Saturday, January 31, 2009

LiHD Super Bowl Guilt

This is a photo of what you will NOT be seeing at the Calandro's this weekend for the Super Bowl. Oh, we're capable of it (this was one of two tables of food for John's 40th birthday party). It's just that we're not doing it, and we feel just a little guilty. Okay, maybe more than a little.
If you have been following the Calandro craziness it is no secret that we have been busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, so it shouldn't surprise you that we aren't hosting a Super Bowl party this year. In fact, we have never hosted a Super Bowl party, but that was before we were a Panasonic Living in HD family. Now, everyone knows we have all this great equipment, the HD channels, the killer sound system and we are NOT having a party. Oh, the guilt. The shoulds, the nagging voice in our heads, "Really, Calandros! You call yourselves party people, and look at you! No Super Bowl party!" We should be ashamed of ourselves and offended and we are - kind of.

Not that anyone expects it, and everyone knows we are not huge football fans anyway, but see, now we have all the EQUIPMENT (yes, it has to be in capital letters), and we feel like we SHOULD have a party and watch the game in HD on our big, awesome TV with a big throng of our closest friends. (Sigh.)

So, here's the deal: if you want to come over, and can accept our house AS IS (no fake house), and bring all the food, and clean up everything before you leave, you are welcome to come over. What kind of terrible invitation is that?!?!? Okay, that's why we're not having a party for the Super Bowl - who wants to be invited for THAT party? No one. Not even us! This is the first Sunday the five of us will be spending at home, alone, in months, and it happens to be Super Bowl Sunday. We gotta keep it to the Calandro Five or we can't be held responsible for our actions.

Sorry to all who were thinking it might happen or that it should happen - it wouldn't be fair to you to throw that kind of party. Perhaps next year - oh wait - next year is Matthew's big Star Wars party for birthday number seven - Re-Run of the Jedi (yes, we already have the theme picked one year in advance - that's a story for another blog - remember? - crazy!) and it will probably be happening Super Bowl weekend. Hmmm.

Anyway, please accept our apologies - we dropped the ball. (Get it? Super Bowl? Dropping the ball? Fumble? - GROAN!) Truthfully, we don't even know who is playing. Well, John probably does, but I'll admit I have no clue. I've already admitted guilt, so what's wrong with admitting ignorance, too? Keeping it real, people!

So here's to the Super Bowl in HD at the Calandro House! It will go something like this: John will buy a bunch of junk food, I will finally know who's playing, the five of us will watch the game, and John and I will live with the guilt. (Actually, the guilt will go away by the second quarter or the second beer, whichever comes first.) It sounds like a terrific way to spend a Sunday with the fam. Enjoy and thanks for your forgiveness!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Catch Us If You Can

First of all - thanks to those of you who have posted comments and second of all - we apologize to those of you who have tried to post a comment but have been unable to. We're trying to figure out why some of you aren't being allowed here. It certainly isn't us, so keep trying!!

We've mentioned in this blog about how "crazy" we are and here's our chance to prove it. Here is a list of all the adventures, parties, dinners, friends and family we have hosted since September. Another title for this entry which was rejected: Try To Keep Up. And, of course, we did most of these things in HD - Thanks Panasonic. As they say - it's all about connections!

This high speed adventure began before this date, of course, because when you are a Calandro the fun never ends; but just as a reference point, we will begin with the date Panasonic (or anything Panasonic related) officially walked through our front door. Hold on to your hats and glasses folks, 'cause here we go!

Saturday, September 13:
Create With Context interview

Saturday, September 20:
Miles' third birthday; Firefighter theme, 60 guests, 26 were children
Thanks SLO Firefighters for showing up with a huge fire engine!!!

Saturday, September 27:
Travel to Huntington Lake for Neil and Tina Wood's wedding
What a beautiful day to celebrate a wonderful couple!!

Wednesday, October 8:
Panasonic equipment delivered and Greg Harper arrives in SLO. Dinner at Applebee's - sorry!!!

Thursday, October 9:
Panasonic Equipment is installed
Greg Harper is a Rock Star!!!!

Sunday, October 12:
Eileen runs the local City to Sea Half Marathon and betters her time by a full eight minutes and is a "top finisher" - I'm just a tiny bit proud :)!!

Friday, October 17
Max enters a local Lego contest at Whiz Kids with four of his friends. They worked on their entries for weeks and coordinated their huge Hoth battle entry. So impressive, if I can brag a bit!

Saturday, October 18
Travel to Santa Barbara for Papa John's 70th birthday bash at Harry's Bar and Grill
A terrific night for an amazing man - John created an HD slide show to honor John and I was proud to do the flowers for the night

Sunday, October 19 - 2:30 AM
Clean up vomit for an hour and a half at our friend's house - thanks for letting us stay!!
Too many Shirley Temples don't agree with Matthew's tummy!!!

Sunday, October 19 - 10:30 AM:
Show up late to Papa's birthday brunch at the Calandro home in Goleta - SORRY!!! (see vomit entry above) - We couldn't get ourselves out of bed on time.

Monday, October 20:
Welcome Barbara Krahn to our home to view the beautiful mobile sculpture she funded for our living room by local artist, Jim Jacobson. What a treasured, beautiful piece of art.

Wednesday, October 22:
Lego Contest winners announced: Max and his friends won the group entry category! WAHOO!

Saturday, October 25
Neighborhood garage sale - anyone want a couch that didn't sell?

Friday, October 31 - Halloween
Co-hosted neighborhood party for all the kids in our 'hood - so much fun!!!
Trick-or-treating single-parent style because John was at a school dance - more fun than being thrown into a barrel of leeches, but not by much - God Bless the single parents out there!!

Saturday, November 1
John and I drive to Santa Barbara for a private 40th birthday party with our dear friends Tara and Sam at John's favorite restaurant: The Palace Grill. What a great night!

Wednesday, November 5
John turns the big 4-0!! Celebrate in traditional Calandro style at the Madonna Inn with dinner and dessert delivered to our table all at the same time

Saturday, November 15
Johnnie's birthday bash! 58 friends and family helped John welcome in his new decade - thanks to my sister for her food prep help and Bill for tending bar. Eileen created an interactive true/false HD slide show with photographic evidence for answers. Lost more than one party guest upstairs due to the impromptu Wii golf tourney that occurred. Good times! Surprise guests from Wisconsin! WOW! What a night!!!

Sunday, November 16
Family birthday brunch for out-of town guests in town for the party. Thanks for rescuing the eggs, Papa John! You are the egg man.

Wednesday, November 26
Travel to Pleasanton to celebrate Thanksgiving at Eileen's sister and brother-in-law's

Wednesday, November 26 about 9:00 PM after the kids are in bed
Lori and Bill announce they are awaiting the birth of a baby due Christmas Day for them to adopt - Is this going to be the one that makes them parents, finally? High-speed, non-stop praying begins

Thursday, November 27
Thanksgiving Day -what a feast!!! So many things to be thankful for it's amazing - the thankfulness runs in to Friday because the list is so long.

Friday, November 28
Travel back to SLO and start decorating for the legend that has become the Calandro Christmas Crazy Party - this is it's eleventh year

Saturday, November 29
Greg Harper asks us if we would be interested in travelling to Las Vegas for CES in January - we debate for all of thirty seconds - HECK YEAH!! See you in Vegas, Baby!!! (We are SO crazy!!!)

Friday December 5
Downtown SLO Christmas parade - more goats and tractors than should be allowed

Saturday, December 6
Snow is delivered to our front lawn and three hours later we welcome family and friends to our home to celebrate the season. We ask everyone to bring unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items for a local charity. Total number of guests: 137 which includes 58 kids. The donations were incredible this year!! Our friends give until it hurts!! You all rock!!!

Saturday December 13
Tara and her two boys here at the Calandro B&B because they are in town for a wedding.
Greg Harper and Owen here from 11:00AM until 11:30PM filming footage to be used in Vegas for CES. Day also includes a basketball game for Max, photo swapping with a friend, and the creation of a slide show for another friend's wedding reception. Pasta feed for twelve!! Phew!

Friday, December 19
Adam Broitman and Jody Gnant here to train us in all things social media. They join us for the infamous Calandro Pizza Night on our beautiful big screen TV. They are informative and fun!

Saturday, December 20
John drives kids to Goleta so they can go to a show with Grandma C and Papa and their cousins. He drives home again. Eileen stays home to try to get Christmas under control. AAAAAAA!!!!!

Sunday, December 21
Pick up kids in Goleta and drive to LAX to pick up Luke who is visiting from Australia for a month. Keep in mind all entries from here on involve one more family member that is fed, driven around and coordinated into the Crazy Calandro mix.

Tuesday, December 23
Grandma Frog and Grandpa Richard arrive from the Bay Area to spend Christmas with us - are they nuts?!?!?!? Light neighborhood luminaries at 5:30 and stroll the 'hood. Love living here!!!

Wednesday, December 24 - Christmas Eve, 2008
Head to Pismo Beach to watch the sunset. Prayers for no rain are answered and the tradition lives on for another year. Home for crab cakes with our neighbors, put cookies out for Santa and sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn. Kids go to bed and the adults prepare for the next day.

Thursday, December 25 - Christmas, 2008
Our kids managed to be good enough for Santa to come to our house for one more year! He brought Legos galore and we gave our kids Rock Band for Wii - Watch out Jonas brothers!! Auntie Lisa, Auntie Jo, Grandma C and Papa arrive for the traditional Christmas Brunch and we eat ourselves silly. Grandma C takes on Matthew in a Wii bowling match and then braves Wii boxing. Nothing creates Christmas memories like seeing your son beating up his Grandma! (WHAT?!?)

Friday, December 26:
Inhospitably kick out our house guests (except Luke, of course) because Eileen starts working on Becky and Bob's wedding reception flowers. Side note: No baby news yet for Lori and Bill - the baby is now overdue - we are still praying for the miracle of adoption for our family

Saturday, December 27:
Finish flower arrangements, load them in the minivan, and drive to Nipomo for the reception. The event goes off without a hitch at the beautiful Monarch Club at Trilogy. John created a fabulous HD slide show for all to see and burned extra copies for family members of the bride and groom. All five of us dance ourselves silly to relieve some stress and have a great time. (Luke stayed at home for a little quiet time - smart boy!!)

Sunday, December 28:
Day of rest so we go on a four mile hike up one of our favorite peaks in SLO: San Luis Mountain. There for the tree lighting. Have we mentioned we love living here??!?!?!?

Monday, December 29:
Dear, close friend Vince arrives for a visit and to celebrate New Year's Eve with us. Watch The Dark Knight in HD on our big TV. Did you know the Joker's string is purple in the bank robbery scene? Unless you're living in HD, I didn't think so.

Tuesday, December 30:
Another day of rest so we travel thirty miles up the coast to explore Hearst Castle with Vince and Luke. Spectacular day!!! (Someday we will swim in that pool - mark our words - any inside tracks out there? - you know it's all about connections....)

Wednesday, December 31 - New Year's Eve
See earlier blog entry
Other news not in that entry: The baby Lori and Bill have been waiting for is born at 5:30 EST. At 11:45 PM PST, John and Eileen are frantically looking into booking a flight to Maryland for Eileen and almost cause everyone to miss the Ball Drop!

Thursday, January 1, 2009, 1:00 AM
Back home from ball drop and John books a flight online for Eileen to go to Maryland that same day. Eileen can't think straight enough to do anything. Drink champagne and mourn the end of an incredibly amazing Living in HD year. The fun has just begun!!

Thursday, January 1 5:40 AM
John drives me to SLO airport for 6:20AM flight to Maryland. This little niece is closer than she's ever been, but nothing is final until papers are signed. Eileen wonders if the butterflies in her stomach could fly her to Maryland instead of an airplane. She goes for the sure thing and gets on her flight, abandoning five house guests, Luke and her family for the hope ahead.

Thursday, January 1
Back in SLO our guests leave after John makes them a killer New Year's Day brunch

Thursday, January 1, 5:00PM
Eileen crosses the Potomac river and wonders about how crazy life can get. Puts the thought aside and drives to the future of her family. God bless GPS and Visa!!

Thursday, January 1, 5:30 PM
Arrive at hospital, am greeted by the Birth Mom and my sister (the Future Mom) in the lobby. Baby Grace is beautiful!!!! Lori, Bill and I go out to dinner later to celebrate.

Friday, January 2:
Bright and early we all go to the hospital to sign the papers for the adoption. As Lori and Bill sign the documents, I get private time with Grace who officially becomes our niece in the middle of our special time alone. Grace leaves the hospital with her Mommy and Daddy. What a journey!

Saturday, January 3:
Home in SLO John prepares for the final interview with Create With Context - sorry to miss that, but I'm sure you understand the circumstances!
In Maryland, I pry myself away from my sister and brother-in-law (who are awesome) and baby Grace to head home on a flight to SLO. I have to sprint three-quarters of a mile in the Phoenix airport to make my connecting flight. I am so motivated to get home I am only passed up by a six foot-two college student. If I didn't have on a twenty pound back-pack I could have taken him! Arrive in SLO in time for dinner with the fam.

Tuesday, January 6, 4:30 PM:
Celebrate Matthew's 6th birthday a day early at the Madonna Inn - you know by now, dinner and dessert all at the same time!! YUMMY!! I certainly wasn't doing that six years ago!

Tuesday, January 6, 8:20 PM:
We get on our plane for Vegas. This is the first flight for Matthew and Miles. Hooray and thanks, again, Panasonic!

Wednesday, January 7 - January 11:
CES in Vegas - you can see the other entries

Monday, January 12:
Max and Matthew go to school, but I end up taking Matthew home. He is officially the casualty of Vegas. He has a fever and a cough, poor kid. He stays home Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

Wednesday, January 14:
Luke's last day in SLO is a full one. He watches the kids so Eileen can attend a funeral. RIP Phil Nolan - you will be missed. Luke takes us out to dinner downtown at Mo's, then we go to Arroyo Grande to Doc Burnstein's for dessert. Back home to pack and then Luke and Eileen head downtown SLO to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. Three bars and beers and shots later we head home to prepare for tomorrow....

Thursday, January 15:
Travel to Disney's California Adventure to celebrate Matthew's sixth birthday. This is the traditional birthday treat in lieu of a party (thank goodness!!!) What a great day! Meet up with Grandma Frog and Grandpa Richard who have flown in to celebrate with us. They ROCK!!

Friday, January 16:
Celebrate at the Big D. Matthew is so tired by the end of the day he almost falls asleep in his ice cream. Are we attentive parents, or what?!?!? We all had a terrific day together.

Saturday, January 17:
Up bright and early to get Luke to LAX. Said goodbye and were on the road to SLO by 9:04 AM. Max changed his clothes in the car and we drove him straight to his basketball game. Had make-up pizza night that night.

Sunday, January 18
John's brother David and his wife Donna and their two sweet kiddos, Nicolas and Ava, arrive for lunch and to hang out. They live in San Diego so we don't get to see them nearly enough. They are in town for business that could move them closer. We are crossing our fingers! They leave around 3:00 and later that night we have dinner just the five of us, at our dinner table, for the first time in over a month. Whew! John and I have been saying, "Closer than we've ever been," for months as we faced the journeys ahead. We drank champagne and said, "We've arrived!"

Monday, January 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
I am sick with a cough and a runny nose. I held it off for as long as I could and my body just can't take any more. We have put a shield around the house for the day: unless you are bringing us food or a massage table to use on me, we are shut down. Only the five of us are allowed at our house today. Thanks for understanding.

So there you have it. I think the last time John and I had this much going on was when we got married. At least then we got to go on a honeymoon!! We know we brought most of this on ourselves, if not all of it, and we wouldn't change a thing. Thanks, again, to all of you who came along for this craziness. According to our calculations, we hosted 286 people, in some form or another, at our home in the last four months. I'm sure we have missed a few guests along the way, and we apologize for leaving you out of our count. We also traveled countless miles - we could count them, but we're too tired to do it!

During all of this, John managed to do his job as an Assistant Principal at Templeton High, Eileen managed to manage the kids and all that entails, we decorated our house for Christmas and tore it all down, we coordinated all of the logistics and paper work on our end for CES, sent out Christmas cards, bought, made, wrapped and mailed gifts for people, and basically we lived our lives during our busiest time of year. No wonder I'm sick and we're all exhausted. We aren't sure what our next adventure is, we rarely are, but there's a baby up in Pleasanton that hasn't met her Uncle John or her Calandro cousins yet....ONWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Momming with a Brand

The connections that were created at CES between the Calandro Family, Panasonic, Mom Central, and Crayon were fantastic and beyond what we could have hoped. I'm excited for one of our blog readers to be the proud owner of a Panasonic videocamera and to start Living in HD. Simply click on this link to and follow their directions for a chance to win. It will certainly change your life as all of the products have changed ours. Good luck and good videos!
Take a look at our other posts to see what Living in HD has done for us. And remember, Panasonic is looking for other families to Live in HD. It could be you! The experience is incredible! You can enter at

Monday, January 12, 2009

What you didn't see at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show was nothing short of phenomenal. I know that it is an industry show, and primarily to promote what is new and what is next, but one thing struck me as odd- the consumer was missing.

Oh, sure there were plenty of people there and probably some people who were just there because they want to be in the know, but it was mostly the press, people from the industry, or people who were trying to sell/demonstrate their products.

Every display space was jammed with amazing technology and someone there to demonstrate all of it. There were plenty of movers and shakers in the industry presenting their slice of the electronics world. The Panasonic space had all of this, too, but they had something that no other booth or vendor had: The Calandro Family. What makes us special? Nothing, really, except for one small thing- we are the consumers and our opinions matter. At least they do to Panasonic. Our opinions were important enough to them that they put us on their main stage every day during the CES so that anyone could hear us. (You can too here: )

The Living in HD program is amazing because we were given phenomenal equipment. The Lumix cameras, the Viera 1080p plasma with Viera Cast, the surround system, the HD camcorder, and the Toughbook laptop. We have used the heck out of all of this equipment (I recently had to clear off the hard drive on the laptop because I filled it up with video from the camera, pictures, etc...). One of our responsibilities to Panasonic is that every week we fill out a questionaire asking about how we used the equipment, what we liked and disliked about the equipment, what changes we would make, and what else we would like the equipment to be able to do.

While our family was in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, every Panasonic executive we met was interested in how we were enjoying the program. They really wanted to know what we thought of their products. Many of them were aware of my responses to the weekly surveys. They had seen this blog, they had looked at the content we had added to the website.

All of the people we met whether it was Jeramie Maxwell- Sales/Training Support Tennessee Region, Carol DiStaulo-Media Director, Tom Murano-Director of Brand Management, Bob Greenberg- Vice President Brand Marketing, Robert Perry-Executive Vice President, Peter Fannon- Vice President Technology Policy, or even the Chairman of Panasonic North America Yoshi Yamada were not only kind to us, they all were truly interested in what we had to say. They cared enough about who we were to wear buttons that celebrated our son's 6th birthday, and they were excited that he was living it in HD!

Whenever we were talking with these people and all of the other fantastic Panasonic employees too numerous to list here, we were listened to. Our opinions were valued. To each of these people, we represented the consumer, but even more importantly, we represented the human beings who use their product.

Panasonic cares about us as human beings. The whole idea behind the Living in HD concept is that they want to know how people will really be using the products that they are putting out there. Our opinions matter, and they should. It is refreshing that a corporation as large and as global as Panasonic recognizes that the voice of the people is important and by listening to the people, they can create products that will enhance and improve the life of their consumer.

With the world being noisier than it ever has been with blogs, cell phones, the internet, and media of all types, it is a pleasure to be heard.

What you didn't see at CES 2009 was the consumer- except for in one booth: Panasonic.

It was an honor to be there representing you, the readers, consumers, and families, and an honor to meet the fine people at Panasonic who care about what we have to say.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Matthew lives his birthday in HD

After our press conference with Panasonic, we went out to dinner with The Pollak Family (you can see them at ), Tom Murano, Greg Harper, and Carol DiStaulo. We were honored to be there and again amazed by how warm and accessible everyone is. The people at Panasonic are wonderful (as I've said on my blog before).

After dinner, we were whisked into another room filled with some of the titans of social media: Joe Jaffe, Greg Verdino, Chris Brogan, Steve Garfield, Jim Reilly, Melissa Pierce, Stacy DeBroff, Vicki Rellas, and Ponzi Pirillo, (you can read more about it at their blogs!), and Bob Greenberg (above), the VP of Brand Marketing. Matthew handed out his "Happy Living in HD Birthday Matthew" buttons to the room.
It was an honor to be in the same room with all of these people. We all went around the room and introduced ourselves. I do have to say that Max brought the house down when he stood up and explained why he was there. "I'm Max Calandro, I'm 9 years old and I'm here because my dad won the living in HD contest and Panasonic asked us to come and represent them at the CES." It was clear, accurate, and eloquent. We couldn't have been more proud!

Thank you Panasonic! We are looking forward to day 1 of CES!
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CES Day one in the Panasonic Booth

Wow! We are still coming down off of our first day at CES. The Panasonic booth is ginormous! Booth is definitely a misnomer, acreage may be more accurate! On the main stage is a 150" Plasma screen- one of only 4 in the world created by Panasonic... It is amazing- Matthew was calling the 60" screen next to it "the small screen"! We saw so much there!:

Completely Wireless HD tv? They got it.

A selection of 1" deep screens? Yep

LCDs with incredibly deep blacks? They nailed this one!

A remote control with a touchpad to navigate any type of screen with ease? You bet! (I want one sooooo much! Unfortunately, there is no market date for this yet!)

They had great speakers throughout the day- Here's Joe Jaffe talking about how companies need to realize their consumers talk to each other and that the community voice can be much more powerful than advertising.

And here's a picture of Eileen and Max on the 150" Plasma as partof the Living in HD video! Awesome!!! We went on stage later that afternoon to talk about our lives in HD! We are having so much fun.

Also, we got a chance to see 3DHD. It was absolutely amazing. The mvie clips they showed in 3d were impressive, but even more amazing to me was the footage of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics...The clarity and depth truly made it a brand new totally immersive viewing experience. The sporting events that were filmed in 3D were incredible. Watching a basketball being passed to another player and being able to see the depth of the pass completely changes the dynamics of the viewing experience. If this is the way tv is going, SIGN ME UP!

I think Miles (age 3) summed it up best when we were looking at scenes of the drumming from the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I was holding him and it got quiet for a second and I heard a quietly whispered "Awesome!"

That about sums up our day. There is more amazing stuff to be seen and more fun to come. I'll try to post some video of our interview yesterday when I get a chance!

Happy reading!
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our trip to CES 09- Las Vegas

We got into Vegas last night at midnight and took part in the press conference today. Lots of cool stuff coming up! Since it was Matthew's birthday, we made him an "I am Living in HD on my birthday" shirt. We also made buttons that say "Happy Living in HD Birthday Matthew". Greg Harper took Matthew over to the top brass of the Panasonic North America Corporation and had him give buttons to all of them. Pretty amazing.

Everybody we have met has been great.

Panasonic unveiled a bunch of great stuff. First off- 3D HD...Panasonic plans to have a working format for Blu-Ray by 2010...They are also working to standardize it within the industry so it becomes a reality for all. This is next year we're talking about, people! They will have a demonstration of it tomorrow!

Speaking of Blu-Ray, How about a portable Blu-Ray player? Here's a picture of it (I apologize for the quality- I was trying to manage the kids while taking pictures):

How would you like to have a flat screen tv that had NO WIRES and full 1080p HD? On the way. How about a 600mHz screen?

Got Viera Cast? (If not, you're missing out)- Good news! Panasonic will be partnering with Amazon to provide HD movies on demand! Gotta love it!

Think that's cool? How about a flat panel tv that's only 1/3 of an inch deep? Here's a shot of it from the front, then as compared to the width of an iphone. And they are creating all of this stuff while making everything more energy efficient and reducing emissions!

Amazing, no?

There is way more cool stuff to come as the Calandros continue our Vegas CES Panasonic adventure. We'll keep posting and keep you posted!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is the most anti-climactic holiday of the year. It seems that no matter how hard you plan, things never quite go the way that you want them to, so why bother? I mean, who really wants to start the year off on a downer?

That's why 16 years ago, our good friends the Warrens started the annual ball drop. It started with a disco ball being dangled from speaker wire off of a local parking structure at midnight to a crowd of about 15 friends and stragglers. Over the past 16 years, the tree at the base of the parking structure has grown so that the ball is only visible for a few seconds before it is completely obscured by the tree. The ball has become more elaborate (a hoppity-hop covered in tin foil and Christmas lights) and the crowd has grown- mostly because our families are getting larger.

We all show up about 20 minutes before midnight, watch the ball drop, take pictures, drink sparkling apple cider, and go home. We're usually back home by 12:30... Totally anti-climactic, but a perfect way to start the New Year. We love seeing everyone, we love the fact that there is really no planning involved (on our part) and that we can race out of the house at 11:45 and still make it downtown by 11:50 so that we don't miss anything.

We have added to the tradition by having the chocolate fountain after New-Year's dinner...messy, but delicious!

Enjoy the slideshow via Animoto (if you haven't checked it out yet, it is awesome!
What are your New-Year's traditions?