Saturday, January 9, 2016

This is going to be a tough post...I'm still in denial that Christmas has actually come and gone.  I knew I was going to feel this way, and I was right.  I remember being pretty melancholy the first week or two after Christmas every year when I was growing up, and even as an adult those feelings haven't stopped. This year we spent the holidays with my parents, first with my dad and Lisa, and then New Years with Mom.  Lisa found a great deal on a cabin up at Sundance, which Eric and I have been excited for since the moment we found out we would be going up there.  Eric used to teach ski lessons there, and it is one of the places where he taught me to ski.  It's been on my bucket list of places to stay for years.

The day before leaving we weren't sure we would even make it up there.  There was supposed to be a huge snowstorm through Northern Utah, and we almost decided to leave the day before just in case. In the end we realized it wouldn't make that much of a difference and so we left the 23rd as planned. The road to Sundance closed that morning, and then everybody was worried about even making it to the rental.  Thankfully, after many prayers, the road was cleared and we all arrived safely.  The kids, and Eric (always the biggest snow fan), had an abundance of snow to frolic in all week.

(thanks to Dad for his pictures; these are a mix of ours and his)

I just need to mention a miracle that happened during our drive out to Utah.  Our car had been making a strange noise for a while, but was driving fine so we hadn't taken any steps to figure out what was causing the noise.  About 40 miles north of Orem we heard a loud snapping sound and all the lights on the dashboard of the Subaru came on.  Eric decided we should just keep driving until we reached Sasha's house in Orem, which we did.  When we got to Sasha's house Eric lifted the hood and found that the serpentine belt had snapped in two and would have to be fixed.  We were supposed to check into the rental in an hour....  To make a long story short, two days before Christmas Eric was able to make an appointment with the second shop he called, who could see him right away and had our car fixed in an hour.  We made it up to Sundance in no time, and our car drove beautifully.  When we told Ian what had happened he was shocked that our car had even driven at all after the belt broke. That night we sat the kids down and told them all that had happened, and how especially blessed we had been that day by a loving Father in Heaven.  I have seen several miracles like that in my life, and can't help but feel God's love overwhelm me in those times.
We finally made it!
So we made it up, were basically snowed in, and had a great time.  We spent most of our time in the kitchen (of course), eating our weight in goodies and snacks.

Dad and Lisa hired a photographer to come out on Christmas Eve, so we all got dressed up and braved the 20 degree weather. In between shots we took some of our own too :)

I really love this picture of Dad, Lisa and us kids.  Ian looks so handsome and Dad and Lisa seem to somehow get overlooked when pictures are being taken, plus I don't have many pictures of my siblings and me all together.

Sisters forever
 Sassy sisters forever....
 I love this one of us girls.  We sure love having Kaylene in our family!!  She is an awesome person and planned some really fun activities that we did on Christmas Eve, including this one:

Just let your imagination go wild here.....

Some pics of the kitchen and table.  I wish I had taken some shots of the other parts of the cabin. Since we have the most children, we were given the master bedroom, which was enormous.  Eric and I joked that we could fit half of our house in it.  I felt badly that Dad and Lisa didn't have that room; they are very generous.  The view from their room was amazing though; it had a great view of Mount Timpanogos:

I loved every minute I got to spend time with my siblings.  I really miss them when we're apart, and am always a little depressed after we say goodbye.  Maybe one day we'll live closer together.

Aspen and Kimmie were like two peas in a pod.  Aspen really longs for a sister, and believes that Kimmie is part-sister to her.  There was a little nursery upstairs that they bunked in together; it was good for them to have some space away from the boys.
The kids' table (note Oakley eating a turkey drumstick.  He likes to eat like a pirate).

Demri decided to make some paper Christmas tree centerpieces for Christmas Eve dinner.  She showed Birch how to make them, and helped him create his own trees.  He loved this time with his Aunt; it was really sweet.
Turkey dinner with all the trimmings...once a year just isn't enough.

 After dinner the kids got ready for bed and Papi read "The Night Before Christmas."

We put the kids to bed, spent some time chatting while prepping for Christmas morning, then went to bed ourselves.
As always, we had to wake our kids up the next morning.  Our kids really like their sleep!  Here's us waiting to go down the stairs (above), and getting into the loot (below).

The rest of the day was spent in the snow, playing games, the kids running around like animals, and taking a dip in the hot tub.  

Can this picture get any better?  I just love this one of Ezra and his Papi.
There were some polar bear challenges going on with these dips, which included jumping out of the tub, running up a hill in the snow, then rolling in the snow before jumping back in.  And as far as I'm concerned, the girls won.  Sasha and Lisa were especially gutsy.  The kids thought it was fabulous. The hot tub would be 3 degrees cooler than when we got in.
the snow pile mess
Demri and Eric taught us this really fun game called Bohnanza.  I loved it; it was just enough strategy to keep things interesting and just enough luck to keep things light.  We also played Phase 10 and Canasta (of course) while we were there.  Spending time with Demri was really special; I am always tempted to call her during the day and then realize she is at work.  I'm hoping the day comes when I can talk to her anytime I want.
I have to tell this funny story.  Aspen likes to snack on a whole leaf of lettuce sometimes.  So one day she grabbed a leaf, took it to the living room, and started chowing down.  Pretty soon Oakley came in the kitchen and grabbed one, then Birch and Kimmie wanted one.  Kaylene and I were in the kitchen and she started to laugh because her kids never eat lettuce.  "Now if Lucas were to grab one of those that would really be funny.  He hates lettuce."  Two minutes later this happened:
I don't know if you can tell, but there's Lucas on a chair, lettuce in hand.  I grabbed Kaylene and we had a good laugh. 

Dad grabbed these two photos of Eric, which I thought was funny.  He looks like he's having a great time.  Haha too much skiing perhaps?

Eric went skiing three days in a row, and couldn't have been happier.  Eric Kuykendall, Ian, and Dad went with him a few times, and finally on Saturday Sasha, Lisa, the kids and I joined him.  
Our first run or two we all did together.  Then we decided we were going to take the lift up a bit higher and ski down a different run.  Somehow this didn't exactly happen and we got split up from Eric and the kids.  Sash and I skied for a bit with Lisa and the guys and then skied for a bit on our own.  Skiing with Sasha is really fun and we don't get to do it together very often so it was a treat for us.  Eric K. is quite an amazing snowboarder and at times would show up and film us as he was boarding down.  It was really cold but we had a great time.  I think one of my favorite parts was when Sash and I decided to go back to the cabin.  Because of the snow Sundance was shuttling everyone, and the two of us had to wait in a small waiting area for a shuttle.  There was a sofa, a warm crackling fire, hot chocolate and no one else as we warmed up and chatted.
Birch was begging all week to go skiing, but he won't be on the slopes until next year, so Eric slapped some skis on him and found a hill just outside for him to go down.  As expected, he had a great time but was done after 5 minutes.

A few days after Christmas we said our goodbyes and left Sundance.  It was hard.  Really tough to go.  I knew we were going to have fun in Spanish Fork at Mom's, and that softened the blow.  We had a great time; Mom is such a terrific host.  She makes sure everything is just exactly right while we are there.  We met her for bowling on BYU campus but first took the kids to the Earth Science museum on campus.  It's not very big, but they have an amazing display of dinosaur bones that the kids just loved.  Even Aspen thought it was fascinating.

They had lots of fossils too....
Do you know the difference between a T-rex and an Allosaurus?  T-rexes have two fingers and Allosauruses have three.  This skeleton above Birch was an Allosaurus.  Not as much a favorite for the boys as a T-rex, but still cool.
We then met Mom for bowling at the Wilkinson Center.  Oh BYU...such wonderful memories.  It's so fun to take the kids there.  Eric often asks the kids this question:  "So, you guys going to go to BYU when you get older, or Harvard?"  He gives them lots of options :)  We hope though that if the kids have fond memories of visiting the Y now, maybe they'll have a desire to attend there when they're older.  Its such a great place to go to school. 
Oakley won.  Over all 3 of us adults.  Shameful.
Me.  I started strong, but in the end it was just sad.
B in his new hat we bought while we were there.  He's always wanted his own.
That night Mom took us to a light display in Spanish Fork, not far from her townhome.  We went a couple years ago and it was a lot of fun.  The highlights were the ballerinas and dinosaurs, of course.
Tuesday we met Sasha and her boys back on campus and checked out an amazing Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Museum of Art.  Norman and I share the same birthday, plus I love his artwork anyway, and Eric really wanted to go so I'm so glad we made the trip.   The kids were throwing themselves all over us like wet noodles, complaining of boredom and starvation after about 10 minutes (except for Aspen, who loves museums), which was rough, but we survived and then Eric and Mom took the kids to see some other neat things while.....
Sasha and I met up with Demri to go for a run (I know, Eric is awesome).  Unfortunately it was too icy to run outdoors, so we ran on the indoor track in the Smith Fieldhouse, where I used to run all the time while a student at BYU.  It brought back a flood of memories, and it allowed us to do some intervals. :)  Hope my sisters forgive me for that one!  It was a lot of fun.
That night Eric and I went the the BYU creamery for some delicious ice cream, and the to see Star Wars while Mom watched the kids.  Thanks Mom.
Wednesday night we met up with the Egglis and took off on the train to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights.  We haven't been there since before Oakley was born, so we figured it was about time.  It was a long ride, but such a fun experience for the kids.  They were CRAZY with excitement; we adults were quite exhausted by the time the evening was over.

I tried to take some shots of Temple Square, but my phone camera just wouldn't do it justice.  There are so many lights, and a beautiful life size nativity.  Here's a photo of the Salt Lake Temple.  Such a beautiful place!  We checked out the LDS church history museum while we were there too, which had some amazing exhibits.  I wish we'd had more time there.  But before we had our fill it was time to run for the train, and thank heavens we made it!  It was about 20 degrees outside.
 Riding home
 Thanks Sash for this photo ;)
Birch got a hold of a comb and went wild, so we laughed at him, which just egged him on.   I have since given him a haircut!
love it
 Eric was trying to avoid any glances at the camera.  Still got this one though!
We celebrated New Years Eve at Mom's with the Egglis and Kuykendalls.  We made some pita pizzas, played some Head's Up, (which Eric introduced to us all while up at Sundance.  Really fun), and said our goodbyes.  Then the next day we headed for home.  It was wonderful.


Sasha Cornelius Eggli said...

Thanks for posting Chelsi! I loved all the great photos! It was such a great week together and I can't wait for the next one!

ellen said...

It looks like a really fun holiday. And that house!

Bethany Fegles Photography said...

What an awesome Christmas, Chelsi!! And I LOVE LOVE your family portrait. So great of you, Eric and your adorable kids. That's so special that your dad had a photographer capture the whole family together too.

I loved the reindeer pantyhose balloon pics! Kaylene is so fun; I love that she put that together. :)

That's neat that you guys got to ring in the New Year with your mom, and celebrate with her too! What great Christmas memories you all made!
Love you lots!