It's raining cats and dogs in Southern California... it's chilly, it's miserable, it's wet. Something we're not quite used to around here. And while the outpour is probably good for saving $ from not having to water the lawn, it hasn't been all that good for my blood pressure.
This Saturday, of course, happens Ethan's 4th birthday party. I totally suck at picking the right weekend, as last Saturday, naturally, was perfect weather for playing pirates outdoors. Next weekend, bite me, is supposed to be 70 and another perfect day. *sigh*
I have been planning this, for the most part, since last November. Up until last week, everything seemed to be in order. I have the majority of the decorations done, invitations are out, RSVPs are in, games are planned for..... That is, until Mother Nature started pounding non-stop rain, and since then I have been nervously checking weather.com if it's going to clear at all by the weekend.
I have a huge pirate ship made out of cardboard sitting in the garage, and I don't even know if we'll be able to use it at all. I suppose we could remove all the furniture in the living room, or perhaps downsize the ship a little. Either way, I have had to hold off on reserving the jumper, and at this point, I don't even know if I should just plan on having the whole party indoors!
Either way, I am thankful for having a healthy, intelligent, energetic little boy (no longer a baby) to plan a party for. I've put a lot of effort into throwing him the greatest pirate party ever, and I know he's going to love it whether we do it in the backyard or in the living room!
The beginning of the year always makes me a little sad.... it really shouldn't since it the dawn of a new year of making memories and breaking resolutions.... but I always hate going back to non-holiday routine:
No more Christmas songs on the radio.
No more using lunch breaks to sneak in some Christmas shopping.
No more practicing Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town with Ethan for the umphth time every morning on the way to school.
No more holiday decorating (I'm going to try to hold off at least until this weekend to start breaking down). The house just seems so festive with the Christmas tree up. *sigh*
But, as tradition goes, we enjoyed celebrating Christmas and welcoming the new year with the whole family. No out-of-town trips for us this year (or should I say last year?). I hosted Christmas eve dinner at our new home. We decided to open our presents that night, before going to midnight mass, because my parents were working the next day.
Ethan's reactions were priceless. He was definitely overwhelmed with the amount of boxes he had to unwrap -- he enjoyed very little of what was actually inside them before being pressured to move on to the next one. It was so much fun watching his eyes light up with every box. And it was even more rewarding to get that really tight thank you hug.
I know we're supposed to be in a recession... but I probably spent more this year than I did last year. The problem was that I "finished" shopping to early (shortly after Thanksgiving) which gave me almost a full month to get supplemental gifts. I love seeing everyone's reactions -- Sissy rejoicing after getting a gift card to the Dollar Tree, Mike finally getting a non-KSwiss pair of shoes from Jojo, or everyone getting a kick from playing Break the Ice.
Even Bella got presents!
As far as Santa goes.... we had to get a little creative and told Ethan he came by while we were at church. It was already 1 in the morning, but Ethan was just as excited to open the gifts from Santa -- the ones he knew he got because he was a nice boy....
"Just what I wanted for Christmas!", he yelled after unwrapping Optimus Prime and a bunch of other toys.
Awesome.... more toys........
Speaking of toys...... Mike got me my toy too. A more expensive one at that (that's why it was a collective gift from my birthday/anniversary/Christmas). Methinks this should be an incentive to post more pictures more often........ ;)
For New Year's eve, my mom hosted dinner at her house.... and with all the usual suspects being fed the greatest steak dinner ever, me trying to play bartender (I must've been good at it since my mom was already buzzing after 2 pina coladas), and Joana trying to hustle us all in Texas Hold 'Em, and Ethan being introduced to Shooter (new addition to the family) after Jojo rescued him from a shooting range last week....... it was a New Year celebration I wouldn't trade for another night at Rosarito or the Vegas strip.
4 hours later, we were all up again (I think I was still a little drunk) bright and early to try to watch the infamous Rose Parade. We got there a little too late to get a prime spot so our view of the floats were mediocre, if any, which was a little disappointing....... I was hoping to get some great shots of the floats....... but nothing a bacon-wrapped hotdog and good company can't cure!
The highlight of the parade was watching my brother scream for joy after seeing Jackie Chan pass by.
Afterwards, we headed over to the Griffith Observatory to have lunch and just hang out. Mike tried to trick me into hiking 10 miles up the mountain, but I shot that idea down fairly quickly. :)
They really fixed up the place since the last time I went a million years ago (high school). Naturally, it was packed since every one else probably had the same idea to go there after the parade. Still, it was fun elbowing other tourists for photo ops in front of the Hollywood sign. We spent half the time helping Ethan look for Bumblebee (there's a scene in the Transformers movie where the Autobots meet at the observatory).
Overall, it was tiring but well worth all the time we spent with the whole family. I'm sad to have to go back to work!!!