The snow was melting as we went into the second half of December. Ari found ways to entertain himself inside:
And he went to a classmate’s birthday party at Playdate PDX, with a huge indoor castle-themed climbing structure – his first time there. We usually monitor him closely and follow him around in playground settings, but A. said that one of his friends ran out of the castle and grabbed his hand and they ran in together, and A. went and sat in the party room and talked to other parents!
When they left, they saw a giant Santa:
The next day, we went to Costco. Ari was asleep when we got there so we put him in the cart:
Over the next couple of days, the construction resumed, I took the boys to the grocery store, and Sam was moving around more on the floor:
When the school reopened after the snow, they were on “camp days” for the winter break. We have to sign up and pay extra for the kids to attend camp days, and space is limited, so the boys were home more. But one day, I took Sam to “camp” and kept Ari with me so that we could have a special day together, just us, like we used to! I think he enjoyed it. We saw Olive and Dingo, Portland’s tall-bike–riding clowns who do story times, and Ari has been talking about “the silly clowns” ever since (and he’s been to see them two more times, with A.!). We also went to the library that is near his school, and then went home and checked out the progress in the backyard:
Before we picked Sam up, we got some cards ready for the teachers who were there. Ari signed his own name! I helped him with the “r” but he did the rest on his own:
The following day was Friday, two days before Christmas. Since I was going to work 12-hours shifts on Christmas Eve and Christmas, we decided halfway through the day to celebrate our Christmas that evening. So, that afternoon, A. took Ari to see the clowns again and while they were gone, I wrapped presents and got everything ready so that when they got back, we could tell Ari that Santa had come!
Sam played under the tree while I wrapped:
I got A. this book and t-shirt:
He helped me pick out the shirt, and I chose the book and got lucky – he loved it!
We got these toys for Sam – the box with the drawer is a Montessori toy that has five large wooden coins that go in the slot:
Here are Ari’s stocking contents and his other gifts – the dinosaur was “from Santa” because he asked Santa for “a scary dinosaur that roars”:
Here are pictures of the tree and stockings:
When Ari got home, he ran in, very excited to show me his new balloon dinosaur from the clowns. It took a minute for him to notice the presents under the tree!
When he finally noticed, and I told him Santa had come while he was gone, he ran over and started ripping open a present that wasn’t his! We redirected him to his stocking, and he sweetly exclaimed over the pajamas and multiple pairs of socks.
Then he pulled treats out of Andrew’s stocking for him!
After that, we helped him look for names on tags to find his presents, and he was very sweet about everything he opened (“Pants! I’m so surprised!”). However, his walking, roaring dinosaur “from Santa” was a bit too scary! He ran to sit on my lap, crying, “No! I don’t want him to eat me!” He still runs away when we turn it on! Here are some photos:
I didn’t get a lot of photos – it all happened so fast! I thought it might be fun to have Christmas in the evening, and it would be good for Ari to have new toys for A.’s weekend alone with them during the real Christmas, but I ended up feeling kind of sad. I love Christmas and it just flew by in a rush in the evening, with me feeling exhausted and stressed out about working the next day! The kids stayed up too late and then I had a big mess to clean up before I could go to bed. So I don’t think we’ll do it that way again. But Ari had fun, and he did enjoy playing with his new toys while I was at work over the weekend.
The day after Christmas, we had a nice family day off together. Sam was cute! He also started babbling around that time, mostly “Da da da da…”
In the evening, A. and I had a date night to a Blazers game! We had a teenager watching the kids and putting Ari to bed (I got Sam down before we left), which was kind of scary, but everything went great!
The day after that, A. had a day off so we went to the county building together to apply for a passport for Sam. Here he is having his picture taken:
After that, we met up with friends at Playdate PDX:
The following day, it was just me at the kids at home. The boys played nicely and a big truck brought some gravel for the ADU project.
Then we met up with friends at the zoo for Zoo Lights!
Then it was New Year’s Eve! Also the last night of Chanukah and the first day of a three-day weekend together.
When we weren’t watching Sam closely, we heard some fussing and discovered that he had scooted himself backward all the way under the couch and couldn’t go forward to get out!
I had envisioned thoroughly cleaning and organizing the house so that we could have a cozy, peaceful Chanukah celebration, a relaxing evening, and a fresh, clean start the next day. As usual, though, I had my sights set too high! We got quite a lot done but not everything, and finally had to stop working so we could light the menorah, eat dinner, and play dreidel!
One goal we did accomplish: setting up the crib! AND I got Sam to sleep in it at bedtime! That felt like a major achievement, and a good set-up for the new year!
Ari went to sleep on his own in his own bed, too, which is another accomplishment of 2016:
A quiet toast!
2016 felt like a pretty terrible year for the world and our country, and there has been loss in our personal lives as well, but it also brought us the start of our ADU project and, best of all, baby Sam!