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What's it like to vacation with a family of nine?


Well, the answer certainly isn't as easy as ABC; it's going to take the entire alphabet to field that question. So here goes:

A is for Anthonys. Top row left to right: Caleb, Jesse, Silas. Middle row: Papa Joe, Naomi's husband Joe, Josh, Gabe. Bottom row: Mom Marci, Naomi and Scarlett, Carrie and Gavin, Crystal.

B is for Boat. The siblings pitched in to rent one and Josh, Joe, and Silas studied aggressively to acheive their boating licenses with perfect scores. No demise on water skiis (see below) could be attributed to the drivers.

C is for Coffee. The only thing we take more seriously than food (see "E" and "T" below) is coffee. We had many iterations: French press, single drip, percolator, cold brew.

D is for Descending. Jesse taught me to be a lemming when descending. I taught him that a lemming is not a fish that gracefully follows its school but rather a suicidal mammal that follows its ilk over cliffs. He’ll be sorting that out with the rider who taught him to be a lemming.

E is for Eating. See "T" below.

F is for Footwear. Our entryway looked like a cheaper, more rugged version of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet.

G is for Gluten Free. The number of GF family members has finally reached a quota. With Naomi, Shauna, and Marci joining the ranks, we had GF friendly waffles, pancakes, pizza, cake, and pretzels. Clearly this trend is improving our diets!

H is for Hike. Josh and younger Joe got to appreciate what their parents did carrying them up mountains in backpacks. Senior Joe got to appreciate watching them carry Gavin and Scarlett on their first hike. One thing we are all grateful for is that our parents brought us up to NH to go hiking as kids - we learned not to stop until we got to the top, and also to appreciate nature. Nature has it’s own surefire way of teaching kids about consequences.

I is for Intervals. Pukish cross intervals. “Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections than those who are most content.” It is pretty special to be able to suffer together with my two brothers and to share a love of riding with them. They were also there to get me going again when my spirits and legs were shattered.

J is for Just too cute. Cousins Gavin and Scarlett in the hammock chair.

K is for Kearsarge Mountain. It’s a 1.1 mile trail that is a pretty tricky climb… most of it's up until you reach the very very top, and then it tends to slope away rather sharply.

L is for Layer cake. Birthdays have always been occassions for much celebration among the Anthonys, and Marci made a special cake for Carrie's sister Charlotte who visited during the week. The cake...well... it suffered from some internal instability. It's the quirky mishaps like these that are most memorable!

M is for Manchester Airport at Midnight. Everyone has to pitch in and give a little in order for everyone to be together. Jesse flew across the country twice in between events to be able to make it and we picked him up at Manchester Airport late Monday night.

N is for New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. Josh and I channeled #homeschool and knocked out this week's version entitled "Second Shift." For example, "cROoner's inquest" derived from "cORoner's inquest."

O is for Oh Brother Where Art Thou, the family flick of the week.

P is for Pranking Facebook accounts..

Q is for Quiet. Hahaha. Right. It's acutally for Quirks, which come in all shapes and sizes in a family this large. We had very few Quarrels, so it seems that with time everyone is learning to accept the quirks in others and to laugh at themselves.

R is for Relaxing.

S is for Sore. Between all the playing basketball, cycling, running, tubing, water skiing and subsequent toppling, and sleeping on air mattresses and couches, we all had our share of muscle soreness and looked like we were doing The Robot as we shuffled about the house.

T is for cooking Teams. Growing up, my mom cleverly outsourced dinner-making to her children by designating two alternating cooking teams: Jesse and I were one and Josh and Naomi were the other. We resurrected the original cooking teams and divvied up the rest of the family into pairs to cover the remainder of the nights. We did not want for good food!

U is for growing Up. See "Q."

V is for Vino. Recently, we siblings were crushed to learn that our Italian heritage was far smaller than our English, French, Albanian, and other heritages. We figure that we can still fake it though by clinging to our passion for food and wine.

W is for Water skiing.

X is for NOT being able to make plans. It's always been a point of difficulty for us.

“Who wants to go for a hike?”

“We could do that.”

“Well we don’t have to.”

“Do you want to?”

“Not if people don’t want to.”

“I’ll do whatever everyone else wants to do.”

“Do you not want to go hiking?”

“No it’s fine if you want to go.”

Y is for picture of the Year. "No, no, no. I GOT this!" (Photo cred to Silas)

Z is for Zen. After all a whole week together with the entire family has its, um, moments, so we all needed to practice a little zen!


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