December 2018

At the beginnning of December, we once again hosted Sarah's Chanukah party at our house. She made her famous noodle kugel with Evie on her back, and we had massive and surprisingly not chaotic dreidel games.

We also celebrated Chanukah at the MFA, when Marcus's orchestra performed and then offered an instrument petting zoo during their Wednesday community day.

The day after Sarah's Chanukah party, she and Sean had Evie's first birthday party in a room at Curtis Hall. It was donut-themed, and there were donuts in abundance. Kids made "donut seed" (cheerio) necklaces, played pretend donut shop, and jumped in a ballpit made of a kiddie pool that looked like a donut. There were donut-on-string eating contests, and Marcus even held one up for Evie--she didn't quite grasp the concept of putting your hands behind your back. Lovely photos are courtesy of Emily Photography.

To everyone's delight, Emily and her family spent the night with us on Saturday, so the kids got to play together between the two parties, too. Marcus and Emily's big boys spent the night in sleeping bags on the floor of our newly redone game room/guest room in the basement, playing poker with my aunts' old set of poker chips until way too late; Lyla and Samantha slept in Samantha's room and whispered happily (the next day they became pen pals, having painted pictures together that they both initialed, and Lyla having left a letter for Samantha to find after she went home. Samantha wrote a letter back and addressed it and it was in the mail Monday morning); and Emily and Nathaniel and Robert and I stayed up (also until way too late) talking and laughing in the living room.

The end of the calendar year brings the end of a semester of classes for me. I made cookies to bring to my students on the next-to-last day.

It's been cold--we've had some creative indoor fun.

The orchestra holiday bazaar and Christmas tree sale was the same day as Sarah's Chanukah party, but in the morning. Robert and Samantha worked at it, while I took Marcus to an engineering class at the library. How do other people get their Christmas trees home?

Two weekends later, the Girl Scouts wrapped packages at the mall, and we happened to run into a family from church who was thrilled to let Samantha wrap their Christmas presents for them.

From the mall, Robert took Samantha to Rakeb's birthday party at a trampoline place.

The orchestra holiday concert was on a Thursday evening in mid December, and it was really great--all of the ensembles had practiced so much.

Then it was Samantha's 7th birthday, which we celebrated with a Harry Potter party at home. Ten of her friends from school and Girl Scouts, and one of their big brothers, joined us, so we had fourteen kids in all. Mostly Marcus and DJ played cards upstairs in his room with Robert and Aria's dad hanging out with them. Pop-pop and Grandma came over to help supervise Helen, mostly, and Bob came over to use his Montessori Sunday School experiences helping kids with crafts. The kids entered via a Platform 9 3/4 brick wall (curtain), found chocolate-covered pretzel wands in Diagon Alley,

and then went to Hogwarts, where they were sorted into houses by the Sorting Hat.

They made felt ties in their house colors (I had cut out templates, they glued on the stripes, and then I glue-gunned a barette to the back)

and then we had Potions Class, making glow-in-the-dark glitter slime. None of them had ever made slime before, and I sure hadn't, so this was an activity that was thrilling for the kids and terrifying for the grown-ups. It all somehow came together, though, and the mess was contained to the dining room table and the bathroom sink.

Everyone's slime went into labelled ziploc bags, and then we had the Hogwarts Great Feast: wizard brooms of cheese and pretzels, baked macaroni and cheese, zucchini-rice, sugar cookies in the shapes of owls/wizard hats/brooms/Mrs. Weasley's sweaters, golden snitch cake-ball truffles, and polyjuice potion punch (with lime jello).

Between dinner and dessert there were a few rousing rounds of Pin-the-Lightning-Bolt on Harry, a surprising hit, with kids clamoring for second and third turns.

Cupcakes either had wizard hats on them with lemon drops (for Dumbledore) hidden under the cones, or else house flags in the top of them.

At the end there was an assemble-your-own-goodie-bag station: gummy snakes, owl or cauldron rubber bracelets, chocolate frogs and wizard trading cards, and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

The next day, we celebrated Samantha's birthday again with Robert's father.

After Samantha's birthday, we had a happy lead-up to Christmas, including some more holiday baking, a Christmas party at a Wellesley friend's house in Milton,

The weekend before Christmas, we went to the Aquarium on Saturday and the Children's Museum on Sunday. We did a little Christmas shopping in the (of course) Harry Potter section at Primark, posed with the holiday llama at Downtown Crossing, and got Christmas presents of salt water taffy from Bank of America, oddly enough.

We also rode half of the Winter Solstice ride with the Boston Cyclists' Union. The ride started in Copley Square, which is a little over three miles from our house, and we rode about 4.5 miles with the group of 75 riders, including through Downtown Crossing and the financial district, then into the Seaport District along a beautifully redone boulevard with some fantastic new public art and out onto Fish Pier. The ride turned around there and headed back into Boston, and we peeled off at the Aquarium, stopping to have lunch and see some penguins and seals before riding a little over five miles back home. Boston was under gale-force wind warnings all that day, and though the weather was fairly warm for December (50 degrees or so), the winds were incredibly strong and pedaling was tough. But it was a great ride, complete with a green-bearded Santa and some stuffed animals riding near us.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Chinatown library for a cookie-decorating activity and books and games, and then to lunch with a couple of Robert's co-workers for soup dumplings, ma po tofu, lamb dumplings with noodles, and assorted other delights. From there we went to church, and then had pierogi for dinner at home later.

On Christmas Day, Richard and Bri came over to join us for breakfast, and then we went to Pop-Pop and Grandma's house for dinner. Merry Christmas!


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Created: 12/25/18. Last Modified: 12/25/18.