his feet aren’t bare, they are in flip-flops.

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I think they look like Charlie’s Angels in this picture, if Charlie’s Angels were under the age of 11 and two of them were boys.

So that was our New Year’s Rockin’ Eve!

Who made it to midnight? Nathan … and Gary and I, but only because Nathan did.

I am so excited for 2013 and have so much to look forward to and share here on this little blog that I have come to love writing so much. Thank you for encouraging and supporting me. Thank you for reading and liking my posts for sharing them on Facebook and Pinterest and for leaving your comments that are so important to me. I have made some wonderful connections since I started this new venture in October and I can’t wait to see where 2013 takes me.

A few things to watch for in the coming months …

More on the Hacienda, the fixer-upper that only I would be crazy enough to take on (well my husband and I – he is either crazy too or just really loves me). Next up, master bathroom remodel.

Many, many more recipes as I am finally going to put together the family cookbook that I have wanted to do for so long.

My love/hate (mostly love until I’ve been shredded by a Palo Verde branch) relationship with gardening in the desert and the creatures that inevitably visit us on the “Brewer Nature Preserve”.

Healthy food and fitness posts as I am going to try not to get any chubbier in the process of writing a cookbook and testing recipes.

Lots of memories and stories and of course, faith and family life including, but not limited to, all the birthday parties, holidays, celebrations, mischief, mishaps and mayhem you can stand. Inevitably, there will be some posts that will really only interest our grandmas but they are part of our story and our memories which is a big part, the biggest part, of what this is all about.

Thanks for joining us on the journey. As always, you are Welcome Company!