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. :)
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→
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. ;-)
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.
On Sunday the 29th of December our family celebrated our seventh Festibond. This is a tradition we started as a way to celebrate and strengthen our bonds with each other every year. We love this tradition, and I hope the girls continue it after they grow up and move away.
Within the week prior to Festibond, Brent and I each take each of the girls out individually for a date. The girls get to choose what they want to do. We still seem to come up with new ideas every year. We have each written a post on our blog about the dates. I love having that special one-on-one time with each of my wonderful daughters. They all change a little every year (obviously), each one unique in their own way. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of my dates!
Hayley and I had our Festibond date planned for several weeks. She and I were going to make a gingerbread house together. She was very excited about it. We also planned on going to a movie afterward. The day before our date, we went shopping for candy. It was fun to plan our our house ahead of time, and then find the plethora of candy necessary to achieve our creation. We found a good gingerbread recipe and used stencils I’d printed out from a website.
We baked the gingerbread pieces the day before our date as well, because I learned that it would make the gingerbread more dried-out and sturdy. Skye kindly volunteered to take pictures, so most of the photos I give credit to her. Thank you, Skye!
It took Skye a while to decide what she wanted to do for our Festibond date together. Early last week she said, “Let’s get manicures.” I thought that was a great idea. I usually keep my fingernails really short because they annoy me when I’m typing. Fortunately I hadn’t gotten around to cutting them for a while, so they would look better with polish.
We started out our date last Friday the 27th driving to Portland with music blasting while we loudly and enthusiastically sang along. It’s a tradition of ours when we ride in the car together, and great fun. Our first stop was Miss Portland Diner for breakfast. We’ve been there several times, so we knew the food was pretty good. Skye had her usual eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast, as well as a hot chocolate. I ordered the Greek omelette, which was really good. Spinach, mushrooms, and feta cheese make almost anything better. It was really nice sitting with Skye and talking about various things going on in her life. Continue reading Festibond 2013: My Date with Skye→
Jenna loves the arts and especially enjoys attending the theater to watch plays. When I asked her if she’d like to see a play for our Festibond date together this year, she quickly said yes. I originally wanted to take her to see Annie playing at the Lyric Music Theater in South Portland. I’d met a couple of great people at TEDxDirigo last month who were both performing in it. Unfortunately by the time I tried to purchase tickets, it was sold out. I searched other theater, ballet, and music venues, and Jenna decided on The Snow Queen playing at Portland Stage. Continue reading Festibond 2013: My Date with Jenna→
Skye has been asking me for a couple months now if she could get her hair cut. Jenna started asking if she could get hers cut as well, and finally I made them an appointment at Akari in Portland. When I told Skye yesterday that I made them an appointment for this morning, she was so excited; she nearly cried. She was very excited to get the short hairstyle she wanted, and Jenna was looking forward to having several inches cut off her long, beautiful locks, and to get bangs as well.
Akari is very nice with a comfortable waiting area and a drink bar with tables as well. Brent and I already knew Jenny, who is very sweet, and she’d cut my hair previously. She was scheduled to cut Jenna’s hair today. Skye had Ashley as her hair stylist. Yes, I was one of those annoying parents who frequently walked over to take pictures of them during the process. They didn’t seem to mind at all and were very nice about it. Brent stopped by briefly to say hello and to take a few photos himself.
Festibond, the annual Danler holiday we started several years ago, has been a very rewarding and wonderful tradition for our family. Each year we choose a day at the end of December to celebrate Festibond. In the two weeks leading up to Festibond Brent and I have one-on-one dates with each of the girls and with each other. It is a valuable part of our bonding with each other, and I absolutely look forward to them.
This year we decided on December 29 for our Festibond. We always start out the day going out to eat for breakfast. Brent suggested The Good Table Restaurant in Cape Elizabeth this time. We wanted a place with good food and a nice atmosphere in which we could sit and talk without distractions. It was fun to be entertained by the girls and their singing and jokes as we drove up to Cape Elizabeth. The food was alright, but not amazing. However, when we all tried Hayley’s cinnamon bun we agreed that it was very good; each of the girls ordered one to take home. I enjoyed sitting with Brent and the girls around the table, talking, laughing, and discussing ideas and plans for the future.