The Dilovely New Year Questionnaire for 2017

Hi, Lovelies! And HAPPY NEW YEAR. Farewell, 2017.

Off to a cold, cold start in which I have not gotten enough fresh air because I did’t want my skin to fall off… But as of Saturday night, thanks to some quality time spent with my sis and a friend and many little jars and baggies, my spice drawer is looking unusually spiffy. And milder temps started TODAY… We all got through our first day back with a minimum of trauma… So on balance, 2018 is looking good.

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Not Pinterest-worthy, but comforting nonetheless.

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

MeSean: Adult Adventure Week at Wilderness Tours on the Ottawa River! Not as risqué as it sounds… or maybe it is! If you consider whitewater risqué. (Two days of rafting, one day of cycling, and one day of sea kayaking… ’twas amazing. That we were still alive at the end.)

E: Saw whale poop at the Royal Ontario Museum, rode on an elephant at the African Lion Safari.

AB: Saw the longest worm in the world at the ROM, rode on a pony at the Safari.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?

Me: I did not manage to stop using the snooze button. I did, however, use my massage benefits several times, and it was awesome. (It’s been several months now since my last appointment, and my neck is wondering sadly what happened.) Also, I did Bullet Journal like a BOSS (more on that later).

Sean: Yes, lost 20 pounds and still going! Lots of reading (not sure if it was MORE)… and shall be rebroadcasting the screen time resolution in 2018.

E: I did get my green belt!

A: I do go to a creative dance class!

3. What is your resolution this year?

Me: Be a paragon of calm in the mornings. Or at least some reasonable example of calm. I can do this. I know it makes a huge difference to the kids when I manage it – and this morning I did! (The kids were late to school, but… Worth It.)

Sean: Reach goal weight, live life more in the present (and less on the internet).

E: Get better marks than in Grade 2.

A: Get a horse. It can live in our yard, or maybe on the patio.

4. Did anyone important to you die?

A dear family friend and former member of our Friends’ Meeting. Also Malcolm Young, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, Adam West, Chuck Berry, Bill Paxton, and especially Gord Downie.

5. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Me: A family planner/calendar – and we have it! It’s going to solve everything.

Sean: Really good health.

E: More time making pizza in Roblox world.

A: A horse like Spirit!

Cute AND organize-y.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Me: Teaching at OELC Intermediate Arts twice in one season; persisting through all four rounds of my first sweat lodge; cycling 35 km in one day – and not getting off to walk ONCE.

Sean: Losing 20 pounds – and sticking to my new eating lifestyle!

E: Getting into the Black Belt Club at Tae Kwon Do.

A: Learning all of “Bonjour l’hiver” at school.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Me, Sean: You could say that we’ve finally unpacked… but we still haven’t put most of our art up on the walls.

E: I failed to go back to Tae Kwon Do this fall, because the studio is not offering classes anymore.  🙁

A: I failed to get to school with any seconds to spare, basically every day. Sometimes this was because my socks were failing to sit perfectly on my feet, or my pants were failing to come to exactly the right position at my ankles.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Me (E, A): The two-month cough seems to be finally winding down, knock wood.

Sean: The Diabetus, Type 2. But it’s okay, I’m in the process of kicking its ass.

E: The usual grievous injuries about five times a day.

A: I slipped off the rock into the water at Camp and got bleeding cuts (but I was very brave).

9. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

MeSean: Trump; extremists/racists/misogynists/mass shooters; Harvey Weinstein et al.

E: Mummy and Daddy, when they make me do chores.

A: Mummy and Daddy, when they don’t do my bidding.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Me: TransCanada putting an end to the Energy East pipeline, attendees at the Women’s March in Washington.

Sean: Those who spoke up in the #metoo movement; Colin Kaepernick taking a knee.

E: Mine, when I committed my TKD Forms to muscle memory.

A: Mine, for the mornings that I woke up as Sweet Daughter (not Screechy Savage Daughter. Those mornings don’t bear writing about).

11. What did you get really excited about?

Me: My new Grade 1-6 Dance/Music teaching job! (Yes, I still do Core French. I will probably do Core French for eternity. It’s fun too.)

Sean: Rafting trip!

E: Going back to North Carolina! 

A: Being a vampire for Halloween! I JUST LOVE HALLOWEEN! (Picture this last said with a plastic-fang-induced lisp, skipping along dark evening sidewalks, with fake blood dripping from a joyful smile.)

12. What events from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

Me, Sean: Solar eclipse, apocalyptic flooding of so many places.

E, A: The burning of the outhouse at Camp.

All: Getting to know and love Uncle Dave on his visit from up north.

Burning decommissioned outhouse. You probably didn’t know this was a thing. YOU’RE WELCOME.

13. What political issue stirred you the most?

Me: Canada 150 controversy, Rohingya refugees. National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Sean: Alabama’s special election, Jagmeet Singh becoming the first Sikh federal party leader.

E, A: The elimination of screen time on school nights.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Me: PARAGON OF CALM.

Sean: Pushups.

E, A: That thing I’m doing when you tell me it’s bedtime.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Me: Procrastinating on going to bed.

Sean: Making excuses.

E: Homework.

A: Putting my clothes away.

16. What do you regret?

Me: Not getting regular massages for the last decade.

Sean: All the wasted hours on the internet.

E: Every mistake I every make with a pen. Deeply, excruciatingly.

A: When I’m mean to Mummy and Daddy. But then I forget and do it again.

17. What decision are you glad you made?

Me: To accept the Music/Dance job at my school. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Sean: To go off the recommended ketogenic diet, and to read and follow The Starch Solution by John McDougall.

E: I hardly ever get to decide anything. I just wish I were a grownup so I could do whatever I wanted!!

A: Changing my mind at the last minute to be a vampire for Halloween instead of ANY OTHER THING.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

All: With people we love, all kinds of family. So very fortunate. (Sean even shared our two weeks off due to shutdown! Very exciting.)

19. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Me: Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara, Believer by Imagine Dragons, We Are Giants by Take That, The Greatest by Sia, Asa by Bry Webb.

Sean, E, A: The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota by Weird Al. (Not a new song, I know. Sean played it for the kids one time and they quickly became obsessed.)

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Me: North & South, Downton Abbey, The Blacklist, Ripper Street, The Crown.

Sean: Stranger Things, Mindhunter, The Crown.

E: I’m not really into TV. I like to race sea-doos, build block homes, and make pizzas on my screen time.

A: Spirit!

21. What was the best book you read?

Me, SeanAll The Light We Cannot See. Hands down.

E: All my series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Man, and Captain Underpants. 

A: I loved having Beverly Cleary read to me (Ramona books and Emily’s Runaway Imagination).

22. What was your favorite film of this year?

Me: Coco. And Spiderman Homecoming a close second.

Sean: Thor Ragnarok, Spiderman Homecoming.

E: Lego Batman.

A: Coco.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Me: 39, had delicious dinner made by my sisters, hung out with friends and family. And got to go on the 40th Birthday Rafting Trip even though I’m too young!

Sean: 40, stayed home from work to take care of my sick daughter. And the rafting thing (five months later)!

E: 8, had my friends over to my house, played some crazy games with my friends at the park.

A: 5, had my first party with school friends, got our faces painted, and dipped ALL THE THINGS in hummus – even the popcorn.

24. What new thing would you like to try in 2018?

Me: PARAGON OF CALM. (If I say it enough times, it will surely come true.)

Sean: Four new songs on my guitar.

E: Proper swimming lessons. (Not completely new, but haven’t had them since toddlerhood.)

A: Proper swimming lessons. We both start on Wednesday!

25. Whom did you miss?

Always Sebastian.

26. Who was the best new person you met?

All: Our awesome new child care person and her family.

Me: The whole Summer iArts crew.

E, A: Uncle Dave!

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:

Me: Don’t underestimate the difference a seemingly small gesture (or the lack of one) can make to a person going through a rough time.

Sean: Make sure you’re well-hydrated on a long, unaccustomed bike ride. Also, don’t feel guilty if you shun social media.

E: I don’t actually have to freak out about EVERY SINGLE chore I’m asked to do. Just sometimes, to keep ’em on their toes.

A: My friend Isabelle got diabetes. She got them in Florida, where there are lots of diabetes. Also, my dad got his diabetes from eating HP sauce.*

28. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Throw a little love till the world stops hurting… Keep on, keep on, keep on truckin’…

This is last year’s song lyric, but I think it still applies. And if you are looking back and going, YIKES, 2017, weren’t you supposed to be better than 2016? then go read this list. It helps.

***

*AB schooled us once at the dinner table when we were talking about diabetes. We said there was no Type 3, and she said “Yes there is! The kind you get when you’re pregnant!” *jawdrop* [Of course!!] The HP sauce thing is because Sean avoided it while on keto, due to sugar content. Those associations get made so firmly, based on so little.

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Happy (Chinese) New Year

Hi, folks. Looks like I (completely, by a long shot) missed posting this “new year post” at the official beginning of 2016. But hey – Chinese New Year was only yesterday! Gung hey fat choy! And since we did not manage a proper Christmas card this year, this must serve as our retrospective message. Time to get this year bloggily rolling.

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Me: Finally got rid of a lot of baby stuff (sigh), made my own Irish Cream on St. Paddy’s, performed with my dance troupe at the Pirate Festival, made Strata for Christmas morning.

Sean: Turned 38, bought a house while the wife was out of town, and sold a house – also while the wife was out of town.

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New house!

E: Turned six; learned to draw a minion and read in French (as well as English); got glasses; moved; got a new couch; lost two teeth!

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A: Saw aerialists performing on Canada Day, got to try silks myself at Family Camp… and have been aerialisting as much as possible since.

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  1. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Me, Sean: Who can remember? And you betcha! They’re epic.

E: Six-year-olds don’t need to resolve things.

A: My parents didn’t know it, but I resolved to ONLY wear things I DEEM CURRENTLY ACCEPTABLE. I kept this resolution as firmly as possible.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Me: My cousins had a son ON MY BIRTHDAY! Yeah, baby! Also, congrats and love to Lindsay, Eleanor, Catherine, Jaya, Katie, and probably more…

Sean: See above.

E: Well, I did spawn thousands of pigs in Minecraft.

A: No, but I’m the mama of many babies, including Minnie Mouse. And a minion.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

Me: Jonathan Crombie, a.k.a. Gilbert Blythe (sniff!), and Jurgen Gothe, a.k.a. my fave CBC Radio voice since I was a kid.

Sean: Leonard Nimoy.

E: All those pigs eventually died.

A: My Elsa crown got broken, which is about the same level of tragedy.

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Me: Organizational skills, for real this time. And an extra dose of will power.

Sean: Discipline. Other than that, I want for nothing. OFFICIALLY.

E: More pages for my Pokémon cards.

A: A light blue stuffed dog that I can take for indoor walks.

  1. What countries did you visit?

Me: The exotic land of my garage. I cleaned that sh*t up.

Sean: Jakku and Takodana.

E: Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States (in my virtual car-racing schedule).

A: Arendelle. Many times.

  1. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

Me, Sean: August 27th – moving day; October 19th – goodbye Harper!; November 13th – terrorist attacks in Paris.

E: Visiting the Science Centre and the African Lion Safari.

A: Visiting the African Lion Safari and the Science Centre.

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Anything can happen at the Ontario Science Centre.
  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Me: That one kid-free day in October where I spent the entire day working my tail off and GOT SO MUCH DONE.

Sean: Making the perfect, harmonious configuration of apps on my phone.

Me and Sean: Ten years of marriage!! (Celebrated at Niagara-on-the-Lake.)

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E: Surviving another new school – and liking it. Also my earthworm diorama rocked.

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The earthworms are heading into their burrow. (This is before the addition of turtles, cows, and unicorns to the habitat.)

A: Dancing at Talent Night with my Grammie and my friends.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Me: Major blog neglect, e.g. NaBloPoMo. Also, not managing to finish unpacking by 2016.

Sean: I did not manage to keep my bonsai tree alive.

E: I did not manage to convince my parents to move back to the old house again.

A: I did not manage to secure the title of Supreme Dictator of the New House. People keep thwarting my plans to be the OVERBOSS.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Me: Teacher immunity, baby. I just stave it off.

Sean: I get cut all the time at work, but I’m cool. Nobody worries about it but my wife.

E: Chest infection. Two ear infections. Stomach bugs. But worse than all those… The times I bit my tongue.

A: Stomach bugs, to match my brother’s, and a flu or two. (Remember that time we tobogganed at the big hill and I throwed up on the road?)

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Me, Sean: New house! AND pretty area rug!

E: I earned myself a lot of virtual cars on the iPad – does that count?

A: My Elsa dress, even though *I* didn’t buy it.

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This is the part where she brings back summer.
  1. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Me: Last year’s students. Every damn day.

Sean: Donald Trump.

E: Mommy and Daddy, when they make me wash my hands. Like, ALL THE TIME.

A: Mommy and Daddy, when they don’t let me have and do EXACTLY WHATEVER I WANT.

  1. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Me: This year’s students! (Hurray for 20 kids in a class instead of 29.)

Sean: Trudeau’s, for being just such a nice guy, not to mention bringing everyone to the climate conference and fixing that Cabinet that was all crooked.

E: I got a sticker chart for doing my homework!

A: I got a sticker chart for dry mornings!

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Me, Sean: See #11.

E, A: In my piggy bank!

  1. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Me: Essential oils and diffusers.

Sean: Two words: STAR WARS.

E: My new zebra backpack!

A: Turning three!

  1. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Me:

Sean:

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you: i) happier or sadder?

Me, Sean: Not that simple, but working on happier.

E: Sadder. We can never live in our old house again.

A: Happier, but I wish I could go back to being two. I liked when I was two.

ii) thinner or fatter? Nope.

iii) richer or poorer? Poor in house-debt, rich in automatic dishwashing power.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Me: Writing.

Sean: Exercise.

E: Play dates with my best friend from my old school.

A: Wearing tights. Tights are LIFE.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Me: Raising my voice.

Sean: Spending money.

E: Putting my clothes away.

A: Wearing pants. Pants are for non-royalty.

  1. How will you be spending did you spend Christmas?

All: We were lucky enough to spend time with all the branches – and we all managed to be not-sick over the whole holiday! A Christmas miracle.

  1. What is your resolution this year?

Me: Go to bed earlier. Also, write 52 blog posts. I was going to aim for 100, and then I looked at this past year’s track record and realized I was setting myself up for failure. This is a one-post-a-week number, and I’m already behind, but tarnation, I’m going to make this one.

Sean: Five words: Joy, Patience, Humility, Discipline, Compassion.

E: Finish authoring a 90-page Pokémon novel.

A: Earn back my Pony tights (confiscated due to my bloodcurdling screaming habit).

  1. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Me: Yes, with a golden beet. So much so that convinced my Hubbibi to base our main-floor paint colours on them.

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Sean: I stayed in love. I think that’s better. (Direct quote! Aww. Points for you, honey.)

E: Not this year. In JK I was gonna marry Bronwen, but now I’m not planning on marrying anyone.

A: Why can’t I marry my big brother?

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  1. How many one-night stands?

If you count standing up at night to help a small someone go pee or feel better after a nightmare… then lots.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

Me, Sean: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bojack Horseman.

E: I spend my screen time on Minecraft these days.

A: Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Dinosaur Train.

  1. What new thing(s) did you try in 2015?

Me: Rainbow Loom.

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Sean: Ulysses.

E: A waterslide!

A: Aerialisting.

  1. What was the best book you read?

Me: I’m working on a book post. Please stay tuned! In terms of appropriateness for my life, though, I loved The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.

Sean: Game of Thrones is pretty exciting so far.

E: We read the whole Great Brain series at bedtime, and it was awesome.

A: My Princess Adventure storybook.

  1. What do you regret?

Me: Not investigating/fixing the sound-proofing in the new house before moving in. (Auntie Beth, unfortunately for her at-home noise level, is our attached neighbour.)

Sean: Several purchases…

E: Putting my tooth under my pillow. I would rather have my tooth than money. (We’re looking into a strategy to attract the tooth fairy back and offer a deal.)

A: Growing out of my favourite purple leggings.

  1. What decision are you glad you made?

Me: To continue working part-time.

Sean: To come home (again) to Apple.

E: Keeping my second tooth.

A: Being Elsa for Halloween.

  1. What was your favorite film of this year?

Me: Far From the Madding Crowd.

Sean: Ant-Man.

E: Minions movie!

A: Please. It’s always Frozen.

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Me: 37, went to the park with my family.

Sean: 38, cleaned up my daughter’s vomit, but on the bright side, had my favourite cake.

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E: I turned 6, and celebrated with an epic game of balloony-bounce with family.

A: I turned three, and everyone got to come to our new house, and I got pyjamas that match my cousin’s!

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  1. What new thing would you like to try in 2016?

Me: Driving to North Carolina for a family reunion – can’t wait!

Sean: Playing guitar and singing.

E: Wearing a watch (preferably Pokémon). Yes, I can tell analog time!

A: Whatever new food looks good.

  1. New fashion item in 2015?

Me: Barefoot sandals.

Sean: My interchangeable NATO Watch Straps.

E: My glasses are pretty fashionable. The arms have airplanes on them.

A: Do you even have to ask? Elsa + tights = ELSA TIGHTS.

  1. What kept you sane?

Me: Same things that drive me crazy: my kids and my students. Also: my Hubbibi, my co-workers, a week at OELC, and a week at Family Camp.

Sean: My wife and my Cipralex.

E: Well, it definitely wasn’t Horizon Chase.

A: I’m three. I reserve the right to be insane.

  1. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Me: It’s always James. And also James. And I didn’t fail to notice that our new PM is adorable, even though his name is not James.

Sean: Elizabeth Olson as the Scarlet Witch was pretty hot.

E: Bob, Stuart, and Kevin.

A: Elsa, Anna, and Rapunzel.

  1. What political issue stirred you the most?

Me: Syrian refugee controversy.

Sean: Harper government’s muzzling of scientists.

E: Equal access to my parents’ gadgets.

A: Being forced to go to the babysitter’s house.

  1. Whom did you miss?

Always Sebastian. Also, please see #4.

  1. Who was the best new person you met?

Me: New OELC staff and participants.

Sean: Our next-door neighbours, Dolores and Leo, are cool. (They use Nordic walking poles!)

E: My best friends (at my new school) Jesse and Alex.

A: Little Emily (as opposed to Auntie Emily. Not actually a new friend, but newly bonded).

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

Me: Music really is the international language – no translation necessary.

Sean: Always keep an edge on your knife, son, always keep an edge on your knife, ‘cuz a good sharp edge is a man’s best hedge against the vague uncertainties of life. (Thanks, Corb Lund.)

E: I’ve (almost) learned to unpack my backpack and bring my lunch bag to the kitchen so the leftovers can go in the fridge.

A: Unwarranted bloodcurdling screams will get me in trouble.

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Movin’ on up, movin’ on out, movin’ on up… Nothin’ can stop me!

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Freezing and Thawing and Partying

It’s been a memorable holiday season. Christmas that was both black(out) and crazily white… So much awesome family… Yummy food and festive music… Gratuitous cuteness….

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The true meaning of Christmas: Cousin R and Baby AB chillin’ with random things in their mouths.
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E with brand-new cousin M.
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My Aunt’s legendary Figgy Pudding on Christmas Eve.
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Artsy Christmas tree pic taken by E.
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Baby AB snuggling.
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Self-selected holiday fashion.
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Self-selected (except for the sleeper) holiday fashion.
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I’m sure y’all heard about (/participated in) that crazy ice storm. My poor parents were without power for 4 days, so Christmas morning ended up at our house! But the TREES. The SPARKLINESS. On Christmas Eve, E looked out the window and started exclaiming about all the new “pretty lights” on ALL the trees; it was the sunset hitting the ice. Amazing.
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I just know there are majorly profound lessons to be taken from the cedars and birches that just bend like this, then (mostly) recover when the ice melts.
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Presents! Here was a fave: mini paleontological dig in plaster for a triceratops tooth.
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So, Mrs. Claus was in Chapters a few weeks before Christmas and found this: a BOY FAIRY. She thought of E, who had recently been watching Tinkerbell and who still wants to wear his fairy wings even though the elastic is stretched all to heck. She took the plunge.
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Then she also got this lovely-and-not-too-frou-frou girl fairy.
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Then she got a daemon for each fairy (baby wolf, baby tiger) and got a bit crafty with a pretty gift box and tag she’d received from a fellow blogger, and made a fairy house. (The door’s in the top because FAIRIES. They fly in.) (And yes. Mrs. Claus has a blog. Pretty sure she’s on Pinterest too.) In case you’re wondering, E did not flip out over the fairies as Mini-Di would have at his age, but he has been enjoying his fairy folk, on-and-off. He was stoked when he realized that his popsicle-stick craft from school makes a perfect deck for them.
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But this present was the real winner. Automoblox Minis. He had one already from his Great-Aunt Suze, so Mommy and Daddy added these – and you can mix and match all their parts, once you have more than one. Seriously, they’re so fun.
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Pillow forts. Baby AB is a fort-wrecker, and also hilarious.
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Treats!
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New Year’s Eve fireworks in the park! E’s first “up-close” fireworks. Damn cold but awesome all the same.
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New Year’s Day open house at Grammie and Papa’s. All partied out.

 Now here we are. Gearing up to go back to school and normal life tomorrow, while also battening down for another storm. Bracing for back-to-school germs, now that both kids are finally almost done coughing and E is getting over his second bilateral ear infection since JK started. Feeling a bit of the blues, but also glad to be getting back to a routine.

And today, my Hubbibi spent the day cleaning house (while I got the kids out of there) so we could all feel fresh and ready for NEW YEARNESS. (Thanks, honey. What a difference.)

Here we go!

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