Thursday, February 2, 2017

I found these on the computer the other day.  Aspen playing on Photobooth with her pal Ashlyn.  I'm glad she has a friend that's as crazy as she is :)

We are blessed to get to work with the missionaries serving in our ward.  Here's Elders Hutchings (in hoodie) and Fuiava, right before Fuiava was transferred to a different area.  We get to meet with them each week and help them teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are searching for it.  I'm grateful for the spirit they bring into our home, and it is always sad when they have to leave the area and serve somewhere else.
 O asleep on the couch.
Birch's first ski trip with his dad, just the two of them.  It was a success!  Eric said he did really well and they both had a good time.  Maybe by next year we can all spend a day on the mountain without giving the kids much assistance.

A few weeks ago Aspen brought me a parfait she had made me.  Yogurt with fruit (snacks!) haha. Pretty funny.  At first I hesitated eating it but it was pretty good.
I've been suffering with a lot of headaches lately.  Its something I've struggled with my whole life, but the last two years they have grown immensely in intensity and frequency, as many as 3 weeks out of the month.  It's been a trying time, as the medication I've tried hasn't worked very well and I've tried to manage the side effects.  Once I get a headache, nothing works to get rid of it.  I'm currently taking hormone replacements not only for my thyroid but now my progesterone as well.  One of my good friends gave me a pill organizer for my birthday for all the medication I'm on, which is sort of a joke between us but really it is handy.  The progesterone is only knocking out about half of my headaches, which means I still get about 3 a week.  This day that Aspen made me the parfait I was laying in bed trying to get rid of one.  My next step is to see a headache specialist, which I didn't even know existed!  I'm praying and hoping that he can help me. It's been hard giving up some of the things I love because of this, and to fulfill all of my responsibilities in the way I want.
For Christmas Eric gave me a couples' trip with some good friends of ours to Sun Valley.  It was a fabulous trip!  We drove in on a Thursday night, and went to Thai for dinner followed by a drive around town. We drove by this beautiful yard, full of trees covered in lights.  We first thought it was some kind of commercial building, but it was actually a private residence.  Whoever lived there went all out on lighting their trees.  It was amazing.

We stayed in a condo right on Dollar Mountain.  Out our windows we would watch the lifts start up in the mornings and see people as they climbed on to ride to the top.  Pretty neat.
Our condo was through the snowy trail and to the right.
From the other side.
 Meanwhile, the kids were having a pirate-y time at Grammie's and Papa's.
Part of the gift Leslie and I received from Eric and Matt was a day at the spa.  Actually we each booked a massage at Zenergy Spa, which we found out was part of Zenergy Health Club.  Included with any 50 minute service at the spa was full access to the health club, which included fitness classes, a pool and hot tub, sauna, and gym.  It was an amazing deal.  We were in heaven!!!  Les and I started the day with a pilates class, then headed to the gym for a few hours.  After that we spent some time chatting in the sauna, then showered and headed to the spa for our massages.  We ended our day there by showering again and getting ready for the day (although it was 4:30 by then ;).

 The view from the pool, which we didn't have time to play in.  Next time.
 Feeling great at the end of the day.
 Meanwhile Eric and Matt spent the day on the slopes.  It was cold!
Check out that beard!  Sun Valley has some really steep runs.  It was a little intense for me when we skied there years ago.  But that didn't phase the guys; of course they loved that part of the mountain. They rode the gondola a few times too on their way up.  We picked up the guys on our way back to the condo and then enjoyed some homemade soup and bread that Leslie and I had made.  We had planned on heading to town for dessert, but decided to stay home and chat/play games instead.
The next day, our last day there, we drove to the Sun Valley resort to walk around.  It is so charming! Around the lodge is a sort of shopping village with a Swiss chalet vibe. Eric and I stayed there years ago when we found a killer ski/stay package, and I had forgotten how cute it was.  We explored and Eric and I reminisced a bit.
 We were there before the shops opened up, so we peeked a lot in the windows.

 Then we drove a ways out to Galena Lodge to snowshoe.

The lodge was really cool.  It was constructed from wood belonging to buildings in the area a long time ago when there was a mine there.  There was a shop inside that had the cutest, most unique jackets and hats.  It was fun looking around.  I ended up buying a hat there that I had seen somewhere else last month and regretted I didn't snatch up.  Small world!
The rest of these photos are from our snowshoe hike.  It was SO gorgeous!! I really had forgotten how beautiful the area was.  I can't wait to go back and explore more.

 Eric told us to look like we were stalking prey in the woods haha!

 we passed several yurts along the trail...

 The trail just got more and more beautiful.  We passed through a meadow and then around this one.
We caught a late lunch at the lodge (they have a great chef there; I got a meatloaf sandwich and Eric had curry), then stopped back at the condo for a dip in the hot tub before heading home.  Such a great trip and a great Christmas present.  And so fun to spend it with the Howes.
 The kids making a snowman while we were gone.
 We spent a day at the Discovery Center when we heard that Sue the T-Rex would be there.  Sue was great but there were lots of other fun things to do.

The boys last night.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Snow, Christmas and more snow!!

Birch got to see Santa at preschool this year.  He was pleasant on Santa's lap; not afraid or super shy like I thought he might be.  He asked for a "mote control T-Rex" and then roared really loud.  I could tell Santa was impressed.

December 6th it started to snow.  Boise usually gets a few days of snow a year that last a day or two, and then the snow melts.  This year has been much different.  After the first snow it has continued to snow every day or two.  Even when it stops its been so cold that it never melts.  These photos are from the 14th.  B was at preschool and I was making dino habitats with Oaks. We were listening to Christmas music and sitting next to the window in the kitchen.  The snow was coming down and
 this was the view:

 O getting B from preschool
Later I was grabbing Aspen and Oakley from school.  I decided to drive on one of my favorite streets, Artisian, and stopped to take pictures.  This street has some rural properties on it, right along the river.
 I think I sat there for 5 minutes, just looking around at the beautiful view.
 When we came home I snapped a shot of the path along our house, and then Roo asked to be in one.

Basically this post is photos of snow.  We haven't seen pavement in about a month!  These two shots are looking into the green space from our windows.

Aspen has chosen to see Ballet Idaho's The Nutcracker for a Christmas gift the last three years.  I think I loved it this year even more than before.  Love our Nutcracker dates.
Ian, Kaylene and little Foster came to stay with us on their way to Utah the weekend before Christmas.  We were all so excited to meet Foster and spend some time with Ian and Kaylene.  Foster was so cute and much fun to cuddle with!
 It was also fun getting to hear all about Kaylene's labor and see her as a mother.  It was so cold when they were here that Eric and Ian went outside and blew some bubbles to see if they froze.  I think one was almost frozen, but it just wasn't cold enough: it was 14 degrees and the ideal temperature for freezing them is 8-13.  Friday the high here is 5.  Ian texted me the other day: blow me some bubbles!
 Some photos of the kids with Santa at Scentsy.....

 having lunch there with Eric
and playing some foosball in the game room.  It was fun; sometime during the summer when the kids and I are bored we'll head to Scentsy's gameroom!
We spent this Christmas with Eric's side of the family.  Danny, Shelby and Ellie came to Boise and we had fun hanging as a family in the mornings, and playing with the extended family in the afternoons after Ellie and Beckham's naps.  This was an attempted pile-up on top of Eric but I don't think all five kids made it successfully!
The Boise Botanical Gardens has what they call a "Garden-Aglow" in the winter, which Aspen and I have never been to, though we've attempted to go the last two years.  The first year there were a ton of people in line that night; so many that after 30 minutes of waiting we decided to give up.  Last year Aspen got sick the day we had planned to go with Eric's parents, so she and I stayed home.  I'm so glad we made it there this year!  It was a lot of fun.  Pretty magical!
 here the kids are, meeting Blitzen and Santa

There were so many lights!! And the glow they cast on the snow was really amazing.  We stopped at this small sledding hill for a minute so the kids could slide down on their bellies.

We walked around to look at all the lights, up to a lookout area where Oakley found this rock chair.
 Then we headed back down to see a little train and village they had, which were really cute.

Then we grabbed some hot chocolate and cookies there before heading home.  Brrrr!! It was cold!  I think 19 degrees.
The next day, Christmas Eve, we headed to Scentsy because we'd heard the hills in the green space were fun for sledding.  They were ok; not as long as we would have liked, but we had the place to ourselves and had a great time.

Scentsy wraps the trees on campus with thousands of lights every year; it would be fun to go back in the evening and sled when it's dark.
 Roo with a bump; can't remember how she got it

That evening we headed over to Pete and Ami's for some Luke 2 reenactment.  This was a tradition in my family growing up, as well as Eric's, and our kids love doing it every year.  I think Ellie was Mary, Oakley was a wise man, Aspen was an angel, Beckham was Joseph....Birch was a sheep.

 In their Christmas jammies from Grammie.
 (some trees the boys made. Oakley was really proud of his...not sure which is his oops)
On Christmas morning we had church at 9:00.  Santa doesn't wrap his gifts at our house, so the kids got to see their gifts from him before church, and then we opened presents afterward.  Eric's family came to our ward for church (which was neat; it lasted an hour and was filled with a Christmas program) and then to our house to open presents.  Then later we headed to Pete and Ami's for dinner.
Santa brought the kids a pair of snowshoes this year along with a toy/gift.  That Santa sure is smart! With all the snow we've been having, snowshoes were a great idea. ;)
 The kids at Christmas dinner with Ami's pretty, layered jello.
One morning the week after Christmas Pete, Danny and Eric rented fat bikes to ride in the snow. That evening we girls had a fun night on the town.  Then we said our goodbyes to Danny, Shelby and Ellie.

Over New Years Eric and I rented a small cabin up in McCall.  We took the kids up there for some skiing and snowshoeing. It took us so long to get out of the house and on the road on Friday that all we had time for that evening was dinner.  We picked a crazy weekend to head up there; the restaurants were packed!  We ended up waiting for 30 minutes (instead of 90 minutes for Sushi, yikes) at the Salmon River Brewery...not so bad I guess!
This is Birch's first year skiing.  I don't have any photos of him on his skis (darn) but he did a great job and had a fun time on the bunny hill at Brundage.  We all just stayed on the bunny hill because it was free and we could all stay together.
 After skiing we played in the snow a bit with our snowshoes on.

We ate some lunch in the car and then headed to Zim's, a "quaint", "vintage" hot springs.  It's a bit ghetto but I loved it.  It's out in a rural area, so we drove between snow infested fields to get there, just as the sun was getting ready to set.  It was so cold!!! Just about 0 degrees.

The moments between going through the back door in a swimsuit and putting your body in the water were rough, but boy did the springs feel good!  So much steam was rising from the water that I couldn't see the kids if they were more than 4 feet in front of me.  So we stayed close to the kids and soaked up the heat before heading back to the cabin for some homemade tortellini soup.  That night we were all asleep before the new year rang.
The next day we checked out of the cabin and headed to Ponderosa State park for more snowshoeing. Here's the boys in the visitor's center where they changed into their snow clothes.  I love this place because they have large, clean, comfortable bathrooms.  Whenever we camp/hike up here in the summers this is our first stop afterward.  I love using a real toilet and getting my hands clean.
As Eric and I were getting on our gear the kids started playing on this snow mound.  Something happened that made Oakley extremely upset; I think he fell or something.  Anyway he had been just fine and chipper before the fall, but afterward was inconsolable.
We headed along towards the Meadow Marsh trail, which we hike often when we're up there in the Fall.
 It was gorgeous!!
 B, happy to be there
Aspen and me, having a great time

 Eric, A and B, loving the snow and so happy to be outside!
 Eric, B....and Oakley.
This is what I call Oakley's "Charlie Brown" walk.  The saddest thing.  The entire hour we were walking he was howling and sobbing.  Nothing we did or said would make him happy.  What could we do but ignore it after 10 minutes had passed??  The rest of us had a great time and afterward we headed to church, where O finally calmed down.  Then we drove back to Meridian.  I'm really glad we made the trip, especially since we were at home the week of Christmas.
We came home to more snow. Yesterday I walked B to preschool and took some photos.  A and O had a snow day.  It snowed all day yesterday and into the night.  It had snowed the night before.  And we're supposed to get more snow!
We probably have a foot and a half right now.  Not too bad unless you want to get out of the neighborhood!  We're fine driving the Jeep and Subaru, but we have friends who are basically stuck at home.
In the morning the kids and I hung around the house, listening and singing along to songs from Moana.  If you haven't seen the movie you should!  It's really cute and the music is great.

Yesterday afternoon we all headed outside to play.  The kids were playing with their friends and I decided to tackle the driveway.  In the less than two days since Eric had shoveled we had gotten a foot of snow.  It was a great workout to say the least.

The snow just kept coming down though.  My friend Leslie came over and helped me shovel, which was a lot of fun.  We had a great time chatting and shoveling while the kids played.  We've hardly had to shovel at all this winter because we've had so many friends and people from our ward who have quietly gone around plowing/shoveling others' driveways.  It's been really neat.  I wish I had taken a photo of Leslie working hard at the snow; it was really sweet of her to come over and help me.

Here's some more shots that Eric took of the house and street last night.  I've loved every minute of the have Eric and the kids.  And the kids love the icicles.

I feel bad for my poor plants though...wonder how they'll look in the Spring!!