Friday, January 10, 2014

Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas!

I'm still amazed at how fast December flew by! And this was one of our best Christmases yet.
The Nutcracker! One of my favorite parts of Christmas. I took Timmy to see a taped performance of the Bolshoi Ballet last winter (I wasn't sure whether he would have the attention span for an entire live performance) and the dude loved it! So a trip to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet was definitely a must do this year. Gemma loves dancing (she cannot wait to take lessons when she turns 4) so we had no doubt she would love the ballet. And ooooooh, she did! We had fantastic seats...7th row, center (THANK YOU MOM!!!!) 
My mom and I took the kids to the matinee performance and followed up with dinner at the Space Needle. We got a window table, watched as fake snow swirled around the observation deck, saw "Space Santa", and got the kids the Lunar Orbit sundae (a couple scoops of ice cream in a dish with dry ice) that the kids at the table behind us were jealously eyeing. An absolutely PERFECT day!
 Coolest kiddo sundae ever!
Nope, no trip on the Great Wheel this time, but, Gemma wants to ride it for her birthday in March...

If you know me well, you know how close my mom and I are. And, just one of the many reasons she is the best is that she volunteers to drive from Bainbridge to California with me and the kids. Suffice to say our drive to Grass Valley was not ideal. We left our house (as planned...) at just after 8:00 in the morning. Quick coffee stop for yours truly and our drive began.  All went well...for about 5 minutes. We were met with a traffic standstill about a mile south of the bridge off the island. A quick phone call to Jim at work (who informed us of a major collision on the bridge, and the subsequent shutdown to all cars on and off the island) left us with the easy decision of taking the ferry into Seattle. Of course we missed the 8:45 by ONE MINUTE (you can see how well our trek was going thus far...) and had to catch the 9:40. Almost 2 hours behind schedule and we hadn't even left the island yet! But still in decent spirits, we made it to Tacoma before we encountered our next road block: signs alerting us to an accident near Olympia. With no alternate route available, and no idea at that point of how bad traffic would be, we kept going. Bad idea. Turned out ALL lane of I-5 southbound were closed. We made it to within 2 miles of the actual crash site, Regan all out screaming at this point, before giving up, driving on the dirt shoulder (where we were flipped off by more than one friendly motorist) to exit the highway, park in a dirt lot, and walk a couple blocks to get lunch at McDonald's (which of course Gemma refused to eat). It only took us a little over 2.5 hours (yes, hours) to drive 2 blocks to get back on the highway and finally pass the accident. One of the worst I have ever seen in my life. 3 trucks, burned to a carcass, melted asphalt...yuck. It took us over 8 hours to reach Portland, and another 5 to reach Medford, our stop for the night. Thankfully our remaining miles on day #2 were entirely uneventful.

A rocky start to our Christmas in Grass Valley, that turned out to be one of my favorite Christmases yet!
Yep, all 3 kiddos take a bath together now. Regan wants to do anything his big brother and big sister do.
Cousins:) Regan (8 months) and Levi (4 months).
Baking cookies with Grandma Nikki. Gemma wore her new sparkle twirly skirt from Nanni and Poppy almost everyday of our 2 week visit.
 Yeah, crawling all over the place now. If Regan is anything like Gemma, he'll be walking in no time.
Seriously, this kid has some of the best facial expressions. A (mostly) smiley, happy, engaging dude who, if he actually had the words, would probably be saying "where's the party?"
 Christmas Eve!

The kids could not believe that their Grandma is a personal friend of Santa!!! No big shocker, Timmy was more on the serious side, Gemma was her usual chatterbox, and Regan cried when we put him on Santa's lap.
WTF!!! Seriously angry that I somehow messed this picture up because Timmy was actually smiling! Yeah, Regan did NOT enjoy Santa at all...
 "Uncle Sean, give me my sparkle hat back!!!"
Dorking around with Auntie Lindsay
Timmy scored a TON of Legos for Christmas!
...and Gemma scored a closet full (okay, not quite that much) of sparkly dress up clothes. Twirly skirts, fairy wings, wands, you name it.

A princess castle from Auntie Erin & Uncle Sean!
Christmas morning. Poor Levi, I'm not sure he knows what to think of his 3 crazy cousins.
The gift on the top of Timmy's list to Santa...the one he wanted more than anything. A bow and arrow. He was THRILLED!!!!!
Pretty sure Levi won the contest for coolest stocking stuffer: the "mustachifier". Totally awesome!

Our drive back home could not have been better. Still a freaking loooong day (we left Grass Valley at back home at 9:15 that night) and I've long since gotten off my high horse about letting the kids watch movies in the car. Yeah, I think they watched 5. Judge me all you want...I'll do just about anything to keep the peace with three kids in the car for over 14 hours.

All settled back home now. Timmy's back in school and Regan has about 4-6 teeth about to break through any moment. Ski lessons start up soon, Kindergarten orientation night is next month, then Gemma's birthday, T-ball in the spring, and Regan turns ONE (wow that was fast!). Always so much to look forward to:)

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