Mary-Ellen and I moments before our dash across the snow-covered beach and our first plunge of the year into Lake Okanagan. I have to say it certainly cleared the old head! It was the perfect wrap up to what has turned out to be my favorite Christmas yet. We had the entire family together for the first time since... well really the first time ever at it's current size. We number 24 now with Mom and Dad, the five of us siblings, partners and now 13 collective kids. We set up 'kid nation' downstairs; filled it up with mattresses and sleeping bags, PS3 and Guitar Hero and pretty much let them fend for themselves for about 10 days. We threw the odd pizza down there and got a little video footage back. Everyone survived. As for the rest of us, it was all food and guitars, oh and amazing coffees from Greg's new machine. We must have gone through 10 bags of coffee beans. We topped it all off with a great new years party - champaign corks flying, lots of dancing, Kareoke-ing, Marisol distributing tequila shots and the five of us siblings playing guitar and singing harmonies. The Von Trapps on Tequila. We went until 5 in the morning. Even Dad made it almost that long. Not bad for an 83 year old. He got the best Kareoke score of the evening (and they wonder where we all get it from) and I have to say Mom won the prize for looking the most beautiful and elegant. The Bushby's joined us, as did Mary-Ellen and Dr. Rob - who has been telling his friends about the 'incredibly functional family' he spent New Years with. Don't know that I'd have labelled us as such, but we'll take it.