Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Saturdays

We've ventured into the phase of more than one child with Saturday morning activities. :)  Yesterday morning I took Adara to her ski lessons and Emily rode with Mallory to their first basketball practice (not sure if it's called a practice since they don't play games yet at this age!).

Alasdair & Alden did Saturday morning chores and loaded up the car so we could head to Killington... we got there around mid-day, settled the kids in with Mimi and her amazing homemade play-do and Alasdair, Dad and I headed out to ski for a few hours.  It felt SO good to be out, despite the fact that very few trails were open and the fog was so thick it was hard to see!  We took the girls out for the last hour of the day for a few runs on the magic carpet, and one long run down Rams Head.  Adara isn't skiing on her own much yet, but Emily pleasantly surprised me with her confidence and stability!  I also finally understood why my mom used to be so nervous watching us ski, as I tried to keep my voice calm as I reminded Emily to turn (and eyed the steep drop off next to the trail) and also tried to keep myself between her and the many older kids zipping by her on either side. She was totally calm though, and stayed positive and got herself going again every time she fell.
(basketball & skiing in one day! lucky girl)

We had dinner at the Sunrise Cafe (so nice to have a place so close that's family friendly and has great food). The girls act a bit like they own the place; Emily walked up and ordered the girls meal from the pasta bar, and Adara had this conversation with the amused waitress.
Me: Girls, would you like vanilla ice cream for dessert?   You can choose plain or with chocolate syrup.
Emily: Plain vanilla please.
Adara: Hmmm, I think I'll have mine with a cherry on top.
{We all burst out laughing.  The waitress actually comes back with vanilla ice cream with a cherry.}
Me: Adara, what do you say to the waitress for bringing that for you??
Adara: Could I have some chocolate syrup?
{The kind and thankfully still amused waitress came back with chocolate syrup AND whipped cream.}
Adara with a big smile, this is the most delicious thing I've ever eaten! 

It was a great and full day; the kids fell asleep immediately in the car, and I went to bed as soon as we got home at 8:30. :)  There are some clips on our video page.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Emily's "team time" (a mixed-grade interdisciplinary learning time she has a few times each week) this past fall was all about Mexico: learning some Spanish words and about the culture of Mexico.  Friday morning at Morning Sing, her group of kinders and 1st graders performed some of what they'd learned. Alasdair, Adara, Alden and I walked over to the school to watch her, and as we ran into friends and chatted with various teachers who had things to say about our kids, I was reminded of how much I love this little school where my kids are known and cared for. It's amazing to me that my shy 6 year old thinks it normal to be up on stage in front of her peers on a regular basis, and that the environment there feels safe enough for her to do that. She told me that her "stomach felt sick" because of her nervousness, but she felt good about her performance.  There are some videos here on our youtube page.  We had some leftover gift cards to the local mexican restaurant, so we took the kids that night to celebrate her... a big treat since we never go out to eat as a family.  The kids all refused to eat anything but french fries, but we had fun. :)

Adara was "artist of the week" this week, so this piece was sitting on an easel by the front entrance.   The caption reads, "It is NOT a box.  It is an art monster!"

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Christmas Vacation

It was a hard decision not to travel for Christmas this year, and there were some sad moments, but I think it was the right choice for our family.  We've had a really peaceful week and a half, with a lot of low-key family time.  We did a few cleaning projects and both worked from home a bit, but mostly focused on spending time with the kids, taking long walks, and reading by the Christmas tree.  Some highlights (links are to videos)...

(First few things are from before break:)

Fun Christmas dinner party!  So much laughter...

Christmas pageant at church.  Adara was super shy about it this year; refusing her angel dress during rehearsal, and bailing halfway down the steps during the actual play.  Sweet girl was also a little sick.  That afternoon our community group did some Christmas caroling at a local nursing home.

There was some dancing at breakfast on the last day of school, and the girls were so excited to host all their friends from community group for a kids Christmas party.  Adara carefully wrote out every name that afternoon - I am really impressed by how far she's come with her letters in the past month! We had 14 kids here for pizza, cookie decorating, and a Christmas movie... there was some chaos, but a lot of fun, and sweet moments of seeing how well the kids care for each other.

Brunch at the Cranes.  The only picture I took:

Christmas Eve
I took the kids to Westford for a half day to be with their cousins.  They had fun exchanging gifts and played so well together, it was hard to leave!  We got home in time for a quick change and out to the CRC Christmas Eve service at a sweet old Vermont chapel and Chinese food takeout for dinner with the Eshbaughs. 

Christmas Day
A fun morning at home opening gifts, and doing lots of art!  We had monte cristos for breakfast, walked to the school playground to play, and stopped by the Willeman's Christmas brunch.
Emily's first gift that she made and wrapped (at school) without mom or dad's help.  It was a calendar she was very proud of and did a great job on!


After church, we drove to MA for a Christmas Open House at Uncle Jim's and dinner with my parents, Nick & Grammy.  Another short but sweet time together.

SNOW!  Finally!  Emily was ecstatic and her enthusiasm spread to the younger two.  Poor Alden could barely walk in all his gear, and after numerous faceplants decided this was his best bet.


Date night/art night.  A friend of Alasdair's who is an elementary school art teacher offered to watch the kids so we could go out, and brought the kids a few fun art projects to do.  The girls were super excited to do art with "a real artist" and had a blast, and even Alden got to paint.

New Years Eve
We spent the morning at the aquatic center with a bunch of friends, and that night had dinner with the Achmoodys & Engerts.  My girls had so much fun playing all kinds of boy games, and I'm so grateful for these friends who are raising boys who I love for my girls to be around and for Alden to look up to.  We let them stay up late, which means we were still home and reading by the tree by 9pm. :)


January 1st

Adara had her first ski lesson!  It brings me so much joy to introduce my girls to skiing. :)  And I love being at the tiny local mountain, chatting with friends while the kids slide around.