Sunday, March 26, 2017

Winter Vacation 2017

Picacho Peak

Hey, it has only taken me a month to post the photos form our winter vacation in California, Arizona and New Mexico!

We flew to Los Angeles and arrived in the evening. We picked up our freakishly cheap rental car ($77 total for a week!) and hit the road for my parents' winter home in Palm Desert, arriving there about 10:30pm.

The girls had a great time hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Betsy, as they always do. Grandma and Aunt Betsy love to take them shopping for clothes. This year we made sure to arrive with suitcase space to spare. They filled it.

We celebrated both girls' birthdays with their favorite Grandma dinners: spaghetti for Audrey and Lasagna for Charlotte. And for a bonus, Grandma made a Thanksgiving dinner! It's also a tradition for us to go to The Old Spaghetti Factory so we did that, too.

Our trip is usually the week preceding the Oscars, so Carol and I try to go to as many nominated movies as we can. This year we saw Lion, Passengers, Arrival and Manchester by the Sea.

After five days we drove to Tucson to stay with Carol's parents. Carol and I love the five-hour drive across the desert. The kids tolerate it with devices and a wifi hotspot. We make them look out the window every once in a while. We also play a game where we guess the distance to the next mountain range. The girls are getting pretty good at it!

In Tucson we spend a lot of time relaxing. That's always very welcome.

This year we took a bonus trip. In the early 80s I became friends with Barry, a coworker at Boeing, and his partner Rabih. Two years ago they retired and moved to Las Cruces, NM, where Barry went to college. Last year they built a custom home in the hills overlooking the city and the Rio Grande valley. During our visit to Tucson in 2016, Barry & Rabih came to Tucson and they and Carol's dad and us all went to Kitt Peak Observatory and we all went to a lovely dinner. We pledged to visit them in NM in 2017.

We rented a minivan so we could all make the four-hour trip in one vehicle.Once in Las Cruces we had a delicious lunch at Las Posta de Mesilla, a restaurant in what was once a stagecoach station. Then we headed to La Cueva, a BLM property that was previously the site of a sanatorium, and also housed a hermit for many years in the namesake cave. After that we returned to their house for a wonderful dinner.

In the morning, after another delicious home-cooked meal, we drove east about an hour to the White Sands National Monument. We rented sledding discs from the gift shop and had hours of fun sliding down the white sand dunes. It's a spectacular place. Great vistas and sparkling light. The weather was perfect - warm enough for t-shirts but not broiling. White Sands was a highlight of the vacation for the girls.

We had a couple of days left after returning to Tucson. We went to the go-karts and laser tag place and had fun. And this year all four of us hiked Picacho Peak. Carol and Charlotte had never been past half way, but this year we all made it to the top. Charlotte loved the cables and catwalks and did very well.

Then it was back home to winter in Boston. Although Boston had been having a warm spell and on at least one day it was warmer in Boston than where we were!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Christmas 2016

We had a wonderful Christmas at home.

The girls noticed this year that as they get older, their gifts get more expensive and therefore there are fewer of them.

Santa brought an Xbox One and some new games. They've enjoyed that.

Audrey got a huge LEGO kit: the 2500-piece Parisian Restaurant. She spent the next couple of days assembling it.

Charlotte's big gift was a Chromebook all her own. It's a small one like she wanted. Bonus features are a screen that folds all the way over into a tablet, and a touch screen.

Carol received the Apple Watch she asked for, in pink. She loves it! Now she gets my texts on her wrist. She can even make phone calls on it - the Dick Tracy wristwatch phone is reality!

I got some great shirts: one for work and a couple of nice casual winter shirts; a wonderful book titled "The Eighth Day of Creation" about the birth of molecular biology; a science kit to do with the girls; and a bunch of other wonderful things. Thanks, Santa!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Charlotte Turns 11

Can you believe we have two tweens now? We can't!

Charlotte turned 11 at the end of November. These are photos from her first party with just family, at home. And from her second birthday party, with friends, that included an outing to play laser tag.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Audrey Art

The first trimester of middle school just ended and Audrey brought home the works she produced in art class. It's her favorite class.

She especially liked printmaking.

Click on the photo to go to the gallery. The password is always 'methot'.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Photo Flood

This year I did a much worse job than usual editing and curating photos as we took them. Over Thanksgiving weekend I spent a couple of days catching up. The result is the following 13 new albums. Enjoy!

Click on each photo to go to that album.

I can't believe I've been slacking all the way back to last Christmas! Well, here you go.

Apparently the day after Christmas was very pleasant last year because it looks like we went to the beach.

I made a couple trips to the UK for meetings in the other Cambridge related to my old job at Biogen. On both trips I also spent some time in London. During this January trip I found a concert by an African musician and had a great time.

So I never posted photos four our annual February trip and no one complained! Next time, let me know!

From January through early April we had our basement remodeled by the world's best contractor. He was a dream to work with. Now it's our favorite part of the house!

Audrey stopped skating, but Charlotte continues to enjoy it. Here is video of her group's routine in the annual ice show in March.

Here's a collection of favorite photos from the first half of the year that aren't related to a specific event.

Three neighbor families joined us for a weekend camping at our favorite campground: Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire.

My second trip to the UK. More time in Cambridge and in London. This time I got to spend a couple of hours at the New Tate Modern gallery.

This year both girls went to circus camp for a week, at the same time. Carol and I had a week to ourselves and a date night, during which we saw a favorite performer: Sarah Jarosz.

Favorite photos from the second half of the year.

For her birthday in September, Carol traveled to Colorado to attend Girls Gone Grape with her best friend Kim. It was modeled after the famous "I Love Lucy" episode. They stayed in a swanky hotel in Vail, stomped grapes, went on a jeep tour, had a couple of nice dinners and best of all got to spend time together.

The girls started swim team at the YMCA in September. They are really enjoying their practices even though they come home exhausted. We've been to three meets so far, and there is video of all the events in this photo album.