Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Snowy New England Christmas

As mentioned in several previous posts, we spent Christmas in Massachusetts with my family. In a wave of brilliance, we created an itinerary that did not require us to drive at all. We took Amtrak (my first American train trip! Verdict: good, but no Shinkansen) to Providence, flew from Logan to Milwaukee, and then flew home to Newark. As we hauled our suitcases packed for both trips, 12lbs of cookie tins, and Christmas gifts into Manhattan, I briefly regretted this decision. All that was gone forever by the time we were nestled into our train seats, dining on traditional Wisconsin cheese and summer sausage and watching the Connecticut traffic through the windows.

My parents arrived by car from Minnesota the same night we did. Their car was piled up not only with Christmas gifts for everyone, but also with tons of wedding gifts we had been forced to leave in November! It was fun to see everything again, although only briefly: we weren't able to take anything with us, since we were flying out. But we'll go back in January with our car to pick our stuff up. Apparently destination weddings keep on giving!

Our adorable nephews continue to get more adorable. Thomas' truck obsession has only grown more intense, and dominates his small vocabulary. His favorite phrases seem to be "big truck," "my big truck," and "more big truck." He received Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go as a gift, and showed a surprisingly long attention span for it. The cutest part is a page that shows a big accident, with several trucks all tangled up together. When Thomas saw it he stared at it with a look of horror and announced "big truck uh oh!" And every time (which is many) after that when he got to the accident page, he'd repeat it over and over and over.
In contrast, Matthew doesn't have a particular affinity for trucks. Unless of course it happens to be in Thomas' hand, at which point whatever it is becomes the single most important thing in the entire world. He's more cautious than Thomas and more socially aware. His sneaky little grin, when he thinks he's getting away with something he's not supposed to do, is precious. I think his favorite phrase is "mo"(re), which can be used to demand more of a type of food, more snuggles, more off-key grandparent singing, more slides down the slide, more bouncing on the bouncy ball, or pretty much anything that could possibly be repeated.
We did our usual ritualistic Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with new ornaments and stocking hanging and church and wild rice soup and oyster stew on Christmas Eve, and stocking opening and full breakfast with coffeecake and one-at-a-time present opening ordered from youngest to oldest on Christmas Day. The little boys enjoyed ripping the paper off and playing with their abundance of new toys, but had limited patience for the extended version that my family has elongated in the child-free years.

For Christmas dinner Sean cooked up a lovely bazillion pound prime rib (every good holiday meal has at least a few pounds of meat per person!), mashed potatos, Yorkshire pudding, and bread pudding.
Yum. Unsurprisingly, we also ate well the rest of the time there, with a birthday meal out at the best restaurant in Providence (in honor of my mom, myself, and Becky), egg roll weather, Breakfast Nook, and Chili's chicken crispers.

After the Nor'Easter we bundled up Matthew and Thomas and introduced them to snow. They had of course seen the stuff last year, but never really had a chance to play in it.

I think it might take a year or two to catch on.

We also spent a lovely afternoon at the candlepin bowling alley. Before we lived with Jen and Sean a few years back, I had never heard of this wacky Massachusetts tradition. They have their own style of bowling, in which the pins are skinny, the bowling balls are tiny and light, and you get three attempts to knock the pins down during each frame. Matthew and Thomas really wanted a chance to immitate the adults and throw the balls down the alley, but had to settle for handing them to us, rolling them around on the ball return, and crawling under every row of seats. Thankfully this was much cleaner than the smoky, stinky bowling alleys I remember from childhood!


  1. I do so love it when you do my mommy blogging for me. Love the description and pics. Miss you much!!!

  2. Gee, no pictures of the part where Becky got the stomach flu? But it was so much fun! :P