A Family Snowshoeing Adventure

We kicked off December in the best way I could possibly think of: fresh air and fresh snow!  After all, it's beginning to feel like Christmas around here.  I spent all of Friday decorating the house.  Little twinkle lights and pops of green and red all over the place are making me smile just a little more broadly.  Plus, the boys and I made (and ate) an entire gingerbread house all in one evening already.  It only seemed appropriate to spend the first day of December enjoying the new snow in the hills.  So Bron and I gave Jed and Levi one of their Christmas gifts early (I bought their snow shoes in the Spring on clearance!) and we piled into the truck.

The South Hills were crowded with folks looking for Christmas trees so we opted for the road less traveled -- literally!  We criss-crossed our way over a trail system but it hadn't been walked or skied on since the new snow fell.  We were the first to lay down tracks in the knee deep powder!  I'm not sure the boys were as thrilled as Bron and I were.  They complained that it was hard work, but fortunately weren't too uncooperative.  I know they secretly enjoy this stuff!

It was snowing but relatively warm as we made our way through the flocked trees.  I won't ever get over how pretty a fresh layer of snow looks on evergreen trees.  And then the sun came out and my photographer heart pitter pattered out of my chest.  The scene was sooo pretty!  I'm counting my blessings because I truly do have it all right now: family, health, and a beautiful place to call home.  I think snowshoeing needs to become an advent tradition!

Speaking of Christmas traditions, I had a thought the other day that was quite profound for me personally.  Throughout Biblical and Book of Mormon history, people prepared for Christ's foretold birth.  They looked forward to the grand event with joyful anticipation.  Likewise, today, we prepare for Christmas with joyful anticipation.  We decorate the tree, hang up lights, wrap presents, bake cookies, deliver service, and a host of other symbolic actions of the season.  Then it occurred to me: Christ is coming again.  He is coming again!  What a glorious message of joy, hope, and peace.  And I get to be a part of this preparation every single day of the year, not just at Christmas time.  I suppose I've always just assumed I'll be dead before it happens, but that's really beside the point.  I need to live my life in joyful anticipation of Him and teach my boys to do the same.  It really is a neat thought that has transformed the way I see Christmas this year.

 ^^Conrad licking the snow while waiting for everyone to get geared up.^^
^^Starting off on our little adventure.  See those flocked trees?  Dreamy!^^
 ^^My four dudes made it up the hill!^^
 ^^Following in Dad's footsteps.^^

This toddler won't answer to his own name (He gave me a good scare Saturday night, by the way, I thought I'd lost him!), but if anyone shouts "chew" he'll no doubt answer with "wah wah!"  You know, chihuahua as in a type of dog.  It is so funny to hear.  The whole family busts a gut every time.  So if you ever see me yelling "chew" it's probably because I've lost my son again and I'm listening for his answer.  Conrad is smiling here because we all said "chew" and he said "wah wah!"

^^Love these boys with all my heart!^^
^^So many good ones of my entire crew in the frame!^^
^^Levi kicked up snow like this the entire time.  His back was covered in snow!  Hehe.^^
^^One of my favorite images of the trip... when we came over the top of the hill to this view.^^
^^About the time Conrad had suddenly decided he'd had enough and screamed and cried the whole way down.  Keeping it real, folks!  Luckily, we were almost done.^^
^^Levi sliding down the steep hill on his rear.^^
^^Realizing where he is and how awesome it is!^^
^^We ended our snowshoeing adventure on an extra high note with hot chocolate and a little sledding.^^

On the drive home, we discussed "needs" vs. "wants" in the truck and even made it into a little game for Jed and Levi.  They're so smart at distinguishing between the two!  Then we taught Jed that it's okay to be wrong and to laugh at yourself from time to time.  He thought he saw a moose!  We turned around to discover it was really just a donkey.  Oh well.  No harm done!  This is part of why we do what we do.  Family adventures can feel like such a hassle, but in the end, they're learning experiences for my boys in so many different ways.  Worth it.  Always worth it.

Also, I'm concluding this post with pictures from that awesome gingerbread house I mentioned that lasted all of an hour.  Yum!  I managed the frosting.  The boys managed the candy.

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