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Month: January 2016

not The Long Winter

not The Long Winter

We’ve been reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder this month and being really grateful that this winter, so far, has been unseasonably warm and dry. But we also felt a bit like we were missing out on the opportunity to empathize with the Ingalls family, who endured blizzard after blizzard after blizzard as both their food and fuel supplies dwindled.

So when a blizzard popped up in the forecast, we were a little bit excited to imagine what Laura and her family went through in their little house in their little town. Elsa’s gymnastics class was the same day as the blizzard, and when it was not cancelled (and we clearly couldn’t deprive the girl of her first class—especially with that excited smile on her face you see below), we joked that maybe we should send Micah with a clothes line so that if the snow and wind got bad enough, he would be able to find his way home with Elsa. (In the book, Pa rigs up a clothes line to hold onto when he goes from the back door of the house to the stable a few yards away because without it, he could get lost in the wind and snow.)

It was a joke, but it turns out that Micah did have to walk through the blizzard with Elsa to get home. While the trains and buses were still running when he took her to gymnastics, an hour later, there was nothing. No public transportation, no cars on the roads, no chance of calling anyone to come get him. So he walked the 2 1/2 miles home (mostly uphill) through the blizzard, with Elsa on his back.

It wasn’t as bad as the blizzards of The Long Winter, but it was closer than we actually thought we would get. He and Elsa were pretty cold and wet when they got home. We were glad she had insisted on wearing the only pair of snow pants we own, even though they are 2 sizes too big. And, of course, we were glad to have plenty of hot chocolate and marshmallows and popcorn to help warm them up before we curled up on the couch and watched “Big Hero 6” while the storm blew outside.

We stayed inside for the rest of the storm, but we all went out today to play in the snow. We threw plenty of snowballs, made a little snowman, and played “capture the sled” for a bit before heading back inside for more hot chocolate, marshmallows, and popcorn. (Church was cancelled). It was a lot of fun. And totally nothing like Laura’s family had to endure.

(These photos were taken early in the day . . . the storm didn’t end for about 12 more hours. So yeah. Lots more snow fell.)

shoelaces

shoelaces

Shoelaces are hard. There is definitely a part of me that wonders why kids’ shoes even have that option. Certainly slip-ons and velcro can do the job until they become teenagers. Nevertheless, we recently bought 4 new pairs of shoes (play shoes and Sunday shoes) for the boys—and all of them have laces.

Simon has been tying his own laces for a while now. He usually wears slip-ons, but at least he can tie shoes if he needs to. Oliver, however, not so much. We got the shoes with the intent to teach him, but for the first few weeks just . . . didn’t.

And then one day after school I noticed his shoe was untied. I offered to tie it. I was almost done when he 1. took my hat and 2. walked away. I was super annoyed and told him I wasn’t tying his shoe again. He’d have to live with it if it came untied. Which, of course, it did before we even left the school grounds. But he was a good sport and lived with it.

We were almost home—just making our way to the last platform to catch the last train that would take us to our apartment—when his shoelace got caught in the escalator. Again, I was super annoyed and while it wasn’t difficult to pull it out and free him, I was less than patient about doing it. “You are learning to tie your shoes and I am never doing it for you again!” was my basic reaction.

So we sat down together and I showed him how to tie his shoes. And then he tied his shoes. And then he did it again. And again. And the whole thing took less than 5 minutes and I felt a little silly for not teaching him earlier. Turns out, even if he’s small, he’s a quick study. And one day he may even be completely independent.

‘nastics girl

‘nastics girl

For months now Elsa has been talking about her “‘nastics class.” This was before Micah and I really considered signing her up for one. But she was sure it was happening, and she would sometimes practice “back flips” on our bed. (Imagine a 3 year-old running around and randomly flopping on her back. And sometimes doing a forward roll.)

But there was also the couple of months in which she could not NOT be upside down. Always with the handstands! Usually against a wall or on the couch. She was determined to get it right. And cartwheels too. No matter that she often ended up bonking her head before she made it all the way back to her feet, she was going to learn to do a cartwheel.

So with that kind of drive and determination in evidence, we took her to a trial class at a little gym not too far away last month, and then signed her up to start the next round of classes. The class didn’t start until this week, and for the past week we have had the privilege of having her ask every day if it is Saturdayyet and talk about how her ‘nastics class starts “tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow” finally came, and not even a blizzard could dampen her enthusiasm (or close the gym . . . at least for the morning class). She (and Micah) made it through the snow and she got to spend an hour doing things like leap frog and trampoline jumps and swinging on the bar and I don’t know exactly what else. But she was thrilled. And excited to wear her leotard as well.

We are excited for her, of course, and look forward to seeing what she can do. I have no doubt she’ll be doing real back flips before we know it.

nye in nyc

nye in nyc

New Years’ Eve is one of a couple of holidays that I feel like we never really get right. It’s a week after Christmas and 3 days after our anniversary, and by the time we get around to thinking about it (unless someone else has done it for us and we have been invited somewhere) it generally consists of: “Let’s watch a movie or stream tv shows until midnight.” But staying up until midnight is kind of an everyday occurrence for us, which makes it not at all challenging and somewhat anti-climactic.

This year we decided to live on the wild side and we let the boys stay up watching movies with us. Big change. Totally made things special.

And actually we killed two rites of passage with one stone: “Flight of the Navigator” and their first New Year’s Eve all in one night. Super special.

Unfortunately, the movie didn’t get us all the way to midnight, so the boys filled in with a round of Robot Turtles, which went well since no one loses. (Which doesn’t mean they didn’t try to find a way to “win” anyway.)

But even that fell short of the mark by about 10 minutes. I was sure Oliver would crash and miss the festivities by 5 minutes or less, but he surprised me and was awake to watch fireworks from our balcony. (Never mind that the fireworks were a reflection off the building on the next block . . . it was still cool, okay?)

So, good times. I’m not sure I’d want to turn that little mess into our NYE tradition, but having the boys along for the ride was something I would do again, just to spice up our normal routine.