Seasons greetings from the Dow family!

2020 has been quite a year. Thankfully, we are all healthy, learning, together, and work has remained consistent for both Adam and me. In spite of all the challenges before us, we are doing well. Keeping our hearts and minds focused on supporting one another and being kind, and tackling whatever chore or task is in front of us in the moment is helping all of us.

Eva turns 8 in January and Tyler will turn 6 in February. In March the kids were amazing when schools closed and they were suddenly at home 24-7. We’ve had our bumps and rough days, but I really can’t be more proud of the ways in which they have both adapted and found ways to thrive in a COVID reality. Second grade and kindergarten have indeed been different this year, but we are making the best of it. We chose a hybrid experience, distance learning at home Mon-Wed and in the classroom Thursday and Friday, which is still thankfully in place.

Adam works from home on Monday, I work from home Tues/Wed. From the start of the school year we adapted how, when and where we were working throughout the week to allow the focused time necessary to ensure the kids are having school every day. Tyler continues to be super active and love sports, with a newfound fondness for coloring and drawing. Eva is blossoming into quite a beautiful singer and we love to dance around the house on a daily basis.

This is tough stuff. It does not escape either of us for one second how fortunate and thankful we are to have the partnership in parenting that makes a very difficult reality more manageable.

With family adventures taking a bit of a backseat this year, we did spend a lot of time outdoors at state parks and family friendly hikes, a weekend visiting Moosehead Lake so that Eva “Kineo” Dow could see her namesake mountain, and one adult break in Boothbay Harbor. The lion’s share of outdoor time over the spring and summer was spent close to home, between swimming in the pond and doing a LOT of yard work. Having taken down several dozen trees, Adam learned how to run a stump grinder and backhoe! Come this spring, we’ll have beautiful new grass that slopes from several large flowerbed berms and a variety of stone walls! Thanks to a science project there is even a large nest wrapping one of the anchor trees. The other happy discovery this weekend was the saving of beautifully notched logs from trees from our land… to soon be the inspiration for very active fairy houses.

That brings me to the other big development over this past year. The evolution of Binding Tales has exploded with the creation of Lichendia, a woodland fairyland and setting of my very first fully illustrated children’s book. The pictures are all painted by needle felting wool fibers. That’s right, it is fully illustrated with sheep’s wool. Each illustration is photographed for book production. The inaugural edition in what will evolve into a series of books is about a mermaid who turns into a fairy, befriends a woodland wizard fairy and they cast a magical spell on a troop of puppets, bringing them to life. Did I mention that the characters are named after and inspired by family members? This month, December 2020, kicks off a self-publishing campaign with pre-sales of the book, along with handmade felted products and DIY felting kits. All compasses point toward the books being printed, bound, and self-published in late January/February of 2021. We are all so excited to see what the next year has in store for this creative (and marketable) venture! Please be sure to check out the Launch of Lichendia online shop and read the details of our Founder’s Circle.

My mug of spiced mulled cider is empty, Adam’s bow and arrow lesson in the backyard will soon have run out of steam, and the first sunshine in days is about to be enjoyed before the 1:00 Pats game. I’ll sign off on another annual family Christmas letter with parting words I say a lot lately. May you find joy and happiness in every day.

Take care of yourself and those around you and may we all remain in good health.

Binding Tales Lichendia Hillary Dow

Hillary, Adam, Eva and Tyler

P.S. We enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather with a family soccer game down to the end of our road, and back.