Dueling Christmas Lights – Part One

Another one of the Brethauer Christmas traditions is to go and look at Christmas lights. Over the years we have driver to many different areas around our town. Sadly, the past four of five years, have pretty much been the same exact houses (something which Matt reminds me every year since these are the only years he has been included in the tradition). Well this year, BOTH sets of parents stepped it up. And boy was I impressed.

First up, the Englehardts. Christmas light viewing is nothing something Matt grew up doing. They were more a “go to the movies on Christmas” type of family. Thankfully, they have welcomed many of my crazy traditions into their lives. So when Matt’s mother announced that she has a surprise adventure planned, I was psyched. We drove to the town of Millis, MA a neighboring town to where Matt grew up. Unfortunately, about 2,000 other people had the same surprise adventure in mind and we ended up waiting for over an hour in traffic. During this time we enjoyed some quality family bonding time with the Boston Pops concert playing in the background. When we finally pulled up enough to see the lights, we all realized the wait was well worthwhile.

Every year, a local businessman, Kevin Meehan puts on a display to top all displays in his family’s home. What started as a small family project has become a Winter Wonderland, acres upon acres lit from top to bottom, which includes 45+ workshops where all of Santa’s friends, family and elves are preparing for the coming holiday, a real tugboat, and Santa himself sitting 40 feet tall. The display is free for all to experience, but friends and family of Mr. Meehan collect donations for the Salvation Army along the route (a nice touch in my mind).

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Mr. Meehan owns a large auto dealership, so the display included some of the new trucks and cars that might be on folks’ Christmas Lists. Hey, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone. Or did it?

Turn it tomorrow for the NH light show.

Nantucket Recap

For our anniversary, Matt surprised me with a trip to Nantucket. I was not expecting a weekend away, so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

We flew into Nantucket airport, which feels much more like a country club than an airport, on Friday morning. We stayed at the  Cliffside Beach Club which captured the preppy New England seaside feel to a tee. It was the absolute perfect place for a romantic, relaxing weekend trip.

Neither one of us had ever been to Nantucket before, so Matt relied on advice from our friend Laura. We loved everything that she suggested and I am happy to pass it along to you here!

DAY ONE:
After checking into our hotel (it was amazing, our room was ready at 9:30am!) we walked into town and decided to rent bikes from Young’s Bike Shop for the entire weekend. We rode around for a little bit trying to get a feel for the town before heading over the Something Natural, the most amazing sandwich shop and bakery. We decided to take our lunches to go and have a picnic at the base of one of the few lighthouses on the island, Brandt Point. After lunch we walked around town for a little and then spent the afternoon hanging out around the pool at our hotel (where I proceeded to get burned…). For dinner, we rode our bikes back to down and had a trendy/fancy Dinner at The Pearl.

DAY TWO
We woke up and had breakfast at the hotel on the beach. After relaxing for a bit, and a quick run, we rode our bikes into town and went to Provisions for ham and cheese sandwiches before heading out the Cisco Brewery for the afternoon. While here, we enjoyed the music from two different local bands and enjoyed the island’s finest beer and wine. We returned to town for a casual dinner at Brotherhood of Thieves. We ended the night with a quick (hey, we are old) trip to the local dive bar, The Chicken Box.

DAY THREE:
One our last full day, we ate breakfast on the beach again before heading into town. We decided to turn in our bikes for a scooter. Yup, that’s right, a moped. We wanted to get out a bit further so decided this was a good option. After a couple test rides around the block, we strapped on our helmets and set out for Sconset. The ride was chilly but we made it there in one piece. After walking down to Sconset Beach we had a quick lunch at Claudette’s Catering, one of the 4 places of business in this small town. After lunch we stopped by to see Sankaty Lighthouse before returning back to town. We did a little shopping and then returned to the hotel. We got in a quick workout before a romantic sunset dinner at the restaurant right next to our hotel, Galley Beach.

We woke up very early Monday morning for our flight back and were back in NYC by 8am.

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The weekend was relaxing and fun and I always enjoy going to a place where 75% of the people are wearing a Red Sox hat/shirt/sweatshirt. I’m already looking forward to our next trip back to Nantucket!

 

Pan Mass Challenge – UPDATE

I would like to update you all on my progress towards my goals.

  • To date, I have raised $1,025
    Thank you to everyone who has already shown their support. I truly appreciate it! Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go! There is still plenty of time to make a donate – please click HERE to do so! Remember 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the Jimmy Fund!
  • In 2011, I have ridden approximately 120 miles
    As a result, I am pretty confident I will finish the first day of the Pan Mass (110 miles) – not so sure how that second day is looking!
  • Matt vs. Molly
    Last year, I was able to keep pace with Matt fairly easily during the ride. So far this year, Matt has crushed me during every training ride. Last year Matt has a stress fracture in his leg that kept him on crutches right up until the Pan Mass. Apparently, that impacted his performance… and I thought he was just lazy. At least I will look better in my bike shorts!

As I have done in years past, I created a YouTube video from last year’s ride. Hopefully this helps you experience what it is like to ride 190 miles to fight cancer.

 
Thank you so much for your support! We are closer by the mile!

Thank You

When I was younger, writing “thank you cards” after Birthday parties and Christmases was an annual ritual. Both Abby and I were told the importance of this gesture and certainly made aware if we ever forgot to write one in a timely manner. As much as it was a pain when we were younger, I am so happy that my mother was such a stickler back then. Now, I pride myself on my thank you cards. They are sincere and heartful. They get to the point, but include more than “thanks for the gift.” And now… they are homemade.

I spend the last few nights slaving away at my craft desk. I armed myself with glue, craft paper, stamps, decorative whole punches, alphabet stickers and of course, card stock. I cut, measured, stamped, drew and glued together tiny symbols of thanks.

Thanks for support in the Pan Mass. Thanks for hope that is given to cancer patients being treated at the Dana Farber Center. Thanks for the possibility of a cancer free future.

Over the next few days, my PMC supporters will receive these tiny envelops of thanks. I hope that they realize just how much their donations and support mean to me. The memories and emotions that the PMC creates are hard to put into words. I can only hope that people are able to gain a small sense of what I feel, through my emails, conversations and pictures.

 

So, I say again, thank you to all of my friends and family who have generously donated to the Pan Mass Challenge. I have raised over $2,000 in donations from 24 different people, and I am still counting! I can receive donations through October so it isn’t too late to make yours. [Click to Donate]

Pan Mass Challenge

Pan Mass Challenge – 2010

Nearly 3 years have passed since I first decided to participate in the Pan Mass Challenge. A lot has happened to me in those three years: I moved from Boston to New York, I changed jobs two times, and after dating for 8.5 years, Matt and I finally got engaged. Our world has also seen a lot of changes in those last three years: We have a new president; Oprah announced her retirement and the economy took a turn for the worst. Our country has been forced to rethink its priorities and expectations; however, one thing that has remained constant is our desire to improve, both as individuals and as a country.

The Pan Mass is an organization that has been striving for improvement for more than 30 years. Through fundraising efforts, the Pan Mass has raised more than 270 million dollars for cancer research and treatment. Over the years, the survival rate for cancer has steadily risen as the technology, treatments and understanding of this disease has changed and increased. What sets the Pan Mass Challenge apart from other fundraising efforts is their ability to pass 100% of its donations directly on to the Dana Farber Center. With their proven track record and millions of supporters, the PMC has become the most successful athletic fundraiser in the world. It is something that I believe in whole-heartedly and something that has had a very real impact on my family’s life this year.

A few weeks after last year’s PMC my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. They caught it early, treated it quickly and while her “battle” against cancer was a very real one, it was also a very small dose of the battles that so many other individuals and families are fighting. Although my mother was not treated at the Dana Farber Center, I am certain that the contributions that the Pan Mass, and other organizations like them, have made over the years, have led to large advances in cancer prevention, screening and treatment. Seeing, and experiencing firsthand, the good that can come from something so simple has inspired me to ride in the Pan Mass Challenge for a third year.

This year, Matt, my sister and my mom, will ride with me and we will all be riding the two-day route from Sturbridge to Provincetown.  As we pedal across the state, we will be surrounded by other riders and volunteers, whose lives have been touched by cancer as well. Some of these people will have stories with happy endings and others will have stories that are now only memories. But together, we hope to fight back against cancer. I hope that you can support me in this fight.

Please visit my profile to make a donation here: http://www.pmc.org/egifts/MB0342