Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2K14

Do you want to build a snowman?  Well, not really, but Mikayla and Ellie did.  Where's Nati you may be wondering?  Well, her and Michael took off around 10am for the hunting trip that they had previously planned.  I think Michele and I were a little in awe of Nati in being so gung ho to go - that sure says a lot about her desire to spend quality time with her dad....way to go, Michael.  (And, word just in - she was successful in her elk hunt!).  

Interesting note about the accessories on this snowman - they were in a set we gave the kids last year.  However, there was no snow last year, so we re-wrapped it again this year.  =)

He needed a scarf and hat...

Meanwhile, Whitley was sporting her own "appendage" pictures with a Tootsie Pop she asked for, but never finished.  ("Here, you hold this for a minute"....) 

That evening, we all congregated upstairs in the game room (aka "Man Cave").   The pool table had been a big hit with the guys and kids all week, so Mikayla and Ellie practically pulled Michele and I out of the hot tub to come join everyone.  Well, everyone except Whitley - she was already asleep for the night at this point.  

When I arrived, it was this team....

vs. this team... (Ellie named themselves the "Flamingo Ninjas"...and yes, they tended to win). 

Ah, what a crew...

After the above picture was taken, Michele and I played on teams with our daughters.  We tried to demonstrate all the skill Grandpa Alexander taught us over the years ("Bottom English"), but we are really out of practice.  There was definitely NOT a dominant player among our group...

Steph and John opted for this mode of entertainment.  After the bowl games, we tuned it into the action movie, "Red".   (If I were to turn around from where I took the shot at the pool table, this is what I would see, to the left is the "Man Cave" from the previous picture).  

This was the scene at about 11pm.  No, I was not fully asleep...but very close.  Traig took the picture.
But, I managed to get a "Second Wind" - we all did - and in the nick of time, tuned into the station showing the ball drop for the last ten seconds of 2014....I couldn't get everyone in my selfie shot, so I cut out my face, but that's my arm!
And there you go - now we are in 2015!  Unbelievable.  The year of the future in "Back to the Future 2" - (Where's our hoverboards?).  2014 started out rough but steadily climbed to become one of my favorite years....hopefully this year can be a steady favorite throughout!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Bright and Glorious Day...

Wednesday began bright, icy, and very, very BEAUTIFUL.  

It was also very, very cold....I am digging this look that both Michele and I were trying to pull off in the hot tub with temps hovering around zero... I call it the "Mrs. Claus" effect - I think I'll ask Christi if we can do that for a permanent color.... ;)

Whitley could not WAIT to get out and play in the snow.  

We were all smiles - the person that was NOT....was Michael.  That poor guy had picked up the same stomach virus that Brayden contracted on Christmas night.   Only, as an adult it was much more severe for him.  Michele peeked in and checked on him as much as she could through the day, but the rest of us did not a catch a sight of him on Tuesday.  

Compared to pulling Whitley in the sled in the freshly fallen snow, pulling her on a semi-grooved trail - particularly with Michele pulling too, it was practically effortless.  

On our girls' walk - this crew drove by.  John had taken them to Sunriver Village...

Where they indulged in a "little" cinnamon roll goodness.  :)

 This pic is now the wallpaper on my cell phone.  =)

We could have walked a lot longer if not for the temperature and biting winds.  BRRRRRR!

A panorama of the house we stayed at this year.  Not too shabby... 

And, such sweet Christmas-like decor built in!  

Whitley very much enjoyed throwing the snow up to fall upon herself. 

Once we got her inside, she decided to wrap some special surprises up in the gift boxes left lying around.  

And, by "special surprises", I mean Froot Loops.  


With all that free time, we figured we'd get her busy helping with dinner.  It was Michele's turn to make the main dish - "Chicken Pot Pie".  So, Michele taught her how to flute the pie crust.  

This is our menu - it hasn't changed much over the last decade.  

It's mostly just a guide, but Brayden, this year, thought it should have been much more strictly adhered to.  If it says, "Breakfast Burritos", then by golly, that boy expected Breakfast Burritos to be hot and ready for him to eat at whatever magic time he felt the desire to come downstairs and grace us with his presence.  Which sometimes could be late in the day, because, why would you want to leave this pit of squalor "Man Cave"?  (Note the trash can we set between them that clearly they need a tutorial on how to use...)

Needless to say, we weren't waiting with aprons on and steaming food on a tray for them each morning (afternoon?!) - because, well, we are all on vacation.  And, don't get me started about how these kids didn't contribute one iota to kitchen or any other kind of clean up through the week.... 
Anyway, that is all the set up for these pictures.  After a little complaining on Brayden's part regarding the inconsistency of the menu, the boys were "strongly encouraged" to make their own dinner.  Which, for them, means their own Breakfast Burrito (a favorite at any point in the day).  They've actually gotten really good at putting it all together - and work well at this task - so I had to preserve the moment to prove it really can happen. 

While we didn't see Michael, Michele assured us that by night time, he was done throwing up and actually craving some real food.  (She delivered him some chicken pot pie).  While it was a bummer day for him, the rest of us enjoyed the abundance of snow and sunshine. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy THIRTEENTH BIrthday Mikayla!

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GIRL IS A TEENAGER NOW?  I am kind of having a hard time with that...

On top of the snow that made her birthday OH SO MAGICAL, Mikayla was also blessed with a lot of special greetings and shout-outs - these are just the ones I screen-shot from Instagram...

With all the rest of the excitement taking place that day, we didn't get around to having Mikayla open her presents until the evening.  Whitley stepped up to help Mikayla with the difficult chore of unwrapping her gifts...

I think that's a Target Gift Card Whitley is so excited about.  Already, she knows dreams can come true at Target (or wait, maybe it's just that you can get lost in your own little dream there...).  

"What else is in there?"

Mikayla is not much of a "cake-eater" so Peach Kuchen is her dessert of choice.  Again, Whitley was eager to help.  

When I was cleaning up, Whitley was still eager to keep the party going - so I put a candle in a non-cinnamon treat for her (she's allergic to cinnamon) and I'm pretty sure she blew out the candle three or four times....

One thing is for sure, I don't think there's any chance Mikayla was disappointed with how her first teen-age birthday went...snow, family, bowling, more snow, presents, Peach Kuchen, and more snow....oh yeah - that will make this girl very happy!