November-December 2013

These have been busy, fun times--most notably, this month Samantha turned two! She went through a phase of saying she was "five, not two," but then on her birthday she seems to have spontaneously switched and started saying she was "two, not five." She talks constantly, sings constantly, has a strong preference for cows in "Old MacDonald Had a Farm-y," and, in the sweetest, most lovable possible way, really lives up to the Shakespeare quote (about Hermia) that Sarah and Sean got her on a T-shirt: "Though she be but little, she is fierce." She adores her robot [pajama] pants and her robot baby (a Cabbage Patch kid in a new set of robot-printed clothes). She wants to do everything herself, from getting dressed on down, and she's surprisingly good at a lot of the things she insists on doing.

Marcus is getting better at reading simple sight words, and both kids love listening to stories read to them. We're even starting chapter books (first one: My Father's Dragon) with Marcus, and he loves picking back up where we left off.

On Veterans' Day, in the morning while I taught, Robert took the kids to the zoo with Marissa and her girls, and then he brought Marcus and Samantha home and I stayed with them in the afternoon while he ran into work. Marcus has really caught up to Alex in height, though she's definitely winning in the lost-tooth department (Alex: even her own mother has almost lost count; Marcus: zero).

Marcus is continuing with piano and karate, on Mondays and Saturdays respectively. He's playing, all at once, the "Star Wars" theme; "Jingle Bells"; and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." In karate he sometimes helps demonstrate for the three- and four-year-old kids, which really makes him puffed up with pride.

We went to a few potluck dinners and also had Bob over for dinner so he could get a break from finals, and I made a cheese-stuffed pumpkin (garlic, breadcrumbs, and herbs too) which Bob, Samantha, Marcus and I adored (hm. . . everyone except Robert! And he says he isn't picky!).

Samantha started at the daycare on campus with me, where Marcus had also gone, and it is really such a nice place. I had forgotten how warm and comfortable a space it is, and how nicely all the teachers talk to the kids. I know she'll be very happy there.

Every day when Marcus comes home from school, Samantha has to do "her" "homework" at the table right next to him. She's very serious about it--as is he, too, but that's less surprising.

Both kids are excellent sleepers and snugglers, though Samantha seems in general to need less sleep than Marcus ever did or does. He doesn't mind going to bed anywhere from 2-5 hours earlier than her, though, and Robert doesn't mind having some playtime with her in the evenings, so it all works out.

I relish any chance I get to cuddle both kids at once. Don't get me wrong--I'll take one at a time, but two together is heavenly!

Just in the last month Samantha has moved from falling asleep randomly in the living room while playing (at left) and then co-sleeping for the whole night to sleeping almost the entire night in her own bed (bottom bunk); she wakes up usually around 5:00 or 6:00 and stumbles out of her room toward us. I meet her in the hall, scoop her up, and bring her back to bed with us and we all go back to sleep for another hour or two.

Before Thanksgiving we went to Robert's father's house to celebrate his birthday--Samantha was a fan of the cake he got for himself!

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, while Robert helped his father out with something, I took the kids over to Sarah and Sean's house for a low-key brunch--her parents and sister were still there from Alaska, and it was nice to visit with them, and Meg and Emil and Miriam and Davis (with Garrison and Clarinda) also came over. The highlight of the day for Marcus was getting to play video games with Sean (still in his pajamas--the height of luxury!). About a week later, we celebrated an early Christmas with them at dinner in Chinatown, after helping out with a church service project and going to a carol-heavy evening church service.

December brought (so far) one small and one medium snowfall. Marcus of course loves it. I think Robert is the biggest fan of sledding and snow of anyone, though.

We also went to the Christmas party in Titus Sparrow Park, where Marcus got to whack a "holiday" pinata and a freezing guitarist led people in some carols. We fairly quickly retreated to the Prudential Mall for a kids' holiday concert and a story hour with a wallaby in the bookstore, and then deliciously greasy pork products and burgers at Boston Burger Company on Boylston Street, in the snow, with a Turkish Humphy Fellow and his family. Their three-year-old had never seen snow before, and he ran around in it adorably ambushing people with snowballs. He and Marcus (or "Big Brother," as he called him in Turkish) ran around on the little deck outside JP Lick's on Boylston for ages while we sat inside and ate ice cream, sending out adults in shifts to play. It was a great Saturday afternoon. Another weekend day this month we had lunch with a colleague and her family in Lexington, which of course meant a sidetrip to the H-Mart, which in turn meant Samantha yelling "More oysters, Daddy!" as Robert went bounding back to the fried oyster free sample lady to pacify her. Another fun outing there, and Marcus had a great time coloring and drawing with six-year-old Elizabeth while the grown-ups talked over lunch.

As I do every year, I took the kids to the Magic Beans Santa--and as he does (almost) every year, Robert managed to be away on a business trip that day. Samantha was only mildly nervous, and Marcus was positively the least awkward I've seen him around Santa since he was two and slept through the whole event.

Afterward I took them out for Thai food (here waiting for dinner to arrive)

and brought home ice cream (Marcus chose peppermint, and I talked Samantha into getting salted caramel), to make it a more festive day.

Since we're going to be away for both Christmas and New Year's, we just got a small tree, but the kids had fun decorating it all the same.

On Samantha's birthday, with snow on the ground and a fair amount of ice, we hosted a brunch for Robert's father and his friend, Marissa and Jon and family, and Sarah and Sean. I made two baked egg dishes, one with tortillas, and Turkish tahini-stuffed buns, and corn muffins with honey butter, cocoas and coffees, and assorted fruit. Robert and Marissa took the big kids sledding in the middle of the day, while Samantha and Sean napped in the living room and Sarah and I gabbed, and then Robert and Marcus came home to sushi and dumplings and bao and miso soup and edamame--pretty much Samantha's favorite foods--and of course, more cupcakes, and we had a fun afternoon together.

How old is Samantha? That's the question!



Now, I'm done with my grading and am just finishing up a few more meetings and some prepwork, and the kids just have one more day of school before we go away--we're all packed and very excited!


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Created: 12/16/13. Last Modified: 12/16/13.