Jenna suggested that for our Festibond date this year we go on a drive to somewhere–it didn’t matter–and I could take some pictures. What she really wanted, I think, was a lot of time where we could just talk without distractions. I enjoy my every conversation with Jenna, so was thrilled by her suggestion. We decided to drive west to find a covered bridge or two in New Hampshire.
On Saturday morning we stopped by Fernleaf Bakery in Saco so Jenna could get a pastry. The fresh olive oil and herb bread looked so delicious we purchased one of those, too. We had no plans to stop for lunch, so I figured we could snack on it during our drive. I’m glad we did. It was delicious! We ate three-fourths of the loaf between us on the drive.
After Fernleaf we stopped at Elements in Biddeford to get Jenna an apple cider. Then we were off. Apple Maps took us down the Turnpike before turning us west into rural New Hampshire.
In 2009, there was an option offered to students of CK Burns school to play a string instrument in the school orchestra. I don’t remember why I joined, but that decision changed my life. Sometimes I try to imagine what my life would be like if I never joined, but it’s inconceivable. Violin is an integral part of me. Some people who have made a profound impact on me, I met in orchestra or String Camp.
It took many years to make my playing sound like music. I started learning in a class under the instruction of Anne Wilkinson. She got us started on the basics, but it was clear that I wasn’t getting very far. I never practiced, so for two years I progressed very little.
In 2011, my mom got me private lessons with a teacher named Susan LaVerriere. To this day, both Ms. Wilkinson and Susan are my teachers. Since I started taking lessons, my technique improved rapidly. I owe where I am today to Susan. My lessons are half an hour once a week, and our routine is usually the same: first, the scale I’m working on, then the solo or duet I’m working on and exercises to improve my technique. I don’t remember when it was exactly that I actually started to love playing violin or when I knew I wasn’t going to quit, but it was after I started taking lessons. Continue reading Why I Play Violin→
My family had lived in the same apartment in Saco for nearly ten years. The proximity to Thornton Academy, downtown Saco, and Biddeford was ideal, but my dad had been talking about moving for years. This Autumn, we started looking at different houses with a realtor and it started to feel very real. The whole process was very exciting.
Now, we’ve lived in the Park street lofts for over a month and it’s just beginning to feel like home. My favorite things about it are all the big windows, the kitchen space and appliances, and the “openness”. Every morning, sunshine from the East streams into the dining room and makes everything warm and colorful. It’s quiet and peaceful. Whereas at our former apartment, the windows were closer to the ground and smaller, so the sunrise was not as great. I love that my sisters, dad, and I spend more time together because the loft is more open.
I’m glad that we were able to have Thanksgiving at our new loft. Our Aunt Christina, Brent’s sister, came over for Thanksgiving break. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal on our new table. It felt homey. Our new kitchen is easy and comfortable to use, so we are cooking and having family meals more often.
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.
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!
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→
Recently my mother and I went on a mommy-daughter date for Festibond. Festibond is a holiday my family and I have during the holiday season to bond with meaningful, exciting, and definitely fun activities. Well, one of these traditions is going on dates with family members.
My mom and I first had gone to a ballet near Portland. It was called, ‘The Magic Toy Shop’. My mom and I were very impressed by the dancers’ striking flexibility and expressions. The ballet was very funny too. You could tell the diversity of the children’s personalities, the parents, and the toys.
Recently I had a daddy-daughter date with my Dad for Festibond. We had a great time spending time together bowling. We bowled at Bayside bowl, a site in Portland. He prefers Bayside over Vacationland, but I still don’t get why. Maybe that’s because the last time I went to Vacationland bowling was 2 or 3 years ago.
Anyway, we played two rounds. I bowled with bumpers to avoid a gutter ball but my Dad, of course, still won both rounds. At least I got the first strike. Well, my Dad is good at just about everything I guess. We had fun spending time together, and each time I went, he high fived me no matter how many pins I knocked down. That’s my Dad! He would be proud of me if I knocked one pin down. “You didn’t hit the bumper!” he’d say. I thought that was very nice of him, and I think he is a great guy. Brent got me a root beer, and he made a big deal about it because that was a once in a century thing to drink soda. I felt very very odd drinking it.
I was really looking forward to my Festibond date with Jenna. Time alone with Jenna is always precious, as she usually prefers to be by herself, and doesn’t easily share her thoughts. Alone, she usually opens up more. I get a great deal out of our one-on-one time, and treasure every opportunity to spend it with her. We planned to go bowling, then to lunch.
Bowling at Bayside Bowl is always good. Jenna got a root beer, and I got an Allagash Black (heaven). She did a great job keeping her ball off the bumpers and hitting the pins. I wasn’t really feeling it. Blame it on the house ball and holes that are never the proper size. It was fun to get hugs and high-fives from Jenna, and to see her big smile.
Jenna recently went on a field trip to watch the ballet performance of The Nutcracker with her 6th grade class. She absolutely loved it. She has long appreciated fine arts and orchestral music, and discovered a new interest in ballet. I enjoy watching ballet myself, and decided attending a ballet together would be perfect. The Maine State Ballet Theater in Falmouth was holding performances of “The Magic Toy Shop” this past weekend, and Jenna was delighted when I suggested we get tickets for our Festibond date this past Saturday.