Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We have had an absolutely delightful holiday. 
On Christmas Eve, we made gingerbread houses and invited Grandma, Grandpa, and Kevin down to help us. 

You may notice Natalie's chin...stitches from a fateful sledding incident last week:

She was very brave and the injury seems to be healing up nicely.

Back to gingerbread houses though:

Kevin made a windmill. 
Sadly, I didn't catch a picture before it bit the dust. 

It was a lovely Christmas Day as well. 

 Megan got Kinetic Sand. Curses. I find it all about the house now. 

Natalie got an art set, amongst other things. 

Kim and Alicia got ski tickets. 

Each of the girls made something for one of their sisters (the best gifts by far of the day):

Megan helped sew a Dr. Who Adipose for Kim 

Kim painted a picture for Alicia and got each of them a sister's ring that hadn't yet arrived 
(hence the picture).

Alicia made an Articles of Faith holder for Natalie.

Natalie helped sew a lipstick pillow for Megan. 

It was a much-enjoyed day. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing games, watching movies, and putting together puzzles, then enjoyed a Christmas Dinner with John's family. 

My First Column!

So I am a columnist now and this is my first one covering local events in our area:

Every year when my younger girls beg us to take them to Layton Commons Park to see their Christmas lights, I have never envied the trailer riders sitting on hay in a truck-pulled trailer. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to look at lights out in the cold when there was a perfectly warm family bus for us to sit in while viewing the plethora of jolly lights.

However, after 16 years of seeing the lights snapped inside of a seat belt, I decided it was high time for us to brave the cold and see what all the hype was about since the hay riding gig looked extremely popular. Besides, what mother can resist the lure of “forced family fun?”

It is fairly difficult to find an activity our entire family enjoys, especially when we have two children in their teen years and a pair of kids in early elementary grades. I thought this would be the perfect win-win scenario for everyone. I underestimated the olders’ pleasure though, beginning with their lack of excitement helping me comb through the mountainous pile of winter stuff in search of the rogue mittens and boots for our clan.  

Another reason for my lack of commitment to the hay adventure was my thinking it was just a marketing scheme by the local burger shop where you start the hay ride, so I was pleasantly surprised when we walked into the Burger Stop on 323 East Gentile in Layton, visited with Santa for a minute, then purchased our hay ride tickets from the Wasatch Rods and Customs club sitting at the front of the store next to a big sign saying all the proceeds were going to the Safe Harbor Domestic Violence Center and Honor Flight for Korean and Vietnam Veterans.

Now that I felt I was doing my part in the Christmas-giving department, I felt even perkier about the adventure. We hopped aboard our waiting hay chariot, once drawn by horses when the event started 21 years ago we were told, but when so many people started showing up, us impatient souls lent the way to Layton City lending their trucks for a speedier pace.

The trailer set out toward the lights and I have to confess, I was slightly envious of the warm cars lined up behind our trailer, but something surprising happened as we passed the first set of lights, which happened to be the nativity scene in front of the LDS Institute building for Layton High School students.

A few days prior to our hay riding adventure, I was braving the Christmas shopping crowds, checking my list twice and determining which of my children had been naughty or nice, with my thoughts far from the true spirit of the season.

As I looked upon the lighted manger with its heavenly babe lying in a pile of hay, I couldn’t help noticing that the hay I was sitting on was slightly uncomfortable, certainly not infant-worthy, and yet that is exactly how He began his life.

As the stars shone down on us, the other passengers on our hay ride spontaneously started singing Christmas carols, so we joined in. I couldn’t recall having this much fun watching the lights, what with seeing them up close from the trailer and singing with our community friends.

I looked over and even my older girls were singing, seemingly enjoying themselves. My littles' of course were having the time of their lives, and for 30 minutes, we were all huddled together as a family, visiting with one another while viewing the decked out Jack Frost in blue lights, the tried-and true green-lit frogs jumping over the path, and my favorite – the lit bear trying to catch a devious fish.

Except for the shards of hay I had to clean out of my purse afterwards, I call our “forced family fun” outing a success. 

December Came....and Went....

We have been busy with this and that:

 John is teaching Alicia how to play the tenor sax. 

We picked out a Christmas tree. 

 We made "reindeer antlers" at the Rimington Christmas party.

 The older girls got Dr. Who socks from Aunt Marian. 
They were thrilled :)

We got a ton of snow, so the older girls and I took advantage of it and went skiing. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Moab Biking Adventure

We headed down to Moab during the girls' Fall Break. We had a blast!!!
We loaded up all of our bikes and spent most of our time biking on family-friendly bike trails:

There were several sections where we could branch off and John could take the older two on some more difficult trails while I stayed on the easier trails with the younger girls. 

Guess someone got a little worn out:

We did have a few bike repairs on the side of the trail. 
So grateful John had the tools and know-how to fix them up.

...and when John asked if I had some material or something to put next to the bikes in the rack John built for our bikes so the paint wouldn't continue getting scratched off, feminine pads were just the answer, much to John's chagrin. He did admit that they worked pretty darn good for all of the bikes because of their soft side next to the bike, and the sticky side to keep it in place on the wood:

We did some hiking too in Arches:

So fun. We can't wait to do it again. 

Halloween Adventures

We have been having an adventurous Halloween, including trips out to Lagoon for Frightmares. 

During one of our visits, Megan and Natalie (6 and 8) ran into the performance theater as the show started, choosing to sit in the front row just as a chainsaw gang came out with their tools roaring, coming within a foot of us. Those two skiddadled so fast out of the theater - I was laughing so hard!!

I did talk them into watching the show with me at the back, but couldn't talk them into a picture with them. 

The not-so-scary Halloween picture from Lagoon:

It's been interesting seeing Kimberly's various make-up renditions from her haunted house venture this season:

.....and here are the pictures of my gals all dressed up for Halloween and their pumpkin carvings:

Yup. Nada. Not a single picture. 
I have no good excuses. 
Simply enjoyed the moments and forgot to bring out the camera!

We did have a lovely Halloween though with a neighborhood potluck, trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with our younger two while the older gals handed out candy, back to the old neighborhood for scones and visiting with friends, and a Jurassic World showing with our older two to round out the evening.