January snapshots

 

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Gloves are complicated.  

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Finished them in one month exactly (Dec 21 – Jan 21). This cable pattern was STRANGE but I trusted the chart and it worked out as they promised.  Sometimes you have to have faith.  

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Nimbus being so helpful while taking down the tree.

A short hike with Ben, I think they were along Ralston Creek.

Games and Legos have dominated the month.

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I see you Freddy.  I see that yarn you stole.

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New camera phone takes nice pictures.  

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Sam wrote his talk for church all by himself.  I hesitated to re-write it into something with more context.  He did great and delivered it without any help!

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Jack started a proper rock collection.

 

Jack has been running his rock tumbler all month.  This is after the first grit level.  His final polish (#5) will finish by February.

Enjoying the Kiwi Crate given by Andy and Jenn.

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We got a mystery poop problem.  Took Freddy to the vet to help try to fix it.  Grrr. He had inflamed intestines and rectum, but was negative for parasites.  They gave him a deworming dose just in case.  We are working on preventing human food snitches and determining if he has a food allergy.  

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I tried making some gluten free and egg free waffles for some friends with sensitivities.  They sort of worked, I think they could experiment and get a good result.  The kids were wildly jealous I made waffles for others, so I made a second regular batch for us.  Both pearl sugar and chocolate chip variety, because they couldn’t agree.  Also, the Marvel waffle iron was appropriate because Jack and I have watched all the way to Endgame!  Next movie night will be the one he wanted all along, Spider-Man: Far From Home.

More games, more Marvel.

Tacos and books.  

Pinewood Derby 2020.  Jack’s car is “The Mad Titan” seen over his shoulder.  It’s the Infinity gauntlet with stones and a Spider-man Lego mini-fig riding on the back.  His friend Dylan has Luke Skywalker’s speeder, the orange one.

Jack won 3 out of 4 heats, placing second only once.

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It’s openly admitted that the Mielke car and the cars by the Stowitts and Kings were made entirely by the dads.  So among the Scouts, Jack came in 4th behind them – but in my mind he came in FIRST for having made his car all by himself!!!  Poor kid really wanted a trophy this year.  I consoled him, as usual, that it’s just not fair when the parents design, carve, weigh, and even put the paint on the kids’ cars. 

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Mario Party on MLK day.  I had a cold all this week and didn’t mind letting them stay jammies extra long. 

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Ben and I got to the Alamo Drafthouse so often that we have reached the “Top Brass” level.  They have an annual party for members and this year I went with Shawn as my guest.  It was a trivia game based on 2019 movies with free drinks and buffet.  We did alright in trivia, but didn’t place.  I was thrilled the get some swag!  

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If only wearing this pin meant I got a free drink or something at each screening 😉

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This morning was the spelling bee.  Jack has been practicing all month.

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He did great!  Last year he passed one round and was out the second.  This year I think he made it to the fifth round.  So proud of him!  He was tearful afterward, true to his nature.  But he swallowed it down and I think he knew he did well.  We told him we’ll go to Disneyland to celebrate 😉

Ben’s Birthday

We enjoyed a quiet day at home for Ben’s birthday.  He opened presents after breakfast per tradition.

For lunch we all went to the Westminster Alamo to see Spies in Disguise.  You know what, that movie was actually really good!  I mean, for a kids film.  I don’t blindly recommend it.  But the animation was smart, it had great voice acting, the plot was predictable but tight, and had a lot of great jokes and fun set pieces.

Ben indulged in a hearty root stew for dinner.  He made it with dashi and miso, ingredients that the other humans in our house don’t light.  The cats on the other hand…

Then we had ice cream cake from DQ and played card games.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Christmas 2019

We had the pleasure of hosting Christmas for the Waterhouse family this year.  It was so fun having everyone come to Denver to celebrate.  Here’s a smattering of pictures from the end of the year.  Sorry, they are totally out of order!

As room parent I planned and ran Jack’s class party.

I got to pop down the hall to say hi to Sam and his class party too.

Zoo Lights with the Waterhouses!  It wasn’t too cold even!

So many presents . . . 

Showing off school work.

Christmas morning, the kids tackled the biggest box under the tree.  I packed a box-in-a-box five deep.  They had to unwrap all of them to get to the tiny paper in the smallest box that said —

We’re going to Disneyland!  Yes, we gifted ourselves a vacation in Disneyland later in January.  Jack has been talking about nothing else since then.

Poor attempt at a group photo 🙂

Burgers with the fam on Christmas Eve.

More Zoo Lights!

A picture of Freddy in the Thai Dinner box was turned into this glorious ode to a meme.

A better group photo!

After Christmas, puzzles and classic Disney movies.

Ben tried out his new Japanese cooking pot.

Merry Christmas!

 

Mondays, am I right?

Okay, it’s actually Tuesday.

Either way, Freddy was Garfielding hard for this lasagne.

(I have a cold this week. Please don’t judge me for serving Stouffer’s.)

First grade visit

Earlier this month I got to come into Sam’s class and teach the whole first grade about Christmas in Germany, as part of their “Holidays Around the World” unit.  I did this for Jack’s class when he was in first grade, you can see the pictures from that here.

This time I didn’t document nearly as well, so all I have is this picture that the teacher took.  Sam is the one picking his nose.

I brought in most of the same things – clothes, pictures, decorations, and a slide show with pictures and facts.

Then I served some German treats, this time I made stollen and lebkuchen.  A lot of the kids loved it and asked for seconds and thirds!

Like last time, I had the kids make a special message for my German pen pal:

Steffi and I have been excitedly emailing all month about the busy-ness of being a mom during Christmastime.   Her kids loved the video, and in return she sent a few back.  I stitched them together into one movie and added subtitles.

Tomorrow the teachers are going to share it with the first graders, to show that their message went all the way around the world!

Christmas cheer in Denver and at home

It’s been a Christmas-sy weekend!  Friday the kids were off school except for a brief scheduled assessment.  So it was a lazy kind of day.  In the evening Jack brought a friend to the ward Christmas party.  It was nice to get out and chat with people and enjoy some Christmas music.  They had a few small instrumental performances and had the kids sing “Stars Were Gleaming” – much to Jack’s embarrassment, since his friend got to watch him sing.  🙂

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Today we decided to take an adventure downtown for some Christmas cheer.  For extra fun, we took the light rail train.  It was a dreary gray day, but I mostly stayed warm.

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Visited the Giving Machine at Writer Square.  

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Sam and Ben bought some fancy cheese from an Irish cheesemonger selling Dutch wares at the German market.

All testing the cheese in the Christkindlmarkt Festival Hall.  

I was very tempted to buy all the wurst and potatoes in a variety of forms at the Christkindlmarkt, but it was SOOOO crowded and the lines long.  Instead we went to Mellow Mushroom for a warm meal indoors.  (Notice Sam is piling on the parm while our photo is taken)

I impressed/embarrassed my family with my wealth knowledge for lyrics from radio hits of 1998 and 1998, which seemed to make up the restaurant’s playlist.  Here I’m serenading the boys with a Britney Spears ballad. 

There was a pop-up market in Larimer Square.  Mostly fancy-pants boutique wares.  Jack and I ducked into the festival tent and found an a cappella group singing a Disney medley.  They were really good!

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Home again on the train.  Sam tried to play it cool, riding backwards away from us.  But he came back after one stop to share a bench and play Farkle on Ben’s phone. 

Not pictured, they each picked out treat at Rocket Fizz. Sam took a sour apple Blow-Pop, Jack took a Chocolate Frog.

I spent in the afternoon in a bustle getting groceries and picking up Christmas cards and a popcorn tin.  Then I baked cupcakes for my Sunday school class and did laundry while watching Nutcracker.  We had a lovely brief snow, but no build-up on the ground.  To finish the evening we watched Home Alone 2.  The kids were howling with laughter and declared it just as good as the original.

Battle of the Basket

Freddy has a basket:

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He likes to be in a high position in the kitchen – close to the food smells and the people.  I installed a basket on the counter to try to keep his fur and feet restrained to one spot, rather than roaming over the whole counter.  It works well and he spends most of his naps there.

Nimbus is more free range with her napping locations.  Unless I have an electric blanket on me.  She purrs so loudly when she’s sharing it with me.

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Tonight we were dining on baked potatoes and Freddy was prowling about hoping to sneak a bit of bacon.  While his focus was on the table, we spied Nimbus slowly settling into Freddy’s basket.  The kids howled with laughter, we knew this was going to cause trouble.

Shortly after, Freddy noticed the egregious invasion and was MAD.

But Nimbus was not about to yield to this plebeian.  We had a full-on battle, pitting claims of Territory against Dominance.

They ran to the living room to finish wrestling.  I’m not sure who they think won the battle.  The basket was abandoned.  Thirty minutes later, as I was leaving for book club, I walked by this scene:

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Hmm.  No one looks happy.  Perhaps this was the first skirmish of a long war.

Snow fun after school

Tree’s up!

We came home and launched into Christmas mode.  Thanksgiving was so late this year!

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Freddy missed Ben terribly.  He cuddled deeply while we watched the latest Mandalorian episode. 

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The kids were eager to decorate.  Shortly after the photo they were bouncing up and down shouting the Jingle Bells song.

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Snowflake.

Both cats tried to eat the tree.  Nimbus jumped up into it once.  To my surprise, they have been cuddled together under it for the last hour.  Nimbus was gently licking Freddy’s head.

Thanksgiving

The kids had the whole week off for Thanksgiving, like usual.  With a snow storm coming, I decided to come over super early on Sunday to visit.  It was great to have many relaxing days on vacation.  The boys got the play with the Mason grandparents during the day.  Amanda and I had lunch with our parents.  I even squeezed in a couple zumba classes at the local gym.  Ben joined us on Wednesday via bus.

We had an amazing Thanksgiving spread with far too much food.  Everything was delectable and I came home with generous leftovers.  On Friday the Waterhouses went to a pottery painting studio and got creative juices flowing.  In the evening we saw Frozen II together.  It was a wonderful holiday time with family!

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Sam drew on everything he could find.  He filled two notebooks with artwork.

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Jack played Christmas carols all week, enjoying the feel and sound of a grand piano.  He also tried mom’s violin a few times and seems to have a good knack for it. 

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The kids put some new things on their plates!

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Impressive haul at the bookstore

 

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