I feel like we've been running a marathon the past few days. A fun marathon, but a marathon nonetheless. In 48 hours, we drove 375 miles, played in the snow, took a train ride to the North Pole to see Santa, spent the night at my parents', logged 14 geocache finds, went to a Christmas party, and watched a 45 minute Christmas light display. Even today, a day that was supposed to be devoted to decompressing, was largely spent out and about - running errands, getting last minute Christmas things, and picking up the new phones that turned out to be Mike and I's Christmas presents to each other.
On Friday afternoon, we headed up to Williams to take the kids on the Polar Express. I was beyond thrilled that we'd been able to keep it secret since booking the tickets a month ago, and the boys' reaction did not disappoint! They were so excited for not only the train ride, but also just to see, play in, and experience the snow. We got to drive through a small squall on the way there, they saw a snow plow in action, and they collectively threw about 38265 snow balls.
The train ride itself was fun too, although the trip would have been worth it just to see how happy the kids were to see the snow! Everett and Tegan especially loved seeing the buildings all lit up at the North Pole, and were happy to give Santa a high five when he boarded the train. We all enjoyed the soft cookies and hot chocolate, and the kids were singing carols with the best of them on the way back to the station. I could not have asked for a nicer night.
Here are a few pictures, and I've posted more on Facebook.
After the train ride, we spent the night at Mom and Dad's, thankful to have a midway point at which to crash instead of driving the three hours home. On Saturday we spent most of the day geocaching in another beautiful mountainous area of the state. We got up close and personal with cows (and their poop), cacti, an awesome assortment of rocks, and curious highway patrol who watched from across the street as we found our final cache on a Stop sign.
Saturday night we stopped at a Christmas party hosted by my parent's minister and his wife, and enjoyed some more good food, hot cider, and visiting before we left for our last adventure - a 45 minute Christmas light display in Cornville. It was an amazing combination of lights set to music, and even in the cold (and at times, wet) night, the 45 minutes passed by in what felt like half that time. This is just a small clip of his display from 2007, although he has upgraded in many ways since then. It took approximately 8 to 10 hours of programming for each MINUTE of music. Awesome.
We got home at 10:30 last night, exhausted but happy and ready for bed. Now that our recent stretch of being go, go, go is momentarily over, this introvert is looking forward to what I hope will be a calm and peaceful 12 days until Christmas. No big plans beyond cookie making and hot chocolate sipping, resting and enjoying the remainder of the season.