Part 2: Snow and Ice and Other Things Nice (That’s What Our Winter Trip to New Hampshire is Made of)
There is nothing like skating on a frozen lake. As far as skating goes, nothing could top that… except maybe skating on a frozen lake without another human being (or even a human dwelling!) in sight… which is what we got to do this Christmas. We lucked out again this year with smooth frozen lakes perfect for skating. Braydon had to fly home for work for two days early on in our stay, but us other four J-Ms skated away the time he was gone. This year MorMor and MorFar brought us to White Lake for skating. The photos don’t even do it justice. And this year I finally bought “new” (used) skates for everyone (minus Meera) at a great sports equipment consignment shop (where –thrill of all thrills!— I also bought hockey sticks and pucks for the boys!!!). And this year Meera was loving being pulled on the ice in my parents’ antique sled (Swedish rosmaling pained by my mother’s mother!).
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A new twist this year was that almost every day Kyle and Owen (and Braydon on two of the days too) went for an early morning winter hike with MorFar. One day they did a two hour hike through the woods to an isolated pond behind my parents’ house; another day they went and did the long walking trail to Sunset Beach; another day they hiked Jackman’s Ridge. For their final day of hiking Sadie and Mark joined them and they all did the Outer Limits Trail at Calumet. They’d come home to a big warm breakfast in MorMor’s kitchen. Sometimes it is so striking to me that my two Haitian-born sons are up in New England doing these things in the icy cold— these photos hit me that way.
In addition to our day at Bretton Woods, MorMor and MorFar treated us all to a day of skiing at King Pine. Stina, Mark, Sadie, and MorMor hit the slopes with the four of us over-the-age-of-two J-Ms. Next year Meera will learn to ski. But this year Meera hung in the lodge with MorFar (who was recovering from carpel tunnel surgery, so unable to ski himself). She and MorFar were clearly having a great time when we visited with them for our ski breaks over hot chocolate. The rest of us had so much fun on the slopes! By the end we were all high-tailing it down and going one-by-one over a jump near the base. Kyle and Owen are practically fearless on skis, they love every minute of it, and they never complain for even second (even when they have massive wipe-outs or are about to get frostbite). Skiing with your extended family, with multiple generations, is special. And it runs in my family—my grandfather used to ski with us when I was a kid. Braydon and I wonder if (and hope that) we’ll be skiing with our own grandchildren someday.
Tubing! This was our Fourth Annual Day-After-Christmas Tubing Extravaganza at King Pine’s Tubing Park. Tubing is super fun! Especially when you’ve got three generations tubing together! The rest of us would probably be fine with about an hour, but Kyle and Owen wouldn’t waste a minute of their ticket’s precious two hour allotment. And so, we all stick it out (not hard to do) for the full two hours of tubing (because who wants to be the wimp?!) and we pretty much laugh and scream the entire time. This year Meera got to join in for the first time – a huge deal for her (finally! after watching everyone skate and ski— something that she got to do too!). She was crazy happy and totally her brothers’ sister on the tubing hill (i.e., waaaay into it!). When all was said and done and we were home with the whole trip behind us, Meera said that tubing was her “favorite” part of Christmas, and we are all sure that it was.
A gift my parents give us each year is that their outdoor hot tub is running at the perfect temperature day-and-night, ready for anyone who wants to take a dip at any time. And dips we do take. The outdoor thermometer reads 20 degrees, the hot tub thermometer reads 103, and all is good! The best is sitting in the steaming hot tub in the pitch dark with snow falling. The last two nights of our trip was a winter wonderland of blustery blizzard – which made for some extremely fun and memorable J-M family hot tub times. Have you ever sat in a hot tub with snow falling? If not, put it on your bucket list! Have you ever watched your kids jumping out of a hot tub, rolling in the snow, and diving back in? If not, put it right at the top of your bucket list! There is nothing like watching your kids playing in a snowstorm in their bathing suits!
Good, good times! A Christmas Trip to remember!