Someone loves Home Depot! (And candy)
This Christmas we rented a cabin upstate in Shandanken, NY — about 3 hours north — so the Cornette/Lacandola/Holt family could be together for Jackson’s First Christmas. Linc, Dianna, Jillian, RG, Romeo, Jenni, Eric, Jake, Jenna, Riley, Stella, Ava, John, and I all came — 9 adults, 5 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 infant!
It was my first Home Away rental, so I was a little nervous, but the cabin exceeded our expectations. The kitchen was well stocked and larger than expected. It had an extremely large downstairs bedroom and a few separate places for the kids to play, so it accommodated our large group fairly well.
We bought and decorated a Christmas tree, cooked A LOT, went to the grocery store a lot, completed a super challenging puzzle, and played violent video games. Unfortunately, the snow tubing was closed, so we improvised and let the kids slide down the mini hill in the yard and then made smores in the fire pit. We took turns holding Jackson, so Ninno could feed all of us, and he just slept and slept (during the day that is). The best part [for me] was bringing all the cousins together.
We woke up to a spectacular White Christmas, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. The kids opened presents from Santa and played together for hours. Many played in the snow outside. Sickness took down Ava, Riley, and Stella towards the end of the week, but they handled it well.
Overall, the trip was a success. It was really special to bring everyone together and away from the malls, movies, and other distractions. Who knows, we may even do it again next year. Invitations are open to ALL!!
Over the River and Through the Woods
Sleds & Smores
Christmas Eve PJ Party
White Christmas Play Time
Tracy came to New York to celebrate her daughter Leslie’s 7th birthday. Kelly and Aria came up to celebrate with us and bring all the girls together.
We took the girls to the Museum of Natural History, for a pizza lunch, to Central Park, and then ICE SKATING! When it was time to head back to the car, I took my girls in a pedicab [mainly because I was pooped and only had 1 stroller]. Only 20 blocks for $80! (criminals) But at least Ava loved it.
The girls had a blast together and got along really well.
Stella mailed a letter to Santa, even though she didn't want to. We had to take turns holding her, because her legs weren't working. I fed them each a single M&M for good behavior every few minutes. Stella was being challenging but eventually fell asleep. She woke up just as we we were entering the Santa Village and was her charming, adorable self. She chatted up a friendly elf.
Stella told Santa she wanted a rainbow robot and sat down nicely. When she held Santa's hand and looked up at him adoringly, I broke into tears! [John was like WTF?] I expected her to be a pill and she was absolutely perfect. She loved meeting Santa and I was thrilled. It was worth the wait.
We finally went to see the infamously sold out Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in the village of Croton-on-Hudson. It’s practically impossible to get tickets, but John made it happen this year (in case this is the last Halloween in NYC). We left work early to hit the road at 5:30 pm to make our 7:00 pm time slot and ALMOST made it without Stella getting carsick. Almost.
We walked across the Pumpkin Zee Bridge (Ava's favorite) and saw a pumpkin carousel, giant sea serpent, pumpkin planetarium, and jurassic park, among a dozen other very impressive pumpkin displays.
Stella was NOT impressed but Ava seemed to enjoy it. I think the trip was really for me tho.
Stella loves pretending she’s a dog and likes to be called Sky (like the Paw Patrol dog).
Ninno and RG had us over for pumpkin carving Halloween party. She made a meatloaf foot, cheesy mashed potatoes, and green beans with a delicious bloody red velvet cake for dessert. For the girls, she made ghost pizzas, hotdog spiders, and dirt cups (pudding cups with cookie crumbs as dirt with gummy worms).
The boys carved awesome pumpkins. John carved a flawless Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie Man for us.