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Holidays

Ringing In The New Year

This year, New Year’s Eve was quite different for us! Princess got invited to a birthday party sleepover, so we figured why not have Dude invite some buddies over for a little party of his own. He asked 4 of his buddies, they said yes, and the party was on! We decided that instead of just toasting our own midnight, we’d toast midnight in different time zones starting at 6:00 p.m. our time. Dude and I MAY have gone a little overboard at Party City getting party favors for each celebration 😉 We got our table all laid out ahead of time :-)

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The boys had fun hanging out while we waited for 6:00 p.m. to arrive. You can probably figure out that five 11-year old boys had no trouble entertaining themselves with 60 helium balloons :-)

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Throughout the evening, Hubby and I entertained ourselves upstairs with margaritas and games! We played games and had fun until it was time to go downstairs each hour to toast with the boys. Our first toast at 6:00 p.m. was to help the island of Azores ring in the new year. Happy New Year Azores!!!

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After ringing in the New Year with the Azorians, the boys headed upstairs to make their own pizzas and have some dinner before heading back down just in time help all the fishes in the Atlantic Ocean ring in the new year with blue sparkly party hats. Happy New Year Ocean!

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8:00 arrived and the boys helped the folks in Greenland ring in the new year with green bowler hats – yes we know Greenland is covered in snow, but the green hats were super fun. Happy New Year Greenland!

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After some yummy popcorn to keep them going, the boys helped Bermuda ring in the new year in colorful sparkly hats at 9:00 p.m. Happy New Year Bermuda!

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10:00 p.m. arrived, and the boys helped New York ring in the new year with sparkly, and very fashionable, 2012 glasses. Happy New Year New York!

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After snacking on a bowl full of chips, crackers, and fruit leather, the boys were ready to help MN ring in the new year in snow white hats at 11:00 p.m. Happy New Year Minnesota!

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After a night of celebrating with other countries and time zones, it was finally our turn! We turned on the TV and watched the countdown in Times Square. Just before midnight, Hubby and I grabbed our giant glasses of champagne . . .

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. . . made sure the boys were wearing their Happy New Year Colorado hats . . .

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. . . and filled the boys’ giant cups with yet another flavor of kid champagne.

10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Happy New Year!!!

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We hope you all had as much fun ringing in the new year as we did. Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, prosperous 2012!

Work At Homies (WAH!) Christmas Party

My good friend, MS, and I were out with the girls one night in early December. They were all talking about their company Christmas parties and where they were and what they’d done and all that jazz. We both just looked at each other with a little frown because we work at home and don’t get company Christmas parties. The conversation went something like this . . .

MS: That’s one thing that kinda sucks about both me and my Hubby working at home – no company Christmas party.
Me: Ya. Us too. Hey – we should have a work at home Christmas party!
MS: We totally should!

And that was the end of it . . . until the next day when MS emailed me with an idea. We’d actually do it! Have a WAH Christmas party and rent a limo to take us and our families around to look at Christmas lights. LOVE IT! We scheduled for Friday, December 23rd and couldn’t WAIT for the evening to come! Another family with both adults working at home joined us, so there were 12 of us in all – 6 adults and 6 kiddos – fun fun fun!

We started at our house for appetizer dinner before heading to the local grocery store to meet up with the limo. He was going to pick us up at our house, but we got too much snow and he couldn’t make it up the hill. That was OK, though! We told the kiddos we were going to stop at the grocery store to get some snacks before heading out to look at lights. Then we walked over the limo and told them to ask the guy if maybe they could take a peek inside. Of course he said sure – so they all piled in. Then we said to ask him who he was driving. He said nobody. So they asked if maybe he could drive us around – and of course he said yes :-) So we all piled inside the Excursion Limo for our ride!

The guys took seats in the back . . . away from the kiddos . . . smart people 😉

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Next were the Mommies in the middle.

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And the kiddos took the front, nearest the glass window that separates them and the driver.

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We had to load them all up with kid champagne so they could toast their good fortune of having parents that work at home :-) The driver said he was going to leave the window down to help with air circulation. I said he might regret that decision. About 5 minutes into the ride, the phone rang behind me in the car. It was the driver. All he said was “Ahhhhh. Now I see what you mean!” And he rolled the window up 😉

All the kiddos had a great time drinking more kid champagne than they could’ve imagined having in one evening! Dude isn’t a big kid champagne drinker, but I think the location and mood set the tone for him to down a few glasses.

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This picture makes me laugh; however, I think maybe I should be scared instead . . . my Princess having way too much fun in the back of a limo 😉

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We got to see some awesome Christmas light displays. The driver took us around to see all the houses that won awards in the this year’s Gazette judging. Then we headed down to the Broadmoor area to see the awesome lights down there. About half way through our ride, there was a really loud buzzing sound. The driver stopped the car and came back and said “Here’s the deal . . .” – at that point Dude got this really worried look on his face, like he thought they were in trouble for being too loud! He was relieved when the driver said “. . . we’re losing the generator and the backup battery.” He told us he was going to get us to the Broadmoor where we’d meet another limo to finish our ride. Right when we got to a spot where we could stop, everything went completely dark and the limo died! The replacement limo showed up just in time. The kiddos got in and were AMAZED! The driver of our limo (who was the owner) said he called it the Party Bus – and we could see why! It was an Escalade Limo and very tricked out. There were TV screens and color changing lights and mirrors on the ceiling, floor, and sidewalls where the bars were.

The girls immediately took a place together on the back bench seat.

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That thing above Princess’s head? A disco ball. Yup – an actual disco ball that was turned on when we got in; however, to avoid seizures, we turned it off 😉

We enjoyed the rest of our ride, and Dude made the most of his opportunity to surf the limo…

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It’s not very often they get to be in moving vehicles without wearing seatbelts!

Princess had enough and passed out on the back seat. That girl can fall asleep anywhere!

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12 years from the time this photo was taken, she will have just turned 21. If all goes as planned, me, QT, Princess, and some of her closest friends will be celebrating in Vegas. A glimpse into the future, perhaps?

All in all, we had a wonderful night. Good friends, yummy food, fun times in a limo, and wonderful Christmas lights to see all together. We’ll write it down as a successful first WAH Christmas party and see what we can come up with for next year!

The Hunt For The Perfect Tree

After we got back from our Turkey Week trip to MN, we took a snowy day and headed up to the forest to cut down our perfect Christmas Tree!!!

…For those of you who are appalled by us going into the forest to cut down a live tree, I offer some information. There are designated tree cutting areas where you can go. They limit the area so you thin the area of the forest that needs it. You can’t cut down a tree with a diameter more than 6″, so you’re helping thing out the smaller trees and make the forest healthier. You have to buy a permit to do it, so the forest service makes a good chunk of money while we help them improve the health of the forest…

We were a little worried about the roads because we’d had a snowstorm earlier in the week, but it turned out not too bad.

We drove around the forest road for a while before we saw these people tying an awesome tree to their roof, so we turned around and parked in their spot after they left. We got all bundled up and headed up the hill on the trek for the perfect tree! It really didn’t take us too long to find our tree. We got to the top of the hill, and when we looked down, we saw this beauty right in the middle of the forest . . . just waiting for us.

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Do you see it? Our perfect tree? Of course we wanted it and it would fit perfectly in our basement tree spot! So the kiddos hopped on the sled and took off down the hill toward our tree.

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When they got to the bottom, Hubby asked them to stand next to the tree so we could do our anual measure to make sure it was big enough, but not too tall. Of course, the kiddos were clueless to his ultimate plan :-)

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Yes – they are under there :-) Good thing Princess was holding on to the sled so she could find her way out!!! We of course had to get our family photo with our perfect tree in the forest before the kiddos chopped it down.

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Like always, Dude had custody of the saw and took the first shot at the trunk.

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He eventually surrendered the saw to Princess, but was less than thrilled that he, the Boy Scout, did not get to cut down the entire tree!

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They finally got the trunk sawed through, knocked the tree over, and loaded it onto the sled for the trek back to the FunRunner. It’s amazing how much smaller the tree looks in the forest next to all those giant trees! Check out how long the tree is compared to the FunRunner.

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Hubby and Dude did the tree tying, making sure to use new rope instead of old twine . . . they did not want a repeat of last year, when the twine broke and the tree flew off the roof of the Jeep (which I still giggle about uncontrollably when I think of it!). Princess was too short to help, so she stomped around the area, playing with whatever she could find :-)

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We made a pit stop in Woodland Park for some warm drinks. Turns out, The Donut Mill is right next door to Starbucks! So while I went in and got mochas and peppermint hot chocolates, hubby and the kiddos went next door to get some of the yummiest donuts on the planet. We had an awesome drive home, without the tree flying off the roof at Interstate speeds, which is always a bonus.

Turns out, the tree was a lot taller than we thought. We knew we’d have to cut some of it off to fit into the house, but we didn’t think we’d have to cut 4 feet off! We love our tree, which is wedged between the floor and the ceiling – definitely not going anywhere even if Tonks does decide to go for a climb :-)

Our one bummer for the tree? Dude has gotten even more allergic to the live trees. You would think we would’ve known that before now . . . we did know. But every year it has seemed to get worse. So, sadly, this will be our last live tree :-( Dude didn’t get it – how can we live in the forest with a bazillion trees but he’s allergic to the tree in the house? Well . . . he IS allergic to the trees outside, especially when they polinate in the spring, but his winter allergies really flared up when we put a live tree in the house with all the windows closed and the furnace on blowing the tree stuff right out his bedroom vent.

Hubby and I ended up buying a new prelit artifical tree for next year already. We found a couple that we liked for 50% off, so we went for it :-)

Hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Shark Attack!

I posted photos of my Princess a week or so ago when she was ready for a Halloween party. I’m finally getting around to the photos of Dude and his buddies. Being 11, he decided it was time to go with his buddies rather than his parents and sister! Who was I to say no? He’s got some awesome friends, and, believe it or not, they’re all very good kids and responsible. I loved his costume this year. It was actually a birthday gift from QT. A sweatshirt that looks all normal until you cross your arms in front of you with your elbows one above the other . . . then you’re a SHARK! You move your elbows up and down and it looks like the shark is chomping. Hilarious! The boys loved it, and Dude decided it would be his Halloween costume – yay!

Here he is with his buddies before heading out. Can I just say that I LOVED Oscar the Grouch?! He is Dude’s friend who has he exact same birthday – turns out, his mom and I gave birth to both boys in the same hospital on the same day about 3 hours apart – and now we live 3 houses away.

Anyhoo – back to Halloween in 2011 :-) The stick figure was awesome as well . . . it’s difficult to see in the light, but in the dark he was hilarious walking around!

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I also got Dude a man eater hat so he had a little more to his costume. We attached a pillow case to his shirt so when he went to a door, the people had to put the candy in the shark’s mouth :-) HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Another photo with Oscar standing.

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The boys had a great time and made a haul!!! People ask how old is too old to trick or treat. My answer has always been and will always be if they take the time to actually dress up in a real costume, they can go out as many years as they want :-)

Halloween Fairy

My little Princess went off the board for Halloween this year. She originally wanted to be a witch again. But then we were shopping at her Mother Ship – aka Claire’s – and she saw some wings, a skirt, and a tiara and she just HAD to have them. Then we found a cute Halloween shirt at Target that she HAD to have that had colors that matched the skirt and wings. Then we found some fun stripey tights at Walmart that would go perfect as well. The Underarmour we had from snowboarding and the boots we had from last year.

Princess ended up being a Halloween Fairy . . . and I ended up being a happy mom that could make the costume work in warm or cold weather – always a necessity here in the Snow Belt :-)

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She hasn’t asked for a wand, which is surprising since she’s a girly girl and every girl knows that a Fairy needs a wand! I hope I’m not wand shopping the week before Halloween. That would kind of be like shopping for a new iPhone the week before Christmas.

You Don’t Have To go To The Forest To Get A Tree

It’s more fun to go to the forest to get a Christmas tree, but when you look at your calendar on Turkey Day and see that the soonest you can make it up to the forest to get a tree is December 12th and then only if you skip a day on the slopes snowboarding with the family, you make some choices.

This year, the Boedies decided to the good half day weekend only tree hunt off the calendar and go to a local tree farm that opened again after being closed for a few years. We wanted to enjoy our tree for more than 14 days!

The bummer about that decision?
No snow.
Not the best selection of trees.
No hot chocolate.
No wandering around the forest looking for the perfect tree.
No Duma with us.

The good thing about that decision?
We get to enjoy our tree for over a month!
We still had a great time picking out the tree.
We love our tree.
We didn’t spend an entire day getting a tree when we really didn’t have that time available.
I still got to see my kiddos being goofy telling us “Hey – come here! I found the perfect tree!” while they were standing next to something like this…

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(apparently she didn’t believe us when we said it was warm out!)

I got to see my kiddos help Hubby cut down the perfect tree:

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I got to watch Princess and Dude as they insisted they were going to carry the tree to the Jeep:

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 I got to see them finally admit that the needles on that tree are extra pokey and could Daddy please help them carry the tree:

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I got to see the look of horror on Hubby’s face when we heard the twine snap and watched helplessly as the tree flew off the roof of the Jeep on the highway.

I got to smile as I listened to Princess say “OK. Now THAT was funny!” while Hubby cursed his way down the ditch to the tree.

I got to see Dude feel so important when he got to crawl on top of the Jeep right on the highway to hold the tree while Hubby tied it down.

I got to LMAO silently when Princess said “at least part of it’s stuck in Dude’s door this time in case it wants to fly off again” after she saw Dude shut a branch in his door.

I got to watch my family decorate the perfect Christmas tree before Hubby had to head off to work for a week.

Even though we didn’t take our annual trip up to the forest to find a tree “in the wild,” we did still find the perfect tree and add one more Christmas tree memory to our long list of tree memories – the duct taped trees, the tree that was wider than it was tall, the Charlie Brown tree . . . it doesn’t get better than family time, no matter where you are.

Boo 2010

So Halloween was a total afterthought this year. We got Princess’ costume way back in September when we saw it at Children’s Place and she just “had to have it cuz it’s oooooh so cute!” Without really having to think about her costume, which usually requires a fair amount of “making” we kind of let Boo Day sneak up on us. Not to mention the fact that Hubby and I both had somethinb resembling the plague the entire week before Boo Day – so costumes and trick or treating and candy were the last things on our minds!

The kiddos each got to wear their costumes 4 times . . . once at school, two times at friends’ parties, and once on actual Halloween – and believe it or not, I did not take one picture. Nope – not one. The pictures you’ll see below? Taken on November 2nd :-)

We even invited a couple families over for pizza and trick or treating on Halloween and NOT ONE of us thought to take a group picture of the kids . . . I think we were all so “done” with all the parties and soccer and life that’s been kicking our asses lately that we just wanted to get out the door and get it over with.

Soooo – without further adu . . .

 Here’s Princess in her gotta have it witch costume . . . complete with headband for a hat because you can’t wear hats at school and what’s the point of being a witch if you can’t wear a pointy hat…

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It really was a cute costume and I was quite pleased at not having to make 2 costumes this year – just didn’t have it in me.

And then there was Dude. Since November 1, 2009 he’s been saying he wanted to be a bush for Boo Day this year. Yup – a bush . . . as in a really short stumpy tree. I thought he’d change his mind sometime throughout the year but nope – July “I want to be a bush” . . . September “I already told you. I want to be a bush.”

Um . . . OK. So I told him we needed to get on Google to find ideas for making a bush costume. Of course my adult self wanted to google “tree costume” – my little Dude, however, typed in “bush costume” – it was like one of those slow motion moments where I go flying across the table with outstretched arms screaming “Nnnnooooooooooooooo…” as he’s ever so slowly pressing Enter. I made it in time . . . and he was content with the explanation of “we’ll get better ideas with tree costume than with bush costume.”

He decided on a camo skeleton Halloween hoodie thing at Sears, to which we would attach a bunch of leaves and branches. He was completely surprised when I told him we’d have to buy the branches and leaves at Hobby Lobby because 1) we have a yard full of pine trees, not diciduous trees and 2) if we DID find branches and leaves on the ground, they’d totally get dry and fall off by the time Boo Day rolled around. So a bazillion presses of the Buttoneer later, he ended up with this, which he thought was the coolest bush costume ever – as did his classmates :-)

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Thankfully, 10 year olds don’t have very high standards 😉

The Third

With the 4th being on a Sunday, all the festivities in our little town were on the 3rd. We had a TON of fun! First, the kiddos each got to be in “The Biggest Small Town Parade In America.” Dude and I rode our bikes with his Little League group, and Hubby and Princess rode with the YMCA. Dude had a tough time deciding between the Boy Scout float and the Little League Float, but he ultimately chose Little League.

There weren’t as many kids with the Little League float this year as last, but it was still a lot of fun.

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Dude and I decided to ride our bikes instead of walk. We had to drop Hubby and Princess off at their float, which was #95 and almost at the end of the parade; then we parked in the ice rink parking lot and rode the 2 miles to the Little League float, which was #50 – smack dab in the middle.

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Hubby and Princess had a lot of fun, too! The YMCA didn’t send out the email asking the little baseballers to come join the float until a couple days before the parade, so there weren’t many little kids there.

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My Princess waited for about 90 minutes before their float actually got to get moving. She was so patient! Here she is with a few of the other kids that showed up – and the giant Y :-)

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She did a great job riding her decorated bike along with the float. Of course her favorite part was tossing candy to the kids that were watching the parade.

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After the parade, we all loaded up the bikes and booked over to a neighboring small town where they have a street fair and vendors and bouncy houses and climbing walls and zip lines all day long. Only that wasn’t the reason we booked on over there . . . I had volunteered to help organize and run contest for the local Little League, so we had to hustle out there and help the others get set up for it. We had so much fun! There weren’t a ton of kids that showed up, but enough in each of the 4 age groups to have a good time and some competition.

Dude got to run, and he got to . . .

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. . . and he got to . . .

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. . . and he did well enough to end up with . . .

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. . . one 2nd place trophy and one 3rd place trophy. He was so excited! Hubby and Princess went home after Princess helped hand out trophies to the first two age groups. Dude and I stayed to help with the rest of the contest – we had a great time!

And if all of that wasn’t enough fun for an entire day . . . we cruised home, got right in the other vehicle, and headed out to some friends’ house for a YUMMYLICOUS dinner of more peel and eat shrimp and homemade mint/chip ice cream than you could ever think of eating.

An awesome day . . . now to relax a bit before heading to the AFA for the fireworks show tonight!

So We Went To MN

It’s been almost a month, and I’ve almost thawed out enough to write this post.

We decided to go to MN for part of winter break. The plan . . . wake up on Christmas Day, open Santa gifts, get in the car and drive 14 hours to Grandma’s house. Nothing we haven’t done before, right?

So Christmas Eve Day we loaded up the Highlander . . . seriously loaded it to the top – not an inch to spare – and put the Snowboards on the rack (we wanted to show the kids how lucky they are to have the Rockies right outside our window by snowboarding down teeny tiny hills on icy snow in frigid MN). Then, we saw that the weather STILL sucked in the Midwest – that whole nasty worst blizzard in 20 years sucky weather. We watched and watched the weather. The Interstate was closed. Bah Humbug!

We get up Christmas morning and have a blast opening gifts . . . then we check the weather. Bah Humbug! The weather is better, but the Interstate is still closed between Grand Island, NE and Omaha, NE. We make an executive decision to wait until Saturday to leave, with hopes that the Interstate will open on Sunday morning. We were bummed and happy – the kids got to play with their new stuff and we got to do whatever we wanted since we had planned on being in the car all day and now had an entire free day!

December 26 – we get up, check the roads – still closed. Check the weather – nice. So we get a room in Kearney and start driving. The Interstate was EMPTY – it was so nice! I-80 was closed between the I-76/I-80 interchange and Cheyenned, and beetween Grand Island and Omaha – so if you didn’t get on from I-76 or hadn’t already been trapped in the open area, you weren’t getting on. We drove over the speed limit on clear dry roads the whole way. Got to Kearney in plenty of time to enjoy the waterpark in the hotel :-)

December 27 – the Interstate opened. We were OFF to MN! Woo hoo! Roads weren’t awful – but not clear. We made pretty good time, all things considered.

December 28-January 4th – we had planned to go sledding with friends, go snowboarding by ourselves, join family for snowboarding on another day, go ice fishing, ride the 4-wheeler, eat/drink/be merry :-)

Then every single friggin’ day we woke up, we saw this temperature . . . and no, it did NOT warm up as the days went on. They set new records for low highs.

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There was no snowboarding (dragged all that crap to MN to not use it!). There was no sledding. There was no ice fishing (the snow insulated the ice and made it unsafe to go out on it). There was no 4-wheeling (the snow was so friggin’ deep at Grandma and Grandpa’s that the 4-wheeler just kept getting stuck). The kids played outside in the snow for a total of 7 minutes before they came in frozen to death. You just can’t hang outside very long in those temps.

We even tried to go to the hotel my Mom is the controller for and use the hot tub to at least get out of the house for a while, but the hot tub was closed. Bah Humbug!

The bonus to all of this was that we got to spend LOTS of time with friends talking and playing inside, and we got to spend lots of time Grandma and Grandpa just playing games and having fun. We had a wonderful Christmas celebration on January 1 because it had to be posponed when we got delayed. Had 4 generations of family in the house, which is always awesome :-) Dude and Princess learned how to play Mexican Train Dominos, which is so much fun! We went bowling with Grandma. So ya – it wasn’t a total bust . . . but it was disappointing that we didn’t get to do any of the things we had really planned on doing. But, we’re good improvisors and had fun anyway.

When we left for our drive home on January 5th, the temperature was -27. Brrrrrrr! When we pulled into our driveway 13 hours later at 7:00 p.m., the temperature was 45 degrees.

It’s official. 13 years after leaving MN for the mountains of CO, the Boedies have become cold weather whimps :-)

Snow, Legos, TVs, and Kitties

Ahhhh – Merry Christmas!!! I get a few minutes to myself . . .

Santa arrived and the kiddos woke us up at 6:00 a.m. to open their Santa gift.

One 9 year old boy sitting at a kitchen table intently working on putting together his ginormous Lego Police Headquarters.

One 7 year old girl reading a book about kittens after arranging all the “kitty gear” that Santa brought her neatly in her room. Santa can’t bring live animals, so he brought the stuff for the kitten that we can go pick out.

One 2 year old yellow lab snoring in the sun while laying on the brand new bed Santa brought her.

One 38 year old kid putting up the surround sound speakers in the family room (we’ve had them for 6 years and never put them up!). I guess he figured we should have surround sound to go with our new 40 inch flat screen HD TV! No, I didn’t think we needed a new TV – the 24 year old one we had worked just fine.

One 37 year old Mother sitting at the kitchen table bummed that we can’t drive to MN today, or maybe even tomorrow for that matter, because of the nasty weather in Nebraska and Iowa right along our route. At least the kiddos get to play with their toys today instead of jumping right in the car for a 14 hour drive. And MN will still be there on Sunday 😉

Here’s to hoping you had a safe and wonderful Christmas close to the ones you love.