We had such a lovely weekend despite a brief snow storm followed by bone-chilling cold. The girls headed down to my parents’ house on Saturday morning for a sleepover and we all joined Evan’s family for a beautiful, belated Hanukkah brunch on Sunday.
I believe that grandparents should be able to spoil their grandkids and lavish them with attention, love, and lots and lots of homemade food. It also seems that I was born into a family with this belief as not only did the girls bake cookies and eat some of their favorite foods, they were also treated to breakfast in bed the morning after the sleepover. The breakfast, complete with pancakes and homemade hot chocolate, was a first one ever for Sophia and Eliza and such a lovely treat. Sophia and Eliza also played in the freshly fallen snow and “helped” Deda clear the driveway. Rosy cheeked and thoroughly refreshed from the great outdoors and fresh snow is how I remember spending my winter breaks in my grandparents’ house. As for Evan and me on our brief reprieve from parental duties—we cooked, listened to Jazz, watched more TV than we usually do, went out for happy hour after the snow, and generally lounged. In other words, we had 23 hours to remind ourselves what life was like when we were in our early-mid twenties.
There is something to be said for old-school paper correspondence and especially for holiday cards. This is the picture we used for this year’s cards and it is just one of a series Evan and I took over Thanksgiving holiday break.
It is surely a Monday kind of a Tuesday. The day is dreary and I woke up at my usual too early to be awake time convinced that it is still the middle of the night. For good reason, too—I haven’t had to get up before 6 AM for almost two weeks and found that no amount of coffee helps remedy a case of the
It is finally 2017. Many, and I among them, say that 2016 was a difficult year. It remains to be seen what 2017 will be like, but I’ll be optimistic and wish everyone a Happy New Year! On to bigger and better things — how we spent the holidays. This year Hannukah and Christmas overlapped giving grown ups much to think about and kids much to celebrate. The girls celebrated Hannukah on New Year’s eve with a New Year’s tree—a tradition from my childhood—opening presents. Please note that *all* the presents you see in this picture are from my sister. To say that she is a firm believer in eight nights of Hanukkah is an understatement but more than that, she is an amazing aunt. My kids are incredibly fortunate.
After opening all of these presents on 12/31 because it was, after all, the last night of Hannukah, we feasted on homemade chicken noodle soup and herring under a fur coat. Evan and I barely lasted until the ball dropped that evening having flown home from warmer climates where we spent time with Evan’s family.
Digging for treasure keeps kids occupied for quite a bit of time. We found shells, built castles, dipped our feet in the azure blue atlantic ocean and embraced the “its vacation so you can eat whatever you want” mentality. That meant that Sophia now consists of 70% pasta and 30% ice cream and Eliza 60% pizza and 40% something else. And if you ever find out what she means by something else do let me know because I’d really love to know. Terrible twos appear to be roaring and here to stay.
Two-on-two vacations continue to be quite a bit of work mostly where meals are concerned. We had a lot of fun, warmed our cold limbs thoroughly and listened to the calming sounds of the sea. Lovely. Beautiful. Relaxing for the mind not the body. Happy to get home and still have two days off, we embraced the remainder of the weekend in what has becoming more or less the typical; the girls spent most of Saturday catching up with Alex, Baba, and Deda and, for the first time in years Evan and I piled up on the couch binge-watching tv and resting from vacation.
These two — discussing their next adventure together. These times of peace and quiet can at times (especially now) seem untenable but when they suddenly appear out of nowhere like a rainbow after a rainstorm, they’re so beautiful.
As the year is coming to a close, I can honestly say that 2016 has been eventful; we’ve moved, I’ve changed jobs, we’ve overcome a children’s surgery, and generally tried to keep afloat. There’s nothing our little family needs more than R&R.
So here’s to 2017 and I hope it is less eventful.
What a blustery, blistery, and cold weekend. Someone told me that a cold front was moving from Siberia of all places down through Canada and toward us. I’ve never been to Siberia but I imagine that Friday evening’s weather was exactly how cold it must be there.
The kids are at this great age where they still believe in princesses, fairytales, and magic. Marveling and relishing this, we decided to start some new (to us) traditions like having the girls decorate a gingerbread house. We also baked snickerdoodle cookies—an experience that included a completely flour-covered kitchen, many giggles, and lots and lots of snacking too close to dinner.
We spent the rest of the weekend watching movies, decorating a new year’s tree (a tradition from my own childhood) and wrapping Hannukah presents. The highlight of the weekend, which also concluded it, was a visit to The Miracle on 13th Street where we marveled at a beautiful holiday oasis that seems to appear out of nowhere as you drive deep into South Philadelphia. Lovely.
We didn’t notice if it was cold outside when we were walking through this wonderland — we were too enchanted.
We hosted our friends for brunch this Saturday morning and I was able to pull off a spinach quiche and crepes from scratch in just under two hours the morning of thanks to the Sophia and Eliza playing on their own.
It seems that things are changing at our house and, as the girls get older, I find that my focus is shifting from entertaining/occupying Eliza and Sophia to stepping back to take care of things around the house or *gasp* work on my own hobbies.
Their interactions are becoming much more collaborative and interactive. This 100-piece puzzle took them about an hour and Eliza was a keen contributor finding appropriate color pieces for Sophia. With the puzzle complete, having attended a princess birthday party with Sophia, and relaxed most of Sunday, I shall record this weekend a success.
A photo posted by Nadya (@growingupsavvy) on
December is always busy with get-togethers, shopping, and just trying to stay on top of the daily. We had a brief overnight in DC Friday to Saturday to attend Evan’s holiday party. I hadn’t been able to attend the previous two years and was very much looking forward to getting together with some old friends and, frankly, getting a night off. The celebration was lovely and well worth the three and a half hour drive there.
In addition to wining and dining in the DC area, we also hosted my nephew for a sleepover and were all sad to see him head home. He’s thirteen now—young enough to play and bond with little cousins and yet is old enough to have great conversation with Evan and me.
Saturday night at our house almost always involves a leisurely homemade meal. On the occasion of Alex’s sleepover I made crispy chicken tenders, butternut squash fettuccine alfredo, and steamed green beans. We spent the time together crafting, playing legos, building forts, and just being silly. The kids (all three of them watched) My Neighbor Totoro for the first time. What a splendid time together.
This flawless and pretty much effortless weekend has been a long time in the making. Relationships, even those of cousins, have to be cultivated and involve not just the cousins but everyone around them. It isn’t always easy to make time, to host at home when the kids are little and you’re tired, but in the end it is so, so worth. Just see for yourself.