Too. fun.


New Years Eve.

A few weeks before Christmas as I was pondering what to get my hubby, I realized that I knew exactly what he would love. A get-away with me. I did a bit of perusing of hotels on the internet, ones that looked interesting but weren’t terribly far away. And I made a lovely discovery. There is a lovely inn up in the mountains not far from our summer camping haunts. Lots of times we’ve driven past it and said to each other, ‘someday we’ll go there.’

When I looked up that hotel, I discovered that they have a yearly New Year’s Eve party, complete with a prime rib dinner, a dance, and fireworks at midnight. Too utterly perfect. I chatted with my mom to discover that yes, indeed, she was game to have all 10 kids over for a New Year’s Eve sleepover. Then I booked us a room, signed us up for the celebration, and told my hubby that he wasn’t working New Years this year.

Of course he was suspicious, but he didn’t get to know the details of my plans until Christmas. Then he grinned. Hugely.

So Monday evening we said goodbyes about a hundred times to the kids (how do they find SO MANY things to ask just as you are walking out?). We painfully extricated ourselves from the swarm of middles and littles who were hugging us all at once, hoped that the assurances our teenagers were giving us were warranted, and headed off on our adventure.

First stop– Barnes and Noble. Every year John’s mom spoils us with a gift card, and this year we decided it would be MUCH easier to help the kids with their selections if we got our own browsing done first. (Not to mention, much more relaxing!) Among other things, I found an interesting-looking Indian cookbook and a book of kids game ideas. Next we went out to lunch, and finally we got on our way towards our mountain get-away.

The snow was gorgeous. It was a brilliant day. Every tree had a weighty snow-shawl dragging its branches downward, looking like a perfect postcard, and even in the fastest-flowing sections of the river there were big hillocks of snow. The road was clear most of the way up, and traffic was light. The air was so cold that I got the shivers each time I opened the window to get a picture. By the time a few hours had passed, we’d solved most of life’s problems– or at least hashed over the most pressing concerns related to the kids right now — and were well on our way to relaxed.

Really, why don’t we do this more often?

The inn was lovely, bigger than it looks from the road, and gorgeously decorated for Christmas. There was a big winding staircase going up to the second floor, a huge fireplace, and wallpaper and china and antiques everywhere.

We signed in at the front counter, only to be told that we weren’t on the list for the dinner and dancing. “That sold out a week ago,” the man told us apologetically.

No way.

I realized I didn’t care terribly much about the prime rib dinner, but I did NOT want to miss out on dancing. I thought back to the communication I’d had with them. I’d booked online, but then when I hadn’t gotten a confirmation email, I’d called to doublecheck on the reservation. That was when I’d asked about the party and told the person on the phone to sign us up. I told all this to the man at the counter. He called someone and talked a minute, then came back to say it sounded like they’d dropped the ball someplace, and that he’d make it right. He hand-wrote us a ticket to the event, and few minutes later we were on our way to our room, breathing a sigh of relief, our planned evening of dancing still intact.

The room was lovely, with a fireplace and a nice bay window that overlooked the mountains. Since my usual get-ready time for anything usually involves at least 5 children coming in and out of my bathroom asking for things, I had a lovely time getting all fancied up SLOWLY and without interruption.

As far as jewelry, I ended up going with a shiny silver leafy necklace, bracelet and some understated blue earrings. You may notice in the following picture that I am also wearing my very classy $5 plastic Walmart watch that (I noticed later) still had paint drips on it from my project earlier in the week. Ah well. Nobody’s perfect. However, when I finally emerged from my hour-long primp in the bathroom, my hubby was properly impressed.

And off we went to eat prime rib and to go dancing. I had secretly been hoping that we might be seated at an intimate table for two, so that I wouldn’t have to make tiring nervewracking conversation with perfect strangers. But no, we were placed at a table with two very nice older couples, and ended up enjoying the time chatting with them. The ballroom was decorated with dozens of flocked slimline Christmas trees decorate with white lights, along with silver and red balloons for New Years. There were hordeourves horsderves little before-meal snacky-things and then came prime rib and baked potatoes.

It was a mixed group of people, ranging from little kids to elderly people. I’d guess the size of the crowd at somewhere between 120 and 150 people. Maybe 1/4 of the people there were in jeans, half were moderately dressed up, and the rest were dressed really elegantly. John had opted to go moderately dressed up– dark shirt and matching tie with khakis. I felt like he and I fit in quite nicely, while being secretly pleased that I was just a teensy bit fancier than many of the ladies there. (oh, vanity! but perhaps I could be forgiven my Cinderella moment since my real life doesn’t remotely resemble this–yesterday I drove home from errands with wet pants because my 3 year old peed MY pants! yeah.)

Anyway, back to the story. The dinner was nice, but John and I were most looking forward to the dance. John and I were the second couple out on the dance floor, much to the relief of the first couple! They thanked us.

Early on, people didn’t seem to want to dance much, but as the evening went on people got braver and the floor was packed, especially for the fast dances. Alcohol was not officially served at the dinner, though at about 1/3 of the tables people opted to BYOB. It was amusing to note that at the start of the dancing the people from those tables were the best dancers…two hours later, not so much.

John and I danced one dance entirely alone– John said that was the longest song he’d ever heard! But we wanted to dance more than we cared about embarrassment, and you know what? It had been a decade since we’d gone dancing, and it was great fun. By mid-evening, windows all over the room were open a few inches to cool off overheated dancers. Inches away, just outside, huge icicles hung glimmering from the rafters of the building. It was surprising how good that icy air felt from safe inside.

At 11:00 a funeral dirge sounded, and people marched in carrying 4 tables full of chocolate. It was a ‘death by chocolate’ extravaganza.

It was at this point that the kids came flooding back into the room too. During the dancing, many of them had gone into the next room to watch movies or play games. Others had gone to the pool for a swim. But when the chocolate arrived, they all showed up again.

And no wonder. There were truffles and cheesecakes and pies and puddings and cookies. I shudder to think of how many calories I consumed in 10 minutes flat. But, mmmmm, it was good. At 11:30 they passed out sparkling cider and we toasted the new year. Then it was off to our rooms to grab coats so that we could gather in front of the hotel to watch the fireworks at midnight. We opted to watch from the comfort of our (kinda) heated van. It was 5 below zero at the time, so it was chilly even after the heat kicked in. But it was way better than standing out in the snow. Nevertheless I saw at least one kid playing in the snow in a t-shirt and jeans.

The fireworks were really spectacular– it was a perfect end to the day. The next morning’s breakfast spread was almost as nice as the previous evening’s goodies. There were make-your-own waffles, biscuits and gravy, cappucinos, fruit, eggs, bagels, and almost anything else you could imagine for breakfast. We waddled wandered back to our room sleepily and by noon we were heading back down the mountain back to real life. But, oh, the fun we’d had.

Now there’s a New Year’s day to remember.


  1. What a great trip for you two! It sounds like you had such a marvelous time. It’s amazing how much a little time together can be so refreshing and just plain ROMANTIC.

    Good for you for taking the bull by the horns, Mary!

  2. Awww! I want one of those types of nights.

    I’m really glad you got one.

    And you did look quite cute in that little black number.

    It sounds like the evening was perfect.

  3. That looks and sounds like so much fun. How wonderful that you got a little time away to rejuvinate and spend some alone time together.

    Happy New Year,

  4. That sounds absolutely perfect.

  5. It sounds so perfect! How wonderful. And what a gift for you and your husband to share. You truly are an inspiration to me!

  6. That sounds amazing!

  7. Hi Owl Haven~
    I wanted to pop over and introduce myself as we have 2 kids adopted from Africa. I loved seeing the pictures of your beautiful family.
    Our adoption story was on Oprah last year. It might encourage you to see how supportive she was of the whole thing. You can see it on my blog if you click on the Oprah tab. Sweet blessings for your 2008. Bless you for what you are doing with your kids and you looked LOVELY in your dress!

  8. That sounded like FUN!!! You looked amazing in your dress, very good choice!!!!
    What a great way to kick off the year – taking care of your marriage 🙂 Good idea mom!

  9. That sounds like it was absolutally lovely. I am so looking forward to the day that my hubby and I can have an evening like that.

  10. simplejill says:

    Just look at you!! So gorgeous and glowing like a teenager in that last photo! Sounds like a wonderful way to ring in the New Year. It’s been ages since DH and I danced and your post reminded me of how much we both love it. Maybe it’s time for me to schedule a secret get-away.

  11. You look marvelous! What a lovely gift to your hubby. You can see the joy shining in both your eyes. Have a happy 08. 🙂

  12. How fun! Thanks for sharing, and you look beautiful.

  13. sounds like bliss.

    and you looked stunning!

    thanks for inspiring me for a new year’s date in our future!

  14. multi-taskingmom says:

    Mary what a gift for both of you! You looked great – nobody would have guessed that a 3 year old pee’d YOUR pants just hours before.

  15. It sounds like heaven, Mary. So glad you had a getaway with your hubby to reconnect and enjoy each other’s time – without distraction!

  16. Wonderful!

  17. WOW! That sounds positively perfect!! Sometimes those “best laid plans” can become comedies of errors…glad you guys had such a great time!

    You look beeyooteeful, too!

  18. What a fabulous way to bring in the new year, and you looked mahvelous too! It is always wonderful to be more fancy than less. Truly a Cinderella moment . . . Happy New Year, Mary!

  19. Mary, you look so lovely and elegant. Even with the watch! 😉 So glad you had such a wonderful getaway. Happy New Year!!

  20. Oh, yay! I’m so excited to hear about your getaway! That is awesome! You look great too!

  21. sounds fantastic! My husband and I try to get away twice a year (usually only for one night) bot dont you just find yourself even more in love all over again? -) I am glad it went as you hoped!!

  22. Gorgeous!! I loved the detailed account and photos. I’ve been checking every day, hoping for the details. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.
    Hubby and I read it together, ooh-ing and aaah-ing over the pics and descriptions and deciding that we DEFINITELY need to have a getaway like yours. [:-)
    So glad your datenight was everything you had hoped for.
    Love, Rachel

  23. Oh that sounds so wonderful. Could it have been any better! I really need to do something like this with my dh!

  24. That sounds so much fun…and romantic!
    The dress looked great, too!

  25. so happy for you says:

    That dress was perfect- you looked beautiful! 🙂

  26. sincerelyanna says:

    I just love the way you write…so flowing yet so detailed. I smiled the whole time reading about your special getaway.

  27. How very wonderful! I’m so happy for you! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your getaway with us, too. I smiled reading all of it, but I have to admit that I laughed out loud when you mentioned getting your pants peed FOR you! Been there, done that. Oh, the glamour of everyday life! But now you have the memory of your getaway to savor as you shuffle up to change pants =).

  28. You are my number one inspiration! I am going to find a way to make this happen next year!

  29. Awesome! A dream date! Sounds like you had a completely fabulous time!

  30. Aw. Thanks for letting us in on the details. I hope to do this soon. And I agree with Sincerely Anna; you ARE a wonderful writer.

    Exhibit A:
    “Every tree had a weighty snow-shawl dragging its branches downward, looking like a perfect postcard, and even in the fastest-flowing sections of the river there were big hillocks of snow.”
    Gorgeous. I didn’t even need to see the picture you took!

  31. Woohoo, mama! You look awesome! Way to go. Sounded like heaven.

  32. OK, OK….am I the ONLY one who noticed you left out the best parts? ha!
    I know what is on our minds FIRST THING when the kiddies are all safely tucked away…
    But then I guess it wouldn’t be as much of a family blog….
    oh well. But ya know, the family had to GET there in the first place…

    (You could have at least led us along a little …. You know, something along the lines of….
    “and then we kissed tenderly, and then more passionately, and then, dear Reader, I swooned into his strong loving arms as the lights dimmed….” FADE TO BLACK)


  33. I DID so enjoy the story though.
    And you looked gorgeous–the dress was just right, great jewelry, great shoes—
    So glad you had fun.
    And like every other reader of your story, I smiled the whole way through.
    And vowed to do something similar next year.
    That is going to be my 2208 Christmas present to my hubby.
    (It will probably take me this entire year to talk one set of parents or aunts/uncles to take on the chilluns.)

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  34. Oops did my other comment get moderated out?

  35. Oh, Mary, you look beautiful in that dress, and I’m so happy that you and your hubby were able to get away for such a wonderful evening!! 🙂

  36. What a wonderful date! You have great ideas.

  37. how terrific! sounds like a great way to kick off the new year! i love the dress!! happy new year! xo

  38. Hi Mary,

    You looked beautiful.
    Oh how I would love to get a away as well.
    ( Melkam Addis Amet = in Amharic) ( Happy New Year!)

  39. That sounds wonderful! I actually got my husband the same *gift* for Christmas this year. We are heading into Chicago this weekend for a night on the town sans children. It will be the first time we’ve left our adopted kids overnight, but it’s with my sister-in-law, who they adore so hopefully everyone will manage for 24 hours without us. Thanks for sharing your story—now I really can’t wait for our trip!

  40. It sounds wonderful!

  41. Sounds fabulous and you look gorgeous. And of couse I’d like any place that was pro-antique.

  42. Mary, that sounds so wonderful! What a dreamy evening!

    Bill and I really need to plan a night away. You have inspired me!

  43. This sounds like the perfect Christmas present! Happy New Year.

  44. Oh, he must have been stoked to have you all to himself. You deserve such a beautiful night, you hard-working wonderful mama, you. And you look beautiful!

  45. I’m so envious – uh – HAPPY for you!!



    my husband, who does not pay very much attention to blogging saw your beautiful picture and said “Who is that?”

    No wonder!


  46. You look gorgeous! Sounds like you two had the perfect getaway. I think I am going to have my husband read your post to hopefully get a few ideas. 🙂

  47. I’m so glad your dress had fun! 🙂 That’s definitely sounds like something you should do again sometime.

  48. How wonderful it all sounds, and you look lovely!