Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ides of Life

Oliver has been ice skating before, but this might be his first time actually enjoying it.

We went ice skating after school one day because Phoebe's best friend had never been!

Phoebe got a FitBit for Christmas and now keeps track of everything. Her continuous hula hooping record is now more than six minutes long. Ask her for the exact record; she is very proud of it.

I've never considered myself a political activist, but Mr. 45 is changing that. His election baffled me and his executive orders have gone against my core values. After 45 wrote an executive order to ban travel from Muslim-majority countries, I proudly stood in solidarity with many other peaceful protestors. I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't do something to stand up for my Muslim friends and neighbors. They are peaceful people that practice a peaceful religion.

Bruce and kids combing the rocky shore for the perfect shell or rock or sea glass. This is in Rhode Island at our neighbor's grandma's house along the shore. It was beautiful!

Phoebe loves loves loves animals. She enjoyed walking our neighbor's dog around the yard in Rhode Island.

For Valentine's Day, Phoebe helped me decorate all the bags for our valentines for the homeless project.

She is running out of teeth.

Martha's Vineyard 20-miler 2017! I first won this race in 2007 and then again in 2012. This year makes it three wins!

February vacation in Quebec: we got a sweet little cottage with an outdoor hot tub.

Phoebe literally chilling out.

Phoebe getting off the magic carpet, ready for more action.

K had never skied before, so gave it a go. She does not like the cold. Or uncomfortable boots. Or awkward skis. But she survived a lesson, learned to stay upright more than on her bum, and tried skiing. Success!

Oliver loved skiing. Scott and I took turns going down the bunny hill with him.

Bruce and Phoebe waiting in line for the lift. That would be Phoebe "doing the Dab," as she calls it. She thinks she is so cool.

Oliver discovered ketchup-flavored Doritos. We may never be the same again.

We tried to include a few things that K would actually enjoy, so we headed to a mall and got pedicures. She claims Canadian malls are sooooo much better than American malls.

Phoebe and her snowshoes.

Phoebe in the Montreal Biosphere, a museum about climate change.

And we finally made it to the Montreal Biodome - the museum we originally intended to see. It's like a zoo/ museum/ aquarium.

Phoebe and her big mouth with an alligator and his big mouth.

Phoebe started a cooking class after school and loves it.

I might just adopt the bullet-point style of blogging from now on. I cannot seem to keep up anymore.

January highlights:
  • We added to our family! No, I am not pregnant. We took in a 15-year-old girl from church who needed a place to go. We bought bunk beds and another shelf for Phoebe's room and K fits right in. K is a freshman, a sprinter on her school's track team, and is easygoing but driven. After a full day of school she heads to track practice, then comes home to a pile of homework before dinner and bed. She prefers to spend weekends sleeping in. Thankfully, she is patient with small noisy kids. Anyway, she has been with us since the start of the year and will be with us through at least part of the summer or maybe longer. K is a delight, so we aren't showing her the door.
  • I ran a 3K at an indoor track meet. I started official marathon training and jumped in a 3K for fun. I got roasted by the other ladies, but still had a blast.
Phoebe at a community ice skating party.
February highlights:
  • It was our neighbor's birthday and he wanted us to celebrate by going to his grandma's house in Rhode Island. We went for a night and enjoyed playing with the dog, throwing rocks into the ocean, playing in a real legit backyard, baking a cake together, staying up chatting, and enjoying time with friends. 
  • Valentine's Day was eventful yet again. I organized women from church, school, and neighborhood groups to assemble 120 valentines for the homeless. 100 valentines went to the Salvation Army in Central Square and another 20 went to a smaller women's-only shelter called On The Rise. I also got valentines for Scott and the kids and they gifted me lots of chocolates too.
  • I hosted another successful blood drive at church. When I first started organizing drives, I would get so nervous about things possibly going wrong or no one showing up or whatever. I am finally getting to the point where I feel hardly any stress at all. Which is good because this time around, Oliver threw up at school that morning so that changed our plans for the whole day. I am usually there from start to finish, but this time I delegated and disappeared for as much as I could. As for Oliver, he threw up twice but woke up fine the next day.
  • I won the Martha's Vineyard 20-miler! This probably deserves its own post, but it's not going to happen. Here is a quick recap: I woke up race morning to a car that wouldn't start. Our car battery was weak anyway and then Phoebe left an interior light on when she was searching for a favorite pencil a few nights before. Oops. Luckily, my parking-spot-neighbor was warming up her car for work, so she gave me a jump-start and I drove the 1 1/2 hours to the ferry. I took the 45-minute ferry to Martha's Vineyard and warmed up for the race. The weather was fantastic. Last year it was ridiculously awfully cold and this year it was in the high 40s or low 50s - so 70 degrees warmer than last year. It was still windy, so I spent the first 10 miles tucked behind two guys. Those initial miles are along the ocean, so the wind is very strong and my face felt like it was being sandblasted. After 10 miles, the course turns inland and the wind isn't as bad but then the hills start rolling. I was not sure what place I was in because there was a relay at the same time; I had seen another woman go out very fast at the start, but wasn't sure if she was a relay runner or a 20-miler. As it turns out, she was a relay runner. Not knowing my place didn't slow me down though: I was determined to race well even if it wasn't going to be a win. I'd worked hard just to get there! But when I got to the finish line and the race director unfurled the winning tape across the line, I was really happy to break it. I first won this race in 2007, so it is nice to be able to come back a decade later and win. 
  • February vacation! The kids had a week off of school and Scott took the week off too. We wanted to escape the city, but traveling anywhere with six bodies is now really expensive. We looked at places within a few hours' drive and ended up going to Quebec. K had never been out of the country so was very excited to go somewhere - even if it was just Canada. We stayed at a little vacation house in a small town between Montreal and Quebec. We went skiing and hiking and snowshoeing. The house had a hot tub and tiny sauna, which we used daily. We went on a day-trip to Montreal and after two hours at the wrong museum, we ended up where we originally intended at the Biodome. K is not a huge fan of the cold or outdoors, but she tried a lot of new things. To reward her efforts, we had a girls' day where we went to a mall and got pedicures and facials. We decided that everything tastes better in Canada. Everything was a little cheaper too. Success.
As for kid updates:
  • Bruce still loves middle school. He enjoys the feedback and actual grades as opposed to the ambiguous grading system from elementary school. He loves playing piano in the jazz band and now plays regularly at church functions. He loves playing Bananagrams and would sit there putting together words and eating cookies all night if I let him. 
  • Phoebe is a joy and a curse still. She is so fun and creative, but throws fits like a two-year-old. I keep hoping this phase will end, but I hear it may just spread into the teenage years. Phoebe still loves taekwondo and is now going twice a week. She is taking a cooking class after school once a week. She made thumbprint cookies the first week and sorbet the next. Phoebe has lost a few teeth and still has a ridiculous streak: she recently etched the word "POOP" into our tabletop with her fork.
  • Oliver is still my baby and showing it. He loves preschool but still goes through periods when I have to talk him into attending. He also has a hard time going to Primary on Sundays. He does not like big crowds and so clings to my leg when I try to drop him off with his class. I usually have to sit with him for awhile, then sneak out when he isn't looking.

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