Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy 2013!

I hope your New Year celebrations were amazing. Ours were Stressful but Successful. You'll hear that term from me a lot. It's a kind of family tag line. As a result, today everyone is content and mellow.

Usually, we spend New Year's Eve at home as a family. This year, everyone had different plans, though. +Liam Shepherd had his heart set on attending a big, formal dinner and dance at our Stake Center (about 2.5 hr drive through snowy mountains). Cora had her heart set on attending the Bishop's Breakfast and Board Game Night with our Ward (only a 5 minute drive). +Jason Shepherd and I were hoping to do something special, just the two of us, too. With the help of some friends from church, we were able to pull it all off!

Jason got home from work at about 3:30. Just enough time to shower, change, and get on the road. We left Cora with a very nice (if early) dinner, and clear, simple instructions. She needed to be at her friend's house by 6 so they could give her a ride to her event. We also called every 1 - 2 hours throughout the evening, to check in and remind her of each impending part of the evening.

Our drive was a little icy in spots, but overall not too nerve wracking. Liam arrived about ten minutes early. We had drilled him on proper etiquette for this event, on the drive. We've really been drilling him his whole life, but he tends to just mimic the behaviors of others in new environments. He needs to be reminded of what's appropriate and that we expect no less. We walked him in, said hello to the leaders, and headed off to dinner.

Dinner was incredible! I made reservations weeks ago for this trendy little Asian Fusion restaurant. We wanted a nice meal, but we didn't want to spend our 5 hours in the car while wearing dressy clothes. Well, mainly, I didn't. I don't think Jason would have cared either way. Anyway, this is the kind of restaurant where jeans and a nice shirt are totally appropriate. Perfect! And wow. The food was just ... WOW! Jason had huli huli beef, and I had peppercorn seared ahi tuna with Asian slaw and avocado wasabi mousse. It was even better than it sounds. Plus, it was an artistic masterpiece. You know, where the chef uses different sauces to make your plate look like modern art, then stacks the food onto it like a sculpture. We had one of the house specialty sushi plates for an appetizer  coconut limeades, and croissant bread pudding with yummy sauces for dessert. It was heavenly. It was also significantly cheaper than we had expected, and we plan to make dinner there a regular thing when we go into that town.

The restaurant was understaffed and we really took our time anyway, so we just wandered around downtown a bit. Then, it was time to pick Liam up. The celebrated an East Coast New Years at 9pm our time. The dance was over at 10. As we entered the building, we were practically accosted by the adult leaders. In turn, they all came over to rave about how much they love Liam and how polite and well mannered he was. I think every girl in the place made a point of saying goodbye to him. We had pointed out how much time and energy the girls went through getting ready, and that they all wanted a boy to ask them to dance (though the girls around here are really good about asking the boys too), and it wasn't about crushes or finding them attractive. It was about having fun with friends, and making sure your friends have fun too. Apparently he took it all to heart. He danced every single slow dance, and made a point of asking girls that weren't getting asked (and one boy. lol). He wasn't at all intimidated by the kid that tried to tease him for his fast dancing because, "Of course I looked weird when I was dancing. Everyone looks weird when they're dancing. It's dancing." There was no food on his clothes, which indicates far better than his usual table manners! He even came home with phone numbers of several kids, both boys and girls. It was a total win.

Then we drove home. It was a long, treacherous drive, and I think even the driver was asleep for part of it! We made it to the Bishop's Breakfast ten minutes after midnight!!! Just barely missed it, but earlier than we'd expected. We thanked the family that had brought Cora, and were again overwhelmed with compliments. I think this quote sums it all up well. "Cora behaves the way we hope our kids would behave when they're with someone else." As far as I can tell, she really just did everything right all night (except turning the lights and closing the front door all the way when she left, but those aren't surprises). She also had a wonderful time and was running around playing happily with other kids until we wrangled her down and forced her to come home with us.

I don't really remember anything past that. We all passed out as soon as we got home. I don't think any of us even made it out of our party clothes, and Jason didn't even make it all the way upstairs to the bedroom! He sat down on the couch "for just a minute" and was still there when I woke up in the morning!