When I was pregnant people with children would tell me how quickly time passes by once you have children. Sadly they were correct.
December is a reminder of just how rapidly time is passing. Not only is it the end of another year, it is the month of Carlos’ birthday, but let me not get ahead of myself.
On December 4th, Carlos and I ran another Hot Chocolate 5K fun run. This time we were joined by my friend M and her goddaughter. This is a big, local 5K and all of the money benefits a local women’s shelter. At the end you get a custom designed mug and hot cocoa. There is so much positive energy and happiness you barely notice how cold it is outside!
For the month of December I challenged myself to run a 5K a day or more if possible. I knew it would be a busy month. I am not training for any races at this time. I really wanted a very manageable activity goal that would be sufficient to motivate me to move every day, but not so daunting that I wouldn’t be able to commit. Running 3.1 miles takes me no longer than 30 minutes. Allowing myself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to get away from work, studying, and anything else that was going on in my life was truly a gift. Here are some photos from some of those runs.
Last year we went to Mozambique for Christmas and I didn’t put my tree up. This year I brought it up from the basement the week after Thanksgiving and not surprisingly half of the lights were out. I bought one of those gadgets that is supposed to miraculously relight the lights. Well it didn’t! Orlando misunderstood me when I told him to cut off the broken lights and he cut every light off of the tree with wire cutters. I loathe putting Christmas lights on the tree, but my mom does it effortlessly along with folding fitted sheets, two tasks I thought would suddenly become easy after having a child. I was wrong! She not only brought over a bag of lights she was no longer using, but she also put them on the tree. Carlos decorates the tree and I put the bow on the top. We will not win any awards, but we all love the gentle glow of the lights and the sparkle of the ornaments.
Carlos has been very busy at school. As I’ve mentioned in the past he attends a small Montessori school. One thing I love about this unique education philosophy is how children are encouraged to really dig into a topic. Carlos has been working on the timeline of history. They literally stretch a physical timeline out onto the floor and allow students to see a visual of history as it has elapsed over the course of time. Carlos and two of his peers learned a little bit about Roman bath houses and decided they wanted to know more so they built their own version based on independent research. This photo doesn’t do it justice. The details as Carlos described them were amazing. What isn’t shown is the outside of the bath house which depicts the drainage system and little bundles of sticks used as fuel to heat the water. They made the people out of clay and fashioned towels out of felt.
On Thursday, December 15th, I took Carlos to school a little early and we stopped for an early birthday breakfast treat. Look at my baby! He’s almost 10 in this photo.
I brought him to school and then returned a little while later to watch his class present their Mystery History performances. Carlos was Steve Jobs. He dressed up like him and spoke about his life. It was awesome!! The kids all did a fantastic job. His classmates were Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Cleopatra, JFK, and Harry Houdini. They performed in front of the lower elementary students and the upper elementary from a neighboring town’s Montessori school. Most of the kids did their presentations from memory. I was amazed at how calm they were performing in front of other people.
I returned to the school again at lunchtime for Carlos’ birthday celebration. He showed a picture from each year of his life and explained each picture. We brought popsicles for the kids to have after lunch. The school discourages sugary treats and with so many allergies to contend with I opt for all natural fruit popsicles. Carlos likes them and I know every child can safely eat them.
On Friday, December 16th my sister flew in to surprise her favorite (and only) nephew with whom she also shares a birthday. We met her, my mom, her husband, my aunt, and uncle out for dinner before going to the Springfield Thunderbirds hockey game. Carlos invited his best friend Tyler to join us. It was a fun night and brought back loads of memories for my sister and me. We used to have season tickets to the Springfield Indians, as they were known back in the late 80s/early 90s, hockey games. I met my first and second boyfriend at a hockey game. We would walk loops around the civic center between periods with our big hair and jean jackets. We had crushes on at least one of the hockey players and we would watch them warming up hoping they would notice us eyeing them adoringly from behind the glass. Oh dear god!
The morning of Carlos’ birthday he was up at the crack of dawn. He asked for only one thing this year for both Christmas and his birthday – an Xbox One with Fifa 2017. Carlos is obsessed with all things soccer, not just playing it, but the players, the uniforms, and the history of the sport. He was ecstatic when he opened his birthday gift. He and Tyler had it set up and operational within less than 30 minutes.
We enjoyed dinner and cake at my mom’s. The birthday duo were all smiles as they blew out their candles. My sister would kill me for posting this, but she doesn’t read the blog.
The next morning we had another surprise in store for Carlos as we set off for a short trip to Florida to visit my dad and spend more time with my sister. I had lots of time to take before the end of the year so it worked out perfectly. We spent most of our time hanging out at my dad’s condo complex. The pool area is very relaxing. The complex is well kept, clean, and tranquil. Carlos wasn’t even interested in going to the beach on this trip because he preferred spending time with grandpa swimming in the pool and fishing. I worked a bit from my dad’s porch overlooking the canal. I also went swimming and running. Honestly we didn’t do much which was exactly what we needed.
Christmas came and went very quietly. It was a low key weekend with just us and my mom and her husband. It was a welcome change to the typical stress of the holidays.
Orlando and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Cape Cod for the New Year. I found a really inexpensive condo in Mashpee, MA. I love offseason travel. We invited Carlos’ friend Tyler to come along. We drove down Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday. The weather was unseasonably warm, not quite beach weather, but made for nice running and spending time outdoors. The boys were crazy enough to dip their feet in the chilly water.
On Saturday, New Year’s Eve, we drove up the coast to Provincetown. We stopped at a couple of beaches and a lighthouse. It was a chill day. We rented a couple of Redbox movies, made popcorn and enjoyed sparkling apple cider for the kids and Moscato for the grown ups. The boys tried so hard to stay up until midnight, but they conked out around 11:30.
On Sunday, we took the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. We had never been. I would love to explore it more just before the summer tourist season begins. I love the beautiful homes and the quaint feel.
This was a wonderful way to ring in 2017. I no longer make resolutions. I am committed to working every day to be a better person, wife, mother, nurse, friend, daughter, and sister. 2016 brought about change, challenge, highs, lows, new friends, fun, exciting travels, and new experiences. I am truly blessed.