Our Christmas celebrations began on the night of the 19th with gift openings with the Swasko clan…here is Clara with her very first present. It turned out to be a toothbrush!
target shooting and ghost wars – what a combo!
Clara got her very own chair from Aunt Krissy and Uncle Eric – what fun!
and Brian's favorite gift…a make-your-own-beer kit! this should be interesting…
We finished packing and got in the car…for Colorado! We decided to drive through the night to make it easier on Clara. At midnight it turned to December 20th…and our five year anniversary! WOW!! 5 years with my best friend and hero…words can't describe how deeply grateful I am to God for giving me Brian, and me to Him. I know I don't deserve him and yet he loves me anyway. He is the most amazing husband and father imaginable and I can't wait for the next 50 years!
It got COLD! you can see here it is only 7 degrees! it stayed in that range the whole week.
our little angel sleeping…almost there!
yeah, the last hour was really ROUGH!
Here Clara is about to walk in and touch snow for the very first time in her life! how exciting!
we weren't going overboard with excitement or anything…there's only 3 cameras and 4 adults in this picture afterall…
whoa! there she goes!!
and she likes it!!
Clara had lots of great things to keep her warm (thanks Jones' and Lindsay's!)…including her little deer suit from Aunt K and Uncle E…sooooooo cute!
we got to play lots and lots!
Going sledding! See Brian with his legs up in the air??
The champion sledder!! they were having contests to see who could go the farthest the fastest… and Dad won farthest…but I beat Brian at fastest! YES!
Clara liked walking around as soon as she got the hang of it…its not near as easy as normal ground!
the whole fam! our toes were turning to ice at this point…
relaxing! this is what I spent most of the week doing…reading the Twilight Saga!
lots of NCAA on XBOX…Brian taught me how to play and I was really getting into it! I also brought "Dummies Guide to Football" because I am determined to FINALLY learn how it all works. I think Brian was kinda surprised at things I was learning…I've done a good job of faking it for a long time.
Clara got this precious plastic nativity play set from her great-aunt SuSu and great-uncle Birdy. The whole week we would tell her the story of the first Christmas using it and she loved playing with it! She learned where Mary and Jesus went and could put them in place. She would also walk around the house with Mary and Jesus and sucking on their heads…and giving them big kisses! Here she is giving Jesus a kiss. Talk about bringing tears to a mommy's eyes!
Cooking! We were basically snowed in most of the week so we all took turns and had fun cooking up Swasko-worthy feasts!
Christmas Tradition…all the girls watching "White Christmas". It was Clara's first time to join in and that REALLY brought tears to my eyes!
Watching one of my all time favorite scenes – "Sisters". My sister and I must have re-enacted that 400 times when we were little…
Clara thought it was soooooooo funny to put on any of the adult gear. Someone would put it on her in one of the bedrooms and say, "Go show everyone!" and she would laugh and toddle out all proud, just waiting on the reaction. It was so funny how much she knew she was being funny and silly.
She also had a nativity book that she loved to read! I fervently believe that people are never too young to be able to know and connect to God…even if they don't understand it as fully or deeply as they one day will. God can speak to anyone! One of my most ardent prayers for her is that one day, she won't be able to remember a time that she didn't love God, or know that He loves her completely, unreservedly and unconditionally.
Back out in the snow! Like Mom's "Snow-Blob"?
We shoveled out a path down to the lake…I have never ever seen so much snow in my life!! They usually get an average of 19" the whole month of December, and in six days they got 37"!
Giving Aunt Krissy a kiss!
Brian and I up to our waists in snow!
He just dunked me, so I'm going after him!
and yet…what was I thinking?? He got me again! See my feet sticking out before I'm buried?!
buried in snow!
view of the balcony…the snow is up to the window!
happy 5 years!
Brian, Eric and Kristi went skiing one day. (they wanted to go more, but because of the snow storms, the road up the mountain was only open one day!) They had SO MUCH FUN!! It was pure powder EVERYWHERE which made it a really different experience than they had ever had. There weren't many people there and they got to do lots of different trails and try lots of new things. I'm glad I didn't go because it was below 0 most of the day and I HATE the cold!
Brian is one of those black figures…I think the one at the top about to come down!
Christmas Morning! Clara got a stocking full of treats!
But of course…the thing she wanted most was the banana! (it is the first thing she goes for, as you can see here) I wonder how many years she'll go for the fruit over the candy or toys??! I'm thinking those days are limited!
a microphone – woohoo!
on a walk…
There is a picnic table near the house by the lake… my, Kris and I walked out to it so we could jump off and into the snow! Here we are standing on the table…
Jumps and Fall!
Just to show how much snow we had gotten in just a few days, here is a picture of Eric doing the same thing in the same place a few days prior. And other years we've been there, there have just been a few inches on the ground, so you can see MOST of the table and benches. Craziness!
Family Picture! Christmas 2008
Watching the sunset….
Singing Chrismast Carols…another family tradition!
Eating at Farrago's…favorite in Pagosa! mango and goat cheese quesadillas, portabella sandwich…yum! and local pumpkin beer!
playing with Papi and all his cool lights…
Our House…Eagle's Loft #7051
Clara loved going up to the loft and throwing things off…hopefully this will not transfer back home!
Clara finding new places to perch…
view of the mountains from the living room
now driving home… because of the conditions, we had to go back during the day on the way home – I'm sure you can tell why! It was all white for the first few hours, but the matrix did great! What a great Christmas!