Our California Christmas

Evan Wallis is tall. Seriously, Evan Wallis is very tall. This name might seem familiar because my husband wears a T-shirt that reads, “Ohio against Evan Wallis.” Another fun fact is that Evan is my husband’s best friend. He traveled the same day we did to the same place we did so that he could finally meet our daughter for the first time. Because my mother and her fiancé, Daniel, were still in Hawaii the first three days of our Christmas vacation in California were highlighted by tremendous rain storms, the first wave of friends eager to meet Ivy, a good deal of craft beer that you simply cannot find in France, and Boby and Evan nerding out over app games. To top it off, my sister, Julia, was with us spending her last two weeks in California before her move to Mexico. Ivy was surrounded by old and many new faces, she got to  taste new flavors such as tex-mex and hass avocados (via my milk).


Ivy meets Evan Wallis

One does not need a car when living in Paris. When living in California one should absolutely have a car. And thus we rented a luxury car ( it was 10$ more to upgrade from a Prius). Boby had his hopes set on something German, but when we arrived at the rental place a huge black Cadillac was waiting. All we could do was laugh at the time, but in the days that followed we sort of fell in love with our “bat mobile”. It had tons of room that came in handy as we spent the next three days in a driving extravaganza with Boby’s father Robert, who had flown to spend his first quality time with his newest grandchild. Our adventures included a thrilling drive along the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1, a day in San Francisco complete with shopping and sourdough sandwiches, and a romp in Napa Valley complete with a private vineyard tour at Tudal Winery led by my cousin and wine maker, James Pendergast. The Cadillac was cool, the adventures were wonderful, and our time with grandad was irreplaceable.

Ivy with her Grandad Robert Ivy and her Aunt Julia
Christmas and the days immediately surrounding it were a beautiful blur. We ate incredible meals with almost every combination of the family we have in the area including my sister Sophie’s family, Daniel’s son Forrest, James and his parents John and Christiane, my grandmother Françoise, and of course my sister Julia and mother. We opened presents on Christmas morning with one gift truly standing on its own. Julia had made the family a book through a website called Mixbook.com. It celebrated the birth of our beautiful baby girl and began with a celebration of the life of my late grandfather, Georges Bernard. Having lost Georges only months prior to Ivy’s arrival, this gift put into perfect focus the treasure that is family. The moment was tearful but beautiful.
Christmas Eve (feat a briar handmade bonette )

Ivy with her grandmother (my mum) and the dog Choco


On one of the last nights Boby and I had hatched an ambitious plan to visit our close friends Jenne and Tim. It was ambitious because we had never left Ivy more than once and for less than a couple hours with her great grandmother and great aunt. This plan however called for almost twice as much time in which we would eat a meal with our friends at the Hop Monk Brewery in Sebasapole, and watch our friend Tim’s band play its final show in the same location. I pumped milk ahead of time, we tried to put Ivy on a sleep schedule for days before the show that would make our timeframe most likely for success, and we tried to introduce Ivy to new toys that might hold her interest all in an effort to make this night go off without a problem. Almost an hour before the show was set to go on, we were in the car driving through a California night to rescue our little girl from the evil clutches of her loving grandmother and great grandmother. We laughed in the car about how we had ever thought this was going to go any other way. We no longer have the great luxury of long nights out at shows or breweries. It has been replaced with the great privilege of loving and caring for our little girl. Our lives once filled with hardship and fun are now marked by hardships and joy. These proved to be a combination as well framed in California as they are in our City of Lights.


Highway 1

An Oyster Omlete at the Hummingbird Cafe in Fairfax CA

The Still at Stillwater Distillery in Petaluma Ca where we visited our friend Tim

The Marin Headlands 

Ivy’s first ferry ride

Ivy meets her 2yr old cousin Mathilda

Lagunitas Brewing Company Petaluma CA

Tudal Winery- Calistoga CA

San Francisco

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