Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

 Our New Year celebrations were fairly mild. We went on a family walk earlier in the day so that the neighbourhood luminaria could be our last walk of the year. When Rachel was getting ready to go she tried to zip up her coat but got all confused and ended up like this, with her bottom and top zippers connected:

I don't know how she did it. She's actually pretty good with zippers and will zip up not only her own coat but her siblings' as well.

The rest of the day was spent writing (Andrew has a big paper due on Friday (hooray for winter break, right?)) and playing and reading and relaxing. Benjamin and I even took a nap.

He was a little tipsy when he woke up but he was determined to play. He found a ball and was running around the house with it, throwing and chasing it and having a great time...until he tripped and bashed his head into a doorway while he was running just about as fast as his little legs could take him.

Andrew scooped him off the floor and tried to tell him everything was alright.

"I don't see blood," he assured me. "He's fine."

"Uh, Andrew..." I said, taking Benjamin from him so that Benjamin would finally stop screaming and so that Andrew could see all sides of his head. "I don't think so."

Benjamin was sprouting a lovely goose egg.

After wrestling him for a few minutes so I could ice his poor little head, he hopped off my lap as good as new and continued his little ball game.

For dinner we had pizza, a green salad, and pistachio pudding salad. Then it was time to bundle up for The Last Walk of 2013.

"I'm freezing," I complained to Andrew, from beneath my sweater, jacket, scarf, and gloves. "I should have worn my coat."

"It's not that cold," Andrew joked. "This is like a Canadian summer."

"But it feels cold," I said. "How cold is it? How wimpy have we become?"

"I'll tell you," Andrew said, whipping out his iPhone. "65°," he joked.

"65°!" I exclaimed. "No way!"

"Naw, it's 40°," he said.

"That's still above freezing!" I said. "That's not even cold enough to snow! I have experienced weather colder than this in Canadian summers! We're so wimpy—but I wouldn't have it any other way because the winters here are glorious!"

It's true. I've hiked through many, many feet of snow in June (granted this was in the mountains) and it snowed at YW camp one year (also in the mountains) and sometimes it really does snow in July. But I can tell my blood is thinning even after just a year and a half in the south. It's also true, however, that I much prefer to live in a warm place with a temperate winter than to live in a cold place with a temperate summer. If 40° is cold then I must be in paradise!

The luminaria walk was beautiful, of course. Rachel said she felt she was walking on a pathway through the stars, which I told her isn't far from [one of] the intended meaning[s] of the lanterns ("to guide the spirit of the Christ child to one's home" or  "to guide the three wise men" to the babe).

After our walk we came home, cleaned up the house, and put the kids to bed, more or less. For Benjamin's sake we went through the whole bedtime routine, with story time and scriptures and prayer and lullabies, so that he would feel he wasn't cheated by being put to bed. He helped me tuck the girls in, like he does every night, but they knew—or I thought they knew—that they were only going to bed for pretend. We'd explained to them that they'd have some quiet time in their room while Benjamin went to bed and that they could come out and party after he was fast asleep.

Rachel got it. She read and wrote in her journal about how excited she was for our party (because we're wild party animals).

Miriam didn't get it. She asked me whether dad was going to bring in a vitamin and if I was going to switch off the light. And then she climbed into bed, pulled the covers up to her chin, and promptly fell asleep.

Of course, I didn't know she fell asleep until Rachel wandered out of her room about five minutes after I'd sat down to nurse Benjamin. She went to hang out with Andrew, who was writing a paper watching football in his "office" because she didn't want to disturb Miriam.

After I put Benjamin to bed we debated about if and when we should wake Miriam up. I even posed the question on Facebook and got some wise responses from friends and family. "She'll either be disappointed (so grumpy) but well-rested or sleepy (so grumpy) but happy," I wrote—happy meaning that she'd be satisfied in having been allowed to stay up late.

Uncle Patrick's comment was my favourite: "Either way you lose, so you might as well make some good memories for her."

We decided we'd wake her up after playing some games with Rachel, whose capacity for understanding how games works far outpaces Miriam's understanding. We played Robot Turtles, which in its easiest "setting" is plenty easy for Miriam (but that would've been too boring for Rachel).

I went in around 10:00 and tried to wake Miriam up but wasn't able to so I sent Andrew in. He managed to bring her 'round with a little bit of effort.

"You fell asleep!" he said.

"No," she denied sleepily. "I was just pretending."

She was excited to be up but was too groggy to want to do much. The girls decided it was a good time to put on Disney's Hercules (Rachel's been asking to watch that movie for weeks now). As soon as it ended the girls wanted to go outside with glow sticks, which is a tradition now, I guess, and run around the yard screaming, "Happy New Year!"

It was about 11:45 and so we said we could get ready to go outside because the sad truth about our family is that it can take us a good fifteen minutes to get out the door. Matters weren't helped when Benjamin woke up squalling, "Momma! Momma! Momma!" He joined us in ringing in the New Year because there was no way he was going back to sleep on his own while his sisters were so excited about everything.

I was just pulling on his second boot when Andrew started the ten-second countdown to the New Year. We made it out the door just in time for the sky to light up in fireworks.

"Happy New Year!" the girls screamed as they ran up and down the street waving their glow sticks. We counted it as The First Family Walk of 2014.

The girls weren't thrilled about coming in for bed, but when we said they could take their glow sticks with them they cheered up a bit. Miriam linked hers around her reading lamp as a bracelet (or lamplet, I guess) and Benjamin watched her do this with a keen interest.

He spent the next several minutes trying to turn his own glow stick into a bracelet. Unfortunately for him, we didn't give him a linky-thingy (I suppose that's the choking hazard mentioned on the box, which is why we didn't give it to him.).

The girls were asleep within minutes but Benjamin was like, "Ain't no party like an old school party 'cuz an old school party don't stop!" and he didn't fall asleep until after two o'clock in the morning. It was painful. Andrew even abandoned us and went to sleep on the couch because Benjamin was fully intent on taking up 95% of the bed and never staying still.

This morning we woke up and went to the Bishopric Brunch (the head of our congregation is known as a bishop and he has two counsellors and together the three of them make up the bishopric). They made pancakes and everyone else brought "a side." Andrew made wassail (using a recipe recommended by our friend Cristina) and it turned out quite delicious.

When we got home we started gathering yesterdays luminaries so we could salvage the sand for our little sandbox. Our neighbour spotted us doing this and offered to lend us his wheelbarrow so we could get a whole lot of sand. I originally declined because our "sandbox" is really just a small planter the previous residents stuck in the flowerbed and filled with sand. It doesn't hold very much sand.

But then we started looking at the base of the swing set tower, which was currently full of boring ol' mulch.

"On second thought," I said. "Perhaps we would like to borrow your wheelbarrow!"

We spent the early afternoon traipsing around the neighbourhood, pushing a wheelbarrow and a stroller, while an entire entourage of children ran around collecting the little paper bags of sand.

We had three neighbourhood children walking with us (besides our own) and one neighbourhood mom. We had two other neighbourhood kids join in the fun in the backyard. In total we collected a mile's worth of luminaries (with two trips of the wheelbarrow). The girls were pretending that they were pirates and that the luminaries were sacs of gold.

"We don't have to do this," Andrew said. "Sand is cheap. We could just go buy a $5 bag of sand at Lowe's."

"Yes, but this," I said, echoing Patrick's sage words, "is memorable."

I hope it will be. I ran into our neighbour-with-the-wheelbarrow as I was taking out the trash (and he was...taking out the trash) and said, "Thanks for the wheelbarrow! Andrew left it by your back deck."

"I already saw it and put it away. And I looked at how much sand was collected. You're going to have some happy children on your hands!"

He enjoys watching our children. On Christmas morning he and his wife spied on our backyard until the kids came out to find the swing set—they were probably as excited about it as we were! And this afternoon he was laughing at Benjamin in the miniature sandbox, squealing and stomping in the newly salvaged luminaria sand.

"This is probably one of the greatest repurposing stories I've ever witnessed," he chuckled.

I think the kids will have fun with it. I'm a little worried about neighbourhood kitties turning it into a litter box, so I think we'll be fashioning a lid for it using some latticework we have laying around.

We finished off the day by watching Star Wars (though we had to take a break because I was going crazy—with the music, the sound of lazers (okay, okay : lightsabers) and explosions, plus all the characters yelling at each other, plus all my children (who'd decided to get in a fight) yelling at each other? It was just too much. I threw a tantrum, turned off the movie, demanded my kids do some chores, and announced it was time for dinner.

They solemnly went about their work while I tried to think of something to have for dinner. I couldn't. Finally Andrew said, "How about cereal for dinner?"

The house erupted with cheers of joy. Benjamin rushed to the shelf and grabbed a box of cereal to hug.

Apparently cold cereal was the best idea for dinner that we've had in a long time.

Our dinner was interrupted by a phone call from Grandma, who wanted to tell us that Auntie Emily was in the hospital getting ready to have a baby!

She had some back pain last night and today it got so bad she was to the point of throwing up, so she went to Labour & Delivery, who sent her to the ER (because back pain and vomiting at 38 weeks pregnant aren't indicative at all of labour (note the sarcasm)). The ER sent her back to L&D who decided to keep her. She was at a 6 (and progressing) when Karen called us over an hour ago.

She's only ten days "early" (so right on time).

I'm a little worried about back labour for her, but hopefully things will go smoothly and we'll soon get an announcement about a new nephew. What a way to ring in the New Year!


  1. wow mom that was so cool


  2. Now Rachel needs her own google profile! :o) Happy New Year!

  3. "He enjoys watching our children." -- Yes, I can relate though I watch from your blog! :) They are adorable. I love your adventures, and, hey, you have two family walks on the first day of the year (one at midnight and one collecting "sacs of gold.")

    What a great read. And congrats on the new nephew! I hope he has arrived now.

    1. He was JUST born! :) 7 lbs. 6 oz.

      And we are certainly off to a great start on our walking goal, aren't we. :)

      And thanks for enjoying my children. :)