Two Takes On The First Snow

The week after Christmas, we finally! got our first snow of the year.  Almost enough for skiing, barely enough for sledding.  It is very amusing for me to watch how children react to the first snow fall.

Five year olds can dress themselves in their snow gear, run through the snow under their own power, and gleefully slide on their bottoms, attempt to build snowmen, and make snow angels.  Ah, the five-year-old in the first snow of the year! Joy incarnate.

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Then, there’s the two-year-old: she cannot dress herself and is useless when it comes to putting her thumb in the right hole of her mittens.  She cannot wade through even the powderiest snow without losing a boot, and overall, her fun in the snow lasts approximately thirty seconds, 10 times as long as it took to get her dressed.

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The five-year-old wins! The snow vanquishes the baby.  Until next time, snow.  We’ll meet again soon.

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Christmas At Home

For the first time ever, since JDubbs and I were dating, married, or had kids, we stayed in our home for Christmas.  Yes, we have spent most Christmas mornings at home lately but this year we did not travel for the entire winter break, and to be honest, it was awesome.  While my older sister’s kids are still in middle/high school, and my younger sister and her new husband are still a duo, we felt it was fair to ask them and my parents to head north for the holiday.  That plus a very merry schedule full of gingerbread houses, visits with Santa, Christmas lights, decorating cookies with friends and sledding led to a wonderful extended Christmas indeed!

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On the night before Christmas, like every year, JDubbs read to the girls since Jax was down and out early with a strange stomach bug, and then we and Grammy got the house ready for Santa to come!  They had been such good kids, we knew he would.

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We were right!  Christmas morning was utterly delightful.  I’m so lucky to have kids who don’t expect everything under the sun for Christmas, who watch with gratitude and happiness while others open their gifts, and who are truly grateful for every present they receive, big and small.

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In the afternoon we went to Nana and Papa’s for more Christmas cheer, to eagerly await cousins, aunts and uncle, and for Mommy to get her one photo of Jax in his Christmas sweater with his sisters before he stripped down to his new Gronk jersey and went out to play with his new scooter and football Santa brought him.  Em got a scooter, too, as well as a new soccer ball from Daddy.  Considering it was warm enough to go outside with jackets (not an inch of snow yet this year!), we were happy to spend the afternoon stretching our legs and running off the extra energy from Christmas candy.

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Cousins arrived, the kids’ table was set, and it was time for presents and playtime all over again.

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The big kids had a matching pj sleepover at Nana and Papa’s, then we spent the weekend together, exploring wintry Vermont.  Sunday morning more aunts, uncles, cousins, and Grampy arrived!  The merriment just kept on coming.

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Who knows when we will be able to spend another Christmas entirely at home? I know that no matter where we are, as long as we are together, our holiday will be wonderful, but getting to spend it beginning to end in our home, with days upon days of family arriving was more special than I would have thought.  Loved our first Christmas at home! Hoping we can celebrate another soon.

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#NYEveSelfies

Everyone in the universe is going to be taking selfies while they drink, dance, carouse, frolic, fight, kiss, make up, break up, meet the love of their life, cram into an Uber, and generally cause a ruckus tonight.  Even though my New Year’s Eve plans consisted of successfully taking three kids sledding and watching a movie at home with my man, I didn’t think that it would be wholly undocumentable.  So after a short nap for Little H, and quick photo shoot in the rain for me, I thought we could all use a little New Year’s cheer.  It was time for some Big Camera Selfies.

Strip the bed? Check. Add some light to an overcast afternoon? Check. Wide angle lens plus as slow a shutter speed as my fidgety kids can (mostly) handle? Check.

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Two big kids who know the drill and understand sometimes it is worth just getting into the spirit of things rather than fight Mom about how insane it is to prop her big camera on the dog bed? Check.  One grumpy and not-at-all-in-the-mood-for-this toddler?  Yup, got one of those, too.

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Timer ready? Check. Let’s take some #NYEveSelfies! Just one good one for Mommy to use as the last photo of her 365 day photo project, please, kids?

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Okay, one with all our eyes open.

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Okay, one where we are all looking in the right direction.

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Okay, so Little H looks like she has to poop in that last one. We are #WinningAtSelfies!

Let’s just try it one more time, without the timer.  Just one cute one for posterity.  Is that too much to ask, pretty please for Mom?

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Apparently, yes.

So our #NYEveSelfie experiment failed, as do so many New Year’s Eve ideas that start with good intentions.  I’m glad we got a few laughs out of it, though!

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Better luck next year, Mom!

Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to you!

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Christmas Cookies

Decorating cookies was never part of my Christmas traditions growing up, but JDubbs has very fond memories of it from his childhood.  After years of helping each of my kids, as well as my niece and nephew, scrape frosting across perfectly baked sugar cookies, and dump cupfuls of sugar confections on top, I can’t believe that there was ever a Christmas in my life without these memories! Plus, Polar Express pajamas make every December memory that much sweeter.  Childhood memories for the win! IMG_3238 PicMonkey Collage

From Nana and Papa to uncles and aunts to five delighted cousins, everyone gets in on the cookie-decorating fun (and tasting)!

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These are the cookies we would leave for Santa, saving the last few for weeks to make sure he gets one made with love.  These traditions are ones that I cherish, the ones that bring us together in the simple acts of spending time as an extended family.  My favorite kinds of memories, made that much sweeter.

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Life doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

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Merry Christmas To All!

Merry Christmas to you all!  I’m sure you are all having as wonderful a day as we undoubtedly are!

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My greatest gifts are these three little rascals, and spoiling them as much as we can today is one of my greatest joys.

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Off to spend the weekend with our wonderful family!  May your day be merry and bright!

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Farewell, 2015! Cell Phone Photo Dump

Oh, what a year! Looking at these photos, the summer seems so long ago, but I’m so very grateful every day that my phone can be handy to document the small moments that make my life so rich.

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As this week wraps up and we look forward to celebrating our eighth(!) Christmas as parents, I am aware more than ever that our greatest gifts are three healthy and wonderful children, our home, and the ability to provide them with a really remarkable holiday season. Here’s hoping I have as many small and special moments to share in the new year!

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A Treat With Em

It’s the third year for me and Em to go see “Clara’s Dream,” and the third year to make wonderful memories with my girl.  Before we went to the ballet, the girls and I were headed to the Winter Fair at the Upper Valley Waldorf School, and I didn’t want Em going out with wet hair.  Enter Daddy and his mad blow-drying skills!  Really, could he be any cuter?

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Dressed to the nines, the girls and I went to the fair, which was as lovely as ever.  We came home with many treasures, and they really enjoyed doing a bit of fishing on a winter day!

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Then we headed to Clara’s Tea with Nana and Auntie Jenny–unfortunately, I only brought my phone this year so I didn’t get many great photos, but Em and I did take a selfie before the ballet began!

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The ballet was on Saturday, and Em began Ballet I on Monday.  She has big aspirations to join the cast of Clara’s Dream when she turns 8 as a pasty chef, and perhaps one day en pointe.  I look forward to making many sweet memories with her every year!

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My little Sugarplum Fairy!

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