The tradition began when I was a freshman in college. We hadn't even officially begun dating yet (though we would, only a few hours later - which made it shortly past midnight, brand-newly January 2, 2003) and we were still in that awkward "hanging out" phase of life. We spent our first New Years watching 2002 come to an end as I was introduced to a menagerie of friends and acquaintances, and the next day we went with many of those who would ultimately become "our group" to Ihop for some good old fashioned, greasy New Years day breakfast.
Though many things have changed, the tradition stuck. Oh how I wish I had a photo of us on that day all those years ago, it would be absolutely priceless. Too bad we'd had a wee bit too much Koolaid the night before for anything with a flash to have sounded like a good idea. I do believe it was the first time I'd ever met Jessica, and that situation sure turned out pretty okay...
Fast forward twelve New Years breakfasts:
Ihop simply no longer holds us!
This year, "our group" included 5 babies who did not exist at this time last year. At last year's Ihop table, there were only 4 little ones; this year we had 9.
So we moved it to a house where the little ones could run around and cry and make a ruckus without it troubling any college coeds who'd partaken in too much Koolaid the night before.
Despite the ups and downs we experienced in our relationship through the years, Casey and I have never missed a New Years breakfast. And though some have come and gone from year to year, overwhelmingly neither have those folks up there.
It is pretty incredible to think that all those years have turned strangers into best friends, seen boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, turned girlfriends into wives and wives into mothers. The evolution has been pretty amazing so far, and we feel incredibly lucky and blessed to call them friends.
And then, of course, there's these faces:
The oldest will be 10 in March, followed by Leah (4 in March), James (2.5), Logan (16 mo), Nicholas (8 mo), Lauren (6 mo), Piper (4 mo), Theo (4 mo) and Greg (3 mo). Which, of course, is not remotely the order in which they're sitting on this couch, but we'll work on it.
It's a pretty great way to begin 2014. We can't wait for many more!