All six adults settled in on the couches/recliners around the fireplace/tv. The last 20 minutes of "Independence Day" on. Light snowfall outside with about an eight inch base already on the ground. The girls giggling loudly to the antics of their new Zhu Zhu pets. The boys upstairs enchanted by some new PS3 game. This is my place of paradise - the week in time (Christmas included) that I most look forward to over any other time of the year (with the exception being a major vacation) We've arrived, and I am so, so, so happy. =)
I will say that getting here was a little hairy. Not necessarily for us, as we had snow tires, but Michele's van did not. Michael had his work truck (he'll end up returning to Dallas and coming back again for a couple of days of work) and ended up putting Michele's chains on once we neared the pass (along with everyone else driving over as it was quite dicey). Here's a pic of our family crammed into our vehicle...Brayden in his UO Snuggie and Sydney wanting to crawl into my lap in the passenger seat:
Once we were all safe and sound in Bend, we did our stop off at Sonic - and what do you know, but there was an abandoned tree lot in the adjacent parking lot. SCORE!!! The tree we selected turned into this little beauty here in the house:
Upon arriving at our home, it's always a little nutty. The kids are so excited, but there is so much unloading to do. As I do the shopping and packing for all of the kitchen stuff, I end up in there while others unload - putting away stuff as rapidly as possible, so I don't end up behind the eight ball while everyone else is unloading personal stuff. Seriously, I was working up a sweat (the second time in the day - I did some rapid cleaning prior to leaving our house too).
Once unpacked, then it was time to prepare dinner...somehow the kids didn't catch on to why we'd all wait "just a little longer" to begin the craziness of opening presents. Good grief, kids - give us a moment to breathe! While we were preparing dinner - we caught this image of Ellie avoiding a helicopter carefully being flown by her daddy.
And, an adorable grin by Natalia:
On the menu for the first night was steaks - and there's no better way to prepare them than with a bar-b-q. John did the grilling - right from the outside entrance of the garage. Travis offered his moral support out there.... =)
FINALLY....gift exchange time. The girls put something special into Travis' stocking....Nati, Ellie, and Mikayla all thought they were just hilarious to have done that.
Since these kids are already beyond spoiled with what they've already received, as parents, we only wrap two small items to put under the tree for them. These art sets were picked up by Michele and I for all three girls on Black Friday at Michael's for all of $2.75 each.
12-0 - yes, that would be the Ducks' win-loss record for the season. Come January 10th, I'm so hoping to be able to say 13-0!
Every year, Travis tries to talk us into going for a snowshoe trip. He even emailed us all links to a Tourgroup that offered that nearby. We thought it fitting to get him a book on the subject instead.
Alright!!!! Toy Story Mania - based on the ride in Disneyworld that was one of my absolute favorites - but I was never able to outscore Michele in. Maybe with a little practice, the next time around I'll be able to change that! And, Scooby Doo.....Sunriver just wouldn't be the same without me trying my hand at a Scooby Doo game.
Stephie - most happy with her present of Sunriver reading material...
Ellie - with a package of some sort of Zhu Zhu pet stuff - I don't know what it is exactly, but as it is currently keeping the girls most entertained right now, it makes me happy!
Michele, with a little Beaver cozy wear - courtesy of the Whites (funny how it seems like all Beaver merchandise is on clearance right now....ha ha, couldn't help but get that dig in!)
When Traig opened up this gift he exclaimed "It's the Holy Grail of Nerf Guns!" - Ah, no better words could be uttered to make the original purchaser of these items happier. The Whites were the ones to give it to them, so after seeking permission if they liked the idea - I went on the lookout to see if I could find full sets at a cheap enough price so that each family was able to score two sets - so altogether 8 people could play at once. It ended up that Kohls exclusively sold this double set - featuring 4 total guns (2 different types), 2 vests, 2 wristbands, 2 sets of safety glasses, and Nerf ammunition in each set. The original cost from Kohls' was $69.99 per set - but using all the deals given on Black Friday, we were able to acquire each one for $22.50. As the kids eagerly went to battle with one another - we considered that money well spent! Thank you Whites, not only for this gift, but all of the generosity in all of our gifts!
Right before I reluctantly set off for bed, I snapped this shot of Michele - doing what makes her happiest here.
And the girls, under the table, watching their Zhu Zhu hamsters race:
As for this morning - I woke up at about 6am, to find Michele already in the hot tub. After snagging some Russian Tea and Mounds bars, I joined her with my book while it lightly snowed. We stayed there a couple of hours - and while we were in our "happy place", Michael snapped these shots of Syd - along with a lot of others - of her goofily playing with Baxter's stuffed mallard duck. She was rolling on her back throwing it up - as well as playing tug-of-war with Baxter. Being a true Riley - Syd seems to love this place as well - she will stay outside in the snow indefinitely, and seems to have a lot more "perk" in her personality when she's here.
A final shot of the snow outside the house - plenty of it, with more to come this week. Sooooo great!!!!