Monday, December 31, 2012


That’s how I’d describe the past week plus. It went by in a flash, as I knew it would. The season kicked into high gear with a piano recital and a Brownie visit to the Old Orchard Health Center to sing carols for the residents, followed by school celebrations and Snowflakes for Sandy Hook at the local community center.

Christmas Recital

A quick bite at Panera before caroling

Easton's most beautiful snowflakes

From there, it was all about the eve and the day and catching up with family and friends throughout the week. We even squeezed in a trip to New York City to enjoy lunch at Candle 79, score a used but in near-perfect condition Pottery Barn media stand and walk thru Rockefeller Center.

Showing off a few of their gifts

Sienna and her cousin Gabrielle 

Dylan, Ryan & Sienna in Manhattan

 The kids at Rockefeller Center

Standing in front of Manhattan's 
most beautiful Christmas treasure

CrAzY Cousins!

Over the course of the holiday break, Sienna, Matt and I each battled separately fevers and colds, but nothing that Advil, a bit of extra rest and kale greens couldn’t fix.

We haven’t worked out since the Saturday before Christmas. Strangely, I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I’ve loved the extra time in bed with Matt, getting up most days after 9 a.m. and just lah-li-dah’ling around the house every morning with him and our kids. Having said that, both Matt and I have acknowledged that everything returns to its normal routine this Wednesday, which gives us one more lazy day together.

In terms of eating, we did OK. We indulged in our fair share of "vegan" sweet treats (by the way, cookie-palooza was a huge success -- see photos below -- thanks to a friend who advised that I reduce the oven temperature 15-20 degrees when baking) but all and all we stuck firmly to our whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. I’m convinced that’s why neither of us fell down hard with our colds. Take a look at a small sampling of yummy dishes we whipped up!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

 Rocky Road Crinkles

Oatmeal Raisin, aka Matt's favorite

Vegan Potato Skins
with Avocado as the Star!

Vegan Deviled "Eggs" ...
amazing what potatoes, a little hummus
and the right spices can bring to life.

 Quinoa Dip -- I would put this up
against the traditional (and fattening)
seven-layer dip any day of the week.

Kale and Tempeh Wraps with Miso Dressing
We've made these wraps twice this week!

Today is New Year’s Eve, an event I’ve always described as bittersweet. I recall vividly the first time “the eve” made me emotional. It was Dec. 31,1979, and we were ushering in not just a new year but a new decade. At the stroke of midnight, my brother, sister and I ran outside for the traditional striking of the pots and pans. After a few minutes of crazy, we came back in the house and I immediately became sad and teary-eyed not knowing what the New Year would bring. I remember feeling particularly concerned about the health and longevity of my father and grandmother. So no one would see me, I went straight into my bedroom and started balling my eyes out -- a not-so-normal reaction, as I look back now, for a 10-year old.

Both dad and nana would go on to live two more decades+, but that emotional feeling remains today, overwhelming me at the exact moment the clock strikes midnight. My worries continue to extend to those I love and hold dear -- Matt, our children, my mom, my brother and sister, my nieces and nephews, friends and all our family members. I suspect that tonight's celebration will not be any different.

I never complain about the year we’re leaving behind, wondering if or wishing it could have been better. Fortunately for Matt and me, the year has been full of ups and few, if any, downs, and our family is leaving 2012 with our health intact. I say this will immense appreciation and gratitude. For those of you who know us well, the year started off rocky for our 4-year old nephew Michael. He spent all of January and half of February in intensive care, literally fighting for his every breath. He rallied, as he always does, and is thriving today. He’s a constant reminder to us both to really enjoy life’s simple pleasures and to never take good health for granted.

Little Mikey

For the New Year, Matt and I will do what comes more and more naturally with each passing year -- love the moment. Whether that moment is spent with friends and family, on a long run or a weekend hike, watching a movie or reading a book, playing a game or skiing with our children, or just sitting beside one another in silence, it’s one we’ll never get back and it’s a moment we’re experiencing together.

I wish you all a wealth of moments you love and embrace with every ounce of your being. I wish you a year filled with good health and the genuine pleasure of friends and family.

Happy New Year!

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