Thursday, January 5, 2012

Keeping it Real….A Holiday Recap

I like to look at other blogs when I get the chance.  I like the pretty pictures they have.  But sometimes I wonder, “Is their house always that clean?”  “Are their counters always that clear?”  “Do they always look that good?”  You ever wonder stuff like that too? 

Then there is me.  I like to try and put pretty pictures on my blog. Sometimes I have time to take them and sometimes I have time to touch them up.  And most of the time I don’t.  And that’s because I’m not quite sure how to find the time.  Or I’m not good at balancing my time.  I sit here writing this while my desk is piled high with stuff, it’s blocking my monitor. 

So you’re going to get quick, unedited photos in this here holiday recap.  Because it’s the memories that count, not the pretty pictures.  And now I’ll stop feeling bad for myself and hope that someone else feels good about what they do or how pretty their pictures are.  Cause you should feel good about yourself!
Our holiday break started off with bunches and bunches and bunches of snow.  We had a white Christmas in the southwest with over 2 feet of the white stuff at our house.  That meant breaking out the old sled and the new one and taking it down the 2 hills in our backyard.  The dog even got in on the action.  That air tube sled is awesome…it was recommended by some family friends.  They rock!  (The friends and the sled both rock!)

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Christmas Eve had us trucking (I mean minivanning) up the mountain road towards the top of the mountain.  We snowshoed first. 

12-24-11 Christmas Eve Snow Fun (5)

Then we drug out the sled and headed to an old sand pit to do some sledding.  We were the first ones to track up in the fresh snow.  It was up to my waist in some places.  Biker Boy and I had to push the kids up in the sled.  Whew…I got my workout that day.  We made some awesome tracks with the tube sled.  The dog was bushed by this time and cold, so he hung out in a backpack.  Chewy was in the midst of a melt down.  I eventually had to take her back to the van and sit with her while the boys made a jump for the sled.  Yes, we wear helmets sledding.  Need to protect what’s left under it. 

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Did I mention there was lots of snow?  So much snow that in places there was no room for them to plow it so the road was down to one lane.  So much snow that it was over the tops of trucks and SUVS where it was pushed up against the side of the road.  Yep, lots of snow.  We’ve never seen this much snow on the mountain before Christmas.

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Christmas Eve evening was reserved for church and opening a few gifts.  Like new pajamas and robes.  Oh, our pastor and his wife at church have the kids come forward and they read the Christmas story to the kids.  They ask questions and get lots of comments.  It’s funny to hear and watch some of the kids and then be thankful that none of mine did anything that would embarrass us.  Apparently Apple did well this Christmas, most of the kids at church wanted an “I” something or other when the Pastor asked them what they would like for Christmas.  Mine wanted Legos and a Barbie. 

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Our kids got us up at 7am on Christmas morning.  Not too shabby!  Then it looked like the elf wrapping bomb went off in our house.

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Bright and early the morning after Christmas we headed on an 8 hour drive to meet up with my parents and Biker Boy’s family.  At a hotel.  The kids were actually entertained with books on CD and we made one long stop at a McDonald’s for lunch and a quick potty stop at a Wal-Mart somewhere in Colorado for the potties and to buy a cheap point and shoot camera with a gift card.  I wanted a camera I could put in my coat pocket so I didn’t have to lug my big one around.  You can probably tell that most of these were shot with that camera.  The picture below is the first one shot with the camera by Biker Boy. I have no idea what I’m doing.  Recovering from the 8 hour drive by eating Christmas goodies? 

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We shared a 2 bedroom suite with my parents and were down the hall from Biker Boy’s family.  It was a good time!  The hotel had a pool and served us breakfast and dinner.  You can’t beat that!  Plus, we got out a lot and tired the kids out.  It’s hard to share a bed with a four year old girl and her bear and her doll.  After 4 hours she got it all to herself.  We threw Scooter on the hide-a-bed and I got my usual bed partner back to myself!

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We went to Hammond’s Candy Factory.  That was a last minute decision the night before when I saw a brochure that said “Free Candy.”  Yep, free candy catches my eye.  That’s how I roll.  So we went.  And it was a yummy trip.  You know those big huge beautiful suckers that some photographers using in styling photos with kids….yep, those suckers probably came from Hammond's Candy. 

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We went to the Downtown Aquarium.  It was beyond awesome.  Go there and check it out if you’re in Denver ever.  When we asked the kids what their favorite thing about the aquarium was Scooter replied, “Everything.”  And Chewy replied, “The mermaids.”  Yes, mermaids.  I want to be one when I grow up.  We had front row sitting seats to the Mystic Mermaid show.  They even waved to Chewy who was eagerly waving back.  She even got her photo with the mermaids later on!  Those mermaids have some fantastic breath holding skills.  I wonder how much their tails weigh?

And apparently the aquarium made such a big impact on Scooter that he told his teacher about it.  She asked me about when I was volunteering in his class today.  That's all he told her about Christmas. 

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We saw a movie (The Muppets) and hit up IKEA another day.  That big blue store was crowded.  We didn’t get there until about 1:30 and decided to eat lunch first and the line was long!  It was crazy busy.  But we came home with a huge box and a whole bunch of other little things.  I’ve promised Biker Boy I would share what he built from the box later.  He was very impressed with it.

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We hit up a recreation center with a huge water complex another day.  That was the anticipated adventure since we also did that last year.  Biker Boy tried to get Scooter to go up the huge water slide in the beginning and both Scooter and I freaked out.  I had visions of the kid choking on water since he hadn’t yet been swimming much. Yes, both parents are swimmers and our kids are turtles rather than fish. I don’t mind.  But after awhile Scooter started swimming all over under the water and decided on his own to try the slide.  I was fine with that.  Biker Boy went first and Scooter was to follow him with me behind Scooter.  Well, once Scooter sat down to go he started to freak out.  And there was a long line behind us.  So what did I do?  I shoved the kid.  He did just fine.  And he’ll tell you that mommy pushed him down the slide. 

We also stopped at Dinosaur Ridge again this year.  It’s a cool place if you like dinosaurs or a hike.  We like both.

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After our Colorado adventure with family (love all you guys and we had a great time, thanks!) we headed to Northern New Mexico to do some skiing and snowboarding.  We stayed in a motel with “character” in a tiny town.  You do know what I mean by “character,” right?  Can you imagine what it smelled like?  See for yourself below:

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We hit up the Red River Ski Area on New Year’s Eve.  Let’s just say that they didn’t have nearly as much snow as we had back at our home.  Plus the wind was about 90mph and had blown what snow there was right off the hill or made it crusty.  We made the best of it. 

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But to be honest, we probably won’t go back to Red River in the winter anytime soon.  We love the place in the summer, but it was not real appealing this winter.  It was the most expensive place we’ve been skiing as a family because we had to pay for Chewy.  Every other place we’ve been to Chewy has been free, plus the adult tickets were even more expensive than other places we’ve been too.  And speaking of Chewy.  That girl had an up and down day. She’d be happy one minute and having a melt-down the next minute.  So I got to spend a couple hours with her like this:

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To be fair to Red River, we’ve been spoiled with great snow near us.  We skied at Wolf Creek for 2 days when they got 4 feet of snow.  Then we did 2 Saturdays of skiing at the 2 places nearest to us after it snowed.  Plus our kids both get in free at the local places and Biker Boy and I have discounted tickets there.  Apparently skiing 6 times in 5 weeks is having an impact on Chewy.  On our drive home she started talking in her sleep.  She was whispering, “Help, help.”  When I asked her what was wrong she said, “My ski is stuck.”  I think we tuckered the poor child out.

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New Years Day was spent at Angel Fire.  Again, the snow wasn’t the best but we all agreed we’d like to try it again when there is better snow.  They have 2 high-speed lifts and in love high speed lifts.  Although I spent a majority of the day on the small lifts with Chewy.  She was up and down again in mood, but was having fun on the small lift so we went with that.  We want the kids to enjoy what they are doing so we don't push them on the ski hills.  The lift operators on the small lifts were awesome!  They would put Chewy on the lift for me and get her off!  Smooches to all you lovely lift operators!  Cause goodness, I have enough trouble getting myself on and off a chairlift with my snowboard on.  (Yes, I dislocated my shoulder 6 years ago getting off a chairlift….so I have a healthy fear of chairlifts.  Biker Boy would say it’s an unhealthy free, but I disagree.)

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Yes, we had a fun vacation and got to do lots of fun things.  We loved spending time with the family members we got to see.  And missed the ones we didn’t get to see.  And yes, let’s keep it real.  We shared beds with kids that kicked us, dealt with temper tantrums, bathroom issues, and fighting.  But we also made wonderful memories, got lots of hugs, and enjoyed being with the ones we love. 

When we got home we had loads of unpacking, marble track building, IKEA building, 7 loads of laundry, and lots of playing!  But it was worth it.  And hey DAD...we're even now on the marble tracks.  And guess what you're getting for Christmas next year?

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And now it’s back to the normal routine, but in a New Year!  How did you spend your holidays?  How do you keep it real?

Enjoy the rest of your week!  And don’t worry if your room looks like Scooter’s does in the above photos.  My whole house looks like that right now.  It’s all good!  We’re making memories.

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