Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Start

I have no excuse for not posting.  I can't say that I was exceptionally busy - the weeks before Christmas are always busy.  We got our Internet/cable/phone service back a week after our power came back on, so even that was before Thanksgiving.  So I'm not even going to try to recap all that happened between Hurricane Sandy and now, although I reserve the right to post about events at a later time and out of order (the horror!).

We took the kids down to Florida for Christmas - John's parents live near Daytona Beach, and we haven't been down there for several years.  They usually come up to New Jersey sometime in the summer, as three of their kids live here, but they didn't come this summer, so we hadn't seen them in a while.  It was time.

We drove.  It's not a challenging drive, but tedious, and slow before Christmas because it seems that everyone on the East Coast is driving south at that time of year.  We "collected" license plates, because, you know, you have to, and got all but 4 states (Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming).  And 3 or 4 Canadian provinces, too.  There's a lot of cars on the road. We left Friday evening around 5pm, spent the night in Fredricksburg, VA, and then didn't get into the Daytona area until midnight because there was so much traffic.

And now it's easier to tell the story in pictures.

Christmas morning, at my in-laws

Don't know if you're familiar with MineCraft, but it's a currently popular online game.  We paid way too much to get this set of limited edition MineCraft Legos on eBay, but it was worth it for the thrill it caused. If you're familiar with MineCraft, please notice that he's also wearing a MineCraft t-shirt.

William gave Rachel a small stuffed octopus that she was far more excited about than I expected.

John got a camera.  He picked it out, shopped for it, bought and wrapped it himself. I feel no guilt; he's happy.

Monday, John's dad took all of us (and our niece and nephew) to visit the Fairchild Oak.  It was big 400 years ago when Europeans arrived in Florida. I think one of the signs said it's estimated to be about 2000 years old.

Love the bit about "the follies of Mankind"

To say that it is dripping with Spanish moss is an understatement. And it should be in the dictionary under "gnarly". I don't mean the California definition, either. 

John's sister and her husband had to work Christmas week so their kids came over and hung out at Grandma and Grandpa's with us.  There was much video gaming on Wednesday. And another MineCraft t-shirt.

Thursday, we dragged everyone to a nearby plantation ruin.  This is the remains of the sugar mill, which processed sugar cane into white sugar using slave labor in the 1820s. It was a remarkably good historical site for a small state park - good signage and well-maintained. The kids actually seemed to enjoy themselves. A MineCraft hoodie this time (the green one on William).

And then we went mini-golfing. JC didn't want to participate until we divided into 2 groups.  I took the teenagers and John took the little boys.  They had two "courses", so we played separately and everyone actually had fun.  JC had a couple of unbelievable bounce shots - including one which bounced 3 times and did NOT go in the water hazard, much to our surprise. Rachel and Danielle tied for the win.

Mini-golf was across the street from the beach, so we had to walk over.  We walked down the beach about 1/4 mile, then back.  William was dying to go in the water but we hadn't brought towels or anything. And we were headed to a local chocolate factory  for their tour, so we kept him dry.  Ish.
And then the battery in my camera died and I didn't bother replacing it right away.  I have a few pictures in my phone still to upload, so I may share those later.

It was a nice vacation, although without our usual Christmas rituals, the kids kept saying, "It doesn't feel like Christmas!" It was lovely to see John's parents, and we had a nice visit, but by the time we left, John's dad had a bad cold.  Time to go.  We drove home all in one LOOOONG day (about 16 hours), because it was forecast to start snowing/raining along the I95 corridor that night and we wanted to beat the snow home.  It was nice to sleep in our own beds, but that's the only upside of doing it all in one go.

We had a quiet New Year's Eve, Rachel and JC each had a friend over for part of the day, but neither stayed past 10pm.  So we all stood in the kitchen, counted down with the TV, shouted "Happy New Year!", gave each other kisses, and went to bed.

And now we are back to routine.  School started on the 2nd, John leaves on a business trip to Toronto on Monday, band practice, dance class, midterms are in 16 days.... It's like we never even left.


Anonymous said...

I love that tree, from afar. I adore big ancient trees and I will travel miles to see them. There is something really profound about how long they have lived I get a lump in my throat thinking about it.

Lisa C said...

I recognize the octopus! We love ours and Alex likes to suck on its legs.