Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Weekend Recap (Christmas Edition)

Oh this past weekend was a good one!  We were sure busy, but the days were filled with all sorts of holiday goodness & fresh air.  Conor is unfortunately traveling quite a bit this December, so our time to fit in all our favorite festive things is limited.  One of my favorite traditions, is riding the North Pole Express.  It's on an old railway line in a tiny town tucked in the mountains.  Liam is obsessed with the book (Polar Express, obviously), and so of course we always watch the movie in anticipation of our ride the night before.  This was the first full length movie Finn has ever sat for.  Both boys were truly captivated.  We popped some fresh cinnamon & sugar popcorn (coconut oil, cinnamon, sugar) & all cozied up.  Then of course we took a quick hot chocolate intermission to coincide with the movie.  Thick, rich cocoa with mini mallows and a peppermint stick.  I also may have made muddy buddies and eaten half the batch by. my. self.

This year's ride was my most favorite of all.  Liam now knows all the words to all the christmas songs ever, so he sang along the entire time.  Finn was in awe of being on a train, and neither could wait for the appearance of Santa. Finn still refers to him as "ho ho"; that last "ho" is real hard to come by.  When the cookies were passed out, Finn inspected his, took a bite, and then promptly said "bean?".  Because chocolate chips look an awful lot like beans, and the boy really loves himself some black beans.  One of those, "you know you're raising a crunchy kid when" moments...

He was also completely enamored with the conductor, and his hole punch in particular.  So a hole punch may just need to show up in his stocking.  The train takes you to the "North Pole" which is decked out in lights and then Santa gets aboard.  Liam was in near tears when he realized we were not getting off the train at the North Pole.  "But in the book, they get out!  And all the elves are in the center of the city!"  So we had a talk about how this isn't the real Polar Express.  That it's just pretend, and that the elves & Santa are really just Santa's helpers.  It was all tough ground to maneuver & articulate.  He's also very confused why there are not train tracks in front of our house.  So many questions for such a young age!!!  But the belief is strong & real, and I know he will have this Christmas magic in his heart for years to come.

We drove home through the mountains in an absolute blizzard.  Barely crawling along, yet still managed to end up sideways on the road at one point!  It was scary!  However, we woke up the mountains having 12+ inches of fresh powder.  So of course Finn needed his first pair of skis, so that he could join the family on the first ski day of the season!

He tolerated putting on all the gear so well.  Boots, helmet, skis... no issues!  He did lots of watching, really just wanting to use the tow rope & the chairlift.  But I wanted his first day to be slow and about just taking it all in.  I wanted the day to be a real positive one.  While Conor & Liam headed off on their own, I helped Finn down a super small slope a handful of times.  He loved it when he picked up speed, but always wanted me close.  He's still figuring out his balance.  No video footage yet, since I had no free hands while helping him.  We stayed on the slopes the whole two hours, always waiting for big brother & Daddy and to make it back down the hill.

This is Liam's third year skiing, and he continues to thrive.  He's confident, which is so fun to see shown on his face.  I love his enthusiasm for the sport, as it was one of my favorites growing up.  Once the sun had set, we hit the lodge for hot cocoa and beers.  Because that is the one and only way to end a ski day!

And then to finish out the weekend, we put together & decorated our gingerbread house.  We used the Trader Joe's kit again (which I love, it's adorable); although, next year I think Liam would love to make our own gingerbread.  Doing things from scratch is always more fun.  Finn joined in too; however, we had to give him a sucker to keep him from eating all the candy.  But he was just as into as big brother.  I fondly remember making gingerbread houses when I was younger (although we always made them from graham crackers), which makes this another tradition I love continuing.  The Christmas music was blaring, the mimosas flowing, & just a whole lot of Christmas cheer going around.

 I wish every weekend could be like this one, but then it wouldn't feel as special I suppose.
Looking forward to more Christmas-ness as the unopened doors on our advent calendars get fewer & fewer.


  1. Awww...best weekend ever!!! What special family time each day. We are definitely doing the Polar Express train next year. We almost did this year, but I was worried our toddler tornado would make it difficult. :)

  2. I read this before bed last night and I was filled with holiday cheer. I know I've said this, but you really should use your life as a series of children's books. Your gorgeous photos could be inspiration for the illustrations. I want to do the Santa train so bad. Ours is super expensive so I'm waiting till next year when Ben understands Santa a little more. Plus he doesn't sit still too well yet haha. And LOVE those gingerbread houses!

  3. LOVE the Polar Express pictures! The author of the book is actually from my area, and growing up his sister was one of my teachers - we thought she was soooo cool, ha!

  4. What a perfect weekend! Love all the pictures!

  5. I LOVE that your boys are skiing at such an early age! I did too and I can't imagine having grown up without those winter weekends. Can't wait to teach my future kids someday too :)

  6. Oh. My. Freaking. Gosh. Finn on the train with his little elbow patch sweater??? I'm just done. Completely done. That is the cutest thing I've ever seen.

  7. Such a great weekend! I would love to take the kids on a Polar Express train...hopefully next year. They've been on a train so that would just be icing on the cake!

  8. Best weekend ever. Your Polar Express sounds like a blast. Talk about a fun experience.
    The skiing! Oh my goodness, please get Finn on video stat. I can only imagine how adorable that is to see.
    TJ's is knocking it out of the park with that Gingerbread house! We have ours for this year, but next year I'm totally going to see if our TJ's has any of those because they are so dang cute.

  9. So much festive-fun..!! Every year, it keeps getting better and better, and so magical!!
    Super impressed with the boys skiing, that's gotta be so fun to watch (and SUCH a proud-momma moment).
    I have a picture of Harper with the icing bag in her mouth, just like Conor..!! Haha!! ;)

  10. What a perfect and magical weekend! Your Polar Express seems so neat! It's one of our favorite traditions, but now I am wishing we had mountains (and snow!). Beautiful photos, as always!


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