Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Christmas

We have been having a lovely time here in Utah so far.
I think it is fair to say that we are enjoying every minute of it.
We, Karl and I, are actually getting some down time.
Karl's dad couldn't not capture this rare occurrence.
I still feel the need to justify myself:
we got up a minute later to do some P90X plyometrics.

Christmas Eve was pretty mellow. I like it that way.
After playing outside, we had a delicious dinner with Grandma and Grandpa.
We sang Christmas songs accompanied either by Grandma on the piano
or by Grandpa on his (new) guitar.
What a treat to have all this beautiful music.
We acted out the Christmas story. More or less.
We: more. Noah: less. Max: pretty much not at all.
We could convince Noah to be a wise man,
in addition to his usual sheep dog role.

The boys opened one present each.
A police helicopter for Noah and a firefighter helicopter for Max.
They were happy and eventually fell asleep holding on tight to their new treasures.

While Karl went over to his sister's house with his parents,
I finished up wrapping some presents and putting them under the tree.
Notice that there are no presents under the tree in the above picture.
Max is not particularly patient when it comes to presents.

Christmas morning was nice and relaxed as well.
Max woke up at 7:30 but stayed in our bed until 8:00.
We don't believe in Santa Claus around here, in case you were wondering.
Both boys were actually
brave enough to sit on one Santa's lap this year,
but really?
I am not into fairy tales and I am most definitely not into Santa.
I have to admit that I enjoy the German Christmas traditions more.
Also, neither Karl or I grew up believing in Santa
and I think we turned out ok.

My favorite Santa conversation this year:
Max: "There is a Santa Claus."
Noah: "It is Santa. Not Santa Claus."
Max: "I like Santa Claus."
Noah (agitated): " It is Santa. Not Santa Claus. He does not even have claws."

Then it was time to go play outside.
Check out these dudes on their new wheels!
I think they've got pretty good moves already.

Noah got what he wanted:
BMX pants and a skateboard.
He also does not mind the knee/shin guards that came with the pants.
The safer the better.

On their way to Uncle Ty's house.
The kids were getting restless, so I sent them ahead with their dad
and picked them up on my way.

It is sad to see what is left of the big snow storm Monday night.
Can we have more snow? Please?

Christmas dinner with (not even half of) the Jarvis Family.
We are missing something like 9 dear cousins and their parents,
who have decided to move to exotic places such as Fiji and Brazil.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well!
What a great time of year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There is no place like 'home'

My two handsome boys

It feels good to be home. After a 10-hour drive, we arrived safely in Utah Monday night. Phew. It was not even as bad as I had feared. Even though we were in a snow storm for about 3 hours, it only took us an extra hour. Not too bad.

As you know, I hate the car with a passion and was prepared to run the last 10 miles to Karl's parents' house. When we came in October, I was so grumpy by the end of the drive, that Karl found me some running shoes under the seat and threw me out of the car. I ran the last 2 miles. I did better this time. Probably because I had already run 8 miles before we even got in the car. Felt a lot less antsy.

It was still snowing when we went to bed Monday night and Tuesday morning we woke up to about 12 inches (30 cm) of snow! We were thrilled! What better way to start our winter vacation? The boys got bundled up and headed outside. Max did not last very long, however, because the snow was too deep for him to walk in. Poor guy. He hung out with Grandma and Grandpa inside while the two big boys lasted quite a lot longer. It is definitely convenient to have a hill in the backyard.

Like Karl's hat? I think it is sexy. He thought he forgot his bag of winter gear but actually found it later that day. Or maybe that was just an excuse 'cause he really wanted to wear the sexy pink hat. Who knows.

Are you wondering why I did not join in on the fun? Well, I was busy spinning my chubby legs on the trainer in the garage for 90 minutes. But then I ventured outside and ran over to my massage appointment. First snow run this winter and I loved it. I can't wait to get on some nice trails.

August '10

Of course, seeing Eric and Rubie was at the very top of the boys' list. They have been talking about the reunion for days. And it was just as sweet as they had imagined it in their little minds. Playing, sledding, more playing. Laughing, talking, being silly. We definitely miss these guys and their awesome mom!

Also on the list: A gingerbread castle. Karl and his parents are gingerbread-house-making experts and so I pretty much did not do anything but eat candy. Max and Noah loved every minute of it.

The front. Notice the two knights and their horse.

The back. Noah, the proud artist. Max is asleep at this point.

We are very happy to be spending the holidays in Utah, seeing friends and visiting family. We can't wait to see what fun the next two weeks hold. Hopefully some more sledding. But after 12 (and counting) hours of rain, there is not much hope (or snow) left. This is indeed tragic. I am serious. Rain and cold weather is not a good combination in my book. Why do you think I moved from the green forests (Germany) to the desert?

Happy Holidays! Karl is almost finished with the Christmas letter...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent in Flagstaff

Before heading to Utah tomorrow morning, I wanted to let you know that we have been having a lovely December so far. We started decorating our little fir tree right after Thanksgiving and have been able to add many homemade ornaments since. The boys are excited to have a big Christmas tree at Grandma's house but, I have to say, this one is very convenient with DestructoBoy around.

It was super cold for a while and the boys loved making ice, bringing it in, and smashing it with screwdriver and hammer. What? That is not one of your holiday traditions?

In case you are worried, it is just face paint!

I am not really good and following through with all the traditions I would like our family to have, but this one is a must! The Adventskalender. 24 presents. One for each day in December until Christmas. I loved having one as a kid. I would love having one now if someone made one for me... I was hoping to be able to hang them all up, so the boys would know how many days were left until Christmas. But Max cannot handle seeing anything even remotely looking like a present without having to open it immediately. So I have resigned myself to bringing one out every morning for them to open.

Yes. We have a fireplace. It has been covered up by a book shelf for a while, but Noah did not forget. So one Saturday afternoon the boys went into the forest, gathered some wood, and made a fire! They were thrilled.

We roasted some marshmallows and enjoyed the warmth. As you can tell, it is not very safe though and it stunk a lot. So now it is back behind the book shelf. It was fun while it lasted.

We are still in crafting mode. As you can tell.

Last weekend I enjoyed a Super Saturday! Early morning swim. Breakfast with the family. Lovely 60 mile bike ride with a big group in short sleeves! Library. Pita Pit. Northern Lights Parade downtown.

Karl joined us for dinner but was not able to stay for the parade. He had a big project due at midnight and the clock was ticking. He is now officially done with his first semester and deserves a nice break! Keep up the good work, Karl!


The kids had a great time! We will definitely be better prepared next year. Chairs, blankets, hot chocolate, etc. I just was not quite sure what to expect...

Hope you are enjoying this wonderful season! Can't wait to see some of you next week! Let's play. A lot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

At the Skatepark

Enjoy these pictures of Noah doing what he loves best: Practicing his tricks and skills at the skate park.

He really is into this. As you can tell. We just happened to go to a park one day in late summer and found that it had a skate park. It was quite crowded but the boys had a blast watching everyone else cruise around. We did not have their bikes with us. So we went back the next morning fully equipped. We have been to one skate park or another at least once a week since then. And Noah keeps getting better...

We are so fortunate. The bike is a hand-me-down from dear friends in Flagstaff. The knee and elbow pads a birthday presents. Then my aunt, Jeanette, sent us some money for the boys and we were able to buy a scooter. We had a scooter a couple of years ago but it got stolen. Noah is thrilled to have another one. Life is even better now.

Max definitely enjoys the skate park as well. He cruises around on his balance bike for a while. Then we roll pennies or cars or balls down the ramps. He loves it. We make sure we go in the morning when all the big kids are at school. That way we (usually) have the whole place to ourselves.

Those ramps are actually steeper than they look. Sometimes I can't even watch... I just look away and wait for a crashing sound... I am sure glad I have boys though. I think I can handle the skate park better than princess movies. You should give it a try!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving Staycation II

Friday morning we ventured down to Oak Creek Canyon. One of the most beautiful places around. We hiked the West Fork Trail but can't wait to explore the area more and camp there as well.

As you can tell, we were ready for rain, snow, mud, cold, water, etc. Compared to all the other hikers, we were way overdressed. But I also think we had the most fun since we did not get cold in the shade or wet in the stream.

Exploring the ruins on the trail

Playing in the partly ice-covered stream. The trail actually crosses the stream a few times which made the hike a lot more exciting.

Finding icicles. We got quite a few but unfortunately none of them made it all the way to the car. This one almost did. Noah carried it all the way to the parking lot. Then Max smashed it.

It is a good thing DestructoBoy is so cute!

In the afternoon, we headed over to the Aquaplex. Unfortunately, the pool water is pretty cold, so we did not last very long. But we still had plenty of fun. Then we stuck the kids in the KidsClub and worked out for an hour.

Saturday we played in the snow some more. We went further up the canyon to Crowley's Pit which had some nice hills for sledding and skiing. Great fun but no camera. Later that night, Karl took Noah on a little date and they went to see the lights.

I prefer actual trips to staycations any day. But this one turned out really nice and we never regretted not going camping.