Orris Family Christmas Recap

How many times can you say that you got EXACTLY what you wanted for Christmas?  Well, I can say that this year!  In fact, the Kasch family has the power to give that gift to me every year... no pressure... better buy a lottery ticket or two :)

Even though my mom and I live on adjoing properties, when the Kasch family comes to visit, it isn't close enough!  We are each constantly bundling up, hiking the short path between houses, hosting each other, separating into evolving groups, etc.  So, for Christmas my mom had the most brilliant idea...she rented a large condo at Peek N Peak so that we could all spend a few days under the same roof!

My mom's brother, Mark, and his wife Charlene and son Kaelen also joined us at the condo.  They live in Miami and so we rarely see them and never spend much quality time together (when they visit, there are usually a dozen other relatives around and conversations are short...but LOUD!).  Kaelen was a great sport to spend a week surrounded by 3 pint-sized adoring 2nd cousins.  As per usual, Heidi velcroed herself to the boy (she has had this habit since she could first walk and assert attention from male species!).  She renamed him "My Best Boy" and I'm afraid that name has stuck.  In fact, it is taking me much longer than normal to finish this post because Heidi keeps coming in to beg me to pull up the pictures of her Best Boy so that she can stare at them each for a few minutes before returning to play.  We are in trouble with this girl!

The condo was perfect because each family had their own bedroom, but could also comfortably fit in the main living areas.  Mom and I enjoyed planning this and spent hours pouring over the options, choosing the most allergy friendly condo.  There was a game room in the basement and a living room/ dining room that provided ample space.  We went on walks, talked, laughed, ATE, played games, and headed to the main lodge for swimming, hot tub, sauna and the indoor playground!  Such a great way to spend quality time together.

clockwise from the top:  Uncle Mark being a goofball entertaining the girls, of our our intense game nights (photo taken from balcony), trio of happy girls at indoor playground, Aunt Charlene reading to the girls, fancy table for raclette dinner, coordinating cousins at the breakfast bar.

Since Peek N Peak is near Chautauqua where our good friends, the Lindemans live, we also got to spend a little time with them!  The adults (minus my mom who stayed back with the girls) drove over to their house for a blacksmithing demo (Christoph walked away 100% convinced that this is going to be his new hobby and Jake is hoping to take lessons at Family Camp) and one evening we coerced the Lindemans over to the condo to join us for more games!
clockwise from top:  Game night...LOVING the expressions...especially whatever mischief was occurring between Marianne and Lee!; Lee pounding the iron; hot coals (duh); Heidi refused to stay in bed when TWO OF HER FAVORITE BOYS were in the house so her Aunt Marianne took pity on her and made her a nest on the balcony overlooking the living room...worked like a charm and she fell right asleep!; Mary and Luke enjoying the basement games (notice Heidi's proximity to the boy); another group shot of the games from above.

Next up, more CHRISTMAS :)  All these memories are making me itch for another game night...What is your favorite group game?  


Teamwork always works!

Last week's blog post made at least 2 people very happy :)  Aunt Lou enjoyed feasting her eyes on her grand nieces and my sister felt less alone in the blogging world (most of the bloggers we've read over the years have stopped blogging).  

I got my replacement charger for my camera and it was soooo fun to finally upload pics and look at them.  Almost like the "good ole days" when you would find a roll of film, not remembering when you took the photos, drop it in the box at the store and then eagerly await 5 days until you could pick it up and see the pictures!  

Pictures are truly worth a thousand words.  While I ebb and flow with taking the pictures, I'm thankful for each shot.  Each picture brings back the sounds, smells and memories of the moments.

This is my favorite picture from Christmas:

Can't you almost feel the crisp December air and hear their sweet, high-pitched voices (one of whom has an adorable German accent!)?

My niece, Annie, was visiting from Germany and the three girls immediately loved each other (it had been 1.5 years since they had physically seen each other- that's quite a lot in kid time!).  Cousins share such a precious bond, so much stronger than friendship. Annie is as tall as Hazel, but is actually 14 months younger while she only 6 months older than Heidi.  Having them together is pure perfection.

They play all together or break apart, forming and reforming.  This Christmas, Annie and Hazel were more often found playing together, but the love and affection they have for each other helps to smooth over those moments when Heidi felt left out or one of them needed alone time.

In this shot, they were doing their favorite cheer:  "Teamwork always works, teamwork always works, teamwork always works, TEAMWORK ALWAYS WORKS!".  I believe they saw it on a TV show, but I don't know which one.  We would hear them doing this cheer ALL.THE.TIME!  In the bath, when playing, when cleaning up toys, etc.  Soooo cute...and true :)

Scrolling through the photos reminds me of how important teamwork is to raising a family.  Weekly, no DAILY, I rely on my mother, my church friends and so many others to help me with the girls!  While I have the ultimate teammate in Jake, as I shared last week, he's a tad busy these days with work, school and running.  I'm thankful for the moments he chisels out in his days to be with us, but I also spend a lot of time dreaming about our future time together!

Whether it's babysitting, venting, consulting, laughing, crying, etc.  It truly takes a village to raise these sweet sweet girls!  Thank you for being a part of my village!