2012 launched…

My last post was the first day of Hanukkah, and the subsequent 7 days were full of fun, and fried foods, and the boys got ever more wound up as the week progressed, so that the end of last week was one of catching up on sleep, and a few temper tantrums.  I think we may have finally caught up on the sleep front, although today may have taken a bit of a toll…

New Year’s Eve we didn’t even manage to stay up to see the new year in…at least, I didn’t!  (remember that sleep debt thing?)  Then, on New Year’s Day, the boys actually let us sleep in for a couple of extra hours (they were entertained by the iPad and Netflix – oh, the joys of modern technology!).  We spent a couple of hours cleaning up various parts of the house that needed attention, and then Dad took boys out for a bike ride.  It was much longer than expected, and left me a nice chunk of time to get some work done…but then I noticed the rain (which was NOT predicted by the weather service), and I began to worry.  They finally rolled back up the drive, with poor J in the front, soaked through, and cold.  He went into a hot tub, and thawed nicely – big brother S, being much tougher about weather, was OK with just drying out.  We all finished the day playing a rollicking game of Hungry Hippos, J’s ultimate Hanukkah gift this year, and then going to bed, with plans today of visiting the National Zoo.

Our plan included breakfast out, as our pantry was a bit bare.  Unfortunately, we bypassed the several diners and eating establishments that we knew would serve acceptable breakfast/brunch fare, hoping to find something on Connecticut Ave on our way down to the National Zoo, but, all the restaurants we passed were closed.  As we drove, J intermittently observed “The restaurant is very far away.”, and then S started announcing that his tummy was feeling funny, and he was carsick!  We actually pulled over once to let him walk around outside the car for a few seconds to settle down.

We finally landed at Open City in Woodley Park, but it was a 30 minutes wait for a table, and we were standing right at the door, which blasted us with cold every time it was opened.  Dad scoped out the other options in the neighborhood, and we ended up at Woodley Cafe, which was NOT highly recommended by reviewers on UrbanSpoon – with whom we ended up agreeing, for the most part.  Service is definitely not high on this cafe’s list of priorities – we couldn’t believe that asking 4 times for a refill on coffee finally met with a slow meandering appearance of the coffee pot!  But, we finally had full tummies, putting the fear of S getting carsick to rest – at least for the short drive up to the zoo, a couple of block north of us at this point.

Our objective on arriving at the zoo was the big cats – lions, tigers, and cheetahs!!  The cheetahs live close to the entrance on Connecticut – but were not evident today, with the cold weather.  So we moved on.  We adults were motivated to find indoor exhibits, with central heating, to distract the boys, and the first such building we encountered was the Small Mammal House.  S was not excited about the idea of this detour, but he got into it – we saw tamarinds, and shrews, and naked mole-rats (this last exhibit really fascinated J!).

The next indoor space was the Ape House, but we bypassed that, having been overwhelmed by the odor in past visits, and the boys were totally excited at the idea of seeing pythons in the Reptile House.  I think in our previous visits we have never visited this place, and it is definitely worth the time!!  We saw pythons, and poisonous frogs, and boas, and geckos, but the best thing was the Alligator snapping turtle, a huge, ugly thing that stood perfectly still under the water, with its mouth wide open, and the only thing moving was it’s tiny worm-like tongue, which it wiggles as lure for the fish that it hopes to eat.  Poor thing lives in near constant frustration, as there are no fish in its tank!  There was  a video that demonstrated what the turtle would do in its natural setting.  The boys were fascinated!!

We emerged into somewhat warmer weather by now, and headed down to the lions and tigers, and were not disappointed.  The lions were out in force, and one juvenile male was very active and engaged its mother (or aunt?) in a repetitive game of wrestling at the edge of the moat in their habitat that had S wrapt with attention.  He didn’t want to leave.  It was pretty cool.  I don’t actually have any shots of the lions playing, but here they were before the action started.

J got bored, and moved on to the next exhibit, which was a male tiger pacing back and forth along his moat – he seemed hungry (and bored).

Our visit to the zoo ended with our appointment at the pediatrician’s office for their scheduled flu shots (yes, we’re a bit late – bad us, two physicians!!).  S was aware of the plan, and not happy about it, and J was blissfully unaware (he knew we were going to the doctor’s office, and he kept saying “I like the doctor!”).  We arrived early (minor miracle for our family!) which, of course, only allowed for more anxiety to build.   Finally the nurse called us back – she expertly administered the shots to both boys who were now in frantic tears, and it was all over before either of them knew it.   But, the screaming didn’t stop for quite a while…

We had quite a time getting J to leave, and he had, by then decided that, he DIDN’T LIKE the doctor’s office, and he especially “DIDN’T LIKE THAT LADY!”, which he said in such a way that I was brought to uncontrolled laughter, which added to his litany of complaints – “DON’T LAUGH AT ME!” ( a very reasonable request, which I was, of course, unable to satisfy).

And, on the way home, after everyone calmed down (and after a side-trip to Costco to restock that empty pantry), we were looking forward to a nice early evening and dinner, when J suddenly made some uncomfortable noises, and ended up vomiting an unexpected amount of stomach contents all over the back seat of the car.  Ugh!  The supposedly carsick older son was unphased by this, except to remark on how gross it was, and that it was all over his shoes, but that he fixed that problem by wiping his shoes on the back of the passenger seat!  Oh, the joy of boys!

Now, everyone is washed, fed, and asleep, and we are readying ourselves for the first week of the new year, with school ahead, and many work projects waiting for both parents.  New year’s resolutions?  I don’t much care for them…never being a very habit oriented person at the best of times, I find the exercise particularly frustrating, but I do want to get back on the exercise/get-in-shape wagon that I drifted off a few months back…we’ll see.

This time of year now marks the anniversary of our expanding our family to include these two wonderful, energetic, energizing little boys, who constantly challenge us, and bring us joy, and I have been reflecting on the past year as I write the annual report that we must submit to the adoption agency before the end of the month.  It’s been quite a year, with so much growth, development, and increasing sense of cohesiveness of our multicultural/multiracial home.  We are so fortunate.  Can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring…

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