Festibond 2015: by Kirsten

On New Year’s Eve our family celebrated our eighth Festibond, an annual tradition we created and have absolutely loved every year. It has been altered and added to, but at the core of Festibond is strengthening our family bonds, individually and as a whole. This includes the writing of personal, heartfelt letters to each other in the weeks before and reading them to each other on the day of Festibond.

This past year has been especially challenging for all of us. I have spent 6 1/2 months of it away–In Alaska (with Kathy, Brent’s mom) and Illinois (with my parents). I realized I needed to be away to work through many issues and stressors with which I have been dealing, mostly resulting from my medical illnesses. I enjoy and treasure the time I have with my mom and dad, and with my sisters, Amy and Sara (and their families). And they have all been so good to me. But I have missed Brent and the girls tremendously, and it has been very difficult for me to be away from them for so much time. I keep in constant contact with each of them via text, phone, and FaceTime. I am very thankful for FaceTime and the opportunity to communicate with Brent, Skye, Jenna, and Hayley face-to-face. It’s wonderful to hear their voices, see their expressions and gestures with which I am so familiar. We sang, danced, played games, made silly faces, cooked together, and had our “family night”…all via FaceTime. :)

Our little family at my parent's house *photo credit: Sara
Our little family at my parent’s house
*photo credit: Sara
Continue reading Festibond 2015: by Kirsten

Is that a Space Shuttle?

Tonight at Family Night Jenna introduced us to a new game, for which we take turns drawing and guessing the drawing. Each player draws an object on their paper, then folds the paper to hide the drawing and passes the paper to the player immediately next to their left, who writes on the same paper what they think is the drawn object. Then that player folds the guess out of sight and passes to their left, etc.

I drew a “rocket” and passed to Hayley. I’m not sure how, without solid rocket boosters, an orbiter, or an external fuel tank, she thought it was a Space Shuttle launch, but that’s what she wrote. Next, Jenna drew a nice Space Shuttle launching, for which Skye guessed, simply, “rocket?”

Full circle.

I drew a lovely generic rocket.
I drew a lovely generic rocket.

Hayley: Space Shuttle launch?

Jenna drew a fantastic Space Shuttle launch.
Jenna drew a fantastic Space Shuttle launch.

Skye: Rocket?

Festibond of 2014: Skye’s Point of View

The Danler family has been celebrating Festibond for eight years. Each year improves and I continue to enjoy every part of it. This whole tradition began in 2008 when our family wanted to create a tradition that celebrates the bonding and cherishment of family. Thus, Festibond was founded and we’ve been enjoying its pleasures ever since.

As everyone began to wake up, Mom matched their outfits with my own. She always tries to make us look presentable and match for the pictures on Festibond. This year’s outfit was pink shirts with a black or gray sweater over it.

Festibond family picture of 2014
Festibond family picture of 2014
Continue reading Festibond of 2014: Skye’s Point of View

Festibond 2014: Kirsten

Once again, our annual family holiday tradition of Festibond was outstanding. This year we celebrated on December 27. For those who are unfamiliar with this tradition we started several years ago, its purpose is to create and strengthen our family bonds, both individually and as a unit. Festibond actually encompasses a month or so beforehand with our writing meaningful and thoughtful letters to each other. Then about a week prior to Festibond Brent and I separately taking each of the girls out on one-on-one dates, and the girls and I bake sweets. On the day of Festibond we go out to breakfast, come home and read our letters to each other, spend time together playing games and doing other activities, and snack throughout the day on a light buffet and baked goods the girls and I previously prepared. We’ve changed and added a few things over the years, but our dates and the letters to each other are the primary focus. Continue reading Festibond 2014: Kirsten

Camping at Bradbury Mountain

Jenna has been asking me all summer to take a family camping trip. It seemed that there was always someone who was busy (with work or other summer activity). Realizing school would start in only a couple of weeks, I decided I needed to plan something very soon, so I began preparing for a camping trip to Bradbury Mountain State Park for the 3rd weekend in August.

Together the girls and I decided on the menu and purchased all the necessary ingredients. I searched for foil dinner and breakfast ideas, and found a couple winners. I prepared the individual foil dinners ahead of time, but because I was working the two nights prior to our departure, I didn’t have the time I needed to get everything done that I wanted to. As it turned out, I did forget a few things, but we made do. The girls and I drove up to Bradbury Mountain State Park (only about a 45-minute drive north) Friday afternoon after I slept a few hours. My car was packed full, and the girls were good sports about the small amount of room they had. Fortunately my new Subaru Crosstrek has a bit more space than my old little VW Jetta! Brent planned on meeting us there that evening after he got off work. After the girls and I secured our spot and set up camp, Brent arrived…with the firewood and some newspaper. He got a nice fire going. He’s a regular boy scout. ;-)

Campfire...photobombed by Hayley. ;-)
Campfire…photobombed by Hayley. ;-)
Continue reading Camping at Bradbury Mountain

Skye’s CELP Adventure

Skye is an environment enthusiast. She especially loves marine biology and has done much reading and research on the subject. It disturbs her to find trash discarded carelessly, especially plastics washed up on the beach. She has been conscientious about recycling, and is often frustrated by all the plastics being used excessively and unnecessarily, or to see people not bothering to recycle.

Several months ago, Brent and Skye attended a lecture by Waynflete about plastics. There they learned about a program called Rippleffect. Its purpose is “to promote youth development and leadership through adventure, healthy communities and living sustainably.” Skye was very enthusiastic about it, and proceeded to apply for the CELP, the Cow Island Environmental Leadership Program for high school age teens. She was accepted into the program, and excitedly made preparations for her 4-week stay at Cow Island.

Skye with her fellow CELP students
Skye with her fellow CELP students
Continue reading Skye’s CELP Adventure

Festibond 2013 – My Date with Skye

My Festibond date with Skye was good, but not a lot different than the many occasions when we hang out together at my office or a small coffee shop. For us, it’s all about the conversation.

Skye hangs out at my office before our date
Skye hangs out at my office before our date

I had taken Skye to Grace recently for one of their tiny juicy bar burgers, after which she decided she did like hamburgers, which she had theretofore disliked. In order to satiate her newfound craving for a delicious burger, she asked if we could go to Five Guys for our date. I thought it an odd request, as Five Guys isn’t exactly a nice place to enjoy conversation while being well cared for by an attentive wait staff. I tried to talk her into several other restaurants, but she wasn’t persuadable. At least I didn’t have to make a reservation. Continue reading Festibond 2013 – My Date with Skye

Festibond 2013 – My Date with Jenna

Jenna had warned me that she doesn’t like fancy restaurants, but I figured I knew best. She’s a princess who dreams of opulence and refinement. She also said she wanted to eat at an Italian restaurant for our date, so I tapped my social media network for recommendations. Suggestions poured in for quaint little restaurants in the Old Port, many of which I was not already familiar. I called them all, only to be told they would be closed on Christmas Eve, the evening we had planned for our date. Frustrated, we rescheduled to December 27 and I made a reservation for two at Piccolo on Middle Street.

After much thought and searching for fun things to do, we decided to go bowling at Bayside Bowl in Portland. They would open at 16:00, and I was pretty sure few people would be there as the weather was supposed to be snowy. I left work early and drove down to Saco to get Jenna for our date. The roads in town were treacherous, with wet snow falling heavily and piling up quickly. Fortunately, road crews had done a good job of clearing I-95N, so our drive north wasn’t bad. When we got to the city, though, things were different. Conditions were slippery and visibility was poor. The silver lining, of course, is that we would have the bowling alley to ourselves. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The place was packed! Every lane was busy with both large and small groups, and they all had nearly an hour left on their lanes.

Drinking buddies
Drinking buddies

Continue reading Festibond 2013 – My Date with Jenna

Festibond 2013 – My Date With Hayley

My Festibond date with Hayley was December 22nd. We went ice skating and then to dinner. It was a great time. Hayley is a terrific conversationalist, and I enjoyed getting to know her better.

Because we would be skating at the Family Ice Center in Falmouth, which is close to Freeport, we visited L.L. Bean ahead of skating so we could get Hayley a new pair of gloves.

Skating was fun. We held hands and talked as we made laps around the rink. Hayley remarked that there was a sign hanging up for “Greely Girls Hockey” and another for just “Greely Hockey.” She recognized the inequality and preference for the boys team, for which I was proud. After a while, both our feet were hurting from the awful rental skates, so we stopped for a rest, then decided we were done skating.

Skating buddies
Skating buddies

Continue reading Festibond 2013 – My Date With Hayley

Festibond 2013 – Brent

Festibond 2013 was, as expected, wonderful. Our family tradition has evolved over the years. We always discuss what works and what doesn’t, and everybody has an opportunity to suggest improvements. The biggest difference this year from prior Festibond celebrations was the venue: we stayed at a hotel instead of being at home. Jenna wanted to go somewhere, probably warm and exotic, and I just wanted to get away from our cramped apartment. I suggested we get a nice hotel in the area where we could swim and relax and not worry about things. It was, I must say, a brilliant plan.

The whole family
The whole family

Continue reading Festibond 2013 – Brent