The first few weekends of December can get a little full. This necessitates playing Time Tetris to make it all fit. But fortunately, this past weekend, it all did!
Friday night was actually pretty chill for me, as my husband brought the younger three kids to see the Trolls movie. This is the one thing that hadn’t fit over Thanksgiving weekend, so this Friday it was. My eldest went with a friend to a different movie (most definitely not Trolls) so it was just me and the 14-year-old, and he had some epic gaming night going on. I think I just kind of sat there. I debated starting a new holiday puzzle but I was just…tired.
Perhaps a little downtime was good as the pace picked up after that. Saturday morning was breakfast with Santa. I bought tickets to this event at an Italian restaurant, which had the advantage of being cheaper than the Neiman Marcus one we wound up at last year. It was…ok. The little kids were engaged in some serious naughtiness, despite Santa being RIGHT THERE, and the food was pretty eh. On the other hand, this Santa had studied his notes, and amazed the 3-year-old with his knowledge that he wanted Play-Doh. He also wished the 16-year-old well at his voice recital that afternoon, knew he was going to be singing “Let It Snow,” and had him sing a verse — and then wished him a good time in New York (the 16-year-old asked for a trip there for Christmas). How does Santa know all this? I guess it’s a Christmas mystery. I am not sure breakfast with Santa will make the holiday fun list next year but we will see what the kids say.
Anyway, after that, my husband took the three little kids downtown for the kids holiday party at his work place. They reported back to me that this was done really well with a balloon artist, a cookie decorating station, a scavenger hunt, and other things. Meanwhile, I took the big boys home and then turned around to get the 16-year-old to the voice recital. I think he was nervous about it, but it went really well, with him performing a jazzy rendition of Let it Snow. We stopped for Starbucks after, then I came home, waited for my husband to pack, and then we took off for NYC. (Our nanny came to stay overnight with the kids.)
This was our first overnight together since kid #5 was born. I kid you not. So…probably overdue. We had planned to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before dinner, but we got a late start and hit traffic, so we didn’t check into our hotel until 7 p.m. We decided to fill the time before our dinner reservation by walking to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. We braved the crowds, snapped a few shots, then saw the lights at Saks and walked through St. Patrick’s cathedral. Then it was up to Aquavit, where we had our seven course tasting menu.
This restaurant has long been our “special occasion” place — we went there on our third date lo these many years ago. They still had the goat cheese ice cream birds nest as the dessert (pictured). It was an excellent meal, with a nice wine accompaniment. I don’t think either of us slept all that great after more wine than we normally have (and dairy for me – I decided it was worth it) but oh well.
In the morning we went to the Brooklyn Diner, which was a few blocks from our hotel. We were at a little table in the corner by the window when all of a sudden we see four fire trucks pull up. The manager comes out and says that they had a small grease fire and the fire department came, but it was all out now — still, lots of firemen in full uniform tromping through the crowded restaurant made for quite a spectacle!
We checked out, drove home, and made it back by noon. Then it was lots of kid stuff (coupled with a short treadmill run for me and a gym trip for my husband) and laundry until my husband took the 3-year-old to the “Live Nativity” at the church (goats! llamas!) and I took the 16-year-old to go sing a duet with me in the 5 p.m. service. This was quite fun (for me at least). We sang the “Canticle for Turning,” which is an Advent hymn – together on the first verse, him solo on the second, me on the third, harmony on the fourth. I had him sing the melody and I picked a harmonization out of the accompaniment, so it was a pretty cool sound to have the harmonization be higher than the melody. Also, I’m performing with my kid! That is a fun milestone regardless.
After that it was just the usual Sunday night activities — family dinner, Boy Scouts for the 14-year-old, and parkour for the 8-year-old. Next week we’ll be attempting to fit all the usual activities in with another holiday party, a Christmas concert, and an all-day robotics tournament. Should be interesting…
Poetry update: I mentioned that last weekend’s Dutch Wonderland trip was a bit of a bust, but at least I got a sonnet topic out of it. Jupiter was brightly visible in the sky. So, this was last week’s sonnet (as part of my 52 sonnet year-long writing project):
A million miles for each day of the year
through frozen space — a striped white giant glows.
Thick storms that swirl for ages cloud this sphere.
I try to fathom this strange wind that blows
so fierce — and yet from here a placid light
in this dark sky, a short hop from the moon,
now twinkling in the cold November night —
so silent as our own wind sings its tune.
The children bicker, shivering in these lines
beneath the Christmas lights and silver bells,
a blinking star that like the billboard shines.
A funnel cake, exhaust fumes, all these smells —
From Jupiter this storm is silent too,
a glowing orb — no matter what we do.
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