Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Horse Power

The second outing we had this weekend was a carriage ride. The weather was perfect for a carriage ride....not too cold....not too warm...!

Our local town goes all out with lights in one of the parks. The entire park is decked out with Christmas lights and decorations. There is Christmas music playing over the speakers throughout the season. Across from the park is a quaint coffee shop. Carriage rides leave from there on the weekends during December.

The carriage takes passengers on a leisurely ride around two blocks surrounding the park. Most of the older homes in this two-block area decorate their homes beautifully for the holiday season. Some even sit on their porches, play music, and wave or speak to those on the carriage rides, or even hand out candy canes.

We've driven down these streets many times looking at the lights from our car, but it was entirely different viewing them from the carriage. Maybe it's the slow pace or the open-air, but everything was just beautiful!

Our horse's name was Jeff. Our driver (Krissy), had her golden retriever, Molly, riding along too. Joy and Molly hit it off quite well!

Our carriage ride ended back at the coffee shop. Joy and Jeff are saying their goodbyes here.

What a charming little carriage ride it was! :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Magical Evening

We've had a couple of fun outings this weekend! It seems like it's been a little more relaxing since all the Christmas hustle and bustle is past and we've had fun on both of our outings!

The first one I'll share with you today was our trip to the Zoo Lights. Before Christmas, we were given five free tickets. Colt and his girlfriend, Amber, weren't able to go along with us, so Joy invited her friend, Kasey, to go along (and we gave the other one away to a lady in line at the zoo). We all had a wonderful time, but you can see by these girls' faces that they had a ball!

The first pictures were taken before the entrance gate. We were greeted by this big beautiful lit Christmas tree!

Here are the girls in front of the tree posing of course!

Here they are posing in front of the alligator. All of the statues out front like this had wreaths on them. They were so pretty!

And then you know how much I've wanted snow this year....well the zoo had a couple of different spots where it was "snowing" and it was great! The girls (and me) had lots of fun there! (I think I really enjoyed myself this evening, because Jason had camera duty and I was free to "play")! Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

And Jason held up the camera and took a picture of us together in the snow. (A little distorted picture, but still a fun one!)

From there we went on to the holiday farm! This was a hands-on petting zoo!

And here are the "cow"girls!

Look what hatched!

Walking through the zoo, the lights were so pretty!

Next we took a train ride on the North Pole Express. The girls were lucky enough to get a seat on the very back of the train!

After the train ride, they decided the take a virtual ride on the "Glacier Run". We could hear them screaming from outside!

Then it was off to Santa's Workshop. Santa wasn't there, so they decided to take a seat in his chair.

This was the tree in Santa's workshop.

Then we walked through my LEAST favorite part....the herpetarium.....but we did meet Bob the Turtle.

There were many photo ops throughout...

With the moose...

With the panda (the zoo has real pandas LeLe and YaYa from China)..

Then everybody was we headed over to the cookie decorating shoppe....

Joy decorating her cookie....

Kasey decorating hers...

And this one is funny to me....notice how intent Jason is decorating his cookie...

I decorated a cookie too, but I had the camera during this particular part (I ate it all too and it was yummy)!

And here they are enjoying the fruits of their labor!

Carriage rides were also offered through the zoo, but we opted to walk since we had taken a carriage ride just a day ago (the other outing I will share with you on my next post), but the girls did stop to pose in front of this carriage all decorated with wreaths.

And Santa's sleigh was just outside the gift shop.

After our walk through the zoo lights, we stopped by our newly remodeled McDonalds that has the coolest tables with video games for the kids to play, so the girls played a game of checkers and mini golf.

I asked Joy and Kasey what their favorite part was and they loved the virtual ride, the train ride, and the SNOW! Snow really does have a way of making it fun....for us it just made it a magical evening!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Behind the Scenes

We go through this every year! Every year I get the kids together for a Christmas picture to include with our Christmas cards, and just for me to have some Christmas photos of them! Each year gets a little harder finding a time when I can catch Colt at home long enough, and dressed to somewhat coordinate with Joy (not a favorite thing for a 19 year old boy to want to do, but done to please dear ole mom)!

And...since Colt was little bitty, he's always been quite the clown....or else just not wanting his picture taken. He's the same little guy in preschool graduation that found numerous uses for his diploma....telescope, head-bopper, orchestra wand....I guess he's always thought it his job to be silly and so he has been and still is at times like this!

I might as well plan on a Christmas photo shoot taking awhile! This year was no different. Joy is always ready for the camera with a pose and a smile, and Colt is the clown. The slideshow pictures below tell the story though. You'll see all the photos ending with the one we used for our Christmas cards.

The pictures begin with Colt playing the Wii and Joy and I trying to convince him to come over to the couch for I just started snapping pictures there. He's looking at the video screen on these and Joy is over his shoulder. They finally move to the couch and thus the funny faces begin! Scroll on down to the slideshow labeled "Behind the Scenes" in the post directly below and enjoy our silly side!

Have a great day....and remember to take time to laugh with your family! You're making memories to last a lifetime! :)

Behind the Scenes

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From Our Family to Yours.....

We wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Living" in Our Living Room

I've had a few people ask me, "How does your house stay looking like that?" or "Does your house always stay that neat?", or "Where's all the clutter like shoes and papers and such?"

About a week ago, you saw pictures of my living room looking like this:

And that's really nice and I have to admit that I do like order. But....actually "living" in our home, it just naturally doesn't stay like that all the time. Sometimes I just tell myself that if I can have one room in order, I'm fine! Other days, I just pass by and tell myself tomorrow is another day!

When the kids were little, you might find kitchen chairs in here with blankets thrown over them as a tent, or baby dolls lined up across the floor in "school", but really I wouldn't want it any other way!

Now Colt is older, and although he doesn't bring the chairs in the living room to make tents and hideouts and clubhouses for his little friends, he does still rearrange a little bit. The other night (just a few nights after the nice neat decor pictures were taken), Colt had one of his buddies, Matt, over for the evening. They were playing the Wii (wrestling game). They needed comfortable chairs, so my living room got a temporary teenage boy makeover:

Notice Joy over on the couch! She was their audience laughing at every silly thing they did! Colt can make her laugh like no one else (he tells her she has a dolphin laugh so her nickname from him became Flipper). She laughed and hung with them as long as she could, bless her heart! She goes non-stop until she falls asleep where she is and this is a favorite spot....perched on the end of the couch next to the wall heater.

As much as I love decorating and having things in place, I know I'll cherish these memories and I don't mind the temporary mess! After all they are only THINGS and the kids grow up way too fast. So I'll take the clutter....and hang onto the memories! :)