Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Eve

This year we did something completely wild and crazy for Christmas. We left the comfort of our home and traveled! We've never done that since we've had kids. This year, Mark was off for the week leading up to Christmas and he wanted to do something special with the kids. I had friends talk about The Polar Express being a lot of fun, so we decided to look into going there the week he was off. The night left happened to fall on Christmas Eve so we thought, why not? We booked the train ride and the hotel room and planned in secret for our special Christmas eve and Christmas away from home.

Here in Arizona, there is no guarantee of snow at Christmas time. As we were enjoying pleasant temperatures down in the desert, we waited w/ anticipation as to whether or not a good old fashioned snow storm would hit the high country.  We were so happy and thanking God for his special gift when we got a ton of rain a few days before we were supposed to leave. This time of year, rain down here means snow up in the mountains! Yay! God is sooo good. :)

By Christmas Eve day, the roads were clear, the sky was clear but the ground up north was covered in a beautiful silvery white.  The kids still didn't know everything we were doing. They just knew we were going up to play in snow. Ever since we left Ohio they've been asking to go see snow again. We finally granted their wish, 7 years later. ;)  We packed up everything we would need for 2 days and one night, including hats, mittens, gloves and the coats we purchased on our way up to Sedona over Thanksgiving. I made sure to have their Christmas eve presents, new PJ's and our special Twas the Night Before Christmas book we read every Christmas Eve. I also packed along the advent books and candles. The hotel we stayed at was non-smoking - a good thing but not so good when you're trying to find some matches! I forgot to pack some of those! LOL 

All of these extras were tucked away and out of sight of the kids, so they didn't know that we were spending the night anywhere. :)

 heading out! Destination - unknown

 A Christmas tree in the middle of the highway

The very first signs of snow

getting deeper

San Francisco Peaks all frosted in white

Foreshadowing of things to come ;)

winter wonderland

Our first stop was for some sledding at a spot just beyond Snow Bowl in Flagstaff. The kids had a blast sledding down the hill. A. even took K. down and she loved it!

building a fort


After sledding we drove to the hotel, which was the first time the kids knew for sure we were spending the night. We checked in, got settled and I handed them their Christmas Eve presents and told them to put them on for dinner!

 Williams, AZ

We all headed down to eat in our jammies. What fun!  The food was good, a huge Christmas eve spread. It was all buffet and they had Prime Rib, Turkey, stuffing, corn on the cob, green beans, salad, rolls, desserts and a bunch of other stuff I don't remember! It was a real Holiday feast!

 Cutie in her jammies

It was sooo cold!


A. stuck around while I finished dinner and we walked back to the room together, posing along the way. Can you tell she's cold? I think it was around 20 degrees. Good thing we were grabbing our coats before waiting for the train!

 The lobby was toasty warm w/ a huge fireplace and everything decorated for Christmas.


After dinner we had a little bit of time before our train left so we went back to our room and we did advent and read our Christmas books and then headed back out into the very cold night to wait for our train, The Polar Express, to roll into the station and whisk us away to the North Pole. :)

 waiting for the train!

keeping K. entertained while we waited

It's coming! Woo-woo

The Polar Express pulling into the station!

The train ride was fun. They keep you entertained the entire time you're riding w/ songs, retelling the story, hot chocolate and cookies and on the way back, Santa hitched a ride with us and gave the kids a special present for riding on Christmas Eve. :)  We don't really do Santa, but it was fun to watch the kids as they got into the whole spirit of the evening.

Back at the hotel, we posed for this shot w/ their new mugs (pretend it has hot chocolate in there) and our Christmas Eve book and then headed upstairs to actually read the book.

The kids had a hard time settling down after the exciting evening but eventually, they all fell asleep. Poor S. ended up getting a fever that evening and had a hard time sleeping and ended up hallucinating in the early morning hours. Poor guy (and poor people in the room next door - I can only imagine what they were thinking hearing him screaming, "Make it stop!"). By morning, his fever was gone and he felt good again. Weird stuff.  Since he was doing okay, we decided we would continue on with our journey which I will share with you, tomorrow! :)


Julie said...

What a wonderful Christmas!

Jen U. said...

That is by far one of the coolest Christmas Eve's I have ever read about. Love, love, love all of the pics. Man I wish we could have joined ya'll!

I just noticed too that you are reading through the bible in 90 days. Emmy and I are doing it as well. We are on TOS Heidis group. :-)

Linda said...

Wish you could have been there with us too! Check out our Canyon pictures from the next day. :)

I am reading through the Bible in 90 days, but I signed up too late to be with anyone. :/ So, I'm doing it on my own! LOL