January-April 2021

Life and work are busy, we have a new president and a new celebrity national poet, but the big news more locally is that the kids started in-person school in March, two days a week (albeit weirdly, of course, far from normally--and don't get me started on that "new normal" phrase). But Helen finally got her first day of kindergarten, and Marcus got his first day at his no-longer-so-new school. Five-day-a-week school--such a novelty, at this point--is on the horizon, beginning next week, at the very end of April. Oh, and we painted our mailbox--priorities. But seriously, some pictures from the past couple months!


Winter: We did get a fair amount of snow after all. There were snowy playgrounds, lots of sledding trips, a Girl Scout snowshoe day out in Waltham, snowball target-practice throwing in the backyard, ice skating afternoons, and lots of shoveling for an elderly neighbor.


A Visit from Emily and Nathaniel (February School Vacation): It was beyond restorative to have Emily's family stay with us for four days in February. Lyla played endless games with Caleb and Helen, who also played by themselves pretty excellently; the big boys had a basement full of snark and adolescent boy funky odor and video games and who knows what else, but they loved it; the big girls and moms had an afternoon at the MFA while the dads took little kids sledding; and we all watched some movies, played some games, and met Sarah and Sean and Evie at the zoo for a Sunday morning.


Biking: Bundling up is always an option! As long as the streets are clear and not too icy, we can bike it.


Spring: Art walks around the neighborhood, cardboard slides and houses in the driveway, flowers--real and artificial (the artificial ones are LED lights at night with a solar battery), maple syrup at the Boston Nature Center with friends, pick-up baseball (and watching from the sidelines) before the real season starts, and remote gym outside on one of her last hybrid weeks.


Easter: The girls made Easter decorations, and then had their now-annual egg-dye extravaganza in Desmond's yard, and then Helen dyed more eggs with Glorina, and Samantha supervised them with the glue and the glitter and everything in between. On Sunday we had a block-wide Easter egg hunt--that is, after Helen, Samantha, and I went to ACTUAL LIVE, IN-PERSON CHURCH for the first time in more than a year. Samantha even took Communion for the first time, since she happened to be there in the sanctuary for it.


First Days of School: Can you tell Marcus didn't want me to take his picture? He doesn't want to admit it, but he's as thrilled to be back in school as his sisters are.


Helen's Birthday: Helen's 5th birthday stretched out to fill almost two weeks. The Saturday before her birthday, we had Sarah and Sean and Meg and Emil over. It was the most party-like thing Helen had imagined since...well, basically as far back as she can remember. I'm not sure if she has any memores of attending birthday parties pre-Covid, so it all felt like a thrill to have three kids over to the house. We used the supplies, favores, games, and paper goods I'd bought for her 4th birthday (which we'd had over 20 kids RSVPed to before the virus hit), and all the extras we turned into goody bags for the kids on the block, and delivered those--with extra balloons, cookies, and treats--on her actual birthday mid-week. On her actual birthday we spent the afternoon outside enjoying the sunshine, eating potato chips and seasonal Hershey's Kisses, and then having pizza for dinner (Helen's choice) and cake on the picnic table, and delivering slabs of cake to a couple neighbors. But if Helen is turning five, the bigger kids are, well, getting inevitably bigger as well. Marcus emerged from his lair to eat potato chips and clown around, and Samantha retreated to the backyard to FaceTime with a friend and play Among Us.


Helen's Creations: Helen leaves me notes around the house these days. She builds Lego sets of her own, draws constantly, composes for her violin, and also writes stories--the one about Lily is imagining that Lily is a girl who was enslaved and then was able to escape to freedom, but had to leave her mother behind. In the picture below, her mother is telling her to keep running and Lily is happy about freedom but sad to leave her mother. Complexity! Ambiguity!


Samantha's Creations: Embroidery, sketches, new clothes for the 38-year-old dollhouse dolls, needle felting, bath bombs, paintings, complicated Lego sets, mixed-media creations--Samantha does it all, with creativity and enthusiasm.


Joint Creations: One day the girls painted stepping-stones for our yard. We followed the directions, curing them in the oven, and then placed them next to the hammock. Another day, inspired by a book, they wrote haiku about donuts and illustrated them.


Miscellaneous: We are attached to our hats, here. Beyond that, there are cuddles, dragonfruit boba drinks, naps, and care packages from friends, a whole fish for the Year of the Ox, an ice cream cake for Pop-Pop's birthday, and occasionally, a rare Marcus sighting out of his room.




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Created: 2/13/21. Last Modified: 2/13/21.