Adeline was very excited to make our banh chung for the upcoming new year celebration. Banh chung is THE food you really must have at Tet and Adeline and I really love it, so we made five big cakes to enjoy both during our celebrations next week and from the freezer later in the year as well.
This year Adeline could almost make the cakes by herself. After being shown how once, she could line the molds with the leaves like a pro and she knew exactly how much and in what order the sticky rice, mung beans and fish-sauce-and-pepper-marinated pork should be added. Adeline folded down the leaves and then we worked together to slip off the mold, compact the squares and wrap the banh chung in foil and tie the strings.
Adeline took her work very seriously and she was very proud of herself.
After assembling the banh chung it boils for seven straight hours. I stayed home and kept the pot topped up with water while David and Adeline went to the beach. It was a gorgeous feels-like-spring day and I wish I could have been there with them. Babysitting the banh chung and cleaning up was fun too...
Now I can't wait to eat it! We've got lots of fun planned for Tet next week. Adeline can stay up as late as she wants on Tet eve, although she says she doesn't want to stay up because she gets tired and likes to go to bed, which is so true, so it will probably be an early night. We're going to have a special Vietnamese supper, have some family fun and then Adeline is going to have a sleepover with David and I in the big bed which is VERY special and one of her favourite things. We'll do something fun on Saturday - maybe the aquarium since Adeline is very into sea creatures lately - and then on Sunday we've been invited to a big party.
Fun fun fun. I love Tet and once it's over it really feels like spring is here and the new year has begun.
I seriously need to follow up that last post with some words of gratitude immediately, as I just can't leave things in such a dark place. So here, in an oft-neglected Monday tradition, are 10 random things in random order that are making me happy today.
1) Rhythmic Gymnastics starts again today. Adeline loves it and I love to see her that happy and strong and confident.
2) David bought me a fun new toy as a late New Year's present - a tablet. I'm a lists and calendars person, so I seriously love keeping digital versions of those things and I also enjoy lounging on the sofa perusing Pinterest and all the other things it can do.
3) We bought a small vintage china cabinet for the dining room. I'd like David to give it a paint job in the spring, but it's still cute as is, as the wood is actually in good shape. My Nana would be HORRIFIED that I would consider painting over such a nice maple finish... Once we can get it level (our hundred and eleven year old house has very few level places) it's going to look super sweet and I've got my eye on that big drawer as a place to finally put away the stuff that clutters up our kitchen counter (pens, mail, chargers...that sort of thing).
4) I finished the crochet blanket I was working on. It's completely made of scraps and I really like how it turned out. Now I need a new project to keep my hands busy...
5) My Mom made her famous spanakopita for Christmas and I thought they were all gone, but I found two of them lurking in the freezer and they're going to be a delicious lunch. Adeline won't even try them, so I don't have to share!
6) Number 6 is just for me, but happy about it? Oh yes.
7) We're making banh chung for Tet again this year. Fun AND yummy!
8) It's avocado season. The avocadoes in the store are big, and perfect and cheap and I'm going to eat a LOT of them while the season is here. Definitely one of my favourite foods.
9) We had a couple of days of sun last week, which makes me hopeful that spring is on it's way. Today is NOT one of the sunny days, but at least it's not raining.
10) I finally got our outdoor Christmas lights down. Yay me!
So remember how I said 2014 was going to be our year? How the troubles of last year were behind us? Well, the Year of the Snake gave us one final bite before it leaves at the the end of this month... Last weekend David had a life-threatening anaphalactic shock reaction to an unknown allergen. He was fine...then he wasn't. He didn't eat anything weird at lunch, he went down to the basement and was sorting some boxes and then he sat down to play with Adeline and BOOM. He is now carrying an epi-pen with him everywhere (under my strict orders) and he has been significantly spooked that he has agreed he'll call 911 the minute he suspects he's having a reaction. David has had some summer-sniffles type allergies before, but nothing like this. He is getting a referral to an allergist, who hopefully will see him soon. If we know what he's allergic to then it will be much easier to avoid it.
I am trying to mellow out about it, but it has me pretty scared. There were moments when I thought I was going to lose him, and while the death of someone I love is nothing new to me, I think until that moment I didn't realize that David was mortal too and that there might be a time in my life without him. So I'm being way overprotective...If he goes to put laundry in the dryer and is gone longer than I deem necessary I go check on him...that sort of thing. I'm sure I'll calm down soon.
I think David jinxed this past year. On New Year's Day last year I remember saying "Wow! 2013! I think it's really going to be OUR YEAR. Everything's coming up US" and David snorted with derision and then did that lip-curling-and-eye-rolling thing he does. Turns out, 2013 was FILLED with challenges of all sorts for every single person in our family, but once again I'm thinking that 2014 is going to be our year! It doesn't feel like the new year to me yet, as I think I've really internalized January as the end of the year and Tet as the time to welcome spring and start fresh. I actually do think 2014/the Year of the Horse is going to be quite a year for us. Changes and challenges are expected, of course, but also great joys and happiness in the year to come.
Resolutions? Sure, we've got 'em! BALANCE is the word of the year. David learning to balance work life and family life and personal life as healthfully as he can. Me working to take care of my body in a way that brings my health more into balance. Even Adeline has said she wants to work on "Not making a fuss ever again", which I've deduced means using her words instead of yelling and trying to manage her strong emotions so she can communicate better, which sounds like a four year olds version of balance to me.
Speaking of January... I can't wait to see the end of it. Too dark. Too much rain. Too cold. No more Christmas. Bring on spring! I'm so ready to get back into the garden, so ready to feel sun on my face and so ready to really and truly say goodbye to this year!
He thinks "The Christmas Wrap-Up" is a hilarious title. You go, David. You go.
Christmas 2013. It was good. Really good. Lots of fun things leading up to the big day, as I blogged about before and a girl who was THIS EXCITED on Christmas Eve...
...and totally clogged up with snot and mucus on Christmas morning but still filled with so much joy and wonder at the magic of it all! Not too many pictures as the girl was so so sick that she couldn't close her mouth, her eyes were swollen up and her nose was free flowing. When Adeline has a stuffed up nose she makes a face like a bulldog - I guess it helps her breathe a little... A wicked cold didn't stop Adeline from having a super fun day of present-opening, playing and eating gummy bears for breakfast and lunch and dinner too.
After Christmas we had a glorious almost-two-weeks of hanging out in our pajamas, going to the pool, visiting, playing board games, reading books, wii golf (Adeline is a natural) sleeping in (Adeline slept until 8:30 pretty much every day), riding bikes, going to parks and having a wonderful relaxing time. Adeline's cold was down to just the sniffles by the 27th and was gone totally soon after that.
We finished off the holiday with Adeline having a two night New Year sleepover with her Nana while David and I binge-watched twelve hours of television. Believe me when I say that watching that much "Game of Thrones" in one sitting changes a person... It's been hard to get back into the work and preschool routine for me. Adeline and David seem to have slipped right back into it, but I'm still fighting it. Still wishing I was sleeping in. Still wishing I could lay on the couch and read my book in the middle of the day. Still missing all the chocolate. But most of all just feeling a real hole in our days where David should be. It was NICE having all of us home and I can't wait for our next holiday!
Just before we take the tree down, we always take a few pictures and a little bit of video in front of it. It's great to have the perspective of the wicker stool to see how much our girl has grown. Here she is in 2012 , and 2011 and 2010 .
This year we also did a little interview about the Christmas season...