Christmas Letter 2016

Yep, it’s really here so get to it and be Merry! Start baking cookies with your kids and post the one good picture where it looks like you are having a super awesome time; start using the “no Santa” threat in times of desperation and let’s go pack on those five holiday pounds that we all know we’ll lose starting January 1st.  Sounding a little cynical?  Turns out first trimester pregnant women and the grinch have a lot in common. 😛  What would a Masog Christmas letter be without a birth or pregnancy announcement??

With the first kid, people ask if you have any names, how you are feeling, if you are going to find out the gender and all sorts of normal things. Reactions to a fourth kid include a loss for words and big eyes with questions like, “are you mormon”, “are you guys crazy”, and just plain “why”.  We are still not mormon, are mostly sane, and are very excited to announce an expected due date of July 5th.

We kicked off 2016 with our annual ski trip to Sunriver.  Lots of snow on the ground made for easy fun with endless sledding and miles of cross country skiing.  Miss Kaylen tried a day of downhill with Alex but it became clear that if Alex is going to get invited to her wedding we throw in the towel and put her in ski school. After one full day in ski school she could actually ski – she loved it and can’t wait to go back.

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To avoid vitamin D deficiency we headed to Oahu at the end of January and stayed at Disney’s Aulani resort.  Hawaii with a little Mickey here and a little child care there… this was a recipe for magic! We snorkeled with turtles, tried out paddle boarding, whale watched for the first time and had great company with Big Ben and Grandpa Lou.

May 19th Alex and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary!  When we got married we said we would go to Bora Bora, stay in a water bungalow, and do it “right”.  Well, I didn’t feel like I could leave Carson for a week at just over a year and if we were going to bring a kid at all we might as well bring them all, right?  So Bora Bora was out and we loaded up the crew for a romantic getaway in Maui, which was where we went on our honeymoon.  Nothing screams romance like three kids under 6.  Due to to the time change the kids all passed out by 6:30pm so we had some pretty wild nights. We lived vicariously through our neighbors above who partied ALL night long.  Loudest music ever, bathtub running at all hours of the night and the “pop the champagne” song playing on repeat. Oh, but don’t you worry, we got even with our 5am screaming alarm clock.

Kaylen graduated from Pre- K and then we headed over the mountain for our annual “Paulina Lake camping trip” with the Whitts and family friends.  So we have gotten a little weak in our old age and rented a cabin in Sunriver and actually drove up to the lake each day.  It was a little tough to show our city slicker faces each morning to the real campers who can still have a good time with a can of beer, lots of dirt and a fishing pole but hey, we still made it.  Minus our bed mattress being in the shape of a soup bowl we a great time with lots of hiking, bike riding and good company.

   

We actually ditched the kids for two nights Father’s Day weekend and ran the Seattle marathon along with Vince, Ashley and Ben Masog. Alex killed it with a time of 3 hours and 12 minutes and I finished with a respectable time of 4 hours and 15 minutes.  Trying to walk to Father’s Day breakfast the next morning was unbearable. Alex had to carry me half the way back to our place. When I had to pick up my own leg to get it into the car I knew I left nothing on the table.  We swore the next time we left the kids overnight we would do something a little more relaxing. 

We snuck in a last minute beach trip to Gleneden with lots of family and managed to find vacancy at nothing less than the best the Oregon coast has to offer, with a bathtub that sunk down three inches when you would stand in it and a mini kitchen with no dishes. We heated meatballs in coffee mugs, treaded lightly in the bath and had a really great time with the 24 of us who made it over there.

So remember how when we leave the kids again it is going to be really relaxing? The weekend before school started we dumped the kids and went on a three day two night rafting trip to celebrate Alex’s sister Natalie’s 40th birthday.  We were surrounded by great company, great food, and train tracks!  I am pretty sure the train went right though the middle of our tent three times the first night.  None the less, the rafting was incredible, the scenery was beautiful, and Cards Against Humanity with your father-in-law never lets you down.

Kaylen started kinder this year and we get to live a childhood dream of mine walking/biking to school everyday. Rain or shine the kids excitedly throw on their helmets and hop on wheels of some kind.  The kids are doing all those normal things that kids do: school, soccer, gymnastics, swim, cry, complain, wake up in the night, pee in bizarre places, make us smile, laugh, and cry.

Come October we flew to Florida for our first trip to Disney World and met up with ten other Masogs/Paluchs – it was incredible! Carson screaming after every single ride he got off of was magical.  After two days at Magic Kingdom and one day at Animal Kingdom (where the 15 of us managed to coordinate all of our fast passes and a character dining), we were ready to set sea. Our family of five along with Ben and Grandpa

Lou headed to Port Canaveral for a 7 night Western Caribbean Disney cruise. Oh yea, all five of us in under 300 square feet for a week.  With child care, twice a day house keeping, and ample entertainment, it surprisingly posed no problems.  The food was incredible, Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) was like a movie, and winning the blackout at Bingo was pretty bomb.  We rented a car in Jamaica and pushed it to the very end (real shocking, we know) and actually heard the ship’s horn while getting gas. We ended up ditching the rental car on the side of road and sprinting for the boat.  All of us made it back on the boat and Grandpa got his rum confiscated… again!  We swam with Dolphins in Grand Cayman, played on a giant inflatable play structure in Cozumel and had two fun-filled days at sea where we played on the waterslides, ate, mini golfed, ate some more, and checked out all the onboard entertainment.  Thank goodness the seven days of unlimited eating came to an end right before sporting swimwear was going to get hairy.  Our 7 suitcases, 2 strollers, 3 child seats and 2 carry-ons all made it home with a pretty uneventful travel story.  It wasn’t until we were in Portland, off the Max and on the elevator before it started to go down when the family melted trying to get kids and suitcases out of the elevator.   

That about does it for us. The tree is up with approximately one ornament casualty a day and we are ready to bring on Christmas.  Our hopes and dreams for 2017 include getting one kid who can tie their own shoes and wash their own hair, two kids who wipe their own bottoms, and three kids that don’t wear diapers. Until then… wipe on!  Merry Christmas everyone!

Lots of Love!

Alex, Carly, Kaylen, Evan, Carson, and the bun in the oven

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