It's been a long time since we've had snow on Christmas.  Over the past week we've gotten almost a foot and a half.  (It's supposed to rain here tomorrow and Sunday, so maybe Saratoga won't have a white Christmas, but we're hoping some of the snow sticks in NH!)

MiniM.E. has been asking to go sledding since September so she was especially excited about all the snow.

She has her very own snow shovel and surprisingly made a path all the way from the front door to here:

She also really enjoys pulling the sled.  (More than riding it?  Possibly.)

Our first downhill sledding of the year was Sunday after the big storm. We went to Saratoga State Park to the smallest of hills, perfect for nervous toddlers that "don't want to go really fast".
all geared up

eating snow

Then yesterday we took advantage of the fresh layer of powder that fell Tuesday and went sledding at H. and her mom's house.

snow angel!

trying to get three kids to sit together, nearly impossible.

with smiles!!!
Hoping to get out once more today before the rain melts it or turns it into an icy mess.  And looking forward to lots more snow and sledding for the rest of the winter.

NYC at Christmastime: Take 3

It has become our yearly tradition to visit New York City at Christmastime.  Mainly to visit the Santa at the Plaza Hotel, who, if you haven't visited before, is probably the best Santa ever.  Seems like a pretty ridiculous trip just to see a Santa, but it seems we are suckers for a good one, especially after seeing a few of the local Santas...

You remember the first time we went?  And last year?

This year was, by far, the easiest.  No worries about where to feed her, the nearest place with a changing table or whether or not she was cold or having a good time.

We had a bit of a hitch in the morning as MiniM.E. cried the whole way to the train station and then we missed our train by seconds resulting in an epic tantrum about wanting to be on that train.

But we caught the next one and after a relaxing trip we made it to Grand Central Station.  MiniM.E. looked less than thrilled, but it turned out it was just because...

It was nap time.  While she snoozed Bob and I took a leisurely walk up 5th Avenue through Central Park for a while and MiniM.E. woke up just as we were debating whether to buy tickets to the zoo. Of course when we asked MiniM.E. what she thought she said, "Yes, I DO want to go to the zoo!!!!"

We saw a sea lion show and let her escape from the stroller for a bit.

A few snow leopards and red pandas later, we'd pretty much seen what there was to see at the zoo, but it was a nice activity.

The petting zoo is actually separate and I have to say, wasn't really worth the trek over to it.  All the animals were caged and not very "pettable" and the few activities they had for kids we didn't let MiniM.E. do because it was too cold.

She seemed to enjoy herself anyway.

Then it was back to the edge of Central Park for a hotdog and a black squirrel sighting.  Have you seen these?  MiniM.E. was hilarious as she kept commenting, "Squirrels aren't supposed to be black.  That's silly!"

The highlight of the trip, by far, was FAO Schwartz.  Specifically, the giant piano.  MiniM.E. loved it last year and was even more excited to run around on it this year.

We walked back down 5th Ave. past the tree and through the Bryant Park Christmas Market to Times Square.  MiniM.E. had been begging for another hotdog since we left the toy store so we called it a day with a meal at Ruby Tuesday's, MiniM.E.'s preferred restaurant because "you get to pick out your food to eat."
As soon as we were back out in the brisk winter air, MiniM.E. was asleep.  Third trip to NYC: success!


Polar Express

Last night we went on the Saratoga Polar Express.  MiniM.E. was so excited to go on the train ride!  (Not as excited about Santa, or the Polar Express part, seeing as how we neither read the book or watched the movie...).  She got TWO new pairs of pajamas to wear as an early Christmas present.  We put them both on, dressed Dolly in her PJs too, and we were ready to go!

The kids.  MiniM.E. was not as excited at this point...

But she soon got over it and was hamming it up for the camera.

It was a really cute trip to the "North Pole."  All the kids on board were in their pajamas.  Chefs served us hot chocolate and cookies and they read Polar Express over the loudspeaker and showed the pictures.  Unfortunately, we were at the back of our car and couldn't really hear anything, but the kids didn't seem to notice.
We finally got to the North Pole and saw elves in workshops in lit up buildings out the window.  And Santa and some more elves were waiting to board the train!

While we patiently waited for Santa to get to our car, the conductor came around and let us try on his hat.

When Santa finally arrived, MiniM.E. and her two friends were SO EXCITED to see him, but as he got closer, Baby E. went in hysterics.  MiniM.E. would only get this close.  And S. didn't seem to mind being next to Santa because he was focusing on jingling his bell.

MiniM.E. LOVED her bell.  And has been jingling it almost non-stop since it arrived back at our house.  Thanks Santa!

If you are in the Saratoga area, definitely a worthwhile Holiday Activity!!

MiniM.E. is so excited about Christmas.  Every time she sees a wrapped present she asks, "Is that for me?" and whenever we're out and she sees something she likes she says, "I'm going to ask Santa to buy this for me!"  She has watched A Charlie Brown Christmas about 100 times in the past week and now knows Jingle Bells and can usually tell if its a Christmas song on the radio.  She will also happily greet anyone with a, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Having a two year old at Christmastime is too much fun!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Only a week and a half late…

For Thanksgiving this year, we flew to NC to see Meamaw and Grandpa (and Uncle Billy).

The day before we left, we got our first snow of the season, and MiniM.E. had a blast testing out the sled we bought when we lived in Germany.

Then early Wednesday morning we flew to NC.  MiniM.E. did really well on the plane despite the turbulence (she definitely turned a little green!).

When we arrived at Meamaw and Grandpa's house, MiniM.E. was excited to see that Santa came early so she would have presents to play with.

We had a relaxing time while we were there.  We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner (that MiniM.E. slept through…). Unfortunately, I got a stomach bug (probably from the airport) on Friday, so I have no clue what happened that whole day- MiniM.E. was such a trooper though!
playing in Daddy's old blocks

on the pier


teaching Dolly to play piano

getting some exercise

with Dolly

Fortunately, by Saturday I was feeling much better and we went to Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach to meet up with our friends from college who also have a toddler almost MiniM.E.'s age.  MiniM.E. had a blast.  She didn't really remember E. very well, and trying to herd two two-year-olds through an aquarium and try to keep them interested in the same thing was impossible, so I never got a photo of them together :(.

Saturday evening we had mini-Christmas…

And then Sunday it was time to come home.

Until next time, North Carolina!