To start 2009 off right :), I took the opportunity to visit friends and family in San Francisco and Boston! It had been quite a long time since I'd been to San Fran or anywhere in California for that matter. The weather is usually a little cooler and more windy, but that weekend...though it was January...my friend Reid and I experienced amazing sunshine and t-shirt weather which I forgot was possible at this time of year! Oh, how I loooove the warmth from the sun. San Francisco is the coolest city, with people from everywhere in the world walking the streets, which just so happen to be lined with some of the neatest, sweetest looking buildings. While there, we visited Alcatraz, the old intense dangerous prison on the island in the bay, crossed the Golden Gate bridge and saw the city at night time...which looked a little like what I imagine some of those European cities looking like...very lovely and crammed...if you can say that in the same sentence and make sense of it!
Boston was the next weekend, full of snow fall and great visits :)Denison, Ben and Emily's first, celebrated his 5th birthday Jan. 16th, so of course, I had to be there. He is the one that opened my heart to the wonderfulness of nieces and nephews! Seeing him happy and smiling and full of excitement is worth any effort I ever make to be there. It was important to me to be with Ben and Emily again and to see little Annie in all her cuteness and sweetness, and to also be with the very lovable and happy Brigham. There isn't a lot that makes me more happy.
During the weekend, I met up with one of my mission companions and her husband. They are both such creative and amazing people and it was wonderful to see Zanny in her new Boston location...and with a husband at that! Turns out that one of Ben and my dear friends from high school also lives in Boston and we all visited with her Sunday evening. Brittany celebrate the blowing out the candles on Den's special dinosaur birthday cake with us...see that volcano...Emily is the coolest mom! Den loved his cake...and so did Annie :). Brittany was so good with the kids...they loooooved her too. As she talked with Ben, Em and I, there was great peace, sweetness and love in her though she has gone through what some might call "the war." Knowing her and especially visiting with her that night reminds me how important we can be to each other, how much we need to be there for each other, and to be grateful for the small joys that make life wonderful.
The weekend also consisted of a super excited and loud experience in McDonald's big play room for Den's birthday with tons of his little friends! There was also ice skating with Den and the fam; it was his first time and he said someday when he's really good, maybe he'll play on the local hockey team called The Canadians...someday...for right now it's balancing and relaxing and moving those legs that we need to work on - that said, for a first timer, Den was awesome! What a champ, and didn't even complain when he fell :). I spent a dinner and a lunch and time singing with several friends during the weekend too. What a blessing good friends are. The weekend really was such a gift. Many meaningful conversations were had and I felt renewed in my goals for this year and gained several ideas on how to do more at work and be better. Love moments of clarity like that.