Christmas in Ithaca

This year, Sis and I are both in New York, so we got to spend Christmas together. She came down for Thanksgiving, so we decided it would be appropriate if we came up for Christmas.

I think this was Lorenz's first Christmas that he had some awareness of what it was and that he was getting presents. I thought for sure that he would not be able to wait opening his presents, but Sis explained several times to him the schedule that presents are opened after breakfast on Christmas morning, and he was cool with it. In fact, he didn't really understand that he was getting a bunch of stuff until he was about half way through the present unwrapping.

I had a hard time picking out a gift. Sis had various criteria. She would prefer a gift that was nurturing, designed to spark the intellect, and preferably had animals - and more specifically whales. I ignored all that and got him three Playmobil dinosaur sets. I have to admit - they were super cool. There was one set with a car and people, and the car had a big cage on wheels that you could tow behind that had a velociraptor in it. Super neat. And another set had a Triceratops, a baby triceratops, and they all lived in a volcano that you could explode with a button. Oh my god. I get excited every time I think about it.

Lorenz took a bit to get really excited about it. That was partly due to the fact that there was a lot of assembly involved. David tried to act like he was put out by doing so much assembly, but the truth is that as soon as he saw all the little pieces and an instruction book, he seized them all and made himself a little workstation - all the while complaining about how much work it was.

After present time, we got in the car to go see a movie. We drove about 30 minutes out of town to see Bolt, but it turns out the web had lied and that the theater was not open and if it was open on Christmas, Bolt wasn't playing. I realized that we had worked so hard to get Lorenz excited about the movie in order to leave his new toys behind, that we had another crushing disappointment on our hands. So we went back to Ithaca and saw "The Tale of Desperaux", which he liked. He's all business when he watches movies and is extremely well behaved. They had a photo booth in the movie theater which we used for great hilarity.

For dinner that evening, we made a delicious Mexican dinner - Sopa Azteca and Mushroom/Spinach Enchiladas. It was so good, I made a variation a week later when David and I were back in New York. For dessert, I had made a pumpkin tart. It was good, but a little too sweet and dense. I'll have to look for a recipe that lightens everything up.

The next morning, I was anxious to take some shots of the great outdoors. We had seen some great views of frozen waterfalls on the way up. So we all went to Buttermilk Falls and Ithaca Falls. The former was a bit of disappointment because instead of looking grandiose it just looked dirty. I think the best time for shots of the waterfalls is during the spring when all the snow from winter is melting.

This year actually had put me back in the Christmas spirit. I have been a real scrooge in recent years. I'm just not that into Christmas. But the winter drive to upstate New York, hanging out with Sis in her collegiate apartment, and seeing Christmas through the eyes of a 3-year-old renewed my faith in the holiday.

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So...I was just in Ithaca. But Mom flew out pretty much right after I left to help take care of Lorenz. It would have been a shame that Mom had traveled all that way and we wouldn't have been able to see each other - so I packed a bag and drove to Ithaca again. At least this time I knew the scenic road to take. And since David wasn't with me this time, I could crank up the music and shout/sing to my heart's content.
In May of 2009, Mom and Dad flew to New Jersey, spent a night with me, and then we all drove up to Ithaca for a family weekend. It was billed as a “Pre-Mother’s Day” event - since the timing did not work out for Mom and Dad to visit on actual Mother’s Day. I was only there for a couple of days before driving home. Mom and Dad stayed for longer and flew back from Ithaca. We had no hard and fast plans for what to do while we were there. Sis and had come up with plenty of options, but we kept it pretty open, since you never know what you’re going to be in the mood for.
David and I drove to Ithaca, NY on Monday to help Sis and Lorenz move in. They had not even been here 24 hours by the time we arrived, so it was a chance to catch the two of them before they had settled in. Sis still had a few large pieces of luggage in the car and could not figure out how to get the orange U-Haul straps off the car, so almost immediately after hugs and hellos, we went to work.