Our last day at Disney World was the 1st, and also the only day Jill joined us in the morning. It was straight to Magic Kingdom as we had breakfast with friends from The Hundred Acre Wood. Next, Nina wanted to meet Merida again (but they didn’t let her shoot the bow and arrow this time) and we went over and waited to ride Splash Mountain – Nina loved the end. Nina and I explored Tom Sawyer Island, then we rode the train back to the entrance and our lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. We were going to use a VIP lunch there to secure a VIP spot for the parade, but gave that a pass because we would have lost our Fastpass for the Buzz Lightyear ride (Nina preferred the Toy Story ride though).
We saw the line wasn’t bad for Rapunzel and Tiana and met them again, and finally caught the Wicked Stepsisters after missing them last trip. Nina and Jill rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad then Jill went shopping and I took Nina to see The Muppets in Liberty Square. Nina and Jill rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Nina got to do some shopping, then it was time for dinner at Be Our Guest where we got to meet The Beast after dinner. We had time to stop at Beaches & Cream for ice cream all around before an early bedtime.
We got on the Disney bus for a 5AM trip to the airport and an uneventful flight, getting back just in time for Nina to go to a birthday party and Nutcracker rehearsal. I’d nearly forgotten that I’d bought tickets to the NPR Music Turns 10: Concert and Party at the 9:30 Club that night, and Jill was toast. I sold my extra ticket and went anyway. I wasn’t really into heading into DC on 3 hours sleep, but then I walked in and Jeff Tweedy was on stage and somehow I was wide awake. They had kept the guest list a complete surprise – other big names were Bon Iver and Margo Price.
Saturday the 9th it was snowing, but not bad enough to stop Nina and I from going to Scrawl Books to see Dar Williams sing and talk about her new book (plus Nina got a couple new books) while Jill went to her monthly sewing class. Nina had a dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker that night.
Tuesday I took off in the middle of the day so Jill and I could have a lunch date at Fiola. Some fine Italian food, and thanks to the egg in her pasta only the second time ever we’ve switched entrees (I thought it was delicious and she enjoyed my lobster ravioli). Wednesday the 13th Nina had her dance recital (to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock), and I was incensed over the new Patreon fees – this is how it worked out for me:
14 $1.00 per month pledges, so $14 -> $19.32
4 $2.00 per month pledges, so $8 -> $9.64
3 $3.00 per month pledges, so $9 -> $10.32
1 $5.00 per month pledges, so $5 -> $5.50
For a total: $36 -> $44.78. Unacceptable, so I deleted all pledges and vowed to supporting creators on new platforms. Then of course they reversed course the next day, and I reinstated all pledges.
Friday Nina had the real dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker at Centreville High School, then we each got takeout and headed home (the banh mi’s from Park N Shop were delicious). The next day we were all back at Centreville High School for the official performance at 2PM (Dad and Patricia came as well), and it went off without a hitch.
Things that they don’t warn parents about #43: It will take an hour to convince your child to go into winter break camp. That’s what I learned on Monday the 18th as Nina was very anxious about going to a new school where she might not know anyone (turned out she did, and made a new friend). She didn’t make it back that week, as she got 2 colds in little over a week, and that triggered a severe asthma attack. I was home Tuesday and she got to watch Star Wars for the first time, then that night I went to see The Last Jedi, and it was even sweeter for having just watched the original. Thursday I was home again, so I made her watch Phantom Menace and gave her an ice cream cone in the bathtub. History will decide if I’m the best or worst parent ever.
Friday Nina was better and we went to Jammin’ Java as planned for Todd Wright’s Annual Santa Clauster-f@%! Christmas Spectacular – some great Christmas songs, as usual. We usually have host a holiday party in early December, and because the Nutcracker rehearsals had taken all our Saturdays, tried having a party 2 days before Christmas. Surprisingly we had about average attendance and most importantly 7 kids so Nina had a blast. I had not hit Whamageddon yet, so I introduced Whamageddon Roulette – it was added to the playlist for the party (I hit it about an hour after the party during clean up).
Christmas Eve we headed to church, Nina opened her new pajamas and then we got to work. After all the gifts were wrapped and stockings were stuffed, it was time to break out the nog. Happiness abounded on Christmas – Nina’s favorite gift was a pink Polaroid camera from Nana (until the film runs out), lovely ham dinner with my dad and Patricia, and the Doctor Who Christmas Special was brilliant. Only bad part is that it was too cold for Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights with Nina still vulnerable and Jill coming down with bronchitis.
Nina was back at winter break camp on Boxing Day. Jill’s dad and his wife came to visit on Saturday the 30th, then Nina got to play games with the neighbors on New Year’s Eve before I made roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding for dinner. Nina asked to stay up until midnight, but we showed her the video of Times Square and she got to see the London fireworks before bedtime, then Jill and I had a games night with my new Christmas gifts until it was almost midnight, then we were in bed not much later.