Our Year In Review 2011

Happy New Year!! It’s crazy to know that we’re officially in 2012 now. As I look back and reflect on everything that has happened in 2011, I feel an immense gratitude towards my family, friends, and life itself. I am truly blessed to be at the place that I am right now, and I thank God everyday for what He has given me.

2011 for me was all about reconnecting. I made a brave decision to put the brakes on my career in order to focus on my family. I traveled, a lot, but the goal was not to see the world. Instead, every trip was about reconnecting with some very special people in my life. I am immensely grateful for my supportive husband, because without his unconditional love and support, I would not have had the courage and the luxury to do everything I did this year. Through this year-long journey, I have learned a lot about myself, and gained new perspective on the past, present, and future. There is something that no amount of money can buy, and that is time. So, I am embracing every minute I have now to be with the people that I love. My dear friends, family, clients, and colleagues….thank you for being a part of my life!

I did a Year In Review post last year, and really enjoyed reminiscing upon all the fun things we did throughout the year. Therefore, I have decided to do it again this year. Here goes…

January:

We kick started 2011 with a major project–moving from Santa Clara to Redwood Shores. Packing and preparing for the move was a major, major undertaking that took months. In the end, we did hire professional movers to finish packing for us. The move itself took 11 hours, 1 24′ truck and 1 18′ truck.

My mom and Bridgette in front of our new home in Redwood Shores

We were very lucky to have my mom in town to help us with the unpacking, along with my mother in law who is always eager to lend a helping hand to us! Before my mom went back to Hong Kong, Bridgette and I treated her to a short getaway in the Wine Country. We stayed at Solage in Calistoga and the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in Sonoma and enjoyed a few days of really good food and company.

Rare opportunity to be swimming in January!

My sister and her family also visited us from Hong Kong in January, and as always, Brianne and Bridgette spent every waking moment together as BFFs…

February:

We always start February off with a celebration of my birthday, on the 1st of the month, followed by my father in law’s birthday, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and then Bridgette’s big birthday bash. Alan gets overwhelmed just hearing about my plans for all the celebrations! 🙂

My birthday dinner at Ame
Goofy pic at my birthday dinner
Celebrating my father in law’s birthday at his favorite Mayflower Restaurant
All dressed up for Chinese New Year, ready to collect their “red envelopes”!
We celebrated Valentine’s Day with dinner at Michael Mina

I had a fantastic time planning Bridgette’s 4 year old birthday bash and it was our first party in the new house!

March:

We recycled the leftover tier of Bridgette’s birthday cake for Alan and my cousin Alice when we celebrated with them at Yakitori Kokko in San Mateo. 🙂

We had our annual family portraits taken, by none other than the amazing Lisa Lefkowitz!

Towards the end of March, I embarked on a 10 day adventure to Beijing, China, by myself. I met up with my mom, sister, and niece there for 2 days, and then spent nearly 10 days with my good friends, Vivian and Kenny, there!

It was a phenomenal trip. Vivian was the most gracious hostess, and was so nice to spend every waking moment with me on this trip. 🙂 We had a blast touring the city, eating delicious food, getting massages, and shopping for kids’ clothing!

April:

For Easter, Bridgette and I accompanied my dad to visit his eldest brother and family in New Orleans. It was a really special trip for us, as we got to reconnect with them on a very intimate level, and Bridgette got to meet her cousin Alex for the first time! Thank you Uncle Jose, Aunt Violet and my beautiful cousin Monica for taking so much time to show us around your fun city.

May:

We celebrated Mother’s Day with lunch at The Melting Pot with my in-laws, and I was invited to Bridgette’s school for a special mommy and me tea.

Right after Mother’s Day, Bridgette and I journeyed off by ourselves to London, England to visit some very special friends of ours. Betty, Steve, and Karen, a million thanks to you for hosting us and for making our trip an extraordinary one! I was the Flower Girl for Betty and Steve when they got married over 30 years ago so yes, we go wayyyy back and even though we don’t see each other that often, they hold a very special spot in my heart.

During the London trip, Bridgette and I took my 80+ years old childhood nanny to Paris by train, which definitely became the adventure of the year for us!

June:

We took a break from air travel in June, and instead, van pooled with our good friends Wynne and Tony to Anaheim for our annual Disneyland trip with our girls. This time, we were joined by two other families, and added Legoland to our itinerary as well.

We couldn’t let June go by without celebrating Father’s Day of course…

July:

This was definitely our most eventful month. We hosted my cousins from Puerto Rico, Serena and Katherine, at our home for a week and packed every single day with fun activities. From Raging Waters to Santa Cruz Boardwalk to cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, we wasted no time soaking in the sunshine of California together!

As soon as Serena and Katherine left, we hopped on a plane again, this time towards Los Cabos, with my parents in law for a quick getaway. We had so much fun at our resort just swimming, eating, and enjoying the idyllic view of the ocean. The best part though, was getting to swim with dolphins for the very first time!

As soon as we returned home from Mexico, we welcomed Brianne to the Bay Area for her annual summer trip at our home. That marked the beginning of 5 whole weeks of fun….picnics, museums, aquariums, parks, zoos, baking sessions, Pinkberry….it really was incredible how much we did together in between their summer camps. Such wonderful, wonderful memories for all of us!

August:

My mom visited in August, as did Serena and Katherine again, and together with my aunts, uncle and cousin, we made our way to Lake Tahoe together for a memorable 3 days. The most unforgettable adventure was definitely the parasailing!

The most celebratory event of 2011 for our family was the addition of a new nephew for Alan and I, and a new cousin for Bridgette. Congratulations to Shirley and Steve, and welcome to the world Ivan!

September:

All of our house guests left by the end of August, indicating the end to our extraordinary summer. Bridgette began a new year at her pre-school, and I focused on two big weddings that I had over Labor Day weekend. Autumn was pretty low-key in our household, though our craft corner was never lonely. Between birthday parties, mid-Autumn festival, and Halloween, we spent many evenings assembling, painting, and expressing our creativity as a family.

October:

This was our big “Halloween preparation” month, with visits to the pumpkin patch, more craft activities, and costume shopping!

I had a work trip to Lake Tahoe and invited Alan to come along to make it a quick getaway for us. We got to experience the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Highlands and fell in love with the property there, particularly the spa!

I took Bridgette to her first Disney on Ice show to watch Disney On Ice Treasure Trove, and she was elated to see many of her favorite characters up close and personal.

We celebrated Halloween with a really fun party at our friend’s house and a trick or treat evening with some of Bridgette’s good friends.

November:

There were lots of birthday parties, play dates, and Christmas craft projects in November before we took off on our annual trip to Hong Kong. We celebrated Thanksgiving on the plane, and were jubilant to end the month with a family trip to Hangzhou, China, with my parents and sister’s family.

December:

Alan and I celebrated our 9th year wedding anniversary with a week long trip to Hokkaido, Japan while Bridgette stayed behind with my sister. It was one of our best trips ever, where we got to truly reconnect and spend quality time together by ourselves.

We spent the rest of December reconnecting with many friends and families in Hong Kong, celebrating Christmas, and officially concluding the year by counting down with thousands of other people at the famous Lan Kwei Fong in Hong Kong.

At the stroke of midnight, I got the best welcome to 2012…

What a rockin’ year! I sincerely hope that 2012 will bring lots of joy and laughter to everyone! Happy New Year!

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