Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

We have had a good winter break - possibly one that lasted a few too many days, given the current level of sibling bickering that is going on - but more or less happy. I've been off from work most of the time and have been able to be with the kids. We did some shopping and returning of gifts, we went swimming at the SWCC pool, we played in our neighborhood and went for walks, we hosted some friends for playdates, we went to the library and read many many books, we collaborated on sending out holiday cards. My dad taught Sebastian to play solitaire and he has become quite adept - he's also lucky as anything, usually making it every 3 games or so. Steve and I escaped for a date afternoon of lunch and window shopping; he and Cuong had a guys night of Rogue 1 and dinner, and Anne and I celebrated her birthday with dinner, vodka, and pie.  We have plans to go out tomorrow night with 20 or so friends for a private climbing party at PG followed by drinks at a local tavern.

We are not much for New Year's resolutions. I find I have the same general resolutions every year - to be more patient and mindful, to yell less when frustrated with the children, to eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, and go to bed early. It's boring. I like Anne's approach, which is to pick a word that encapsulates each year - home, food, and for 2017, community. That resonates with us, and both Steve and I would like to extend ourselves this year into the wider Portland community and help those who are in need in our local neighborhoods. But we also thought of some more fun resolutions - for me in 2016, the goal was to learn how to make pie from scratch, and I did. I made berry galettes, spinach and cheese galettes, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cranberry-pear pie. For 2017, I'd like to learn to make fresh pasta and I'd like to make mozzarella cheese. I made yogurt this year and it was fine, but not spectacular.  Anne resolved to make ice cream. :)  Steve resolved to write up one story and get it into publishable form - one of the many dozens of stories he's told the children over the years.

Onwards to 2017!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ice skating

The kids and I went ice skating this afternoon at the Winterhawks facility. It was grand - not too crowded, fun Christmas music, both my kids doing their best, and the unexpected delight of running into school friends. Liesl's friend Campbell was there with her family, including her older brother, who is in second grade and soccer friends with Sebastian. So Liesl and Campbell did some laps together, and Grayson took over the job of coaching and encouraging Sebastian, and I got to skate sweeping fun circles and laps by myself. Every time I skate, I'm reminded of how much I enjoy it, and how much I miss skating outside on a frozen pond.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016!

Christmas dawned very early... Sebastian was awake at 4:50 am! Fortunately, he's old enough and good enough that he sat quietly on the couch, staring at the presents, until the rest of us trickled down (5:45, 6:16, 6:30, 6:55...).

We opened up our stockings and the Santa presents first, and then had fig bread and eggs and bacon for breakfast. And then we returned to the present opening until the children were exhausted and the living room was covered in wrapping paper and cardboard.
Anne, Cuong, and Camille arrived in the late afternoon to have dinner with us. Anne made challah from scratch (!). Steve roasted two ducks and made three sauces; we also had leg of lamb, a wild rice gratin with chanterelles and apples, brussels sprouts with aioli, braised butternut squash, and a kale-pear-hazelnut salad. Mom and I made two pies, an apple and an apple-pear-cranberry, and Steve baked chocolate chip cookies. It was an amazing feast and a wonderful, special, sweet meal.