Greg has been home on holiday break (Dec. 19 - Jan. 3) for nearly two weeks now. Getting here was not easy - he left Montreal just as a blizzard was hitting us here in Philadelphia, and he ended up stranded overnight in Chicago. But he finally did arrive in Philly, and we've spent the last two weeks immersed in holiday preparations, family get-togethers, and studio improvement projects.
Santa Claus, and our gift-giving family members, were kind to us this year. Baz's big gifts were a Light Saber, a Darth Vader Lego ship, and a "Dig for Dinosaurs" science kit. Ayla was delighted to receive her singing Cinderella doll, a full-sized pink guitar, and a new set of costume fairy wings. And Isa got the small stuffed reindeer she asked for, an ABC electronic game, and a much-beloved Pinocchio doll and story book.
And it was the year for cameras! Grandma Terry gave Baz and Ayla real, "kid tough" Fisher Price digital cameras. The photos in this post are taken by Ayla, who has turned out to have a good eye for photography! ... and Greg got me one of the tiny point-and-shoot digital cameras I've been wanting for a while. It's 12.1 megapixels - my old digital camera, bought many many years ago, can't be more than 5. Plus this new one shoots video! So I can finally drop simple footage easily onto the Internet. Here is my first experiment.
Our family visits took us out to Egg Harbor City, NJ, (for Christmas Eve with the Kennedys) and to Plattsburgh, New York (for Christmas night with the Millers). Some car trouble in Plattsburgh made the trip a little less fun than planned, but we made it out of there safely and down to Villa Roma resort, where Greg did a show on Sunday Dec. 27th. I let the kids stay up late for the umpteenth night in a row, this time to see Daddy's show... Baz and Ayla are starting to get some of Greg's comedy, and they were rolling in the aisles.
We made it to New Year's Eve. Traditionally, New Year's Eve has been an important holiday for me and Greg - we have spent all 16 of them together, and each time in a different city. Sometimes this gets challenging - for three years in a row he booked shows in Binghamton, NY, necessitating an 11:30pm mad drive out of town to the next neighboring municipality for the stroke of midnight. I swore I was done with Binghamton.
But they asked him again this year. Fortunately, his shows were early - ending by 8pm - so it really was possible for us to be far from Binghamton by midnight.
I drove to Binghamton with Felicia - she is the girlfriend of Steve, Greg's tech guy. It was supposed to be a 3-hr trip - but between dropping Baz and Ayla off at their Aunt Becky's for a sleepover, and then an accident shutting down 476 for an hour - it ended up being 5 hours. We missed Greg's shows entirely. But Greg and I still got out of there, drove out of Binghamton and down to Bethelehem, PA, to celebrate First Night.
Little did we know that Bethelehem is the Peeps capital of the world, and First Night in Bethlehem is also Peeps Fest. Peeps ice sculptures; themed performances; decked-out cars. And a gigantic crane holds a huge, multicolored glowing Peep, which drops at the stroke of midnight. One of the crazier New Year's traditions we've observed!
Happy 2010 everyone....