Based on my research in the field, there are a multitude of ways parents survive winter break. Some stock up on alcohol or chocolate, others allow unlimited screen time and ice cream for breakfast, some plan exotic (or not) vacations, and a few send their kids to day camps. This year, my method was to pretend like we were on vacation in our hometown. I’m calling this method a success.
Before the break, the kids had their holiday parties. It was such a warm day that we played all the games outside.
It snowed a few days before Christmas, it wasn’t much, but it did stick around for Christmas.
On Christmas Eve we went to church in the morning and talked with some family on the phone and Skype. In the evening, we made Chinese food, walked the path in our neighborhood to look at Christmas, lights, and had cocoa and stroopwafel before doing our 2nd to last 25 Days of Christ ornament.
Cooper was very excited about Christmas. He woke up at 4am and pretended to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes as a coverup to check if we were all awake. A little before 7am we let him wake Ellen up and start opening presents. The kids received many generous gifts from family members. We also gave them Kindle Fire tablets. If it weren’t for all the parental controls (you can even set time limits so they don’t turn into zombies) I wouldn’t have been on board about this.
That evening we went and saw the lights in Golden which has become a fun family tradition.
For Christmas dinner we made pizza. Noel makes some of the best pizza.
The next few days didn’t quite go as planned. Ellen and I were down with a 24 hour stomach bug so we stayed home. The next day we all felt much better and after Noel and I were done working we took the kids to the pool and then out to eat at Bob’s Atomic Burger. When we got home Cooper and Ellen engaged in their usual race/fight over who would get into the house first. Cooper ran around the car and Ellen opened her door just in time to smack Cooper in the face. He got two stitches. We were really lucky because it was actually a weekday so we didn’t need to go to urgent care. The trauma doctor at our HMO was really good with Cooper and the stitching process went as smoothly as it could.
Noel’s sister Danielle gave us a gift card to go to a place called Spider Monkey. I’m pretty sure she bought it with the kids in mind and while everyone had a lot of fun, I really enjoyed myself. Evidence of my big kid behavior can be seen here. Noel shared that video publicly on his Instagram account and some actual Ninja Warriors liked it, which had me both embarrassed and fangirling. For a few brief minutes I actually thought, maybe I could be a Ninja, then I remembered I like carbs and can only do one chin-up.
Afterwards, we went to the Inventing Room. Noel and I stumbled in on this dessert shop a little over a year ago on my birthday. It’s a little bit of a science meets dessert type place with most of the menu items involving liquid nitrogen in part of their creation. It was a place I thought the kids would love, but at the time, their landlord was pushing them out of their location and they were hoping to reopen somewhere else at a later date. They finally reopened at the end of last year and I was so excited to take the kids. It was a hit.
We’d wanted to go snowshoeing during the break, but the mountains weren’t getting any new snow and all the days we wanted to go there were high wind warnings. Instead, we went hiking on a nearby trail. There were some pretty icy parts on the trail and there were points where even I wondered if we’d made a stupid dangerous mistake (usually Noel plays the role of rational-danger-assessor and I freak him out by walking close to cliffs), but there were A LOT of other people out there slip-sliding around and as far as I know we all made it safely off the mountain.
For New Years, we made crepes and watched Return of the Jedi. We introduced the kids to the original Star Wars trilogy over the break. Cooper usually isn’t interested in “adult movies” (AKA non-animated movies) and he also scares easily so we held off introducing him for a long-time. Noel and I were able to watch The Last Jedi when my parents visited last month which made Noel really anxious to share that world with Cooper. When we sat down to watch the movie Cooper kept protesting, but about five minutes into the movie he was hooked. Now he’s building Millennium Falcons out of Legos and fashioning tubes of paper into light sabers. Noel is a proud father.
On New Years Day, I reserved a culture pass from the library to go to the Museum of Nature and Science. We checked out several exhibits we’d never seen and bought tickets for a show at the planetarium. Cooper really liked the planetarium and Ellen was really freaked out. (You just never know which kid it’s going to be.)
Noel had to head back to regular work days the last week of break, but I continued to have fun with the kids. Going to the pool after I was done teaching classes and playing with some of their fun Christmas gifts.
Before the break was over, Noel and I went bowling for a date. We actually had a blast stepping into the time machine that is Paramount Bowl.
On our last day of break we went for another hike on North Table Mountain. The weather has been crazy warm and even though it freaks me out (low snowpack, global warming, etc) I guiltily admit that I’m quite enjoying it. The kids were back to school this week which meant I actually washed laundry, but also meant some sort of epic battle almost every morning. Pros and cons with everything I suppose 🙂 Here’s a few more pictures if you’re interested.