Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Goodies...

Saying "this is one of my favorite pictures ever" is like saying, "this is my favorite type of Christmas candy" to me... next to impossible.  But this is the view I had Christmas Eve just after skiing when the boys climbed on RyGar's lap to see where Santa was on his computer.
That doppler radar video of Santa and his sleigh is Ah-Mazing.
 I know, I know - I almost died of happiness right there.
 And this was the view that Santa and his elves left up in the playroom
(A genius idea wherein little was left to be transported after the big delivery) 
 The boys were GAGA in the morning!
 Ace camped out right here on the big dig for the first half hour of the morning.
 Kael (who woke before the sun at 5 am and then raised the white flag of defeat when Daddy-o snuggled him next to his big warm body in our bed) had already snuck a peek at the big ticket items so the sock held LOTS of surprises.
 Dax and his cowboy guns... at last!
And RyGar - and the Yeti.  His rivaled a few others for best reaction of the day.
Ladies, when in doubt get 'em a Yeti.
Brothers gifting brothers might have been my favorite Christmas morning action.  Kael was the giver here and Dax was the receiver and it was pure magic.
 They were so dang proud and happy to GIVE.  Made my mama heart proud.
I make all sorts of mental notes about how thankful I am for family and home and comforts and motherhood and this little holiday window where babies and kids bring extra magic.
And one of our best holiday gifts?  Grandparents who joined in on the wrapping paper mayhem and promised to diligently record video "in hopes that we'll invite them back" - Duh.  And a White Christmas generously provided by Mother Nature.  Kudos on the timing, my friend.
I live a pretty amazing life... did I have to lift a finger to shovel?  Nah.  I got a small army of shovelers.
 And handsome flannel clad train builders.
And lucky for us and the way the calendar plays out, we're going to burrow in a little bit longer this season.  It is, after all, a season and not just a day.  So, more movies, more games, more adventures and more food with family.  We're going to fill up this week and on into the weekend with holiday things and family time to make sure we start 2015 out right.
This here?  This adds to what promises to be a killer year, eh?  
Hot dang he looks good on a motorcycle.  I think I'll keep him.
Merry Christmas SEASON... and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Big Eve on Skis...

Christmas Eve found us on the slopes of Sundance for the second year in a row.  We were praying for snow and luckily there was just enough to make the magic happen!
It's kind of the best Christmas Eve day activity ever because you're active and out in the gorgeous winterscapes and with one another.  It makes the time fly by and makes your muscles sore (if you happen to be skiing with a tot)  It just feels good, you know?
 How COOL are these two?  I know... I can't even stand how lucky we are.
And further, Acey tried out his ski legs for the first time ever and rocked it.  He was nervous looking up from the base and said to RyGar, "I don't think I like this.  It's a little bit scary up there."  He held on tight to Ry and when they got on the lift and it leisurely floated them up the mountainside he smiled and said, "I like this, Daddy!  This isn't fast and scary!  This is fun!"
Also of note, Grandpa Hooky saw our little family skiing selfie (see below) and told me I looked like Lindsay Vaughn (flattered) and proceeded to declare that must make Ryan the,
"Fairer skinned Tiger Woods".  Only Grandpa.
Speaking of Grandpa - we got to have my parents for Christmas Eve this year!  We were feeling all kinds of lucky because we also got to do dinner with Gardners then come home to the Albrechts... man o man - it felt like we hit the lottery.

Games were played.
The bible story was told.
Reindeer food was sprinkled.
Cookies were decorated and left out for Santa.
And then when all our work was done...
We settled in and listened for jingle bells and reindeer hooves.
Every year I think Christmas can't possibly get any better "than this" - 
And every year it somehow tops itself.
I love this family of mine.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Before the Eve...

It was almost game time.  Ry and I were SO ready this year.  Like, we had been counting down the days with the boys, the presents were wrapped, the house was clean, the baking done.  It was SO good.
Well, everything but Ace.  Who wound up in the time out chair... 
And then collapsed in a heap at six o'clock pm.  
Who wants to party 'till midnight with this dude?  Any takers?
So after a couple of shots of the newly angelic Ace we crossed our fingers and awoke the bear to  head up to see the lights at Temple Square.  If you don't already know the drill... you start with dinner at The Little America cafe with cousins and Grandparents.  
 And Santa.  Who was of the plastic variety because the big guy had LOTS to do, obvs.
 We are happy to report that Ace rebounded beautifully.
Oh this kid.  Happy or sad he does it with passion.
 That face was merited.  I mean, just LOOK!
The wise men of our camp rode Aunt Nett and Grandpa Bob as opposed to camels... 
A smart move if we say so ourselves.  :)
Sometimes I get a little cynical when I hit up Temple Square with the billions of people in the crowd.  But really, I think this year I just plum got over it and decided to treat it like a big Christmas Woodstock.  You know, everyone wants to hear good music and smile and dance and feel the spirit of it all and I would nod in agreement that this is one of the best places to do just that.
Obligatory family picture where no one looks normal - Check.
And then the fountain show at City Creek...
Let me just say we are considering installing a fountain of our own in the back yard because it was literally ten minutes of stunned silence.
We big kids just stood back and laughed at their amazement.
And to wrap it up all up... in a very particular order, we have:
Train Rides... 
Ninja Warrior Moves... 
And that's a wrap.
Because the second annual Gardner Ski Trip on Christmas Eve is comin' atcha next.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The North Pole...

Welp.  We did it.  We held our first ever North Pole party with the wee cousins.  
And how we WISH all our little buddies could have joined us... but alas, we missed our northerly friends.  Smooches you guys!
We started out the night by making Reindeer food for Santa's team.  When I was setting everything out, RyGar was doing one of those eye rolls where you worry his eye balls might actually dislodge from their sockets and roll right on down the street?
Yep, Those.
But hey, look!  My efforts in the "Reindeer Food Bar" proved to be worth every minute.  It's gonna be fantastic to sprinkle our food on the lawn on Christmas Eve!  We may never see the end of the red glitter on the kitchen floor, but I'll probably smile every time I mop up some more sparkles.
While we were decorating cookies there was a knock on the door and we found a red velvet bag with a letter on official Santa stationary from Mister Claus himself!  
He told the boys and their cousins that while he was doing a "fly by" last night to check on us, he dropped some things out of his sleigh.  He was hoping the kids could help him find all of his missing items and leave the bag on the doorstep so Santa could collect it later that night.
They rushed around like little crazed chickens and finally lugged on shoes and coats and gathered flashlights to scour the hood for Santa's lost things.  Santa is usually a far more responsible chap!
It was kind of epic in every way.  This picture of Dax Man is basically case-in-point.
I am happy to report - we recovered ALL of Santa's important things...
And the rest, as they say, is history.
There was a Christmas movie and popcorn and cookies.  
There was the part where my babies held a teeny tiny baby and felt bigger than their britches.
And then there was the crash after the sugar high they had all experienced.
 ROUGH I tell ya.  :)
Would I do it again?  Come on... you already know the answer to that.
I mean, look at the smiles?
Next Year -- Same time, Same place.