It's been a busy but fun past few months. January started off with a bang when Sarah and Sean took Helen and a bunch of little girls to Disney on Ice. Cue multiple Elsas, obviously. It was a formative experience for Helen and Evie, at any rate, who after that insisted on wearing their Elsa cloaks to all hockey games, to recreate that Disney on Ice experience.
Then we went to Frozen Fenway with Sarah, Sean, Evie, Shanti, and Marcus's friend George. The big boys mostly spent the evening upstairs in an off-limits box area, or constantly being told to leave said box area by staff. We were freezing but happy and watched the BU women's team not win. I also discussed the unfair double standards of society when some dopey male fans ripped off their shirts and whooped and hollared and were not thrown out of the stadium for indecent exposure.
We made a nice winter Sunday afternoon visit to the Museum of Science one weekend, and then we also went to the new Art of the Brick Lego art exhibit on Newbury Street another weekend.
I also got to break out my wraps and slings for a morning of babywearing babysitting, and we had a few snowy days back in January.
We've enjoyed some different restaurants and some familiar ones.
Helen went to her first Chuck E. Cheese birthday party (while Robert, Samantha, and I were in Tukure, a Nepali restaurant in the back of a convenience store just a few minutes away.
Helen raced through all the Harry Potter books by the end of February. She's going through a Greek myths stage now.
In February the weather warmed up so much it was basically spring, and all our plants got fooled. It was Pop-pop's birthday, and the girls were playing outside very happily. Other events right around then were a glass fusing class for Samantha and Sean, and some visits to the new Embrace sculpture.
Lunar new year, the year of the rabbit (or cat) was celebrated with great festivities.
Helen has been creating and exploring in so many different ways--learning chess, making bracelets, modeling new hats, making cards for friends, and much more.
Samantha's really enjoyed her Girl Scout troop this year. There was a lot of cookie selling, sometimes with the troop and sometimes on our own, and a visit to a rug-tufting studio to make a cute little frog rug (modeled after some frogs she made out of polymer clay recently), and other fun events. (She also makes miniature food out of polymer clay, but has not yet tufted any food rugs.)
For Valentine's Day, Downtown Crossing had ice sculptures and when we walked by, one of the helpful tourist information people ushered us up to an ice bench and offered to take our picture. They took hilariously bad photos, but the quality of the photos themselves was topped only by the bizarre appearance of Paul Revere, who leapt into the last photo as a treat to join the girls. Because nothing says "happy Valentine's day" quite like this, I guess?
Shanti's birthday was a rainbow-themed party at Ron's bowling alley in Hyde Park. We brought Helen, Evie, and Yousra, and they all had a great time.
On a couple occasions, we took advantage of free hockey tickets for faculty, going with friends to Walter Brown for a women's game and to Agganis for men's games a couple times with other friends as well. Of course, the little Elsas came along.
Sunday School has been exciting this year, with all kinds of crafts and little science experiments. The first graders also received a Bible in church one day, and Helen and her friends sang in the children's choir in church another couple occasions.
Helen has been loving piano lessons, though she just started them at the very end of the last year (I think she had a total of two lessons before Christmas, and then they've been mostly every week since then). Once she had a lesson in one of the practice rooms in the basement of the College of Fine Arts, where her teacher is a student, but usually it's at our house. With her teacher she's playing hymns and small learning pieces, but when I gave her the sheet music to Into the Woods, in anticipation of going to see the Broadway production when it came to Boston for a week right around her birthday, she also started sight-reading through that. And of course, Girl Scout Bear takes piano lessons too (from Helen). In April we got to attend Helen's teacher's big recital. Helen was wowed by her music, as well as by her dress.
Robert and Marcus went out to Steamboat to ski at Grandma Judy's house for a couple days over the February school vacation week. Marcus has been going on the YES trips, and working in their shop every Tuesday evening, for two years now. He helps wax and tune skis, mounts bindings, sizes kids, and then helps them learn to ski on Saturdays.
Over February and April vacation weeks, Helen went to Kidsarts, which she adores. Drumming, soccer, art, puppet shows (that they create), more art, more drumming, and a healthy dose of worker protest chants--pretty good times!
We went to one of the MFA art days, which is finally back to the amount of different art activities as they had pre-pandemic, and too-cool Samantha enjoyed it despite herself.
For Sarah's birthday, we went to conveyor belt sushi in Watertown, plus ice cream afterward.
The Boston Marathon festival was back at Roxbury Community College this year--Robert had fun running around with three little girls in his arms.
The kids have all been very into their separate orchestras, with concerts at Show Out Boston in Hibernian Hall, at the schools, and for the mayor at the Chinatown meet-the-mayor coffee hour.
And of course it was Helen's birthday. We had a "cute animal" 7th birthday party for her at our house, with somewhere in the order of magnitude of 22 kids. I kept losing count. Samantha stuffed the pinata and Marcus hung it. There were plenty of cute balloons, and pin-the-tail-on-the-bunny, and some fun cakes. Samantha made Helen a little stuffed animal, and she also made the pigs (not pigs in blankets) and some cat pizza rolls.
Perhaps a far cry from pinatas and a sticker swap, I've had a number of presentations this spring, both at bigger conferences and on campus (once on the top floor of one of the fancy buildings with a great view). One of my favorite collaborations was when Helen came to class with me on Good Friday (schools closed, university in session) and proceeded to studiously color a Korean character in a book her piano teacher had given her.
While I was at a conference one Sunday, Sarah and Sean took Helen on an Easter egg hunt and then to lunch and on errands--dropping off books in Little Free Libraries and donating stuff to a local free fridge.
Samantha's friend came over on Good Friday afternoon, and Helen and I brought home pizza for lunch before the real work of the day--egg dying, cookie-house-decorating--began.
On Holy Saturday, Sarah's father and I took the three little girls to an event at the Boston Nature Center while Sarah and Sean relaxed, Robert worked, and Samantha ignored people. We met Nature Man Mike and thatbikelady Vivien and a beekeeper who's allergic to bees, and we helped the little girls (half-heartedly) with binoculars and tried to spot birds on the birding walk, to mostly no avail. It was an excellent afternoon.
Easter brought 25 or so people over, including Shin's family, Meg's family, Sarah's family, and Bob. The grandparents sat at the table and chatted, the tween boys mostly played Minecraft in the living room, and the little girls sprawled over the backyard for an egg hunt and general outdoor playtime, while Robert smoked lamb and kielbasa and Sarah made a fantastic charcuterie platter. The next two Sundays, we repeated, with a slightly smaller crowd (just Sarah's family) and no more chocolate eggs.
Then, at the beginning of school vacation week, we did an overnight at Great Wolf Lodge with Shin's family. The kids loved the water slides, and we stayed up until almost midnight playing board games in our room. Everyone was surprisingly good at the 80s "Hum that Tune" game, even kids! On Saturday afternoon we had an almost three-hour-long lunch at Simply Khmer in Lowell for amazing fish and bitter greens and noodles and great conversation with the owner's son.
Throughout, it's been a very bikey winter and spring. Helen is much better on her bike, and Robert raised the seat a couple times for her. She's getting better at holding her own with cars, too. Marcus got his first adult bike, and he offered to let Helen go to town putting reflective stickers on. She took him at his word there, so it's good that he's easy-going about stuff like that. The green Woom we got in March 2020 (panic-ordered right after the stay-at-home mandates came out) looks so tiny for him now! I can't believe he was on it as long as he was.
Helen has been loving soccer and really warming up to baseball, both, this spring. I don't know quite why she likes soccer so much, but she does. Marcus is both on the JV tennis team at school and on a neighborhood BUDA ultimate frisbee team, and periodically has matches for both way out in the suburbs--Wayland or Weston or Ashland or Hopkinton, I'm looking at you. You know, places we've never been before.
On a freezing cold Saturday in April, Helen and I went to a women's lacrosse game because a student of mine was on the team. The free pom poms and necklace and falafel and chicken gyro were pretty great, but my student never made it onto the field.
Meanwhile, Samantha and Robert were at Samantha's friend's birthday party out at Level 99 in the Natick Mall, with lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
And then suddenly, just like that, it was spring (again, but this time real spring). After the early spring and then more than a month of frost killed off a couple of my grapevines, it's shaping up to be a lovely season at last. We biked to the birthday party of one of Helen's orchestra friends, where it misted (that was not the most lovely day) and then rained, but where the kids did egg races and three-legged races and sack races undaunted. Helen did accept the offer of a ride home, though!
At last, it was Wake up the Earth, the first Saturday in May. We joined in a bike parade for climate resiliency from Jackson Square to the monument, and then Robert picked up Helen from dance and took her back to the start of the foot parade while I joined the bikers back to Stonybrook on side streets, and picked up all my plants for the garden from Neighborhood Farms. We watched the parade from the foot of our street before Helen went off to a baseball game (she made a hit at her first at-bat, a solid single) and I planted our garden, and then we went back to the festival for Indian food, slushes, bakery items, music, cardboard slides on the hill, and time with friends.
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Created: 5/09/23. Last Modified: 5/09/23.