With the weathermen forecasting a White Christmas at home it was somewhat saddening. How often is it, after all, that we see home blanketed in white while we enjoy the best consumerism has to offer?
However, the promise of feet and feet of dry powder and the chaos that can only come from four kids and three dogs and a monster Christmas tree we packed up with snow piling up around the truck.
Poor Tokul had almost no room. Our original plan was to have a bunch of stuff sent with Nana and Papa (including me) a day later, but plans change from time to time. We took solace in the knowledge that we'd likely send some things home with Nana and Papa when they left early and Tokul might be able to stretch out a bit.
We didn't get out quite as early as we'd hoped, but still made it over the snowy passes in time for dinner. The kids acted as though they hadn't seen their cousins in years instead of the few weeks it had been. The rest of us were too busy with the details to really relax.
Christmas Eve started early, but that wasn't really a surprise given the age of our monkeys. It was all about last minute preparations and crafts and yelling, "PLOW!" every time the DOT plow rumbled by the house. If there's only one thing those East siders can handle it's snow. (No, I'm not going to start ranting about how an inch of snow on the West side is labeled the Snowpocalypse and shuts down the city.)
Church with Henry was as successful as ever, but he got some good practice running around in the community rooms. That was, of course, after he wasn't allowed to flirt with the teenage girls in the pew behind us.
And then there was Christmas Day. Paper and boxes and trucks and dolls and music boxes and man caves and teeny tiny dolls and hula hoops and sheesh that's a lot of stuff. The kids blew through the presents in almost no time, but unlike the way I remember Christmas Day there was no post-opening depression or even a delay before the playing started.
Dinner was a sore point for me and Martin. For some reason there was no turkey. Ham? Bah humbug! (Still, as far as ham goes it wasn't bad.)
After all the excitement of Christmas the next day was extremely mellow. Martin went back to work and I, completely at the mercy of a nasty cabin fever infection, decided it was time to take the kids out. Rather than go far we went to an empty lot behind the house. Clara and Molly (and Papa and Tokul and Bacchus) conquered Orchard View Estates - Lot 8 before returning for nap time.
Evenings in general were spent intervening in the usual kidly disputes and trying to convince Tokul that no one was out to get her. As on previous trips, she tended to hole up in the downstairs bedroom, though as the days went by she got more adventurous and eventually was confident enough to chill next to Addie and Bacchus on the floor.
Early the next morning Carl and I got up and headed off to climb Fourth of July Mountain north of town. It was a great trip, though Carl accused me of trying to kill him... again.
We got back in time for lunch and a trip to the bowling alley, though again Lilly didn't get to participate in favor of a nap. The fancy bowling alley had bumpers that went up and down by the player so I had no excuse to roll with the bumpers. That certainly would have improved my score. Clara had a few too many high releases and rather than permanently make her mark on the floor she adopted Molly's patented between-the-legs slow-roll. After releasing the ball the girls had time to run back to us, have a snack, read a book, do some suduko, and finally lazily turn around to watch the ball come to rest against the pins. Some even fell down.
The best part of bowling was watching certain of our party panic when it looked like the girls might beat them.
That night we silly young adults (can we still call ourselves young adults? probably not) went out for a nightshoe. Amy threatened to abandon the trip if the thermostat read 10F, but we dodged that bullet and wound up at Antilon Lake right below Fourth of July Mountain.
The next morning we bid farewell to Nana and Papa who would brave the passes to get home. (Hmm... somehow I missed the day when we went to a farm just outside Leavenworth to go for a sleigh ride. It was freakishly cold and perhaps not the best idea to spend time sitting and not moving, but it was still pretty cool. Afterward we had dinner in Leavenworth and went to the Christmas shop where we somehow escaped thanks to being a day too early to take advantage of the half off sale. Phew.)
With Nana and Papa gone it was time to head back into the snow. This time all the kids would be coming so we went to the Chelan Wildlife Area where we saw loads of deer, stunning views, and reminded us all why snowshoeing was worth doing with kids.
Was there more that happened? Almost definitely, but I can't remember it. Maybe someone will refresh my memory and I'll update later. If not, well... hasn't this been enough? (Besides, you just look at the pictures anyway. It's ok. Admit it.)