Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The TRAINS

We have a terribly undocumented, yet very important, Christmas tradition around these parts. 

The TRAINS. 

Once upon a time, Eric had these weird old looking boxes full of weird, old looking bundles.  He didn't come into our marriage with a ton of worldly possessions (when compared to say, my shoes) but he brought his trains.  I really had no idea what I was getting into, but I am sure glad I got into it. 

When Amos was a couple years old they set the trains up on our kitchen island in the Springville house for the very first time.  Little Amos was thrilled.  I was shocked.  I couldn't believe he got them working again.  But he did, and now, every year at Christmas he and Amos set them up together.  The joy is in the journey on this one.  They tinker with them all December long.  This year, they outsourced the aesthetics and hired Maggie and Audrey to help with some of the art.  It was an incredibly sweet family project. 

The only pictures I took are before completion, but you get the idea.



And, no, that's not an artsy picture of Ward, that's Eric in his early engineering days.


Ward Christmas Party

With December comes the ever-favorite ward (church congregation) Christmas party.  We've only been in our current ward about 3 months, so we still felt pretty out of place. I found keeping busy eases the discomfort, so we contributed a breakfast casserole and were pretty good helpers when it was time to clean up.  Otherwise, we got to just sit back and enjoy the program.  It was short and sweet, emphasis on the sweet.  It was a great start to that Saturday morning.


Santa visited as part of the party.  In an effort to trick the children, the planning committee recruited someone from the other ward that shared our building to play Santa.  The "other" ward being the one we just left.  Lucky for us, the Horne kids want to believe in spite of logic, so they willingly play along.  Audrey did spot Br. Young the second we were in the door and said,

"Us knows him!!!"

It was good though because they were comfortable enough for a picture, and some lap sitting.



*Amos was a conscientious objector of Santa this particular morning.

**This post is backdated so it will be in the 2014 book.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Woodinville Wonderland

There is no shortage of holiday things to do in the greater Seattle area, the only real limitations are your time and your money.  In the spirit of being short on both, we decided to check out a light display we'd heard about in our neighboring town, Woodinville (read: close and cheap).  It is someone's private residence, but they do one of those displays worthy of being featured on a reality television show (Great Light Fight, anyone?).

It was really neat with music, lights, and the homeowner personally handing out candy canes (which set an unfortunate precedent for Maggie, who was let down everywhere else we went in the month of December). 

You have to have some skills to properly photograph an event like this, which I don't, but proof we were there, anyway:





**This post is backdated so it will be in the 2014 book. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Seattle Vacation

A couple years ago, Eric and I had the brilliant idea to take the kids to a hotel in downtown Salt Lake to celebrate New Year's Eve.  We were pretty proud of ourselves as we walked around Temple Square, ate at Blue Lemon and swam in the hotel pool.  How smart we are!  Then, we put the kids to bed and settled in for a quiet night.  Except not at all.  Downtown, on New Year's Eve.  Duh.  The hotel was much like what I imagine a fraternity to be like.  Loud.  And then louder.  Rowdy.  And then rowdier.  It was a long, rough night.

This year, we took that experience, and relocated our big city downtown vacation to a "quiet" weekend in December.  It was perfect!

Eric gets a great hotel discount through work and we were very lucky to stay at the Fairmont Olympic.  So very nice.  When we checked in they gave us vouchers for free cookies and ice cream for the kids to be delivered via room service.  That was a big hit.





That night, we went to our most favorite family dinner spot, P.F. Chang's.  I tell you, that place never disappoints.  They count on "family style."  After dinner we wandered around downtown, rode the carousel and played in the play area.  It was cold, but so exciting no one seemed to mind.









This trip marked a momentous occasion: Ward was big enough to fully participate.  We all rode the carousel, we all swam in the pool, and no one had to stay back with him while he took a nap, etc.  He was still a major pain (as two year olds are), but it was do-able.  There is nowhere to go but up from here!

The next morning there was more swimming at the hotel pool, and then we hit up the "Teddy Bear suite" in our hotel.  Basically, they opened up a regular hotel room and transformed it into crazy teddy bear land.  Maggie was in heaven. 




2/3 of the boys did not consider it heaven-like.


After checking out, we headed over to the Hyatt for some sort of gingerbread house display we had heard about a whole lot.  Once there, and seeing the wait line, we sort of started to get it.  These were no ordinary gingerbread "houses." Eric and the kids were pretty done at this point, but I forced everyone to stick it out.




The gingerbread houses had real architects that made them.  It was no joke. Of course, gingerbread Seattle was everyone's favorite.  The detail on all of them was incredible, though none of the candy looked too appetizing anymore.





After the gingerbread house death march we had a nice lunch at Icon Grill and then headed back to the sticks.


**This post is backdated so it will be in the 2014 book.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Oh, Christmas Tree

We like our Christmas trees big.  When we first looked at this house to rent, in April, we discussed how tall the ceiling was for a Christmas tree.  We have our priorities straight.  Last year, Eric went Christmas tree shopping without us while we were at Disney World.  We came home to it set up and ready to decorate.  This year, things went a little differently.

I was excited for everyone to go Christmas tree hunting together, but alas, the sky was gray so Maggie wouldn't get out of the car.  Eric, Amos, and Ward picked out the tree while Maggie and Audrey invaded my personal space in the car.

The boys came back with a spectacular tree, 5 guys put it on the car, and we were ready to go.  I should mention that every tree at the farm we go to is $40.  Eric takes that as a challenge-get as much tree as you can for your money ;)



After an exhausting effort by Eric and myself, we got the tree in the house.  Getting it upright was a whole other matter, unfortunately.  We have an incredible heavy duty tree stand, but this tree and it's weighty massiveness just crumpled it time and time again.

The tree laid on it's side in our family room for quite some time while Eric ran to the hardware store and got some parts to reinforce our stand.  We also had to take a chunk off the trunk, so Eric had the best day ever and got to use his chainsaw in the house.


New and improved stand:


And, she's up!


We were so exhausted by the time we got it up we went right to bed.  We got it decorated (well, the bottom 3/4) the next day and all was well. 


We still haven't decorated the top...and this year, probably won't.  Er, definitely won't. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

And the winner is...


Gold Bar, WA

Of the 300+ pictures I took of the kids, I got one with proper lighting and all 4 of them looking at me.  Maggie had a hair going straight down the center of her face, but with no other options, I called it good (after a little photoshopping).

Interesting fact: there is a man panning for gold in the background of this picture. He's a blue blip on the left. Eric and Amos have also panned for gold in Gold Bar.  Gold Bar, WA, is worthy of it's name.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Snowflake Lane!


Last night we went to Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, WA and it was awesome! Admittedly, going in I had a bit of "sometimes these things with kids are more trouble that they're worth" anxiety. It ended up being just great though. The kids loved it and I was so impressed by the show, the excitement, and the joy that was everywhere.

They shut down a couple blocks of a major road in Bellevue, and do a sort of road show. First there was a drumline that was just awesome. Then came some dancers. The whole time winter characters (polar bear, ice princess, rudolph) are circulating the crowd and getting the little kids to dance, etc. It was super cute. And really hard to not just want to dance.





Wardie's view.  It didn't last long, he was out and about mingling with the characters and strangers all around us.



Auds is in there somewhere:


For part of the show they blow bubbles and make it snow...it was really pretty.


And my favorite picture:


I don't know how Wardie got so caught in her skirt.  He was just running around to hold her other hand.

And, there is plenty of live action on our YouTube channel.