Tuesday, December 30, 2014

HI! I am still here!

December 30th. I'm sitting in my kitchen with a cup of coffee and the space heater because it's COLD here in Seattle today. Vivian is downstairs watching TV on my iPod while her brother sleeps away. He is so not a morning person. The cats are sitting in the window in front of me and making indignant cat chirping noises because a crow is sitting on a branch super close to the window. And there are people climbing on my roof and installing gutters. Just another suburban morning. 

Anyway, Christmas is over and the first week of break is past. We went to Vancouver BC for Christmas this year and it was one of the better experiences that I've had with Daniel's family. For the past decade, most of our visits have consisted of staying in his parents' overfull and small condo in a town outside of Vancouver and going out to dim sum at one of two restaurants with the relatives. Which isn't bad, but doing that every time while always hearing about the great things there are to do in the city gets old. But this visit there weren't too many relatives to visit and the kids are big enough to get out and do stuff and enjoy it, so explore we did. 

And my BIL and his wife are long-term housesitting for a friend, so we packed up Daniel's parents and ourselves and went and stayed in their large house. With lots of bedrooms and a den and huge kitchen and long hallways for the kids to ride their tricycle up and down. Which meant I had space to escape when it all got to be too much. Like when I suddenly found myself at a table of 8 people, all speaking Chinese and apparently discussing Chinese politics. I was able to politely excuse myself and go force my kids to stop watching Bubble Guppies and instead watch Elf with me and we had a blast. 

And we got out and explored the city and took in the lights in Stanley Park and visited the Art Gallery and the wonderful Vancouver Aquarium (I don't even like aquariums and still loved this one so very, very much) and it was a trip full of family time and fun time in the city and all was happy and rosy.

We came home on Christmas Day and much to my happy surprise, the kids declared that Santa had gotten them exactly what they wanted, despite having asked Santa to surprise them (which put a lot of pressure on me).  In a really funny turn of events, they actually spent most of the car ride home discussing the possibility of getting a pet bear and finally deciding that a pet panda would be the safest. Since Santa had brought Vivian a stuffed panda that walks and makes noises and takes a bottle, and that was waiting at home for her to open, I was a happy camper. And Ethan yelled and hugged me when he opened the Wii game that I had bought, telling me that it was one he'd been dreaming of (news to me!) and I spent quite a while patting myself on the back that evening. 

Today we are at home and I have big plans to purge the playroom full of toys that they never ever play with. Should be an interesting adventure. Onward! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving break nearly did me in. I don't even want to think about Winter break.

The kids were off school all week last week. That's how they do it here in Seattle for the elementary school grades- no school and conferences on the weekend and during the week. We did both kids' conferences last Saturday, so no need to set foot in the school for over a week.

Both kids are doing pretty well at school. Vivian, being Vivian, required what may be the world's shortest conference, since she's doing well and making friends and has absolutely no issues. Ethan's conference, since it involved Ethan, was a bit more complicated and involved multiple people. But he's making progress and it was generally all good news. His teachers have figured out how to harness his insanely competitive spirit and use it for their own purposes.  He's a funny kid- things do not come to him easily, but he doesn't notice that. He's pretty sure he's the best at everything that he does. No problem with self confidence in that kid!

Having a week off for Thanksgiving sounded like a good idea at the beginning of the week, but by yesterday afternoon I was about to lose my mind.  Nine straight days of being around LOTS! OF! RELATIVES! was too much for me.  Thankfully Daniel and the kids went ice skating and I sat on the couch in the quiet with my book and all was right with the world.

We spent Thanksgiving proper down in Portland with my family there. We generally stay put, since Daniel never seems to have Friday off work. But this year we went down on Tuesday and saw friends that evening and spent Wednesday with my grandmother and then had early Thanksgiving dinner with my grandmother and uncles and assorted cousins and significant others and then we drove back to Seattle that evening.

And then this morning I leaped out of bed and bustled the kids into their clothes and out the door and then grinned broadly when the first bell rang at school and shoved them towards their teachers and practically sprinted out of the school. School days are a lovely thing.