Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Activities - Week 3

Third week of Christmas Activities! 

December 15th 
Christmas Movie

I can't remember what we watched. It might have been Christmas related it might not have been. I know so far this year we've watched, Christmas Chronicles (SO GOOD!!!!), The Christmas Project (Super cute), Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors & Circle of Love (I loved them so much I bought them on Amazon) and Christmas Inheritance (Typical Hallmark movie, but cute). 


December 16th 
Christmas Musical & Drive thru Nativity

For both services at church the adult choir sang 10 songs in our musical performance called The King Is Here! 

There were a bunch of solos and everyone did great! 

It was exhausting standing for that long, but it was totally worth it when you could hear how much people really enjoyed it and that the message shined through. 

That night we were supposed to go to a Drive Thru Nativity at a church in Normandy Park, but then I got a call from my friend Margie saying that she could get discount tickets to the Nutcracker. Jack's best friend Hansi was playing Fritz and it was the last showing of the season. 

Jack, Ella and I jumped in the van and headed to Renton to the IKEA Performing Arts building. Our seats were great! We were on the right down in front, but far enough back we didn't have to lift our head to see the stage. This was a first for Jack and Ella. 

Of course they don't let you take pictures during the performance. Hansi did a great job!! He was perfect for Fritz...he has that mischievous look down perfect! 

Funny thing is before this night I had NEVER seen the Nutcracker. I didn't even known anything about it. I had to ask Margie about what was going on and then I had to read the story in the book she gave me. 

When we first walked in to the building I saw Pastor Andy and then I saw Jessica. Jessica's son Grady was in the production as well. He was one of the Party Boys. We got to meet up and chat a little bit during intermission with Jessica and her hubby Mike as well as with Colleen and Andy. 


December 17th 
Baking Day

Michael has a Christmas work party every year and every year I make treat bags for all the co-workers.  I love having the kids help me make the treats and they enjoy it too. 

The first thing I have them do is wash their hands really well. :) Then Ella and Zeke had the job of putting the pretzels on the cookie sheet. If there were any broken pretzels they had to separate those from the whole ones. I'm pretty sure they ate lots of those broken ones. They might have even been responsible for some of them getting broken! ;) 

Owen and Jack got to unwrap all the Rolos and put them in a bowl. This year I had each of the kids wear an apron. They really enjoyed that. It's funny how such small things can bring joy! 

Once Ella & Zeke were finished laying out the pretzels they got to open all the peanut butter cups. They also go to count out Oreos. Owen and Jack got to put the Rolos on the pretzels and then press down the pecan once they were softened. Ella ended up being the only one to stay with me and help almost the whole time. I really actually enjoy this time with them...which honestly surprises me! :) 


December 18th 
Wrap Sibling Gifts

I have all the kids go upstairs and then bring down one kid to wrap the present they bought for their sibling. I had them use the special paper that the kiddo picked out, but I let them pick the bow and the tag. 

I had each of the kids fill out the tag themselves. I love seeing their writing. 

Owen's present for Jack was a really unusual size so we had the hardest time finding something to wrap it in. I had a giant box in the garage, but it would have been SO huge next to the tree. I was really wanting to avoid using that, but I also wanted to avoid going out and buying another bag. I decided to organize all my bags and thankfully I came across this one. It was exactly the size we needed. 


December 19th 
Holiday w/ Lights

It was pouring down rain so we moved this to the 20th since the weather looked better. So instead we watched the Survivor Finale with the kids. 


December 20th
LEGO Christmas Creations & Family Movie Night

This got changed to Holiday w/Lights instead. Owen did come home and make a Christmas scene out of LEGO's though.

This is the view from the street. The round circles are the walkway. The gray box is the mailbox. The big rock thing is a yard decoration. The guy standing there has come outside from his house that isn't there and he's picking up packages. 

Here the view from the other side. The guy hiding behind the rock sculpture is the one that dropped off the gifts that the guy is bending over to pick up. I love his creativity! 

Ga-Ga was recovering from bronchitis so she decided to stay home. Pa came to our house and had dinner with us and then we all rode in the Aspen together. 

The first place we had to go after parking was the season pass area. I had bought season passes for the kids and I on Labor Day, but I hadn't ever come to get our wristbands. 

The weather was SO much better than the day before. It was VERY chilly though! 

Cute penguins! 

The kids were so excited about the rides. I don't even know the name of this one, but it shoots you up. Jack and I rode on this side and Michael and Owen were on the side to the right. Zeke stayed with Pa since he wasn't tall enough. It gave me major tummy tickles and I was screaming. When we got off Michael said it was so boring! 

The next ride was hang gliders, but unfortunately Zeke wasn't tall enough to ride so it was just me and the older 3. 

After that we knew we had to find a ride that Zeke could actually go on. Michael took the older 3 to go ride more thrill rides while Pa and I took Zeke. 

Our first stop was the carousel. The line was long, but thankfully we were able to make it on after two cycles. At first both Pa and I were going to stand next to Zeke, but then I saw a few open horses so I asked Zeke if he wanted me to ride as well and he said yes. 

So Pa stood next to Zeke to hold onto him. 

I was riding up in front of them. 

At one point during the ride I looked back at Zeke and said, " horse is beating you!" He thought that was funny! 

The older 3 were still off having fun so we went in search of more Zeke friendly things. We saw this entrance to Toyland and thought they might have some fun crafts or something. 

No crafts, but they did have an area that was "snowing" was just soap bubbles and it was everywhere. Shortly after this we heard Michael and the older kids. 

They had lots more of these picture taking opportunities. 

Cute toy soldier! 

All of my kids are the best presents God ever gave me! 

After this we walked around trying to find more rides that Zeke could go on, but everything that was open was for bigger kids. Michael wasn't surprised since Wild Waves is now owned by 6 Flags. He said that they are more geared towards teenagers and adults. I did see a bunch of rides that weren't open that I think Zeke would be able to go on though. So hopefully next summer he'll be able to have more fun. 

Michael did take the older 3 kids on another rollercoaster while Pa and I just walked around with Zeke. 

This was probably my favorite light desplay. It's hard to see since it's so fuzzy, but it's not two different lights is just that there is water there so it's reflecting on the water. The lights are the 12 days of Christmas. It's the number with a picture of that that day so it's a 1 with a partridge in a pear tree and so on. It was super cool! 

I decided to buy kettle corn so we could just munch on that while we waited for the older kids to get back. There was also a candy store so we went over there mainly to get out of the elements since it was freezing!!! 

Zeke picked Sour Skittles, but I didn't buy them until the other kids got there so they could pick out candy as well. 

In the candy store there was a real beard Santa. None of the kids wanted a picture, but when there wasn't a line Pa went over and talked with him and found out that he actually did know Santa Al. That was so fun! 

Outside the candy shop! 

Pa, Zeke and I sat out here chatting while waiting for Michael and the kids. I was SO cold I was ready to go home and get warm. When they came along we bought their candy and then headed out. We got there around 6pm and left around 8:30pm. 

It was fun, but honestly I was disappointed. Since it was called Holiday w/Lights I assumed there would be more light displays like at Zoolights. There were lights, but they were just on bushes and not really in any sort of display. Really it was mainly all about the rides. The website said that 25 rides would be open, but there were not that many. Michael said he saw a sign that 8 of the rides were down. I don't know if that meant they weren't working or if they didn't have enough staff to operate them. 

Next year I think we are going to drive up to Warm Beach Camp and check that out. Zeke won't be old enough yet to do the dinner theater, but I bet there is still plenty of fun stuff for us to do. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Activities - Week 2

Second Week of Christmas Activities! 

December 8th 
Put glitter on snowflakes

When I pictured putting glitter on the snowflakes I envisioned it being a little messy, but that was before I realized the glitter I had was ultra fine glitter. 

I tried to pitch a little with my fingers to sprinkle on the snowflakes, but all it did was stick to my fingers. 

I tried to gather the glitter on the cutting board to pour it back into the bowl I was using, but all it did was stick to the little runts in the cutting board. 

Then I tried to go outside and shake off the glitter and at that moment the wind kicked up and blew glitter all in my face. I ended up having a sneezing attack. It was comical for sure. 

I was able to get some of the glitter in a bowl though. Zeke ended up wanting to look at the bowl and then he blew in it. Oh yeah his face was covered with glitter. It was so hilarious! 

It was still fun...messy, but fun! 

As for the table, bench and floor...they was very sparkly! 

We tried to clean it up as best as we could, but it seriously looked like a pixie had thrown a temper tantrum on our first floor. 


December 9th 
Church Staff Christmas Party

Yes, I know I'm not officially on staff anymore, but since I did work there for 8 months of the year Pastor Andy wanted to include me. Funny thing was when he asked me if I wanted to go I didn't even hesitate when saying yes. He was kind of shocked and asked if I needed to check with Michael. Nope! I'm the one that plans our calendar anyway so I knew we were free. Even if we weren't I would have freed up our calendar. The reason being was the Staff Christmas Party was a day trip to Leavenworth! Yes...count us in! 

Pastor Andy and Colleen were so sweet to pay for the whole day. They chartered a bus and also had a catered dinner at one of the hotels for us. The bus came after church around 1pm and we set off. While we were on the bus we had our gift exchange. I love white elephant gift exchanges. I got a Starbucks cup and a small box of chocolates and Michael got a gift card to Applebees. 

Once we got to Monroe we had a pit stop at the Safeway so we could get out and buy some snacks or coffee. After that we were back on the road. Of course it had started to snow and some people on the road really shouldn't be on the road. At one point we were the 8th vehicle behind this one car. Poor guy should not have been driving. That really slowed us down. We were hoping to get into Leavenworth around 3:30pm, but we ended up getting there close to 5pm. We had just enough time to get out and find a spot to see the tree lighting. 

As we were standing there with the huge crowd of people I got to thinking...the only thing I really wanted to do was go in the Kris Kringle store. I knew that once the lighting ceremony was over that store would be SO packed. So we opted to not wait to see the lighting. The store was fun, but I was bummed they didn't really have anything that I was looking for. Plus hello tourist trap and huge prices! :) It wasn't a big deal though...we had fun looking. Right around the time we were finished looking around the store, it started to get really crowded. I was so thankful we skipped the ceremony. 

When we came out everything was all lit up!!! 

Leavenworth really is so pretty! 

The whole square! 

The choir! 

With all the lights and the freshly fallen snow it was so picture perfect! 

A true Christmas Village! 

Our dinner was going to be ready by 5:30 so we had to be back at the bus by 5:15pm. Dinner was at the Icicle Inn & Resort. It was so yummy! Our plan was to be back at the church around 10pm so we finished up around 7pm and then were back on the bus. We drove about 45 minutes and then had to pull over to put chains on. It had really been snowing! I texted my mom at 7:47pm telling them that we had to put chains on. Michael said that was going to add about an hour to our trip. 30 minutes to put them on and about 30 minutes to take them off...give or take. My parents were at our house with the kids since they needed to go to school the next day and Zeke had a Drs. appointment. 

Since we had been sitting for so long....4 hours for the bus ride over, 1.5hrs for dinner and then another 45 minutes on our return trip...a bunch of us just wanted to get out and stretch our legs. It was snowing so it was beautiful and it wasn't really all that cold. Plus we were on the side of the highway where there were big lights. It was fun getting to chat and...

Brenda even made a snow angel on the side of HWY 2. It was while we were chatting that we realized that things weren't going as planned. First off, putting the on chains was taking longer than it really should and then we heard this really long and loud hissing noise. The bus driver came over and told us that we just lost our brakes. After a little bit he came on the bus and told us the plan. They were going to be sending a replacement bus from Seattle, but they were also going to be sending Triple A from Wenatchee to come fix the bus. The bus from Seattle was about 3 hours away and Triple A was about an hour away. I texted my mom the news at 8:30pm. 

During this time we were all just chatting, laughing, singing and having a really great time considering. We'd get off the bus and be in the snow and then get back on and so forth. By 10:30pm Triple A still hadn't showed up though. My mom texted me at 11:30pm and they had gotten there. I joking said watch we'll have to get out while they jack up the bus. 

Yep...we had to! 

The nice thing was the area where we were was right outside the driveway of the Rock Mountain Lodge. It was empty so that was a bummer, but it had this nice covered area at the beginning of the driveway so we were able to be out of the falling snow. We were out there for about an hour before we were could get back on the bus. The thing was it wasn't the brakes it was actually the tire that had blown. The bus driver had broken off the value stem when he was trying to put the chains on. 

Back on the bus we were getting TIRED!!! The triple A guy was trying to help the driver as well as one of our church guys whose like Macgyver. They had the tire fixed and they were now trying to put the chains on. At 12:32am I texted my mom and told them the chains were not going to work. They has put the wrong size chains on the bus. Also when Triple A showed up they called and cancelled the replacement bus. So now we were going to have wait for them to dispatch another bus from Seattle. This was NOT a good plan. We were all exhausted and so was the bus driver. So we decided we should turn around and head back to Leavenworth and see if we could find a hotel and get some sleep. 

Brent our new associate pastor ended up calling the Icicle Inn & Resort where we ate dinner, They had 30 beds available...we had 25 people (23 church folks and then the bus driver and his wife). We ended up getting back to the hotel around 1:30am and then thankfully our business director figured everything out bed wise. Michael and I shared a room with 2 queen beds with Terrise and her daughter in law Morgan. I think we actually got into bed around 2 or 2:30am. We slept until 7:30am and then got up to go eat the continental breakfast. The new bus was supposed to be there at 9am and Pastor Andy wanted us to be ready just in case it was early. 

Of course it was not early! We actually ended up coming home on the same bus. Around 10:30am the pass was clear so we didn't need chains and our bus driver was off his restriction of not being able to drive for a certain amount of hours. We never actually saw the other bus if they actually sent one. Bye bye Icicle would be fun to come back and spend a whole night there and actually mean to do that! :)  

The nice thing about coming home the next day was getting to see the beautiful snow. 

It was really breathtaking! 

What was supposed to be a 9-10 hour trip ended up being a little over 24 hours long. Pastor Andy felt awful, but really it was a blast. It's one of those things that none of us could control and we really made the best of it. We all have this super crazy experience that we share together and it was SO much more memorable than if everything had gone according to plan. We were definitely tired, but it was loads of fun for sure! 


December 10th 
Watch A Movie

That was about all we could muster that day! It wasn't even a Christmas was Ready Player One. Keepin' it real. 


December 11th 
Shop for siblings

I didn't take any pictures. I was able to take Jack and Ella together since they were buying for Zeke and Owen. Then I came home and switched and took Owen and Zeke since they were buying for Owen and Ella. It really didn't take that long which was good since I had Christmas Choir practice that night as well. 


December 12th 
Hang up snowflakes

I love how doing something Christmasy doesn't have to be huge. The snowflakes had been sitting there waiting to be hung up and I honestly didn't know what to do for this particular day so we just did this. Most of the kids hung them up in the office. 

Owen put one on the living room window. 

I put mine in the kitchen....because that's where I am most of the time! That or the laundry room! :) 


December 13th 
Cookie Decorating

When the kids were littler we had a tradition of doing some sort of Christmas craft with the Storer family. Last year this didn't happen because I was working and life was crazy. This year I was determined to start it up again. We had Kim and the kids come over for dinner (Micah had to work). We ate lasagna....well most of us did. As you can see Owen and Zeke aren't in this picture because they chose to not eat their dinner. 

I had made sugar cookies the day before. Each of the kids got 4 cookies. 

A snowman, a candy cane, a tree and an star. 

The best part about this years cookie decorating was that I found all natural food coloring on Amazon so Ella was able to use colored frosting for her cookies. It's the littlest things sometimes that make your day! 

Miss Kim even got some white pearls so Ella was able to make her cookies pretty! 

The boys were so sad they couldn't eat their cookies, but that didn't mean that they couldn't decorate them. This made them so happy! 

Lovin' the red hots! 

The other kids were each able to eat 2 cookies. Owen and Zeke just had to save their to eat the next day. 


December 14th 
Wrap Presents

This one was more for me. I needed a day to wrap all the kids presents so I ended up having the kids play hooky from school and took them to my parents house to spend the night. My parents took the kids shopping for Michael and I and they got to have fun at the bounce house. I got the whole day to myself! 

The wrapping paper on the floor was the paper the kids picked out the week before when we took them shopping at War-Mart.

Here's all the other wrapping paper and bags. Kim had just given me a bunch of Christmas bags and they sure came in handy. 

Whenever I wrap presents these are my 3 go to movies to watch. They are my favorite! I always end up crying at the end of The Family Stone. 

It was another great week of Christmas Activities!