Merry Christmas Friends and Family,

I was awoken by a threatening text at 6 am the other day from my mother.  It said, “You better send me a Christmas letter this year. I didn’t get one last year.”  


I was a little perplexed.  (And scared if we’re being completely honest).  Ever since I became a mother and realized my offspring provided non-stop writing fodder, I’ve written a Christmas letter. It was always a labor of love, but I enjoyed the writing and found it rewardingly cathartic to make fun of the people I made…

SO MUCH FUN, in fact, that I eventually morphed our annual Christmas missive into a weekly blog.

I decided the first year of the blog NOT to write a Christmas letter, as everyone we know was inundated by our family via my posts.  I got some flak for my lack of effort, so last year I wrote a Christmas letter and posted it on my site – saving on stamps and reaching a wider audience, but apparently losing my own Mother in the process.

I don’t know why Doris didn’t read it…I sent her a link(?)


Emilie (30) and Matt are all settled into their new house and new marriage. So settled, in fact, they decided it was time to take the next logical step…they got a puppy. Her name is Bella Louise. The very same thing happened to them that happened to us with our babies. It seems like a great idea at the inception, because puppies and babies are so small, adorable and uncomplicated.  But, they woke up one day and Bella was a teenager.

Even though I’ve been unjustly labeled, “not-a-dog-person,” I pick Bella up from Camp Bow-Wow one day a week and help out in any other way I can.  Like my own children, she is now bigger, smarter, stronger-willed and frequently uncooperative. I’m including a video at the end of this letter of a recent training session Emilie had with Bella. (I’m secretly glad Emilie’s an attorney and not a dog-trainer.) Matt and Emilie really do love their dog; no regrets. I mostly feel the same about my kids.

Mollie (27) is in Amsterdam completing her second-to-last semester of law school with her fiancé. They will return to NYC for their final semesters, graduating in May 2017 from Fordham Law (Mollie) and Columbia Law (Jace). Law school must be considerably more laid back in Europe than it is in the U.S. because every time I turn around there’s a picture of them looking relaxed and happy, in front of the Vatican or the Eiffel Tower.


Wedding date – June 1, 2017

They Skyped me and Dad the other day to deliver the sad news that, due to final exams, they won’t be home for Christmas. Sometimes with Skype, after you say your good-byes, the picture disconnects before the audio. When that happened the other day, I overheard Mollie say to Jace, “They did well!” I’m not sure if she was referring to our ability to Skype or absorb disappointing news, but either way, it’s good to know we are evolving as parents.

James (19) and Tommy (16) are constantly calling me, texting me or coming in my room to provide me with an overview of their grades. They must have something running in their brains akin to an academic version of a Wall Street ticker tape. They are constantly analyzing, “I have ___ in this class, so if I make __ on this test and ___ on the exam, I’ll end up with a ___ in the class!” This practice continues x 2 boys x 5 or 6 classes each. Every time a new grade is posted, I get an updated Hypothetical Grade Prognosis Report.

Maybe it’s because they are no longer playing sports and their uber-competitive natures are manifested in this way. I don’t really know…but James’ STATED LIFE GOAL is to, “Kick Emilie and Mollie’s ______ academically.”

And Tommy’s is to kick James’. I mean, goals are good right?

(* All family photos courtesy of Gravies Instagram account!)

(* All family photos courtesy of Gracie’s Instagram account!)

You can probably imagine the considerable amount of heat this puts on Gracie (21). The proverbial middle child, sandwiched in between her accomplished older sisters and her competitive younger brothers, she remains remarkably undaunted by filial pressure. It’s not that she isn’t analytical like the others…of course she is. We have similar conversations to the ones I have with the boys, “If I wear ___ to the game with that off-the shoulder ___, and don’t “Instagram” it, I can wear ___ to the party on Friday with ___, for a totally different look!”

Rotating one’s ensembles and keeping one’s presentation fresh in these challenging times of social media saturation, requires focus and an unswerving attention to detail. We are certain she will parlay these skills into an amazing career when she graduates one year from May with a degree in Ad/PR.

* All family photos courtesy of Gracie's Instagram account

(* All family photos courtesy of Gracie’s Instagram account!)

Jimmy and I  congratulate ourselves on another anniversary this Monday.  It seems we will have been married 32 years.  Apparently, when I wrote my bios a few years ago, I said we were married 33 years. I was off by 3 or 4 years. It doesn’t matter. When you float/flounder around in a cloud of domestic bliss, time is simply irrelevant.

We hope 2017 brings you and your family perfect peace and harmony. But if for some reason it doesn’t, remember you can always write a blog about it.

The Blanchard Family

* PS – Thank God for Gracie’s Instagram Account…