Merry Christmas! And I’m glad to see you made the Christmas letter list this year. I know last year, we got a little lazy and didn’t publish one and you may have thought we forgot you but look at what a difference a year makes!! Welcome back to the list! Just remember that your receipt of this letter infers no recognition of your naughtiness or nicety so make sure you’re good with the fat dude in the red suit before 12/25.
So, 2015 – what a year it was! The end.
No, I’m just kidding. The Durneys were busy as usual and while not always up to any good, we (almost) always had fun. We had our challenges as we all do which seems ever more prevalent when you share your home with the short people with an inherent obsession with leaving blue toothpaste on the sink (and mirror) each morning. And for the love of God, please close your mouth when eating!
Connor continued quite successfully in his quest to torture his sisters. But he also played baseball, basketball, football, and is now working on getting his badges in Cub Scouts. He is disturbingly obsessed with his bike and now insists he needs a “gear bike” so he can “go FASTER and ride over rocks and stuff.”
So while he has shown promise for the X Games in daredevil bike riding, his football career is probably short-lived as his playing style is very similar to the Patriots’ special teams as of late.
That all being said, he continues to do well in school and has established himself firmly as a knucklehead and of course, he loves to write random stories and thoughts in his notebooks (maybe his IS my son!). Now if we could just get him to read for more than 90 seconds…
Ava is a bike rider!! Hooray! She did it! It was certainly a challenge for her but she stuck with it and then, POOF, down the driveway she went. Last weekend she actually went on a ride through the neighborhood with Val. Something tells me that girl just opened a door to a whole new world and we couldn’t be more proud. Determined, competitive, passionate, and full of conviction – she continues to impress us every day. Ava also still loves to dance and is taking Ballet classes (first time without her partner in crime Zoe). Holiday show is tomorrow night on stage!
Zoe is still working hard on learning how to ride her bike but she also has decided to take a break from her impressive dancing career and play some basketball and perfect her roller skating – watch out Derby Girls! Zoe got to go on her first real field trip to Plimoth Plantation “on buses with a bathroom and TVs!!” Ava got to go too. Zoe continues her love affair with animals and can always be found sitting with Preston and making sure he’s happy. I think that relationship is reciprocal for sure.
Ava, Zoe, and Connor also attended summer camp for the first time. They spent a week at Camp Christopher at St. John’s Prep (dad’s alma mater) and a week at the Audubon Society in Topsfield both of which they loved! They are starting to find solace in autonomy and exploring the world we live in without Mom & Dad – exciting and scary for both of us at the same time (but mostly because Dad doesn’t have answers to the increasingly difficult questions!).
Preston had a rough year for sure. Last winter he tore is ACL and went through two surgeries. Unfortunately, while he’s doing better now, he still is only at about 50% of his old self. Now if I could only just get back 50% of what it cost for those surgeries I’d be happy. Unfortunately, it’s one of the first hard lessons in life for the kids knowing that he is fragile and the thought of one day losing him is almost for any of us to handle.
Running continues to be Val’s first love besides me of course. She finds her happy place with two blue ear buds, a Spotify playlist, running shoes and the road. We have both been able to run several road races together which is certainly a confidence booster for her while simultaneously justifying to course officials the necessity for having an ambulance close by for when I arrive towards the end of the pack.
Val also loves going to yoga with her supremely awesome friend Denise and joining the local moms for a Tuesday “coffee club” which is obviously a secret women’s society. The Dads don’t know what really happens on Tuesdays and we have made a collective decision to just not ask. Instead, we have “coaches meetings” at the Spot. Touché.
Val took Ava & Zoe to the Museum of Science for an overnight stay with the Girl Scouts this year which was a huge hit with the girls. They slept in the museum. On the floor. With hundreds of kids and snoring moms. #motheroftheyear
For me, 2015 was a wonderful year filled with meeting new friends, curating old friendships, and finding ways to deal with the often debilitating stresses of life and parenthood. We spent a great deal of time together at Crane Beach that is simply the kids’ favorite place on Earth. It’s where they lose themselves and just laugh and giggle and are truly happy. And as a parent, is there anything more to want?
I continue to support the GEF and PTA in town and help to coach basketball for Zoe, & Connor. My office moved from Cambridge to Fenway adding to an already stressful commute although we now have a sick roof deck that overlooks Fenway Park (concerts!). Unfortunately, I now have to wear glasses to read the flirtatious texts that Val sends me ALL the time or see the old person food on my plate. In other words, I’m getting old. And fat. And bald. So I, like many of you I’m sure, in a bitter attempt at defying the inevitable, have begun to take better care of myself. I want to be around for my kids as long as I possibly can much to their displeasure at bedtime. So I have recently subjected myself to another round of CrossFit. But this time, I’m working on getting a discount for the comedic value of my workouts for others to witness. Seems only fair.
It was a year of firepits and marshmallows, Crane Castle Concerts under the summer skies with glow sticks and ice cream, sleepovers at Nannie & Grandpa Bob’s, taking Griffin to his first concert with Peggie to see U2 at the Garden, amazing summer nights with great friends, sunsets on the beach, our Annual Christmas Party with the Erie 4 Fire Department and Santa, Zac Brown at Fenway, First Night in Portsmouth, SNOW, and the best part of all, Val and I went to Bermuda for 5 days to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. I can’t begin to describe how amazing and rejuvenating it was not only for our souls and stress levels, but to be reminded, without interruption, just how much I missed those subtle conversations we had on the beach or at a quiet sunset dinner.
2015, albeit with its substantial challenges and stresses, was a year of remembering what’s important in life and then finding the scarce time to make it happen. Life’s too short not to be happy. Embrace it.
Happy Holidays to you all.
K, V, A, Z, C, & P