Eighteen days ago, Garrett had his last day of school before Winter Break. I was excited, but I was also wondering how the hell we were going to fill eighteen days with fun and education and food and, well frankly I was wondering how we were going to do any of it. And now it’s over and I want another three weeks! Okay, maybe I’m looking a little forward to having a routine back, but truthfully these last three weeks have been a total vacation.
We’ve been to the museum, the park, and Kidspace. We’ve had play dates and plenty of meals out. We’ve played Wii Fit and Diego’s Dinosaur Adventure. We’ve played with thousands of dinosaurs, we’ve BEEN hundreds of dinosaurs, we’ve celebrated with friends, we’ve spent time with family, we’ve napped (and napped), we’ve read stories, we’ve made up stories. And this time has flown. This morning when he said he didn’t want to go to school, I was SO close to saying, “Let’s have one more day at home!” But I know we need to get back to reality, at least a little bit.
Christmas Eve was a joy. We spent it with good friends and incredible food (an almost daily theme these three weeks). Our friend cooked a feast for her husband and the three of us, sending us home with enough for more meals. We laughed and talked and ate, and Garrett played with the awesome toys they bought him. Christmas was incredible. Our first little miracle was that G woke up at 5:55, but went back to sleep until 8:00! I guess that was his gift to us. When we all got up, he padded into the living room in his footy pj’s and gave the appropriate gasp when he saw his gifts. He methodically opened every one, stopping completely to change into his NEW footy pj’s, with dinosaurs all over them. He was grateful and so sweet. We spent the rest of the day hanging out, going to the park, napping, and playing with new toys. I’d call it perfect.
New Year’s Eve afternoon, my in-laws drove in from Oregon. That morning, G and I had a play date at an indoor kid’s wonderland and we got home to see Grandma and Grandpa waiting. He only gets to see them about twice a year, so it’s always a very big event. It’s an understatement to say he was happy. He immediately shut himself in his room with Grandma Farm (his nickname for her) and played and played.
Now, Russ and I haven’t left the house on New Year’s Eve in 10 years. We always have the party at our house. Always the same friends. It’s just the way it is, and it’s the way we like it. But this year, Grandma and Grandpa volunteered to watch G-Man so we could party ELSEWHERE! So at 7:00, we kissed our little boy goodbye and drove to Denny’s to meet the other two couples we spend NYE with, and have our “Big Tip Dinner”. (See the end of this post). It was supposed to take place closer to Christmas, but all of us kept getting sick.
Denny’s was just as greasy as I had remembered. I ordered the Moons Over MyHammy with hash browns. Lo and Behold, our server(s) were GREAT! They were busy, so Manny started us out by getting our drinks. He was lovely, so we asked if he could serve us, but it was Vicki’s station and she’d be by soon. Vickie was equally as lovely, and they both busted their butts to give us great service all night. It was almost as if they somehow knew what we were there to do. But they didn’t. They were just hard-working, kick-ass servers.
We decided to give $50 to Manny and $100 to Vicki. They both deserved a part of the tip, but she was there with us more. First we called Manny over, slipped him the $50 and said, “Happy New Year”! He wished us the same, as he folded the money and placed it in his apron without looking. Vicki did exactly the same thing. So, as one of my friends pointed out, it was a true “mitzvah”. No reward, no reaction. Only knowing that we did something good, and hoping we made someone’s night a bit brighter.
The rest of the night was spent together at our friend’s house, drinking and laughing the night away. We stayed up until 2:30!!! Russ and I actually slept over, (we came prepared), and had our first night away from G in a very long time. (Yes, I missed him.) The next morning we had some coffee and watched the Rose Parade before bringing home some In n Out and hanging with our boy and his grandparents. That night was dinner at our favorite pizza place.
Yesterday, more food. More play time. More laughter. Our last day of vacation took us to Eagle Rock to eat at a Polish place we had all seen on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. It was fun and silly, and the perfect meal to end vacation with, because it was heavy and fattening. This morning Grandma and Grandpa Farm left, G went back to school, I grocery shopped and cleaned the kitchen, started a diet, and sat down to write.
I loved every moment with my family and friends these last few weeks. Reality’s good, but vacation is even better.
I hope your 2011 is filled with wonder and awe. I plan on having a spectacular year. I hope you do, too.
Happy New Year!