Alright, I made it through the first couple days of work for 2024. I think we can agree that returning to the office after the holidays can be tough. But I believe that working those initial days of the new year can give you a better appreciation of what you got to experience while on break. Such is the case for me.
For the second consecutive year, I had the relaxing advantage of staying put in Spokane for the holiday break. My children completed their last school day of the calendar year on Friday, Dec. 15, and I worked my last day of the calendar year on Tuesday, Dec. 19. From the evening of that Tuesday through New Year’s Day, we had a spectacular time together. As I did last year, I want to offer up 10 of the activities we engaged in during our holiday break…
Ornament Craft – As I said in my intro, we literally started doing fun stuff on that Tuesday night. Our kickoff event was at the North Spokane County Library where Sloan and Beau joined their cousins for an ornament craft. The kids made sleigh decorations with Sloan placing a snowman in her sled while cousin Mikayla crafted a Santa to ride in hers.
Geocache – At Sloan’s request, we ventured into the world of geocaching during break. We devoted an entire afternoon to finding them. Although we couldn’t seem to find the geocache at the first location as Beau’s bladder forced us to stop sooner than desired, we did find the capsule at the second geocache location we visited.
Flying High – After my kids expressed their desire to get strapped into a bungee and jump high, my parents told Sloan and Beau they would take them during winter break. Grandma and Papa lived up to their word when they met us at Fanorama Bungee in the Spokane Valley Mall. With cousins Mikayla and Johnny in tow, the four kids had an excellent time jumping for the stars. Wait a second—scratch that—Beau wanted out the moment he was strapped in 😂. But the other three kids definitely had fun.
Bowling – I took Sloan and Beau to Lilac Lanes for 60 minutes of bowling mania. We set up the bumpers and Beau had a ball ramp so they could each have the chance to actually knock down pins. Much to my surprise, we only had to call the staff over once to retrieve a ball that stopped in the middle of the lane.
The Grinch – Spokane’s old-fashioned Garland Theater welcomed the three of us for a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey. Sloan and Beau had a fun time eating popcorn and “stretching their legs” as they took a couple “breaks” from the movie to walk around our section of the majestic theater. Me? I walked in thinking I didn’t like the Jim Carrey version but actually thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
We Play – Thanks to the generosity of Numerica, Spokane’s best play center opened its doors for free over winter break. On Dec. 22, admission was complimentary for the entire community. You better believe we took advantage! My sister and her two kids (you are very familiar with them by now…Mikayla and Johnny) met us at the facility for a hardcore play session that left the kids very entertained but surprisingly (and unfortunately) not very tired.
Baptism – On the Saturday before Christmas Eve, the three of us (Sid had to work) went to St. John Vianney Catholic Church for the baptism of Eden Rose, the baby daughter of our friends, Brian and Hailey. Fr. Kevin Oiland performed the baptism as Fr. Jeff Lewis had the blessing of being selected as the godfather! Eden did a great job remaining calm for most of the ceremony, even when the holy water was poured over her head.
Hibachi – As a Christmas gift from me to Sid and the kids, we ate at Fujiyama Japanese Steak House. What a fun and cozy place to eat! Our friends, Dylan and Fidela, joined us for the evening as our cook entertained and amazed us. Although Beau was a little afraid of the flames at first, he warmed up to it all. And oh yes…it was delicious!
Mobius Discovery Center – Who says education can’t be cool? To be honest, visiting this children’s museum may have been the most fun activity that the kids did the entire break. I couldn’t believe how engaged Beau was with everything from the “launch it” stations, excavation pit, bubble area, and costume corner. When it came to Sloan, I literally let her loose and didn’t see her until it was time to go.
Trampoline Park – It wouldn’t be a winter break without a trampoline park visit, right? On New Year’s Eve weekend I took the kids to Flying Squirrel. The best part? Sloan and Beau actually honored my request that they just jump and NOT hassle me about the arcade games.
It was a dad’s dream to have so much quality time with his kids. I am very fortunate to have a job where I am able to take an extended period of time during the holidays to re-charge and be with family. As I predicted in my Dec. 19 blog post, memories were made! Don’t Blink.