Hayley is done with middle school! Thursday evening Hayley was promoted from 8th grade into Thornton Academy at a ceremony held in the Thornton Academy gymnasium. There was a dance following at the Saco Parks & Recreation facility.
I took Hayley to see Cassie Shaw to get her very long hair trimmed Wednesday afternoon. Cassie is amazing, and it was fun for Hayley to get her hair shampooed, combed, blow dried, and straightened. I enjoyed being with her and talking to Cassie. Being an active dad is my favorite role!
We had a small promotion celebration at the loft before taking Hayley to the ceremony. Tonya and the girls prepared chicken salads and got balloons to decorate Hayley’s chair. Skye put together a creative scavenger hunt that Hayley enjoyed.
After dinner Tonya gave Hayley some nice Thornton Academy swag.
The entire ceremony lasted about an hour. We had good seats near the aisle where the promotees walked after the ceremony. Tonya gave Hayley a high-five as she passed.
Hayley reported having a fun time at the dance. She spent the night at a friend’s house after.
I’m excited to have Hayley move on to high school, where she will flourish. She’s excited to be out of middle school and all its myriad frustrations. I’m glad her school will be closer and that she’ll go with Jenna. My children are all growing up and moving on; I’m excited to witness and be part of their individual journeys.
On Friday the thirteenth I had my Festibond date with dad. We would normally have them before Festbond, but this year we decided to have them shortly after so we would have more time. For it, we together decided to go to dinner at Zapoteca (a mexican restaurant in Portland), then to take a painting class at Muse Paintbar. I had never done that kind of thing before, despite having a similar one close to us called Painting With A Twist, so I was very excited to try it out.
My dad and I have eaten at Zapoteca before on a previous Festibond date, so I knew I liked it. I always love spending time with him and I really enjoyed having this time to talk to him. He ordered a tequila flight, a margarita, and a steak. I ordered a cherry limeade and soup. My dad also requested bacon guacamole because we’d had it the first time we went there and it was phenomenal, but it wasn’t on the menu any of the other times he went. They ended up making it just for us due to it not being too busy at the moment. It came on a plate with chips in a short circular shape, as opposed to being in a bowl, and like the first time, tasted delicious. When the soup arrived, it had a bowl with the chicken, tortilla strips, etc dry and the waitress poured in the liquid part in from a small pitcher, which I found very cool. It was very hot, but also very good. My dad also gave me a few bites of his steak, which also tasted great. I didn’t eat very much, being a tiny human, and we left to walk to Muse Paintbar.
Hayley and I pondered, discussed, and researched what we might do for our Festibond date for some time. Nothing seemed worthy of the occasion. I knew she liked art and thought, perhaps, there was something we could do around that. Perhaps a visit to the Portland Museum of Art or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. But Hayley seems to like doing art more than merely appreciating it. When I was a kid my mom got me private painting lessons and took me to a wood carving class. Of these and other experiences I have fond memories, and thought Hayley and I could do something similar. We should take one of these painting classes that have become so popular and that Kirsten did with a few of her friends from work. Of course! Hayley loved the idea, so we picked a night and I made the reservations.
Friday evening we drove to Portland and parked on the street between Zapoteca, where we had 17:30 dinner reservations, and Muse Paintbar. Perfect. We were seated immediately at a small table in the dining room. I ordered a margarita and a flight of Patron tequilas, which were very tasty. Hayley ordered a mocktail that was too sweet, so she drank water.
We also ordered bacon guacamole, which we’d had on a previous visit but is not on the menu. The kitchen agreed to make it for us, and we were both grateful they did. It’s very tasty. For our entrées Hayley ordered the Sopa Azteca and I got the Carne Asada con Mole Negro. My steak was so good that if I described it you wouldn’t believe me. It, and I know this is so cliché, melted in my mouth. The fat in the meat was cooked so that it added this wonderful buttery flavor. I digress.
This year was our tenth Festibond. Although we lost Kirsten, we had a good holiday and our traditions remain unfaltering. In preparation, we went to Freeport to get matching clothes–something that Kirsten would have done when my sisters and I were a lot younger. Our holiday was on New Years’ Eve, so we attempted to stay up until midnight (we didn’t succeed).
In the morning, we drove to Portland for breakfast. Although it was a long drive for just a meal, the meal was plenty satisfactory. It was a good decision.
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. ;-)
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.
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!
For Festibond this year we went to breakfast, went to a hotel, played games, read letters to each other, and swam in the hotel pool. I went with Mom in her car to the hotel and we laughed and talked while Mom made silly noises.
When we got to the hotel, we left Mom’s car and went in Dad’s car together to Sea Dog Brewery for breakfast. We took some pictures and talked. I got the two french toasts with strawberries which wasn’t very good. I found a hair in it and it tasted almost battery in the middle. Jenna ordered three french toasts with bacon and just two french toasts came with no bacon. So the restaurant wasn’t very good but I still was enjoying the time with my family.
This has been the best Festibond yet! If you don’t know what Festibond is already, Festibond (the word itself) is a mix of the words Festival, and bond. It means exactly what it sounds like. We celebrate the bond of our family! At the end of each year, we read or letters to each other (that we’ve written to each other beforehand), play games, and do other activities to bond with each other. This year, we went to the Marriott hotel in Portland, something we’ve never done before. Usually we celebrate Festibond at our house.
We spent a couple hours on Sunday morning polishing our letters and get everything organized. Kirsten, my mom, was sleeping most of the time. But that’s only because she stayed up late helping Skye and Hayley with their letters. Anyway, it gave us more time to get ready. My sisters even had time to have a tickle fight with me. It was fun, and I won the tickle fight, as I always do. I know everyone’s weak spots! Continue reading Festibond 2013 – Jenna→