An Even Dozen

Here are a dozen things I learned during our Sisters’ Winter Getaway –
1. Don’t be afraid to think ‘outside of the box’ when it comes to planning a Sisters’ Getaway. When we realized that our Winter Getaway was going to be in New England instead of Florida, we began searching the traditional vacation rental websites – VRBO and AirBNB. While we weren’t too particular about location, it did need to be within driving distance from Hanover, NH (for some doctor appointments already scheduled) and it also had to be handicap accessible. Oh, and fit our budget! Nothing was really thrilling us, and we had even begun to check out different hotel/motel/suites options. Good for the handicap part, not so great for the ambiance. In my searches, down at the bottom of the page was a link to Alton Bay Christian Conference Center in the Lake Winnipesaukee area. Hmmmm. Wonder what they might have to offer. There in the Facilities tab was a little sub section called Cottages for Rent. And under that heading was one cottage.
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While there was only the one exterior photo, the description sounded great, and there was, after all, a “D” on the exterior. (The owners probably thought it stood for their family names, but we were pretty sure it stood for Dwinell!). Joie contacted them to get some additional details,  signed the contract  post haste, and we were good to go. I cannot express how perfect this little cottage was for us. Everything, from the view of the lake through the pine trees to the grab bars in the bathroom, was like God had picked it out for us! (And I do believe He did!)
Cottage love
2. Jigsaw Puzzles. There is no such thing as Puzzle Police. We enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles when we’re together– the conversation can continue and it’s a nice cooperative effort. Our first puzzle was a beautiful Vermont scene, but as we got further into it we realized we just weren’t that interested in all those fuzzy fall colored trees. When our rate of “piece finding” slowed to roughly 1 every hour, we decided to pack it up without completing it. (I’m happy to report our consciences were not seared and we were still able to sleep at night.) We like puzzles with lots of interesting things to find. Once we walked away from those evil trees, we enjoyed two other puzzles.
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Also – ALL puzzles work better when there is chocolate involved!
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3. It’s perfectly OK to have avocado toast for a late breakfast every day. It’s quite delightful actually! (We upgraded to some artisan bread after a couple of days – and that added a whole new level of deliciousness!)
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4. Eating two meals a day works just fine on vacation. Especially when Joie has brought all the fixin’s for homemade soup and rice pudding. And is ready to do the bulk of the cooking. (We’ve actually worked out a pretty good division of labor. Joie’s the main cook, Elna is the main dishwasher, and I’m the driver (and avocado toast maker).)
5. While I drink my coffee black 51 weeks of the year, when I’m with my sisters it’s coffee with whipping cream (none of that whimpy half and half for us!) all the way. We may or may not have gone through 7 pints of that liquid goodness during our time together (full disclosure – the rice pudding did use some too!).
6. All three of us are enthralled with watching birds at the feeder.
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Chickadees, tufted titmouses (tufted titmice?), nuthatches, a couple different types of woodpeckers, a pair of house finches, a lady cardinal, juncos, and (we think) a redpoll.
7. The squirrels were pretty fun to watch too!
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We got pretty innovative when it came to shooing them away, but I’d like to report that attempting to throw snowballs at them was less than effective. Though that could’ve been my terrible aim.
8. Meeting up with family is the BEST!!! We had a lovely lunch with Vermont family down in Keene and we’re so glad we could make the connection!
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9. Experiencing a Nor’Eastr during our time called for a little adjustment (changing doctor appointments to video calls), but all in all it was just a beautiful added dimension to our vacation.
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(Catch the snow INSIDE the bird feeder!)
Especially when our neighbor did such a stellar job of keeping us shoveled out!
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10. Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful! On a crystal clear (and bitter cold) day we took a drive around the lake.
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All those huts are ice fishermen. Brrrrrrrrr
Lake Winnipesaukee
Weir Beach – not so many fishermen here!

11. Waking up with no heat one morning was a bit of a surprise, but huddling together near the little gas stove while we waited for the service guy wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning.
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The furnace was up and warming by 9:30, and the homeowner was very thankful that we were there when it happened. It could’ve been quite disastrous had it happened while the cottage was unoccupied.

12. Spending time with these two women, whom I am so blessed to call both sisters and sisters in Christ, is precious beyond words. We are so thankful for husbands who understand that our hearts need these times, and for a gracious Heavenly Father who orchestrated this year’s Winter Getaway right down to the sesame seeds for our avocado toast garnish.
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Saying farewell is always hard
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but husbands and real life call us back. Until next time, dear sisters, we’ll keep on Zooming! Real hugs are better, but just seeing your faces each week does my heart good!

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