Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year's Eve 2010 at Tahoe

We spent the week after Christmas in our time share at Northstar at Tahoe. It was beautiful but freezing! Literally 8 below freezing one morning. Sadly, my Alaskan blood has thinned. You can see Ryan didn't seem to notice it is winter, as he played football in the snow in his shorts and tshirt...crazy kid! Andy made the cutest snowman and I had a great video of him clobbering it, but when I called tech support for help with my new iPhone4 (so this wouldn't happen) all of my new photos and videos were he promised me he'll make another one next time we go.

We love celebrating New Year's Eve here. The Clements came over and the 4 girls got in the hot tub to watch the fireworks. They shoot off right by the gondola by the condo and it's the best spot to watch. Mica brought us Martinelli's and we all toasted at midnight. All but two of us stayed awake!!

Dave and I played with Tyler while Mica helped Alexa ice skate. Alaina, Becca, and Alyssa didn't need any help and zoomed in circles until they were too cold to stay out. A great Journey tribute band played at the stage at the end of the rink and brought back lots of memories!

Every year three of the kids tell us how much they hate skiing. (Andy loves it.) Every year we tell them it is fun. Someday I'm hoping they will agree. Notice that our soccer obsessed Ryan wore soccer jerseys over his ski jacket both days. That was the only way we could get him to wear ski clothes! All of the lift operators commented on them and he loved it.
We had two awesome, clear days and Dave and I loved seeing the kids ski together. They really looked like they were having fun...maybe we have some actors in the house.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 2010

I love Christmas morning! We all just lounge in our jammies until someone starts trying on new clothes. We eat left overs from Christmas Eve dinner so I don't have to slave in the kitchen all day and I get to play new games with the kids. We had a few minor problems this year...most importantly Ryan noticed that Santa forgot about Cabo and burst into real crocodile tears until I found some treats for him and assured him that Cabo didn't even know.

We surprised the kids with a ping pong table. It took the coordinated efforts of kind friends who secretly took me to pick up the table with their truck and kind neighbors who let us have the table put together in their garage and kept there until late Christmas Eve, when we hid it in our backyard. I wrapped a box of ping pong balls and 4 paddles and hid the packages in the kitchen. A few hours after the kids thought they were through opening gifts on Christmas Day, Ryan discovered the unopened presents that were marked 'open at the same time'. So he called everyone down and the kids tore them open. Then we went on a hunt for the table. It was a fun day.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Traditions: 2010

As we were driving home from Palm Desert, Dave started dreading even the idea of going to cut down our Christmas tree at a tree farm. Only one of the kids was looking forward to it and I realized that I am not creating the happy memories that I think I am. I am forcing traditions for tradition sake and most of our family doesn't enjoy some of the things we do. So, I caved. And we drove to a tree lot in Walnut Creek where a tree fell on Ryan and we decided that it picked us! We had it delivered, with fresh cut, and set up in a stand a few days later. We all agreed that although it sounds pretty lazy, this was the way to go. I still get to have everyone go to find the tree but no one has to help get it home, in the house, or set up. See, I can compromise!

Every year I try to create new traditions that all of the kids can be involved in and enjoy. This year we did two that we are anxious to continue. We did the Twelve Days of Christmas for our friends' family that has had some health problems. We just wanted to bring extra cheer and had such a fun time bringing surprises everyday and ringing the doorbell and running away. One of the kids was seen a few days into it, then one day the daughter was waiting for us and chased one of the kids, but we got away. We figured they new it was us, but pretended they didn't until the last day when we brought toffee and caroled to them. Our kids felt good helping them to have a little happier Christmas season. They are already trying to figure out a family to do next year.

We took our annual overnight trip into San Francisco on the 23rd. We went to the Exploratorium and to Macy's to see the windows and pick out ornaments. Then before we ate dinner, we did our second new tradition...feeding and helping homeless people. Everyone knows I have brought food for people since our days in New York nearly 20 years ago, but this is the first time we actually have made sacks of food and very intentionally sought out people. We made 18 lunches (not nearly enough!) and brought new scarves, mittens, and hats and walked around Union Square. It didn't take long to give everything away. A lot of really amazing things happened, but the most memorable thing was when I handed a man a bag of food and he immediately gave it to his wheelchair bound wife, not knowing we had more. We gave him another one and he was so grateful. We were so touched at his thoughtfulness to her. I loved watching the joy in the kids' faces as they were able to really tangibly help people in need. And seeing the people we talked to feel happy as we helped them made us all feel good. We decided this is definitely a tradition to do it every season and during the year.

At the Temple grounds and Visitor's Center
We had Cornish Game Hens with the sister missionaries for Christmas Eve dinner, then went to the temple visitors center to start the evening off with the right Spirit. We watched the Luke 2 movie of the birth of Christ and looked at the beautifully lit up grounds. I always love the temple, but there is something even more special about it when it is decorated to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
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Palm Desert Thanksgiving 2

There was an indoor waterway and we rode a boat around the property. It is always fun to discover new things on vacation. I love this family!
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Palm Desert Thanksgiving: Part 1

This year we spent Thanksgiving in Palm Desert. Silly me, I thought deserts were warm, but there was plenty of SNOW at the top of the tram. BRRR! The menu looked great, but when we got to the restaurant we stood in a line and were given a black styrofoam plate with slop on it. Happy Thanksgiving. It was actually very funny and the kids said it would make them appreciate my cooking more! That makes it worth it :)

We went to the Living Desert and rode camels! Can you find the animal that doesn't belong in the pen? The kids showed it to me.
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We drove to the Joshua Tree Park and wandered around for a few hours. The kids especially loved climbing on the beautiful boulders.
Our place had three tennis surfaces and we wanted to try them all. The kids and I played a little, but Dave entered a round robin tournament and had fun playing with people who can really hit the ball back to him. Someday I'll get there! Ryan has been obsessed with soccer since the world cup this summer and couldn't believe that right near our place there was a soccer park. So we played soccer nearly every day. The kids are way faster than Dave and I now. Click on the pictures to make them bigger and you will see what I mean. They are pretty aggressive!
We had a great vacation and I am so thankful for my family.