Monday, January 2, 2017

Our (Picture Heavy!) Patchwork Christmas Break

Happy New Year! We still have a couple more days of official Christmas break over here so I thought it'd be fun to recap what we've been up to during the past couple weeks in mostly pics.

The day before Nia's break her school had their annual Christmas concert - Nia was the sweetest angel

We kicked off our break slowly with a couple gingerbread house playdates - the first with a little friend from Nia's school and another with our cousins. Grayson was mostly into eating the graham crackers though!

Earlier that day my sister returned to NYC after spending a few days with us. It was a complete surprise when we went straight from Nia's school to the train station to get our "package!"

My sister and I had fun taking the kids to the Boston Children's Museum for their Snowmazing event which included a delightful play, "A Year with Frog and Toad" (a little recap video of our experience is here). It was our first time at the museum and we're excited to get a family membership like we did in Portsmouth at the children's museum there. The best part is that we're just a few short train stops away from it

Aunty Ariane also helped the kids make cream cheese cutouts for the first time - something my mom has always done. Props to Ari for handling the mess too O_o

We had our first Christmas Eve party experience and the kids did really well! Nia was especially excited to get a little Irish dancer ornament in the swap. 

I know I've shared my thoughts on Santa before, but the sweetest moment Uka shared with me later was when Nia asked him at the Christmas Eve party if we could just pretend that Santa was real this time. When he told her, "Yes," she snapped into Santa-prep mode when we got home leaving Santa cookies, coconut flavored almond milk (she told Uka that Santa preferred it!) and I was especially touched that she put it in my Wellesley mug. The next day she ran down to check that the milk was gone and the cookies eaten (Santa only had a bite!). I understand how Santa influences the magic of Christmas, but I'm thankful that Nia understands the real reason why we celebrate the holiday. 

Our self-timer photo on Christmas morning only took 12 attempts! I was excited that Grayson could join me and Nia in wearing the Company Store PJs I won from Design Mom a while back.
I prepared the foods I missed at Thanksgiving: mac & cheese, greens and ham. We also had stuffing, cornbread, homemade cranberry relish with pecan and sweet potato pies for dessert. Breakfast was a little bit of a challenge as for the first time, I tried to recreate the Christmas candy cane braid my dad would make each year when I was growing up, but it seemed to burn really bad on the bottom while remaining doughy inside. I baked 3 candy canes and have had a few similar experiences baking other things so I'm thinking my oven needs re-calibrating. Ughhh. 

America's Test Kitchen's mac & cheese recipe is *THE* best hands down!

We had leftover cream cheese cutout dough and Nia and Grayson worked together to cut out stars.

The day after Christmas we had a play date with one of Uka's BC classmates who was also a former coworker of mine (small world, right!). The kids had a good time hanging out in the play space while the adults got to catch up. It's been such a blessing to reconnect with old friends here in Boston, and I'm thankful for the warm reception we've received!

The next day Nia and I made our way up to New Hampshire to meet friends at the Winnepesaukie Playhouse's panto production of Jack & the Beanstalk. It was nearly the 1 year anniversary of when we went there for the first time to experience their Sleeping Beauty panto. Nia was jealous of all the snow up there while I was excited to escape it when we made our way back down to Boston!

The following day the kids were excited for our little hotel stay-cation in Connecticut for a winter carnival. Hotel pool time plus ice skating and a delicious buffet left us feeling warm and cozy. My favorite part? Heading to a local movie theater when we checked out to see "Rogue One" - I totally wasn't prepared for the ending and yes, I had some tears.  


On New Year's Eve 5 Napkin Burger invited us for for a little kid-friendly experience. It was our first time there and it was delicious! I especially liked my cookies & cream milkshake and it was great to countdown with London and make our way home nice and early. Uka and I did our toast midst trying to stay awake while watching "Lord of the Rings" (we failed!). Here's a little video of our 5 Napkin Burger experience:

Now we've just been in chill/organization mode (I'm *this* close to being caught up with laundry!). We saw "Fences" over the weekend (a must-see) and attended church yesterday where they had a vow renewal. I really appreciated that opportunity for Uka and I to recommit to each other. 2016 was a wonderful year for our family, but there is a lot of work to be done on the social front considering our current nation's climate. I haven't lost sight of that
and while in 2017 I look forward to continuing to settle into life in Boston and our new home I'm also motivated to get involved in our community

I'll follow-up with my annual "what I'm looking forward to" post...

Happy New Year friends and enjoy the rest of your break!