Arizona is getting hit hard by a winter storm. In Flagstaff (2 hours north of Phoenix), they are getting over 2 feet of snow. And some friends in Phoenix saw snowflakes. That's only happened a handful of times in my life.
We are somewhere in the middle and we got several inches of snow last night.
This was Emily's face when she saw our white backyard. We quickly ate breakfast and got everyone ready to go sledding. Enough snow to go sledding at our neighborhood park happens about once a year. It's a big deal. Noah was all bundled up in his snow suit. I think he's trying to say, "I can't put my arms down." When we got to the park it was beautiful out. But 15 minutes later, the snow started coming down. The kids didn't seem to mind and wanted to go down the hill together. I love that Emily has her arm around Ben. She's sweet like that. David had taken today off for vacation since it's his Mom's last day here. It worked out great because I would've hard a hard time juggling three kids in the snow. Noah was enjoying it at first. But then the snow really started to come down. So, we went and sat in the van. Heater on, Ipod in hand and all was good. He likes Julie Andrews Do-Re-Mi. Every time she sings "do", he chimes in with "do" about a second later. Our friends showed up and I took pictures from the car. That's Emily and Ben on their double sled. And Emily is dragging the double sled up the hill while Ben is laying at the bottom in the snow. He's a lot of help. Ben had enough. So, he joined us in the car. I love the red cheeks. But, not my girl. She's a die hard. That's her all by her lonesome. Noah was ready for a nap and Ben was sick of sitting in the van, so we needed to get home. Emily wasn't thrilled. This is our house. This is lots of snow for us. The kids warmed up with the electric blanket, some coffee and popcorn. They watched Toy Story 3. As soon as it was over, my girl was ready for more. She went down the slide. She threw snowballs. She jumped in the fresh powder. And did snowy jazz hands. She's awesome. Ben, on the other hand, was happy to stay inside and dress up. I love how different my kids are. And we are all loving this snow.
Christmas morning is always a draw as to who will be up first. Well, we know David will be up first, but the kids are hard to predict. I would say Noah, Ben then Emily. But, Emily was super excited. She woke up first and what did she get to do? Wait around for an hour for the rest of us to get up. We had several late nights preceding this morning and I wasn't about to wake up Ben. So, the frenzy started at 8:30.
You can tell that Ben is still half asleep in this picture.
Emily got a walking doll from Santa. Ben got everything superhero. And I think Noah is already following in his footsteps.
Now, he's coming alive...
Emily enjoyed opening all of Noah's gifts for him.
My girl was so sweet. I think she told me thank you about 10 times followed by a hug. I'm glad she was so happy with her new stuff. She got Grammie Gwynne a pen from Santa's workshop at school.
Noah climbing on a present to get a closer look at Iron Man. And Emily's behind climbing under the tree to fetch more presents.
At one point, Noah just laid down in all the wrapping paper like he'd had enough.
Ben said his favorite present was this web shooting toy. He was in heaven.
We spent about 4 hours, unwrapping, unclipping and putting together everything. We (the parents) were exhausted. And we still had a turkey dinner to make. Since Gwynne is visiting, we wanted to do something a little fancier. I was in charge of mashed potatoes. I gave some to Noah who liked them at first.
Then his hands got dirty. He hates dirty hands.
And that was the end of mashed potatoes.
The day was long but wonderful.
Today I spent 6 hours putting Christmas away. My house now looks clean and uncluttered and I'm ready to start the New Year!
We always go to my Dad and Suzy's in Phoenix for Christmas Eve.
My mother in law bought Emily a new Christmas dress. I love when she buys these dresses that have a matching one for a doll. So cute, even if the doll looks a little possessed. Ben wanted to dress up too, so he wore his shirt and clip on tie. When we got to my Dad and Suzy's he wanted to pose for me. So, we had a little photo shoot. Ok, he's seriously cracking me up here. So, I tried to get Emily to play along too and let me get some photos. She gave me one pose and a few candids while she was walking away and then she went to play in the pool. Whatever. Noah wouldn't pose for me either. Then, the kids did some square dancing. Then, Ben wanted to pose for me when we went inside.
What cracks me up about this picture is that his hand is in the spiderman web spinning pose. He's always a superhero. It was torture for the kids. All these presents under the tree and they had to wait and wait to open them. All that patience finally paid off and it was a frenzy of boxes and wrapping paper for awhile. And this little man was loving his new toys. But presents and toys aside, I'm very blessed that I get to spend the day with all of my family. My Mom and Dad divorced shortly after I finished high school. My Dad married Suzy. And Suzy loves all of us and welcomes us in her home. And that includes my Mom and my crazy brother and even crazier sister. It even includes my Mom's family...this is my cousin Mark...my Moms sister's son. Not too many wives want an ex-wife (and her extended family) in their home for the holidays. And not to many ex-wives want to be in their ex-husband and wife's home for the holidays. But, it's not like that. Everyone truly gets along so well. We laugh and have fun and it makes it so much easier on all of us kids. Nobody has to dash out the door after dinner to get to the other parent's home. And we can all just hang out for the day and enjoy each other's company.
And that's really what the holidays are all about... being with family.
I've been happily married for 13 years. We have three kids. Emily is 12, Ben is 11 and Noah is 7. I'm a stay at home Mom which means I teeter daily between having the time of my life and losing my sanity.