Almost 20 days of this year have gone by. I'd like to say in a flash, but there are particular days in there that felt like they would never end.
We'll get to that.
Annaliese and I snuck in a lunch date, something we haven't been able to do often since she started kindergarden.
With all the darkness and cold, we've spent most of our evening time in jammies with fires and books/board games/movies.
This particular moment captures the end of a family game of chinese checkers, wherein Alexe was green and beat all of us, me (red) by one move. She then assumed that I had let her win, and accused me of stealing her thunder. (My grin may have led her down this road, but for the record she won fair and square.)
This little girl turned six, and lost her first tooth.
Her birthday party was in several parts. We started with a Saturday evening party with friends. A 45 minute drive with this crew to our favorite hot dog and ice cream spot...
Followed by an evening at the roller skating rink. In case you are ever inspired to take 3 five year olds and 2 four year olds to a skating rink for their first ever skating experience, with only two adults, let me advise against it. It was not a good time for the "grown-ups".
The boys gave up early, and spent their evening in the arcade. Caspian, working his magic, managed to find two young ladies who helped him around the rink a few times before he bailed.
The girls stuck with it. Through countless wipeouts, they were champions. They talked about how hard it was, but didn't want to give up.
I don't have many pictures, as we had our hands full keeping everyone alive.
The drive home started with a bathroom stop 3 minutes after leaving the skating rink, a nose bleed in the back seat, and then a car sick puke fest that scared all the non-sick kids, made Annaliese cry about the worst birthday party ever, (she was not the one who threw up,) and was followed by a disgusting drive home with the windows cracked and endless discussion of vomit.
There was a pleasant interlude, where Alexe received the advance copy of her and Dixie's book.
Checking off life goals at every turn.
Caspian had the puking bug all Sunday night. No photos, just documenting.
These two ladies had their official birthday on Monday.
Ginger ale for the sick boy, ginger cookies for everyone.
Alexe made the carrot cake, as requested by the birthday girl...
And our little girl turned six. (A bit premature, on her birth-day she made us wait until after 11 pm.)
Tuesday was uneventful, until Annaliese started throwing up around 9 that night. She moved to our bed, and at 1 am the bug hit Alexe. 5 minutes later it hit me.
The rest of that night was the three of us taking turns running to the bathroom.
Annaliese bounced back in the morning, but for some reason the bug hit me and Alexe much harder. We were unable to stand up all day, and the kids fed and entertained themselves all day. We managed to get up to feed and water the animals at around 5, in the hard freeze they all required bucket watering, but it was our only vertical stint. The kids tucked themselves in and went to bed as far as we knew, but when I went downstairs later in the night to check on them, I found them on the couch together.
They make me happy.
Since our health and appetite bounced back, we've had some lovely dinners. The kids have taken over setting the table.
I get them to myself on Saturday mornings. This particular morning they arrived fully dressed, with bells, and sang their rendition of Jingle Bells. Over and over.
Dress up and drawing and playdough on a crisp, cold afternoon.
Six! Waiting for the bus. The last time I saw her with all her baby teeth.
She wouldn't show the camera, but that little mouth is missing a tooth.
And life continues to pleasantly chug forward. On Friday as I was organizing the ground floors at the project buildings in preparation for the plumbing under apartments 3/4/5 this coming week, a young man (10 maybe?) walking down the sidewalk with his backpack on gave me this piece of wire. He said he found it near his house and thought I might be able to use it.
Yesterday, while Alexe took the kids to a birthday party, I gave myself the gift of an afternoon on the tractor to expand the fields. This is the perfect time of year to uproot privet and push it into piles for future fires. When I looked up a couple hours later, this is what I saw in the field next to me.