Thursday, January 28, 2016

the snowy Mick ride

On the second day of the year, some of our students started the new year right - toiling through snow/sand on their bikes on the Mickelson Trail. There has been some debate as to whose idea this was. We all blamed Jazmin but she said it was Jana's idea. We'll just say they're equally to blame for the pain that was endured. 

Our friends Paul and Jana have fixed up a cabin on the Mickelson Trail south of Custer and the idea was to park 11 miles up trail (or so?) and ride to the new cabin and hang out. Terry and I did not participate for the biking part. We were still recovering from New Year's Eve. Even though most of these students had stayed up all night, after a presumably good night's rest, the following day they began their trek. 

Terry, the kids, one student (Luke), and I drove to the cabin just to hang out with them all. We spotted the group just outside of Custer and parked at the first available area and ran down the trail to surprise the group. We hid behind a tree and then jumped out at all of them as they passed. It was kind of a fail. No one screamed or was scared at all. No one even wanted to stop! Afterwards we found out the reason for this was that they were so exhausted from peddling through snow that felt like loose sand.

All smiles from Jazmin and Denise however. Denise was borrowing Paula's new fat tire bike that had considerable more surface area and tread so she was doing well. Of course she is in fantastic shape and bikes all the time. She shared the bike around to everyone.

Here's the group unhappy to have been stopped by Terry the photographing maniac.

You can see the girls in the back trying to get enough grip to start moving again. Darn it Terry and Eva. David is an old pro and is popping a wheelie...

Really?! I mean, seriously?! On snow?!

Forgoodnesssakes! I went biking with him for the first time last weekend and he's out of control good. Ridiculous!

After this we left them to it and headed to the cabin. It's beautiful, of course, because they do amazing work. Here's the collective kids enjoying some nachos.  

The mature adults. 

We waited what seemed like forever for the bikers to arrive. It probably took them close to another two hours from where we saw them to travel the few miles to the cabin. Poor kids. I'm not sure who was first. I know Prae is in white...

Landon and Denise.

First I took a spin on the fat tire bike and then Terry did. I was ashamed that after a one minute cruise around the land my quads were sore the next day despite the working out I had been doing. Snow is hard to peddle through, even with those tires. Poor kids had hours of it. 

Zoe collapsed when she finished.  

The last in were David, Emma, and Jazmin. 

They were all ravenous and devoured those nachos.  

We hung out for a while and then Terry, Paul, Dan, and I went to get everyone's vehicles for the riders. Paul hit a deer ahead of me on the way back. It was quite the eventful day! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Years 2016

New Year's Eve was a bit lonely for me. Terry was at the church for an all night youth lock-in and I was with the kids and dog at home. From my vantage point it seemed like all the world was having a fantastic time and I was just sort of sad. To cheer myself up I made chocolate pudding and watched Sherlock since a new episode was coming out three days later. At least I got a full night of sleep, while Terry had only about an hour of shut eye.

The reason why overnights and trips are hard is not only the night and days without him, it's because when he gets home I can't quite have a break yet. I will have been with the kids for what seems like a long time and am ready to get away, but it has to wait a bit longer. That's the hard part. Just when it seems like it over, it's not. I handle this situation graciously or selfishly, but mostly selfishly. I have a lot to learn (not trying to complain, just being real).

New Years day was no exception. Terry came home and slept while the kids needed corralled. I was very ready to get out but it's difficult on your own with four kids. I rose to the occasion, such was my desire to be out in the air, under the sun. I took us to M Hill. That way they could run ahead of me and it was almost like I had peace and quiet.

I hadn't been there since I fell in the mud while mounting biking last summer. The kids hadn't visited since we went geocaching last February. It's so lovely having a hill right in the middle of town.  

Every step made me feel a little better. 

An almost smile. 

It was good for the kids too. 

Nearly done. Water break. 

I'm not good at selfies. I wanted the hill behind me. Kinda forgot about the sun being directly in my eyes... Ouch...

This one turned out better than I imagined. That's me :P

To run the clock down a little more, I took the kids to Culvers for some custard. Plus all I had for lunch was a peanut butter jelly sandwich and I was hungry. 

Ezra sure was smiley for some reason. Chocolate does that to a person. 

We took the path around the foot of the hill because I didn't know how Ezra would do, but he ended up doing great. Here's a video from when we were almost at our water break.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Risk night

Terry and our friend Matt had been dying to have a Risk night. Therefore we planned one just two days after Christmas. It had been a while since they had played I suppose; the last recorded instance being two years ago when Ezra was a baby. Hey, David and Steven were here that time too. In fact, I have this very clear memory of Terry hosting some very silly, rowdy, fun middle school boys over at our house when Noah was just a baby. They were none other than David and Steven. It's crazy. We had been youth leaders at our same church, previously First E-Free, before we moved to Gburg and now that we are back at the same church, Parkview, those same middle school boys are some of our best youth leaders (they're all great, but we've known these boys since they were teeny!). I remember we were living out at the ranch and I went to bed at like 9pm with baby Noah and when he woke me up at midnight the guys were still playing away. I think I even went out and was like, "What's the deal guys?" Yeah, I've always been like that.

Anyway, here's David, Michael, Terry, and Gabe. I can't quite remember but I'm gonna jump on a limb and say Gabe won. Or Michael. Oh man. I feel like I should remember this...

The other group: Zeb, Steven, Prae, Noah, Snap, Silas, Samuel, and Matt.

Somehow we got to talking about how incredibly ticklish Terry is. The boys chased him downstairs and proceeded to tickle torture him. It was funny :D. 

After that we got into a discussion about what the best movies are. David and Steven couldn't stop talking about how awesome Gladiator, Braveheart, and The Patriot are. They were dumbfounded that Prae had seen none of them. So we sat down and watched Gladiator together!

the day after Christmas 2015

 What does everyone else do the day after Christmas? Isn't just taking in a collective sigh in view of the fact that all the Christmas craziness is over and it's now time to enjoy the fun memories (and gifts) of the day before? Because that's what it is here. I didn't even take any photos of the kids putting together and playing with their new photos. They spent quite a lot of time outside playing in the fresh snow that fell Christmas evening. It was wonderfully quite outside.

They just love playing in the snow.

Noah got another Brick Loot box for Christmas...

 ....and I thought this sticker inside it was a hoot. SO true.

The pain of Legos according to Tim Hawkins:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Christmas 2015

Our family does things somewhat different than others on Christmas morning - the kids can't get up until the appointed time when we come and get them. We don't do the whole wake up 4am thing too well. Terry and I get up early and get everything finished up, which mostly includes putting breakfast in the oven - our annual raspberry coffee cake made the night before. Once it's time, we go get the kids up. We don't do Santa mostly because we don't want him to take credit for our hard work. That also why we get them up ourselves. We like to see the excitement from beginning to end. 

We started with Noah. I photograph and Terry does videos. It had been Noah's first night in his "new" room all alone in the big bed. He loves wearing that Santa hat, and I do not like it at all. It gets stinky and makes his hair funny. But we compromised and he got to wear it for a week instead of a month.

Then we three went upstairs and awoke Evie, but I'm not so sure she was sleeping. It was her first night in her new loft! She said she slept great. And since then she's been sleeping in every day (instead of getting up early like she used to) because she says her bed is so comfy. 

Last of all were the littles. Of course it had been their first night together as well. It took Ezra a few warnings and consequences the night before to quiet down, but there was no problems in the morning... 

...In fact, Samuel had been very sound asleep. Poor little bear sort of tumbled out of hibernation.

Next they all ran down the stairs to their stockings. 

Just a few little things to whet their appetite. 

After breakfast we finally sat down together and opened gifts one at a time, youngest to oldest.  Samuel was really interested in my Jurassic Park DVD... Well I was!

I think the kids had just opened their gifts from aunt Stephanie and Terry had opened his screwdrivers "from the kids"/himself. 

A new motorized train, James. 

A Lego Cinderella carriage. 

The Lego Bionicle he's been wanting forever. Not sure why he likes those, but he thinks they're awesome. He has several he's bought with his Poop Troop money. We really need to think of something else for them to do with their money. 

This was the only thing Samuel wanted, a "Batman tank." It was half off on Thanksgiving night and Terry scooped it up at Toys-R-Us. Super great deal. 

A rainbow nightlight. She was excited despite her face here. It's quite cool actually.

Samuel just begins to open the big kids' Christmas gift. Evie sort of seems to know what it is... 

I love their reactions. It's a new Wii U. We've had the original since 2009 and figured it was a good time to upgrade. We almost took it back because we (me especially) feel uneasy with video games, but decided to keep it. 

I love how Noah looks at Evie. It's all just cute. 

And here's the Six Pack of "Beers." Me with the weird neck and Ezra with the Ring Pop mouth. 

A bit better. It's funny because in the all the camera timed photos Samuel's tank get higher and higher in each one.

After a while we drove out to the ranch to celebrate with Terry's family. The kids did so great waiting (mostly) patiently. We had lunch first, Sarah and Ezra napped, we played games (Rook), at dessert (pecan pie), and then, finally, opened gifts when it was getting dark. 

All of us! 

Noah and Evie passed out gifts once again. 

Ezra got some sweet miniature trains.  

They kept him busy for a while. 

"Ah! It's a Hex-Bug!"

All the chapstick a 7 year old could wish for. 

A new fish tank complete with money to buy an actual Beta fish. 

Shari and Gramma were bored ;) Just kidding. We had another great Christmas!