It May Indeed Go Nowhere….

Hockey for my boys, may indeed go nowhere…but, it has already gone everywhere.  Everywhere important that is.
This season alone, with two full months of hockey left to be played, between my two boys (who, mind you, are only 12 and 10) we already have 92 games in the books. We have spent 14 nights in hotel rooms…in six different states. When I got an oil change on November 7th the new sticker on my windshield told me that I should be due for the next one on April 7th. My hockey mobile made it, instead, to the end of December. If that doesn’t sum up how my weekends roll, I don’t know what does.
Lots of miles, lots of practices, lots of games, lots of scheduling, lots of dividing and conquering, lots of travel, lots of eating in the car, lots of gear, lots of money….did I mention lots of money…but, more importantly, lots of smiles, lots of lessons, growth, memories, laughs, and friendships.
I was asked the other day if I wished that my boys had never caught “the hockey bug.” I’d be lying if I tried to convince you that I’ve never complained. I have complained. Lots. The rinks are cold, the gear isn’t always as fragrant as I might like, the gas tank is always empty, sleep is often scarce…and, regrettably, I have to say “no” to a lot of life that unfolds outside of all things hockey. But, no, I don’t wish to change or cure any of it. And, dare I say, I have the bug too.
We do all of this because, obviously, we expect our boys to play at some super high level of hockey…if not the pros, right? (Insert eye roll) Ummm…no. No we don’t. That is not at all why we do this. In fact, I’m already feeling the sense of loss that will undoubtedly come crashing down when high school ends and there’s no longer a hockey schedule to adhere to or cold bleachers to sit on….because, I very much expect that there won’t be.
So, why spend this much money and such a significant part of the boys’ childhoods for something that we suspect will simply end one day? And end with very little fanfare at that. Something that may, indeed, go nowhere? Well, because, it has already gone, truly, everywhere.
Sure, my boys have a pretty impressive little collection of medals, and trophies, and awards, and titles, and championships. They also have plenty of losses and stretches when it felt like they might seriously never win again. But, you know what else they have? They have confidence, resilience, courage, strength, grit, compassion, independence, determination, drive, commitment….and much thicker skin than they would have without hockey. And then….then….there are the memories. The laughs. The stories. The good times. The silly one-liners that no one else in the world understands because they weren’t there. The friends.
There are lessons to be learned each and every time my boys take the ice….and something to hold on to from each and every game. The lessons often have to do with sportsmanship and fair play….the old “there’s no “I” in team”, “you need to work just as hard at being a good teammate as being a good player” etc. Sometimes what they learn, however, has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. Sometimes it has to do with being a friend…being strong…being forgiving…being imperfect. Sometimes it is as simple as remembering to hug their grandparents and thank them for coming to watch them skate…no matter what the scoreboard says or how drained they feel. Sometimes the lessons are out of the rink as well.  The dance of packing, unpacking, navigating hotel check-ins, tipping, and traveling as a team.  Lessons in respect to hotel and restaurant staff…lessons in communicating with teammates’ families who come to cheer, and support, and be an important part of the bigger picture.   Sometimes they fail at all of it, but…then, they learn.
Sometimes my boys play with the confidence of knowing that they’re good… knowing that they contribute each and every shift…knowing that their team is better for having them on it. Sometimes my boys play and feel defeated….even after a big win. Sometimes they leave the rink and just can’t wait to get in the car because they feel like they didn’t play well….or, maybe, they were told they could have played better. Fair enough. Sometimes they score, they give assists, they feel on top of the world. Sometimes, during a power play, they’re the ones to get called off….and sometimes, at the end of a close game, they’re the ones to sit out a shift. Sometimes they feel appreciated…sometimes they feel, well, not. Sometimes their feelings are validated, sometimes…well, they’re not. It is by no means always happy….it’s hard, and it’s awesome, and it’s painful, and it’s amazing. It builds them up ….and it knocks them down just as quickly. But, they love it…and they know it comes with both highs and lows…and they never, ever want to quit.
They have, indeed, made friends…and, do you know what? So have I. They have learned to trust, to cheer, to support, and to truly love their teammates. And, do you what? So have I.
If you’re lucky enough to land on teams such as those that we have, you soon have a community unlike any other. It may start with casual conversation at the rink, slowly getting to know each other, soon…maybe “friending” each other on social media. Much like being a new student at a new school…or a new employee at a new job…you start to meet others. You start to ebb and flow in a more consistent rhythm….coming together soon in a circle that gets closer….and tighter. Soon you start recognizing siblings, and grandparents, and aunts + uncles. Soon, most likely, you learn what people do for work, how they take their coffee, and what they drink on a Saturday night. When the blanket is left on the bleachers….you find that you know who it belongs to and maybe even how long they’ve had it. Soon you’re not just getting to know the other families…you actually know the other families…and, honestly, it feels like you’ve known them forever.
The kids become closer…they start seeing each other outside of the rink….and so, happily, do the grown-ups. If you’re lucky enough to land on teams such as those that we have, you’re in for quite a ride. Tournament weekends feel like college all over again and you laugh so much that you cry. You might soon discover that you drink things you never thought you’d drink, you stay up later than you have in years, and each and every game your kids play feels like the Stanley Cup. Hysterical group texts are often the closest thing to a book you’ve read all season and inside jokes make you spontaneously laugh mid-week…at the most inconvenient times.
You complain about the traveling and the hotel bills, but you feel a sense of loss when the foreseen schedule doesn’t involve nights away. You’re a hockey parent. The kids love each other…but, they sometimes get on each other’s nerves. You love the coaches, but sometimes you feel like things aren’t fair. The coaches love coaching….but sometimes they’re frustrated and expect more. You’re a hockey team.
Hockey, for my boys, has already gone, truly, everywhere. Yes, sure, geographically, we have gone lots of places… but, that’s not what I mean. More importantly, it has seeped into their little beings and has been the backbone for who they have become…and are certainly still becoming. It has, without a doubt, shaped them and defined their childhoods and our family dynamic. It has built family bonds and routine and, of course, memories. It has filled the basement with equipment, baskets with precious team shirts, bookshelves with souvenirs, albums with photos, and our lives with something we all love.  Hockey, years from now, will be something that my boys hopefully play in an over-thirty league with some good buddies late on Sunday nights. It may indeed go nowhere other than that but, I assure you, it has already given everything and gone everywhere…everywhere important that is.
Thank you to all who have brought this joy, this camaraderie, this craziness, and sport, and this way of life into our lives.  Thank you to the coaches, volunteers, teammates, friends, and families.  We’re so thankful for you all.
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With a Little Help from My Friends

This precious little book caught my eye while scrolling through something the other day.  Illustrated by Henry Cole and written with the lyrics from John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s song, “With a Little Help from My Friends” this book is sure to depict some friendships that we are all thankful to have.

Celebrate friendship with this lyrical picture book that beautifully illustrates John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s world-renowned words from “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

I get by with a little help from my friends…

In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, the universally loved words to “With a Little Help from My Friends” come vividly to life, showing that sometimes, all you need is a little help from your friends!

You can purchase this book on Amazon here or, better yet, visit one of our local bookshops and see if they have it in stock.

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Venice Beach

My mom, my boys, and I flew out to Los Angeles for a long weekend to visit my brother who lives in Santa Monica.  I’ve been to San Diego and much further north on the Pacific Coast, but never to the LA area.  We stayed at a hotel directly across from the Santa Monica Pier, took an “extreme whale watch,” toured celebrity homes, Beverly Hills, Hollywood landmarks, Rodeo Drive, spent time riding the rides on the pier, saw Jay Leno at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, and hung out on the Venice Beach boardwalk.  These photos are from our trip to Venice Beach.  The boys wanted to buy new skateboards with some of the spending money they saved and I was happy to walk in the sand and people watch for a bit.

 

Nichole’s Picks 1/25 + 1/26

Pick #1: Superbowl of Birding at Joppa Flats

Saturday, January 25th from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm

So, this is pretty cool.  I wish I had remembered to tell you all about it last week so you could get your teams together.  I know how many avid bird enthusiasts we have in our GMG audience…and even within our own team of contributors.  Get your team together quickly and try to find all the species on the list!

Learn all about it HERE:  https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/joppa-flats/news-events/superbowl-of-birding

Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. In celebration of this season, the Joppa Flats is hosting the Superbowl of Birding XVII on January 25, 2020.

Superbowls I-XVI were great successes with teams of all abilities participating. The challenge is renewed this year, with prizes awarded in ten categories!

This is a unique competition to find the greatest number of species and to earn the greatest number of points based on the rarity of the birds recorded. The Zeiss Joppa Cup is awarded to the team that collects the most points by the end of the specified 12-hour birding day. Strategy and planning are essential in order to win this competition.

Abbreviated Rules

Location

Essex County, MA & Rockingham County, NH
(maps will be provided)

Teams

Teams will consist of 4-7 individuals and must remain together for the entire contest. No splitting of teams is allowed. Teams must preregister for the contest.

Objective

Each species on the official contest checklist has a point value of 1-5 based on the perceived difficulty of finding the species at this time of year. The team that amasses the greatest number of points will be declared The Zeiss Joppa Cup winner. Each species may only be counted once. Each team must check in at the designated site by 5:30 pm of the contest day.

Checklist

To be counted, all species must be on the Official Superbowl of Birding Checklist, or be species currently accepted by the Massachusetts or New Hampshire State Records Committees. Valid species not on the official checklist will have a point value of 5.

Registration

  • $30 per participant if registered before January 1
  • $35 per participant if registered after January 1
  • $20 for participants 12 and under

Registration fees support refreshments and prizes for the winning teams.

To Register

Please mail the completed registration form with appropriate fee(s) to:

Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950

You may also register by calling 978-462-9998.

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Pick #2: Lunar New Year at the PEM: Celebrate the Year of the Rat

LEARN MORE HERE: https://www.pem.org/events/the-year-of-the-rat

Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 10 am-4 pm

Experience the sights and sounds of this annual festival and join us for music, art making and classic traditions, including colorful lion dances performed by Gund Kwok, the only all-women lion and dragon dance group in the country. Then help us celebrate the release of PEM’s first children’s book, Piece by Piece, with author Susan Tan and special programming to celebrate Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House.

Included with admission unless otherwise noted

Guo Nian Hao!

Drum Welcome and Cubs Lion Dance

11–11:30 am | Main Atrium

Help us kick off the celebration with performance by The Cubs of Gund Kwok. These young dancers, from ages 6 to 9, have mastered the strength, skill and coordination required to perform this annual tradition.

Gund Kwok Lion Dance

111:30 am–noon | Main Atrium

Gund Kwok Asian Women’s Lion Dance Troupe, the only all-women lion and dragon dance group in the country, performs this traditional dance to ward off evil for the coming year. Following their performance, enjoy a chance to talk with the performers and get up close to their incredible costumes.

Chinese Folk-Art Workshop

1–1:45 pm | Main Atrium

Members of the Chinese Folk Art Workshop, all between the ages of 12 to 18, present traditional dances to welcome the Year of the Rat. Listen to drumming, watch graceful performances, and see a diabolo (a traditional Chinese yo-yo) in action.

DROP-IN ACTIVITIES

Zodiac Family Tree Banners

10 am–4 pm | Garden Atrium

Create and decorate your own zodiac animal banner with Jennifer DeCristoforo, artist and author of the Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts. Match your family members with the animals of the Chinese zodiac, then decorate and assemble into a banner to represent your family tree.

Decorate a Dishcloth

10 am–4 pm | Create Space Studios

“I see more blue in the kitchen and race inside. It’s just a dishcloth, but it reminds me of Nainai’s apron.” Inspired by Piece by Piece, decorate your own dish cloth that you can then upcycle into an apron at home. Printed dishcloth apron instructions are provided or available at pem.org/piecebypiece.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Piece by Piece Storytime’s with Susan Tan and Justine Wong

Noon and 3 pm | Morse Auditorium
Day-of registration at information desk

Join author Susan Tan and illustrator Justine Wong for readings of their picture book, Piece by Piece, inspired by the Yin Yu Tang house. See the pages projected on screen and hear about their process of creating this magical story of discovery, wonder and family.

Piece by Piece Book Signing

2 pm | Morse Auditorium

Purchase a copy of PEM’s first children’s book, Piece by Piece, then meet the creators! Author Susan Tan grew up visiting museums with her grandmother, an art historian, who encouraged her love for art and story. She is the author of the popular Cilla Lee-Jenkins series. Illustrator Justine Wong is a multimedia artist living in Toronto with her two cats. She loves to travel in search of new forms, landscapes and feelings to draw. Piece by Piece is Wong’s first children’s book. Her previous work has appeared in the New York TimesMonocle and Lucky Peach.

SPECIAL FAMILY TOUR

Emmy’s Yin Yu Tang

12:15 pm, 2:15 pm, and 3:45 pm | Meet at Information Desk
Nonmembers $6; free for members, Salem residents and youth 16 and under
Space limited; day-of registration at information desk

Join a PEM Educator for a special family-friendly tour of Yin Yu Tang, the Chinese house which inspired the museum’s first children’s book, Piece by Piece. Explore the nooks and crannies of the house, learn its history and engage in a guessing game as we uncover the truth and purpose of various historic objects.

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PEM.org

Pick #3:

Ice Rink Bumper Cars at Alex & Ani City Center

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FIND OUT MORE HERE: https://theprovidencerink.com/bumper-cars/

Reservations are recommended and can be made at the link above. Online waivers are available there are well.

The first outdoor rink to host this unique all-ages entertainment. Imagine sitting in the bumper car moving forwards, backward and sideways with a full 360-degree turn radius bumping opponents out of your way!

RATES

Bumper Cars  $12.00 – Shared Ice 

Bumper Cars $15.00 – Full Ice 

Rides are 15 Minutes long and scheduled every 20 minutes

*Reservations recommended

*All Bumper Car sales are subject to sales tax

HOURS

Bumper Cars run on 1/3 of the ice rink

MONDAY – FRIDAY
4:00PM – 8:00PM

SATURDAY – SUNDAY
10:00AM – 2:00PM

 

Late Night Full-Ice Sessions

FRIDAY – SATURDAY
10:00PM – 11:00PM

 

Morning Full-Ice Sessions

SATURDAY – SUNDAY
9:00AM – 10:00AM

 

As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.

Nichole’s Picks 1/18 + 1/19

Pick #1: Several Different Activities Taking Place at the Crane Estate Through Its CraneOutdoors Program

There is always something amazing to do at the Trustees’ properties!  We are so fortunate to have so many gorgeous and unique places in our own backyards.  This CraneOutdoors Program is pretty wonderful.  Check back often to view upcoming events and take advantage of all that they offer.  It’s a shame to not truly experience where we live!

Whether you’re looking for adventure, ready to try something new, or just love being outside, we’ve got something special for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages!

Hiking, Paddling, and Boating, Oh My!
CraneOutdoors offers a year-round lineup of exciting outdoor adventures designed to get you outside and enjoying one of The Trustees’ most beautiful properties. With over 2100 acres of beach, dunes, woodlands, and marsh and a network of miles of trails, we’re going to bet we can give you an experience you’ll never forget!

Most outdoor adventure events are geared towards adults, but some are family friendly – check the event description or call or email for specific information.

Get Outside Together
CraneOutdoors also runs family and drop-off programs with the goal of getting the next generation outside and encouraging a lifelong enjoyment of nature. Get your feet wet (metaphorically but sometimes literally!) with a Trustees Trekkers Family Hike or Family Full Moon Hike. Forge deep ties to the environment early while building creativity, confidence and wonder with our Preschool Nature Explorers program. Give your children the gift of time outside, away from screens with our After School Nature Play, SpringQuest (spring vacation), and WinterQuest (winter vacation) drop-off programs. And don’t forget about the Ultimate Summer Adventure: SummerQuest day camp!

CraneOutdoors Private Experiences
Are you visiting the area? Maybe staying at the Inn at Castle Hill? Or are you a family, friend, mom, or adventurous bachelor(ette) group? A corporate group? If you’re looking for a tailor-made outdoor adventure with an experienced guide in a gorgeous setting, let us build you something special. Contact tbarrieau@thetrustees.org for information.

Programs meet in different locations. Upon registration please remember to leave your email address, where we will send you pre-event information about where to meet, what to bring, and what to expect.

 

READ ABOUT THE TRUSTEES, THE CRANE ESTATE, AND ALL UPCOMING EVENTS HERE

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Pick #2: Come Cheer on the Rockport Vikings at CAYH/Agawam Youth Hockey Night

CAYH and Agawam players are invited to the Monday, January 20th Vikings home game vs Nashoba at Talbot Rink @ 6pm for our first annual Cape Ann/Agawam youth hockey night!

Wear your Cape Ann or Agawam jersey and get free admission if you are accompanied by a paying adult.

Cheer on our own CAYH mites in an exhibition scrimmage with Agawam mites after the first.

There will be Vikings fan gear available and giveaways.

Let’s fill the stands with CAYH/Agawam families and cheer on the Vikings!

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Pick #3: New England Auto Show

My boys are so sad to be missing the New England Auto Show this weekend.  We’ll be away.  Being the car enthusiasts that they are…especially Thatcher….they love spending hours there checking out all of the newest models, all of the new features and technology, and the trucks and high end cars.  It really is a lot of fun.

READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE

JANUARY 16-20, 2020
BOSTON CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTER
#BOSTONAUTOSHOW

It’s the Biggest Auto Show in New England… and the perfect place to browse hundreds of the newest vehicles!  Located at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport District, the New England International Auto Show is the premier showcase of the newest model year imported and domestic vehicles — cars, vans, crossovers, hybrids, light trucks and sport utilities –  cars to suit every budget and lifestyle. Factory and dealer representatives are on hand to answer your questions in a no pressure environment, and with your favorite car lines all under one roof, it’s easy to compare prices and features, saving both time and money.

So come sit in the cars, pop the hoods, inspect the trunks, kick the tires. The New England International Auto Show is great entertainment for serious shoppers, car buffs and the entire family!

Here are my boys several years ago running and hopping from car to car….barely able to contain themselves. Not much has changed.

As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Gloucesteropoly to Support GHS 2020!

Gloucester High School’s Class of 2020 is selling a limited edition of Gloucesteropoly!!

Boards cost $25 and help raise funds for the Class of 2020.  What a fun addition to your family game night, perfect for guests who visit from out of town….or friends who have moved out of town and miss it greatly, or…of course…as a gift!

Boards will be sold in the Gloucester High School Atrium this Saturday, 1/18, from 8:00-10:00.   If you can not make it to the high school in person during those hours, please reach out to the Class of 2020 student council at Ghsstuco2020@gmail.com or contact High School Teacher, Tracy Lowthers, at Tlowthers@gloucesterschools.com

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Malabar II a Star on the Sea and on the Screen?

Looking back through photos from the Schooner Festival and remembered having a nice talk with a man on the dock near the Tree of Life and the Columbia.  A smaller, yet beautiful boat, the Malabar II was at the same dock and the gentleman shared with me that the boat had been in the Kevin Costner and Robin Wright film, Message in a Bottle.  I’ve since read conflicting reports, but regardless the Malabar II is pretty slick.  I’ve read that the Catherine that appears in the movie is actually the Concordia Yawl, Arapaho…but, the boat they sail on during the movie is the Malabar.

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Photos from movie found on http://amrich223.tripod.com/id14.html

Girls U12 Home Game for Cape Ann Youth Hockey

Cape Ann Youth Hockey teams don’t get to play a lot of home games at Talbot Rink so it is exciting when they do.  The Girls U12 team will be playing at home on Saturday, January 18th at 1:00.  The girls hockey program at CAYH has really taken off and all of the dedicated girls, from Learn-to-Skate to High School, are killing it on the ice….and having tons of fun.

Read More Here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2959834830702168/

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Nichole’s Picks 1/11 + 1/12

This weekend is supposed to be unseasonably warm (if that can be a term used in New England…since anything usually goes with the weather so maybe there isn’t truly anything “unseasonable”).  Warm weather could make for better outdoor winter activities because it won’t be nose-freezing cold and it will make for nice days to be outside for extended hours….however, too warm will ruin all outdoor activities.  That being the case, call first to make sure snow related activities are actually open for more normal hours.

Pick #1: Snow Tubing at Nashoba Valley

READ MORE HERE: https://www.skinashoba.com/Articles.asp?ID=340

A 2-hour ticket is $35   Normal winter hours on the weekend are 9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Pick #2: ‘Entre Les Rangs’ Light Exhibit at Boston Seaport

Again, take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy a night out in the city.  It’s much better to walk around in mild temps and see the winter sites.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.bostonseaport.xyz/venue/entre-les-rangs/

Boston’s Seaport will welcome another illuminated, interactive art exhibit to the neighborhood.

The Seaport has partnered with Canadian art production company Creos and architectural firm KANVA on “Entre les rangs,” a twinkling collection of 28,000 handmade white crystalline stems topped with white reflectors that will be displayed on Seaport Common (85 Northern Ave.) from Monday, Dec. 9 through Feb. 2, 2020.

The exhibit, meant to evoke a “rural wheat field swaying in the breeze” according to a press release, will refract light from projectors mounted nearby, and will change based on weather and human interaction.

Beyond the winter art installations, the Seaport has welcomed several public art displays, including “Air Sea Land,” a collection of colorful sculptures lining Seaport Boulevard, and “20 Knots,” a collection of giant nylon daffodils that adorned Seaport Common in April.

When:
Monday, Dec 09, 2019 6:00a –
Sunday, Feb 09, 2020 11:30p

Where:
Seaport Common
85 Northern Ave
Boston, MA

Admission:
FREE

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Photo from http://www.bostoncalendar.com

Pick #3: Ice Castles 

If you’re up for the drive or want to do a quick overnight trip, check out Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire.  I’ve heard they’ve been working hard to combat the extra warm weather, but they are planning on operating this weekend as of now.  Reservations are necessary so don’t just drive up and expect to get in.  If this weekend doesn’t work out, make a note to plan ahead for another weekend!

READ MORE HERE: https://icecastles.com/new-hampshire

Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in six cities across North America. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more.

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As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Councilors for Causes Tomorrow at Cape Ann Brewing Co.

15% of all food and beer sales between 5:00-9:00 tomorrow evening at the Cape Ann Brewing Co. will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.  Join Gloucester’s Councilor-At-Large, and tomorrow’s Celebrity Bar Tender, John McCarthy for a fun night and a great cause.

Cape Ann Brewing Co. is at 11 Rogers Street in Gloucester, Ma

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Yesterday in Rockport

No doubt you heard yesterday that there was an incident at Rockport Middle School.  As a mother of a seventh grade Rockport student I can tell you that it was a long and emotional day.  It was a day of fear…then gratitude…then more fear….some disbelief, some confusion, some relief, some heartache, some disappointment…and lots of love and appreciation.  It was a night spent reassuring, addressing, soothing, explaining, and…mostly, listening.  As I type this (11:30 last night to post tomorrow…which for you is now today) my twelve year old is asleep in my bed next to me for the first time in, like, forever.

I will tell you quickly how the day unfolded in my little corner of the world and then, if you don’t mind, share with you just why I felt some of the things I did.

 
Driving through “Five Corners” in Rockport right around 7:30 a.m. on my way out of town for work, I saw three police cars rushing into Rockport. One was an unmarked car. It was that unmarked black car that made me nervous…that rattled me.  It was that car that set off alarms and made me stop to text my son.  “Are you ok?”  Please, please, please.  “Yes.”  Relief. Exhale. But, then his text continued… “We’re on lock-down. Someone was stabbed. By another student. I think he ran.”  What?  “In the high school?” I asked.  “No, Mom. 7th. In my grade.”  I asked again, “Are you ok?” …..and got no response.
It would be quite a while before I heard from my son again.  In the meantime, I had many thoughts.  He was ok.  But, someone else was not.  Is that really what happened?  Is that just what he thought was happening?  Was there something else going on?  Are the teachers and staff ok? Should I text him again?  Should I call him?  Is his phone on silent?  Is he hiding? Do I really want his phone to make a noise when my message comes through? Does he need me? Is he still ok? If his text was accurate, oh my word….that poor family.
I called my husband and filled him in on the little I knew.  I saw several police cars. I texted our son. This is what he said. Now he’s not answering. Don’t text him or call him.  I don’t want his phone making any noise. Please let me know if you hear more.
I continued on to work.
30 minutes after our initial conversation, thank goodness, another text. “I’m safe, but I can’t text you any more.”
I make a phone call to my husband.
Because I’m at work….I quickly get wrapped up in work.  I want to know more, but there are some immediate things to be taken care of in my office.
At 8:30, an hour after seeing those police cars and first communicating with my son, comes a text from my mother.  “What is happening in Rockport?  I just saw the news.”  I filled her in on what little I knew. I hadn’t thought to call her. I didn’t know it had already made it to the news.
Here is the love and appreciation part…..  for the rest of the day, as news spreads, my phone buzzes with friends reaching out to make sure our son is ok, to send their love, and to acknowledge how scary it must be.  I am so fortunate to have so many amazing people in our lives. Their concern for our boy and his classmates brought tears to my eyes.  The love and kindness they expressed for him…and the community of Rockport…and us…meant the world.
Here, in contrast, is the disappointment part.  I decide to take a moment to see if more information has been shared. It was clear it had been on news channels, but I can’t find it online.  I turn to Facebook and look at the Rockport Middle School page…where I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be an update, but was the first place I thought to check.  I then check out the Rockport Police page….also fully assuming that no one would have been able to share an update. Obviously…and understandably…there is no news.  What I do find, however, on other forums, is a circus of blame and finger pointing and judging. I find people who are convinced that they know exactly why something like this could happen.  Convinced that it was because of this….or because of that.  People who were so quick to assume…while an emergency was still unfolding…so quick to put out to the world what they would have done differently. A frenzy of information shared….some it turns out correct, some it turns out, not.
As I’m reading, a phone call comes in from the school….and then thereafter, an email with the exact same message.  A serious physical assault, one student has been transported to the hospital, one student is in custody, police have determined it is safe to continue with school, as parents you obviously have the right to dismiss your child as you see fit. 
More appreciation….  I also find, thank goodness…goodness.  Many parents supporting each other.  Other community members expressing concern, thoughts, and prayers for all involved.  Many thanking the school and the first responders.  Some people offering to pick up other’s children. Support, thoughts and prayers, importantly I think, to both families.
I work, the day continues to unfold, our son asks to be picked up, my husband gets him, he’s home safely.  We talk briefly….  helicopters, police, I saw her down on the floor, I saw her mother arrive at the school, “yes” I know the boy.
Here’s the thing.  We live in a very small community.  Even beyond our town lines to Gloucester is truly not that big.  It’s most often beautiful.  Idyllic, many would say. A place where people care for each other, rally for each other, and gather to get through hard times.  Often. Yes, my son has a very small number of children in his seventh grade class at Rockport Middle School so, of course, he knows the children involved.  But, it doesn’t end there.  He knows, and truly adores, the extended family of the child who did this as well. We all do.  So, obviously, I immediately reach out.  “Thinking of you. This can not be easy.  I’m so sorry.” In fact, this person is, not at all surprisingly because she is so great, one of the first people who reached out to me upon hearing the news of something happening in Rockport.  Not knowing at the time, how this would come to unfold…and the news she would soon get.
At home we finally have time to really talk.  My son expressed lots of sadness, fear, and emotion. He was very concerned for his hospitalized classmate…and her closest of friends, confused by the actions of another classmate…yet, aware that there were probably issues and circumstances that he does not know or can not understand, sad for both families, worried about his friends from outside of his school who are now suddenly dealing with a different type of sadness and concern and shock, and of course (and heartbreakingly)…maybe for the first time ever…really scared for himself.
We are very thankful to the Rockport school system and for those in Gloucester who jumped in to assist.  We are very thankful to all of the first responders. There are so many people to think of and keep in our thoughts or prayers right now.  I hope that others can just wish for the best for all involved and not point fingers.  Not interject how they could have prevented this situation…not make assumptions.  Instead use that energy to send healing thoughts to the young girl, her hurting family, and her very scared friends.  Continue to think of them through what will no doubt be an incredibly difficult time ahead…even after the physical healing begins to take place.  Also try, as part of this close community, to try to understand the pain and sadness that is no doubt being felt by the other family involved. Consider, for a moment, what that might also feel like. Be kind.

 

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Nichole’s Picks 1/4 + 1/5

Pick #1: Dinosaur Adventure

Do you have a dinosaur lover in the family? I’m guessing that, if you do, this is a not-to-be-missed event!

Learn more HERE

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Event Description

Dinosaur Adventure is an all new, one of a kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with their life-like movement and roars. Learn about the most popular dinosaurs -Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, Velociraptor, and explore recent finds with exciting discoveries!

As part of the Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages will enjoy a variety of activities: fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and more! The whole family will also be amused by our live entertainment, a walking dinosaur show, and a baby dinosaur meet & greet.

Friday, January 3rd
3:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Saturday, January 4th
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sunday, January 5th
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Location

Seaport World Trade Center
Seaport Ln,
Boston, MA 02210

Pick #2: New Year’s Resolution Scavenger Hunt 

Stevens-Coolidge Place, Andover

READ MORE HERE

Stop by The Stevens-Coolidge Place from Monday, December 30 to Sunday, January 12 to get a jump start on those 2020 resolutions!

Just inside the white gate at the front door of the the house, you’ll find a scavenger hunt list on the brick patio to get you started exploring all that 2020 has to offer. On the sheet, you’ll find a list of 15 common resolutions, turned into a call to action that will take you through the property. Borrow one and find what’s in store for you in the new year! This activity is suitable for all ages and is best completed in groups of 2 or more. Get outside and explore this winter!

This is a drop-in event. No registration necessary.

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Pick #3: Go Ice Skating! 

Gloucester’s own Talbot Rink at O’Malley Middle School has open skate available on the weekend’s.  I believe it is offered from 2:00-4:00 on both Saturdays and Sundays.  A full schedule is available at the link below. Check it out so that you can also take in a hockey game while you’re at it!

http://www.gloucesterschools.com/talbot-rink

If you are looking for a way to make a day of your skating adventures, check out this handy Boston Ice Rink guide from Boston Central:

https://www.bostoncentral.com/activities/skate.php

One of Boston’s newest rinks is The Rink at 401 Park in the Fenway neighborhood. If you ask me a day of outdoor skating and lunch, shopping, site seeing in the city is a perfect way to spend a mild winter day.

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As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Yvonne’s Boston

I love the spontaneity of my friends.  With a day’s notice a few of us decided to book a hotel room in the Seaport and spend Saturday night in Boston.  We spent the night at the Westin Seaport, hopped around the city a bit, caught a comedy show at Democracy in Downtown Crossing, then cut through the alley to Yvonne’s…where we were able to score a late 10:30 reservation.

Two delicious Grande Dames (don julio, ancho reyes, cucumber, lime) for me and other yummy cocktails for my friends and then several shared plates including the ones listed below made for a phenomenal dinner.  Yvonne’s eccentric decor is a step back in time and makes for a special night out.

The Supper Club speaks of an older time when comfort and attention to detail trumped trends. The space contrasts a timeworn backdrop and polished décor. Antique crystal chandeliers, overstuffed heather gray tufted sofas, tables enveloped with crisp white linen and hand-clipped Calacatta marble floors. Anchoring the dining room is Locke- Ober’s original Santo Domingo mahogany bar, intricately hand-carved on-site by French woodworkers in 1886. The Supper Club is the ideal setting for seated group dining, business entertaining and birthday celebrations.

DELICATA SQUASH FRITTERS: English Coastal Cheddar, Hot Honey Red Miso Aioli

SPICY FETA Cauliflower Hummus: Pickled Hot Peppers Shakshuka Tomato Red Onion, Feta

CHICKEN & QUINOA MEATBALLS: Chinese Garlic Sauce, Spicy Mayo, Spicy Peanuts

SEARED HALLOUMI CHEESE: Charred Eggplant, Orange Blossom Honey Crispy Chickpeas

FIAMBRE SALAD: Romaine, Papaya, Pickled Beets, Hearts Of Palm, Cotija Chipotle Vinaigrette, Avocado Yogurt, Queso Croutons

ROMAN STREET CAULIFLOWER: Spicy Agliata, Pecorino Romano Crushed Rosemary Almonds, Calabrian Chili

CRISPY TATER CUBES: Joppiesaus, Farm House Gouda Beet Pickled Egg

Check out Yvonne’s HERE

2 Winter Place,
Boston, MA 02108on Google Maps

Call Yvonne’s by phone at617-267-0047

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What is it Like to be a part of Cape Ann Youth Hockey? This.

Such a tremendous video! Back in November, Cape Ann Youth Hockey hosted teams from Montreal, Canada for the annual Sal Grasso Friendship Tournament.  As we’ve shared in the past, this tournament has a long, rich history of friendly, yet competitive hockey between our hometown teams at all levels and the Westmount teams.   Thanks to some organizing by Patti Nocella and the phenomenal work of https://luxelifeproductions.com/ we are now thrilled to share this video highlighting the weekend.

It is easy to see just how special our hockey community is and that teammate bonds are as special off the ice as they are on.  As a league who does not often have the opportunity to play on home ice…this tournament is also special because it gives the Cape Ann community the chance to rally, cheer, and support these skaters…and for an entire weekend at that.  And, rally and support they did.  The smiles, camaraderie, laughs, and high fives are priceless.  The volunteers, organizers, coaches, parents, families, rink staff, fans…and skaters…all play important roles in this tournament and it is thanks to all that this group of hockey players are creating childhood memories to last a lifetime.

Please enjoy this video….and enjoy this peek into the life of our CAYH hockey community.

Nichole’s Picks 12/14 + 12/15

Full days of fun planned in both Gloucester and Rockport this weekend!

Pick #1: Rockport Makers’ Festival

Both Saturday and Sunday 10:00-5:00 throughout downtown Rockport.

For the second year, the Rockport Makers’ Festival returns to Rockport this December 14 and 15, 2019. This holiday festival is produced by a partnership of the Town of Rockport, Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company, and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

The town-wide festival encourages holiday shoppers to buy artisan made gifts, and activates the village with festive events that celebrate the season, including free horse drawn carriage rides on Bearskin Neck, live music, and a “winter cocktail and beer tent”, featuring local Ryan & Wood Distillery and a selection of local brewers.

Throughout the downtown area and at Whistlestop Mall, over 50 of Rockport’s own creative businesses will be showcasing their maker-made gifts, as well as hosting interactive events in their shops, galleries, and restaurants. Events include a “Do-It-Yourself Candle Bar” at Rockport Candle Company and a free “Print-Your-Own Screen Print” with Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company.

Additionally, a juried indoor Holiday Market brings over 40 creative brands from the local area and all over New England to sell their handmade wares at three locations in the village: the Rockport Art Association & Museum, Brackett’s Oceanview Restaurant, and Spiran Hall. The market will be open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day and admission is free.

Other attractions include: an indoor Holiday Food Market hosted by Rockport Exchange on Saturday; Food Trucks; Saturday evening entertainment including a live concert at The Old Sloop Coffee House, a free holiday movie showing at Spiran Hall; and giveaway offers such as free tote bags (while supplies last) and a raffle prize.

A printed event map will be available to guide visitors to the many attractions, and a full schedule is available on the event website, www.rockportmakers.com.

READ MORE HERE

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Pick #2: Middle Street Walk

“Where the Past is Present in a Seasonal Celebration”

Saturday from 10:00-4:00

READ MORE HERE

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Pick #3:  Lobster Trap Tree Lighting and Art Haven Open House 

The end of a wonderful day on Cape Ann ends with an Open House at Gloucester’s Art Haven with cocoa, treats, craft activities, music, face painting and more.  As you see the crowd gathering immediately across the street, head outside for the Lobster Pot Tree Lighting at 4:30 for a sing-a-long and 5:00 for the tree lighting.

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