Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Break

We had a very enjoyable winter break.  Having Ben home with us full time for so many days was the best thing about it.

I had one quest I wanted to accomplish during the break- finding a bigger Christmas tree on the Christmas clearance shelves.  We've always wanted a bigger tree (ours is 6 ft) but our old house just didn't have the space for anything bigger.  Now with more room and higher ceilings in the new house, it was the perfect time for the tree we've always wanted!

We started looking at Sears!  Riding the "alligator" (as my little's call it) up to the Christmas section.

We started the quest (and boy was it a quest) the day after Christmas.  I wanted to find the best selection possible.  Unfortunately, most of the places we went only had 6 or 7.5 foot trees available.  We were looking for something a little big bigger.  We looked at 3-4 stores that day.  Finally at Walmart, we found a 9 foot tree.  Perfect!  It was 50% off- perfect!  We hauled that bad boy home.

We set the tree up after the kids were in bed.  It was a great tree and a great size.  Unfortunately, half of the lights on the tree didn't work.  I was so bummed!

So at 8:30 p.m., I hopped in the car and returned the tree and looked at a different Wal-mart.  No luck.  Back to the same Wal-mart that we found the 9 foot tree.  They had no other 9 footers, but they had lots of 12 foot trees.  I grabbed one of those (it came in two large boxes) and hauled it home.

at 10:00 p.m. that same night, Ben and I set up the 12 foot tree.  It was the mother of all Christmas trees.  It came in 5 different pieces.  The first and second section alone was taller than our old tree.

Old tree on the left, 12 foot on the right.  It was so big and so tall that it dwarfed our old one.  It was hilarious.  And we didn't even have the topper on the tree yet- it was still missing one section.

We had to use our step ladder (which after the 3rd section was useless) to assemble the tree.  To get the topper on, we had to lay "the beast" down on its side on the floor, attach the last piece, then hoist it back up.  If you can tell from the picture, it is scraping the ceiling and bent because it is TOO TALL!  The tree should have fit, but the stand it came with was a good foot or foot and a half tall. 

It was a beautiful tree, but a little too much for that room.  I was so bummed!

Over the course of the next week, I must have went to 5 or more different stores in search of a tree.  Every store only had 6 or 7.5 foot ones. 

So my quest was a big fat fail.  I guess I will have to buy a 9 foot tree next year before Christmas at FULL PRICE.  Bummer.

On the 27th, we went to The Museum of Flight in Seattle, which was free to Boeing Employees that day.

They have a great kid section with lots of airplanes and toys to touch and sit in.

The twins co-piloted and flew a helicopter.

Mitch tried his hand at hang gliding.  Not his best sport...

They all loved the astronaut cut out.

Friday the 28th we headed up to Cabela's- Ben's favorite store, pretty much.

The kids love feeding the fish.  We gave them each a quarter and they threw their food into the water and watched the fish gobble up the food.

Saturday the 29th we drove up to Ensign Ranch.  It's just over an hour drive from our house.  We met Ben's family there to go sledding.  Boy were our kids excited!  We don't get the chance to sled very much in Seattle and when we do, it's nothing this fun.

Aunt Beth and baby Preston.  Aren't little kids so cute in snow gear?

Chloe and Stella must have taken 50+ rides together.

The twins have never been sledding.  I had no idea how they would handle it.  They did awesome! Lexi really amazed me.  She had absolutely no fear.  After a few rides with a buddy, she grabbed a sled and rode down all by herself.

I think the adults had the most fun, though.  Daring and challenging each other to go off the jumps.  It was hilarious.

Rhiannon had the best jump and landing of the day.  She didn't even know she was going to do a big jump- Ben offered to push her and at the last second turned her sled towards the bump. She got lots of air and made a very graceful landing, I must say.  You rock Rhiannon!

The only bad thing about sledding is walking back up the hill (especially with a 3 year old). 

Nana wasn't so sure about going down the hill at all.  But we convinced her, and Johnny hopped a ride with her.

This is how Papa took 2 little boys down with him.

There they go!

If Lexi got tired of waiting for a sled, she just sat down on her bum, lifted her legs up and just went down sled-less.  It was so cute.

This is Leah's "Please don't take my picture Mom" face.
Seriously Mom. 

I was seriously amazed at how fearless my kids were.  So cute (and funny) to watch their little bodies fly down an icy hill.  They wrecked and crashed and were flown from the sleds and it hardly bothered them a bit.

Meredith was the designated chair sitter.  She was just 4 weeks away from being due with baby #4 and sat out on the sledding.  Probably best, after some of the landings we saw and experienced that day. :)

We had such a great time.

Nana and Papa got creative on how to go down the hill together....

The whole group of us- 23 in all! 

We sledded for just over 3 hours, then headed up the road to a Burger King and ate dinner and let the kids run around at the play land.  Such a fun afternoon outing.

2 days later, on New Year's Eve, we had our friends the Casperson's over for Ben's famous ribs. 

Between the 2 families, there is 10 kids.  All 10 of them squeezed around our table.

The kids played games periodically throughout the night.  Mitch was happy to share his Hungry Hungry Hippos game with one of his favorite people, Brynne.  Isn't she adorable?  (He does NOT like to be teased about Brynne).

After dinner, we put on a movie for the kids in the theater room.

The adults started a game upstairs while the kids were occupied.  Unfortunately, home court advantage did not help either of the Andros' to win.

Later, Ben turned off the lights in the theater room and pulled out his strobe lights for the kids.

They danced and ran around.  They loved it.  I snapped a few quick pictures, then closed my eyes.  Strobe lights do not do my head (and migraines) any favors.

Back upstairs to put on a dance video for the kids.  It was good entertainment.

Then Ben challenged 5 year old Brynne to a hand stand contest.

Our friends left around 9:30.  The twins had both crashed earlier and had been in bed for a few hours by this time. 

We opened some bubbly and celebrated the New Year with the two oldest- then promptly sent them off to bed.

We had so much fun with the Casperson's that they came back over the next night for pizza, treats and more games and movies.

New Year's Day was gorgeous.  This is the view from my bedroom window.  I don't think I will ever get tired of that view.

At night, you can see all the city lights beyond the trees.  It's beautiful.  Love it!

Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to a bright and prosperous New Year full of new adventures.


Tara said...

That really is a great view! Wasn't that such a gorgeous day?

Sorry about the tree. Other than that, looks like you had a great winter break.

TaylorClan said...

That is the best picture I have ever seen of myself. Glad to have that one for this baby's sake:) She'll appreciate me some years down the road right?! What a fun trip!

Melissa said...

It sounds like you guys had a great break. Having your husband around for that extra time really is the best! It's our favorite thing about the Christmas season also.
Loved all the great pictures and am impressed with how well your little girls did sledding!

Vanessa said...

Love all the pictures. The view is amazing.

Amanda said...

I didn't know you went sledding. Looks like a great place to sled though. Maybe when you come for caths wedding we can still sled down here. And sign me up for next years New Years party at your house.