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The kids have been counting down to Christmas next year. This was accurate until I started boxing up decorations. I love that they were using one of Gavin’s Dungeons and Dragons die he got for Christmas to help count down till next year! Silly kids.

Yesterday I was so busy putting Christmas away. Gwen helped a lot while the boys kept asking if they could go to the park. I should have just let them go sooner. Sometime around 4:00 I told them they could go. They took a walkie talkie with them. The other day we let them go to the park alone. We had three rules.

  1. Stay together
  2. Don’t fight
  3. Don’t use the bathroom at the park. Come home!

Maybe we weren’t clear enough with the rules. Gwen came home first. Parker radioed in her intentions. We told him she had to stay but she had already left at that point. A little bit later Parker decided he was done and walked himself home leaving Gavin alone at the park. We gave a stern lecture on why they needed to all come home together. I used kidnapping and brains oozing on sidewalks as potential issues we wouldn’t know about since they couldn’t follow the first rule.

Parker laughed but I think he started to understand the safety issues involved with breaking the first rule. So I let them go again yesterday. I called them home at 5:00 and all three quickly obeyed. I was impressed.

Today I was hoping they could go to the park again. It has turned cold the last few days and I don’t want to be outside. I’m glad they are old enough they can be outside without me. The wind has been angrily whistling all day long. It just looks miserable outside. So I told the kids they were not going to the park.

They were disappointed until they ran out into the backyard to retrieve items blown all over the yard, like buckets. They decided it was cold enough staying home would be fine. The wind has been howling and blowing so hard it’s made Gwen a little nervous. I assured her the house will not blow away.

We played some games together. First we played Ticket to Ride. Gwen and I teamed up, which meant she played with the train cars while I actually strategized and played the game. The boys were on their own. Every time I have played with Parker he wins. I did not hold back just because he’s a kid and also a bit of a sore loser. I’m pretty competitive too and would not lose to my 9 year old again!

Gavin was doing really well for most of the game. He was racking up the points as he kept laying down six cars at a time. The largest routes are six cars and equal 15 points. Each time. He did it three or four times in a row! I had to pull out the trash talking. All three kids laughed hysterically.

Parker could not sit in his chair. He had so much nervous energy he kept bouncing around. He also seemed to be rushing more and more which made me feel like the game was ending soon and that boy would not beat me again if I had anything to say about it! He laid down his last three cars and luckily I had the cards to lay down my last three cars too.

Gavin didn’t finish a ticket so he lost 20 points. I felt bad for him but I already let him cheat. He decided on another turn that he wanted to give two tickets back. You can’t do that! But I let him because sometimes I’m nice when I play games.

Parker’s marker was out in front and he was feeling fine. Then I came along with my stack of completed tickets. My marker moved halfway around the board beyond his. I didn’t feel too bad that he got 10 points for the longest train. I was close to lapping him! Not really but I won by a long shot. He handled it well. He was still laughing about me yelling at the cards towards the end of the game.

We put away Ticket to Ride and pulled out Telestrations. Tyson and Deanna gave us that game for Christmas with two puzzles. It’s a really fun game. It’s like Telephone meets Pictionary. Gwen can’t read or spell as well as the rest of us so things get weird fast. She loves the game and does her best.

The game is more fun with more people. We learned that when it’s just the four of us we have to write the secret word then draw our own secret word before passing the book. The next person guesses the word based on the drawing then the next person draws that word. The last person guesses the word based on the last drawing and then the game is over.

Tyson said the game has a tendency to make players incontinent when they laugh too hard. We had a moment like that early on. I don’t remember what the word was but Gavin and Parker were near tears they were laughing so hard.

At one point I pulled out my Ghirardelli mini squares from my stocking. I shared with the kids. (The ones I don’t like) Gwen asked for a dark chocolate one. No problem. Then she told us that her chocolate was dark because it cooked longer than ours!

After games we all read for a while. Parker loves the book he got from Grandma W for Christmas. Gavin had started reading Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black before Christmas. It’s my pet peeve that he starts books but doesn’t finish them. So I’m making him finish this one before he can read anything else. He likes the book so that’s good.

On Sunday Heath was watching a boring movie on TV so I pulled out a book. Parker bought me For Elise by Sarah M. Eden. I absolutely loved it. It was a little predictable and I wasn’t surprised by much but I loved every second of the story. It was just so well written and the characters seemed real. I loved them all. Parker was so cute. He would come by to check my progress and get all excited.

“Mom is already halfway done! She likes my present!”

I finished the book that night shortly after midnight. I have never read a novel all in one day. I rather enjoyed it and I really loved the story. Eden wrote just enough that you could keep up but held enough back that you had to find out what happened. Definitely a page turner.

Heath made it home. It only took him two hours to get home on BART. There was a lot of debris on the tracks from the crazy wind. He’s home the rest of the week. Time to put his muscles to work. I need Christmas put away. I boxed it all up but I’m a tiny little woman. I can’t lift three 30 lb. boxes of decorations onto shelves way above my head. That’s what husbands are for.

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