I’ve lived in California for over 10 years and this was the first time I’ve been here for Christmas. We decided to stay because we weren’t out of the woods with the pregnancy yet, and because we just took a long vacation when we went to Italy. I had mixed feelings about it – it was nice to finally host, and not to have to travel, but I missed my sisters and the New England winter weather!

Christmas

Although J and I have run in the same circle for years, our parents have never met. We decided to get my mother and her parents together and it was really nice. I had to work on Christmas Eve, so by the time I walked in the door J had taken everyone out to lunch and they were old friends. My mom and I went to Unitarian service and J’s parents went to Catholic service, then we sat down to our feast. I made a salad with pumpkin seeds and cotija cheese and J made Spanish rice. My mom brought tamales from her neighborhood in New Mexico and made champurada, which is hot chocolate with blue corn and spices, for dessert, along with a Christmas cookie plate by yours truly. We had a delicious Christmas brunch too, complete with sticky buns made by my mom. J and I made Marcella Hazan’s homemade bolognese and bachemel lasagna for the third year in a row, a tradition we started and will keep forever. I even made a mini lasagna with vegetarian meat for myself. We had a relaxed day of opening presents, taking walks and well, for me, napping.

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We also took my mom out to a bar on Friday night! Not just any bar, but The Abby in West Hollywood, one of the allegedly best gay bars in the country! We used to hang out there, in fact, we were celebrating there the night gay marriage became legal in Cali, but in the past year we’ve been boring! My mom loved it, and she got to meet some of my fantastic friends. She had some fancy mojitos and got to watch the incredibly nimble dancers hang from the rafters.

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New Year’s Eve

We haven’t gone out on New Years for a couple of years and this wasn’t the year I would’ve thought we’d make it until midnight, but we did! I had to work all day so we couldn’t go to celebrate in San Diego. Instead, I spontaneously got us a great hotel room here in LA for the night, just to get away and enjoy an evening in a different setting (and, of course, to celebrate being off of pelvic rest!). After weeks of miserable nausea and lying around on the couch, we wanted to ring in the new year in a special environment. We went to the hotel bar when we arrived. While J had some wine, I had some… soup and seltzer. We then ordered a wood-fired pizza and ate it in the hotel room with a bottle of Prosecco and a box of chocolates. I had a few sips of bubbly but felt so guilty I couldn’t enjoy it, so went back to water. Aside from a nap around 10pm, I did make it until midnight!

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And at midnight, J got down on one knee and proposed to me again with my new engagement ring! It’s amazing. J designed it herself and it includes a diamond from her great aunt, and a tiny black diamond that was fairly-traded. If you recall, I couldn’t decide if I wanted bezel or tension set; well, my creative fiancé incorporated both! She totally nailed it; I LOVE this ring!

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I wish we could have our wedding before the baby comes, but at least we can start planning it again soon.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Giuliana and Gabriel, my niece and nephew (from different sisters), together at Christmas. I wasn’t there, which killed me, and I can’t wait to have Christmas with all three babies next year. Aren’t they adorable?

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