Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Eve in Windham

I try not to have very high expectations for New Years.  I figure we have a memorable and amazing New Years every five years or so.  Most of the time its just a whole lot of hype.  This year, our friends, the Wilcox's invited us to Windham, VT-- about two hours south of Jericho.  They had invited us down to their family house in the fall and we weren't able to come, so we jumped at the opportunity to join them. 

It was cold and we didn't come very prepared, but that didn't stop us from having fun!  They have a rope tow for sledding, a pond for skating (and about 20 pair of skates in almost every size), and lots of trails for skiing (and Whiskey boxes along the way).

The kids all slept in a fabulous bunk room and the adults went out for a full moon ski before midnight (temps were well below zero).  It was the perfect New Years.  We stayed up until after midnight, got in our New Years kisses. Everyone had a ball!

As we drove down to Windham, we jotted down our top ten list for 2017.  Here's what made the list:

  1.  Peru
  2.  Hiking in the Pemigewasset Wilderness
  3.  Chabegue Island
  4.  Pisgah/North Carolina
  5.  Mont Tremblant
  6.  Fresh grass with the Davidsons
  7.  Meeting up with John at Arnold Lake
  8.  Skiing as a family- SNSC
  9.  Great teachers at JES
  10.  Bates Burning Man camping in NH/Maine

Friday, December 29, 2017


Christmas vacation began on Cally's birthday.  She was so excited to bring in the treat that she saw in a kids cook book during the summer.  With the help of Hazey, we pulled the snowmen off.  We had some trouble with the white chocolate melting properly, but they tasted good.

There was a lovely snow storm, but Bumpa and Grandma managed to make it up for a birthday party with Scott, Cynthia, Tom and Cynthia.  We ate chicken enchiladas and an amazing raspberry cake.  

The Niquettes arrived on Saturday afternoon (after a long drive in the snow).  We had plenty of snow to play upon and the temperatures were pretty reasonable. 

After a big breakfast on X-mas day, some of us headed up to Smuggs for some skiing.

The kids loved playing with their new toys:

Snap Circuits with Bumpa
Games with Rob and Will
One of Hazen's best friends, who happens to be a graduated UVM student, Steve, joined us for Christmas turkey.  He was an orphan, so we welcomed him. 

Right after Christmas, it started to get pretty cold, but it didn't stop us from going to Casey's Hill and trying out the new sleds. 

Bumpa and Grandma stayed at the Inn at Essex and the kids loved staying warm in the pool:

And we put the grandparents to work-- everyone was folding laundry:

The day after my parents left, we headed to Stowe to meet up with my cousin Lindsay at Jamey's house in Stowe.  The kids bundled up and went sledding before we headed to the Swimming Hole. 


Bumpa came to our house with a rotten cold/cough.  By the time everyone left, I was hoarse and coming down with some sort of crud.  Fortunately, the temps were so cold, I didn't feel like I was missing out on the skiing.  On the day before New Years, temps got into the double digits, so the kids did go to their ski lesson, but we otherwise found fun indoor activities like seeing Coco (the movie) and skating. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Birthday Girl

I can't believe our little peanut is half way to officially being an adult.  She's 9!  I saw a link to this article called "To My Daughter at Halftime".  It talks about how my job as a parent is half way over, but perhaps the hardest part is yet to come.  Everyone told me it would go fast......... 

I never could have imagined that I'd have a daughter like Macalister Jane. It hasn't been all easy.  She is a self proclaimed "sleep freak" and she hates all things related to table manners.  She's not neat and she is a bit absent minded.  BUT, she is one of the funniest, kindest, smartest, independent thinking, beautiful kids I know.  I am bias, but we love this girl to pieces.

Cally started planning her 9th birthday party sometime during the summer.  Maybe it was even while we were hiking up to Punta Union Pass in Peru?  In any case, she had a plan and it involved a hibachi dinner and a late over.

Cal wrote the invites in mid-November with her plan.  The girls would get off the bus, come over to play, go to dinner, and then come back to our house for cake and a movie.  We opted out of the sleep over because it usually doesn't involve much sleep.  However, once we did the math, John and I realized we'd have to entertain seven girls for 7 hours.  We also realized that Cal's first day of ski club was to begin the next morning at 9am.

But, a plan is a plan, so we went with it.  Five girls got off the bus at our house.  They snacked on fruit kebab's, went sledding, had cocoa and before we knew it, it was time to head to Koto.  On the way, the girls played Mad Libs in the car.  One of Cal's oldest friends, Thompson, met us at the restaurant.   

The girls were transfixed and had so much fun!

We headed home for cake and presents. I made a chocolate cake and John frosted it like a pro.

The girls were wonderful and the time flew by!  Cal had so much fun.

The good news about throwing the birthday party a week before Cal's actual b-day, is that we had more time to plan for our holiday guests and make fun classroom treats for her actual birthday. 

Just to get a sense of who our 9 year old has become, here is the letter she wrote to Santa this year:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's Beginning to Feel a lot Like Christmas...

We have some rituals......... With the kids away in Boston the weekend after Thanksgiving, we were impatient to get a tree.  The kids insisted we cut it down, but darkness sets in at this time of year by 4:15 and most laced would be closed by the time we could get there.  So, we did the most convenient thing and headed two miles up the road to Whites Christmas Tree Farm.  It's a big place with overpriced trees, but they are all so beautiful and it was easy to find one that would do the trick in our house.  It took a few days to get it up, but we had a lot of help decorating this year.

The Jericho Country Store is lucky enough to get a visit from Santa every year.  The kids aren't so sure how he squeezes Jericho into his busy schedule, but we managed to sneak in a visit to the Jolly man.  After skiing a few runs, the kids made their requests (a remote control car and LL Bean Sled for Hazey and a reading light and an LL Bean sled for Cal), before dashing off to a birthday party and gingerbread house decorating.

We headed to Mad River for a big fundraiser on Saturday night.  Red Hot Juba was playing, there was great food, and a photo booth. 

And the snow is here!  Cal and her friend Celine and Zephy and I played at Mills River

 Cally did some Skijoring

Monday, December 4, 2017

While the Kids are Away.........

Hazey's godparents were heading down to Boston to take care of their grandson for the weekend and asked if the kids would be interested in joining them and perhaps help out.  Hazey quickly jumped on the opportunity and Cal was a little more hesitant (because she hates sleepovers and is a bit of a home body).  Once she heard that they'd be going to the Children's Museum and the Aquarium, she was in. 

I don't have any pictures of their weekend, but John and I had such a fun impromptu date weekend (well, actually, more like 30 hours).  First we skied, then we got some stuff done around the house, we headed to Burlington for what we thought would be dinner and a movie.  We had the BEST dinner at Honey Road, but decided to do some Christmas shopping instead of perhaps falling asleep at the movies (I call that the $12 nap).  We spent Sunday lying in a bit, skiing some more, getting more stuff done around the house, and then met the kids and the godparents in Waterbury for dinner. 

The kids had a ball with Tom, Cara and Julius.  The report is that they were wonderful playmates for Julius and were easy breezey.  Cal only called us once (before she left, she asked if she could call me 100 times).  I'm proud of the kids.  I know how hard it is for Cal to be away. We are so lucky to have godparents who want to spend time with our kids and thank us for sharing them.  

For years, John and I savored a few hours to ourselves, for us.  As the kids have gotten more independent and busy, we get to spend more time together.  The more time I spend with this guy, the more I love him and feel so lucky to get to be with him for the long haul. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017


We spent Thanksgiving in Farmington this year. It had been ten years since we'd been down to share the holiday with Nana and Grandpa, so we decided to see what we had been missing.  Peg has hosted Thanksgiving for 52 years! 

It was a gorgeous few days in Farmington.  John and I got to get out to meet some of his old friends for a drink on Wednesday for cocktail hour.  We came home to cook dinner for the hosts and then we went on a date to Ikea in New Haven.  I know, kind of random, but we wanted to avoid traffic and we knew exactly what we wanted so we arrived at 8:50pm and were out by 9:00.  On the way home, we stopped through Waterbury to see Mark play at a bar.  It was so great to see him in action. 

We spent quite some time on the bike path over the river

The kids got gussied up and the meal was delicious.   Peg and Lynn spent much of Wednesday preparing for the feast and they took care of almost everything.  It felt so strange not to be cooking.

It was great to see the Jones family:


While we were gone, our friends the McNight/Roberts family had stayed at our house and taken care of the pets.  Michael's mom lives in Underhill and they wanted a little more space.  Their son, Dean, is Cally's age so it was fun to have them staying with us for the weekend upon our return.  Dean and the kids have met before, but they quickly bonded and were fun slumber buddies. 

I'm so thankful that we got to spend time with John's family and eat a lovely meal.  Art and Peg were wonderful hosts and the kids loved seeing the Abbott side of the family.  We got home in time to hang out with friends and ski a few days.  Seeing the kids rip turns down the mountain was a major high light.