I have been very blessed to enjoy a lot of time off from work this year during the Christmas/New Year's holidays. It has been really nice to have a little extra time to try out some new recipes and to be slightly less frantic about all the Christmas preparations. This year Jeremy and I went to see "The Nutcracker" Ballet Dec. 22nd. I really wanted to take Emily, but the start time was 7:30 and I just didn't think we would enjoy it as much if we were worried about outbursts, fatigue melt-downs, etc. I know Emily would have loved the music and pretty ballerinas so next year we will have to do it! My father-in-law works part-time as a floor manager at the KY Center so one of the "perks" is being able to get free tickets every so often. Nancy babysat Emily for us that night so Jeremy and I were treated to a really nice date night for only $7 (parking).
Mom and Dad came up to visit us on the 23rd (my birthday). It had been awhile since they had had some quality time with Emily and so we were content to stay at home and play for most of the day. I treated myself to a manicure at my favorite spot in the Highlands while Emmy napped. That night all of us met Nancy and Don at Havana Rumba for some yummy Cuban food. The food was good, but the restaurant was terribly noisy. We couldn't even carry on a conversation! I chose that restaurant because I knew that it had good food and it was casual enough that no one would be bothered by a toddler during dinner. For sure no one was bothered by Emily because I could barely hear her while she ate right next to me! The place was that LOUD! We had dessert back at our house that night and opened up b-day gifts.
Earlier this month, we took Emily to the Santa Safari at the zoo. Originally, we were going to see the Kalightoscope with the Ryan family who also have a little girl Emmy's age, but they had to cancel last minute as their daughter was sick. Since we we had seen Kalightoscope last year, we decided to try out the zoo event. Basically, the zoo event was a big group of parents/children in a large room with lots of people in costume (elves, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, penguins, etc.) They provided a snack and a craft. Later, the children could sit on Santa's lap for a photo if they liked. Well, Emmy did NOT like the characters. She was very timid and placed her little head on Dad's shoulder for a good portion of the time. Later, we got her to eat her cookie and do her craft, but when I asked her if she wanted to sit in Santa's lap, she said, "No, I wanna go see the polar bears." We are NOT one of those parents that force the Santa issue and send our crying, terrified child on Santa's lap for the sake of a photo. If Emmy didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, that was that. Luckily, the zoo has many things you can enjoy during the winter months. We made our way through the zoo's heated buildings and enjoyed the other events that were set up for the "safari" (e.g. various child friendly exhibits where children could see and touch small animals and learn about different topics.) Of course, Emmy really just wanted to see the polar bears as she patiently repeated to us several times. We bundled up and made our way to the polar bear and seal lion exhibit. It was a sunny winter day and it was really nice to get out and stretch our legs.
On a side note, one of the Louisville zoo's polar bears has major issues. He has some kind of tic that makes him walk several steps forward, then shake his head side to side while walking back to his starting point. He repeats this pattern over and over and over again. Does this every time we're there. We think he might have some "coping issues." I would love to see that great big beast jump into the water and swim in the huge tank that is right before our eyes, but nope. He just paces and paces. The new polar cub is way more fun to watch and that is what entertains us most of all.