I finally have a date set to go back to work! I need a permission note to return and my doc is on vacation this week, so I have an appointment on Monday to get clearance to return and will start back on Tuesday. I will likely spend my first few days back working part-days cutting diets and hopefully doing some other light stuff and then get back into my string. I keep laughing at myself because I'm just as excited about going back to work as I would be if I had a big vacation planned. Every time I think of it I get a little wave of happiness. Hopefully the happiness will last at least a little while!
Gene's been off work since last Wednesday and the kids have been off school since Thursday. We've had a wonderful time! Santa came Thursday morning and the kids have maximized their time with new toys and video games. Kaylin got the Playmobil school. It is currently taking up our kitchen table with its hugeness. The set is detailed down to Playmobil figure sized pads of paper. It's one of the best sets I've seen; even Logan likes playing with it. I think Logan's favorite present is a set of bases. They're white rubber, slightly raised and very heavy. He sets those things up everywhere and slides into them about a million times a day. I literally just replaced all of his outgrown school pants and jeans (ALL with ripped out knees) right before this break. It will be a miracle if any of his new jeans make it through this week with knees intact!
We've mostly been hanging around home together, playing with new toys and games and having fun. We left home Sunday morning and headed to Starved Rock to get away and spent the night at Grand Bear Lodge. Being at Starved Rock and being unable to hike drove me INSANE. There was a ton of fresh snow so the kids bundled up in all their gear and played in the snow on the picnic tables and then slid down the hills from the visitor center. We then drove around to a viewing area at the dam and spent some time watching eagles and watching a barge come through the locks. That was really fun and required very little walking. The waterpark resort is maybe half a mile from the main park entrance. We checked in at ~12:30 and were happy our room was ready. We were starving so headed over to the amusement park building to eat and play before the kids started swimming. The food was incredibly expensive and just barely edible, but that didn't get us down. The amusement park was open, but so understaffed I think there might have been one person running all the rides. Well, we just ate and all the rides spin or drop so that didn't get us down. We moved into our room. The deal was that Gene would take the kids to the waterpark right after the Bears game. Meanwhile, I took them to the arcade and we had a wonderful time. I couldn't swim this trip because I need my cast to walk and didn't want to even enter the water area because there are so many jets of water it would have been hard to keep my foot dry. I drove around and found a Subway for dinner while the kids swam and Gene played on his computer. I returned to the room, put everything away and figured I'd at least try to relieve Gene and watch the kids swim a while. They'd been at the waterpark a little over an hour and I assumed they'd want to stay MUCH longer. Nope. It was so freezing cold they were ready to be done.
Both kids took long, hot showers and agreed they were done swimming for this trip. The waterpark was fun, but the cold water made it miserable. Wow. All I can say is that water must have been COLD. My kids swim until they're blue and then protest leaving. To not even want to TRY again? Brrrrrrrrr. We hung out in the room until 8pm when Gene took the kids to the hotel's showing of How to Train Your Dragon. Eight is way too late for me to go to a movie! I knew I'd be asleep in seconds so I just stayed at the room and read (and fell asleep within seconds.) They liked the movie and had a good time staying up late.
The plan for Monday was to swim all morning until we needed to check out and then hit the amusement park until we were ready to head home. Well, the kids didn't want to swim at all and the amusement park didn't open until 11. They wanted to go back to the arcade. We packed all our stuff and checked out of our room, hit the arcade for a while and left the resort around 10am. We drove around LaSalle-Peru just to see what it was like and then headed home. We stopped and picked up lunch in Chillicothe and were home shortly after noon. It was kind of a bust of a trip, but strangely- we all had a good time doing the things we did and were all perfectly happy being back at home. For anyone considering it- I do NOT recommend Grand Bear Lodge in the winter! It can be a great, fun place, but go in the summer when the barely heated pools are no big deal and the amusement park is actually staffed! Starved Rock, on the other hand, was absolutely beautiful with all that fresh snow and I would have LOVED to hike back into some of those canyons! It would have been amazing!
I hope to spend my final week off work playing with my kids and cleaning and decluttering the house. Today the Christmas decorations are coming down!