Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye 2012!

I'm glad 2012 is over. It wasn't a horrible year, but so many sad things happened at the end that it's nice to have a fresh start. We spent our last day of 2012 as a family -- a trip to local aquarium that was supposed to occur on the twins' birthday but never happened. I was so, so happy that we could fit this in during the holiday. For me, it was a special day.

Bunny Twin checks out twin Nemos and Dorys.
We visited the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn. We had visited here many times previously, but never with the little ones. It is one of Big Girl's favorite places to visit.

Big Girl watches the seal feeding from above.
In Connecticut, we have two aquariums: this one, and Mystic Aquarium. The latter is definitely a more popular destination, and although I enjoy its Beluga whales and penguins, the Norwalk aquarium is less crowded, making it a more enjoyable trip. And it has plenty to see and experience: Seals and sharks and giant sea turtles and sting rays and meerkats.

The Maritime Aquarium recently had a little makeover, and it was incredibly clean -- much more so than Mystic Aquarium, which has seemed rather shabby during recent trips. The Norwalk aquarium also gets a big round of applause for a recent kind gesture: They are giving free admission to all Newtown residents, Newtown teachers and Newtown first responders for 2013, as a gesture of kindness after the Sandy Hook tragedy. (Considering the admission price, that is a very generous gesture!)

Trying out turtle shells.
This was one of the first trips we have taken without a stroller. We decided to let the twins have a little freedom. Bunny Twin was much more well behaved than Buddy Twin, who did not want to listen and liked to throw himself on the ground whenever he didn't want to move from a location. Ah, the joys of being a parent of a toddler!

"He's looking at me!!"
Bunny Twin making friends with the fish.
However, in the end, I was pleasantly surprised at how well we all managed. It turned out better than expected, and everyone had a good time. Bunny Twin especially enjoyed the trip -- she is an animal lover and I think marine life fall into that realm as well!

My first attempt at the Pic Stitch app on my iPhone.
Not sure if I'm a fan yet.
For New Year's Eve, we did our usual family thing -- stay home and enjoy time together. Usually we watch movies, but this year Big Girl requested that we watch the "Cake Boss" marathon on the TLC channel, so we did. The twins went to bed on schedule, but the three of us stayed up to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

Photo: New Year Cookies
Cookies for our New Year's Day dessert.
New Year's Day was a visit to my parents house for dinner, and everyone is back on schedule today with school and work. I think today is actually harder for me than it was a few weeks ago after Sandy Hook -- having Big Girl home for so long has definitely spoiled me and I am sad to have her go back to school and away from us for the day.

For me, Christmas is officially over now. I am a firm believer in carrying the holiday spirit until New Year's Day -- the tree does not come down earlier! This week, it's time to start dismantling the decorations and cleaning up the toys and starting fresh. I have a lot of clearing out and decluttering to do, and hopefully I will share some progress with you.

Happy New Year!

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