Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Merry Little Christmas

We did indeed have a Merry little Christmas this year. We stayed at home, spent time with our family and enjoyed a few traditions we have missed in the past and a few new ones too. Gemma's girl scout troop took part in a Christmas caroling at the mall. The idea is to spread holiday cheer. It happened to really rain that day so I'm not sure how much cheer we spread but it was cute and she has so much fun with her friends.
We managed to fit in a cookie decorating session. Things were a bit tighter this year as I started back to work full time at Children's Hospital LA in the ER December 1st. Nothing like making a huge change right at the holidays. That's how things fell into place and we made the best of it. We decorated ginger bread cookies after school one day. 
 The girls had the best time. I think they don't even really remember ever decorating cookies every year because they acted like it was the first time they've done it. I brought out all the sprinkles we own and let them have at it. There were a few pretty obnoxious ones but most were delicious and even quite pretty.
We found a spare weekend day to get our tree. You know the big Davis family tradition. Driving to Costco and picking a tree out of the parking lot!! Ha!! Well you can't go wrong, they are beautiful, huge trees for a great price. Alex even managed to get it home and up without losing his cool. I think we have a system down. The littlest elf gets to put the star up. 
 It sure is pretty. My little helpers put most of the ornaments on and did a great job.
Rosie made an appearance again on December 1st. She was quite mischievous again. We were sweeping shreds up for a week Rosie!
 The repelling from the curtain strings might have been my favorite.
 She gets to place the star once Gemma gets to big to be held up there.
Another tradition we started last year was driving around in  Grandpa Dan's vanpool to look at Christmas lights. Lily and Ben we too excited to get going. We pack everyone in and bring hot cocoa and cookies. Uncle E drives us around Simi and Moorpark to all the best spots.
This one was so good we had to get out and enjoy the sights.
They had a snow machine that went off every 5 minutes and covered you in soapy suds that might look like snow to these Southern California kids.
We all went to church together on Christmas Eve and then returned to our house to eat and open a few gifts from cousins and Goppy. I'm thinking next year a round of matching pajamas is going to be in order.
Goppy and her littles. We sure missed our big cousins this Christmas and Uncle Joel and Aunt Tonya.
Sweet selfie's.
After everyone left we got in our PJ's and curled up for a story on the couch with Dad. We did read the night before Christmas but a little Pete the Cat got thrown in there too.
We made sure to leave out cookies and milk for Santa. Lily decided it was a good idea to leave decorated arrows toward the cookies too. Originally this was part of a grand scheme to try to catch Santa so she could see him but in the end it turned out just to make sure he knew where the cookies were.  I'm pretty sure Winston followed the arrows to the cookies too because he just might have helped Santa in that department this year. Note to self: move the cookies further from the edge of the table next year.
Then finally the big morning arrived. The girls were not up too early, around 6:30 am so we weren't too sleep deprived. At least the sun was up for most of the pictures. 
 I didn't take too many pictures this year, there just wasn't time and we were just enjoying the moment.
Both girls are old pro's at ripping open the gifts this year. Santa brought Lily her wished for Minecraft Blockopedia book.  Winston got a new squirrel chew toy that lasted approximately 4 hours before the squeaker was busted open.
Gemma got her Elsa high heel light up shoes. We all know mom would never have bought her those so there is all the proof you need that Santa is real.
Both girls also got razor scooters from us.
Because it was Christmas and the scooters were new they got to ride them around the house all morning. Much to their dismay this privilege was outlawed shortly thereafter.
Some new lego style building set from Granny and Grampy.
This voracious reader loves her kitten books. Too bad each book is finished in one sitting.
This little elf is not so pleased with his Christmas morning look. That's what you get when you eat Santa's cookies!!
After all the gifts are opened we sit down for a nice breakfast. We always include Goppy's chocolate chip coffee cake aka Jesus birthday cake. We sing him happy birthday and the girls get to each blow out a candle. 
We spent the day playing and building. This marble run set is really fun. Too bad the girls crashed every design Alex built.
Let's hope Gemma manages to keep the marbles out of her mouth! That girl loves to put things in her mouth to this day! I guess the penny lesson was never learned.
It was a nice quiet Christmas. We missed Grandpa Lee and the big Peterson family crazy get together. We missed Granny and Grampy who spent the holidays back in England. We have so much to be thankful for and were so lucky to be home together for Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Santa success?

Three years in a row now we have joined cousins in our visit to Santa. We had a feeling someone might not be too fond of Santa this year. Ah well, three kids out of four isn't bad!
 Gwyn did a lot better with her paci and her brother was feeling very silly.
 Lily and Gemma are old pros.
Lily and Gemma made their letter to Santa on the computer this year and even added images.

Dear Santa,
This year it is different. This year I only want four presents. 
#1 Minecraft Blockopedia  
#2 Minecraft Essential Hand book
#3 Gift cards ideas: Target, Michaels, Build-a-Bear, JoAnns, and Star Bucks last Toys R Us
#4 Lots of journals

     Love, Lily

Dear Santa,

I hope you are having a nice day.
#1 Elsa high heel light up shoes
#2 gift cards
#3 lipstick
Love, Gemma

Santa was impressed by their lists and promised to do his best. The girls were a bit shy but enjoyed their visit and the tiny candy cane.

Thanksgiving - Palm Springs

We took off this year for Thanksgiving for a week in Palm Springs. This is our third visit in the last four years and we find something new and fun to do each time. We started off our trip with Mexican food and giant Margaritas. Then we hit the pool since the weather was so warm.
This is the first vacation we have taken since both girls are pool safe without us in the water. What a game changer! Alex and I could both sun bathe on the side while watching the girls in the pool. We can't take our eyes off them but it was nice not to have to spend every minute in the water. They also made a lot of friends since it was school break and there were lot's of families at the resort. 
The next morning we headed for the park to get some roller skating in. The girls got roller skates for Christmas last year and have been enjoying them. It's fun to go to a park with bigger areas to skate. We enjoyed the sun for a while and then headed back to swim again.

The time share has grapefruit trees everywhere and you can just help yourself. We did a taste test and picked from several trees to see which was the best. The smallest one won, it was pink grapefruit and so sweet. We ate them every day and picked a bag to take home.
We made sure to plan a trip up the gondola to enjoy the views on top of the mountain. The road up to the gondola is right by this cool sign to Palm Springs.
We rode the gondola once when the girls were really little but they don't remember. It is super steep and a lot of fun. This is at the base and it goes up to the tippy top of that mountain behind it.
It may also be a little scary. If you're afraid of heights you may need to hang on, and close your eyes.
Once you get to the top it is winter. And a forest. It is at least 25 degrees cooler at the top of the mountain. It was a fun change. We knew to come prepared to hike around this year. 
The trail we took is a 1 mile loop leading you to 5 different look out points. Three of us enjoyed the hiking very much. I will let you guess which one was not so impressed.
There is a little stream that runs down the canyon and all the trees around it are lush and changing into fall colors. So strange amidst the desert surroundings.
This is the old gondola that used to take you to the top. I think I prefer the newer one. It rotates as you go up so you get a chance to see the view from every angle.
The next day was another warm and sunny one. We spent the day at the Desert Zoo. We come here each time we visit. It is comprised of only desert animals. Lily did a report on Meerkats last year so they are a favorite.
They have a really impressive train exhibit too which Gemma loved. She would have just stayed here all day.
Lily and her cat obsession. She wanted to make sure she is the ocelot size.
Gemma is more of a giant house cat.
They both wish they were the cheetah.
They always have to ride the carousel and were sister Leopard and Cheetahs.
We said hello to our friend the mountain lion. Let's hope he is the only one we ever encounter.
They have a new butterfly exhibit. You get to walk amongst the butterflies.
If you're lucky enough you can hold one.
My two favorite butterflies.
To try something new this time we took a day and drove out to explore Joshua Tree National Park. It is only about an hour away. We weren't sure how the girls would do since one person did not enjoy hiking on top of the mountain.
It was really cold out in the desert. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day as long as you were bundled up. 
Everyone had the best time. It was the highlight of the trip. The rocks were so fun to scramble around on. The girls called themselves the "Adventure Crew" and ran around trying to be adventurous to earn a badge.
We even managed to use the self timer to get a few family shots.
You  might see this one on our Christmas card.
We did a couple of hikes. One was a 2 mile loop and the other was about a mile out and back. This one was out to this natural arch. We had to climb up to stand under the arch of course. Lily loved this one because we went off trail to get back and did some real adventuring.  It was a great day!
On Thanksgiving day we woke up and made bacon and french toast before throwing a turkey in the crock pot (yes, I travel with a crock pot) then headed out for a day of hiking in Indian Canyons. You pay to get into the park and then they have a map with tons of hiking trails of varying levels. We stuck to the easy ones. They were really kid friendly.   
We started at the palm oasis hike. It was cool and lush down by the stream.
Of course crossing the stream was a highlight.
Adventure crew hikes again!

After a couple hours we popped over to another trail before heading home. 
This one was along a bubbling stream for about a mile loop. It looked like a cold fall day for sure.
We enjoyed our hiking and were ready to get back to our turkey dinner. It was our last day in Palm Springs and we had such a great time. We already can't wait to come back again. Adventure crew out!