September brought second, sixth, and tenth grades for the kids, all three in different schools, Helen taking the bus home by herself, Samantha taking the subway home by herself, and everyone taller and proud and more grown-up. The fall was filled with fun events and lots of family time, and the holidays came in a quick and happy row in October, November, and December.
In addition to the orchestra in school, and ballet and hip-hop, and musical theatre classes at Wheelock, Helen started the Boston Children's Chorus on Saturdays.
Everyone enjoyed the last warm days of summer, including popsicles on the porch and raspberry picking in the yard.
Robert's softball team had a great end-of-season game, including a pop fly hitting a goose in the outfield. The goose went down, and then an inning or two later staggered to its feet, bloody, probably woozy, and wandered away into the trees.
Samantha bridged to cadettes.
Samantha continues to sew, sketch, and model, and has also started baking and decorating cupcakes and cookies, and bringing things to school for her friends to eat at lunch.
Helen follows suit. Of course.
We all went to the Zoolights again.
I saw "Fat Ham" with one set of students and colleagues in the South End, and (separately) "The Band's Visit" with another.
My parents are settled at Goddard House, with my father on the memory care side and my mother on their independent/traditional side, but they see each other every day for lunch, concerts, and more. My father has gone on trips to the MFA and other places, and does lots of art (Halloween party and painted pumpkin pictured). I joined them for "Elvis" singing Christmas carols in December.Helen loves the grand piano in the room outside of the dining hall there, and often brings music and sits down to play. The dining hall staff, and assorted little old ladies, all appreciate this.
Helen adores second grade with Ms. Menna and Ms. O, and has just twelve kids in her class.
Samantha and I had third-row seats to see Rick Riordan talk at the Boston Book Festival in Copley.
We went apple picking and celebrated a baby's first birthday.
We went to the Fall-o-Ween festival on the Common with some of Helen's friends, got COVID shots, and went out to eat afterward.
We had an end-of-summer BBQ party.
School picture! Then a haircut the next week. Obviously.
Samantha and a friend did setup and face-painting at the elementary school Halloween party, and then we went out to eat in Chinatown with some of Helen's friends and some of Marcus's.
We hosted a friend's six-year-old birthday party at the end of October on a day that reached up to 80. Pinata and water balloons were hits.
Everyone (except Marcus, in a random Mandalorian helmet) was Percy Jackson-themed for Halloween. Hi, Poseidon. Samantha made him the world's best cardboard trident ever.
We had friends over to carve and paint pumpkins and make haunted gingerbread houses.
We did parent-child ceramics with Meg and Glorina and Sean and Evie. Samantha was the star, and Sean said they should have paid her to co-teach the class for all the help she gave everyone else.
We went to the science museum, the school gala, and a Girl Scout journey day.
This was a regular day, not Halloween. Can't you tell?
Dinner out with Bob before the new Hunger Games movie, and then out for ice cream to celebrate Robert's father's birthday.
Another of Samantha's creations--a candy corn bowl:
Thanksgiving was lovely--a leg of lamb (halal), two turkeys (one halal), and a ham (not halal). Plus many pies, and many countries represented.
The day after Thanksgiving we went to dim sum with Debbie and Chris, and wandered around downtown and the Seaport.
Sometimes, people get very cuddly.
Ultimate frisbee ended for the year on a night when there was frost on the ground and a dozen hardy souls running around freezing their fingers off.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving took us to Roslindale for the tree lighting, more Debbie and Chris fun, and lots of shellfish and video games at Sarah's house.
Girl Scout cookie season has started! Samantha and troop-mates helped host a cookie kick-off event for younger girls at a church in Roxbury, and we held our pre-Christmas cookie booth at Back Bay.
Helen's chorus sang holiday songs at a small outdoor concert, and friends from school clowned around together after singing.
Marcus and George raked huge quantities of leaves and then ate huge quantities of Cane's chicken and garlic bread before a BU hockey game.
Another completely ordinary day.
Chanukah was nice, too--Howard took charge of all the little kids for the dreidel, and he and Helen sang dreidel songs together.
We got to choose our own Christmas tree in a field and see it cut down fresh right in front of us, for the first time ever. It's an adorable tree, and really dropped very few pine needles.
Cori came up for an end-of-the-semester visit before going back to China.
We saw the Jose Mateo Nutcracker this year--spreading it around a bit (Tony Williams was last year).
Samantha turned twelve! I don't know how that happened. She celebrated with Lego, tattoo markers (temporary!), and chocolate cake.
Helen won a special award in school, voted on by her classmates for most epitomizing the FIRE values (focus, integrity, respect, and empathy).
December also came along with concerts from Marcus's and Helen's orchestras.
The pre-Christmas activities picked up in the very last week before the holiday: firstwe went ice skating and had lunch with friends before Christmas, and it was a very festive day out.
Then the girls helped me get all the Christmas cookies together--100+ individual baggies of 2-3 cookies each for the residents of the Pine Street Inn building on our corner, with nice signs from Helen, and then three big boxes and one tray of assorted cookies for the residents on my father's wing, and the staff there and on the general side of Goddard House.
We delivered them all, and Helen gave another concert, and then we had my parents over for an early Christmas dinner (ham, of course) and some gingerbread house decorating fun.
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Created: 12/20/23. Last Modified: 12/20/23.