Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the Second Day of Christmas...

On the Second Day of Christmas your blogger gave to you:
A recap of our Christmas Day!
(Complete with extra large text to make it easier for my Dad to read.)
My parents, daughter and Bernie's parents were all in San Diego, so this post is especially designed for them to share in our Christmas Day.

I thought I heard sleigh bells in the night!
Santa and his reindeer must of come!
Hoof prints in the snow out in our front yard!

Now I could have SWORN that Bernie and I had been extra good this year.
Guess the reindeer had a different take on our behaviour.
Not just one little pile of reindeer poop either...

Oh no...they made a point of dropping poop across the ENTIRE front yard.
The neighbors...oh what will the neighbors think about us now?
None of their yards had reindeer poop.
Nope, just ours.
I think Homeland Security should work harder to screen flying reindeer.
I am certain that these were terrorist reindeer, masquerading as Santa's team.

But then again...Bernie and I are not the only living souls in our house.
SOME of the other residents were quite naughty recently.
On Christmas Eve, Tate bit Frenchie's ear....
Frenchie bit Tate's tummy...

Drop by neighbor cat Missy apparently got into it with a raccoon or something during the night.
He/she was baking sore muscles in the sun on our deck. It is surprising how hot cat fur can get in the sunshine.

Tate stole cranberry orange nut bread (the kind my mom used to make every year when I was growing up.  I have to have cranberry orange nut bread during the season or it just isn't Christmas time to me.)

He apparently loves it just as much as I do.
I will be more careful not to leave my plate unattended if I chose to indulge in a slice in the living room next to the fire.

Santa Bernie made my Christmas wish come true:  I got my own pair of snow shoes!!!
Woo HOO! 
Mill Creek Canyon, here I come!
So of course as soon as we got dressed we headed out to go....

Cross country skiing!
Because Jeff and I had never been cross country skiing before, and Rachel hadn't done it since she was a child.
(She said she complained every single moment of that long ago family outing.)
We all wanted to go do something "outdoorsy" on Christmas afternoon, something we all were pretty equally new at doing, and so cross country skiing was it.
The picture above was taken about 1 minute after I had clipped into the skis for the very first time.

This picture was taken  1 minute and five seconds after the first time I clipped into my skis.
Not to worry; with all the home made candy and baked goods I have been scarfing down in the last few days my hips and thighs are quite well padded.

After a practice lap around a flat circle track (complete with groomed in double grooves where the skis go) we were ready to take on the Nordic Center's trails.

Or maybe we were ready to take on the trails. 
We were determined to find out.

Not bad....

Not bad at all, really.

Jeff and Rachel are highly proficient skiers who excel at black diamond ski trails.  I was worried that they would find my timid ski style to be quite annoying.

I am here today to tell you that there really is a learning curve to being able to ski on skis that are about an inch and a half wide.
As Rachel put it: It is kind of like skiing on two toothpicks.
(She is a snowboard chick anyway, so this really was quite different for her.)

Truth be told: We all fell several times!
Of course Jeff fell because he skis fearlessly and takes risks.
I fall because I am terrified of slipping sensations.
Downhill curves gave us all reasons to bail out and fall into the deep soft snow.

The scenery was amazing....

The white barked aspens are just gorgeous in snow.

(and as I type this dime sized snow has begun to fall outside my window too!  Hurrah!  Maybe it will cover the reindeer poop for us!)

See other skiers down up ahead?
Falling: it happens.

Now about that gorgeous scenery:  Mostly I just saw my feet slowly sliding in twin tracks in the snow.

Yup, a full hour of looking at my feet. 

Concentrating hard on my feet...

And I am not the only one looking down as I ski.

The Russian blew by me; small children blew by me; elderly men blew by me...
Most of them skied outside the double grooved track, without using poles, just skiing along like they were actually on ice skates.
I was so thankful that they didn't fall down laughing at my slow pace.

What was really hard to believe is that I have hiked these  trails in other seasons, and that there is a lake out there.

There are also snow shoe trails groomed though the area.  I will be coming back to explore those with my new snow shoes very soon.

We skied for about an hour.  Great exercise!

It was the perfect time to try cross country skiing as it was actually sunny and pretty warm out with very little wind.

The distant tree line is the edge of the lake by the way.
This lake has wheelchair friendly trails and bridges just inches above the marsh and water.  It is a great place to take an easy stroll the rest of the year.

Just in case you didn't know, like I didn't:  Cross country skiing uses a special shoe that feels like a normal running shoe, except it has a small metal flat opening in the tip where a small bar slides in from the ski. 
Under the zipper are laces on the inside shoe. The shoes are really comfortable to walk in.
(I unclipped my skis and walked up and down the steeper parts of the paths, so I am saying this from personal experience.)
Skiing feels a bit like walking on the balls of your feet.  Your heel can come down but you slide along by using a very natural foot pushing motion.

We got back home around three and jumped into the hot tub with a glass of wine and Tylenol to prevent possible muscle soreness later.

When we got back home, Bitsy and Tate had decided to be good.
I whipped up a pumpkin pie and mini popovers for Christmas dinner.
(Christmas Eve's dinner had been right after early candle light services back at our house. We had four different kinds of tamales with all the fixing that make them so great!)

(A bit out of order...going back to Christmas Eve here:
On Christmas eve we came to Jeff and Rachel's so we could all go to Christmas Eve services together.  They were still working on a sauces for Christmas Day dinner when we arrived.)

(I used to think only old married couples dressed alike....)

OK, this picture is out of order toof: it was in the window of the Nordic Center.
It might be my next header picture...isn't it pretty?

Rachel and Jeff had outdone themselves making an awesomely delicious Christmas Night dinner. 
My mom has given her fine china to Rachel; it was a very "modern" pattern from the late 1950s and suits their new 1950's era modern home quite well.

The meat was fork tender, the wine reduction sauce was liquid gold.
The colorful salad with goat cheese, cucumber, yellow bell peppers and pecans so flavorful.
Creamed spinach ala a famous steak house...

My popovers and Rachel's signature corn casserole.
We could hardly stop making "ummm...yummm!" sounds to do any talking during dinner.

Family portrait with 10 year old "puts up with a lot" Meowsie, and one year old Cheeto who didn't want to put up with wearing a Santa's hat.

Especially for you Mom: You can see all the old family ornaments on their tree.
The big box is from us to Jeff...more about that later.

My folks have not seen Jeff's house, so here are some pictures to get an idea of the place.
My new SLR camera was brought along without the recharged battery, so we are relying on a less precise camera here...

So what was in that big box?
Here's a money saving hint:
Save your children's toys.
In our case, that meant packing up toys back in 1997, and moving with the box to:
San Jose
Salt Lake City.
Hanging on to them taking up space until your kid finally has a house the same size as your house.
Wrap up the box with the toys in it.
Put it under his tree....

And enjoy seeing your child get excited about receiving those toys all over again!

It was hilarious to see him digging through the box, finding toys and remembering what he used to do with them.
I had not known that each toy had a date moulding into them.
Most of the toys were made between 1984 and 1987...when Jeff was between four and seven.
He had sold a lot of his bigger toys in garage sales when he was in middle school and high school, but the smaller toys had just sat in a drawer until we moved the day after he graduated from high school.
He had thought we had gotten rid of all of them!

A few secrets came out about the toys too.
For instance: I had not known that he and his friends had entertained themselves by sticking firecrackers inside some of the match box cars and lighting them off to see the cars blow up.
Several of the cars still had firecrackers sticking out of their tail pipes!
Are they not a hoot?
After gifts we retired downstairs to play the Konnect games on his new enormous flat screen TV.
Bernie and Rachel played virtual pingpong,
Then we all competed in a dance challenge.
I actually didn't do too bad!

Maybe I can dance a bit after all...
At least if what Laura gave me for Christmas is right (a belly dancing hip coin scarf), I have some moves that are simply amazing!

Well the snow is still falling outside, and it is almost 2:30.
I think I will finally get out of my pjs and see what else there is to do with today, on this the SECOND day of Christmas!


ellen b. said...

Ha! I'd be on my tush every other step on those toothpicks. Good for you for getting out and fitting in some exercise. Me...I just sat around on all my extra padding...
The scenery is gorgeous. What a fun idea to box up those toys for your son...
We bought Dan snowshoes for Christmas and I was happy to see he was thrilled about them. He can use them where he is living now our his back door...

Lovella ♥ said...

It's been a few years since we've cross country skied. Manning Park has trails all around the lake we walked around together. I remember the first time I went being terrified that I couldn't top. We'll stick to snow shoeing this year again .. .love your new snowshoes.
I so enjoyed seeing your kids house. It has a lovely retro 1960's feel to it. We can see through our kids what is coming back in style.

The food looked awesome. Your popovers are picture perfect.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

First off...I'm smiling about the large print for 'dad'...since we just had an issue over here where Elmer wished he had large print!

Every year we plan to go cross country skiing...and we never seem to fit it in. We went once...about ten years ago. It looks like the perfect Christmas outing! I'm sure you will enjoy your snowshoes.

Your Christmas Eve spread looked amazing.

Sara said...

Tate licking his lips after stealing your cranberry orange nut bread made me crack up!

The skiing made me tired....but all that snow is gorgeous.

Sometimes it's best not to know what our sons were up to way back then!

Vanessa said...

Looks like so much fun!! I have a pair of snow shoes and absolutely love them-can't wait to see photos of your snow shoeing adventures! And very fun to go cross country skiing-i have always wanted to give it a try!

Kathie said...

What a wonderful day!! With cc skiing and dancing, you certainly worked off all that holiday food! I laughed when I read about the firecracker matchbox cars - little boys must all think alike - ours did the same :)

Your snow scenery pictures are gorgeous - we had a green Christmas :( but today we finally have some snow.

Looking forward to hearing more holiday adventures!