Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ringing in the New Year

My dad has wanted me to keep an eye out for Spanish Moss. Technically we should have some in North Carolina but there doesn't seem to be any in this area. I suppose we'd have to go farther east to see it but instead we went south and were able to find some there.

It's still amazing to me how wintery the trees make things look here. Without their leaves they make it seem like it should be cold, but it's not. I can't believe that they ever think it's cold enough to lose their leaves at all! In Utah it's around 27 degrees F and I've had a few friends post pictures of their trees who seem to think that it's spring because it's so warm compared to the 0 degree weather they've been having.

Spanish Moss is surrounded by some interesting legends—most versions involving a young girl's hair being cut and hung on a tree in her memory, only to have it turn silvery grey with age and spread from tree to tree. I wonder if a children's book has ever been written telling those tales...

We arrived back in North Carolina in time to celebrate the New Year (we actually got back on Saturday and New Year's Eve was Monday). Miriam helped Benjamin get festive; she likes to help him accessorize.

He doesn't seem to mind her help too much, though I'm guessing he will in a few year's time.

We had cousin Scott and his wife Angel over on Sunday night. Karen had made green chili burritos (Grandma Anderson's recipe) which we all enjoyed before playing a rousing game of chutes and ladders. Angel, Miriam, and I all played on the same team—we won! It was all very exciting.

On New Year's Eve the girls go out the glow sticks we put in their stockings and we played Star Wars in the backyard (the glow sticks were our light sabers) before dinner.

After dinner we did puzzles, played games, and watched movies together.

Everyone but Benjamin made it to midnight. I was quite surprised that Miriam lasted all night long (but was totally expecting Rachel to make it). So far Rachel's seen 6 of 6 New Years, Miriam has seen 1 of 4, Benjamin has seen 0 of 1.

At midnight we broke open our sparkling grape juice (and pear juice and cranberry juice) and toasted in the new year. Miriam guzzled three glasses of it before we stopped her.

She must be related to her grandpa:

Incidentally, Grandpa doesn't like pears at all but this is the bottle he chose to drink from. In his defense, the liquid inside was quite orange—not clear like you'd expect pear juice to be—and he started to read the label. Both pear and peach start out the same, though, so if you're not careful they'd be easily confused. Apparently it wasn't terrible because he kept drinking it...

Rachel hardly lasted through a single glass before she slid her cup over to me. She chose to try the cranberry juice, which I think is why she couldn't finish it. Cranberry juice is more of a grown-up taste. She should have gone with grape juice.

We got up bright and early on New Year's day to head to the annual bishopric brunch. It was fun but we had to hurry and head home to do things, not the least of which was family nap time.

We spent the day together and took some pictures just before sending the kids to bed:

Goodbyes are always difficult but this one was a little easier since the grandparents and grandchildren only had to say "goodnight" to each other. It was easy to pretend that nothing would change even though we all knew Grandma and Grandpa would be gone before we got up in the morning.

After some final snuggles with Grandma, we put the kiddos to bed and then played one last round of hand and foot.

Andrew got up early in the morning to drive his parents to the airport and returned home before anyone had even woken up. When we all finally roused ourselves from our New Year's sleep deprivation he felt like it was another day—as if the sleep he had had after coming home from the airport was an extra night of sleep. He was thrown off about his days of the week for the rest of the week!

Rachel had the same problem on New Year's Day after she woke up from the nap we forced her to take. She hasn't take a nap in such a long time that when she woke up she was completely disoriented and wanted to know if it was almost time for the playdate she'd set up with her friend Grace at the bishopric brunch.

"Not yet," I said. "That's tomorrow."

"No! It's today! At 11:30!"

"It's tomorrow at 11:30, Rachel."

"It's today! Grace's mom said 'Tomorrow at 11:30' and it's tomorrow! What time is it?"

"It's about 2:00 but it's today not tomorrow!"

"It's 2:00! I've missed playing with Grace! Oh, no!"

"Rachel—listen: you had a nap. It's still the same day. You're playing with Grace tomorrow!"

It took her a while to finally get it and she was quite upset while she was confused. Time can be such a funny thing.

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