Christmas Break Report

Well, our trip to the Bahamas was amazing, but it meant that we started break a week and a half early, and we were all pretty tired of each other by the time January 2 rolled around. We had a great Christmas, full of fun and family. The younger boys kept periodically yelling at the ceiling, “THANK YOU SANTA FOR MY PRESENTS!!” That was hilarious.

On December 23, we went to Cub Run water park with the kids’ cousins on Patrick’s side. That was super fun, as all the kids enjoyed themselves a lot. Porter was really swimming like a champ, and Harlan had a lot of fun in the lazy river. I was in the pool with them for a couple of hours, and I got so cold that I had to use the hot tub to warm up while they all went upstairs to eat. We used the last of our summer reading coupons to get in. That pleases me!

Later in the day, Seamus and his friend had a play date at the gym. Basketball has been a recurring event around here. In the evening, I went to an Eve of Christmas Eve party. It’s always a good time, and I almost shut it down, but I remembered myself, and went on home. Christmas week, except for the day of, I made it to yoga every day.

We went to see My Fair Lady at the Kennedy Center.

In the Opera House.

The boys didn’t really understand the show, but I thought it was fantastic. I’d only ever seen the movie before, and there were great stagings in the show. The ending was enigmatic, and perfect. I’ll be happy to tell you about it sometime, but I don’t want to put any spoilers out there.

Christmas day was delightful at home. I have to admit that I got up at 6:00 all wound up about the kids getting up. Seamus and Gilbert got up before Porter and Harlan, and they were eager to get to it, but I made them peek and go back to their room before the little guys woke up. Everyone seemed pretty happy with their stuff. Then we went to Patrick’s dad’s for presents and lunch. You already know that the skateboards were a hit, and Seamus and Gilbert have been riding theirs to school. They “garnered a lot of attention” as they said.

Afterwards, we saw Come from Away about Gander, Newfoundland that took in 7000 passengers for four days after 9/11. It was a fantastic show. It and My Fair Lady were very different experiences with American musical theater, but they showed how it has evolved. The boys preferred Come from Away, but I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite.

Come from Away

Then my parents came for a visit the next day. We made a trip to Gravelly Point for the planes. We had a great visit with hotel breakfasts, sewing lessons, trips to Harris Teeter, and more.

Sewing time.

Gilbert loves the sewing machine. Porter does too, but he can’t use it on his own. Harlan sewed his finger in dramatic fashion (needle all the way through!) and he’s not too keen to go back to it at this point. I wanted the machine so Seamus and Gilbert could work on their 4-H sewing projects, but who knows when we’ll get to that. I’m pleased to say that they have written their speeches for the county contest. Seamus is speaking about “Why Card Collecting is Fun and Useful” and Gilbert is speaking about “Why You Should Have a Cat.” They did pretty well writing them while I was at work, and they’ve come to terms with the fact that they will have to deliver them daily before the contest. I already see improvement. I’m not forcing them to memorize the speeches yet. I’m hoping it happens sort of organically…we’ll see.

Then we went down to the lake for New Year’s. The kids had fun at the park, playing basketball, and swimming in the hot tub. They liked riding their wheelie things around the neighborhood. We had some play dates and dinners with friends. My yoga teacher had her birthday party yoga class, when the students brought in some food for after class. Good times.

Buzz “Harlan” Lightyear

We headed back home to do some work, and play some basketball. Patrick is coaching, and it’s nice to see the team starting to gel. I’m coaching an Odyssey of the Mind team, and I’m pretty much done with it. I’m persevering, but I really can’t wait for it to be over…

On Sunday, we decided to take a wild hair, and take everyone skiing. I heard that 4th and 5th graders got free passes to PA ski areas. We had some gear gifted to us from neighbors, and so we procured some more from Craigslist. Patrick and I got our tickets, we signed Porter up for a lesson, and we decided to just rent for Harlan and let him ski with us. We were dreaming about some fun, but we reminded ourselves to keep our expectations LOW. It took a few runs for Seamus and Gilbert to get their legs back under them, but they did and soon they were little demons. Porter liked his lesson and regaled us with tales of being a T-Rex, a bicycle rider, and pizza and french fries. Harlan LOVED riding the carpet lift and skiing with Patrick. I watched them, nearly choked Harlan with my poles, and then I took him to get hot chocolate. Refreshed, he was ready to go back out. Patrick skied with S & G for a while and I skied with Harlan. We did a few carpet run lifts, and I asked him if he was ready to try the big lift. He said YES! so I double checked that he wouldn’t be afraid. When Patrick came back to check on us, we were on the big lift. He was astounded. Harlan was a champ. He loved skiing so much. When I woke him up to go he said, “Thank you for waking me up to go skiing, I’m sorry I was naughty last night.” I reassured him. When we got up the next day, he said, “Oh, no. There’s no snow. I wanted to ski again today.”

Porter was kind of tired after lunch, but he made a few good runs and went on the big lift. Seamus lost a ski on the lift. Things were going south. Finally, Patrick took S & G down the biggest hill, and I got the little guys’ stuff returned. When they got back, I took another run with S & G and Seamus knocked me down getting off the lift, and we decided to call it a day. The older boys wanted to know why we were leaving, if we still had time left, and we explained that it’s important to leave while you’re still having fun; then, you’ll want to go again.

Everyone on skis, having fun! It’s a miracle.

And we do!



  1. Looking at the family ski photo: with his hair covered and just seeing the face, I could really see how much Seamus looks like you! By the way, pretty brave taking 4 kids skiing with just 2 adults in charge. I remember when we took 3 kids with 4 adults in charge. But of course, maybe having too many adults with no clear leader might be why we temporarily lost Bret in Aspen. Everybody thought someone else had him in toll. Oops. Luckily it all turned out well. And Bret couldn’t understand what the big fuss was about. He didn’t think he was lost. From his view point everyone else was lost; he knew exactly where he was.

  2. You guys are such a party. Little Harlan is so sweet! I love that he loves skiing.

    As far as your ski day, people were knocked down and choked, skis were lost, courage was tested, hot chocolate consumed….sounds like a perfectly normal ski day to me! Happy New Year!

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