We had another whirlwind month and a fun, relaxing holiday.
Megan performed in her fall orchestra concert and did a great job. I love that she’s learning to play violin so beautifully. She will performing in a holiday concert at the mall in a few weeks, and is already excited about her Disneyland trip in May. She earned every bit of the $800 the trip will cost. I’m so proud of her. She continues to excel in her classes and loves her teachers. She has struggled with fitting into a group of peers, but I am impressed at the way she stands up for herself and others. She is looking forward to her 13th birthday! In this orchestra picture, she is directly behind the conductor. Of course I managed to sit in that exact spot.
Gavin, after dealing with both boredom and anxiety at school, is starting homeschooling again tomorrow. I am comfortable with the curriculum I’ve organized for him and hope he will be able to work mostly independently. He can be a homebody, and loves to be at home reading, building with Legos, and working/playing on the computer. He loves to program computer games in Scratch, build in Minecraft, and learn about rocket launches in Kerbal Space Program. I’m hopeful I can use these programs to get him proficient in computer languages and code.
Ben is loving first grade and is reading! He can still be mischievous but can also be independent, helpful, and highly motivated. He loves to play with his friends and I enjoy seeing him play with kids from so many different countries. Recently, he begged to play with a new friend David, who lives in our neighborhood. We tracked him down and discovered his family had just moved here from Korea. We managed to invite David over despite the family’s limited English, and it was fun to hear David copying Ben’s language, including inflections and colloquialisms. Later, we went to the park with their family, and David’s mom said to me: “Ben David first friend.” It made me so happy, and also want to move out of the country for a little while so my kids can experience another culture and learn another language!
Logan is a piece of work, as we tell him. It’s safe to say the sweet baby is gone, but we are loving the big boy. Totally potty-trained and sporting his new glasses, Logan’s favorite past times, if I’m honest, are falling off cliffs in Minecraft and watching Octonauts. However, he loves preschool, books, and board games, especially Whoowasit?, which I think has been played more than any board game in our house, ever. He still shares a bedroom with his brothers, which I love more than I ever thought I would and will continue indefinitely. Here are a few pictures from his Thanksgiving feast at preschool.
The weather has been crazy cold. We enjoyed a day at the trampoline place to get out our energy, but we’ve been hunkering down and eating lots of soup. I even bought Logan a ski jacket from the consignment shop; that’s how cold it is.
My band played two shows in November and had a blast. We played a bar near UW and made $200 and all the warm beer we wanted (which was none, if you’re confused). They didn’t believe us when we said we weren’t drinking and brought us a pitcher anyway. We also played a Mormon event and got paid in all the leftover food we could carry, which actually ended up being a great deal because there were catered street tacos and about 50 pounds of leftover carnitas. You should have seen me, Rachelle, Rachel, and Nina carrying styrofoam containers of food to our cars. I started with a few, but when Rachelle said, “This freezes, you know” and Nina, who is from Brazil, said, “We don’t waste food where I come from”, I loaded up even more. In addition to the band, I’m busy editing college admissions essays, social media marketing for a non-profit, and applying to grad school. Never a dull moment. Christopher has been working hard to establish his company and has assembled a multi-national team that we are hoping will find success. Cross your fingers.
In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving arrived and it was delicious. The Carls invited us over, and Shay and Christopher managed to split up all the food jobs so I ended up doing NO COOKING. It was magical. Christopher dry brined and roasted two turkeys. He made stock and gravy with the giblets and necks. He roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and pecans. He baked three pumpkin pies with homemade crust and meringue folded into the pumpkin so they were nice and fluffy. Megan asked to make cranberry jelly. Oh my goodness, it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, with hints of orange, vanilla, and coriander. Shay went all out, too, making green bean casserole from scratch, mashed potatoes, and all kinds of good stuff. I made cranberry jalapeno dip and Carl and I pretty much ate the whole thing. I normally would have been sad without cornbread dressing and sweet potato souffle, but no one really wanted it besides me and it saved me doing any cooking, so I was fine without it. In the aftermath, I enjoyed many turkey, mayo, and cranberry jelly sandwiches, and a big pot of turkey soup.
Just like that, it’s Christmas season, and I am so thankful for this crew of mine. Thanksgiving night I spent the night at the foster care sanctuary, where we had two toddlers in care. They were just precious, and even slept well enough that as the volunteer, I was able to sleep all night. Friday morning I headed home, where Megan was all ready to get out the Christmas box and decorate. As with Halloween, I just let the kids do it. They love it, I was able to finish up the dishes from Thanksgiving, and some day, maybe, I’ll make things look really gorgeous. In the meantime, I’ve realized how things look is overrated, and I’m just focusing on how things feel. And they feel pretty good.