Friday, December 31, 2010

***SNOW***

On December 30, 2010 we FINALLY got SNOW!!
We also get extremely cold temperatures.  On December 31, Oliver and I put on layer upon layer of warm clothes and headed outside in the 6 degree weather.  It was a beautiful clear blue sunny day.

Oliver was more interested in looking at the snow than the camera. 
 Oliver had been talking about making snow angels for weeks.  He finally got his wish.
 He also found some joy in cleaning the snow off of the bricks in our front yard.
 Clearly, whatever the neighbor was doing was way more interesting than his Mother.

It may have been 6 degrees outside, but Oliver's rosy cheeks were still warm enough to melt snow on his face.
 We ventured down to the grade school do to a little sledding.  I tried to get him to pull me up the hill, but it didn't work very well.  Ok, maybe it was an effort to get a photo of him smiling in the snow.
 One final ride on our way back home.  It may have been sunny outside, but it wasn't enough to keep our noses warm.  90 minutes after we ventured outside, we were ready for a warm house.
 Oliver having some warm apple cider.  MMmmmm!!!

 Meanwhile, Kellan and Dad were back home staying warm.  It was way to cold for a little guy to be outside.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Graduating to Squash

It didn't take long and Kellan graduated to squash.
 MMmm... I think he likes it.
 Oliver showing off his sour cream mustache.
 A must have after dinner these days, a bath to wash away the dinner left behind.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Skiing Keystone

 The Monday after Christmas, I had a holiday and the boys' school was open so Keith took a vacation day and we headed West to Keystone to ski.  It was the first time we have left the boys at school to ski.  It can be nerve racking because the traffic and weather is never predictable.  When Oliver was 10 weeks old, I got stranded in the mountains with Jen when I-70 closed for the night due to poor weather conditions.  On December 27, 2010, the skies were sunny and there were no storms in sight so we dropped the boys off at school and hit the highway.
The drive should have taken less than 1 1/2 hours, nearly three hours in, we weren't even to the Eisenhower tunnel yet.  So, we took pictures.

 At least it was a freeway parking spot with a view.
 As we neared Loveland pass, we opted to drive on the shoulder, pass the freeway parking lot and take the pass over to Keystone instead of the freeway.  (We had heard there were multiple accidents west of the tunnel causing traffic to be at a stop)
Here are a few photos of the continental divide over the Loveland pass



 We finally made it to the slopes!!
The snow was plentiful and perfect.  We may not have received snow in Denver yet, but the mountains have been measuring it in feet instead of inches.

This is how I really felt.  WAHOO!!!!  It had been a long two years since I had strapped on my skis.  Since I was pregnant last year, the only sight of skiing I had was from the base of Beaver Creek when we went up with the Stack family.
Keith had the camera (can you tell).
Here I am, fixing my boot.  Ski boots are not known for comfort, and it can take a while to get them just right.  Good fitting boots is also a key to a good day on the slopes. 
 Self portrait at the top of the mountain.
 A nice guy offered to take our photo.  Ahh.. thanks nice guy!
Wahoo!!!  What a great day!!
Yes, we were this happy and having this much fun.  Of course, looking back at this photo it looks like I was about to fall over.  I also see there is evidence that I was, once again, fixing my boot.  After five fixes, they were perfect and I was skiing like I didn't really take an entire season off to have a baby.
 It was an amazing beautiful and perfect day.



We even post-poned lunch, to get in as many runs as possible.  For those that know me, you know that I rarely (if ever) push out lunch when skiing.  Being properly fueled is a big part of a good ski day for me.  That should go to show how much pure joy and fun we were having.  It was the best day we have had skiing (snowboarding) in a very long time.
Our lunch of choice, nachos and beer at Kickapoo.  SO YUMMY!
With the gorgeous weather, and crowded inside area, we opted for the deck, 
 where we took more photos.


Cheers to a great day on the slopes, beautiful weather, amazing snow and perfect company.
(and cheers to Wanda's birthday, too) 
 Mmmm  Beer 
(Coors Light, of course)

Thanks for a great day, Keystone.  We hope to see you (or one of your sister slopes) again really soon! 
In case you're wondering, we made it home in no time.  We even had time to stop and home and unload the car and all of the evidence that we had been out having fun in the snow.  Oliver's getting quick these days.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas was Merry and Bright

Every year, Christmas gets better and better.  It is amazing to experience the wonder and excitement of Christmas through the eyes of our kids.

Christmas Eve

We kicked off Christmas eve with the attendance of the Christmas eve service at the church we attend.  The attendance is usually Christmas, Easter and occasionally a day or two in between.  Every time we attend we talk about how we should attend more often and the next thing we know, it's Christmas or Easter again.

Family photo right after the service in front of our Christmas tree.
 Christmas eve was celebrated with a Christmas Cookie Extravaganza!
Earlier in the day I whipped up some of my Mom's famous sugar cookies.  These cookies are AMAZING and one of the most difficult recipes I've tried to replicate.  My Mom has a super secret touch that is tough to reproduce.  However, this year I got the seal of approval from Keith that I have finally mastered the sugar cookies. WAHOO!!!
Here, Oliver is in action with his cookie masterpiece.
 Betty Crocker was a genius when she invented this cookie frosting.  It's easy for kids and makes beautiful cookies.
 All the while, Kellan kept a close eye on Oliver's progress.
 The perk in being the cookie decorator... licking your fingers.
 Sprinkles...
  ...sprinkles...
...sprinkles...
... red sprinkles...
 ...and more sprinkles!
 Kellan, having a good time as the official supervisor.
(in one of Oliver's hand-me-down shirts.  one of Many)
 Oliver ready for a new cookie and new sprinkles.
I didn't notice until I looked at these photos that he had all four sprinkle colors open at the same time.
Yes, we were sweeping up sprinkles for days and days. 

 A birds-eye-view of our creations.  Can you tell which cookie belongs to which artist?
 and the sprinkles continue to flow
 This cookie didn't have enough sprinkles so Oliver decided to put some sprinkles on top that had fallen onto the paper towel.  This was about the time that I decided he had officially cleaned out my many years worth of sprinkles that had been stacking up.  It's good to clean out the cupboards now and then and have a ball doing it.
When all of the hard work was complete, Oliver thought another perk of being the official cookie decorator was to eat the left over sprinkles.

 Before we called the Christmas cookie extravaganza complete, Oliver got to pick one of his masterpieces and test it for quality control before picking one to leave for Santa.
 Practically a painful smile.  I think he would rather be diving into his cookie.
 Notice the sprinkles on the table.  It was nearly a crisis when Oliver picked up his cookie and there were so many sprinkles that most of them rolled off the cookie onto the table.  You may also notice the splotchy look on his face.  That's not hives or an allergic reaction, that is tiny sugary finger prints.
 Mmmmmm
YUMMM!!!!
After a quick clean-up, Kellan headed to bed and Oliver put on his PJ's and paced the house waiting to open a Christmas eve gift.  By the time we were ready, it appears that is was excruciatingly painful to wait another minute to pose for a picture before opening a few gifts.


 Cookies are done, three gifts were opened, clean-up is complete, a special cookie for Santa was picked out and placed under to tree by Oliver, it's time for one final photo and then it's off to bed for a reading of The Night Before Christmas.
 Sometime later...
 ... Santa stopped by to eat Oliver's master piece and deliver some much anticipated gifts.



Christmas Morning

Christmas morning truly was magical.  Like every morning prior to Christmas, Oliver found me feeding Kellan in his room.  He came in and asked if he could go downstairs to play with the train under the tree.  This time, I stalled him.  I took him to the top of the stairs and showed him the tree.  As you could imagine, a big gasp came out of his mouth and he exclaimed that Santa had been here.  I've never seen him walk down the stairs so fast, ever! He sat in amazement and pointed out all of the new things he saw.  The first thing he saw, was the first thing on his list for Santa, a "firetruck puzzle with a firetruck that goes by itself". 
 A stocking full of sharks (and dinosaurs).  What more could a kid want?!
 Oliver showing Kellan what was in his stocking.  Oliver was a lucky boy this year.  He got to open his gifts and his brothers.  Next year may not be the same deal.
Kellan enjoyed watching the festivities from the comfort and safety of his chair.
Oliver checking out his new Stryder bike.  Have you seen these?  They are bikes without pedals and all the rage.  They are suppose to help kids learn balance and confidence so they transition easily to a regular bike without training wheels.  Santa figured since Oliver always pushes with his feet this would be a hit. 

Kellan with his loot.
 Third on Oliver's list for Santa, and a last minute addition to the list (two days before Christmas), "Thomas the Train that goes by himself".

 Second on his list for Santa, Handy Mandy (as seen at Costco while shopping with Mom and Dad).
 His list was complete, with all three items, plus many more.
Kellan, still content in his happy place. 
 For Christmas, my Mom (Grandma) made an amazing album for me from birth through high school.  I LOVE IT!  I'm also a little shocked at how skinny I was in high school, that I wore a mid-drift tank top with a fanny pack in middle school (in public) and how much our boys look like me when I was a baby.


Keith (Kellan and Oliver on the left) in the morning festivities.
 Mom and Kellan enjoying the Christmas morning fun 
 Time to open Kellan's presents.  I think he is still more impressed with Oliver than with his toys at this point.

 Kellan got an unofficial, unplanned gift as well.  Oliver's hand-me-down Jumparoo.
I remember when we first put Oliver in this and it was up to his arm pits, just like for Kellan.  It's crazy to think that as quickly as he grew into this, he will be growing out of it as well.  (I'm also starting to notice that I had my camera on the wrong setting so I have several blurry photos.  Darn fancy cameras!)
Oliver, playing the blues now that the Christmas unwrapping is complete.
Thanks for the new harmonica, Santa. 

Eventually, all of Oliver's new goodies found their way to the living room.  The next day was Operation Toy Organization.  I never thought we would find a home for everything, but we did!
Thanks to all of our friends and family for all of the goodies you sent.  It made our Christmas magical and helped us feel like you were here as part of our day.

Christmas Day

Later Christmas day, we went up to the Wells' for Christmas dinner.  They live about 30 minutes west in Confier.
Jeff Wells with Kellan and Keith enjoying the amazing weather on the back deck.
 The Hamilton family on Christmas day.
Keith, Kellan, Carrie and Oliver.
Notice, there is still no snow.
 Kellan charmed everyone from his safe place in his bouncy seat.
 The kids table, Jin's friend, Jin and Oliver.
We had a wonderful Christmas!  
It was nothing short of Merry and Bright!!
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