So apparently it gets cold enough here that lakes freeze. Which, I mean, if I had ever thought about it, would've been obvious. And admittedly, these are park lakes, so they're manmade and not very deep. But in case you've never stepped onto real ice, which is partially transparent, and suddenly feared for your life, I would like to tell you that it's a somewhat unsettling experience to find yourself on a frozen lake for the first time.
We actually got invited by two different people to go ice "skating" on New Year's Day. Fortunately, one was in the morning and the other was in the afternoon, so we actually went two separate times, although to avoid meltdowns it was just me and M in the morning. Also, the thought of me on ice skates trying to manage three kids who have never ice skated before was enough to convince me to not bring the two little ones, but once I got there, I realized that they didn't actually mean "skate" in the strict sense of the term, but more like "playing on the ice." So that simplified things.
Also, the skating happened on the same lake that we did paddle boats on for Children's Day, which I thought was really funny. It was actually super fun. They had these little chairs that would skate on the ice and you would use picks to push yourself around, which was my favorite. There were also inner tube things especially made for ice that you could pull each other around on. The kids liked that a lot and they really enjoyed taking turns pulling each other. You rent all these things by the hour, and one hour is about enough, so after exhausting themselves on the ice, we played some more with our friends and then ate together (both times).
It was actually a really fun day! The night before, once I realized that we were going to have two outings in one day, plus I needed to tutor a friend in the evening, I was really dreading it, but everything turned out to be so much fun that I didn't even feel tired until the end of the day!