You’re probably reading this in 2016. If so, let me get this out of the way first: Happy New Year! May your 2016 be your best year! We’ll talk about resolutions and goals and what not, but that will come another day. Today we’re looking back. Specifically, we’re looking back at the last week and how Team Stimey made it through without just flat out giving up and letting our kids play video games 24/7 for all of winter break.
Let’s start with Alex. Alex went to New York for concerts. Lucky him. Fini.
Now for the rest of us.
My sister (Ann) brought one of her kids (Jacob) to come visit for the week after Christmas. They’re actually still here, so they’re helping us get through the rest of the week.
Unfortunately, Alex and I introduced Ann to The Walking Dead shortly after she arrived so now I not only have to try to keep my kids off video games 24/7, I have to try to keep Ann off of Netflix 24/7 AND break up fistfights between her and my kids as they fight over the television. It’s a whole thing.
So, if ever you are stuck in a house with four boys, a sister, five cats, four gerbils, and no school, here are some suggestions on how to pass the time.
First, that five cats thing is essential. Because there is nothing like kittens to kill a few hours.
It is also important to note that just because Christmas is over, that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing Christmas things. For example, I dragged everyone to the local nature center for the Christmas light show.
The lights were fun. Quinn and Jack particularly enjoyed the caterpillar tunnel in which they spun and spun and spun. I tried one rotation and almost fell over.
I discovered that telling four young boys to sit in a row and smile is nearly as futile as asking three of them to do it.
He wasn’t fooled.
I took a photo to remember where we parked the car.
Fortunately I’m not an idiot and this isn’t my first rodeo, so I knew what I needed to do to make Quinn let go of some of his anxiety and let himself start to have fun.
Unsurprisingly, it involved spinning something.
Not everyone was so enamored with the interactive play area.
Jack and Quinn, however, were delighted. They kept us in the interactive exhibit for quite a while as they made up stories of their “inventions.” The American History Museum is dumb enough to allow just anyone to write just anything and have it displayed on a touch screen for anyone to discover. Sorry, American History Museum patrons.
Our success in the interactive area carried over into a successful visit to a couple of other exhibits.
Every single thing we’ve done with all four kids has had a big element of sitting down to eat food. It turns out that if you feed children, they are happier. And it turns out that if you promise kids imminent food, they will continue to walk through an exhibit instead of dropping to the ground in panic.
Who fucking knew?
Every single thing we’ve done with my sister has also had a big element of finding coffee as well. It turns out that if you feed her caffeine in the form of a latte, she is much happier.
Who fucking knew? (Well, all of us knew this one.)
But, if not for Ann’s incapacitating coffee habit, I wouldn’t have captured in a photo this easy love, comfort, and joy in each other that Jack and Quinn share.
Then there were naps. Lots of naps.
In a fit of surprising craftiness, we also made chocolate chess pieces, something Quinn has wanted to make for Sam for a long time.
I also made Ann fix my bathroom door jamb.
It wasn’t all handywomaning and chess pieces though. There were some vigorous games of Exploding Kittens and Twister and that trip to the gymnastics place and lots of other fun stuff. But mixed in with all the fun, there must come the non-fun.
Dum dum dum…
Ask Quinn. He’s not a fan of anyplace where he has to walk around and look at things. At first things were okay. Quinn and Jack went on the carousel. We discovered that the zoo has five lions JUST LIKE we have five cats. We determined that I might not fare well in the wild.
Then it got uphill and hungry and the reptile house was too hot and the outside was too cold and I had to give Quinn my coat to put on top of his own coat and he insisted on hot food and we waited in an outdoors line for food for like 45 minutes and finally we ate and everyone was happy and we set off to see the pandas and discovered that the pandas weren’t on display. It was a rough day at the zoo.
Thank God the otters were out and adorable.
But you guys, even though the zoo was a little bit of an exercise in frustration, it all turned out okay because we discovered that one of the otters is named PICKLES. JUST LIKE OUR CAT PICKLES!
So not the most satisfying zoo day, but still all right because of these guys:
Now we’re hanging out all together (except for Jacob who went to bed at 8:30 when the rest of us snuck back downstairs to watch New Year’s Rockin’ Eve). And that’s where we are at 10:58 pm on New Year’s Eve.
Happy 2016, friends. I truly hope you have a wonderful new year, full of love and family and joy.