***Thanksgiving weekend was a whirlwind of activity. There was, of course, the typical Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house where way too much food was consumed by me and the kids. Charlotte devoured THREE fudgy chocolate brownies before I happened to take a bite of one. And what mysterious ingredient did I taste? COFFEE.
We happen to be Mormon and therefore eschew the consumption of coffee, alcohol and tobacco. Religion notwithstanding, I think if I had my preference of which of those three substances someone were to give my kid, it definitely would not be coffee. No, I would prefer alcohol, because if they are anything like their mom, it would put them right to sleep. Coffee, on the other hand, especially coffee combined with intense chocolate and loads of sugar? Yeah, you can just imagine the results.
***Yesterday was Charlotte's birthday and we had a little party in Chicago at my mom's house on Saturday. Well, I say "little" but there were actually 25 people there, including 8 kids, all under the age of 8. My mom's house is on the small size and the kids were rambunctious, so it got rather noisy at times.
At one point, Danny started yelling, "Everyone, be quiet! Please! Stop yelling!" But it was so noisy, no on actually heard him. Then, he turned to me and demanded that I make everyone stop talking. My heart sank as I prepared myself for a sensory meltdown.
What happened instead was nothing short of miraculous. I explained to Danny that people were just having fun, but that if the noise got to be too much for him, he could go upstairs where it was quieter. And that is exactly what he did. Periodically, he would join in the fun in the basement and play with the kids, but he would return to the upstairs bedroom whenever it got to be too much for him. And the result was that at the end of the night, Danny was relatively calm and had not pushed, jumped on, or kicked anyone. I really think this was a major breakthrough.
***After the big birthday bash, I took Danny and Charlotte for a walk in my mom's neighborhood. It was after 8:00, but I had promised the kids, and I am so glad I kept my word. My mom's neighbors do an excellent job with the decorating, sparing no expense or twinkling light. There were all kinds of giant blow-up figures, including Santa riding a bear (which perplexed Danny. "Santa doesn't ride a polar bear! He has a sleigh!"), a snowman that pops out of a train car, and--the kids' personal favorite--a snowman roasting marshmallows over a fire (I really had to restrain myself from pointing out that Frosty was way too close to that fire if he wanted to survive until Christmas, but I managed to bite my tongue.)
That walk was my favorite part of the entire weekend. The kids were full of delight at each new wonderfully decorated house. They exclaimed over every light, tree and Nativity set. They even talked excitedly about the beautiful shining moon. Danny kept saying, "We are on a Christmas hunt, mommy!"
It was a quiet, peaceful respite after the party and we enjoyed ourselves completely. After our walk, Bil had hot chocolate waiting for each of us, and the kids slurped it up while detailing our adventures to dad and grandma.
***Last night, we celebrated Charlotte's fourth birthday. She has been excited about her birthday for months and hasn't stopped talking about the butterfly cake that she wanted. I decided to let the kids help me decorate the butterfly and this was the result:
Would you like some cake with your sprinkles and frosting?