#bucketorfuckit: Ice Castles New Hampshire

Adventures, Cities

Lucas and I have been joking about the idea of #bucketorfuckit since the summer when his dad was talking about something on his bucket list that my MIL was not even close to excited about. Lucas said, “sounds like it’s on Mom’s fuck it list” and we’ve joked about this ever since.

So for my first official installment, I present to you: Ice Castles NH.

If you follow them on Instagram you’ll be WOWED by these stunning, gigantic, gorgeous ice structures. It’s like a maze that Elsa from Frozen crafted for #forthegram. I’ve been following them @icecastles_ since last year and have been begging Lucas to go ever since.

Important Facts to Consider about the Trip:

  • The New England location is a little over 2 hours from Boston, so round trip you’re looking at about 5 hours of driving time between driving + stops.
  • It’s at the base of the White Mountains, so cell service on the way may be a little spotty. And it’s cold.
  • If you’re a Bostonian, a heads up: it’ll be probably 20 degrees colder there than it is here in the city.
  • You can’t bring a stroller (because snow) so if you have kids you need to wear them or bring a sled. Since I’m super pregnant, we borrowed a sled.

Since this is an honest review, I’ll give it to you straight: my kids hate the cold. They are NOT fans. We went with friends and waited for them outside while they were parking/getting ready since we arrived a little earlier and that 15 minutes was too much for them. So if you have toddlers or babies: be aware of how much they can handle. Despite multiple layers and snow bibs and heavy coats, scarves, hats and gloves, they were just not having it.

Exhibit A:

SO. If you have kids, keep them in mind. Know their tolerance levels, because driving for four hours to spend 10 minutes inside a tourist attraction is kind of crazy. Our arrival time also overlapped with nap-time and I think that made a big difference in Liv’s response to the elements.

Exhibit B:

So. You can imagine with this situation that we basically ran in and ran out. But I’ll try and give my impression of the actual “Ice Castles” experience without letting the toddlers affect my judgement.

First of all, it looks so tiny when you pull into the parking lot. Our initial comments were “that’s it?” and “wow that’s smaller than I expected.” It’s a lot bigger once you get up close.

It is actually really stunning up close and once you’re inside it’s kind of magical.

If you have older kids (5-10) they would probably LOVE it because they have the Frozen soundtrack playing and they have several Disney princesses on site for the kids to meet. They also have a quaint little hot chocolate cabin and a few ice slides, which are all so fun and full of winter magic.

If we lived closer this would have been a perfect date spot and we would have really enjoyed it sans kids.

But that’s not my life. I don’t think we lasted more than 10 minutes, and someone was always unhappy. So what’s my verdict?

If you don’t have kids, or have older kids who are little snow angels who can handle the cold, and can make a day out of the trip and visit one of the nearby breweries (our original plan): bucket.

If you have toddlers or babies (especially one with sensory sensitivities): fuckit.

Boston’s Back Bay + Holiday Style

Adventures, Cities

On Sunday we took Mathias and Livia to the Prudential Center Mall in the Back Bay area of Boston to see Santa…well, the line was about 50 people deep and my kids probably wouldn’t have made it halfway through the line without one of them having a meltdown. So instead we ended up taking a stroll around the neighborhood to enjoy the holiday lights and decor.

If you’re not familiar with Boston, Back Bay is an affluent neighborhood downtown best known for its gorgeous rows of brownstones and high-end shopping – kind of like if New York City’s Upper East Side had a baby with 5th Avenue. I have always been drawn to this neighborhood because the brownstones remind me of home. They’re a huge part of the architecture in Brooklyn and I think every city girl’s dream is to live in one. It isn’t necessarily on the standard tourist’s bucket list, but I always suggest it to friends who visit from out of town. This area is magical in a way that will make you fall in love with this city and its history.

I always struggle with being both comfortable and fashionable when I’m pregnant and for the past three pregnancies I’ve always turned to PinkBlush Maternity.

The thing with being a mother of soon to be three under three is that we are ALWAYS on the go. And if I’m going to be hauling around two toddlers with a huge belly, I’m looking for something that is going to be flattering and transitional without me having to do anything other than changing my accessories. I wore this dress all day – to the mall, to Pizzeria Uno, walking around Back Bay – and hat and a change of shoes brought me from day to night look with no effort. I plan on wearing this for at least one holiday event this season and have a few others I can’t wait to wear! You can find their dresses here.

Oh, and a Back Bay resident who was walking his pug told me I looked fabulous, so that made me feel pretty good after failing to bring my kids to meet Santa.

You can find my dress here and right now there is a sale for 20% off! They ship super fast and you definitely have time to get something before the holidays.

This is a sponsored post.

Picking Out a Christmas Tree, and Making Traditions

Adventures

There are very few things that have been consistent traditions since Lucas and I got married. We always get a real tree, but that’s basically it. Our first two Christmases married we got a tree at a local market. Our last Christmas we moved on December 15th and Lucas was the only one in the shop at Lighthouse trying to finish tables before Christmas, and I had given birth to Liv only 2 months prior. So I got a tree by myself with the babies at an Ace Hardware and it was very depressing because I wanted Lucas to be there but the first year of running your own business means making sacrifices, in this case, having your wife get your tree without you.

This year I had big plans: a farm, away from the city, on a beautiful early winter day, where we could cut down our own tree.

As it happened, it rained all day, and we almost went to Home Depot instead. I’m glad we didn’t. The drive was gorgeous and we stopped to take a few pictures on the way.

We went to Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow, MA and unfortunately they already ran out of cut-your-own trees. Honestly we wouldn’t have done it anyway since it was so dang muddy and wet outside and Lucas refused to get his shoes dirty (not kidding).

Fortunately, they had a barn full of perfect trees and it didn’t take long for us to find the right one to take home!

Everyone who worked there was super nice and offered to take a few pictures of us, which I am as grateful for as the tree itself. Getting Lucas in a picture with me is so hard because he’s usually the photographer … but it’s not a family photo if the whole fam isn’t in it.

Mathias had a blast but wanted to run the whole time. Hence his lack of enthusiasm for these photos.

Raw enthusiasm pictured below:

He did end up falling in the mud, but didn’t seem phased by it which is amazing considering how texture sensitive he is! I’m sure it helped that only his pants got ruined and he didn’t get anything on his face…but still.

I had so many plans for how the day should have gone, and all the pictures I wanted to take, but the candidate that Lucas got are pretty amazing and I love them.

Maybe next year we’ll get to cut down our own tree and there will be snow on the ground, and we’ll have a great tripod set-up and we can take family photos in the field instead of in front of the barn. Either way, it doesn’t really matter – what matters is that we got to spend time together in a beautiful place, starting to prepare for the most wonderful time of year. For that, I’m grateful.