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It was an odd Christmas this year, fun, but odd. Mostly it was the weather’s fault, which was having an existential crisis and couldn’t decide if it wanted to be summer or winter.

On Sunday when we headed up to the lake, it felt hot in the car. Like really hot, put down the windows and strip down to a T-shirt hot. I turned on my mobile and saw this:

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Hmmm….I admit that I’ve never seen that in December, let alone November, but we went with it. When we got up to the lake, we ran down to the dock, eager to dip our toes in the water. Unfortunately the lake was still frozen.

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Unperturbed, we suited up and got ready for a few of our favorite summertime activities. Emma dug out her swimsuit, while I made myself a BLT.

summer

We considered breaking out the Slip ‘n Slide but figured that the ground might be too muddy, so we headed back inside to do another favorite summertime activity: decorate our Christmas tree. Pardon me, a favorite wintertime activity. Now you can see how confusing this was for everyone.

Tree decorating is really Lauren’s domain. She does it so well that I’m hands off about the whole thing. We end up with a bunch of bare spots and hand-drawn ornaments but it gives our tree a certain look that I’ve grown to love. My dad’s question: “Is your tree decorated?” Answer: “Yes.”

At last, just in time for Christmas, it snowed. Hard to believe that after a 70 degree day, we snuck in a white Christmas after all.

Christmas morning was the usual chaos. Toys were unwrapped and opened, game pieces went missing, pieces were retrieved, garbage bags were stuffed, pieces again went missing and were thought to be in the garbage bags, pieces were again found, cocktails were made, toys were defended, claims were staked.

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That’s Emma defending primary cuddling rights to Pete the Cat. As you may know, he’s a celebrity in our house. Other high stakes gifts included Hex Bugs, which need a degree in engineering to assemble, Stompeez, Flipeez (apparently I keep getting those confused, thankfully Santa knows which ones are which), and the Barbie microphone. Which has a really cool voice changing feature that makes the kids sound like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. I’m teaching them to say “Don’t you hurt my dog!” which is hysterical for me and makes no sense to them. Which is fine. They don’t need to know about that movie just yet. 

Although Christmas is always so much fun, it’s exhausting. It’s nice to be able to sneak in a nap, even when someone climbs into bed with you and steals all of the available real estate including the covers and the pillow.

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One of the best Christmas presents we gave ourselves this year was ski gear and some lift tickets. Having grown up on the mountains – me on the tiny hills of Southern Ontario, and Rodney at Squaw Valley in California, we’ve been eager to get the kids skiing as well. And the more they ski, the more comfortable I’ll feel letting them tear up the slopes while I hunker down in the lodge for some early après ski.

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Although New Jersey doesn’t boast the biggest hills in the Northeast, they’re big enough for our little crew to get comfortable on the snow and learn to ride the magic carpet. Even Emma, who wasn’t sure why she had two pieces of wood strapped to her feet, ended up enjoying her first day.

skiing

Aside from our skiing adventures, what I truly love most about the holidays is getting to lounge around with the family, eat good food, drink good wine, and new this year, make some over the top cocktails. I might have made vanilla ice cream just for purpose of drinking an authentic Guinness and rum float. Which is why I’m spending January as a vegan. No joke, atonement is serious business this year.

food

Hope everyone had a wonderful break. And it’s not over yet, New Year’s Eve is upon us, it’s time to celebrate with a few glasses of champagne and for us (after 6 long years with no plans) a well-deserved night out on the town with friends.

As an ode to 2013, a 15-second video montage:

Let’s make 2014 equally spectacular.

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