Sunday, February 12, 2017

2017, so far.

We're almost a month and a half into 2017, and i haven't blogged since the new year. I keep wanting to, but then i'm all unsure of what to post. I could just post "this is what my family did today," and honestly, that's maybe fine and probably what i'll end up doing. But that feels somewhat dishonest to what i feel like is actually going on, because so much of my brain is full of politics and the things happening in our country right now. 

I read an article by Andrew Sullivan yesterday, and this paragraph perfectly sums up how i'm feeling: 
One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes.
I hardly ever used to think about politics. Every four years i'd pay attention to who was running for president, and in the interim, i'd pay attention to the general news of the day, which was not generally political. But now i feel like everything is related to Trump's presidency, and every day there's new scandals and new executive orders filled with horribleness, and it's just exhausting and depressing. I want to go back to being able to look at Facebook or Twitter or the news or anything and having it be 

So that's where i'm coming from.

That said, this is what we've been doing for the past month:

  • Houston started out the year by putting his retainer on the table while he ate something, forgetting about it, and starting to play a game with us. Midway through the game, Emma came trotting into the room, happily chewing on...Houston's completely destroyed retainer. $150 later, Houston had a new retainer, which i'm happy to say he's being much more conscientious about keeping in the box when it's not in his mouth.
  • Katrina, Zane, and i went to Winter Camp with our church's youth groups. It was a weekend of noise and silliness and snow and crafts and not enough sleep. Katrina and Zane both loved it. Zane even loved it despite the fact that his cabin didn't have a bathroom. His group had to run across the camp to the gym to use the bathroom - or the shower, but that didn't seem like an issue, since Zane literally didn't change his clothes the entire weekend. 
  • Houston had his first exams in January, and they nearly killed us both. I could have just been all, "They're your exams! You do all the work!" but i'm pretty sure that he would have failed them all if i'd done that. The boy just really never had to study much at all before this year, and so he's really bad at it. I spent days and days with him, going through his school books to find the important information he should know, because he doesn't take notes in class. Me: " have a notebook for every subject! Why don't you take notes?!" Him: "I don't know. The teacher doesn't tell us to." 
  • Katrina had the giant 7th grade career project, which wrapped up in mid-January. The kids spend months on this project - choosing a career, interviewing someone in that career, doing research, making brochures, writing reports, and ultimately making a tri-fold presentation with a memorized speech. Katrina chose zookeeper as her career and did an amazing job. 
  • My grandpa, who is now 97 (i believe), had an accident in his home, where he'd been living alone, and moved into an assisted care facility. It's a really nice one ("This place is much nicer than the one Great Grandpa was in!" said both Katrina and Zane), and he seems to be doing very well. 
  • Once every month or so, we have a "relationship building" week for Fifty6, where each group does their own thing rather than meeting as a whole group at the church. This month, we had all of our girls come to our house, where we did a "Cocoa and Canvas" thing. Juanito took the job of "artist" and told everyone what to paint and how to paint it, and at the end everyone had their own painting to take home. They all did awesome and seemed to have a really good time. 
  • Katrina and Juanito had their Daddy-daughter dance. Katrina's been excited about it for weeks and weeks. She wanted to get a new dress for it, so we scoured Goodwills for a cute (and appropriate) dress. She chose her hairstyle at least a week prior to the dance. She was adorably happy about it. And they both report having had a really good time. 
  • On the same day as the Daddy-daughter dance, Houston had his high school dance. He was not 100% sure about the dance even before i brought him, and about an hour and a half into it, he texted me, "Could you maybe come and get me?" 
Me: "Already? Are you bored?" 
Him: "I'm not exactly bored. Just...none of my friends are here and i am basically walking around in circles feeling awkward." 
Me: "Okay. Dad'll be home soon, and then he'll come get you, okay?" 
Him: "Yup. They're playing 'You are the only exception' and everyone is being weird." 
Me: "Define weird."
Him: "They're all dancing and stuff." 
Me: "DANCING???? At a dance!??? WHAT IS NEXT?!"
Him: "I KNOW, RIGHT?!???"

Juanito got home about then, and i asked him if he'd go get Houston. He left and i texted Houston that Juanito was on his way. And then, about 10 minutes later, Juanito called me to ask, "So...the dance IS at City, right?" No. No it was not. It was at Meijer Gardens. Apparently he had been texted Houston, "I'm here!" and Houston had been texting back, "Where?" and the conversation went approximately like this: 
"In the parking lot!" 
"Which one?"
"I'll drive around and look for you!"
"Inside or outside?"

And that's about it. There are a few more pictures here.

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