Lessons Learned Over Winter Break

Greetings from the ongoing wreckage of Hurricane Christmas!

If all goes according to schedule, I should have all remnants of this holiday cleaned up just in time for July 4th.

I used to think that today — the first “real world” day of back to school, work, etc. — was the most depressing day of the year. HOWEVER, this year, while I am sad to leave the revelry behind, my opinion has evolved and today is not so bad after all.

back to school

In fact, as I sit here, typing in silence, I do believe there’s an unfamiliar feeling creeping up on me. Why, it’s joyful solitude. Holy crap, I’M ALONE. (Well, until the baby wakes up.) I am not fulfilling a snack request or mediating an argument or thinking about the next activity we can pursue to keep everyone from going insane.

I am sitting. The TV is on a channel of my choosing. The coffee I am drinking is still hot, without the assistance of a microwave.

But I did love the break, in the way that we look back on all things frenetic and wish we had enjoyed them more. I had lots of family around. Everyone stayed healthy. I even pulled off a pretty good Christmas dinner for 20 adults.









And I learned a few lessons along the way.

1) The period of time that constitutes winter break is not analogous to the normal space/time continuum. It’s like dog years meets the big bang. Or something slightly more science-y.

2) A very reliable meat thermometer makes all the difference between stress-free holiday dinner prep and the hostess yelling, “We are SO having Chinese food next Christmas! DO YOU GUYS WANT LO MEIN WITH CHICKEN OR PORK?”

3) New addition to the Ninth Circle of Hell: Any and all airport pick-ups on the Sunday before Christmas. Bonus points if you brought a kid along “for a quick ride” who didn’t use the bathroom before you left the house.

4) There is no existing scale on the market that self-destructs into flames after producing your January 1 weight. (Hellooooo, product development opportunity.)

5) Forget North Korea’s threats. The real terrorists are the folks in China who package children’s toys.

6) How to set yourself up for failure: Trying to create a photo book of your entire year (OK, your previous 2.5 years) on the last day possible for holiday shipping. Disregard if you enjoy a) picking through 6,772 photos in one sitting and b) a slow, steady descent into blindness.

7) If you play a YouTube video of a previous New Year’s Eve in Times Square for your kids well before midnight, they will not know the difference. (Pro tip: Just conveniently stand in front of the screen when they flash the year 2014 or 2010 or 1977.)


8) Do not bother buying new toys for toddlers.


pots and pans FTW


pots and pans 2

9) There is no limit to the amount of princess accessories my daughter will wear simultaneously.

princess dress up

Or at any time, day or night (“I didn’t want my ice powers to freeze my bed.”)

ice powers by night

10) Above all, listen up: NEVER, ever play Cards Against Humanity with your dad. Unless you are already in therapy — then, consider doubling down on your weekly sessions.

I hope you and yours had a great holiday!

Now, back to reality we go. I have a lot of clean-up to do by my July 4th deadline.



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  1. Kristin says:

    Looks like you had a fantastic holiday — with school arriving just in time!

    I am going to try the youtube ball drop next year. I attempted to find the animated Madagascar spin-off count down and it took up 30 precious minutes of searching with no results. Now I refuse to EVER watch that show.

    Love the sleep gloves!

    • fordeville says:

      Omg, we also tried to get that wretched Madagascar thing to work! That’s a half an hour of my life I’ll never get back. And that’s what prompted fake YouTube New Year’s Eve 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    Your son with the pots and pans is so hilarious, no new toys for toddlers is so true!

    *typed from the lovely silence of my home for the first time in 14 days*

  3. Karmen says:

    What a cute family! Such adorable kids and a fun list! I remember those princess dress-up days. Much more fun than dress shopping with them at 12 and 15!! Enjoy it now! And I also have done the last minute “Year in Review” photo albums as gifts. No more! I lost way too much sleep over those. Happy New Year!

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