Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Memories 2009 Part 3

So finally on Monday afternoon it started to snow and we decided to head down to Ellicottville, New York to ski at Holiday Valley.

We got a room at the new Tamarak Club. It newly opened two weeks ago.

The drive that should normally take 1 hour ended up taking 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yes, finally folks we have SNOW in New York.

After we got checked in we went in town for dinner. Ellicottville reminds me of Aspen, Colorado. It was just like a Currier and Ives postcard.

The boys were so happy to see snow, throw snowballs and stand on the mounds of snow.

We walked around downtown with twinkling Christmas lights...just beautiful....Benjamin is trying to eat the snow.

As we walked by one restaurant a dog was outside waiting while his owner had dinner. Brock couldn't resist saying hello.

Brock amid the snowflakes.

We had pizza and Beef on Weck....perfect to end the day.

We had dinner at a place called Balloons...

Back to Holiday 8:30 they had night skiing. The runs were lit up and shining bright.

Eric woke us up bright and early (6:00am) and we went back in town to a little old-fashioned diner that only accepts cash for breakfast.

They have a town square with a gazebo and Christmas tree.

Old Victorian homes with Gingerbread trim...I could definitely live here.

The sun was rising and this church was setting like white icing against the sky.

So we got the boys hooked up for ski school, their boots fitted and skis ready to go.

This is called the Magic Carpet takes kids up to go down the bunny slopes to learn skiing. Eric is helping Benjamin and Brock.

Brock's first time down the bunny slope.

It was so cold... 11 degrees to be exact.

Eric and I are skiing a blue run and that is the view back to the resort.

The sun came out and we had so much fun skiing while the boys took their lessons.
My husband is an excellent skier...He skis Black Diamonds but he loves me enough to ski blue and green runs.

Ben's first run down the bunny slope.

Eric and Blake after Blake took his first chair lift ride and down his first green run.

My husband still skis in jeans. One of the girls at the lift asked him how he skis in jeans.
I said because he never falls. Seeing Eric ski is just about as much fun as seeing him ice-skate.
It is pure beauty to watch this man at winter sports.
Tammy, Benjamin and Eric waiting at the chair lift.

Blake, Brock and cousin Eric

Michael, Eric, Benjamin and myself (still cold) but loving the sunshine.

Eric's niece Sarah (doesn't she have a pretty smile) waiting warmly at the lodge.

Brock, Uncle Tim and Benjamin on chair lift

Blake and Eric on chair lift

Brock flying down the mountain

Benjamin showing great form

Uncle Tim, Brock and Benjamin

Blake skiing downhill

Eric looking great

The gang...I think Michael and Eric have gone off to ski some harder runs.

The view from the lodge

Sarah, Michael and Eric snacking at the lodge

Brock, Benjamin and myself. This was easier in my twenties.
Eric enjoying every moment with his family in New York.

Aunt Cindy, Aunt Gretchen and Sarah came and provided nourishment and support for the tired and weary. Thanks girls for everything.
The sun is going down

The lights are coming on for night skiing

It is snowing again.

And so we say goodbye. What a wonderful Christmas it has been.

Christmas Memories 2009 Part 2

While Oklahoma was having the Holiday Blizzard 2009 we had traveled many miles to Buffalo, New York (where you expect lots of snow). We arrived at Eric's parents house Christmas Eve. It was raining outside. No snow only rain. I can' believe it. I just knew we would have a white Christmas. We're hearing reports that Oklahoma is getting a record breaking 14 inches of snow. I need to send an editorial to our newspaper about Buffalo's bad rap of SNOW. Where's the SNOW?

I wanted the boys to go to their first Midnight Mass at the Catholic Church where Eric grew up. I wanted it to be put away in their memory banks. The boys all dressed up in their Sunday best and we went to church with Eric's mom, sisters Gretchen and Susan.
Eric's mom said it meant so much to her that we were able to all go together. It was a wonderful experience for the boys. They had an orchestra in the balcony and there is something so beautiful about going to church at midnight to celebrate our Savior's birth.

Benjamin asked questions about the incense and the Father did a talk about the gift and the giver. You can't separate the two. We were also encouraged to take a piece of straw from the manger to remember that Christ came in the simplicity of a baby.

As we were leaving I took a picture of the stained glass windows of the church. It was so quiet and peaceful as we left the church in the dark in anticipation of Christmas morning.

The great surprise...Santa brought the boys and XBox 360. What was the great surprise? Eric and I had told the boys to not expect many presents this year since we were going skiing. (more on our ski trip next post). Their faces were in awe. Don't you love surprises? I think good surprises that are totally unexpected are the best kind. Its kind of like God's unconditional love for us. We don't deserve it and yet we get this wonderful gift. That's what Christmas is all about whether or not you've been naughty or nice.... waking up to the unexpected.

Benjamin, Blake, Brock and mom in our pajamas.

The boys and this picture. Its what family is all about.

Coffee Cake with Winter's Dream tea (delicious).

Brock was so excited because he bought at school presents for everyone. He got his dad a tool kit with tape measurer. What every guy needs. Real smart for a seven year old.

The boys with grandma (Nanni)...Helene.

These are my favorite gifts. We have an ornament tree in our kitchen with all the boys homemade ornaments. Aren't they the best. Brock also got me a wreath hanger and a care package of Snowman Soup (Hot chocolate).

The boys opening one of their presents from Eric's parents.

The boys and their Grandpa Seibert.

Eric with his parents

The boys with Uncle Tim

Add in their cousin Michael

Eric and his sisters Gretchen and Cindy

The boys opening more gifts from aunts and uncles.

I love this present from Gretchen...good wool socks to go skiing in.

Aunt Cindy and Brock

The boys and their cousins Eric and Sarah

Gretchen and Matthew (mom and son)

My guys

Me and my main guy

Gretchen and Susan (sisters)

Sarah and Susan (mom and daughter)

The day after Christmas we were going to go skiing but it was still raining. I can't believe it. So change of plans and off to watch Eric's nephew Eric play hockey. He's a freshman that made Varsity. It was great to go support him and the team.

He's number #18

More fans Aunt Cindy and Uncle Tim and Brock

Hockey fans unite

They won...shaking hands

On to Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy's for Wings and Pizza

And french fries...Aunt Cindy knows how to make Brock smile.

Family in front of the tree

We hadn't been to Buffalo for Christmas since 2005 because of the tearoom. It's hard to take enough time to go but we decided you may not have tomorrow better love the people you have today.

Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy are Sabre fans

The next day was filled to the brim. We came to Michael's college graduation party at Gretchen's. Cookie platters...yum.
Congratulations Mike...we're so proud of you.

Uncle Eric, Michael and Aunt Cindy.
You did it.