We have been celebrating all week. We spent the days right before Christmas at a hotel featuring an indoor water park. While we were there, we took a trip to the 'North Pole' on the Polar Express, which was pretty incredible. Tickets are distributed by lottery months in advance, but somehow Mike was able to track three down. It was worth the work. Basically you live the book, from the train ride into the mountains to crowds of elves to the silver bell cut from a reindeer's harness. It was a lot of fun, and very memorable.
Mike and Claire have been skiing four times this week, making good use of Mike's season pass at Shawnee Peak. Claire loves it. She has turned into the classic kid who zips down the hill, turning and stopping with ease, as adults look on, struggling to keep their balance while standing still. The difference between her skill level this year as compared to last year is pretty incredible. By the time I can get back out there next winter, she'll be skiing circles around me, just like Mike.
We drove the White Mountain Trail, which was beautiful. The mountains seemed to rise up out of nowhere, and they were everywhere. We had a great day weather-wise, but the steep winding roads were still a little questionable in a lot of areas.
And this is Mount Washington. This was the first time I'd really seen the mountian, and I have to say I'm now much more impressed that Mike has not only hiked it, but then skied down several times. We'll have to give Claire a few more years before she can try it herself.
Christmas Day itself was wonderfully relaxing. We spent some time with our families using the webcam, we all opened many fantastic gifts, and some of us (Mike) took several naps. We finally got ourselves together for Christmas dinner with friends, which was also very special. Couldn't have asked for more.