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 What an incredible Christmas Holiday we had!
 We began our Christmas with a trip to the Wilderness Lodge.  That was our gift to the kiddos this year. . .rather than shopping and wrapping and then finding places for all the "stuff" (that we don't need!) we decided as a family to make a memory instead.  My dad brought my nieces down with him. . .this was his Christmas gift to them!  It all worked out so well. . .I *highly* recommend this place. . .
Since there were 9 of us we decided to get a suite with a full kitchen and we are so glad that we did.  We brought tons of breakfast stuff (milk, juice, yogurt, cereal, fruit) and snack-y stuff too. . .chips and salsa, veggies & dip, microwave popcorn. . .I had also planned two dinners. . .we stopped at Papa Murphy's on the way out of town and picked up 4 pizzas to bake Wednesday night (there ended up being enough for lunch Thursday too!) and then I brought a crock pot meal for Thursday night.  We didn't do it so much to save money (although I'm sure we did save quite a bit) but more for convenience. . .with 9 people it's hard to coral them all at the same time to get ready, get out the door, eat, etc.  This worked out much better!
Frederick body boarding. . .
Every time the waves were on you could find Thomas in the wave pool :)
Tom & Margaret
Susan & Marie hanging out, waiting for the waves :)
 Bible quiz time with Grandpa
And on to a game of Scattergories (one of my favorite games!) -- AVJ and Marie were on the same team
A surfing lesson for AVJ and Thomas at 11:30 p.m.!
 She was up on her own -- yea!
And an "illegal" shot of Thomas. . .if I would have been given information on how to buy the prints I certainly would have -- either I don't know how to work my camera (extremely likely) or it's just not the camera for indoor action shots.
Gotta love the wireless internet for sure!  I appreciated having three televisions in our rooms so everyone could be otherwise occupied in our "off" hours :)
We headed to the Titanic museum Thursday afternoon. . .a few of the kiddos were waterlogged and needed a break -- ha!  This was an amazing tour although if we had it to do again we wouldn't take the littlest ones (2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade)
Grandpa Foster with his favorite 6 -- Susan, AVJ, Frederick, Marie, Margaret, & Thomas
 This was the hot tub area (and it continues outside too!). . .did you spot Thomas and Tom in the far back corner?
Enjoying the water slides. . .

 A view from the outside (they are also doing a lot of construction inside and out at the resort)
 By far my favorite picture. . .Frederick did not get "brave" enough to do the slides by himself until the last day (of course)
There were 90 steps from bottom to top.  Yep, I counted :)
Friday morning only two of the six kids had it in them to head back to the water -- ha!
And then we ran into friends from our town, 100 miles away, too!  That was fun.
We ended up staying past lunchtime on Friday and getting into Ohio past dinnertime.  Everyone was happy to see Aunt Kathy, in from Utah, and try to get a good night's sleep before the next big holiday treat on Christmas Eve:
 A Cincinnati Bengals game, compliments of Uncle Brian!!!  Another "experience" gift -- the best kind :)  Thank you, Uncle Brian, for an experience the kids are unlikely to ever forget.

We had lots of cousins time, lots of family time. . .a lot packed in to a couple of days.  An unusual thing has happened to my calendar this week:
An absolute blank week.  The one thing I have written down is a reminder that we're NOT having church programs on Wednesday night -- ha!  I'm sure we'll fill it up. . .my new classroom needs work, we have loads of books to return to the library, maybe some friends will come over. . .next Tuesday (and our first day back at school!) will be here soon enough. . .


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