Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

We were really lucky this year and we got to have my sister and brother and their spouses come for Christmas.  (Along with my mom who now lives here too.)  They did not get to come for a long time but we had plenty of time to wrap presents, go on some walks, and take a trip to Big Bear.  The yucky weather that was not quite rain or snow did not deter us from having fun together.  

Christmas Morning was early... like always.  Here is a picture of the tree before it was all unwrapped.  Santa put his presents downstairs next to the fireplace.  

 Here are my anxious kids. They got sweat outfits in their favorite sports for the older ones and Annika got a nightgown since she hates pants.  
 Here is a picture of Ali with one of the two coats she got for Christmas.  She has gotten so big this year that she needs new everything!
 Annika got a My Little Pony castle from Dad and Natalya.  She was so excited about this present.
 Here is a good picture of Samantha and David.  It is nice to have Samantha in our family now and we are all glad that David chose so well.  Also poor Tony spent the whole time with a bad tooth ache in the background.
 Stacey took on the role as present passer outer.  She did a good job!

 Ali got a Kindle for Christmas from Dad and Natalya.  She was so excited she could hardly contain it!

 Ashling got a DS and she was quite happy too.
 After the presents were opened we headed out to the ski slopes to show Samantha our ski resort.  We enjoyed a few hours on the slopes and I enjoyed getting out quite a bit.  This will be a new tradition to ski every Christmas for a few hours.  Somehow I did not get a picture of Samantha skiing.  Maybe someone else has one?

 The new technology made for very quite kids on Christmas.  It is something to get used to but I enjoyed how involved they were with their Christmas presents on Christmas.
For Christmas dinner we had Prime Rib, twice baked potatoes and a Caesar Salad.  We topped off dinner with Raspberry Cheese Cake and Carrot Cake.  It was a great day and I was sorry to see it end.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Annika Learns to Ski

I think that one of my favorite moments as a mom is when my girls learn to ski on their own.  Annika has been a long time in coming.  We tried we she was barely two and then we tried several times last year too.  But she was a little scared and would not let go of me when we were skiing down the mountain.  It just didn't work.  Cameron suggested that we may still have problems this year but I was insistent that she would learn this year.  I gave evidence that the other girls had learned when they were 4 and Annika would be four very soon.  

There are several things that will make teaching a young child to ski easier.  First help them to feel as free as possible... I don't start the helmet until they are skiing a little faster.  If you can pick a warm morning or afternoon this is better since the cold can get them down quickly.  You also need a boatload of patience and the ability to work at their level.  Be positive and have treats.  Last of all make sure you come equipt with an edgy-wedgy.  This little device will hold the front of the skis together and makes it much easier on the kid who is just learning what to do with their skis.  

I brought her up on a nice warm Saturday right before Christmas.  Everyone else went off in different dirrections and it was just Annika and I.  We were doing okay when a Snow Valley ski instructor gave me some great advice and some Jelly Bellies.  (I think Jelly bellies make the perfect ski treat and would always teach a kid how to ski with easy access to them.)   He suggested I ski backwards (something I have never done) and have her put the pole in her tummy and hold on.  It worked perfectly and within a couple runs she was willing to let go of the pole and ski by herself.  

 The older girls skied over to see how she was doing and took the run down with her.  It was fun to see all my girls skiing together.
 The liked to hold her hand and help her down the mountain.  At this point she still needed the help.

 By about 6 runs in she had mastered the basic skills and was capable of stopping by herself.

 She was especially excited to show Daddy as she had learned when he was done working at snow valley.

 Here is one picture showing me skiing with Annika.
 We succeeded and now we have quite the little skier.  She gets better each time we go!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Performances

The Christmas Performance at school this year was especially nice.  The older kids did a study of Holiday Celebrations that occur in the Winter and were able to sing some religious Christmas and Jewish songs as well as some fun carols.  I loved the program and thought it was a wonderful representation of what Christmas means to Americans.  
 Ashling sang the traditional song for second grade which was "Silver Bells" and then they both sang "Hoffman Elementary Christmas".  I love the program that the school does.
 Later Annika did her program for preschool.  She really got into it doing some good dancing and singing.  She is quite a load singer and we could hear her just fine.  The holiday programs were fun to see as always.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our First Ski Day of the Year!

The first day that the ski resort was open was Saturday.  We took advantage to the fullest of this beautiful day to go skiing.  We left poor Annika at home because we wanted to enjoy the top of the mountain for the first day.  It was fun to ski together and amazing how great of skiers my girls are.  They are not afraid to ski anywhere on the mountain and they hardly ever fall.  Ali is even somewhat keeping up with Cameron!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Disneyland Magic

I told Ashling that I would give her a prize if she finished a chapter book and got an A on it for a AR test.  She has been having some problems getting these books finished and I wanted to help have an incentive.  Since she had recently missed Disneyland she asked to go to Disneyland all by herself!  What a great idea!

We took a day off school and left early in the morning for Disneyland.  I have been to Disneyland many times with my kids but no other day seemed quite as magical as this one.  Every part of it went perfectly and it was so nice to have such a beautiful girl to share my day with.  This mother, daughter date is one that I will never forget.  
 Here is a picture of her outside the ride that she loves.
 One of the first things we wanted to do at Disneyland was go see Rapunzel.  We waited in line for her for a short time even though the line said it would be an hour.  Magic!

 Ashling was so excited to say hi to Rapunzel.  She is the favorite around our house and Ashling loves her.

 We rode on the Haunted Holiday Mansion.  The first time we took the kids they were very afraid but now Ashling only laughs.
 We also rode on splash mountain but managed to hardly get wet- magical!
 I bought Ashling the biggest ice cream cone ever and she chose the flavors of mint chocolate chip and sherbet... I am not sure how those taste together but it certainly sounds gross.  We waited for the parade with front row seats- magical!

 This was her favorite part of the parade because it was a ballet dancer with toe shoes on... I wonder if she will ever dance with toe shoes?  She is certainly practicing dance quite a bit right now.
 Mickey and Minnie skated on ice... that is something that is hard to do in southern California.
 Ariel used to be Ashling's favorite princess... she used to sing like her too.  The princesses were pretty cool in the parade and their dresses were amazing.
 Belle is my favorite princess and I love the picture with the Beast.
 Ashling rode in her own tea cup because she wanted to spin it very fast and I will not do that.  I told her that we couldn't take up two tea cuts for just two people but then there was one extra so we moved and she could spin to her heart's content.... magical!
 As we were walking back towards the front of Disneyland trying to decide if we should leave or not... a lady comes up to Ashling and tells her that if she goes by the wishing well she will see the Princesses without any waiting.  Who could pass that up?  It was like magic to take pictures of the princesses without lines!  First we took a picture with the favorite, Ariel.
 Next Sleeping Beauty and Ashling...
 Last was Snow White.
 As we were deciding on dinner options we were able to enjoy the castle beeing lit up for Christmas.  There is nothing so special as seeing that castle lit up.  The castle came alive!
 We ate dinner on Main Street and were thinking of walking towards the car when Ashling said she really wanted to see the Candle light Ceremony.  A man came up to us and said there were extra seats and we got to sit and enjoy the show.  The Candle Light singing was amazing.  The songs were all hymns and the Spirit that I felt was amazing.  After a day of enjoying pretend magic it was a miracle to sing of Christ's birth and celebrate the gift of the Atonement that makes it so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and be a family forever.  I am grateful to Disneyland for allowing the choirs to sing and worship our Savior with only hymns.

As we drove away from Disneyland Ashling could see the fireworks in the background and I know she felt the day was as special as I did.