Monday, December 12, 2011

Best Santa Letter Ever

We have a tradition at our house concerning communicating with Santa. We have a round, mail tube, ornament on our tree that the kids put notes to Santa in. The elves take the notes and Santa writes back. This year all the notes seem to have a theme, "I didn't mean to be bad, and this is why I did it." Tonight I came home from work and found pictures and notes from both Hailey and Greg. I think Greg's note might be the funniest Santa note ever.
Dear Santa,
I tried to be good. Even though I got mad and hurt my sister because she bit my mini Star Wars Obi Wan Kanobi.
Your Friend Greg

Its like he's pretty sure Santa knows he attacked his sister but it was totally ok because she bit my Star Wars guy dang it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Land of the Twilighters

So to spare our family friends who could care less about Twilight, and think I'm slightly to completely nuts, I've broken our vacation posts into two parts. Twilight highlights, and all of the rest. Forks is pretty much a tiny, one stoplight, one drag town sandwiched between the ocean and the forest. So far as I could tell, you either work at a store in town, or are a logger. I imagine a lot of the town's income comes from us crazy Twilight people. You actually have to wait in a little line to take a picture in front of most of the book landmarks. And the people in town are very good sports about it. If you go to the visitors center on the south end of town, they will actually give you a packet for Twilight. There's a map to all of the spots, fun facts, and trivia. The women there explained, rather disappointedly, that Catherine Hardwick wanted to film the movies where they were set, but Washington wouldn't give them as good a tax break as other states. I'm pretty sure no one in Forks voted for Christine Gregoire. Filming the movie there would have really put them on the map. I talked to some of the shop keepers in town and they would all tell me about how these stores sat empty for ten years. The town was kind of dying off. The town is kind of a jumping off point for back packers and a home base for serious fishermen. But suddenlly all these tourists started showing up asking about places in these books. People in town started reading the books, one lady told me their library didn't even have a copy at first, and getting in on the act. Now there are stores dedicated just to Twilight. And a lot of stores that would have otherwise probably gone out of business, are doing well by carrying large selections of Twilight stuff. There's stuff I never would have even thought of. I mean who would have thought you could buy Twilight rainboots and scrapbook paper in the same store? I never heard a single bad word about the hordes of crazy women that descend on the town, but I did get some nasty looks from some locals. I get the sense that the actual Quiliets are slightly less amused.
This is the Italian restaurant that's in the book, and also used in the movie. I really wanted to eat there but it's more like a date restaurant. It wasn't super expensive, but the people looked so civilized, and it was nice. We didn't fell like unleashing our children's considerable destructive talents would be appreciated.

Some of the home owners in town are very generous with us Twilighters as they call us. This is a bed and breakfast that stands in as the Cullen's home. Personally, it was not what I'd imagined when I'd read the books, but apparantly it's the closest thing they have around. The top picture is the white board on the front of the house. They will let Twilight people come up on the porch to take pictures. The owner's wife writes little notes everyday from "Esme" about what the Cullen's are out doing. I heard that if the owner's are outside in their garden when people come to take a picture, they will go inside so people can have an "authentic" experience. There are quotes from the movie, describing the house, taped to the windows. And an Edward cutout in the top bedroom window. The funny part is you can pay to go inside for set amounts of time to see "Edward's piano" and "Carlisle's office". Being a bed and breakfast, you can also stay there and pretend you're having a sleepover with Edward, but I think they charge you extra if you shred the pillows and break the headboard.

They have duplicates of Bella's truck in front of the visitor's center. The top one is her truck from the movie, the bottom her truck from the book. The sign on the movie truck makes it sound like it's the actual one, but I'm not sure.
My sweet hubby who let me drag him on this nutty trip posing as my Edward. I'm sure he was silently laughing inside the whole trip.
The Forks police department let's you stroll right in to see the shadow box collage they made. And wander around taking pictures of their cars. I don't think crime is too much of an issue here.
These people's house looks just like I'd pictured Bella and Charlie's in my mind. I didn't even have to look at the address to know it was the right one. They must be very good natured about the whole thing. They've made a sign that says "Home of the Swans" and put it in their front yard. And they let you stand in their yard to take pictures. The visitor's center's map tells you what people will tolerate. I can't imagine having cars line up in front of my house all day long and people hopping out to take a picture in my front yard.
This is inside a really awesome store called "Dazzled by Twilight." They have a little branch in Port Angeles, but their main store is in Forks. The whole inside is totally decked out. They have grass like flooring, and twinkle lights on the ceiling. They have all sorts of cool scenes. This is a set of lockers that are decorated like the Cullen's.
The "Swans" house from a distance.
The hospital has a desigated spot for Dr. Cullen.
A side door on the outside of Dazzled by Twilight. Inside this door, they have a whole display of old medical tools. They also have these cool pictures of the actors photoshopped in old cars and clothes and stuff. They're in sepia so they look like all of these pictures of the Cullen's through the past century.
One corner of the shop has a mural of La Push painted down the wall and this motorcycle.
Bella and Edward's tree in the store. There's also a small gazebo decorated with twinkle lights, a cutout of Edward in his suit, and a cutout of Edward, Bella, and Jacob with Bella's face cutout. I took a dorky picture in it, at the top of this post.
The high school sign. This spot had the longest line to take a picture. We're not talking Disneyland or anything, but still.
Down at La Push beach, people write on the logs with burnt sticks. Lots of "we were here" stuff. There was this group of five college girls down on the beach on their own Twilight tour. They asked me to take a picture of them on the logs. It seemed like the kind of thing I would have done with my summer break. The funny thing about being in Forks was that in my mind it was nothing but Bella and Edward's town. I couldn't get my mind to stop looking for actors from the movies around every corner. In my imagination, I would work every random person in town into the story somehow. It was so much on my mind, the first thing I did when we got home was crack open Breaking Dawn, and read like I'd never read it before.

Monday, August 8, 2011


For vacation this year we went on what Dave calls "The Twilight Tour." Yes, we did go to the Olympic Peninsula, and yes we went to Forks, but it was only a day's worth of Twilighty stuff. I have always wanted to go to the peninsula to see the rain forest. Really. I'll post more about the rest of the trip later, if I ever get my camera unloaded. Until then, a funny thing happened when we first got to Forks. And I love it when people make me look normal.

We had been in Forks all of 10 minutes when I met the crazy 50+ Twilighter's group (as in over 50, apparently there's a group just for them.) I was unloading the van at our "hotel" when these ladies came up to me and said "you know your hair is red just like Victoria's in the Twilight movies." I laughed and said "yeah I guess it is", and assured them that I did not require further tutoring on the matter, as I am already well schooled in Twilight facts. Figuring they just needed to come over and point out to me that I had red hair, I went back to slogging my way through the piles of DVD's and Capri Sun pouches that littered the floor of our van. Then I hear "um so, we were wondering, since you look like Victoria and all, we would love it if you wold go in the woods over there so we can take your picture." Okaaay. Then they told me all about their gathering they'd planned. Apparantly 30 women, mostly strangers to each other, were all meeting in Forks that weekend. They were going on one of the Twilight Tours, having a baby shower for Renesme and donating the gifts to a charity, and finishing off with a prom. When I commented that it would be a bummer that it's all women, I was told "oh no Edward's coming." They had hired an Edward look alike from Portland to drive out and go to their prom. Now that's dedication.

Knowing all this, I should have known that a simple picture of me standing by a tree wouldn't be sufficient. They led me to the woods right by our hotel, and began to instruct me on how and where to stand. For you Twilight virgins out there, there is a scene in Eclipse when the character, Victoria, is running through the woods, and turns to look behind her for a second. The next thing I know I'm standing half way up this hill, holding a tree with one hand like I'm going to yank it's branch off for being in my way, and glancing over my shoulder like a scared fugitive. Meanwhile, total strangers are telling me to "put my chin down", "look this direction", "don't smile", as they tried to recreate that image. I was a good sport in the spirit of being a big fan myself.

When I finally show up in our room, Dave of course is wondering what the heck happened to me. I think when I told him, he really thought I'd booked us a vacation to crazyville. For the next couple of days, every time I walked through the parking lot, windows would open and those ladies would yell "hey Victoria" in a sing songy voice. Total strangers would stop me to tell me thanks for taking the pictures, their new friends had given them a copy and they posted it online already. They were actually pretty funny ladies. I kept joking I'd made 30 new friends. This has also opened my eyes to a new career possibility. Why would I keep slogging away selling lotion, when I could go team up with the Edward look alike and stage mock fights. If anyone knows any Twilight look alikes, let me know, we'll start a traveling Twilight impersonation company. All we need is the right hair color.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Little Diddy

This is what happens to my brain when I have 10 minutes to myself. I drove to church by myself today, having no good Sunday cds in the car, and no kids yelling, my brain got bored. So I made up a little song to the chorus of "Put your shoulder to the wheel."

Put your pedal to the metal speed along
Drive your mini-van with a heart full of song
We're always late, so don't bother to wait
Put the pedal to the metal

Monday, June 13, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

If anyone would have told me I'd enjoy raising boys this much, I would never have believed them. When the girls were small, we used to trade babysitting with another family in Logan. They had two little boys. Every time we watched them, they were these crazy maniacs, jumping off our furniture, running around, and making these horrible vrooming noises. (Mind you this was before Hailey was mobile enough for us to realize she was quite similar to a wild ADD boy). After they left, Dave and I would always say how glad we were we had such nice, calm girls. Haha. Jokes on us there. We still hoped to have some boys, someday, but I was terrified of raising them. I did not envision it going well at all. Fast forward seven years and I just can't get enough. I love that everything is a possible vehicle of some sort. The world is broken down into fast cars, good guys, and bad guys. I love that they don't care if I can find the right shoes to match. Heck their shoes don't even have to match. Neither do their clothes. If they have a fight, they each get in a few good punches and it's over. No hour long crying jags, hair pulling and scratching. And it's so much easier to keep track of a fleet of Kachow cars then 200 pairs of tiny earrings. I love that I am the center of the universe in their eyes. For now at least. They are just so sweet and funny, and almost transparent in their feelings. I don't have to guess and wonder what storm is brewing beneath the surface. Now I realize some people may chalk that up to my girls perched on tweendom, but my girls have been complicated drama queens since 10 months.
Some of my favorite things the boys have done lately:

- Greg eating a hamburger, "mom are these seeds on my bun?" Yes. "So can you plant them?" His little eyes getting that mischievous twinkle when he thinks he's got a great idea. "Greg what do you think will grow if you plant that" Gives me his big blue eye trick "a hamburger tree?"

-Watching Wipe Out one night a Victoria's Secret commercial came on. Connor jumps off the couch, points at the TV and yells "I need dat!" Over and over. Second time he sees it, he runs up to the TV and starts hitting it while yelling "I need dat" I thought it was some weird TV fluke. Maybe he likes the sparkly bras. The next day at the mall, he was pushing his stroller and totally veered into the Victoria's Secret when we passed it. I had to fight the kid out of the store. I can only imagine what people thought when they see me dragging a 3 year old boy out of the Vickies, dragging his stroller behind him screaming "no need dat one! Need it!" Meanwhile my 3 other children are standing outside, staring at us, mortified, either of the thought of going in that store, or the scene we were making. Probably both.

-Connor is one of those dirt magnet kids. Stick him and Greg in the same pile of dirt, Greg will come back fairly clean, and Connor will be head to toe covered. And somehow always sticky. I was stripping him down to throw him in the tub one day and he was fighting all the way. I asked why he didn't want to take a bath, he loves the water. He yells "no wanna be clean" Such a boy.

-My kids have a habit of streaking around the house after they bathe. Kenzie is the only kid with an ounce of modesty. We have a very large window in the front of our house facing the street. One night, Greg was doing his naked dance for all the neighborhood to see. I said "Greg put some clothes on. The neighbors can see your butt". Greg - "good I want them to"

-Greg "Pew that stinks"- Me "what does"- Greg "my butt" (hysterical laughter follows)

-My boys have learned that mommy is the real pushover of the house. They are honing their skills of getting women to do anything for them. Connor has discovered that we are all super thrilled with any intelligible 3 or 4 word sentence. He's combined his powers of persuasion with impressing us with speech. When he wants something he says " Can hi peeees? Peas mommy?" Combined with puppy dog eyes and it's pretty hard to say no.

-If Connor has to pee and he's outside, or someone is in the bathroom, he runs to a tree and pees on it. It's no longer surprising to see him speed out the door, dragging his beloved blankie, to drop his drawers. Unfortunately he has chosen a tree closest to the street, on our property line. He drops his pants to his ankles and turns him butt to the street.

-We have been waging an ongoing war against the ant hills in our backyard. Greg was asking where the ants go when they die. I said I don't know heaven I guess (I mean they're ants). Just like we will to live with Heavenly Father. Greg "But what about how we're meteors?" Um meteors (I think I'm failing in the Family home evening department) "Yeah how else are we gonna see space". I tried to explain things to him, but he got so sad about not being a meteor zooming around space, I gave him an abbreviated version.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my girls. But they have never had that same raw power over my heart like these boys. I just hope I out grow it before they get married.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spring Sports

Hailey has done soccer every spring and fall since we moved to Spokane. She's gotten quite good at it. I'm pretty sure she's drawing from the Huisman gene pool, not the Paulitz's. For once she has a good way to channel her aggression. That really helps her out on the field, she's not afraid to go after the ball.

She's got a great kick too. Whenever the ball goes out of bounds, her coach gets to send any player on the field to kick it back in. If Ha's on the field, she's usually the kicker. That kids always been freakishly strong for a child. Doesn't usually work in my benefit, but I guess it works for hers.

Greg got into the spring sports game this year and joined t-ball. Now I've always been more of a baseball girl than pretty much every other sport, so I really enjoyed watching his games. Plus, is anything cuter than 5 year olds playing t-ball? We took the kids to quite a few Spokane Indians games last summer, so he imagines himself quite the ball player. I'm pretty sure he ranks himself right up there with Jeeter the cheater. (Dave's favorite nick name)

Tragically for Greggers, he had the misfortune to get those pesky, unathletic Paulitz genes. Puny hits, and he throws just like me. We're definitely going to push more for an academic scholarship than athletic. But he has fun, and he's basically the cutest ball player ever. Some of the kids on his team were crazy good. One kid hit it far into the outfield consistently every time. He also participates in 3 sports at a time, so I'm pretty sure he's got a whole lot of energy.

Sports season is always crazy busy at our house. And I imagine it will only get worse as the kids get older. Add in school and church activities, violin, school orchestra, and two working parents and things are even more chaotic and unorganized than usual. But I truly enjoy watching my little crazies run wild on those fields, having the time of their lives.

Spring Break

For spring break this year we were supposed to visit Dave's family in Utah. However, about a week before break we found out there was a Star Wars exhibit in the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, and it would be over before the next school break. Being the Star Wars freaks that my family is, we of course abandoned ship on the relatives and bee lined for nerd capades.
We bought a city pass so that we could also take the kids to the aquarium, Science Fiction Museum, Experience Music Project and zoo. Tragically for the girl raised in a family of Star Trek disciples, the Science Fiction Museum was closed. I was pretty bummed, but I survived. We did get to go over to the music project which, unless you're an aspiring Kurt Cobain wannabe is pretty dull. On the plus side, they are working on a Nirvana exhibit. So next time I can see Star Trek and Nirvana! Hollah! Hailey had to have her picture taken with the guitar sculpture, since she has big dreams of being the next Miley Cyrus.
Kenzie was a natural butterfly magnet with her pink coat. The butterfly garden in the Science center is always one of my favorite things there.
Connor rocking out at the music project. I never got a good picture of the hysterical face he was making. He opens his mouth and eyes into huge O's of intense concentration like he's going to take off any second.

Hailey's Star Wars idol is sadly, Darth Vadar. She even bought herself a Darth costume at the over priced gift shop.
Connor was determined to never sleep in his bed. He would follow me around and crash in weird spots. He passed out under my chair when I was at the computer one night.

I forgot my camera the day we went to the aquarium so I missed getting picture of the gross, huge octopus. The boys couldn't decide if they loved it or were scared of it. The kids always love the zoo. Greg is trying to figure out how to be an animal scientist and an astronaut at the same time. The Woodland Zoo has the coolest indoor play area, I spent the whole time wishing we had something even close to it here. Seattle does not have a monopoly on crappy weather. I got a whole one bad picture of a toucan for Greg before my camera battery died. And I of course forgot a backup. We got to visit my sister and her husband. They are the only people I know who have a different, large construction project going every time I see them. We pulled up to find the top of their fence lined with mouse traps (to keep the dogs in) and their kitchen cabinets on the patio. We also got to meet a good friend of Dave's that he met at academy. It was great to finally meet this family he talks about all the time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Locks of Love

About 2 years ago there was a girl in our primary that had gorgeous, long hair. One Sunday she showed up to church with all of it chopped off. When she shared that she had donated it all to Locks of Love, McKenzie decided, right then and there, she wanted to do the same thing. Since then she has been diligently growing her hair, only getting the occasional trim. About once a month, we'd measure her hair to see if it was long enough. She was so excited when it finally had grown out past the required 10 inches.
I was trying to get a picture here of how thick her ponytail was. This picture doesn't do it justice, but the kid has crazy thick hair. The stylist just kept cutting and cutting to get through that ponytail. She said she felt like she was cutting with dull scissors. The longest piece ended up being 13 inches long.
McKenzie with her new hair cut. She looks so different with her hair short. I can't remember the last time she had it this short. Its a pretty adorable cut, and she's so proud of herself. She plans on growing it out again to donate. She has such a generous heart, and says if she has lots of pretty hair, and some kids don't she'll just give it to them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Confessions of the Tragically Unorganzied

I have been a hopelessly unorganized and scatter brained person for as long as I can remember. I can never finish cleaning a room because the second I leave the room or see something else that needs done (or I want to do), I'm gone. My brain has leaped ahead to the next thing. I have a to do list that will never be completed. I'm late to everything, no matter how hard I try. It doesn't matter how much time I give myself to get ready, kids ready, and get there, I will be late. Inevitably something will go wrong or I will get sidetracked. My house is always a mess. I will dig down in one room, get it nice and clean, but every other room in the house is trashed. Within 30 minutes the room I just cleaned will be trashed too. (Don't worry I haven't food poisoned anyone. Underneath all of the clutter its all bleached.) I'd like to say this is all the kids, but dang it, I cannot get myself to put everything away every time. To a super clean, organized person, I am a tragic case. I'm like the druggie that people think sending to rehab a waste of time.

Now don't get me wrong, I want to be more organized, on time, etc. I am constantly buying new things to organize myself, the house, or the kids. Every other week I have some new plan that will help me remember what needs done and keep myself organized. Everyday is a new day of "today I will not be late." AA would have kicked me out long ago. So, awhile ago I subscribed to this Real Simple email called "If you just do one thing." Everyday they send you an email with one thing you can do to get ahead of the game so to speak. Today's was, wait for it it's a good one, Make a Laundry Schedule. That's right a laundry schedule, as in on Monday I wash sheets, Tuesday towels, Wednesday whites, and so on. Supposedly this will magically give me time to spare and more energy too! I nearly peed my pants laughing. Are they kidding me? Is my laundry going to take any less time because I did all of the sheets on Monday? Are the kids going to magically start changing their clothes less frequently? Stop wetting their beds? Really?

Now I know somewhere out there some woman read that today and immediately whipped up a cute, embellished laundry schedule and posted it promptly for all to see. She probably even made a family home evening about organization to showcase her new chart. Tomorrow she will drive to the Hobby Lobby and buy the wood to make some sort of handy dandy Family Laundry Schedule. And it will look cute enough to be a decoration in her home, her family will follow it to a T and everyone's laundry will not be shoved under their beds. Next fall she will lead a super Saturday activity on how to make one. So lovely.

I am clearly not this person. At my house if you find your pants drawer empty, first you cry to your mother, as this is clearly a tragedy. Then I instruct you to dig in "the laundry mountain" as it is known in our house. If all else fails, you have to dump out the hamper and find the cleanest pair. This usually involves more crying, imagine a lot of sobbing here, "Mom, why didn't you do the laundry yesterday? You said you would. Why aren't my pleather leggings clean? My sparkly one's are dirty too! What am I going to wear?!" Umm regular pants?

For years I have felt rather guilty and bad about myself. I know it's dumb, but I do get really down on myself about the clutter, unfinished projects, lack of clean clothes, lateness, lost papers, lost checkbooks, lack of real groceries (sometimes), overdue everything, the list really goes on and on. Also, add a lot of self depreciating talk about why can't I be on time, EVER?! Every time I start one of my new "I'm going to be organized now" kicks, I dive in all or nothing. And then I obsess about it. If its not done perfect, I stress. The first day of being too busy to adhere to the laundry schedule will result in, well, making it worse.

Now for those of you who haven't chucked your computers across the room by now, or unfriended me on Facebook (because I'm clearly crazy), let me assure you first, that I have a point, and second, I'm medicated so no worries. So here's my grand revelation. I am giving up. We are going to aim for good enough. As long as the basics are covered it's all good. The house will never be immaculate, or very clean for that matter, and tomorrow I am going to give my laundry the same minimal attention I always do. But who cares? Your favorite outfit might not be clean right away, but I'll get to it, eventually. And in the meantime I will aim to make sure you always have clean pants, food to eat, a cleanish home and maybe a few more chores. The kids papers will continue to pile up on my desk, but rest assured, the permission slips are signed and the reusable stuff has been reused for printing coupons, (which we can pretend I will organize with the new organizer I bought last week), and I will dig out the bills at least. As long as I get to everything eventually its all good.

So if you happen to swing by before I have a chance to make it look like I cleaned, don't worry, I'll get to it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Christmas part 2

It was pretty cool to be able to celebrate Christmas in OUR OWN HOME for the first time in 12 years of marriage. Its nice to be able to staple a ridiculous amount of decorations to the ceiling and walls without having to worry about patching them up when we move out. Nope we're leaving them all for the next owners. Dave read the kids "Twas the night before Christmas" before we began the hours long task of getting 4 kids to bed on Christmas Eve.

Hailey and Greg eagerly waiting to come in the living room and see all of their presents. I really like to see the kids faces when they come out on Christmas morning, so they are under no circumstances to leave their rooms until we are up. This year we told the girls they could run across the hall to the boys' room and yell into the baby monitor until we woke up. Nothing like waking up to 4 children screaming "WAKE UP MOM AND DAD! WAKE UP NOW!"
McKenzie, the world's most subdued 9 year old waiting for her presents.
Hailey has great aspirations of being a famous rock star, she has some pretty interesting Beyonce moves she definately did not learn from us. Santa brought her a guitar this year. Yes we are that stupid.
The boys have become completely obsessed with Star Wars. Their $5 day after Thanksgiving light sabers were the big hit of the day. I could have saved myself a lot of money and just got them that. Connor stomps around all day singing the Imperial March to himself in da da da dums.
No Christmas would be complete without the gift with 1000 pieces. What better gift for a wild 3 year old could there possibly be? Thanks mom and dad.

Playing Apples to Apples with Maddy and Sadie.
Even though we all live across from the country from each other now, the kids still get back together like they were never apart each time. Hailey and Maddy have such a special relationship, I hope and think they will always be friends.
Connor and Jack became fast friends.

The Campbell and Huisman kiddos, minus Sadie who decided she didn't want to be photographed today. Hard to believe that Nik and I now have 8 kids between the two of us. Its a long way from the old days when we could just run around town in our clunker cars, doing whatever we want, guzzling Mt. Dew. Now its more like hanging out in a daycare, we've traded our clunkers for mini vans, and now have to do what the kids want. Except for the fact that its now diet, the Mt. Dew is the one hold over. Maybe when our kids all move out, we can be neighbors again and hang out all day doing absolutely nothing.

Christmas part 1

I, of course managed to somehow post these out of order so bear with me.
We went up to 4th of July Pass to cut down our tree, just like good Paulitz's do. And in true Paulitz tradition, got a tree at least 2 sizes too big for our house, so in other words, perfect. It was a little like the old days of my Dad's ginormous trees when you sat on our couch and had tree limbs in your face. And you pretty much couldn't use the living room for anything besides tree watching. In an amazing display of helpfulness, Carl decided to help Dave haul our tree down the hill. He was probably angling for a Pepsi.

We stole a tradition from our friends, Nik and Da, and let the kids sleep out under the tree one night during Christmas. The first year we made the mistake of sleeping on the floor with the kids. Never again. This year we did it a couple of days after Christmas, and our kids had the added treat of having Maddie and Sadie sleep over.

Sometimes there just aren't words. My child went to school like this because it was cold.

My boys enjoying some hot cocoa and cookies after our trek into the woods for a tree.
As we were coming down the hill with our tree, we saw these people unloading a sled and dogs. Not something you see everyday, at least here. We all stood around watching these poor women wrangle their dogs into harnesses before taking off.

In order to haul the huge tree back to the car, we had to chop off some of the branches. We wanted to take them all home so we could make a wreath and a bough so we told all the kids they each had to carry some. True to form, Greg threw himself down like we were killing him, and announced it was too hard. Connor grabbed some branches and took off. He fell a few times, but he got right back up and kept on trucking.
We climbed up a very steep hill, searching for a tree. Hailey followed us the whole way. Finally something that tires the kid out.

The kids were pretending to be penguins, sliding down this hill on their bellies. Poor Connor just couldn't get back up. Kenzie had to drag him back up each time by his hood.

We made our yearly trip to the Christmas parade, fireworks, and tree lighting in Coeur d Alene. It had been bitterly cold, and we had a ton of snow, so all the kids are bundled up to the hilt. The parking lot snow piles by the car made for great climbing and butt sledding.