Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Perfect Snow Day

Today was our first real snow day of the season. We woke up to blizzard conditions, and the snow kept swirling and falling until mid-afternoon.

Luckily, we had no plans and no obligations today. We enjoyed a very lazy morning of building vehicles out of K'nex, snuggling, giggling, and watching Spongebob. We had a very late breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Eventually, we headed out to shovel the driveway and walkways (our wonderful neighbor took care of our sidewalks with his snowblower). R was a huge help, in between jumping into snowdrifts, eating snow, and making tunnels. We spotted one of R's classmates outside shoveling with his dad up the street, so we walked over to say hello. R brought his shovel so he could help them. The boys played while A helped R's friend's dad clear out his driveway and clean off his cars. We were invited in for cocoa and hot cider. The mom and I have been chatting a lot at the playground after school, and our boys get along very well. We've had a couple of playdates, too. So it was nice to hang out for a little while today. The mom sent me home with fresh, homemade brownies. Love that!

After a very late lunch at home, A took R out for sledding while I stayed home to wrap presents for my employees. I looked out the window at one point to look for my boys and saw the most amazing pink and magenta sunset. When the boys came home, I stripped R out of his snowy clothes, we lit a fire in the fireplace, popped "White Christmas" into the VCR, and piled onto the couch together. It was a bit of an experiment because even though watching it is a holiday tradition for me, this was the first time that A or R had seen the movie. I figured they'd get bored and find something else to do after a little while. But they watched the whole thing with me and pretty much enjoyed it. That made me so happy. I had figured that that was one Christmas tradition I'd have to continue all by myself without a daughter to keep me company. It actually made me cry a little that it worked out today. When R saw I was getting sniffly, he cradled my face in his hands and gave me a sweet kiss. Life and love are all about unexpected surprises.

It was a good day.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let me introduce myself

Hi, I'm Kristen. I used to write this blog. Nice to meet you!

I don't know what the heck has happened. I've started to write posts at least five times over the last few weeks, and just couldn't finish them. So much is going on with me, yet I've found it impossible to write about it. And, life has been a whirlwind recently. Our time has been filled with work, school, and fun, but it's all going by so quickly that I think I've been avoiding the computer at night just to try to have some slow time.

But here we are, it's December, and the year is nearly over. This week, we have our parent-teacher conference with R's teacher, our company's holiday party and awards ceremony (during which I'll get my tenure award for being there for 10 years, which I find a little depressing), cards to mail out (I finally got motivated this year to get them done!), decorations to put up, a tree to buy, a birthday party to attend. The week hasn't begun yet, and I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

In the midst of all the craziness, though, life has been pretty nice. Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law, and my dad was mellow and comfy and delicious. A, R, and I went to our favorite seaside Massachusetts town last weekend to climb rocks, explore the beach, and look for shells and seaglass. We ate lunch while we watched some men build a huge Christmas tree made out of lobster traps in the center of town. I love New England.


Yesterday, we met up early (9 am!) with a classmate of R's and his family, and we all headed to the Harvard Museum of Natural History - in particular, its gems and minerals collection because R has apparently started a new fad among his classmates after he brought in his favorite gems for show-and-tell. After the kids practically ran through the exhibits, we all walked into Harvard Square for hot chocolate, a stop at the outdoor sports store, and lunch at a Harvard Square landmark. The kids got along famously, and A and I had a nice time getting to know the other parents better. It was a cold day and there was fresh snow on the ground, so we spent most of the time watching the kids run through the snow, pick up ice, eat snow, and throw snow and ice at each other while we desperately coaxed the kids to move along so we could get inside and get warm. But it was really fun.

I've been a little depressed about Christmas. Partly because, without much family in the area, I feel like I have to work really hard to make Christmas traditions and special memories for R. I've tried keeping alive the Advent traditions that I grew up with, but A and R aren't that into it. The two of them also aren't that into helping me decorate for Christmas (and, man, do I hate decorating the tree by myself). But I realized last night that days like yesterday - full of fun with friends, cold noses and fingers, snow, and hot cocoa - are precious Christmas memories, too. Soon we'll go with other friends to the local zoo for their holiday lights display (our fourth year), and on Christmas Eve or right around there, we'll go to Edaville Railroad with lots of friends for lights, rides, fireworks, hot cider, and music (our third year). Those events have become our traditions, and I'm sure we'll add a few more as the years go on. I'm already thinking about having a special family dinner at the Melting Pot. Mmmmmm, fondue.....