Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in 2015!

About a week before Christmas, I put it together that Eric had taken off work for the entire New Year's week, and staying at home just would not do.  So, we planned a fairly last minute trip to Idaho to see my parents and the Iversons.  I swore I'd never make the Washington-Idaho drive in the winter, and I was probably right to do so.  We got incredibly lucky on the way there, but the way home we met some snowy mountain passes.  Thankfully, it's sort of like childbirth and I've already blocked it out.

I do have a photograph to remember it by though:


I should probably start by sharing my view for 80% of the time we were in Eagle:


It was arctic while we were there!  So, so cold.  That fireplace and I became good friends.  I wasn't the only one who liked that spot either:





The cousins are getting old enough now that they're pretty great at playing with one another.  They sure like each other's company. 



Amos and Levi spent a lot of time like this, honing their Minecraft skills:


I did talk them into the hot tub a couple times, but it was too cold out for much else:


The one day they did play outside, Ward took off his gloves and needed some hand warming from his Grammy:



On New Year's Eve, we all lamed out and went to bed by 10 p.m.  I did wake up to the neighbors' fireworks celebration at midnight, so I can say I was awake at least.

The trip was a great time with family, and we added some great memories to our databanks.  Drive home not included.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Actual Christmas, like the day itself, was pretty anti-climatic this year.  I suppose that's a testament to all of the fun we had leading up to it this year.  Of all the things we did, the most memorable, then and even now, in February, was the night we sat down as a family and watched Mormon Messages on youtube.  It started with just one video, but the kids kept asking for more and more.  There was such a calm, peaceful spirit in our home that night, no one wanted it to end.

Here is the video we set out to watch with the kids:



Still so good, even in February!  A couple more of our family favorites, here, here, and here.

That being shared, actual Christmas did happen, and I minimally documented it with photographs.

Nan and Pop were in town, and Nan got assigned Santa cookie making duty:




After the cookies were decked out, and set out, it was bed time:



They went down pretty easily, and slept in to a reasonable hour the next morning!


First stop Christmas morning, after posing for a picture on the stairs, was the library for stockings and to check the cookies.  My most favorite Christmas moment happened here, first of all... 

In October, someone listed some holiday build-a-bears (Rudolph and two Frosty the snowman) on our town's trading post for $3/piece.  At some point, a stuffed animal in the kids' stockings had become a tradition, so I snatched them right up.  I figured I'd find a fourth one before Christmas and didn't give it another thought.  Really.  Christmas Eve I remembered I had the three, so I set them out, figuring maybe Amos wouldn't care and the little kids could have them. When the morning came, Maggie saw them first thing and ran right over and snatched up Rudolph, as Amos said,

"Aw, I wanted Rudolph."

Without missing a beat, Maggie happily handed Rudolph to Amos and picked up the Frosty with a hat as Audrey said,

"Aw, I wanted the one with the hat."

Again, Maggie happily handed off her treasure and excitedly picked up the last choice.



Ward was still making his way down the stairs and never knew he missed anything.  Thanks to Maggie's generous heart (and Ward's slowness), everybody won.


We didn't have any "big" presents this year, i.e. no Barbie dreamhouses.  The girls wanted dolls, Wardie wanted cars, and Amos wanted Minecraft.  Minecraft everything.  No one was disappointed.





Ward was quite the funny guy on Maggie's new horse for her doll. He knew I was trying to take his picture and quickly found something super important to stare at in any direction but mine.




Nope, didn't make me look.  Little goof.  There was totally nothing there.  Or up above him.

I like a good coordinated family color scheme for holiday outfits, and this Christmas Sunday was no exception.  The beauty of being in a new ward, the boys got to recycle their sweaters from last year and no one knew.  Well, except all of you right now. The girls' dresses have a years' worth of growth in them, so maybe we'll be seeing those again next year.  Stayed tuned.


While this was certainly the smallest, simplest Christmas we've had, it was also certainly one of the best.

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

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.