Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ice Skating lessons

A few miles away from our house is a huge park--at least for being in a well populated area.  It has a large lake in it, swimming pool, boathouse, tons of playgrounds, trails and an ice skating rink  In the winter they have two, four week sessions of free

ice skating lessons.  Hannah and Jonathan wanted to give it a try so we signed them up.  They have loved it.

Jonathan testing the hardness of the ice within 5 minutes of getting there.  He did eventually stay on his feet for more than 10 seconds at a time.
Hannah was slowly but surely making her way out to her group.
Right now their metric for success is whether or not it hurt when they fell down and how much ice they have on their pants when they are done.  It's fun to watch them.  Next year, I think we'll try for both sessions.

Cold . . .

This month has been so cold.  Apparently there are huge polar air masses that keep finding their way south, it drops our temperatures well below zero with the wind chill.  The first one was a couple weeks ago and last night another one came our way. 

We left the heat up that night and opened all the cupboard doors.  We forgot to leave the spigots dripping and our kitchen pipes froze.  I was a little panicked but thankfully nothing burst.  We were patient and at about 3 pm the next day they started to drip and were soon completely thawed. 

The wind chill was around -40 so Hannah had the day off school and since I pretty much knew it would happen, I was ready.  We invited a friend to come over and she was willing to brave the cold.  In the Friend--a magazine for children published by our church--this month they invited children to print out a "passport" and get to know a little bit about children all over the world.  They include stories, recipes, and crafts.  This month was about Mexico, so we made cascarones.  They are essentially died egg shells filled with confetti.  You are suppose to crack them on someones head to give them good luck.  Let me say though, those egg shells are pretty hard. 

I spent a good hour, carefully breaking a little hole in the end of the shells and emptying the inside out. (We had scrambled eggs for breakfast)  We let them dry and I made homemade egg dye.  The kids enjoyed coloring their eggs though it took those a long time to dry out.  

Later, we filled them with colored paper I put through our shredder.  We sealed them up with a piece of tissue paper and later I found confetti all over the basement.  I'm still finding it : ) 

Along with that the kids and I made a fort.  This was a cherished memory from when I was a kid.  Every year for Spring break my siblings and I would make a two room fort and we'd sleep in it for a few nights and my mom would let us leave it up for days.  Well the kids tried sleeping in it but the noises were a little too much for them and around 9 pm they came trudging up the stairs. 

We had fun.  Unfortunately this time we only got a two hour delay in school but no frozen pipes so we celebrate and move on.  I hope this is the end of the frigid weather.  We're almost through January, ahh the joys of living in the northeast.

December . . .

December was the culmination of my stress and anticipation through the fall.  We arrived home December 2 and hit the ground running.  There were presents to buy, cookies to bake, decorations to hang, projects to finish and celebrating to do.

Hyrum's mom sent us home with a gingerbread train to decorate.  The kids enjoyed decorating it and Spencer, especially enjoyed eating it when he thought I wasn't looking.

One of the biggest projects of the month was luminaries for my brother's wedding reception that took place just after Christmas.  The idea came from one of my favorite websites.  We ended up doing it a little different but I think they ended up looking really good. 

Another project I finished was restoring a wooden chest.  I bought it for $10 at a garage sale this summer and sanded it down and then re-finished it.  It was a fun project in the end and I look forward to learning more about painting and wood working. 

Hannah decided she wanted a red dress for Christmas and since I hadn't made her a new dress in a while I quickly made Hannah and Charlotte new dresses for Christmas.

We drove up to New York the Monday before Christmas and spent the next couple of days wrapping presents and making final preparations for Christmas.  My younger brothers, Andrew and Adam, Andrew's wife, Whitney, and my sister, Kallie, came home for Christmas.  It was fun to have so many adults to talk to.  My kids loved playing with their aunts and uncles.  Unfortunately, we were having so much fun, I didn't take any pictures. 

After the Christmas festivities, we hunkered down in the kitchen to make food for my brother's Wedding Reception.  It was a very busy few days and to top it all off, the water heater died a slow death.  Saturday, the day of the reception, Hyrum, my Dad and a family friend worked to install a new water heater.  While they were doing that, the rest of us finished decorating at the church, finished making the food and some even endured cold showers.  The reception was nice, though sparsely attended because of the holidays.  I think we were all glad to cross it off our list of things we needed to do.

Sunday we went to church with Mom and Dad and then hit the road for home.  It was also Hyrum's birthday.  It was kind of lame but he came home to balloons, a Happy Birthday banner hanging on the cupboards and his present (large, framed picture of Ranger Stadium) waiting on the counter.  A friend had put his birthday cake in the fridge so that was thawed and we enjoyed mint brownie dessert that night.   

Hyrum's classic birthday picture.

Monday the crew arrived in our neighborhood to celebrate with us for a few days.  We drove down to show everyone around Hyrum's office and then just enjoyed not having to do anything that afternoon.

The whole crew at our house

Tuesday, Andrew and Whitney flew back home and we spent New Year's Eve making pizzas and roasting s'mores in our fireplace.  It was pretty fun.  We played a few games and brought in the New Year with a little Condorman.

It was a busy month but a great way to end our 2013.  We are grateful for the blessings we've received over the past year.  We look forward to the adventures that lie before us in 2014.  Here we go!

Jonathan with his carpentry gear--a Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Wright.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

November Changes

November started with a bang!  We had a Fall Fiesta with a bunch of friends.  I found a set of jack 'o lantern cookie cutters at the store so of course we had to have jack 'o lantern cookies.  Add bread bowls, chili, and caramel popcorn and we were happy.  The trees were changing and the anticipation of the holidays and snow filled our lives. 

Hyrum took this picture:

and then a week later took this one:

We got most of the leaves raked before the snow came.   The kids were happy to see snow again, Hyrum, not so much. 

The most exciting bit of the month involved a road trip to Texas.  We took Hannah out of school for a few days and drove the 18 hours to Teas and back.  In Texas we enjoyed time with the Hyrum's family.  We planned a day at the museum but unfortunately it was sold out all week because we were counting on our membership passes to a museum here and didn't want to pay for advance tickets.  It's on the bucket list for next time.  Instead of the museum, we went to the cattle drive in downtown Dallas. 

We decorated gingerbread houses, played with play dough, took naps on the awesome upstairs couch and completed so many projects.  I spent my time painting wood projects Lynette was nice enough to cut out for me including a turkey head and feather to put in a pumpkin next Thanksgiving and a Nativity set based on this one.  We enjoyed having Grandma join us on the way home as far as Columbus. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Face at Chic Fil A

October Fun

I'm (Heather) way behind on this thing so I'm just going to do a monthly recap to catch us up.  The Fall was a whirlwind of travel and projects and holiday preparations. 

October started off the fun with a trip out West for me  Andrew, my younger brother was married in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple to Whitney.  It was a crazy, but fun, four day trip.  My siblings and I laughed, ate good food, I met my new sister and made new friends.  Whitney's family is one of the best I know.  It was a lot of driving but I was glad I was able to be with my brother on his special day. 

I was sitting in the Salt Lake City Airport on my way home from the wedding and called Hyrum just to check in before my flight left.  I was greeted by, "We're on our way to the Children's Hospital".  Spencer had fallen at a playground and Hyrum was taking him to get him stitched up.  Thankfully a friend was able to watch the other three kids and all was well when I got home that night.  Spencer did pop his stitches a couple days later.  I think next time I'll just glue him back together, both boys have popped their stitches shortly after being stitched up.

One of the most fun days of the month was Charlotte's birthday.  She turned three and is loving it though she is really anxious for five.  She thinks birthdays should come a lot faster than just once a year.  She really wanted cupcakes for dessert so Hannah made her cupcakes and frosted them.

I finally convinced Hyrum it was time to paint a room.  We painted our family room a lovely yellow color (much lighter in real life than the picture shows).  I love it and look forward to the next painting project, coming soon. 

I volunteered to help with food for the neighborhood Halloween party.  I hate store bought cookies so I volunteered to make all of them.  I made over 100 cookies and decorated them.  It was fun but a little chaotic. 

Hyrum and the kids did their traditional pumpkin carving.  Spencer was happy to get right in there.  The kids celebrated Halloween with the neighborhood costume parade and games and then a trunk or treat at the church.  We had so much candy it was insane.  They had fun though next year we need to find new costumes, these ones are getting a little small : )

Hyrum traveled a bit in October to Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands and England.  He is teaching engineering education classes for Google. 

Like I said, it was a busy month, but we made it through without any snow.  It's one measure of success I hold on to every Fall.