Monday, December 31, 2007

We're Back!

We were in New Hampshire for eight days and seven nights -- a magical Christmas trip jam-packed with tons of wintery-Christmasy-wonder-wonder-land-fun with the Johnson side of the family. My parents had planned an incredible itinerary for us; each day was absolutely loaded with surprises. The boys were way over-stimulated and it was a long time away from home for us, but it was an absolutely fabulous time filled with more memories than I could possibly blog about. The snow was piled higher than the boys had ever witnessed in real life! Braydon and I didn't have to cook or clean up or worry about a thing! And every detail of each day's activities was thoughtful and special. This was a Christmas we'll never forget. And we have more than enough photos to keep the images fresh in our minds (see posts below for some of them!). Just a few of the biggest highlights included~~~~~ the boys' first time skiing (a dream come true for Braydon! and for me really special too: my mother taught me to ski at King Pine when I was age three and now she's taught K & O to ski at the same place at the same age); a truly magical evening ride to visit Santa in the North Pole on the "REAL!!!" (and I do mean, REAL) Polar Express (absolutely no kidding, even I thought this was the real thing); a day-trip to Portland Maine with a New England seafood lunch to die for; the Portland Symphony Orchestra's Magic of Christmas (a Christmas Concert that my parents have brought my sister and I to throughout our entire lives); a private horse drawn sleigh ride through Freedom Village with family and friends; a winter bonfire in my parents backyard-- complete with K & O's first toasted marshmallows and s'mores; a special visit from Santa to MorMor and MorFar's house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve day (and yes! K & O got exactly what they had been wishing for: "toy airplanes that are just like real airplanes", and their cousin Sadie got exactly what she had been wishing for too: a cheerleader costume!); the boys were angels again (not literally... believe me!... but figuratively and in costume) at the Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant at the Freedom Church (nothing nearly as eventful as last year happened, but it was a near-miss... Owen was determined to use the stage to perform "stomping dance" in his angel costume, but luckily he told me about this plan a few minutes before the pageant started, and I was able to successfully divert this crisis by using a bag of Peanut M&M's to bribe him not to do it); MorMor's incredible traditional Christmas Eve Swedish Smorgasbord & tin upon tin of at least a dozen different Christmas Cookies; a magical Christmas morning (including stockings and presents of course, but also including Braydon's favorite, and Owen's favorite now too-- my mother's Danish Butterhorns); Christmas Day pork-roast-dinner made by MorFar; hours spent splashing in, and diving into, my parents' outdoor hot tub; a trip to North Conway (including a fabulous lunch at an earth-oven pizza place); and last but not least... on our final night before heading home... Braydon and my dad took K & O for two straight hours of Night Snow Tubing (the boys still can't decide what they love more-- skiing or tubing!!!). And, as always, the plane flights to-and-from were major highlights for Kyle and Owen who seriously love to travel more than any human being I know (and this time got a special surprise-- on the trip home the pilots invited the boys up to the cockpit to sit in the pilot's seats and "drive" the plane!!!). There were zillions of little highlights that happened in-between all of these big highlights too (like, K & O lovin' my dad's snow-blower and following him around in the snow like little puppy dogs!; Swedish Christmas culinary traditions for me like eating Limpa Bread Toast and Korv for breakfast; the four of us cozied up sleeping all together in one room-- K & O seriously cuddle tighter together than you could even imagine!; sledding; shoveling; jingle-bells-singing; fun playing with "cousin Sadie"; MorMor and MorFar's Santa Train under their Christmas Tree; beautiful wonderful heart-felt presents given and received; etc., etc., etc.). We are so blessed to have all that we have... materially for sure... but what is most important to us (and what we are by far most deeply grateful for) is how truly blessed we are with all that we have experientially. It is easy for us to live every day to the fullest when we're with Kyle and Owen. That, in itself, is the biggest gift that they have given us. We're back from our trip, and we're now officially 'returned' from our Blogging Break!

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