Our final destination is a short walk to the apartment of Jean Cass a close friend of the family where we enjoy games, ice cream, and fireworks from the vantage point of her 9th floor lake view activity room. We have enjoyed many blessings this year none more important than time spent with family and friends. We look forward to seeing you all soon and wish everyone a healthy and prosperous new year.

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Both Maya and Susan were selected from a crowd of several hundred to participate on stage with improve group Kamikaze Comedy during our final entertainment choice of the evening. This actor is on a fishing expedition with his buddy and Susan is required to move his body as his dialog responds to each new body position.

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Next we enjoyed the physical comedy of Brent McCoy whose juggling skills were nothing compared to his humor. During his performance he sustained several injuries for which he singled out Jeanine to kiss the boo boo to make it better. Jeanine drew the line when he fell on his keester and came looking for medical treatment.

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Our next activity was mask making where Jeanine, Maya, and Lydia fashioned their own works of art.

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If we had ended the evening after this single event it would have been well worth the travel to Burlington, but this was just the beginning.

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Each act seemed more amazing or comical than the last and was equally entertaining for both children and adults.

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The Burlington First Night Celebration features dozens of events held at venues throughout the downtown area starting at noon and finishing at midnight. We begin with Circus Smirkus a troop of young aerialists, acrobats, and contortionists who bring high adventure and low comedy to the big ring. Judging by Maya’s expression (in the upper right hand corner) this was probably her favorite performance.

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As we prepared to head into Burlington to enjoy First Night, Kyle instigated a snowball fight. Hannah is a very intelligent and charming young woman but beneath her sophisticated exterior beats the heart of a tiger. When all combat had ceased, I would say that Kyle was covered with more snow and may think twice before provoking another skirmish.

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The morning started with portraits by window light. Hannah and Lydia are both natural beauties and Kyle is not too shabby either.

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Hannah was introduced to and quickly picked up the game of Euchre a Roche family favorite. Meanwhile desserts were being prepared in the kitchen.

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This afternoon the family drove to Burlington, Vermont where we joined Jeanine’s sister Susan for the New Year holiday. We made the four hour drive in two cars so that we could more comfortably accommodate Kyle’s friend Hannah and Maya’s friend Lydia who joined us on the short family vacation. Susan recently purchased a new condominium and this was our first visit. The place is huge with a fantastic open floor plan. We enjoyed a fine lasagna dinner before settling down to some serious card playing.

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Maya and Sarinagh created nine clothing ensembles and laid them out on the bedroom floor. Using a ladder and wide angle lens I was only able to capture five of them.

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Since meeting Jeanine over 25 years ago I have enjoyed a Roche family tradition, popovers for Christmas morning breakfast. This year’s batch will go down in history as the best ever reaching new heights due to a small adjustment Jeanine made to the recipe. Rarely do I get to capture peak moments of happiness but I must say this comes pretty close. The popovers were so big that we could only eat one for breakfast. Leave it to Kyle to invent the grilled ham and cheese popover which we enjoyed for lunch.

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I think it would be safe to conclude that Maya is excited about Christmas this year. Either that or she takes pleasure from defying her parents over the use of the sofa as a trampoline. I used a flash and long shutter speed (to retain the mood of the ambient light) which gives Maya something of a translucent appearance.

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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse….

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It is rumored that the finished Zeppeli tastes best if the honey is allowed to soak in over night. We may never know if this is true.

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