Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

This year started with our slightly belated honeymoon to Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast of Casablanca, in January. We spent two weeks in the balmy 20C/68F sunshine, hiking around gardens and along cliffs (Madeira doesn’t exactly have beaches), reading by the pool and generally being schmoopy. Chris talks about retiring there, sooner rather than later, or at the very least returning time after time and drinking fortified wine amongst the flowers. We returned to the news that my father, John, had fallen ill while on holiday in Mexico and had to be airlifted to a hospital in San Diego where he slipped into a coma and died on February 9th. I flew out to Sacramento and spent three weeks with my mother, Dee, helping her sort through his belongings and get everything organized. Chris came out for the funeral in early March and we flew back together. In May we learned that I am pregnant and I spent most of the next two months in bed, nauseous and feeling sorry for myself. We observed our first anniversary, June 26th, back at Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, where they’d upgraded our room and provided a complimentary bottle of champagne and exclaimed how they couldn’t believe it had been a year. Some friends had rented a lodge for the week so we got to hang out with them for a bit and finally had a chance to explore the local botanical garden. Mired in a particularly uninspiring summer weather-wise, Chris booked us a week’s holiday on the Greek island of Zakynthos for September/October. It turned out to be a less than ideal holiday for us: it unseasonably hot, the hotel was noisy, everyone smoked, and there wasn’t a lot to do except sit in the sea and befriend stray kittens, delightful though those two activities were. We did eventually figure out a routine that made us happy, but left the following day. We learned a lot about what we need in a holiday destination, ate well, and got to bob around in the Mediterranean, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Three friends came up from London to spend Thanksgiving with us and Chris’ father, Ted and we spent the weekend playing board games and eating leftovers. It turns out the same amount of food we normally make for ourselves will feed twice as many people, if only for two days. We are now in full-on baby-prep mode. We’re attending prenatal classes, have turned my rather underutilized office into a nursery, painting the walls, adding decals, and having blackout curtains installed. We have a bassinet for our room and a crib for when the baby outgrows it, and we’re starting to collect all of the little things one needs to keep a baby safe, clean, and warm. I’m due 18 January and my mother will be flying out for a month to meet her first grandchild. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, Chris & Jennifer

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