Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas festivities!

Okay, brace yourselves... this is going to be a long one filled with many, many pictures from our Christmas adventure to the Tri-Cities.

December 21st-22nd: We spend most of Sunday and Monday last week cooped up in our house because of all the ice and snow from Arctic Blast 2008! As I mentioned in my previous post, I-84 that runs between Portland and the Tri-Cities (my hometown) was closed due to the weather and bad visibility, preventing us from leaving Gresham earlier like we had hoped.

December 23rd: I woke up and checked my cell phone next to the bed and was shocked when the clock read 7:19am... The last thing I had remembered was feeding Cooper and going to bed around 11pm- that's right 11pm!!! Cooper was still sleeping (approx. 8 hours)- Merry Christmas to me! I turned on the T.V. to "Breaking News" that I-84 was opening right then, they opened the gates in Troutdale to the interstate at 7:22am and we were all clear to pack the van and make the trip! By the time we did get all packed, kids fed, Wendy's for lunch, gas in the van, and got on the road, it was about 1:30pm. The roads were still a little scary in places, but Rick did an excellent job driving and got us to my mom's house safe and sound around 7pm. The normally 3-3 1/2 hour drive took about 5 1/2 hours, but it was worth taking the extra time to get there in one piece.
Before we left, Rick took this cute picture of the kids standing in the snow drift leading up to our front door... it was almost as tall as they are!
Here is a photo I took of the road, just before we got to Hood River. YIKES!
December 24th: Growing up, we always had a great big dinner on Christmas Eve and then opened all of our gifts- except the gifts Santa brought of course! So, this year was no different!
Here is the beautiful tree my mom decorated, before we tore into all the gifts!
Riley and Cassidy in their matching Christmas dresses!
Tyson hiding in all the gifts!
Cooper was a great early Christmas present for us this year!
We were able to get a couple of good family pictures... after many, many attempts!
Grandma Diane was really excited to spend her first Christmas with all the grandkids since moving back from Hawaii.
Grandpa Jim read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the kids before we opened gifts.
The kids layed out (and on) their stockings for Santa to fill before going to bed...
Sometime just before midnight, Santa made his stop at Grandma's and delivered many wonderful gifts for the children...
December 25th: Christmas morning, the kids woke up at Grandma's to new toys and treasures left by Santa the night before. The girls had fun playing with new princess dresses that Cassidy got and I'm pretty sure Tyson would have been content with the new sippy cups Santa left in his stocking!
Later that morning we packed up the van and made our way to Papa and Grandma Gayle's house to have breakfast and open gifts with them.
The kids got a kick out of the singing Frosty the Snowman.
But, Tyson did not like the barking stuffed dog under the tree... the rest of the day, he wouldn't go near it and kept saying "scary" when he saw it.
I just thought this photo of Tyson was cute with the fireman's hat... it went perfectly with this fireman's rain boots he has on in the picture above.
All the kids with Grandma Gayle and Papa.
I think Cooper really enjoyed his very first Christmas... can't you tell?!
Then, it was back to Grandma Diane's and Grandpa Jim's for a yummy Christmas dinner of ham and potato casserole! The kids ran around in their new pajama's and robes... We also drove around town that night looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights (and trying to get the kids to fall asleep!). I love this time of year!
I think Tyson looks a bit like Hugh Hefner in his robe!
And Riley wouldn't stand still for me to get a cute photo of her...
December 26th: After days of being on the go, we were all super exhausted! But, we bundled up the kids in the morning so they could go out and play in the snow for a little bit. It was so cold outside (probably a little too cold) and I think it actually took longer to get ready to go out and play than we were really out there! My mom's house sits on a cul-de-sac, which had been plowed in a circle making a perfect little crater for the kids to climb on and play in. I think they had fun! There was a smudge on the camera lens that I didn't notice until later, which is way the next three photos look a little foggy...
Tyson was very interested in eating the snow (non of it yellow, thank goodness!) and decided to take his boots off in the snow... that's right about when Rick decided it was best to come inside and warm up!
This was Cousin Cassidy's very first time playing in the snow... it's actually her first "real"/full winter after living in Hawaii for the first couple of years of her life! Lucky girl! (That's Rick getting some great film footage in the background)
We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the couch while the kids napped and my mom, Jim, and Cassidy drove my Grandma Clarette back to Walla Walla. I told Rick at one point that the previous couple of days had almost been a blur because they were so busy- a very blessed and fun busy! That night, we went back to my dad's for dinner. Before we left, the girls "made" some cookies with Grandma and Tyson played with some of his new tools.
December 27th: We had a few things to do back at home for the weekend and on Monday, so we had to pack up on Saturday morning and head back to Gresham. The trip home was much easier than the drive over. The kids were all amazing little travelers, we hardly heard anything from the backseat the entire trip! We also didn't make a single stop, so the drive only took 3 hours- great time!
The snow had mostly melted, but the rain was coming down pretty hard starting around The Dalles and lasting the rest of the way home, making for a tense drive. Again, Rick did an amazing job getting us from point A to point B safe and sound!
Riley was so excited to help feed Cooper and hold the bottle while mommy's arm got a break from reaching to the back seat!
I can't believe how much stuff Rick was able to cram/pack into the back of the van... and that was with the back row of seats gone! We need to learn to pack a little lighter...
When we got home, Rick unpacked the van while I fed the kids lunch. We had just enough time to load back into the van and head to the church for the 4:30pm service. Due to the bad weather, all the previous weekend and Christmas services were canceled/postponed, so we were able to see the Christmas program a few days late. It was a fun way to extend the joy of Christmas just a few days longer this year and the music was beautiful!

December 28th: Riley woke up Sunday morning with a fever (102.6 at one point) and spend the entire day wrapped in blankies on the couch sleeping and watching movies. With no competition for the new toys, Tyson had a great day playing and being really cute in the playroom. If only he were that way all the time... but, he and Riley seem to enjoy fighting over toys a little too much! Rick and I spent the day working hard at organizing the house and garage in order to make room for some of our new stuff and generally get the house in order. We even took down all the Christmas decorations. I didn't get any before and after pictures of the house- but, it looked like a clothing/toys bomb went off before and looks like all clean and nice now!

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday! I feel so blessed to have been able to spend the days with family and only wish the weather would have allowed us to get to the Tri-Cities earlier to visit with some friends too... hopefully next time we're in town! (I warned you it would be long... sorry!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas decorations

We don't have a ton of Christmas decorations, but each year we try to add a few more things to our collection. Here are a few pictures of what we have done around our house to get in the Christmas spirit. I can't wait to make it to my mom's house and see how beautiful her house is decorated this year! She always does such an amazing job!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...
These are special hand-made Hawaii stockings that my sister got for the Riley and Tyson. Cooper will be getting his in just a couple of days... aren't they huge, but so cute! I also love the card holder/Christmas tree we got this year to display some of the beautiful family pictures and cards we've received.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
I was finally able to justify buying the cute Little People Nativity set... for the kids of course! We just cleaned the playroom and Baby Jesus is missing again. Who knows where Tyson put Him this time! (this photo was taken a couple of days ago, when Baby Jesus wasn't MIA)
Away in the manger...
Here is our front yard all covered in snow. Doesn't it look peaceful?
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
And this is another angle of the front walkway and the snow drift blocking our door... it's a good 2-3 feet at least!
O, the weather outside is frightful...

Snow drifts

We are officially snowed/iced in here in Gresham, but after watching how many people are stranded in the airport, Amtrak station, and hotels, I'm thankful to be in the warmth of our own home! I'm also thankful we haven't lost power, which I know many people in the Portland area have. Interstate 84 is closed between Troutdale and Hood River, so right now our visit to the Tri-Cities is definitely in limbo. They say when the winds settle down and visibility gets better, it will re-open, so we could still make it there in time to celebrate with my family on Christmas Eve.

Here are a few fun pictures of the snow drifts around our house after the crazy amounts of snow and ice we got yesterday and overnight.

This was the view outside our front door last night. A wall of snow had accumulated against the front door, you can actually see where the door panes were. You can also see a little snow blowing up the snow- the wind was CRAZY!!!
This is the mountain range of snow on our front walkway.
It's a little harder to see in the picture, but all the tree branches were covered in ice this morning after a night of freezing rain. With the wind still gusting, the trees are making a fun crackling sound when the icy branches rub against eachother.
The snow is high enough to reach the bottom of the branches or our lace-leaf maple and the arborvitaes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowy Days

It has been a week of crazy weather around here... freezing temps, snow, rain, canceled and delayed school. It started with snow and frigid weather on Sunday and Rick got a call at 4pm saying school was canceled for Monday. It was just too darn cold and windy to go out play in it (yes, we're big wimps!), but it sure looked pretty from the window! Tuesday morning, school was on a 2-hour delay for Rick and my class that night was not canceled... total bummer because Warner's night classes were canceled Monday, Wednesday, and tonight, so we were the only night that had to go!

A big part of the "Arctic Blast" storm, as they are calling it on the news, was suppose to hit yesterday morning, so I stopped at Safeway on the way home from class on Tuesday to stock up on some things, you know, bread, milk, eggs... hmmm, no eggs to be found, only 5 gallons of fat-free milk left, and very little bread on the shelf. Apparently everyone else had the same idea and the store was crazy busy and running out of stuff left and right... at 9:30pm! The call came Wednesday morning that Rick's school district had been canceled for the day, but teachers were still required to report as usual... what?!? So, Rick was off to work again- poor guy! He made a stop at Safeway first for a much needed Starbucks run and was able to get the eggs and milk- they had gotten an overnight delivery. Luckily, the teachers were able to leave the school around noon and didn't have to sit around the school ALL day without students... only half the day!

Rick's district was among the non-canceled today and the roads were looking pretty good. I was all set to venture out with the kids for the first time in almost a week (yep the kids have been homebound for too long!!)... and then the snow started up again. The pretty, big-flaked, wet snow that is fun to play in... so, I bundled up the kids and finally gave them a chance to play in the snow! They had a great time- I only wish Rick had been home to join in on the fun!
All set to play in the snow!
A shot of Cooper in the comfort of the warm house, taken through the sliding glass door.
Riley checking on Cooper through the window!
Tyson had fun making footprints all around the yard... although he didn't like it much when he fell on his bottom and realized how cold and wet it was!
Riley trying to catch some snowflakes in her mouth.
I just love these kids so much...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Snapshots

Today we had a low key day at home, preparing for the extremely cold weather we are expected to have over the next several days. The kids played with Play-doh, we watched some T.V., and Riley and I made some yummy cookies!

All set to make our chocolate chip cookies!
She handled the hand mixer like a pro!
There's nothing like a little storytime before bed... The Going To Bed Book is always a hit!
Cooper had a good day too... hanging out, eating a lot, and working on perfecting his smiles- something we've been trying really hard to catch on camera. We got a half one here...