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Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Break 2016

We had such a nice couple of weeks off and although I was sad to have to come back to work, I had a couple of moments on my last day home solo with the three munchkins that reassured me that it was time for some normalcy to resume in our lives ;-)
The boys both had long breaks - Greyson had 2.5 weeks and Hayes had 3 and we were able to squeeze in a lot of stuff to do, while also feel as though we had plenty of lazy time to relax as well. I haven't missed the madness of the brutally early kindergarten routine one bit and part of me wishes Hayes could stay on break forever... or at least go to a school that has a respectable start time!
Reading The Grinch, a classic...
What was nice about this break was that our nanny, Colisha continued working the whole way through, so I was able to do fun things with the boys and not have to adhere to Henley's napping schedule, or be one on three, which is never a good idea!
Trip to the LA Zoo - giraffes seemed to be the biggest draw and we lucked out and were able to feed them as well!

We packed in quite a bit over the holidays, with a trip to Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead, Scottsdale to visit Nana and Papa for Christmas, Aquariums, Zoos, movies (if you're looking for a good kid movie, go see SING!, it's awesome), Hanukkah, family dinners and a boys sleepover at Nini and Pa's.
When we booked our tickets to Santa's Village, this magical sounding Christmas-themed amusement park in one of our favorite places, Lake Arrowhead, it didn't even dawn on us that a) sleeping in one hotel room together would mean we would ALL (including our 10 month old baby who goes to sleep at 7p) be sleeping in the same quarters and b) to check the weather in the mountains because oh, it's a little thing called December and the likelihood of encountering rain and snow (or both!) would be quite high.
Well, lesson learned the hard way - boy oh boy was it cold and rainy, but nonrefundable tickets meant we were going goddammit! We hit refresh on accu-weather every hour on the days leading up to our adventure and since it looked like the rain would be subsiding in the late afternoon, we lunched and hung around the hotel (which is an amazing place to go during Christmas, for future reference!) and headed over to Santa's Village around 3.
We lunched at one of my favorite Arrowhead spots, the cozy Cedar Glen Inn...
The boys enjoying hot chocolate at the hotel before we braved the cold at Santa's Village...

The place was... interesting. I think if weather was nicer and it didn't cost an arm and a leg to go there, it would have been a really cute place. They had a little theater, a train ride, a place where the kids could write and send a letter to Santa and make an ornament, and lots of little bakeries and coffee shops where you could buy treats (we had one of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had, so that was a bonus!) and of course, a place to visit with the old man in red. There was also a skating rink, which the boys and I were eager to experience; unfortunately, by that time, it was REALLY cold and rainy and we had a very unhappy baby so it was a quick trip around the rink for both boys, while clutching onto me for dear life, then we had to call it a day. 
"A firetruck that shoots water and a drone." Hayes x'd out the rest of the page because "those were the only things he wanted." That kid kills me.
Oh and said drone broke on Christmas Day (Amazon fail!), but fear not, it new replacement is on the way!
Mailing his letter to Santa...
The biggest lollipop you ever did see...
And, thanks to Grant creating a makeshift bedroom for the baby in the bathroom closet, 5 people sleeping in one room was tolerable (dare I say, it was actually kind of fun?!) and when we look back on the trip, it's what I remember most fondly. A cranky baby who had skipped both naps meant Grant had to dine solo with the boys (a glass votive on the table may or may not have been broken - yep, that kind of dinner) while I stayed in the room with Henley and ate french onion soup out of a plastic container, but I will say that my glass of pinot that evening was one of the best I've ever had and it sure felt nice and cozy - in a good way - sleeping with the whole fam.

Anyways, don't think we'll be going to Santa's Village again, but I would definitely return to Lake Arrowhead at Christmastime... And maybe, just maybe, one day we'll finally buy our second home there that we've been lusting over, as the trip in December reminded us just how much we love that darn place.

I won't go into detail on every aspect of our break, instead choosing to let the pictures speak for themselves, but it really was such a nice couple of weeks off and I returned to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2017 ;-)
"The Real" Santa Claus stopped by on Christmas Eve...


Signing our letter to Santa... Hayes wrote all of the sight words in this years' note himself! 
Grant putting together his traditional Jewish Christmas morning spread...
Finding Nemo at the OdySea Aquarium...
SHARKS!
Monkeys at the LA Zoo...
Slithering like a snake...
Hayes was super into feeding the giraffes...
Grey Grey was a little more apprehensive...
Hanukkah Dinner with the Cohens...
We rang in the new year at home with friends and family... and the most Insta-worthy cheese and meat board.
Hope your 2017 is off to a good start!

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