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→
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.
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→
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.
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.
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.
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→
In my opinion, Festibond was a great success this year. There were some things we could change, but overall, I’m glad we did a few things different. I loved Jenna’s idea of not spending Festibond at home: we ended up spending most of the time at a hotel. Like usual, I loved the idea of letters. I will always love that meaningful part.
The only thing I would change about Festibond is to plan ahead more. It seemed like we were rushing around trying to get stuff done and ready for Festibond. I would like to plan more activities next time, as well.
It was between 7:30 and 8:00 when I woke up. No one except Dad and I were awake. Slowly, everyone else woke up, and everyone was awake by 9:00. It was a very hectic morning trying to get dressed and putting all the food and clothes into bags to bring to the hotel where we were staying that night. It worried me that every moment, it was getting closer to being too late for breakfast. We left at around 10:00 and headed to the Marriott hotel in Portland. We brought two cars, because Dad had to leave earlier than us the next morning for work. Continue reading Festibond 2013 – Skye→