Canada, Part One

Canada, Part One

Our trip to the Great White North was a magical one. We learned just shortly after moving here how close we were to the Canadian Rockies and decided we needed to make a trip up there before we moved away from here. Well turns out we should plan a few more trips up there before we leave because we really saw about .5% of what's there. Tyler and I take turns planning Anniversaries and it was my turn this year. Our anniversary was in May, but school, so we usually celebrate when the next break comes around. This year it was the end of June.

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Christmas 2017: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Our first Christmas with a baby was kind of a strange experience. We anticipated it a lot. Several people asked several times what Alice wanted for Christmas. Well she's 8 months old so what she'd probably want Christmas day is a couple of good naps and a full tummy. 

I think we dreamed that she would magically understand the gift giving and the Christmas story and be able to appreciate the day. But she's a baby, so that didn't happen. 

Christmas joy!      
 The whole present thing didn't really land this year but we didn't expect it to. There was a lot of lap sitting and wondering what all these packages of paper were.
Christmas came and went and while there may have been a couple of exciting moments in Christmas jammies or frosting sugar cookies, for Alice it probably just felt regular. But that's what she likes so she probably still thought it was a pretty good day.

We traveled with my family to southern Colorado and it was so fun!


     
 My family started a Christmas Eve dinner tradition while I was growing up or after I'd grown up. A while ago. We (try) to have traditional food of the time when Christ was alive and eat without utensils or electricity. We turn down the lights and light candles. It is delicious and cozy and brings back a lot of memories of studying in Jerusalem.
    



It's definitely different having babies with us now every time my family gets together. There is a lot less spontaneity and late nights, but probably more kisses and hugs and watching babies do funny things. 
Holding grandpa's leg...
We also had our family's first Gingerbread house contest. It was surprisingly REALLY FUN! 



     

We also took some new family photos. Also different with babies, but they're all still little so not that different.


Prayers and Pie. Thanksgiving 2017

Sometimes when it's my turn to say our family prayer I just start saying thank you for "ridiculous" things. It usually starts because I open my eyes while praying (gasp!) and just start expressing gratitude for the things I see. The ottoman, locks on our doors, a mattress, trees, our mailbox, shoes, silverware, socks, pens, paperclips, tiny perfume samples, receipts, chairs...so this actually just makes our house sound messy.

In the process of the ridiculous thanking, I find myself actually feeling gratitude for all of those little things. Those that make our life so comfortable. The ones that make our life easier. Those are the things that make it so I can focus on the bigger things. 

I get to focus on Alice, to play with her and comfort her and show and teach her new things. I get to focus on Tyler, do laundry or dishes so that when he gets home we get to veg on the couch together.

I get to work comfortably from our home so that we can eat and keep living here. I get to cook meals, because we have food to cook. 

I am so grateful for everything I have in my life. 

We spent our Thanksgiving at the J&A Ranch this year. It was over 60º every.day. 
Wednesday we played with family, started making our pies for the great Larsen Pie Contest of 2017, and enjoyed not working or going to school. 

 


Thursday we played outside, did some clay bird shooting AKA clay bird shooting and missing and instead shooting the cans 40ft away.



Alice loved riding with Papa until she didn't.

Getting the squint just right.
We had an incredible meal made by Tyler's mom and sisters and to which I contributed nothing, which is probably best.



We went to the movies to see Coco and Alice made it to about the part where supposedly there was a huge twist in the movie and something crazy was revealed. We'll go back another time. Or more likely watch it on Netflix in a few months. 

Then we had our Great Pie Contest 2K17! 
Banana Cream, Raspberry Cream Surprise, Pumpkin, Pecan Pumpkin, Caramel Apple, Key Lime, Cherry Brownie
The Raspberry Cream Surprise was a definite favorite, so light, creamy and perfectly tart.
Our Caramel Apple pie--tasted delicious...the structure however, did not impress.



One of each!
Serious pie judge deliberation!
We definitely chose winners but in the end doesn't everyone win at a pie contest? I think so. 

It is tradition in Tyler's family to drive up the mountain in trucks, then snowmobiles or four wheelers and cut down Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving. We've done it, twice, maybe three times since we've been married. It's always so fun to go up together and sip hot chocolate and hike to find the perfect tree and bring them all back down the mountain to have for the season. Inevitably there are sad babies and it's cold and usually takes longer than planned, but we're still all together and that can make any detour fun, usually. We had one of the sad/tired babies this year so we didn't hike all the way in, or hike at all for that matter. And we didn't bring home our own tree because airplanes don't allow trees, as far as I know. But I think everyone else had a good time.


Alice and her Aunt Rachel. 
We forgot Alice's coat (almost her hat) and had gloves that were too big and no shoes, but two pairs of socks. #winningatparenting
Saturday we slept in a little, ate some yummy leftovers, played outside some more and took family photos. I'll post those another time, but here's a lovely test shot.
Location scouting and test shots for the family photos. Is that a model or my husband? Or both? ;)
Again, I am extremely grateful for everything in my life.