Thursday, December 31, 2009

A year in pictures

I recently went through a bunch of old photos on flickr and tagged the ones I liked. I tagged some because they are technically good (or at least interesting), while others capture something about my subject or are somehow especially meaningful to me (usually these are family photos). 

I picked out twelve of my favorites, one from each month of 2009. As today is my birthday, I am allowed to be a little self-indulgent.

01/16/09 WPA Fragment
January: work fragment

Ada in the teepee
February: Ada in the teepee
(pretty much all of these pictures were also in the running for February favorite)

John, amused
March: I can't imagine taking a picture of John that I prefer to this one

04/19/09 Calm Amidst the Play
April: Monkey Boy at Rest

May: Born yesterday

Waiting for Waffles
June: Waiting at the Waffle Window

July: Mira at two months

Mira & Bop -12 weeks
August: My father makes my daughter laugh

Mira, feverish
September: Mira, feverish

Juni and Ian
October: Juniper and Ian

Lila, Masked
November: Tortilla Lila

December: Ian, taking in the late day sun

Picking one picture from each month was really hard. Some months I took a lot of pictures, while others (especially the last few of my pregnancy) I took barely any. Some months I love the pictures I took of Ada, while others Mira really jumped out at me. Ian has been especially cute and hammy lately, so in November and December I took a lot of pictures of him. Although in December I took a number of photos of Ian that I really like, I feel guilty for not using a picture of Ada. I don't want anyone to think that now that I have new subjects I am neglecting her, photographically speaking. I guess this is a version of the problem faced by all parents of multiple children. For me the answer may just be to share more pictures!

Tomorrow I start a new photo-a-day project. As usual for me, I am torn about what to do. I had several ideas (and a couple more were suggested to me by family and friends). I was drawn to Karen's suggestion to take pictures of twinned items, but in the end decided to go with a monthly color theme.

Using colors from the color wheel (red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple) this will give me a six to nine month project, if I include white, gray and black. I am excited to start! When I have started other photo-a-day projects, I promised that I would post the results here occasionally. I have not done that much, in part because I get shy about it. We'll see if I can get over that this year.

Happy old year, happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Consider This Hand Delivery

Here is the card I made this year:


I ran out of stamps part of the way through the process and was too wiped out to get more. Plus, how do you fit that many envelopes through your internet router? Until I resolve these issues, please consider this my card to you all. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Totally different from being a Jew for Jesus

Before Ada came along I could kind of think that going to my in-laws for Christmas was for them, and not something I really wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws and enjoy being around them, but as someone raised in a reform but nonetheless Jewish household, I felt a little conflicted about Christmas celebrations. Putting aside the whole "Jews don't generally celebrate the birth of Christ" thing, there is so much to love about the way that Chris' family celebrates the holiday. For one thing, there is all the food (iced Christmas cookies, date cookies, shrimp with cocktail sauce, egg nog, Texas grapefruit, Christmas breakfast with sweet things and pork, roast beast, Yorkshire pudding, cranberry pudding, Chris' pecan pie ala Tartine...). Plus, I love the white elephant exchange at Camille's house, coffee in front of the fire first thing in the morning, playing with the goofy little treats from my stocking, watching people open the gifts I picked out for them. So yes, I enjoy Christmas.

Who wouldn't love a holiday that could lead to this scene?

And now, with Ada so obviously enjoying the holiday, it is even more compelling. I am still not comfortable doing it here at my house (and oy, the thought of collecting all the Christmas decorations and then having to store them and get them out and put them back...). But yep, fine, I like being part of it.

Melissa and Ada watch the Snowman

As an added bonus, Mira and Ian gave us a little gift this year. Both of them slept through the night while we were at their grandparents' house. Usually just one of them sleeps through the night, leaving Chris or me to get up at 3am, knowing we'll have to get up at 5 with the baby who slept on. Thanks kids, we couldn't have asked for a better gift!

Dyland and Mira
Mira says: pulling on Dylan's beard is even better than chewing on my new toys!

And now for a couple of stellar parenting moments from the weekend:
Great for a moment
It seemed like a good idea to let Ian play with this, until someone noticed that the wheels come off.

What kind of parent...
What kind of crappy parent gets a kid a bike for Christmas and then forgets to bring the kid's helmet with them? And yes, I did let her ride in the street. It is a cul-de-sac, and for the record that Prius didn't get that close before I noticed it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Lila: You can't make that face when you are doing Spanish!

Ada: Hola bola!

** * **

Ada: Let's pretend we're princesses!

Lila: You know what? Dads are kings, moms are princes and little kids are princesses, right?

** * **
Ada (talking to the babies): Ian, lucky Ian! Mira, lucky Mira!

Me: Why are they lucky? They are pretty lucky to have you.

Ada: Ian is the luckiest.

Me: Why?

Ada: Because he has two sisters!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seven Come Eleven

The post title is from a song my dad likes to sing. Not my best title, but do you know how hard it is to come up with a good jokey title for these monthly update posts? And I do try, because I know that this kind of update post is really only interesting to me, my mother and my facebook stalker.  So, onward:

Early in her sixth month, Mira popped out two teeth. Minimal fuss was involved, but then she was also sick so who knows whether she was too busy complaining being stuffed up to worry about the teeth. Or maybe we just wrongly assumed any complaints were about the cold. Also at this point she started rolling over in bed. She prefers to sleep on her stomach, but she wakes up, rolls over and is then pissed off. (Gives me flashbacks to Ada, who liked to sleep on her back, but would roll on her belly and then scream.)


Also early in the month Ian started rolling over and over and over, putting himself in the middle of the room. Mira started to scootch backwards when left on her belly, though she seems to prefer to back herself into corners, jam herself under the couch or otherwise tuck herself into corners.  She has also started doing a really good downward dog, which has me fairly worried that actual crawling may not be too far away. Besides the normal concerns that once crawling the kids will no longer be easily corralled, I am freaked out by how much teeny tiny crap we have on the floor. Legos and dollhouse detritus, sure, but also buttons and dried beans. The beans were just a mistake; Ada got her hands of some beans we had gotten from our CSA. But the buttons were my fault. A year or two ago I found a big stash of buttons at an estate sale. I knew Ada would be thrilled to play with them, sort them, use them in her art projects and pretend kitchen games. I somehow failed to anticipate that they would end up EVERYWHERE, including all over the floors. As I find them I scoop up the buttons and beans, removing them from circulation. Unfortunately I know how many more there are to be found, and fear that Ian and Mira will both be crawling before I get them all. (And even if I do, there is still the small matter of the Legos and dollhouse toys.)

The least freaked out of this series

This was the month in which Mira more regularly slept through the night, when she wasn't woken up by her brother. This was also the month in which Ada decided she could not sleep without Chris or myself. I have written about this before, so for now suffice it to say that Ada will now sleep on her own, with the concession that she can sit up reading books before she falls asleep and can do so if she wakes up in the middle of the night. At first I was worried that this would be a problem; the first week of this Ada woke up at least twice a night to read, and was pretty tired and cranky during the day. I told myself that it was worthwhile, because we weren't wrestling her at 3 am. Luckily, the past week or so she has mostly not woken up at night (which I can tell because her overhead light isn't on when I check on her) and she seems better rested. Ada also knows that once her clock says 6am or later she can come into our bed to snuggle, which she has done a few times. I may write about this more later, but I am making a concerted effort to be more snuggly with her during the day and to make sure I give her my full attention when she wants to play (and I am not doing something that actually needs my attention, like making dinner or wiping up poop). The jury is still out on how I am doing with that goal.

Oh, and Mira and Ian started eating this month. This is great, but also sad. Great, because they seem pretty excited about food. The Terrible is two-fold: the poop is so much worse; and feeding two babies is in fact TWICE as time-consuming as feeding one. We started with one meal a day and I have finally caved to feeding them twice, despite the fact that this either takes two adults or one adult with a lot of time on her hands. (Thank goodness for the nanny, who can do this for us three days a week!) I just bought a gently used double stroller on craigslist, which in retrospect seems foolish. I mean, between their naps and meals, when exactly are we all going to leave the house together? Factor in the rain, which generally starts just when I've gotten both kids bundled up for the outdoors, and we may not actually take Mira and Ian outside until they turn 1. Oh well, only 5 more months, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Elbow, Elbow, Wrist, Wrist, Wrist

For the past week or so every time Mira has bottle she stretches her arm out and mesmerizes herself by waggling her hand back and forth. At first I thought Mira was just developing a deeper understanding that this thing at the end of her arm was hers and could be controlled at will. Last night I realized that something else is going on; she is practicing her parade wave for the Rose Parade.

I don't have the heart to tell her that this is the one year we aren't going to LA for the new year. Maybe next year, kid.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I must remember

These moments are fleeting, will I even remember?

Working at home, I take a break to nurse Ian. Having spent most of the day with the nanny, he keeps interrupting his nursing to smile and coo at me. I feel so loved that I started to cry a little.

We play together for a while and I enjoyed his giggly, bouncy company. Eventually I take him downstairs and go back to work, but not before I try to take a mental picture of the moment, of what it was like to look down on my smiling baby boy and see pure love.*

*I am not usually prone to what would normally feel like hyperbole, but this is how it felt. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And a spicy holiday to you too!

Nora, reciting the prayer over the candles: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam...

Ada, a few minutes later: Why were you saying jalapeno?

Nora: What?

Ada: Jalapeno. Barukh atah Adonai, jalapeno...

Someone should probably tell her that when they don't know the words, people often say "watermelon" instead.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Eight Nights of Hanukkah

On the first night of Chanukah, my mama gave to me,
My mama gave to me,
A pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree. 

Not capturing the chaos
Nine adults and five kids (plus two asleep upstairs). 
Brisket, latkes, applesauce, apple/fennel salad and wine. Lots of laughing, screaming, eating, drinking.

On the second night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree. 

On the third night of Hanukkah,
My aunt and uncle gave to (my siblings and) me,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

My children, the vegetables
Thanks Karen and Anthony!

On the fourth night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Four big hugs,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

On the fifth night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Five pieces of gelt.
Four big hugs,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

On the sixth night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Six misplaced dreidels,
Five pieces of gelt.
Four big hugs,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

On the seventh night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Seven books from Goodwill,
Six misplaced dreidels,
Five pieces of gelt.
Four big hugs,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

On the eighth night of Hanukkah,
My mama gave to me,
Eight dripping candles,
Seven books from Goodwill,
Six misplaced dreidels,
Five pieces of gelt.
Four big hugs,
Three veggie dolls
Two pink, sparkly shoes,
And a pack of kids on a latke-fueled spree.

Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate it! And to those of you who don't, not being Jewish is no reason to not indulge in some fried foods this week. Remember, it's festive AND delicious!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

He likes applesauce

"Old Dogs" doesn't deserve a bad review so much as it deserves to be sent back in time for a good Puritan shunning.

Mike Russell
Holiday Films: Two nice entrees, but beware of turkeys

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Queens

After seeing a few interviews posted on some blogs, I decided to sign up for Neil's interview project.

I got to interview Queenie, of Baby, Borneo or Bust. I read a bunch of her archives and came up with some questions that, in my typical style, are pretty wordy. Queenie was nice not to complain about that.

* ** * 

Me: It is interesting to me to have gotten your blog in this experiment, as I am a fellow survivor of infertility. Our paths have been quite different, but I can relate to a lot of what you write about experiencing. I started blogging about my infertility after my older daughter was born, by which time I had talked to a lot of people in real life about what my husband and I went through. Is your blog your main outlet for talking about infertility, or are you "out" about it in your real life? If you are open about it, is it easier or harder to talk about in person compared to the blog? If you do not talk about this in the rest of your life, what made you decide to blog about it?

Queenie: I am not "out" in real life about our journey to creating a family.  It just has never been something that I wanted to talk about.  There were a couple of different issues.  First, because my husband and I are "older" parents, most of our friends are well past the toddler years, and none of them had any problems that I know of.  I just didn't think my friends could relate to what we were going through.  But perhaps more importantly, if we were not able to ever get pregnant, it just wasn't something I wanted people to know about.  I didn't want a crowd waiting every month to see what happened, and I didn't want input from others on what we should do if we couldn't get pregnant.  I didn't want people to know how we got from A to Z.  I really just wanted it to be us, making our decisions.  We were so old that people just assumed that we didn't want kids, so we never go any questions about it.  It just seemed natural to keep it to ourselves.  By the same token, I needed an outlet, and I needed support.  I needed a place to go and talk about what was going on, preferably with people who understood where I was coming from.  When I found Stirrup Queens, I found the infertilty and loss community, and blogging seemed like the perfect solution.  My blog has become the place that I dump how I am feeling at a particular moment, and it's been a great outlet for me.

Me: From reading your blog archives, it seems like you started blogging in large part because of your desire to have a baby and change your priorities regarding work/life balance. Do you consider yourself an infertility blogger? What will happen to your blog when your baby is born? Do you think you'll be a post-infertility blogger? A mommy-blogger? Something else?

Queenie: It's funny, but I don't consider myself to be an IF blogger, and I don't think I'll consider myself to be a mommy blogger after the baby is born.  I started the blog because I needed a space to dump all of the neuroses that were in my head, and that's still what I primarily use it for.  People reading my blog probably get a pretty one-sided picture of me, because it's really not all that multi-faceted.  I definitely started it when I was in a very bad place personally, in terms of both the struggle to create a family and also a personal/professional life that was badly out of balance, and I'd like to think that I've created more balance over the last year.  I'm not sure where it will head from here. . .stay tuned!

Me: I noticed that you are renovating your house and expecting the arrival of your baby. This kind of thing is more common than I'd think it would be; I have known people who move or enter into serious renovations after they get pregnant. What caused you to do this right before your baby shows up?

Queenie: We've actually been renovating our house for YEARS!!!  We've been doing the work ourselves (my husband is very talented and in the field), and have basically done a gut rehab, which is why it has taken so long.  It probably would've continued plodding along at a glacial pace, but for the imminent arrival of the baby.  I actually joke that if I had known that having a baby would've sped up the renovation timetable, I would've started trying to get pregnant years ago. I have noticed, by the way, that a lot of IF-ers seem to have renovations underway.  It is a good distraction at times. . .until you find yourself 9 months pregnant and needing to move out of your house so certain things can be completed, and then it's just a giant hassle!

Me: What does it feel like for you to be pregnant after such a struggle to achieve it? Do you feel scared, elated, at all conflicted? What about pregnancy is different than you thought it would be?

Queenie: This is such a good question.  For the first 4 months, I was certain something was going to go wrong, and I worried constantly about miscarrying again, or something being wrong with the baby.  We got worrisome stat's back after doing the NT scan, and opted to do chorionic villus sampling.  We went to a major, internationally renowned facility to have it done, which had a very low complication rate, so I felt comfortable doing CVS.  I knew I couldn't handle the wait until amnio would be possible.  When we got the normal results back, it was like a weight had been lifted from me.  We were outside the first trimester at that point, and I just decided that I shouldn't worry any more.  Since then, I have had a great, easy pregnancy (knocking on wood right now).  I think that is what has been most surprising for me about this pregnancy--how easy it has been.  I had always imagined pregnancy would be harder and much more uncomfortable.  Over the last few weeks, I have definitely become somewhat uncomfortable, but until then, I felt great.  That was a thrilling discovery--to feel well physically and to be worry-free was such a huge thing for me.

Me: A year ago you said there were three things you most wanted - a particular job overseas, to start your own business, and a third thing that at the time you could not bring yourself to write about. Has anything changed? Are the first two the same, and can you now disclose what the third wish was?

Queenie: Those three things were three things that I most wanted to accomplish professionally.  I can tell you that I continue to progress toward the job abroad.  I have been working my way through the hiring process for about 10 months now, and just learned last week that I've passed another hurdle.  As a backup option, I am still contemplating opening my own business, and I think that's something that I will be thinking a lot about in coming months, particularly after the baby is born.  As for the third thing. . .I still can't bring myself to say it out loud, but it's definitely still there, swirling around my mind.

Me: Your new years resolutions last year were to work simultaneously toward to your three goals and to take steps to improve your overall health. It can be really hard to stick to "do good things for myself" goals, even when you know they are linked to other things you want (like getting pregnant). How well do you think you stuck to your health-care improvement goal?

Queenie: I have done really well with my goals for last year.  I think that's probably why I've felt so good during my pregnancy.  Last winter, even before getting pregnant, I really made it a priority to eat well, get enough sleep, take vitamins, and to gain some weight.  I felt a lot better as a result, and I think that's also why we were finally able to achieve a sustainable pregnancy.  Before that, I had always put myself last as a priority.  After I became pregnant, I continued to take good care of myself, and put myself first.  It's been hard at times (particularly while working on that big project during November), but I've managed to stick to it.  I think that's also why I've felt so good during my pregnancy--I was treating myself so poorly last year and felt so bad as a result that all of the changes that I made really made a huge difference in how I felt, even pregnant.

Me: What are your resolutions for the coming year? (Please don't tell me it is "get more sleep" - as a mother of small children I can tell you that one will be hard to keep.)

Queenie: I haven't even thought about New Year's resolutions for this year.  My life is in a tremendously different and better place than last year.  I was in SUCH bad shape a year ago, in so many ways.  It's amazing to think of how far I've come.  This baby is just the icing on that cake.  Maybe it will be to slow down even more and to enjoy each passing day with the baby, because this time will be so fleeting and irreplacable.  If the job pans out that I want, it will mean a big move and lots of change, so it will be important to prioritize appropriately.  It's so hard to be a modern woman, but I just can't help wanting it all (at once)!

Me: I saw this from a post you wrote this past March: "How can you prepare for something so utterly huge, and which you've never experienced? At the end of the day, it's really a total leap of faith." Reading that made me think about an article I read that talked about people's orientation to the world. The author wrote that some people are optimists, while others are defensive pessimists. Optimists prefer to think that things will work out and not focus on the possible horror scenarios, while defensive pessimists feel compelled to prepare for all the horrible things that could happen. How do you see yourself? Does your orientation to the world differ depending on the type of situation you are facing? Do you respond to the possibility of a great new job differently than you do to the possibility of a successful pregnancy?

Queenie: I haven't seen the article, but from your description, I would say that I am totally a defensive pessimist, and across the board, regardless of circumstance.  When I am stressed about something, I definitely think out all of the negative scenarios that can happen, and prepare myself for how I'll handle it if the worst comes true.  My husband, on the other hand, is incredibly optimistic, and I drive him crazy.  I always tell him that we have different ways of handling things, and my outlook helps me manage the worst case scenarios.  On the other hand, my perspective also sometimes keeps me from doing things I should really do, because I can get defeatist about it, and think I have no shot.  It's good that my husband is so optimistic, because there are times when he's forced me to do things where things have turned out really well, and I would've never taken the step forward without his encouragement.  I need to learn to do that more, and take more risks.

* ** *

The second Queen mentioned in the subject line above is the Draft Queen, who posted her interview with me at her blog The Drafts Folder. Thank you to Queenie for answering all my questions, and thanks to the Draft Queen for her questions to me.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bedtime and Torn Books

The monsters were a smoke screen, as we'd suspected. I think that Ada subconsciously realized that she'd just lost a very big control lever (the toileting) and found something to replace it. I don't think this was a purposeful decision, but the time proximity between her starting to use the toilet and her belief that she can not sleep alone is just too much to ignore.

She will go to sleep if one of us is lying with her in bed. I refuse to do this, leaving it to Chris to coax her to sleep. But a few nights ago I thought I might give it a try. After ten minutes I was fuming, and got up. Ada immediately freaked out. She followed me downstairs, and Chris took her back up. He spent a good chunk of time trying to get her to stay in her room; she shrieked her opposition. It was horrifying. I sat on the couch not helping at all, but I don't know how I could have helped if I had tried.

I don't know what to do with Ada other than to meet her stubbornness with my own resolve not to let her take over. I was apparently not like this when I was a child. I was, to use my father's phrase, more "go along to get along" when I was Ada's age. When I talked to my parents about Ada's new-found refusal to sleep alone, my father also told me that I might have been taught not to wake up my parents by seeing what my tired, cranky father was like when he got up too early. So where does Ada get this stubbornness, and what makes me respond in kind?  

Compared to me, Chris is generally more practical about Ada-related matters, wanting mostly to get through a given crisis without permanent scars on any of the three of us. On this night he attempted to keep her in her room while she screamed and threw things. Just as I was starting to cry, the screaming stopped and Ada yelled: "I ripped a book." "Daddy, I'm ripping a book! Mommy, Mommy, I'm ripping a book"

Right, she's four. She knows ripping books is bad. In fact, we talked about it earlier this evening. So she does the worst thing she can think to do; she rips up her books.

When Chris let her out of her room, she told him, "Daddy, I ripped books. I was too mad!"

How can it be that I have absolutely no idea what to do with my maddeningly smart and stubborn 4 year old?

* ** *

We moved Ada's bedtime up a half hour based on the idea that if someone Chris has to lie down with her for a half hour until she falls asleep, we should start that process earlier in the evening. Also, it was a way of making things less fun for her in the hopes that she might decide not to do this "I can't sleep alone" crap much longer. Such a thought is, of course, foolishness. This should be clear to anyone who talked to me in the past two years in which Ada refused to have anything to do with a toilet, until she was ready. No amount of negative lifestyle impacts motivated Ada. So telling her that she can't watch movies, can't play with the ipod, can't play as long because she has to go to bed earlier, pretty much none of that is going to change her mind on this issue. And yet. Still I tell her these things. You'd think I would have learned by now.

Big Girl Party Cake
The cake from Ada's "big girl party" - this party was something we suggested to Ada she could have once she started being a kid who peed and pooped on the potty. Our bribe did not actually motivate a behavior change, but once she accepted the toilet she called in this chip nonetheless. 

Chris lay down with Ada to get her to sleep tonight. Over an hour later, he came down, followed by Ada. When she comes down after bedtime we ignore her, and she is not allowed to play or read or to do anything.  We may not have figured out how to keep her in her room without a lock on the door, but we can deny her entertainment after bedtime. Within 10 minutes she'd fallen asleep. On past nights Chris has been able to carry her upstairs and put her in bed once she falls asleep like this. Cross your fingers that he can do it again.

couch sleeper

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

if you already

It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not. 

Colin Nissan
It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


As a four year old, Ada is working out what we do and who we are as a family, and how that is different or the same as other families. I come from a Jewish family, and Chris's family is what I call American-Christian, meaning that they celebrate Christmas more as a time to be with family, eat good food and give presents than as a holiday specifically honoring their god. Our nuclear family celebrates Hanukkah with a menorah, latkes and a dreidel. For Christmas, we go to Chris's parents' house. This works out well, as it allows us to celebrate with family and friends and yet I can avoid putting up a tree or lights at home. Somehow, putting up Christmas decorations at home feels like it would cross a line that apparently wasn't already obliterated by my eating pork, marrying outside my family's religion or failing to observe the myriad other rules and traditions of the Jewish faith.

Negotiating, and even explaining, our family's traditions and observances to Ada is already a bit complicated. The other night Chris and Ada were reading a book about Hanukkah. This got them talking about Hanukkah; celebrating with friends, eating latkes, etc. Chris talked about how we will do that here at home, and then later in the month we will go to Grandma and Bunka's for Christmas.

"And then Kwanzaa?" Ada asked.

Chris told Ada that different families celebrate different holidays. We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, some other families just celebrate Hanukkah, others celebrate Christmas, others Kwanzaa. Ada seemed satisfied with this explanation, which relieved Chris. He wondered how many holidays we might be required to celebrate if Ada got it in her head that we should do them all. Just in case, he suggested I might want to avoid bringing up the subject of Ramadan with Ada, lest we find ourselves fasting next August.