Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-Bye 2010 (and Sunriver...)

Let's just say that Sunriver has gone to the dogs.

I mean, really, Sydney is 85 pounds, not a lap dog, but she doesn't seem to know it:

Baxter is kind of irresistable to everyone, including a sleepy John:

And, yes, that would be Stephie, trying to get comfortable on the floor, as Bogey and Sydney had effectively kicked her off of the couch:

It seems that by the end of our time together, the dogs had finally proven who was boss around the house.

On New Year's Eve, I was determined to stay awake, and as sad as it sounds, it's the first year in a long time that I can remember doing that. I specifically remember bowing out early on the last two years due to massive headaches (isn't that sad?). So, with gusto, I stayed up - and did my best to encourage John and Michael (who were on the fence in their intent) to also stay awake. As it turns out, the entire house was awake at midnight - for sure a first (sheesh, for just Mikayla alone to accomplish that is huge!). We wisely popped in a couple of fun movies, knowing it would draw the guys in to staying awake and paying attention, and sure enough "Killers" and "Day and Knight" did the trick. Happy 2011!

Clean up was actually a rather well oiled machine for us all - helped out by the elf named Travis who took down the tree and decor - and cleaned up the garage recycables all before going to bed. That, and just being the awesome guy that he is, earned him a brother-hug and a picture as we were about to depart. His smile was a little non-existent earlier because he pouts about as much as we do about having it all end....but, at this point it perked up again because we were on our way to re-book the house for the same week in 2011. Until then, adios snowy Sunriver!

For Future Dreaming...

Tomorrow morning, we will head home. On Tuesday, the kids will return to school. We will be four days into 2011 at that point, and life will set forth on its plan of winter routine. The belt will be tightened - figuratively and literally, as we aim to batten down our spending and eating, and encourage the positive habits of budgeting and exercising. By then, this trip will be a memory, but a very sweet one, for sure.

The interior pictures were taken last night, at the same time I was scripting the previous post. It was an "all is well" moment, and simply the "warmth" of the picture color further testifies to just how resplendent this home is and how truly blessed we all feel. This will be the post I will turn back to when I most want to start the season all over and begin again this great season of festivity. But, then, I will be reminded that this season truly unfolded in such a favorite way, I would not want to redo it. So, instead, these pictures will serve as launchpads for the future memories of our experience here next year.

Taken this morning, on a quick circle of our home with Sydney...brrr, it was SO COLD!

Happy last day of 2010 everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hold on Tight!

I turned this image into my desktop screen...I kind of like it.

Today, the snow has stopped, the sun has come out, and the temps have dropped. It has produced this winter wonderland of sparkly snow.....just breathtaking!

Syd loves it too....I think she will be very sad when we leave. While the other dogs here go out and do their business - and then stand by the door to come back in, Sydney just lays out there, on the top of a snow mound, looking regal. Today, at the sledding hill, she was burrowing her whole head in the snow - must have been sniffing for a rabbit hole or something. Later she was digging it up and eating it. Her delight is contagious..... =)

So, along with a good chunk of the population of Sunriver, we made our way to the ampitheater/sledding hill this morning. (Stephie and Travis opted out as Steph is fighting a nasty cold and Travis wasn't eager to incur the wrath of his physical therapist sis who is the one who treats his headaches....). Fortunately, they do have a limited parking lot, and with a strict policy of no street-side parking in this community, it does limit the total capacity to some extent. Folks were really pleasant too, and worked together to help each other out in lines, and pushing kids down the hills....

John was determined to get this shot - you'd be so surprised how far away he was...he got an extender lens for Christmas. It means you can barely hold the camera these days (it's so heavy), but the picture quality is great (even if you develop tendonitis trying to take them!)

My favorite shot of the whole bunch of these photos (John took over 700 pics took a long time narrowing them down for this post!)

This little girl was FEARLESS today - she rode almost exclusively solo (despite the couple of shots I took with her and her bro and cousin....I couldn't resist the big smiles of those). It was her and this little sled, up and down the hill, over and over again.

Meanwhile, Nati and Mikayla were attached at the hip (literally, at least as far as their position on the sled). Occasionally, they would coerce Michele or I to join them - and almost every time, they begged for Michael to give them a huge push. Michael was "SuperDad/Uncle" today in how many times he pushed kids off..... (and, for the record, Mom, I was very careful and only took 3 very sedated runs down)....

Look at Michael being airborne in his efforts to push the boys off....I suspect he might be sore tomorrow!

As I type this post, we adults are all gathered around, watching the Washington Huskies (normally a huge rival to OSU and UO, but tonight we are rooting for the Pac 10) go for the win in their bowl game. The girls are playing "school", the boys are designing cars on Grand Turismo. It's a whopping 4 degrees outside, but about 75 in here.....with an atmosphere rating of "off the charts" when it comes to coziness and gratitude for each other and this vacation. One more full day, and we've all made a pact (well, at least Michele and I have), to absorb it for all it's worth......

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Ninth Birthday Sweetheart!

OH MY GOODNESS, my youngest-born, my little daughter CAN NOT BE nine years old today! I guess it is fitting that her birthday now falls on this annual ideal vacation - as I spend this entire week trying to slow down time, trying to savor every moment - wishing I could freeze it all and stay in this spot indefinitely....just as I do with Mikayla growing up.

I do take great comfort in the fact that Mikayla isn't really in a hurry to grow up. She's still more than content to be her mommy's "shadow" and her daddy's girl. On a day like today, I am reminded to never take that for granted.

Just as it occurred last year, Mikayla's birthday was blessed with an abundance of gorgeous snowfall. It was - and still is - amazing how beautiful and majestic it all is. What is a bit surprising that as we did the half hour drive into Bend today, they barely had a trace of snow. How I love Sunriver!
We also did our annual celebration at the bowling alley. I'll post the pictures that were taken, but I've got to admit that we weren't on our game with the camera - and at the point when I was ready to start getting serious "capturing" the experience, the battery on the camera died. Oh well, refer to last year's post and you'll pretty much get the feel of the day. =)

Upon returning, the girls retreated to the bedroom to take on more of my "Scooby Doo" game, the boys took over the PS3, the men retreated to the couches (I think at least my hubby napped) and Michele and I took off to our favorite retreat - the hot tub. We finally admitted defeat when the snowfall came so fast and furious that it obscured our vision in reading our books and we began to resemble snowmen.

Ultimately, Mikayla was granted permission to open presents. We brought a special package that Kaela had put together for her - and then the rest were from the group gathered here - a special art set and the "ideal for Mikayla" teacher activity set from the Whites, an American Girl book set from the Schillings, and then "Julie" the American Girl doll from us.

Can't believe how fast the time is flying....not only for this week, but in our precious little girls' life!