Finally: real American holidays, after four years of making-do abroad. Here are some of the highlights.
Halloween: Real pumpkins, decorative cupcakes, and panda costumes. Or raccoons according to our trick-or-treaters.
Andrew's 28th Birthday: A surprise party at Brooklyn Brewery with friends, beer, board games, cheesecake, and...more beer. Best moment was Andrew's look of surprise.
Thanksgiving: When in New York...go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! We decided not to get up at the crack of dawn and instead showed up at the start of the parade. This resulted in poor visual range and smushed toes from all the pushing. After freezing our butts off, we headed to New Jersey to have Thanksgiving dinner with Andrew's friend Andrea. Unbeknownest to us, dinner was Chinese style, which was fun but left us craving turkey, so the next day we cooked an 18 lb. turkey for our own Thanksgiving dinner. We just finished up the last of the turkey a few days ago.
Christmas: Santa brought us an early Christmas present this year: the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Feldman! It was great having some time with them away from the wedding chaos, and their arrival meant we got to do some fun touristy stuff, too. We went to Macy's and sat on Santa's lap and got to see Rockefeller Square with its giant (but slightly unimpressive) Christmas tree.
For the first time in about eight years, I spent Christmas with my family in Missouri. It was a bit hectic, leaving New York City on Friday, December 23rd at 5pm in our rental car and racing to get to Pacific in time for presents on Christmas Eve. Six states and one speeding ticket later, we arrived just before the kids (and my "adult" siblings) were about to tear the tree apart. I was especially happy with the gifts we prepared this year. Andrew and I made homemade family name signs for my mom and step-dad, Andrew's parents, and my dad and his wife. I also managed to finish a pair of fingerless mittens for my mom en route.
It was great meeting my new niece, Isabella, and spending time with my other niece and nephew. Mostly I was just happy to be home for Christmas and see my mom. I wish my Nana could have come out, but the cold usually keeps her in Southern California this time of year.
New Year's Eve: We had been anticipating NYE in NYC for a long time; indeed, it was a deciding factor in moving to New York in the first place. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be for 2012. We arrived around 3pm to Times Square to find that the streets were filled to capacity up to 53rd Street. Times Square is on 42nd St. After waiting around a bit, it was clear that if we stayed, we wouldn't be able to see or hear anything. Instead, we went home and watched the festivities on our new TV. Next year, we'll come prepared!!