January and Februrary have been a lot of fun. I've been off work, though still going into the office most weekdays while the kids are in school, and we've had some fun weekends, but things have been moving at a bit of a slower pace for us than other months, and we feel like we're on an extended staycation in Boston these days.
On New Year's Day, I took Marcus downtown to see the 7th episode of "Star Wars." He was absolutely stunned about the events that had apparently taken place between the end of "Return of the Jedi" and the beginning of "The Force Awakens." "Wait wait wait," he repeated, shocked. "Han Solo and Princess Leia got MARRIED? Whoa." Meanwhile, Robert took Samantha to the Pru for a visit with Mary Poppins, some balloon animals, some face paint, and a magician, and then we all met up for dinner out (Korean fried chicken wings and sushi pizza, mmmm).
The next day, Miriam, Davis, Garrison, and Clarinda came over for brunch and a belated Christmas gift exchange, and the kids played for a couple hours while we visited and chatted.
On Robert's birthday, Sarah and Sean came over for a festive dinner of braised short ribs and angelfood cake, and Sean helped tweak the K'Nex roller-coaster set that they'd given Marcus for Christmas.
Both kids were happy to go back to school after the vacation and see their friends again. Marcus got a week of taking the bus to school, since orchestra doesn't start up until a week after the break, and Samantha got to fill me in on all the new assistant teachers at the center. One day when I picked her up, this drawing was in her cubby waiting to be brought home: "There's a fire hydrant [purple thing in the upper left] and two friendly vampire fire fighters. They're using their hoses to put out the fire. The water has to actually touch the fire for it to work."
On Martin Luther King Day weekend, we went to Arisia at the Westin hotel on Saturday. It was fun to hang out with Howard a little, and Marcus got some video game time and a lesson in Magic: The Gathering, while Samantha made dragon wings and duct tape roses, did a karate class, saw a magic show, and got a black dragon painted on her face (sidenote: the face painter here was very impressed with her ability to make a quick and decisive choice on the facepaint, and then to sit perfectly still, following directions, as long as it took. At one point, he had told her to close her eyes and even when he stood up to repair a Darth Maul face for a few minutes, she remained sitting completely still, eyes still closed). Both kids also went to a poi lesson (martial arts with balls on a string--or in this case, in socks).
The next day, after church, we went to Sarah and Sean's and got take-out from Los Amigos in West Roxbury (delicious rice, beans, fish, fish burritos, shrimp quesadillas--basically, you name it, it was great, and Samantha especialy appreciated the horchata) and spent a few hours helping them assemble a state fair Lego set with a dunk tank, scrambler ride, ticket booth, trucks to transport everything, strong man's booth, etc.
On Martin Luther King Day itself we woke up to snow--not a lot, but at 3-4", the most we'd seen since last spring (though since then we've had two snow days, and more snow!). Robert took the kids out for snowballs and playground time, then we all went to dim sum, and then again for a bit of sledding.
On Saturdays now, Samantha has been taking swimming lessons, and Marcus doing some tennis, both in the big gym at the same time. Afterwards, we've gone to a hockey game (Lexi's old team came up to play BU), alum ice skating in the big arena, and out to lunch to various fun places in the greater Allston-Brighton-Kenmore area.
The ice skating event was a lot of fun. The women's hockey team clustered around Samantha and helped her stay up. Marcus mostly refused to skate with the "big girls" and went around on his own or with Robert, but they both had a great time. Add in cookies, cocoa, and a performance by the figure skating team, and it was a great afternoon. Samantha even ran into a friend from "the center" there, Diego, and had a long conversation with him and his mom.
One Saturday afternoon, we celebrated Pop-pop's birthday with a take-out Chinese feast, cake, and Monopoly.
The kids also had a great time at Amalia's seventh birthday party, at a rock climbing gym in Randolph. Samantha and Sabrina spent most of their time bouldering (not using the harness/ropes) and Marcus went straight to the top of the regular wall and then all of the fun walls, including a tricky one with gears that threw most of the other kids for a loop.
Samantha spends hours daily drawing and writing (asking us how to spell things, but insisting on writing on her own). Top row from left, she drew a train with two engineers; then a gorilla in the zoo next to a Christmas banana tree; a person and a rainbow. Bottom row, she drew her and baby Helen with two rabbits holding carrots, and wrote the names of several of the groups from the center, plus her favorite teacher; the beginning of a tortoise and the hare story of her own; and Jabba the Hutt, which, if you turn him upside down, reverses to a strawberry tree.
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Created: 2/8/16. Last Modified: 2/8/16.