moments from the week

kids standing and talking on the ice on Freeman Lake

midwinter park day

Moments from the past week.

Elijah building Legos in his PJs at his grandparents' house

Christmas morning turns to afternoon

the boys on an icy marsh

ice must always be tried

Elijah eating from a tupperware while standing on a fallen log over a pond

snack stop

Zion and Elijah posing with a snowman made of ice


a close of up hands moving pieces on the board game Wormholes

what cool kids do New Years Eve


moments from the year

Elijah on the muddy beach at sunset

Maine sunset

Here are some of the our top moments and images from the past year of 2022. I looked back though all the pictures we posted on this blog in the last year, and picked my favorites—for aesthetic reasons, because of how much fun the moment was, or to tell the story of the year. Sometimes all three! I limited myself to three photos for each month, which was really hard, because there were so many good moments. But you have to have some standards. Here's to lots more wonderful moments in 2023!


the boys and friends pausing at the top of a sledding hill at dusk

snow day is done

the boys and friends on glassy ice at Fawn Lake

the smoothest pond ice you'll ever see

Harvey and Zion putting the finishing touches on a two-foot-tall snowman on a frozen pond

he's little but plucky


Harvey sliding on the snow between rocks

just a small portion of the slide route

Zion, in shorts and bare feet, standing on pond ice in front of open water

almost spring time

Zion stretching across the finish line in a skating race with a friend

and it's Zion by a length!


a table full of watercolor paint and art

water color

Zion and Elijah walking on snow shirtless, Elijah barefoot

enjoying the air

Elijah and Zion wading deeply in Freeman Pond

that's what we do with water, right?!


Zion in the bow of the canoe heading towards the Park Day beach

sun on the beach

Zion and Elijah aiming muskets at a group of Redcoats fighting a battle

helping the Minutemen

Harvey and Zion riding on a singletrack path through a field

dirt under the tires


a ladyslipper, with Harvey and Lijah walking on the path beyond it

walking in May

kids jumping into a stream on the beach

into surprisingly deep water

Elijah and Zion drawing the chicks in their outside pen

chick school


Elijah upside-down, jumping off the sailboard

good thing he's learning how to swim!

Zion holding a big bouquet of wildflowers in front of a waterlily pond

midsummer child

Elijah picking strawberries in a weedy row

there's lots of good ones under those weeds


the boys swimming in Walden Pond

yay pond

the boys playing in the waves

wave action

Zion and Elijah wading in the water in Bar Harbor

Maine vacation


Zion and Elijah shucking corn on the back deck

aw, shucks

the boys and a friend on the shore of the Concord River

a visit to the the low river

Zion cutting up apples at the kitchen table, Elijah turning the press behind him

cider time


the boys walking through a misty field in long sleeves

September-type outing

Zion jumping off a rock into the ocean

rocks plus water equals joy

Elijah and Zion relaxing in the late-afternoon woods



Zion and Elijah on a rock outcropping on Mount Monadnock looking out into the distance

getting some altitude

Elijah dipping his head in the pond, Zion flinging water off his hair

the pond is still fun

Zion jumping into a pile of leaves

the annual ritual


the boys eating lunch on the gravelly beach by the Old North Bridge

lunch and history

Elijah running in a november-colored field wearing bright clothes

not camouflaged

Zion jumping from the top of a very big pile of woodchips

instead of a playground


Zion and Elijah sitting together on the gravel beach at Fawn Lake

playing by the pond

Zion licking up a handful of snow

first taste

our Christmas tree lit up in the dark

at almost Christmas


notes on the year's moments

As I was going through pictures for yesterday's post, I had a few thoughts about the year that's past. First and most terrifyingly, it was really warm! All of the boys wore shorts at some point in every month except January. Last year's winter was very short, though we had lots of fun skating and did get a few beautiful sledding days, though nowhere near as many as we would have liked. Climate change is scary.

I also noticed our outdoor activities changed some from the year before (though of course we still spent more time than ever outside!). We did less biking, which feels kind of sad; we improved a lot as MTBers in 2021 and I had hoped that trend would continue in 2022. One good reason it didn't, though, is because we spent lots more time outside with friends, and our friends don't like biking as much as we do.

But of course that friend time was super fun and worth it! A big part of it was park day, which after we started it in September 2021 saw its first anniversary and its first full calendar year in 2022. It helped a lot with our outside hours total, because it was the rare Wednesday when we didn't spend close to four hours, or even more, at the park with a fun crew of kids and adults. There was also Backyard Farm Club, which grew out of the park day group and got going in May. We met weekly through the summer, and are now down to once a month, with less farm chores to occupy us. And then this fall we also started a new co-op group for learning and playing together, which has been meeting every Friday in our yard!

Of course, even with all of that we did get some time to adventure on our own. We explored some new places and visited old favorites. We traveled to the Cape and went camping not once, but twice! (though I realize I never wrote about our Maine adventure... oops! Our fall trip is here.) And this fall we spent some time at the ocean closer to home.

Those are the types of things that come through in pictures. We also read lots of books (and some of us played lots of video games), practiced writing, reading, and math, played music, did a little bit of art and a lot of gardening, and generally had a full and exciting year. Good thing I wrote so much of it down so I can remember it!


why does it still surprise me when kids are really loud?

Yesterday evening our weekly dinner with friends was in Stoneham, and since the rest of us are coming from Bedford it made sense for the boys and I to carpool with another family going the same way with one parent and two kids. Slightly less sense when we also had to pick up one of the hosts from work, since his car was in the shop, but we made it happen. It was actually kind of nice to be able to combine three car trips into one, and show of the full potential of our minivan. But also, oh my goodness was it loud! You might think just adding two more kids on top of the three I'm used to hauling couldn't have made more than a 66% difference, but it actually appears that volume per child increases at more like an exponential rate. With bonus points for children of different families. The three adults all survived it—the one who had to sit between two eight year olds only barely—but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it! Just imagine being a bus driver...

our twelfth night

Usually the highlight of the twelfth day of Christmas in our house is getting to eat the gingerbread houses. But today I needed something to occupy my mind so while the boys were with their grandparents I made us a King Cake. Behold!

a yeast cake with glaze and sprinkle sugar on a plate

one more treat to finish off Christmas!

I don't claim to know much, or anything, about celebrating Three Kings Day. But in looking up the date of Twelfth Night (because I can't count, apparently) I saw a picture of the type of King Cake they make in New Orleans and it certainly got my attention! There's supposed to be a little plastic baby inside, but since we don't have any of those I used a Pichu figurine instead (Pichu is a baby Pokemon, for those of you not in the know). But sadly, nobody got it in their piece this evening! Does it still count when you find the baby in the leftovers?

Besides the cake, we also celebrated the end of the Christmas season by taking down our tree. We didn't quite get it out the door by sundown, but it was pretty close, and any witches would have had a hard time getting settled as we bustled around putting away ornaments. Over the last couple weeks the rate of needle dropping really settled down, though moving the tree out of the house knocked off about half of the remaining needles. Luckily Elijah was doing strong work on sweeping patrol.

What's next, now that Christmas is over? Who knows. Besides a lot of leftover cake!


let it snow... please?

The winter has been disappointing so far. We had a nice cold snap, but as soon as there was enough ice to play on it got violently warm again and ruined it all. And while other parts of the country have been getting lots of snow—dangerous amounts of snow—we haven't had anything but rain. It's getting me down. There's a chance of snow today, but so far there's been nothing but gross sleety rain, which is pretty much all we've seen all winter. Come on weather, you can do better!

moments from the week

Zion and Elijah posing shirtless in the falling snow

how they celebrate snow?

A few moments from the past week.

the boys and Scout on a little bridge over a brook

family walk

Elijah writing at the kitchen table wearing a fox hat with a pipe in his mouth

just regular journal time

close-up of snow on a dried black-eyed susan head

a little at last


the garden in January

a coating of snow on the garden in the morning

waiting patiently

Not much happening in the garden this month, of course. Mainly I'm wishing there was more snow on the beds and hoping that the house they're building just over the property line won't be so big that it shades us out completely. There is a little movement though: at Backyard Farm Club this afternoon—sitting around the fire close by the garden—we started thinking about what seeds we want to buy and share this year. Less than two months til the first ones hit the dirt!

it begins

We're well into rehearsing for the opera now, Harvey, Zion, and me. We have roles now: Zion and I are part of the Dutch crew (I'm Captain Gouda) and Harvey was just promoted to the part of Cecily, with several solo lines. It was slow work getting into the show: with so many songs and dances to learn it started out as just an overwhelming swirl of information. But at this past Sunday's rehearsal we ran through a whole scene for the first time, which gave us enough context to really start practicing at home. Plus I was able to access the practice tracks for us to listen to. What that means, of course, it that all of us—including Elijah, and probably Leah too—now have the music to Scene 1 of The Cutlass Crew firmly established in our brains. Like, so much it's preventing me from sleeping. Or maybe I'm having trouble sleeping for other reasons and while I lie awake the music is all I can think of? Either way, if you hear me singing about Moll Cutpurse, that old thief from the market you'll know why. Until next week. Then we'll have different songs to obsess over.

remembering to go out

Lately I feel like we haven't been having the outdoor adventures we need. Christmastime was busy, the weather has been depressing, and we lost some drive for it after we finished up our 1,000 hours. Plus there's other things we need to be doing! But days have more room for adventure than you expect, if you try, and yesterday we found some in between a vaccine appointment at CVS and a trip to the grocery store.

Zion and Elijah running on a boardwalk into a marsh

what adventure looks like

In between those two stops was Mary Cummings Park in Burlington, which we haven't spent too much time at because it's not very wild: feels more like an urban park, with wide paths and plenty of fields (Leah likes it for walking with the dogs because she appreciates the openness). Even relatively less wild, though, it gave us lots of chances to run and explore and climb walls and poke around rusty old car carcasses (the best part of urban woods). We got lots of exercise and fresh air... plus we got to have a pretty fun time together!

Zion (with a toy puppy in his shirt) and Elijah smiling in front of a chain link fence

sweet boys


my rich person coat

The weather is sub-standard around here lately: not enough real cold, not enough snow, and too much wet. I'm not really pleased. But at least it gives me a chance to set aside my boring old winter jacket and get my raincoat out instead. Because I have a fancy raincoat that Leah bought me this past fall, when it was clear that the one I'd been using for the past... eight? ten? years wasn't any waterproof any longer. Actually, I don't even know how fancy it is, but for some reason wearing a raincoat at all makes feel kind of posh; like I deserve to be shopping at Whole Foods. Which of course isn't true, but at least I can dress like it!

moments from the week

Elijah standing on very thin ice at the edge of Freeman Lake

just barely ice

A few moments from the past week.

Harvey and Zion resting on a stone wall made of big stones

a little rest on big stones

Harvey and Elijah sliding on a big frozen puddle in a clearing

ice on grass is safe

Elijah and other kids climbing high up in a white pine tree

climbing high


not enough!

It snowed, and there was a delightful amount of snow in the air: yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening, overnight, this morning, this afternoon... but not, sadly, enough on the ground. It was right around freezing the whole storm, so for large swathes of time the snow was accumulating very slowly or not at all. I think we got two and a half inches all together, but even that was compressed to under two inches by its own weight. Some people shoveled their driveways, which I thought was entirely unnecessary; though I was delighted at the energy Zion showed in clearing off the front steps and the porch (and Elijah had fun with the back deck). We of course thought of sledding, but there wasn't enough for that, either—at least, not enough to drive to any sort of hill. If we'd had a slope in our yard we would have gone for it for sure. But the kids did get outside with friends for a wild couple hours of snowball fights, snow wrestling, and snow-cat making, so the day wasn't entirely a bust. The forecast high for tomorrow in 47°F, so I'm afraid the snow won't stick around long. I do hope there's more; this winter's been kind of a bust so far, and we do love snow!


On Sunday morning, the one day of the week when we need to get out in a hurry, my car wouldn't start. Luckily Leah didn't need to be anywhere so we piled in hers instead. We ended up using it all day, because I didn't have time to even think about what might be wrong, and while I totally appreciate having a backup option it was a little disconcerting driving something so unlike what I'm used to. Especially when we were leaving opera rehearsal and it was dark, and snowing, on top of being city driving that I'm not really relaxed about to begin with! I definitely jolted the kids more than once over the course of the day by slamming on the breaks: Leah's car has a very responsive pedal, while our van is more leisurely in its stopping power and demands a heavy foot. This morning I finally managed to jump-start the van, and we used it to get places today (we went on a lovely walk in Concord), which means I was getting used to different breaking behavior all over again. And also to having room for the kids and all our stuff; that was easy to come back to!