Happy new year.
We had a great Christmas. Katie and Jack were really excited about every part of celebrating the holidays and that made it even more fun. It also made it more stressful for us, making sure they had equal numbers of gifts, they were opening the right things at the right time, etc. I suppose the next few years will be like that. And the next phase is when they hate everything we get them, right?
I must have been a really good girl this year, because Santa left some great stuff for me. I got lots of books (something I will enjoy on kid-free days!), a wonderful selection of scrapbooking things, and some jewelry. My favorite was the necklace Vic got for me: it's got three aquamarines (my dad's birthstone) with sapphires (my birthstone) in between. It's beautiful, and very special. I'm still amazed that he put so much thought into it! (Not that he's incapable, but he's the first to admit he never knows what to get for me.)
We also got several family activity things, like the Disney DVD "Scene It?" game, puzzles, a book of ideas for family celebrations and traditions, etc. I love that kind of stuff. It's a good excuse for the four of us to sit down just to have fun; usually when we're all together it's for meal times, or in the car, or whatever, and quite frankly, it ain't always fun!
Both Katie and Jack were thrilled to go back to school this week. Vic was home during most of their vacation and they loved that, but they were eager to get back to their buddies. It's kind of nice to be back on a schedule too.
Yesterday my mom and Len's divorce became final. Mom has a lot of support from some very good friends, and called me last night just to say she was on her way out with them for the evening. I'm glad she has lots to do and fun friends to be with.
My niece is engaged! After the wedding sometime this summer, you'll be able to call her Erin Boyardee. And you should. She loves that name.
We're planning a trip to Disneyland next month. In an insane moment, I agreed to go even though we are DRIVING. No one in their right mind would drive from Portland to southern California, would they? I didn't think so. Here's the plan for Day 1:
4:00 a.m. Alarm goes off.
4:05 a.m. Jen drinks a whole bunch of NyQuil.
4:10 a.m. Vic leads bleary-eyed wife to car.
4:11 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Jen is comatose, Vic sings praises to the drug manufacturers.
I hate hate HATE long car rides. They make me whine and complain. I haven't driven/ridden a thousand miles straight since sixth grade, but it's a pain I will never forget. And I have this feeling that Disneyland's going to be closed when we get there, I just know it. And then I'll go crazy, and the SWAT team will show up, and, well... you know how the rest goes.
We're planning to go to at least one character meal for the kids. Jack's first stop is the Pooh ride, which he LOVED in Disney World, and Katie's is Dumbo. The new Monsters Inc. ride is supposed to be open by then so we're looking forward to trying that out too. And all the 50th anniversary celebration stuff ought to make this trip especially memorable. If I can make it through the drive down and back, all the better.
My first trip to Disneyland was in 1980, during the 25th anniversary year. What I remember most about that time is my mom and me on the Matterhorn, which I immediately regretted getting on and kept my eyes tightly shut the whole ride... well, except for when I decided to give it a chance and opened my eyes just in time to see that glowy-eyed yeti coming at me. I also remember wanting to ride Pirates over and over; lines were ridiculously long (it was summer, after all) and we only went on it twice. But my strongest memory of the whole trip was that god-awful drive. Kathy and I were bored to death in the back seat, trying to get truckers to honk, waving at people with our feet, pretending we were being kidnapped, etc. Y'know, the funny stuff that made our mom so proud. Oh, and Pea Soup Andersen's. I remember stopping at Pea Soup Andersen's.
Fortunately I've made up for those memories by going to Disneyland a bazillion times in the past 15 years. Now it's Katie and Jack's turn to find parent-embarrassing ways to entertain themselves down I-5 and back.