I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve, and it seems like each year, I am more and more conflicted on how to spend it. It’s my birthday, which is part of the reason I hate/love it. New Year’s Eve sucks as a birthday because it means double the build-up, equaling to double the let-down should the day play out in any kind of mundane way. I am not immune to the birthday blues . . . those pangs of disappointment when THE BIG DAY is less than stellar. When you add New Year’s Eve expectations to that, it’s even more problematic. I feel like New Year’s Eve is this looming holiday we’ve given so much import to . . . that there is some underlying meaning we’ve assigned to how we spend ringing in the new year. (Right? Or is this just me?) I’ve always felt like I had to be doing something spectacular as the clock struck midnight . . . like if I wasn’t surrounded by confetti and music and kissing someone I love, the rest of the year would inexplicably be ruined. Ah . . . but God forbid you try to go out to eat on New Year’s Eve with a small group. God forbid you actually want to ring in the New Year at an establishment that serves food or drink . . . because they will make you pay out the nose for the privilege of occupying a chair once the clock strikes. It’s insane and nearly impossible to find a place to go that is fun, that isn’t overpriced, and that doesn’t turn into a parade of drunk idiots come 10pm. Add kids to the mix and it becomes relatively impossible to do anything. And yet . . . one year we decided to sit New Year’s Eve out . . . to just stay home and watch a countdown, and oh my word. I just felt so old and lame and lonely. I seriously remember thinking, “This is it. This is the year we are officially old.” Was I over-exaggerating and making too much of some symbolic milestone that really has no relevancy over my day-to-day life and well-being? Sure. I was. But I’m also the girl who named her blog Rage Against the Minivan. So. This year, we were in Daytona for New Year’s. I woke up to find the kids bringing me homemade cards and breakfast in bed. It was a sweet way to start the day. The weather was perfect so we spent the afternoon at the beach. Happy place. Two of my friends from high school came to visit with their kids. We sat by the pool and had a celebratory drink while the kids swam. Then we went back to the room and ordered pizza while the kids made some kind of disgusting slime candy in organ-shaped molds. Gross. I swapped the birthday cake in favor of chocolate fondue and strawberries. YUM. Henry and Carol left around 9, and then we were left figuring out how to spend the rest of the evening. Do we put the kids to bed and settle in for some Anderson and Kathy? Or should we venture out to the street party going on just outside the hotel? Well. GO BIG OR GO HOME. We decided that since the kids were still on west coast time, this might be the New Year’s that we actually let them stay up until midnight. We headed out for the Daytona boardwalk. First stop: ferris wheel. Not gonna lie – I lost my stomach on that one. It was SCARY! Then we ventured into the midway and gave the kids some money to play games. Then we found a photobooth and tried to get a family picture. We tried TWELVE different photos. This was the best one. I think our family is officially too big for a photobooth. Thus far, we were having a good time, and the crowd seemed relatively family-friendly. We decided to mosey down to Main Street, where the main block party was happening. It was crowded, but not too crowded. There were plenty of drunk, staggering people but also plenty of other families, so we decided to stay and let the kids get their groove on. Hey, Macarena! One of the local bars was doing a dance contest with a video camera as the prize, and Jafta decided that HE MUST WIN. I’ve never laughed so hard. He was dancing like a maniac. Jafta, and about 20 girls dressed in very skimpy clothing. To his shock and dismay, he did not win. A girl wearing a shirt that said “WHITE GIRL DRUNK” took home the coveted prize. This is the point at which I decided that perhaps our decision to bring four kids to a rowdy Daytona street party was not my smartest parenting move. Perhaps we’d flown to close to the sun? Still, it was about 10 minutes until midnight, and I decided that we should go watch the ball drop. Getting to this area meant all of us squeezing through a sea of drunk and disorderlies. Some of my children may have started to cry. I might have had an altercation with a handsy drunk guy. I might have regretted going out. But hey! We got to see the ball drop! (Totally not worth it). But the fireworks show on the walk home was nice. And the kids were quite proud that they’d stayed up until midnight. How about you? What do you usually do for NYE? Do you feel compelled to go out or are you happy staying home? How did you ring in the new year?