Christmas in Maine

How is it already January 15th? Time is soaring by and life in Amsterdam is slowly ramping up again after a long and leisurely winter hibernation in the USA. Last night was actually my first night alone in the apartment (so much catching up to do after two weeks away!) so I spent some time sorting through holiday photos, in addition to making a big pot of stew for dinner, unpacking my suitcase, and cooking heaps of bacon (I had an 8am meeting this morning and bribed the whole team with bacon – I know, I’m the most ethical and awesome Account Director ever). Bacon, suitcases, and stew aside, it was a nostalgic evening, as the holidays are over and everyone I love so much lives so far away. This especially sucks in the winter when the nights are long and dark and I accidentally cook too much soup. One girl can only eat so much soup!

Instead of sharing my holiday photos in posts like last year, one by one by one, I’ve just included a bunch of my favorite Christmas images here, all in one place. So let’s take a little journey through winter in the countryside of Maine :) First and foremost, check out Sox, my trusty 6am jet-lag buddy . .IMG_4907He’s the only one in the house who is up before 6am, and year after year he’s willing to hang with me in the living room until all the normal people wake up to start the day. Also awake at the crack of dawn is my best friend Casey, who has a newborn and therefore doesn’t really observe night or day. 

She was willing to meet up with me for an early breakfast, and so on my first morning back I got to meet my new ‘nephew’ who is cute as pie. I also got to drink unlimited diner coffee and read the comics. Talk about feeling truly American in a matter of 12 hours. photo 1But of course the star of the show was little Griffin, who I got to oogle over chocolate pancakes. Maybe it’s my ovaries talking, but I feel like he is the most perfect, adorable, angelic baby I have ever met :)IMG_4909Charlotte, the initial baby addition to our friend group, joined as well, as she’s also super smitten with little baby G. IMG_4912IMG_4915Fast forward a few days and I’m catching up with lots of beautiful, familiar faces, including my Gramma who trudged through the snow to meet up for some early morning scrambled eggs and bacon (she’s also up before 6am so she’s a great jet-lag date!) If you follow me on instagram, you can check out the snowy scape at her house and the blistery drive up north to her place!IMG_4965Christmas Eve also included lots of grandparent time (see below for a slightly less bundled Gramma) in addition to babies, Italian food, and presents presents presents. For a while, there were no kids in our family, and while the glittery white magic of the holiday remained, the holiday joy that can only be experienced through a child’s eyes had been lacking. Now, there’s an abundance of babies toddling around, and the older they get, the more they realize that Christmas means PRESENTS.IMG_4973 . . . and nose picking?IMG_5020 . . . and table surfing?IMG_5015As we’re Italian, the holidays are mostly about food, which is always served in abundance. For weeks after Christmas we’re still scarfing down leftover lasagna, calamari, cold cuts, and peppercinis. Which is mighty fine by me.IMG_4967This Christmas my Grandma was extra adorable, and put together a ‘sister basket’ for my sisters and me. She wrapped a bunch of presents in a big wicker hamper, and then asked that we each pick a number, and in that order take turns selecting and unwrapping a gift from the basket. IMG_5059She also made a ‘puppet box’ (which is a long-running family joke) for the gifts that didn’t particularly appeal to one of us. IMG_5052IMG_5034So after the kiddies left we poured some wine and opened our thoughtful gift, which contained everything from cook books to copper cats. IMG_5064I was going to jump right into Christmas morning, but I’ve just remembered this sister-photo:Ronca SistersWhich we took on Christmas Eve, while wearing our matching pajamas waiting for Santa to come. Seriously, life is so different (and awesome) in Maine. Christmas morning brought stuffed stockings and lots of wrapping paper mess to clean up,  IMG_5084IMG_5088IMG_5113And cute kittens who loved the new decor. IMG_5122IMG_5127We all scrambled to get the house tidy before company arrived, and enjoyed a cozy dinner in my parent’s doll-house-like dinning room. IMG_5150v v This photo was taken earlier in the evening. My sister’s kitten doesn’t know the house rules yet (no walking on the kitchen table) but she does know she loves guacamole (very strange cat!) IMG_5141After Christmas, my sisters went back down to Massachusetts and my friends went back to work, so I spent some quality time with Charlotte whose schedule was just as free as mine!IMG_5155Just the two of us went to the Portland Children’s Museum, which was awesome because I got to be a four-year-old for the day!IMG_5160When we went upstairs to the shadow room, no one else was around, so I blasted Taylor Swift on my iPhone and we danced to Blank Space and Bad Blood in techno color :) IMG_5172However, sometimes the adult in me needs to play as well, so for New Year’s Eve my sister Jess and I drove up to Pierce’s camp (you remember Pierce, right?) for some drinking and snowboarding. We watched the NYE fireworks and drank champagne at Pierce’s place, before heading up to the lodge and shaking it all night to a 10-piece jam band. There were lots of dudes in bright winter hats, girls in thick leggings, and joints being passed around. It was a blast from the past (the Northern New England folk have a distinct way of partying) and I’m glad I got to share it with two of my best friends :) IMG_5200IMG_5183IMG_5212output_EhhUOJThe next day we were hung over but took full advantage of the mountain. . . IMG_5232. . . before driving down to my Grandparent’s house for a family-style New Year’s dinner. The back mountain roads of Maine were stunning, and made me lament country life.IMG_5270IMG_5278IMG_5275IMG_5281The rest of the holiday was a slow blur, with lots of cats, baths, and books. IMG_5292I spent hours reading under the eves . . . IMG_5302 . . . so content to be tucked in the middle of nowhere (this is the view from my room – really, nothing out there!) I really missed the sound of quiet. IMG_5298IMG_5307v  v This photo was taken on the plane. I woke up right before landing and would have sworn I was gazing out at a warm, sunny beach.IMG_5313These last two photos were taken in Amsterdam, but are worth a spot on the blog. As I was in the cab from the airport to my apartment, we cruised by the large ‘iAMsterdam’ letters on the back of a truck. IMG_5315IMG_5316Yep, welcome home! xo Ali

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16 thoughts on “Christmas in Maine

      • Well, move to Vegas, sunny and 62 for today! When summer ends and the temps dip to the 70’s I feel very cold. You get used to the 110 degrees every day… Snow is a bad word in this house! Stay safe and warm there. :)

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  1. MY sister, who lives and works in Copenhagen, went through a breakup after a 3-year relationship. Though I try to talk as much as I can, it probably is not going to be enough for quick recovery you know…

    So, I recomended your blog to her the other day- for reasons you could undersatnd ;) She read THE post, and was pretty talkative after that. Thought, I should let you know that
    1) you are not alone
    2) writing about it makes the world a better place, doesn’t it?

    PS- apologies for this un-contextual comment

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    • Thank you for sharing and it’s so nice to hear that while you sister is going through a crappy time, my post could be a helpful conversation starter. Breakups suck for sure (and really do feel like the end of the world sometimes) but often the best consolation is the fact that we’re not alone, we’re still loved, and that things can only get better. Sounds like you did just the right brother thing :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your family has an idyllic setting for life in Maine, Ali. Thanks for sharing your holiday photos. I can tell how much your return to the States did you good. Now enjoy your totally different pace back in Amsterdam, my friend. Bacon and advertising, it shall be. :-)

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