Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas in New Hampshire, 1 of 4

I've finally, after delay upon delay (a whole variety of delays), sorted through all 600+ photos from our Christmas trip. If you're really curious, and you want to see the "top 200" photos, click here. And, as always, click on any of the photos posted on our blog to enlarge them.

By posting about this Christmas trip I run the risk of our Christmas coming across as bizarrely idyllic-Norman-Rockwell-ish. The truth is that our family and my extended family has all the normal disfunctions of any 'typical' relatively-healthy American family. We have our little dynamics and our long histories and problems and pathologies just like everyone else. But the truth also is that we've got it good. Really, really good. And as far as idyllic Christmases go... we've got it about as idyllic as it can get (at least from my perspective). This was Braydon's 14th Christmas in New Hampshire with my family. His first Christmas with us he spent the majority of the time seriously questioning me as to whether this was "real" or not. Like we were somehow putting on some sort of elaborate show for him. He truly could not comprehend a Family Christmas this ridiculously postcard-perfect. The snow, the New England winter treats (skiing, icy bonfires, etc.), the mom who bakes a trillion cookies, the quintessential family Christmas traditions, the whole nine yards... the whole entire thing is kind of over-the-top. But I would be misrepresenting it to not call it like it is: it is unbelievably quintessential. Yes, there are moments when we're all about to lose our minds (like this year with two bass drums booming throughout my parents' sort of smallish house), and moments --at any given time-- when any one of us are about to lose our minds (like this year when I almost had a nervous breakdown on Christmas Eve trying to get a decent photo of my three kids under the Christmas tree), and there are times when we feel like we want to crawl under a rock (like this year when, on our last day there, Kyle admitted to my mother that he had peed in the hot tub multiple times since we had arrived), and there are times when we're overwhelmed with it all (like this year, on Christmas Day, when all I wanted to do was lie down and take a nap after getting almost no sleep the night before --nursing a needy Meera who had some sort of reaction to the smorgasbord dinner I had eaten). Yes, there are those moments. But these pictures that I'm posting here evoke the vast majority of moments. And yes, it is all-too-picture-perfect and strangely idyllic. But Braydon reminds me never to poke fun of the Norman-Rockwell-ish of it all. And he's right: we're all too lucky to poke fun -- that would imply that we're taking it for granted. Despite having some pretty intensely depressing stuff happening in my family these past several months, we truly did have a wonderful, wonderful 7 night/8 day Christmas in New Hampshire.

The planning and prepping and packing for this trip is always crazy, but even crazier this year with the baby in tow. The night before we left, looking at all that needed to somehow get into the car, and facing the 10 hour drive we were about to embark on, we found ourselves blurry-eyed and exhausted with Christmas still almost a full week away. We swore to ourselves that this would probably be the last year we did this crazy thing. Of course, as always, we came back home vowing that if at all possible -- and as long as my parents are still willing to put up with us -- we'd be back up there again next year.
Our first morning the boys -- all three of them -- were in the hot tub with snow falling down. The first of lots (lots, lots, lots) of time spent in the hot tub.
In the midst of a serious Nor'easter we crazy people drove to Portland, Maine for our annual pilgrimage to Merrill Auditorium to see the Portland Symphony Orchestra's "Magic of Christmas" concert. It was truly insane of us to drive there during this intense of a storm. But seriously, it was the best concert ever... I mean it... and I've been going since I was K & O's age. This was Meera's first year, and she could not have been a better orchestra-going-baby. We were able to keep her inside the concert hall for the entire thing because she never once made a peep!
My mother continued her tradition of making hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies.
Icicles hanging off my parents roof.
An afternoon in North Conway -- picture perfect white mountains New England town. Meera loved the cold snuggled up in her backpack. Inside this coffee house we got treats and I had my first "gingerbread latte" -- which I loved and can still taste in my mouth if I think hard enough about it.
The boys with MorMor on the sidewalk in North Conway. So excited about these candy canes she got for them in a shop down the street.
Ready to board The Polar Express -- from left to right, back: Heather, Auntie Stina, Meera, Braydon, MorFar, MorMor. front: cousin Sadie, Sadie's friend, Owen, Kyle.
Polar Express ~ drinking hot cocoa "as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars."
Polar Express ~ K & O got to carry elves' lanterns in the snowy North Pole.
For 2of4 click here 
3of4 click here
4of4 click here


Maggie said...

These pictures are INCREDIBLE! They make me miss New England, and you guys, SO MUCH!!! (and, I saw all 200) I'm glad you all had fun. I think you need to get Braydon to post a video with the bass drums in ACTION! :) Good luck getting off to your first semester back! I wish I could be there helping you out!!!!
Love, Maggie

Anonymous said...

So, could you adopt me and my family???? Your family is truly incredible!! I agree with Braydan, don't mock the Norman Rockwell. You are so lucky to have such wonderful loving parents and siblings.
Growing up with drug-addicted parents and bouncing around foster homes, I dreamed of a family like that. I wish we had an extended family like that to create those memories with our kids.
All the best to you and your family in 2009!!!