Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry and bright

Merry Christmas dear ones.  We headed down to Fresno to celebrate Christmas with family. 
 Our days leading up to Christmas were filled with lots of baking
 and playing
 and decorating
 and snuggling...This was also the first time that all four dogs got to hang out.  They really did pretty well, Scooter got along with everyone... which was a pleasant surprise.
 Uncle Ry's pups... Abby and Gail are adorable... very sweet.

 We also worked on our traditional gingerbread house that we brought to Auntie Donna so she could add it to her "village"
 It was a pretty sunny and pleasant Christmas!  Fresno has a bunch of pretty cool parks that we got to play at.  Grace could work on her pushups and monkey bars...

 I had loads of trees to climb... with Uncle Ry!

In California... there are still Dandelions... so Grace and I got to play dandelion wars!

 but Uncle Ry knows all the secrets
 Oh and now that we have small dogs in the family, they get to cuddle in the laps of everyone!  The night before the night before Christmas, we headed out to see some Christmas lights... some of the neighborhoods around here really go all out!  We somehow missed the major crowds.
 Christmas eve, of course was spent with Auntie Donna and Uncle John.  We added our gingerbread house to the neighborhood (she has actually kept them for the past two years)
 It was a special evening... Regis even cuddled with Mom (he may not have been feeling well).
 and Uncle Ryan got a sweet dance lesson from Mrs. Mayeda.
 and I showed off my loose tooth!  Note carefully this before picture.

Christmas day was full of presents, family and food!  I got up super early (Dad saw me at 4am... but I may have grabbed another hour or so of sleep... or maybe not), and waited somewhat patiently for everyone else to wake up.  Grace may have been the last really awake.  

 Grace and I both got some new bikes which was pretty exciting.  I got a load of electronic gadgets and games, Grace was very happy with her dolls and Elsa shoes!
 There were lots and lots of very generous and fun gifts to open... Thank you to all who thought of us for Christmas!  It was a very exciting morning.

 We always enjoy Norwegian Pancakes for breakfast... Grandpa has had to make a double batch to accommodate our growing appetites!  I was in charge of making the baked apples, and really got a head start on breakfast using the apple peeler-corer-slicer.
 Grace went out front and discovered that an ungulate had been stomping all over the front yard!  She was pretty certain a moose had come by... it may have taken a bit of convincing to consider that it may have been reindeer.
 After pancakes, we packed up and headed down to Great-Grandma Mary's house!  We were extra excited for this visit because we got to meet Kye!  The newest addition to the family is a mellow sweet and talkative little dude.
 Grace was blown away by an actual Elsa doll from the Uncles.
 and enjoyed helping Great-Grandma Mary open her gifts.
 We set up the slack line that Uncle Ry got Grace for Christmas and all took turns trying it out.  We obviously need some work.

 Kye went more for the tunnels instead of a tightrope.
for a slightly less dangerous activity, the fellas settled down for a game of Settlers of Catan.
 Mom and the Aunties and Uncles love to poke through old photo albums.  We have a bunch of "new" ones because they had to clean out Great-great-grandpa's apartment and it was fun to try to match the pictures to the people we know!  Sometimes it was pretty surprising.
 This is the youngest picture of Tai Goong we have.
 Auntie Erin was so nice to hang out with.

The lucky little dogs got to join us and get lots of lap time from everyone.  
 Even sweet Great-Grandma Mary!
 It was a very busy, fun and family filled Christmas.  I think we wore Great-grandma out a bit.
 The day after Christmas the fun continued with the arrival of the Cheu clan.  This time we partied at Grandma and Grandpa's place.  Auntie Erin, Uncle Mike and Kye came up as well.
 We got a very special behind-the-scenes tour of the Fresno Zoo!  We were so lucky to be lead by the Director of the zoo himself to all of the super cool exhibits.  We got to feed an elephant
 and many Giraffes!

  Giraffes have very long, half purple prehensile tongues.  They are pretty impressive and sweet!

 The zoo just opened up sealion cove which was beautiful!  They have a great enrichment and training for all of the seals, sealions and pelicans!  Plus the viewing was fantastic.
 We spent a lot of time learning about reptiles too!
 Grace, who wouldn't feed the elephant, the giraffe, or pet the really mellow snake or monkey tail skink... when the Zookeeper says that this is a special, very rare lizard that she is working with to become an educational ambassador, and is still pretty skittish... also possibly the scrappiest of the critters we saw... this is what she finally decides to pet.
 both the lizard and Grace did fantastically.

 It was a super fun day with the cousins.  We all get together so rarely, it is a real treat when we all get to play.

 Aww the cuties.... we headed back to the house after the zoo closed for more play time, food (LOTS of food!!) and even a bit of caroling.

 The cousins all got t-shirts that I designed... they looked pretty good on!

 to sort of mellow out the last few days, Grace took up giving back massages, so she could use her new and very cool cash-register.

 Uncle Derek and Auntie Debbie stopped back in for a little bit in the morning and Grace had to get in her fancy dress and get her hair brushed by her fancy Aunt Debbie!  She was pretty excited.

 We had one more day in Fresno (Man, we know how to pack a week don't we).  We spent the evening with Mom's friends Susan, Olga,
 Becky, and Calvin.  We of course also got to play with baby Ava, Noah, Sierra and Nolan as well!

 everyone had a great time!  Right Calvin?  Anyhow, we headed home for a pretty uneventful drive, and are getting settled back into a less busy routine.
aaand this is the after... Yep, today Grace's tooth fell out as she was fiddling with it in bed... no fuss, no muss, no owies or anything it just popped out.  She is pretty excited to be a big-girl now!  We'll see if the tooth fairy comes!

Merry merry Christmas to you!