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Month: February 2015

mid-winter break

mid-winter break

I have no idea whose idea it was to let the kids out of school for an entire week during the coldest part of the year. I also have no idea if I would rather shake their hand or kick their shin.

On the one hand: at least we didn’t have to wake up early and go through the morning rush or suffer through another week of pick up on frigid days.

On the other hand: I had three kids in a small apartment with nothing to do and very little desire to feel the frigid air.

Having said that, I would now like to pat myself on the back for having executed what I consider to be a darn good mid-winter break.

We spent two days at the children’s museum and another at the Museum of Math. We had a little Chinese New Year party with some friends. We opened a couple of new galaxies in Super Mario Galaxy. Because we were on vacation and we could.

But most importantly we did not drive each other crazy. There was not a lot of yelling or fighting or tears. And even I did not feel crazy/frazzled by the end of the week.

So, yay! But next year, I’m gunning for spending mid-winter break somewhere tropical. 

 

 

jar of hearts

jar of hearts

February is as good a time as any to encourage good deeds and random, small, sometimes planned acts of kindness within the family.

If we get 100 hearts in the jar by the end of the month, we get to treat ourselves to a treat out on the town (or down the street).

Some things we’ve done:

Elsa helped Oliver finish his dinner.

Simon held the door for everyone at the train station.

Oliver held my bag while I tied Elsa in the carrier.

I carried both Oliver and Elsa across the street to the train station.

Dad helped tie the notes on all the Valentines.

So, yeah. Little things like that. And when March begins, we’ll empty the jar and start all over. We’re hoping to make some habits here.
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valentine’s day and valentine’s day

valentine’s day and valentine’s day

There are two Valentine’s Days, as I’m sure you know.

There’s the one you celebrate with the people you love, and then there’s the one you celebrate with your lover.

There’s the one you celebrate with little people running and dancing and screaming around you while their parents—your friends—have a quiet dinner at some undisclosed location.

There’s the one you celebrate with the one person you could spend all day and all night and all year and all life with while your friends chill with your little people.

There’s the one with lots and lots of icing and sprinkles and hearts and sugar and food coloring.

There’s the one with (artichoke) heart-filled shells, in a ricotta cream sauce, with “candles” and twinkle lights.

There’s the one where you spread the love as far and wide as little legs are able to go and it leaves you giddy and excited at all the people you made smile.

There’s the one where you dive deep into the years and years of history you’ve lived and it leaves you feeling grateful and peaceful and happy and eternal.

the valentine’s were from me

the valentine’s were from me

You know how it is. You see the holiday coming, you make a simple plan, you think it will be easy and smooth and you will have won the mom of the year award before the year is even a quarter of the way over. (Hey, a girl can dream.)

But then you realized that you miscalculated. Because there is not just one holiday, but THREE.* Additionally, the plan, simple as it is, takes time and is not as child-friendly in practice as it was in theory. Also: homework. Homework takes priority on school nights. And not everyone is as energetic about their homework as their mom wishes they were.

So there’s that.

What I’m trying to say is that even though the boys’ Valentine cards had their names hand-written on them by the boys themselves, it was a facade to hide the fact that they were really from me. I made the chocolate truffles. I put them in little bags. I tied them with strings and attached the cards. They were in no way personalized for each child. But that does not diminish the fact that I am very grateful to all those little people my boys get to spend all day with, and I don’t mind that it turned into my personal project. Not this time, anyway.

But next year, we’ll do better.

 

*Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 100th Day of School

picking on pickup

picking on pickup

The bike is in cold storage for the winter. (Meaning, it’s sitting on the balcony, waiting for warmer days.)

This means that every afternoon Elsa and I run across the street to catch a train, so we can take it one stop, run down 3 flights of stairs, catch another train, take it four stops, cross the platform to catch another train, take it 3 stops, walk up 2 flights of stairs and 7 blocks so we can be there happy and smiling when the boys get out of school.

And then we do it all in reverse, with two more people along for the ride.

I’m just going to say it straight out: It’s not my favorite.

One day I tried to make it a little more fun by stopping at a bakery and getting a baked good for the kids to share. That led to several days of broken hearts when we didn’t get a baked good when we passed by the bakery.

Several times Elsa has fallen asleep in my arms just before we got to our final stop on the train. I carried her in my arms the 15 minute walk to and from the school, and in a couple of cases, almost all the way home.

Another time she didn’t fall asleep until we were almost home, and she was so cranky she threw a tantrum, laid down on the (dirtynastysticky) floor of the train and screamed if I even looked at her.

Most days it’s just me and the kids, walking over snow and ice. I try to remind myself that the joy is in the journey, but often by the time we finally get to the station I’ve lost all my patience for climbing on the snow banks and ice piles and reminding them that the ice next to the street is off limits and watching them kick ice puck after ice puck down the sidewalk until I draw a line at one more kick and then we need to keep.on.walking.

It rarely feels like a victory when we finally make it through the door. I’m too tired to be relieved, to frazzled to quickly smooth things over.

So I pop some popcorn or mix some trail mix and try to listen as Simon tells me about his day or Oliver reads his books to me. But really, I’m getting a little antsy to bust that bike out of the ice.