January 2015

It's a new year, and we've all settled back into our old lives after our trip. Samantha loves baby school as much as ever, and continues to give us the play-by-play of all the events throughout the day ("...then Grace spilled some yogurt on herself at snack when we were eating yogurt and pears, and Quentin whose name starts with Q said that he LOVES pears and I said I don't like pears but I do like clementines...").

Marcus is up to the third-grade spelling list in school, spelling always, aquarium, scientist, almost, friendly, and all sorts of other words. He became first chair of the cello section in his orchestra, and he's getting really adept at the piano as well. He plows right through the Magic Treehouse books, finishing one every 2-3 days (we are on a first-name basis now with Jack and Annie).

Samantha has started swimming lessons on Saturdays, and Marcus an indoor soccer class. We've filled up our bellies with dim sum with friends, noodles and rice cakes around Boston and Cambridge, homemade donuts and other baked goods, and lots of other warming winter treats. Marcus does his share, too, since he takes a cooking class afterschool on Thursdays, now, and comes home stuffing himself with turkey-zucchini meatballs, granola-blueberry parfaits, and homemade pizza.

On Martin Luther King Day, Robert brought Samantha to the Aquarium, while I took Marcus to spend the day with my parents and Aunt Mary. Marcus had just been to the Aquarium with his class on Tuesday, as it happened, so he was able to tell Samantha what to specifically look for. She had a great time with turtles, penguins, seals, and the octopus, and Marcus and I went to Target with my parents and then made marshmallows and played lots of Uno before we met up with Robert and Samantha at the school ice skating social in the North End.

The rest of our month had two main highlights: Arisia, and snow.



We'd been to Arisia, the big Boston scifi/fantasy/gaming/cosplay convention, sometime in the mid-1990s, 1995 or 1996 or so, in college, mainly just to play and trade Magic the Gathering. Then we went back about nine or ten years later, as young marrieds in Boston, wandering in to see what the Magic scene was like and attend a few panels on gender issues in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or some such thing. Last year I realized they had an entire kids' track that I hadn't been aware of, and this year we went back, after another ten years, now with kids in tow (that's actually the official name for having kids you're keeping with you at the convention, vs. dropping off for babysitting). We made stuff: wings out of coat hangers, stockings, duct tape, and sparkly things; mobiles; spoon-a-pults out of straws and strings and a spoon; origami creations such as a goldfish and a strawberry; a duct-tape sword, like a tiny rapier; cardboard fabric-covered shields for both kids; and a matching garb-style outfits for Samantha and her doll (this was done in about 15 minutes with a glue gun at the "Kamikaze Costuming" workshop--they had sewing machines there, but glue and scissors worked well enough for us). We also visited the video game room, a demonstration by Roman legionaire re-enactors, a juggling lesson, a magic show, and foam swords lessons for kids, and in between we got to admire all the different costumes. Marcus especially loved a Gandalf he saw, and Samantha felt the need to point out the presence of every woman in a fancy dress. To her, they're all Elsas (she doesn't really have the word "princess" in her vocabulary yet, thank goodness, but she's heard kids at school talk about Elsa): we heard a lot of "Hey, mommy, there's an Elsa in a purple dress!" or "Did you see those two Elsas over there talking to the alien?" We went both Saturday and Sunday, had a great time, and plan to go back again with the kids--in less than another ten years.



It snowed last Saturday, just a bit--maybe 4-5 inches or so--and the kids had a ball playing in the snow around town and then sledding on the Sugar Bowl, right by my parents' building. They'd looked out their window to give us the snow report while we were still at the H-Mart, and then Pop-pop went out with Marcus and Robert for about an hour of fun, while I baked cookies with my mother and Aunt Mary.

On Sunday, after church, we walked over to the best hill on the Common and went sledding with Ren and Matt and their girls, and then we all had lunch at Boloco before heading home, happy but cold. Sabrina and Samantha would always sled very far down, onto the path, and then have a long complex discussion about who was going to walk up the hill. Often Sabrina persuaded Samantha to try to pull her, but eventually, with that not really succeeding, Sabrina would roll out of the sled and reluctantly walk up on her own while Samantha pulled the empty sled. (All the good pictures in this batch are courtesy of Matt, who has a great camera and clearly some great photography skillz as well.)

We topped off lunch with some lamb skewers and then made snow angels in the Southwest Corridor on the way home.

On Monday Robert flew out for Los Angeles for the week, and that evening it started snowing for what's been called Winter Storm Juno. I feel like a cranky old lady complaining that they did not publicize names of snowstorms back in "my" day, but at any rate, Juno it is. We got a good solid 20-23 inches of snow in a little more than a day. Schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and my university two (practically a first--two snowdays in a row?). On Tuesday, it was still snowing a lot and winds were high, so we just ventured out a little around 3:00 to play just in front of the house and walk over to the corner store to say hi to Tigger (the cat) and buy some ice cream. The snow was incredibly fluffy, which might make for better shoveling but really was impossible for snowballs, snowpeople, or igloo-building.

On Wednesday we went out after breakfast to walk to the Whole Foods--we had run out of clementines and mango yogurts, Marcus's two snacks of choice, so it was pretty imperative we get some supplies. From there we headed over to Titus Sparrow, joining one of the largest packs of sledding kids I've ever seen, and a whole bunch of parents from Marcus's school. The snow was remarkably slow, possibly because of the consistency, or possibly because the winds and drifts seemed to have leveled off the hill a little--the crowds of kids cutting diagonally across the hill as they climbed back up didn't help, and there was a lot of parental muttering about lanes, traffic control, and such.


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Created: 1/28/15. Last Modified: 1/28/15.