Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy new year!

Well, it seems I've survived after all. I made it through the two days of extra work followed by the weekend in New York for the funeral, then through the four days we had left to prepare for travelling for Christmas. We pulled it all off and have even managed to enjoy ourselves.

The funeral weekend was, well, a funeral, and for someone who died too soon and will be awfully missed. It's always a bittersweet feeling to those occasions, where you're so glad to be able to see family you don't see often, but for the most awful reason. So it was a good service and we saw people we were happy to see, and it was a draining weekend.

After that, it was the whirlwind of last minute present shopping and packing and occasionally doing things like actual paying work. I had many more plans to do things and make things that were pretty much killed by having to go out of town, but we did at least get the shopping done and even managed to have the car packed and ready to go so we could get out of town promptly after B finished work on Thursday. It was kind of astonishing, really. For once, we left pretty much when we planned to instead of about three hours later. We made excellent time and stopped in Johnstown for the night, having shaved over 200 miles off of the trip and made it to my mother's by 6:30 on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve was exactly the opposite of what I had imagined: K had been feeling punky all day (there was a moment of panic in the morning when she complained her stomach hurt and said yes when asked if she might throw up, but fortunately she recovered from that) and insisted on going to bed early. When a five-year-old on Christmas Eve lies down on the couch and pulls a blanket over herself, you know she must really be tired. Alec, on the other hand, was going strong late into the night. He's been on a pattern of falling asleep at a normal time, then waking up a couple hours later and acting as if he's had a lovely and refreshing nap. 18 months often has a big developmental spurt accompanied by a monstrous sleep regression, so I guess he's embracing his age. Since today he stacked six Playdoh containers on top of each other and said something that sounded suspiciously like "I love you," I think it's safe to say he's on a developmental tear. No wonder he can't sleep.

Christmas went quite pleasantly. I experienced one of those moments of "I guess I'm really a grown-up" on Christmas morning when I found myself up before everyone else cooking breakfast. It's that realization that it was my mother who made holidays special when I was a child, and I'm the mother now. Like, whoa. I don't know why Christmas breakfast should engender this feeling more than say, having a mortgage or giving birth, but there you are.

Anyway, Christmas was over, we were enjoying our bounty, my brother has gone home, we saw an old college friend and we were a bit bored, so we decided to liven things up by all getting the flu. I had it worse, spending essentially all day Wednesday asleep or out of it, with a lovely host of fever and body aches. It was mostly fatigue and lack of appetite, with a vaguely gastric element. I say "vaguely" because K and I threw up once (and I'm not sure she would have if she hadn't snacked on Hot and Spicy Cheezits the night before) and we all had it a bit from the other end, but it was't one of those attached to the toilet bugs. I'm just as happy about that, since none of us felt that hot when we piled back in the car on Friday to head home. We stopped in Columbus for the night and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we desperately wanted to get home, so we headed out Saturday afternoon and arrived home late last night. I'm incredibly grateful that we've had a lazy day at home today.

Some highlights of the trip:

* We got various lovely gifts, including a large new toaster oven (something we had a sudden need for after our old one caught fire (!!!!)) and a basic espresso machine, which I hope will reduce the amount of money I spend on frothy coffee drinks.

* We saw all of our usual Christmas movies, but this year got to add back an underrated classic A Midwinter's Tale, a wonderful little movie written and directed by Kenneth Branagh about a ragtag group of actors putting on a production of Hamlet at Christmas. Somehow my tape of it didn't make the move but I finally managed to find it online.

* We went to see Tangled again, and it definitely holds up to repeat viewing. I didn't think I'd ever say this about a Disney movie, but I think it actually improves on the original fairy tale. It's weird and creepy and pretty much everyone acts inexplicably. I mean, I suppose the witch gets to be mean because she's a witch and that explains demanding a baby in exchange for stolen vegetables, but why the tower? And it all starts because of really strong pregnancy cravings? I mean, get a grip lady. Tangled, on the other hand, gives all of the principles strong, logical motivations for their actions. And manages to make the witch evil in the most lovely subtle way that involves actual character depth and complexity.

* We had the most lovely afternoon in Columbus with B's cousin and family,along with his parents who were stopping in Ohio on their way home. His cousin has a three year who is exactly two years younger than K, and an 11 month old, and it was so much fun watching little cousins play together. I never had that. I just wish we could arrange it more often.

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