Sunday, December 13, 2015

December so far

I don't like that I haven't had time to do an in-depth post, to talk about all the wonderful things that happen here- but we have been BUSY.  Here are some photos of our past 2 weeks:

The first weekend in December, I took all 3 kids, by myself, into the city to see the light shows.  We started at Macy's. They have an old-fashioned light show and some organ music.  It was short and sweet. I had thought we would go see the "Dickens Christmas Village" but the line was 45 minutes long, through the lingerie department, with the 3 kids making trouble... so we left.  Whew!

Waiting for the light show. The boys were picking jewelry and watches for themselves
 Next stop, the Comcast Center. They had a very cool show with lots of fun holiday songs, and snow machines dropping snow on us- possibly the only snow we will see this winter!
Charlotte and kitty enjoying the show
For the first time in my adult life, I felt nervous about being in a crowded public place in the city.  I am not afraid of crowds, but all the recent news of mass shooting and the terror attacks in Paris nagged at the back of my head.  I made sure we were standing in a place I could easily get us out. I hate that I was thinking that way; I hate that I would have to think that way.

We went from there to the Christmas Village, which has stalls set up selling holiday goods, plus food, plus hot chocolate.  The kids got soft pretzels, and we picked out an ornament for Memere for Christmas.
Serious young men 
Charlotte is being held up by some random woman who offered to help me out
 We wanted to stay out of the house longer, since Eric was working with friends on our basement.  So even though the kids were getting tired (the boys walked about 3 miles with me!), we went out to lunch at Panera.  The weather was so warm that we were able to eat outside!  Everything was going great:
Until they just fell apart. Benjamin was hanging over the chair saying he didn't feel well, his tummy hurt, and he wanted to go home and take a nap.  I totally panicked, thinking he might have a tummy bug and start vomiting, so we hit the road fast and I made Eric rush home from his lunch break to help get the kids in bed. Benjamin went right to sleep, slept about 3 hours, and woke up totally fine.  I guess I just wore him out with all that walking.

That night, we had a dinner with my grad school friends and their offspring. 7 families: 14 adults, 14 kids (and 2 more on the way). It is total madness!  My friend took this picture:
 Our friends have an exercise room in their basement and I guess the kids were working off their dinner!  Benjamin is in the foreground wearing a safety vest and a yellow helmet.  This picture cracks me up!

Sunday, daddy was still working, so the kids and I went shopping for the "angel" we adopted from an angel tree at a YMCA.  We went first to Kohl's, where Asher struggled to understand that we could shop and not buy a single thing for him.  Our angel was a 5 year old girl, and her wishlist was: clothes, sneakers, snow boots, a winter coat.  The kids just couldn't understand that there would be someone out there who needed those things, and whose mommy and daddy couldn't just buy them.  In the end, they came around to it, and got excited picking out things for her.

We went to Costco to buy her a winter coat, but first had to stop for pizza and hot dogs at 10:30 am.

 Then the stress got to them.  Asher couldn't stand to be in the cart or walk, so he went through Costco like this:
 Here are some of the items we picked out for our angel: Coat, hat & gloves, pajamas, slippers, a reindeer necklace (Asher's special pick), underwear, socks, sneakers, several outfits.
 We also received a donated pair of brand new snow boats, and picked out some small toys at 5 Below.  Asher chose a rainbow unicorn beanie baby, and Benjamin chose Frozen-themed nail polish.  I ordered her a gum ball coin bank from Amazon and gum ball refills.  I really hope that she loves everything.

Sunday night began Hanukkah, and we hosted my parents and aunt Jane and uncle Ed here for dinner and candle lighting.  The kids were SO excited.

Monday, Charlotte and I had a whirlwind day but managed to squeeze in a visit to the Please Touch Museum.  Here she is curled up in a baby doll's crib! She insisted she fit.
 Monday night, we went to a friend's house for dinner, candles, and a gift exchange.  We got a little extra excitement when Charlotte pooped in her underwear and needed a bath and full outfit change.  A year and a half ago, Benjamin did the same thing there! I told my friend there must be something special in her house...

 Wednesday night, Eric and the kids went to another friend's house for Hanukkah and dreidel.  I was at work, but came at the end, completely hungry, grumpy, and anti-social.  I felt much better after I ate, but I was not a very nice person before that.

Thursday night, we had Hanukkah at yet another friend's house!  This was at our next door neighbor's house, and the kids made a gingerbread Hanukkah house, which they decorated, and then ripped apart and devoured.
Hanukkah house decorating
 We lit the candles together and I gave the kids each a package of 20 shopkins. What happiness that gave them!

Friday I ran the bake sale at Charlotte's school. In addition, it was her Hanukkah show.  There has been a lot of attrition in Hanukkah show attendance over the years, since her brothers continually failed to perform.  This year, NO ONE but me came to see Charlotte.  And you know what? She was great!  Smiling, dancing, and knew the words.  Maybe next year the family will turn out.

Charlotte in her Hanukkah hat- she is a pink candle
 We got back Charlotte's school photos, and she is beyond adorable. I could eat that sweet face!  Her sassy pose is not actually a pose, but artful cropping done by the photographer- I heard from numerous reliable sources that she would give a perfect smile and pull her dress up simultaneously.  This clever crop just hides her belly and underwear.
 On Saturday we drove up to Newton, MA for my cousin's daughter's bat mitzvah.  We stay in hotels so infrequently that the kids think it is the greatest adventure on Earth.  We packed our swim suits and played in the hotel pool, we walked across the street to Walgreen's, and then went to the Hanukkah party at my cousin's house.  (If you are counting, there are 8 nights of Hanukkah and we have spent every one of them with family or friends.)  My cousin's wife had thoughtfully bought gifts for all of the kids, and they were thrilled!  There was soda, sparkling cider, and Hanukkah gelt everywhere, so they all had sugar for dinner and were happy as could be.
 Charlotte was upstairs playing with some older girls, and Asher came to tell me that she was getting wet- My cousin's daughter had set her up with a bunch of barbies and a small plastic pool.  Charlotte was very enthusiastic with their swimming, and had made a huge mess on the (newly refinished hardwood) floor.  She was already soaked, so rather than end her happy fun, I stuck her in the bathtub.  Girl loved the barbies!
"Look, Mama! I get this one wet, her hair turns PINK!"
I had cleverly packed a full diaper bag before leaving Philadelphia, but then put the diaper bag in the hotel room and left it there. So when she needed a full outfit change, which I had in the diaper bag, I had nothing.  She ended the evening in her cousin's size 6 underwear, big tank top, and a tutu skirt.

Today was the bat mitzvah, which was lovely, but long for the kids.  They played outside, watched Netflix, and made bead necklaces.  Finally, it was lunch and party time!

Waiting for the service to end
 I was so excited for the kids to go to their first bat mitzvah.  They loved the music, the socks for dancing, and the photo booth. Oh, and the dessert! And the hot chocolate bar!  We left around 2 and I drove us home at a very speedy pace. We made 1 brief stop for a potty break and that was it- I shaved 30 minutes off of what was predicted to be a 5 hour and 30 minute drive.  As Eric said, I drive like my father.

Charlotte dancing with my uncle Richard. She LOVES him.
At home, we had a quick dinner and then celebrated the 8th night of Hanukkah. The kids loved their final gifts- I got Benjamin a dry erase board and he immediately drew a picture of himself with Daddy at the beach. Asher got an electronic safe with a code from Meema and Papa Nick, and he has already stored his most valuable treasures in there.  He has shared the code with Benjamin, Daddy, and me- but Charlotte is never allowed to know it.

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