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!
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→
Normally Kirsten and I take each of the girls out on a date for Festibond, but we don’t go on one together. This year I proposed that she and I go on a Festibond date, too, to which enthusiastically she agreed.
Kirsten had wanted to see the film “Les Miserables,” which was fine with me. I knew she has liked the story for a long time, and would enjoy the movie.
Kirsten made reservations to one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Grace. The building is a gorgeous repurposed church, which is far more useful than teaching innocent children to fear an angry deity. I digress.
2012 was the sixth year we did “Festibond.” It’s the annual celebration in which our singular purpose is to strengthen the bonds that hold our family together and make it great. It’s a collection of traditions including dates, letters, hugs, snacks, games, and breakfast. In 2007, the first year we had Festibond, it was an alternative to Christmas, a holiday I find incredibly silly. It’s no longer a replacement holiday; Festibond is entirely its own thing, and Christmas is something other people do.
Saturday, December 29, was the day this year that worked best with all of our schedules. In the weeks prior, we drafted our letters to each other and planned and went on dates. I took Skye to a Portland Pirates hockey game, Jenna bowling, Hayley to a movie, and Kirsten and I, who don’t normally go out as part of Festibond, went to dinner and watched a movie.