Marcus is five and a half, liking school, loving orchestra, learning more words of Mandarin, and enjoying piano lessons and karate lessons. He loves the "Reading Rainbow" and "Math Ninja" apps on the iPad, he loves "kids' night" on Friday nights (with Korean frozen yogurt first), and he's in a phase of learning everything he can about certain animals--salmon, owls, musk ox, wolves. . . .
Samantha is two and loving "baby school" (i.e., daycare on campus near me). She begs to go even when it's not a school day, and she is full of details about her day: "I play 'Follow Shannon and dance around' with Shannon and my friend Quentin!" or "I do art, I paint using yellow and purple and then I tell Becky I all done at the painting table!" or "I play in sand with Lucia! We dig a hole!" or "I love my little cheese at lunch. Christy helped me open it and I eat it all." She, too, will profess a deep and abiding love for, say, musk ox, if given the tiniest bit of prompting.
They play together wonderfully when we're home (and there have been several snow days, so we've gotten our share of good cozy times at home), but often we are out, keeping busy and enjoying everything the city has to offer.
In January, for Robert's birthday, we went to dim sum with Jef and Jin Yoon and their kids, and then we also had a dumpling-making party with Sarah and Sean and Rebecca and her friend Rob. The dumplings were fun to make, but ended up less than perfect in all. Still, we had fun, and there was ice cream cake and angelfood cake for dessert. The next day Robert and Samantha joined his father and friend for a birthday dinner out, complete with sushi and more cake, too.
In January Samantha also had her two-year well-child visit, and was amazingly compliant about being poked and prodded and weighed and measured.
We had Marissa and Alex over to watch the figure skating Nationals (held right in Boston).
We all enjoyed the snow.
We were thrilled to have another brief visit from Grandma and Pop-pop, as they came up to work a bit on their new apartment and meet with an electrician.
We went to Winterfest again, and helped Carlos and Sandra and their daughters with an ice sculpture, and also enjoyed eating in the fancy new dining hall. The kids got glitter tattoos that were really very elaborate, and we all had a great day.
We went skating a few times, first on the Frog Pond (Samantha's first time on her "beautiful ice skates") and then at the North End rink with Marcus's school at a school-wide family outing. Marcus is getting better at it, though he still clings to the side.
We went to a few of Cousin Lexi's hockey games, thrilled to watch her and her teammates play (Go, Friars!). Marcus loves the snacks, the Zambonis, the chance to blow a kazoo for over an hour non-stop (except while eating snacks), and the many opportunities to high-five the players. Samantha does not love the buzzer ("That horn make me a little nervous. I a little scary," she says), and she usually takes a nap for part of the game, but both kids liked the chance to get out on the ice and skate with some of the players after one of the games.
Then we took advantage of a 50-degree day (Groundhog Day) to go to the park and ride bikes after church on Sunday--it was Samantha's first day on the balance bike, and she loved the idea of it, though she's not ready to take off down hills on her own quite yet. Marcus of course (literally) rode circles around her on his bike, which we will have to raise the seat of soon, as he's gotten so much taller since last summer.
We celebrated the birthday of one of Marcus's friends, we saw Basil (visiting from Minnesota!) for grilled skewered meat and then boba, and we celebrated Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse) with Juan Carlos, Lina, and Juan Carlos, all in one fun-filled weekend.
On the Sunday of the Chinese New Year festival, we walked down past the Common to Chinatown. There was much big talk about trying to catch a squirrel.
Samantha hated the lions, the drumming, the dancing, and the noise. She shrunk into my sling and whined and begged to go away from the lions. I fled with her to dim sum to reserve a table, and once there she brightened up considerably. "I not a little scary anymore," she said. "I somewhere safe from the lions." Phew, close call.
Dim sum was great, of course, and then we went to the Chinatown Trade Center to hear some stories, do some coloring and origami, watch some more lions, see the giant inflatable god of the lucky money, get free candy and light bulbs (random, no?), and watch this master sculptor meticulously make people or peacocks or dragons for each kid there, at about fifteen minutes, at least, per child. What a wonderful day! Marcus had a ball playing with Juan Carlos (almost eight), and Samantha napped from the end of dim sum through all of the stories and dough art and the final lions, thank goodness.
Finally, here are some of Marcus's art creations this month--some from school, some from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event at the MFA, many of them hanging up in our hallway, and one from kids' night (with friend Ty):
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Created: 2/9/14. Last Modified: 2/9/14.