posts tagged with 'memories'

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!


moments from the year

all the Archibalds smiling atop Dorr

all of us

Here are some of the our top moments and images from 2019. I looked back though all the pictures we posted on this blog in the last year, and picked my favorites—either for aesthetic reasons or because of how much fun the moment was (usually a mixture of both!). 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 2020!


Harvey, Zion, and Nisia walking in a field

New Years Day walk

Lijah bundled up on a cold sunny day

on the slopes

Zion and Harvey running on the dark ice of Spy Pond

out on the pond


Zion sliding on a small cleared patch of ice on a snowy marsh

enjoying his own private rink

Harvey reading Dog Man to brothers and friends

boys with a book

Harvey on a swing at MIT, the setting sun reflecting on the glass wall beyond him

getting some swinging in after playing at MIT


three barefoot boys all playing on the one porch swing

and spring silliness the next day

Lijah in pirate facepaint brandishing a hook

me hearty

in the canoe heading down the Concord River

back on the water


Zion and Lijah watching lambs in the barn

lamb barn

redcoats forming up in a haze of gun smoke

the fog of war

the boys in their Easter suits

new suits for 2019


kids picnicking by their bikes on a field above Fawn Lake

a fine spot for a birthday lunch

the boys playing on the beach in Rockport


Zion holding one of the young hens, Lijah looking on

caring for the little hens


the boys eating breakfast on the back porch

yesterday's flowers still beautiful

Harvey lying in the grass reading a book

always reading

our boat below the Old North Bridge, it covered with singers and bubbles

midsummer spectacle


Harvey and Zion preparing to ride a moderate-sized wave

here comes one!

Lijah eating cotton candy

holiday sugar

Zion standing on a cliffside looking way down at the road



kids playing around the ford in Concord's Great Meadows bird sanctuary

the ford in the meadow

Harvey concentrating on Pokemon cards at a crowded table

playing for the World Championship

our tent among others in a friend's front yard

front yard camping


the boys writing with feathers dipped in pokeweed berry juice

history in action

the boys far away on a cold-weather beach

the beach is best in September

the boys hiking along a lane

hiking into fall


Harvey swordfighting Sam on a little bridge

battle on the bridge

Zion toasting a marshmallow

more fires

Zion's feet wading in a pond among floating leaves and pine needles

fall wading


Zion and Lijah playing in a leaf pile


Lijah looking at a gigantic puddle blocking the trail in the woods

path blocked

the boys at Thanksgiving dinner



Harvey standing on the hill with a sled

this is the life!

the boys walking in the woods between tall white pines towards the low sun

midwinter cathedral

Zion and Lijah building legos by the light of the Christmas tree

Christmas day in the morning


moments from the year

the Archibalds posing at the signpost atop Champlain Mtn

we're getting good at this!

Here are some of the our top moments and images from the year of 2017. I looked back though all the pictures we posted on this blog in the last year, and picked my favorites—either for aesthetic reasons or because of how much fun the moment was (usually a mixture of both). I limited myself to three photos for each month, which was really hard for some months, especially in the spring and summer when there were so many to chose from. Then in late fall my camera was broken and I hardly took any. Still, I think it's all pretty representative of the best parts of our year. Take a look!


zion making a snow angel

angelic Zion

three boys enjoying cones in front of Bedford Farms

winter's snow and ice cream

Zion holding a protest sign

he agreed to hold the sign I made


Harvey and Zion hugging their snowman

lovin the snowman

Harvey sledding down a path in the woods

where you have to steer

Harvey, Zion, Lijah, and Nathan posing crossing a stream in the snowy woods

summer hike in winter


Lijah blowing out the second of his three candles

blow Lijah blow

Zion bundled up for the blizzard

suited up again in March

Leah and the boys with friends on a horse-drawn sleigh at Sturbridge

two-horse open sleigh


the boys lying on a walkway looking down into the water

close examination

our big crowd sitting on (and behind) the curb

we all love a parade

Lijah and Zion running in the sprinkler on the green grass

green and sparkling


Zion and Lijah in pirate garb on one of the woods platforms

arr, matey!

Yoda-sweatshirted Lijah in the high green grass by the riverside

green at the riverside

the boys sitting on the beach with puppy Tovi

the beach with dogs


Lijah's dirty face

showing his work

Zion leaping out the window of the house

very good form

many of the kids on the stage with the Duplo

saying happy


Ira helping Harvey fly the kite

grandfather-grandson bonding

Harvey and Zion working on a sandcastle

it's working!

Harvey and Zion swimming under the Old North Bridge

Concord River swimming


kids wading out into the mud

where did I bring them?!

the boys looking out to sea from atop a mountain

mountaintop moment

Zion and Lijah squeezed into a basket



the kids and friends posing on a train, in front of a sign reading

homeschoolers' field trip

Zion in a dress taking cookies off the sheet, naked Lijah watching

have you ever seen a more hippy homeschool scene?

swimming in Walden Pond at sunset

sunset September swim


kids playing in the sandbox under fall-colored trees

the fall yard

Zion jumping over a wave at the ocean

wave jumping

the boys walking on the crowded sidewalk in Lexington Center

crowded with revelers


Harvey and Lijah sitting by the fire in the dark

backyard campfire

Leah eating lunch outside, a chicken on the table

chicken for lunch?

Zion on Lijah playing on various roofs

playing on roofs


the boys at the top of a sledding hill

hitting the slopes

another picture of the christmas tree

all is calm

Harvey and Zion posing on the sledding hill as the sun sets

yay winter

[Full disclosure for future readers... this post was actually posted retroactively, in July. Shh, don't tell anyone!]


moments from the year

the Archibalds posing atop Parkman Mtn

the family that hikes together poses together

I didn't really take any pictures this past week, so instead of moments from the week I'd like to present a few highlight moments from 2016. I looked back though all the pictures we posted on this blog in the last year, and picked my favorites—either for aesthetic reasons or because of how much fun the moment was (usually a mixture of both). I limited myself to three photos for each month, which was really tricky for some months. For others—July and November—the pickings were surprisingly slim. I think it's all pretty representative of the best parts of our year. Take a look!


Harvey and Zion on the front porch, lying in a box sharing a comic book

at 18 degrees farenheit

Harvey, Zion, Hendrick, and Eliza climbing a fallen tree above a frozen stream

homeschool coop explorers 2

Harvey on his bike with his pant legs rolled up

back in the saddle in late January


Harvey in his snow gear, including a muffler totally covering his face

he swears he can see

Leah holding Lijah, who's wearing a monkey costume hat and eating a banana

monkey with banana

the three boys in a tree

another tree pose


Zion sliding down a sandy concrete slope head first on a piece of cardboard

now that's a playground

Mama, Lijah, and Zion smiling in the snow

winter's last

Lijah crying, with mud all over the front of his suit

not happy


a reenactor offering to shake hands with Lijah and Zion

interactive history

Harvey reading to Lijah on the couch

comfey brothers

Zion airborn, leaping from a rock into very shallow water

jump in!


Harvey riding his scooter into a puddle, about to fall over

there's a lot going on in this picture, actually

Harvey, Taya, and Zion sitting on a log, Taya putting her hands on the boys' heads


Zion licking a vanilla ice cream cone

big lick


naked Lijah standing in a mud puddle with a trowel

in the mud

naked lijah walking with Mama in the shallow water at Walden

by evening he decided he liked the water

Harvey and his friends looking at his birthday cake on the picnic table

party time


Harvey riding down a country road

Harvey's independence

the three boys hiking way ahead of me, walking into a clearing

look at them go

Zion, in his clothes, standing with his back to the sprinkler stream getting soaked

cool down time


Harvey sitting on a rounded cliff edge way above a road

relaxed and happy

Leah and I wading on the cobbles in Bar Harbor

Maine feet

the boys looking at the choppy surface of Walden pond

Walden waves


Zion and Harvey silhouetted against the evening sky at the ice cream store

september ice cream

Lijah sitting in a big blue bucket on the beach

now that's how you swim in the ocean

the illuminated tree and the buffet table

party night


Zion swinging on a rope swing in the woods

new swing

the boys and friends running into the fall woods

fall energy

Harvey and Zion wading in the stormy ocean

wade in the water


headlamps on Harvey and Zion and the moon over the marsh

night hiking

me and the boys holding up our Thankful posters (and a squash)

thankful and joyful

Lijah in pjs and sweatshirt holding a soccer ball in front of the house

getting out early


Harvey and Zion standing on a dock looking at the bridge


the boys in pjs playing in front of the Christmas tree

Christmas tree play

the kids lookin silly in front of Grandpa's tree

Christmas cousins


partying like it's 1992

Leah and I don't really do movies. But thanks to their culture loving grandpa, the boys get to experience all the greatest animated hits of the last half-century or more; two weeks ago it was the turn of Aladdin. For the most part, Grandpa provides a complete service: he shows them the films, and talks about them, and plays through the imaginative reenactments, all so we don't have to. But Aladdin's music is a cut above the rest—several cuts above—and it's leaked through to daily life here in our house. After two weeks of requests to sing the songs, including on almost every car trip (our car stereo is out of action, so singing is all we got), yesterday morning I finally broke down and procured the soundtrack. We were treated to three and a half playthroughs before I called a halt and told the boys they had to go outside.

Not that I minded the music: Leah and I wouldn't remember it if it weren't so catchy, and while they were listening (and dancing and acting) the boys left me alone to do work. As Leah remarked, it's funny how they constructed the score as by layering a few stereotypical Arabic instrumental sounds (not entirely racist in effect) over some 20s-style jazz. It sounds good, and would have sounded even better if Robin Williams had sung his lines rather than acted them. Good, that is, except for the Magic Carpet song. Guess which one I had stuck in my head as I was getting ready for bed last night?

And the funny thing is, as I heard the saccharine tones playing in my mind I didn't think of the movie at all; no, what came to mind was listening to KISS 108 radio back in 1993 or whatever. Up next "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers, or "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting. Good heavens the early 90s were a tough time for music. I had to resort to Wikipedia to recollect the details of the latter gem; but clearly the concept still haunts me. Thank goodness I discovered Sonic Youth a couple years later, and free jazz shortly thereafter, and was able to leave commercial music behind forever.

But yeah, "Friend Like Me" still sounds pretty good. At least for the first three plays in an hour.


a long run

When Leah and I moved into our first ever home together—well, the first one where it was just our names on the lease—a friend gave us a pair of dish towels. They were wonderful examples of the genre: colorfully striped in durable cotton. They served us well for that year in Arlington as I slowly learned to cook, then made the move to this house the following year and continued to do noble duty. None more than the last year when we've been getting by without a dishwasher, for no reason other than a bizarre intersection of ideology and laziness that I can't figure my way around. But alas, after 11 years of hard service their race is nearly run and, rent in numerous places, they're destined for the scrap bin or even the trash can. It's a little sad—they were great dish towels—but no towel lives forever.

The colander we got in the same gift, on the other hand, is still going strong—and we got a pair of new towels from my mother for Christmas. So that's ok.

objects in the rearview mirror

We are currently working on selling a car and buying a bigger one. Both cars are used and crappy. The potential difference between their prices is well within the range of our federal tax refund. Which is all to say this should be a low stress transaction. This shouldn't break my ability to cope with normal life.

But Oh God I am so completely stressed out.

The first car I bought was a '91 Toyota Corolla. To say "I bought it" is speaking loosely. The fact is, when I turned 16 my father searched for a used car. He located a good one, went to see it, and negotiated the price. He wrote a check, added the vehicle to his insurance, drove the thing to our house and handed me the keys. My part consisted of turning over $2000 I had saved from my Bat-Mitzvah. I didn't have to write a check because our accounts were linked. This was technically "my money," but it's not like I did anything to earn it. I showed up one day to a party with all my relatives and there was the car money three years in advance.

I learned to drive on that car. I drove it for a year after I got my license. Then I crashed it into the back of a SUV while I was trying to change the song away from "Istanbul not Constantinople." My Dad bought me another used Corolla the following week. No one yelled at me. This is the sort of thing that happens, my parents said. Everyone was glad I hadn't killed myself or my younger brother who I was driving to advanced math class at the time. Really good I didn't kill my brother, actually. He always had a higher earning potential than me.

In college I studied abroad and my parents sold the Corolla to a friend who needed a car for his daughter. My dad called me long distance before I was to return home from France. "I'm thinking of buying a new car for you," he said. "What do you think of a Jetta? All the cool kids are driving Jettas these days."

"Um, okay? Sounds good?"

"You can go online and pick the color."

This is how I obtained the car I am currently selling. A dark green VW Jetta, asking price: not my money anyway. Our new family van will be purchased with the proceeds (a tenth of what my Dad paid for it 12 years ago) plus money my husband earned through his work, or money from an inheritance he got last year, or money we get free from the government for having two cute tax deductions. I can send emails and set up showing times and think about a negotiation strategy, but really I am playing a part I don't deserve in a game that does not need me in it.

I have been called a great many names over the course of my life. People routinely call me fat, for instance. And though this is rude and irritating it does not cut to the core of me, because despite my vile self-mockery on this blog or when I'm naked with my husband, I'm actually secretly happy with my body. But there is one name so terrible that no one has ever called me it. No one has thought to say it because I'm always flitting around cleaning or crafting or making snacks, always working as fast as I can to run away from the label I secretly believe is true. In the dark secret corner of my heart I know that I am USELESS.

Unhelpful. Unnecessary. Not worth my salt. Extraneous to the process, and yet pretending to belong somewhere within it. Selling or buying or owning a car reminds me that this has always been true.

I want to end the blog post here, but perhaps that'd be a bit unfair. It feels EMOTIONALLY true of course, but it cannot literally be so. There are a great many things each of us gets that we don't deserve. The list should probably start with "salvation," but it could also include food stamps or the baby monitor my mom just bought me or the free public wifi network that's available in many parts of the US but not in other countries.

That we have not done something to deserve these gifts merit some reflection, though perhaps not a complete breakdown into self loathing. And that is the rational side of my brain talking. Making itself useful, if you will.



Just now as I struggled to put the comforter cover on the comforter without waking Harvey I had a flashback to six years ago, back when the bed was new. I was super-proud of myself back then, I suddenly recalled very clearly, the first time I wrestled the thing together without disturbing the sleeping Leah. Isn't that a touching family connection?

(It's not that we do our laundry late at night, it's just that we usually have better things to do than put the bed together until the point at which we want to go to bed. Somethings, clearly, we wait a little bit too long.)