Monday, January 30, 2017

Bits and Pieces: January

It has been a tough week. Day after day of very concerning and frightening news stories has left me worried, sad and depressed. However, I decided this morning that I can't keep reading news story after news story and then binge watching Friends reruns to take my mind off things. It is hard not to feel a sense of impending doom, but worrying, overeating and watching TV are not going to help anyone, including me. So, I am going to do what I can to resist: calling my representatives, attending rallies and donating money. I also want to work on campaigns and volunteer for other organizations that do good work.  And I need to keep busy and sane, if not for myself, then for the little people who I take care of every day.

My sister and I attended the Women's March here, along with my friend Peggy. Many of my other friends marched, too, but it was impossible to connect with everyone, since there were so many people. It was an inspiring day, to say the least. And when we found out how many people marched all over the world, it was even more inspiring. My cousins marched in D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. It gives me hope that people are not going to be complacent.

As for what we did this month as a family, I already wrote about the best thing - our trip to Florida. I wish we could just be on that trip all the time and not have to think about the real world.

My mom was here visiting for her birthday weekend, and the kids always love having her. She babysat so Katie and I could go to the march without the kids. Katie, my mom and I went out for martinis at Moscow on the Hill and burgers at Red Cow. It was a good time.

This past weekend we took the kids to the Winter Carnival in St. Paul. There is not much there, to be honest, but the kids enjoyed the pony rides. It was Christopher's first time on a pony, and he started yelling "giddy up!" as soon as he sat down. He loved it. Clare remembered the pony she rode last year - Fiona - and she waited in line until she could ride her again. We also took Christopher ice skating for the first time. He enjoyed himself, even though he fell many times.

Christopher is talking a mile a minute, and loves to make people laugh. This is not new, but now he is really into telling jokes. When he makes someone laugh, he says "I am very funny." I think he is going to be a class clown in school, while Clare will be a serious student.  Christopher is enrolled in preschool for the fall. He is definitely ready to start some regular school. We are in music class again this semester, and Christopher and Josie both look forward to class all week.

Clare is doing well in school, although the she has been complaining about not wanting to go quite a bit the last few days. I think everyone is going stir crazy. It is isn't even February yet, and we are all ready for winter to be over. Clare started skating lessons this month. She is doing great - she is one of the kids who can stay on her feet since she has been skating since she was two. She also started swimming lessons. We've only had one class so far, but it went well. We'll see what happens when they ask the kids to go under water.

It is Oscar movie season again, which as provided a wonderful distraction from reality. I am trying to see all the best picture nominees like I did last year. So far I've seen "La La Land", "Fences" and "Hidden Figures." I have a ways to go.

On to February.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Sunshine State, Part 2

We spent a week in early January in Florida. It was nice. It was very nice. Sitting in the warm sun and not having anywhere particular to be is, to me, the perfect kind of vacation. We went to the same house we stayed in last year. This year, it was the four of us, my parents, and my Uncle John and Aunt Conchita, who live in Memphis. The kids were immediately attached to their great aunt and uncle, which was nice. Also nice: having six adults to two kids. A good ratio. We swam in the pool every day, except one, when it was rainy and "cold." We ate dinner outside at a pizza place, complete with many bottles of wine. We went to Sanibel Island and took a boat trip. We learned about the native birds and fish and dolphins. I went hiking, and the kids and Ben and my dad went canoeing in Lover's Key. We sat around. We had dueling dinner parties, again. Clare came up with the theme: Disney Princesses. We made crowns. We watched football. We ate lots of Key Lime pie. We visited a historical site on Fort Myers Beach - the Mound House. Some us drank gin and tonics on the beach (sorry I ditched you with the kids, Ben). We went to the beach. I wish we were still there.