Apparently we have to drive north for winter this year. This was our second trip to the Mt. Washington region this season and both times there has been snow on the ground. This trip it snowed while we were there. It's nice to be able to drive to winter, but I'm still not ready to trade that for actually having winter here at home. I miss it, as annoying as it can be from time to time. It just doesn't feel right to have no snow on the ground. It feels boring and dull.
Theo was very excited about going back to Bretton Woods. I'm a sucker for the things the kids ask for (especially when they don't ask for things average kids do--iThings.) As the parent skier and bill payer, Dave was less enthused, but we knew if we didn't go in January, we wouldn't go at all. So we booked a shorter trip and hit the road.
It's strange the difference a year makes. Or the difference weather makes. Or something. I'm not going to complain about having lots of time to hang out and read, or knit, but we didn't do nearly as much this stay as we did last year. The falling snow on day one kept me indoors. I just didn't have it in me to get soaking wet and possibly reinjure my ankle in order to walk around the property. Same reason for not snowshoeing or tubing. Then day two brought temps in the single digits and again I was a wimp. With a shorter trip we didn't have as many options. We still had a lot of fun but it will be nice if when we go back we can live it up again!
Another all iPhone picture post! We were working pretty hard to get out of the house on time and we thought we had all the basics (snow gear, lunch) covered along with some extras (thermos of hot chocolate, books). We stopped in Concord to do a little shopping and I asked Dave if he had remembered to grab the camera. No such luck. I was pretty disappointed but I hoped in a Murphy's Law sort of way, that our lack of equipment would ensure photo worthy snow cover. And it did! So all's well that ends well, right?
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pics. It's more work to get decent iPhone pictures. One has to get pretty close and down low. It was an overcast day so I couldn't do much in the way of action shots. Subjects needed to be still and cooperative and they were (for the most part). I think it was such a treat for the kids to be around snow that they didn't even complain too much about how long it took to find a decent tree!
Every year I wonder whether it's worth it to drive so far to cut down a tree when we could throw a rock from our house and hit ten places where we could buy one. Then every year, as soon as we get out and start walking around among the trees, I remember exactly why we do it. It is so beautiful. It is so peaceful. It's so nice to take a day to walk away from all the stress of the holiday season and just focus on this one thing--to sort of take my mind off of every other thing that's going on. Fresh air, snow, trees, mountains in the distance--it's all good. The long bookstore browse at the end of the day is the icing on the cake. We go home happy and refreshed every single time!
We planned a little trip to Montreal for Thanksgiving Weekend. Over the last several years, we've noticed that we end up with a lot of free time over Thanksgiving that we don't always know how to fill. We don't want to go anywhere near any kind of shopping. We're afraid to visit places like Sturbridge VIllage or the Museum of Science, and all of the kids activities are usually cancelled for the whole week. We considered NYC but decided it might be too crazy with shoppers and parade-goers. Montreal seemed like the perfect solution and we were correct!
We hadn't been to Montreal for about 7 years, since the kids were seven and three. I always remember that trip because it was the first time I noticed the kids becoming a little difficult to wrangle while traveling. All of a sudden they were friends and they didn't really want to do what we said. They wanted to hang out and talk to each other, rile each other up, and fool around. I'd planned this relaxing sort of trip with nothing much on the agenda. I thought I'd pop Theo in the stroller, walk around, enjoy a few meals out and get in some shopping, but they wouldn't have any of it. Theo wanted to walk like his big sister and we were stressed out about them walking into the street and bumping into other pedestrians. Then Franny was too tired to walk and she wanted to go in the stroller! Both kids turned picky at mealtime--the hot chocolate was too hot, or the food too spicy. It was always something. I do remember being pleasantly surprised at the McCord Museum where they had an exhibit about toys. That was a real lifesaver! But after 2 days I decided to cut the trip short and we went home early. I can hardly believe it, but it's true!
Flash forward many years and many trips. My kids are great travelers and really always have been. I think I was just totally surprised by the way they all of a sudden ganged up on me--2 against 1. (Dave was of course with us, but pretty useless as far as strategizing goes.) I learned my lesson on that trip and I never again planned a 'low-key' vacation. I've probably taken that too far in the opposite direction, to be honest, but we've had a lot of fun over the years.
So... when it came time to plan this trip I debated. Low key or structured? Can I take the trip I wanted to take 7 years ago? Can we just kind of wing it and have fun and see where we end up? I'm happy to say...yes! We can and we did and it was great! The kids flagged a little on day one because I kept them out late after we'd been up so early to hit the road. But they were up bright and early the next day and we had a great time (save for a teen moment in the sub-polar zone of the Biodome. We'll skip right over that.) brunching and browsing and walking, walking, walking. Montreal is totally my speed: City-sized but easy to navigate by foot (downtown and Old Town) or car (anywhere further afield). We switched back and forth as our hearts (and feet) desired! We came home feeling refreshed and renewed instead of exhasuted and harried. And we got to practice a little French to boot. Parfait!
PS: I've been doing a wretched job with this blog since our trip to the UK in May. I've been so overwhelmed by the prospect of going through all those pictures that the rest of the blog has been neglected. Starting now, I plan to work backwards until I catch up!