Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

Whew!!! We made it! Christmas vacation is now officially over.

When I was a kid, I had no idea how much most parents dreaded Christmas vacation. Now, I know. It's one thing, I suppose, if you have two well behaved children who are in elementary school or older, and you can all get on a plane and fly to Vail - or even better, someplace warm, like Turks and Caicos (both places where families I know traveled over the break), but when you have an autistic child and two-year-old twins, there's very little incentive to take the show on the road. Which means entertaining the gang at home for two weeks. Two cold, rainy, icy weeks - so icy, in fact, that Andy had to deliberately crash our minivan into a post to keep us from careening down the ice slide that was our driveway on Christmas Eve Day.

Just spoke to the body shop, by the way. Apparently, the car requires 40 hours of labor to fix, and will be out of commission for a good two weeks. 40 hours! I feel like I could build a car from scratch in that amount of time.

Well, maybe I couldn't. But I feel confident that other, more capable people could.

That was a definite low point in the break. But there were many good parts also. Andy was off for almost the entire vacation, which was a huge help and enabled us to take some fun trips, like our outing to Hershey Park's Winter Wonderland, which we make every year. We usually try to pick a day with warmish temperatures, in the 40-50 degree range, but this year we had to go on a cold, drizzly night. Although I wasn't thrilled at the prospect, it worked out great, because there were no lines for the rides. We also took Jonah, Erika and Hilary to the Poconos to go dog sledding. I was so excited to give Erika a chance to do that, because she's been obsessed with sled dogs for years now. I thought Jonah would love it also, because he typically likes speed and cold, but he was having a difficult time that day, and was agitated and upset most of the tour. Which was too bad, because it really was a thrill. Arctic Paws is the only dog sledding tour (so they claim) that lets you be the musher, so Erika, Hilary, Andy and I all got to stand on the back of the sled and control the brake.

Then there was our annual New Year's Eve party, which expanded from four families last year to nine this year. Our theme this year was balls - get it, a New Year's Eve "Ball"? Everyone brought food shaped like a ball - which might not sound that appetizing at first, but which actually yielded awesome falafel, lamb balls, shrimp balls, cheese balls, rum balls and peanut butter balls. It's always a happy way to start off the year, with the kids bouncing around, absolutely inflamed with sugar, camraderie, and the excitement of staying up past midnight - which Ronan did no problem, although Jonah and the twins conked out.

I know most people go into the new year with high hopes, but last year really was a tough one for us - with Jonah in the hospital for the bulk of it, and Andy so unhappy at work as the finance industry was just crushed - so we definitely could use some good news. Here's hoping that 2009 is a great year for everyone!!!

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