Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Season 2011

Is it holiday season already? I seriously can't tell. First, it's very warm here, in NC. We've been running around in light sweaters for a couple of days. Then it started to rain, but it's still warm. No snow, no ice, nothing. We went to a Christmas tree farm today to walk around. It was nice, but felt more like an early September outing. Last year at the same time at the same Christmas farm there was a bit of snow on the ground, the pond was frozen and it was cold enough to wear hats, gloves and warm jackets and still get cold.

Third reason it doesn't feel like holidays yet is that I haven't put up any decorations. Part of it is that we just got back from NY. But part of the reason is that I really don't feel like dragging all these decorations down from the attic, unpacking, then packing back after just a few days. I'm not being lazy either, just overwhelmed.

Forth, and main, reason it hasn't felt like holidays yet is, of course, Chris is not going to be home. Just doesn't feel very happy about it.

Of course, we're going to do something. Tomorrow we plan on getting a very small New Year tree. We talked about decorating it with all sorts of edible things - popcorn strands, cranberries, nuts, dried fruits, candies, etc. Needless to say, M is very excited about this idea and has been asking me to put this tree in his room. Yeah, right! But at least I'll be spared the trouble of getting the regular decorations from our tiny attic where I always bump my head on the roof beams.

I was also thinking about putting together a gingerbread house and will get a kit tomorrow. M loved this activity last year and can help out way more this year. Except I'd decorate it with Hannukah colors and with chocolate coins and pretzel stars :) And we'll play our Hannukah CDs and drink hot chocolate or maybe spiced apple cider.

So as I mentioned, we just got back from NY. You'd think that being there, I'd have more time to update the blog. Nope. Besides, there wasn't much going on apart from the usual hanging around the grandparents' house, helping Grandma with baking and building toy airplanes with Grandpa. The main events of our 3-week long stay were:

1. The Thanksgiving dinner with the family - my aunt Sofia hosted and it was great as usual. It was very nice to see my oldest cousin and his family since they live in Ohio and I don't get to see them often.

2. We took a train to Hoboken, NJ to spend an afternoon with my brother and his girlfriend. That was exciting since it involved a train ride (M kept taking pictures with a cell phone to, as he explained, "remember it all for later"), playing with an awesome chocolate lab who's super smart and awfully cute, enjoying a gorgeously-decorated Christmas tree and getting gifts.

One of the gifts was Myachis (just google it). They are like hacky sacks but aren't exactly. We had lots of fun practicing all different Myachi tricks. Finally, my bro and his girlfriend invited us to a Vietnamese restaurant. Needless to say, after an afternoon like this M fell asleep on the drive back and didn't wake up until the next morning.

3. We went to a trampoline place nearby, in Valley Cottage, called BounceOnIt.Finally, there's something in the area that is fun for both the kids and the adults. These are not inflatables, but real trampolines. So adults can have just as much (or even more) fun as kids. The place is great and I hope they stay open so we can go back whenever we're in NY.

4. M got to spend a lot of time with his second cousins. He really loved playing with them. At first he was concerned about the youngest one 'cause he thought she'd break his toys or chew them. But she's a big 2.5-year old now, so that was ok. And then, she's into all the silliness M is into - running around the house, screaming, hiding, jumping, laughing. So they had a jolly good time. But he also loved spending time with his oldest cousin who is now 7. Although the games weren't as wild. Instead, they'd try playing a board game or "do chemistry" with vinegar and soda.

5. We went to Brighton Beach, as usual. This time M walked all around and didn't complain about being tired. Nor was he a pest when it came to me browsing books at a bookstore there (usually he starts whining after the first 2 minutes there). He even got his wish of playing on the playground there and running on the beach. Plus we ate at a really nice restaurant, called "Tatiana" (delicious, but expensive).

That was such a wonderful trip with the grandparents, that M said that he wanted to spend his birthday on Brighton. His plan was we'd go there, he'd get a pastry, would walk around some, get a toy from the toy store and then we'd all go to a restaurant for some fried calamari. Funny story about calamari. In Russian the word is кольмары and sounds much like комары, mosquitoes. M never ate calamari before. So I asked him if he wanted to try and he thought I was offering him fried mosquitoes.

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