This year was a surprise with Christmas because winter break started two days early! We actually had a little snow that allowed both myself and Reina to not have school going into the two-week break! It wasn't enough to do too much with so we just spent time together playing while Paul worked. Rowen wasn't too thrilled with his first snow...yet. We had plans for Christmas eve at my sister's house with Mummi, Pappa Will, Karter, and Grandpa Scarborough. Everyone else enjoyed the day but I was completely sick! I had fever and chills all day and was a bit worried that Christmas day would be ruined! Reina got sick as well but since she actually threw up, she was better by early afternoon. Mommy can't be sick on Christmas?!? Luckily I started to feel better about when the kids were getting ready for bed. I felt bad that we couldn't make cookies for Santa this year. Reina wrote a note explaining to Santa why we didn't leave him cookies. We did leave some carrots for the reindeer though. Paul was left finishing up wrapping gifts which always takes longer than expected. Good thing I had already wrapped extended family gifts so that just the kids' gifts were left. Christmas day was fabulous! Our kids are really good about being patient with "presents time". We always have them wait to come downstairs until we are ready. In fact, everyone was in bed til at least 8 o'clock naturally! Awesome!
While I make traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Finnish-style pancakes, turkey bacon, eggs and hot chocolate, the kids get to open stockings. They always get fun toothbrushes, an orange, chocolate coins and then some other unique toys. So the kids got way more presents than originally thought. Funny how you think that you hardly got anything for them until you start wrapping. Oh my, it took a couple hours and we barely had time to get ready for church at 1pm! The one time I was thankful we had church so late...I do love church on Christmas day though with the music and simple reminders of Christ and His love. We had Christmas dinner with Paul's family and of course since Grandma Guinn made the food it was delicious! Prime rib? Yes please!
The day after Christmas we headed out to Coeur d'Alene to my brother's home to start our 8 day vacation. The BEST winter vacation to date! They had plenty of snow for every winter activity you could think of! We built our first igloo, had "snow cones", made a few sled runs down the mountain, cross-country skiing to the park, snow-shoeing, and even brought our 4 quad for some added fun. There was never a dull moment with all the cousins! My sister Tarja and her family surprised us from California! They were not planning on coming and we were happy to have them join in on the fun!
One of the highlights for me was when the guys drove us girls up the mountain on the quads and then we got to snowshoe down the hill just as the sun was setting. The weather and scenery were exceptional! I also felt like I got a great feel for cross-country skiing. I've really only done it two other occasions years ago and realized how gentle and good a workout it is! I forsee my old-lady self doing this for exercise. One of our days there I went for a nice, long run everywhere imaginable. I love the scenery and super-cute cabin-inspired houses I get to see, and at least five deer! One of my favorite runs ever. I'm sure I ran at least seven or eight miles and still could have kept going.
I think Paul especially loved all the skidding on the quads and easiness of just jumping on the toy whenever and going wherever. I forgot to mention that Paul, Teem and Richard slept one night in the igloo...comfortably I might add! Of course the kids loved not being on any schedule and sledding with their cousins. Rowen pretty much stayed indoors and ventured around their house.
Mummi and Papa Will just bought a lake house which we named "Kalakoti" (Finnish name for a fishhome). It translates not very pretty in English but in Finnish it's apparently a nice name. This was our first visit to the lakehouse on Lake Roosevelt. The past two summers we have rented a home from a friend which has been fabulous. We really LOVE this lake and that we plan a family gathering every year. Last year I had noticed this home for sale as we were passing by on the lake and had a very strong prompting that it would be ours. I mentioned it to my parents (as they have been browsing the past few years for lake property). They inquired and the price was not right so they passed on it. Months went by and they were hardly looking at any properties. I briefly asked if this house was still up for sale? Guess what...it was. The price was reduced too. I think they got a steal of a deal for the location...best spot in the neighborhood! Although it needs a lot of work, we are excited to make this home a part of our family. We had a good time testing out the path that leads to the lake. Weird that a normally sand-covered path was instead a snow-covered one. And how often do you get to make a snow-angel next to the water? It's fun to contribute and see the changes being made.
We had a fun New Year's Eve celebration by setting off a few fireworks and Chinese lanterns. The adults had a fabulous meal of "Raclette". It's a cheese grill that includes the raclette cheese and other fancy cheeses melted and poured over meats, veggies, potatoes or whatever. We even had "to our heart's content" of crab that Teem and Emily caught in the Pacific Ocean. We stuffed ourselves. Since Baelor's birthday is January 2nd, we celebrated it early with an igloo cake inspired by our real igloo in the yard! We didn't want the vacation to end it was so fun. Until summer!