25 February 2017

iPhoneography: Ski School

The day after Christmas, we bundled up and headed to the mountains. Troy's parents live on the backside of the mountain at Deer Valley Resort. We can see one of the ski lifts from their cabin and I'm not sure why we didn't take advantage of being so close to ski country when we lived in Utah. It was partly because I was always pregnant or had a baby, but we still feel like it was a missed opportunity. 
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Thankfully, it's not too late for the boys to learn how to ski.
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Blake and Nash did awesome in their first day of ski school.
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They loved riding up the magic carpet belt to get to the top of the bunny hill. Blake perfected his wedge stop and by the end of the day he was weaving in and out of cones.
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In the meantime, Troy and his siblings skied down some gorgeous trails.

He met up with our beginner crowd at the end of the day and the boys raved about everything they learned.
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Now we just have to figure out how to get back to the slopes so we can keep up our skills.


24 February 2017

Christmas Morning at the Cabin

We gave the boys a wake-up rule on Christmas morning and told them they couldn't go upstairs until the clock said exactly 7:30am. At 7:21am, they were lined up at the stairway, anxiously counting down the minutes until they could see what Santa brought.
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While we were waiting for everyone to finish breakfast, I was the mean mom who insisted on a photo op.
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It wasn't working out too well until we gave the boys some bells.
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The bells needed to be distributed anyway for our traditional Christmas morning kick-off with the Tanners. We marched down the stairs one by one singing Jingle Bells, wearing Santa hats and ringing the bells. 
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We let the boys dig into their borrowed stockings first. Nash was amused by the unconventional six-pack of Sprite that Santa brought him. I never buy soda so it was certainly a treat from the jolly old man.
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Next on the agenda was opening presents from Santa. We held to our gift opening rotation of youngest to oldest which meant that Finn got to go right after his baby cousin. I loved how all of my boys gathered around him in anticipation.
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Next up was Crew. There were gasps and smiles when he received the one thing he asked Santa for; a pirate ship.
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Then it was Nash's turn after rotating through some cousins.
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He is happy with anything relating to Legos.
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Blake opened his gift last and got just what he wanted from Santa; a glow in the dark circuit set.
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We could have ended the gift opening right there. The boys were so happy to plop down and check out their new toys.
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Aside from seeing what Santa brought, Nash's most anticipated present was the well-wrapped gift from uncle Todd.
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Todd followed suit from last year and gave Nash another multi-layered wrapped gift. In addition to layers and layers of tissue paper and wrapping paper, this year there was a layer of zip ties as well.
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Nash thought that was just about the funniest thing ever. Todd helped him cut through the zip ties to get to the next layers.
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Instead of giving our kids "stuff" this year, we decided to give them an experience they could enjoy all year instead. They were shocked and elated when they opened Disneyland passes. We took a year off from Disney last year and gave them no indication that we were thinking about investing in passes again. I think I might have been just as excited about the surprise as they were. I couldn't wait to see their reactions and they did not disappoint.
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We took a break from opening presents mid-morning to get ready for church since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year. We made the trek into the snow and enjoyed music and messages at the local congregation. After we got home and ate a leisurely lunch, we enjoyed a couple more hours of gift opening. I love that we open gifts one by one even if takes longer than tearing into them all at once. I think it helps my boys especially to take time to be grateful for each gift. And I like to watch the reactions from the both the givers and receivers.

We unwrapped every last gift and just like that it was over. We planned for weeks and then in a few hours time, it all came crashing down. All that we did to cultivate a spirit of Christmas reached a climax and in a blink of an eye, it was done. 

Thankfully, Christmas break was just beginning and we had the whole week to enjoy our white Christmas.


23 February 2017

Christmas Eve Traditions

After we pulled ourselves away from the snow, wrapped up the remaining presents that I had shipped to the cabin and ate a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, we got in costume for our annual nativity play.

The three oldest cousins took their roles as wise men very seriously.
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It's always better when we have a real baby to play Jesus.
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I think the kids were more interested in the treasures than the baby...
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Troy narrated the story of the nativity this year and did just the right amount of paraphrasing to keep it moving. You never know what kind of production you're going to get.
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We tried to dress up Finn in a sheep costume which lasted approximately 1.7 seconds. He had a better time wrestling with his dad on the stairs.
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Then it was on to one of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions; the sibling gift exchange. This year, each sibling gave a gift to the brother two younger than himself, which meant that Blake and Crew exchanged gifts and Nash and Finn swapped as well. I love seeing the expressions on the faces of the givers more than the receivers. They light up with anticipation when they watch their siblings unwrap the items they carefully picked out on their individual shopping trips.

The boys are very particular about opening up presents from youngest to oldest, so first up was Finn who received a helicopter from Nash. My favorite part of Finn's gift was the time Nash and I spent picking it out. We had to run to a baseball registration together back at the beginning of December, so we made a date out of it and went shopping and out to lunch. He was so grateful for that brief date. To this day, every time we pass the HomeGoods and Panda Express that we went to that day, Nash comments on the one time we had a date there, just him and me.
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Next was Crew who opened Blake's gift.
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Blake knew exactly what he wanted to buy for Crew. He wanted to have a book customized with Crew's name in it. When we went online to search for customizable books, Blake found the perfect Cars book that could be printed with Crew as a character alongside Lightning McQueen. He was a just a tad excited for Crew to open it.
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With a little bit of help from me, Finn picked out a Star Wars Lego watch to give to Nash. Nash kept sneaking that watch into my cart when we were out shopping for Finn's gift, so I knew he would love it. Finn isn't quite old enough to understand picking out gifts but I'm sure in a year or two he'll pick right up on the joy of giving.
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Last to open his gift was Blake who received a Disney version of Eye Found It! from Crew. We love to play the Busytown version of the game so Crew did a great job picking out something that Blake would enjoy.
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There was one more present to open before getting snug in their beds; the traditional Christmas pajamas.
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The tree was lined with presents and Santa hadn't even visited yet. We set out cookies and the boys tried their hardest to settle down and not think about how awesome the next morning was going to be.