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A Christmas to Remember.


Alright! I’m home, settled and have completed a full week back at work, post Christmas in

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Meiko wearing my antlers

Colorado! I thought I’d post a “how our Christmas went” type of blog, since Lauren took the time to do so too!

 

We started Christmas Eve with Mitchell’s family. Breakfast, and stockings, and a little bit of time just hanging out. It was low-key and drama free. 4 pups, 9 people and Christmas Cheer.

After we had finished celebrations with them, we decided it was time to finish up packing, and spend some more time with Kitten before we left her for the week. (This was the longest we’ve ever left her, I was feeling really guilty.)

We had an uber come pick us up, and we nervously, and excitedly packed all our luggage in the back of her explorer, and headed on our way to the airport. I don’t fly very often, and actually, the last time I was on a plane was 2009 when my stepdad passed away. I was a little nervous and unsure how quickly we’d be able to get through security, and even more worried about how my anxiety would img_7782be on the plane. I don’t have a normal and rational fear of the plane crashing (and honestly I personally would never be afraid of that…) My anxiety about flying is ridiculous and silly, but it’s very real.

Mitchell and I decided to get to the airport early.

Never. Again.

It’s been ages since I’ve flown, and even longer since I’ve flown on my own (those of you that followed me from LiveJournal will remember the last time I flew alone was 2007 to Texas.)

Last time I flew things were a little different, and being three and a half hours early for your flight was no big deal.

So Mitchell and I thought nothing of getting to the airport a little early, put our anxieties at ease, and have a little time to relax before hopping on a plane full of complete strangers.

Imagine our surprise when we got there and our airline had a sign saying no one was going to be at the counter until 2 hours before flight. We had 2 checked bags, which meant we couldn’t go through security or anything until they were at the counter. So we had a long 1.5 hour wait… we sat, and talked, my anxiety rose, people stared at us.

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Mitchell and I post security, showing off our attire.

oh, pause! I forgot to tell you! We went to the airport in our Christmas PJ’s (Mitchell’s Christmas Pikachu PJ’s and my Bumble PJ’s) wearing our Pikachu hoodies and a santa hat, and I had antlers and Mitchell had Pikachu ears on top of our santa hats! We both had these fabulous christmas light necklaces that I found on amazon.

Once employees showed up at the counter, we lined up (took a good 30 minutes to get through the counter) and we headed off to security! Everything went smoothly, and the photo above was us celebrating finally making it through security! We wondered down timg_7799o our gate, found it, and then decided it was time to find a place to get some food and a drink or two.

We stumbled across this place called Africa Lounge. We sat in the bar, Mitchell ordered a
“large” beer (which to our surprise was HUGE) and I got their alcoholic coffee. It was super delicious, we sat, ate some food and gushed about how excited we were to be on our very first vacation!

After our meal at the Africa Lounge, we continued on to the nearby bookstore, picked up a bottle of water (mitchell has to take some congestion meds when he flies, and we both felt we needed to hydrate.)  We picked up a few fun souvenirs for Lauren and Elisabeth, and headed to the gate. We got t

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Successfully boarded on the plane!

here just in time for boarding, and loaded on the plane. We got settled, my anxiety went down a little, and we sat back and relaxed.

 

While on our 2.5 hour flight to Denver, we goofed off, closed our eyes, and made friends with the girl sitting next to us (bless her heart, I may have accidentally caught her in the background of some of our selfies.

Mitchell played some games on his phone, I listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Audible and we both took turns watching out the window.

We didn’t fall asleep at all, but we did close our eyes, our flight left at 7, and landed at 10:30. We had been up since 8am, and with a mixture of holiday stress, and traveling stress, we were exhausted!

About 15 minutes before landing we turned off our music and chatted about how  excited

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Sleepy, but incredibly happy to be on vacation!

we were to get to Colorado and see our friends. We also looked out the window and guessed what we could see.

 

We came to the conclusion that we could see Colorado Springs, which is where Lauren’s parents live, and what we assume was a bunch of other nearby towns.

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The plane has landed! 

Our flight was pretty uneventful, we had some turbulence, that the flight attendants were spooked by, but honestly it wasn’t bad at all. It did cause one of the bathroom doors to fly open, but I bet it wasn’t closed all the way.

 

Once the plane had landed they told us we could turn off airplane mode, and we texted Lauren to let her know we had landed.

We got off the plane, and Mitchell went to the bathroom while I explored a nearby gift shop.

I looked for snacks but decided to just wait until we left the airport.

While walking to baggage claim, we found this guy, so we both decided to pose with him, I don’t have a copy of the photo of me, because it is on Mitchell’s phone, and I’m too lazy to ask for it. 😀img_7851

We wondered our way down the escalator, to the train, and then to baggage claim.

Once at baggage claim, we heard several people pointing and saying “They were on our flight!”

All day people were snapping photos of us, pointing, and cheering us on. The flight attendants, and everyone we came in contact with loved our outfits and Christmas spirit. How else would one travel on Christmas eve?? 😛

Our bags were the first off the plane (WIN!) and we headed out to get in the car with Lauren and Sidney!

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Lauren’s photo of her stocking goodies

Once we got to their house, we had a snack and went to bed, we were exhausted! We woke up the next day to a delicious breakfast cooked by both Sidney and Lauren, and enjoyed their company.

 

We all had agreed that we’d spend the day at home just relaxing. So we did, and it was wonderful. We opened stockings, ate yummy food and played games together.

later in the evening, Lauren’s parents came, we had dinner, opened some wonderful and

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Christmas Dinner, sorry, I had eaten most of it already

thoughtful gifts, and enjoyed the company. It truly was one of the best Christmases we’ve had, ever. Good food, good company, lots of happiness, and love. I am so grateful for Lauren and Gene inviting us into their home on such a major holiday! We are so lucky to have such loving and caring people in our lives!

 

Ken and Kathy (Lauren’s parents, two people I have always adored) brought some gifts for everyone, and some delicious Christmas dinner!

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A thoughtful ornament made by Lauren’s Family

After Christmas dinner we hung out a bit more and went to bed. We didn’t have any solid plans for the week, but I think the plan for Monday was to go into Denver and look at the Capitol building, get brunch and explore a little.

 

We woke up Monday morning, and Lauren told us that the Capitol building was closed, but we could still go into the city if we wanted, we ended up deciding to not do so, but we did go to the COOLEST museum Mitchell and I have been to.

Lauren took us into Denver to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Boy was it busy there! So many people had the same great idea we had, but that didn’t stop us! We spent a whole 5 hours at the museum and still didn’t see everything. I’ve included some of the photos we took there, below.

We came home that night, and relaxed, played more games, and enjoyed good food.

img_8021Tuesday, we went into Denver, saw Lauren’s work, and went to the 16th Street Mall and

went into the cutest little store called I (heart) Denver and bought souvenirs for Mitchell’s mom and our friends Katy and Adam.

 

Then, we went to REI to rent snowshoes, for our snowventure the next day! The REI we went to was MASSIVE. As a Seattleite, I honestly have never seen an REI as huge as this one. It was amazing!

We came home after a very long day out (another 5 hours) without lunch, starving, and exhausted. We ate dinner (Noodle soup made by Lauren.) img_8036

After dinner, we sat down and worked on our D&D characters with Elisabeth and Lauren.

Lauren, Gene, Sidney and Elisabeth have been playing D&D for quite some time, and Lauren has been inviting me to play for just about as long as she’s been playing.

Mitchell and I discussed it and decided we wanted to give it a try while we were in Denver, so that night we sat down, created our characters, and played the first half of our very first D&D adventure!

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We were off to a rough start, both rolling 1s, but I ended up having much better luck the rest of the game and kicked major butt.

We played for about an hour that night, and had a blast, but by the end of the evening, we were exhausted. I went to bed after we finished D&D for the evening, Mitchell stayed up and played video games with Sidney.

The next day, Wednesday, We woke up early, layered up, and took the snowshoes up to the Rocky Mountains.

It was just Mitchell, Lauren and I, but we were all super excited to snowshoe together!

We packed up, got in the car and headed toward the mountains. Lauren took us to Estes Park. It was a little bit of a drive, but it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed looking around, we drove through Boulder, and even drove past the hotel that inspired The Shining.

As we climbed higher we saw our first snow flurries (first for the entire visit, Denver didn’t get any snow, it was colder here in Seattle!)

We pulled into the park, only to have a ranger tell us it wasn’t safe for her car. He directed us to another area (Devil’s Gulch) to snowshoe. So we turned around and headed there. Sadly there wasn’t enough snow to snowshoe, but we did hike! We saw some amazing sights, and several elk! It was all around a great time!

We came home that evening, and went out to dinner at a vegan restaurant called Native Foods. (There’s one in Oregon, and I plan on visiting it!)  The food there was DELICIOUS, and I wish we had one locally!

After dinner,

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The last photo I took at Lauren’s house

we came back, finished out or D&D, I made butterbeer and then we headed to bed.

Thursday, we woke up, hung out, and Lauren and I went to return the snowshoes that we sadly didn’t get to use, and we came home, relaxed, since it was our last day there, and played games. I went to bed around 9pm. We had to be up and out of the house by 3:30 am.

We packed everything up that night, and said our goodbyes to Elisabeth, (Sidney was already in bed) and set our alarms for our early wake-up.

We sadly woke up, loaded up the car and headed to the airport before anyone else was awake for the day.

 

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Gene came with Lauren to drop us off. We said our goodbyes and headed in. The atmosphere in the airport this time wasn’t quite as chipper, and the lines were longer. We
waited 45 mintues to check our bags, and then 30 minutes through security. Then we had to ride the train to our flight. We got some breakfast at Dunkin Doughnuts, and then we got to the gate with just 5 minutes to spare before they boarded us.img_8243

Our flight home was uneventful, I slept most of it, and woke up just in time to see this beautiful view!

Overall, it was a wonderful way to spend our Christmas. Mitchell and I had a great time, and definitely plan on visiting again! We both agree that this was the best way to spend our favorite time of the year!

Below, are some photos I didn’t include in the post, mainly Lauren’s cat Pippin.

 

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“With so little sleep at least you’d think I’d find some peace in my dreams in my dreams; but my mind still winds up on the same thing, the same scene, the same themes”


I definitely think I’ve used this song as a title before. Oh well. We’ll all survive 😀

Things are still incredibly busy but I love it. This last week our friends Lauren, Gene and Sidney came to visit. They were here for about 24 hours, so though the visit was short it was a lot of fun. We played games, went for a couple walks and hung out. We took them to MOX Boarding House  for dinner. We played SuperFight! and enjoyed some time with good company.

Once we came back, we played Sushi Go, Exploding Kittens, and Coup. We also re-introduced Gene to the Lion King on my Super Nintendo. He and Sidney played it for a while, and we all went to bed.

The next day, we went for a walk down to the local pastry shop, Belle Pastry. After breakfast we walked home, played some more games (Sidney and Gene played WiiU, and Lauren and I played Sushi Go.) Then we went to Uwajimaya and for a walk at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. Once we returned home it was time for them to pack up and head up north to visit their friend Elisabeth.

I am so glad they were able to join us for the short time they were here. I wish it were longer, but now its our turn to visit them! I hope that one day this year we’ll be able to fly to Denver and spend a couple days with them. You forget how wonderful people are when you only get to video chat with them once a month.

Then, the next day, we had our friends Tim and Caroline over for a game night. We played Coup, and Sushi Go with them. Caroline had to leave early but we also played RhinoHero and Love Letter.

Mitchell and I also played a round of Card Wars this week.

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Just a slow day in WA!


9:44am. Little Miss is still asleep. The boys are playing Skylander(?) on the WII. I think we’ll have a SLOW do nothing day today. Probably let the boys play Wii for longer, until some of the neighbor kids come out to play. Both boys cried this AM when they realized the girls were gone. Made me cry. I cried myself to sleep last night. I swear, something must be wrong with me! I just miss them so much!!

This week I have:

Driven to Oregon, Gave hugs to two SUPER TALL girls.


Went to the Beaverton farmer’s Market


Went swimming


Had a b-day party
Drove to Seattle (forever longest drive ever)
Ate Hot-Dogs, let the kids relax and watch TV (Big Time Rush is a strange show, as is Ally and Austin.)
Went to work


Took all 5 kids to the mall
Bought flip flops at old Navy
Came back
Made lunch
Invited Neighbor boy, Jake, over


Took kids to the Lake Washington Waterfront (Kirkland) (6 kids! 1 me!)
Played at lake for a couple hours
Came back, let kids have a water fight
Made snack
Played till work was over
Had Hamburgers and salad for dinner
Watched more TV and relaxed
Went to work,
Took kids to mall (5 kids this time)


Went to the American Girl store


Went to Game-stop
Went to Disney Store, and I bought the girls’ dad a mug for his bday
Had lunch at mall
Came home
Had squirt gun fight and played in sprinkler
Mom came
Had frozen Yogurt
Watched Sharpe’s fantastic adventure or w/e
Watched 1 episode of H2O
Went to work
Drew Happy Birthday Kieran signs


Went to beach again this time 5 kids and my mom!
Had lunch (Potbelly)
went to post office
Went to safeway
Kids played in sprinklers/on slip n slide
Water Gun fight
Tears, goodbyes from all the kids to each other
Home
I took a shower in hopes to gain control of my sadness


Hair braided


Hung out, took photos


Frozen Yogurt
Safeway


Said final goodbyes, LOTS of crying, Lots of heartache
I had dreams that they came back today and stayed another week. It was really depressing to wake up and realize it was a dream.

I do have to say the first half of this week ROCKED! Can’t wait to see what the rest of summer has in store!