Sunday, December 13, 2009

ice ornaments

The other day we made ice ornaments! Many thanks to Your Wild Child for the inspiration.

This is an easy and really fun idea for stretches of below freezing days. Simply put some items (rocks, leaves, pinecones) in a container, fill it with water, drop in some food coloring, lay in some sturdy twine (I used hemp--perfect), then let them freeze outside till solid. Pull them out and hang them up.

It was a fun-filled night while Mom was working, with more strange happening than usual. First of all, one of our circuit breakers randomly blew while Jarom was reading to me, and our power went out. Then Bella was trying to pick a cone from our Christmas tree (for an ice ornament), and she knocked the whole thing over! I wish in my frustration I'd taken some pictures, but nope. We spent the next hour re-trimming. Then I was pulling apache tears from our rock collection in the back, and I saw a larger out-of-place rock. I went to pick it up and shrieked like a little girl, because it was a dead mouse. A small one, but still, a dead mouse, and it freaked me a little. The first, and hopefully last of our mousey little friends.

the next day--our finished products frozen solid, waiting to be hung

master artistes

great decorations

filled with pine needles, chopped pine needles, apache tears, pretty rocks, and homemade trail mix, fir cones, and so on

a row of colorful beauty

We had one full day of wonderment, then the next day it went above freezing and they thawed and fell to pieces--also fun. We'll do more when the weather drops a bit again.

Christmas lists, animals, and lights

This year the kids did their Christmas lists on some Dear Santa stationery. The paper excited them, because the second Amy brought it home their lists were done and signed, and in nice handwriting, which is a rarity. They were carefully crafted. Jarom wrote straight from some ads he'd already cut out.

I want a VTech! Nerf Dart Tag! A Cars tent, a Mike the Mower or Cool Crew Talking Vacuum! A Wowwee Mini Robo Rover! Peeps! Kids crafts! Art kits! And other stuff too! From Jarom

Please give this to me for Christmas: Princesses, books and the new dress-up. Bella.

While Mom was at work, the kids and I walked downtown (in 22 degrees for an hour and a half) for the Gallery Stroll, and headed to the tabernacle to check out the Living Nativity . . . only we were late so we just enjoyed the animals outside (just like last year).

Oey had barely just risen from the dead (from the stroller) when we all thought he was asleep, and sauntered over to the lighted trees with the kids.

feeding the donkey

The cutest brown-wool sheep, with the most amazingly thick wool. No way this guy was cold.

baby llama

donkey love

We stopped by Mom's work--the parking garage at least--to check the car. Jarom hung around.

The Community Congregational Church had signs out saying "Gallery Stroll visitors welcome!", so with the freezing air and all we had to stop in. They had nice bread and cookies and treats, and delicious wassail, also a little creche exhibit.

Tuesday we went to the temple lights in Salt Lake. This time it was maybe 17 degrees.

bundled up

inside the famous tabernacle

love lit up

beanie heads, Millie and Oey + Bella, playing in the snow

temple lights

it wasn't warm, but the lights glowed warm

up at the temple

a shepherd scene

always best friends

the family

gorgeous reflection -- this scene is always so pretty

lights all around us

a parting shot

Friday, December 11, 2009

Real holidays!

Our post-Thanksgiving trip this year was down south (like last year), where we got sweet cheap winter-deal Marriott rooms, braved the first real storm of the winter, and were able to explore. We drove to Cedar City Friday night and hit an unexpected snowstorm, which covered everything even with the sun out on Saturday. Luckily we brought layers. Friday night we swam in the heated pool until closing. Saturday we took to the eastern roads and headed to Bryce Canyon.

driving Highway 14 we saw this beauty

driving conditions

the most perfect naturally-toned rocks + covered in snow + conifer forest = total magnificence

coming into Red Canyon, on our way to Bryce Canyon (we'll be back to Red Canyon very soon)

lovely robin

many ravens roamed at everywhere at Bryce

The one hike we were able to do in the below-freezing air was the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop at the very southern tip. We had frozen pantlegs and wet feet in all the snow but it was exhilirating and wonderful!

one of many, many views

in one of the greats, a 1600-year old bristlecone pine

this guy needs to look behind him

the famous Natural Bridge arch

grottoes at Bryce Point

Jarom and I took to the chilly air

This was Jarom's favorite (you can barely see it to the right in the picture above, much smaller). He christened it "The Fortress."

Love at Sunset Point, perfect as the sun went down

the Silent City

I like this view because you just see sacred Navajo Mountain in the faint background, a big lump 80 miles away that almost all of us will never set foot upon.

our snow-loving family! (this timed shot was pretty difficult/creative to get right)

hip hop hooray

mule deer bade us farewell

cool brick billboard in Panguitch

Saturday night we spent in St. George, with another round of heated (outdoor) pool and spa swimming (very refreshing). Plus we love our complementary and consistent continental breakfasts.

first stop, the Rosenbruch Wildlife Musuem

the kids had binoculars and these radio sticks so we could listen at each section

hey hyena

future and current explorers

I caught you

this walking stick's only bigger than my hand . . .

We headed toward Santa Clara, the cutest little town near St. George, and visited the Jacob Hamblin home.

the old home has survived floods and many years and at least twelve children

we definitely want our house like this

just enough room to sleep--perfect functional bedroom

We got to pick cotton from plants outside. Much of it had bloomed and was just waiting for our curious hands.

Jarom gathered the most

Last we went to Land Hill in the Santa Clara River Reserve, to hike along the pretty cliffs and find ancient petroglyphs. I took the kids there last year too, but it was good enough to go back to, plus we explored more this time around.

love walking through St. George's red dirt--it's something we fell in love with on our first visit

Bella found the first petroglyphs

they were etched about all over, in clusters

a beautiful panel far below, too far to reach . . .

. . . though the kids tried anyway. A bit scary.

the late-fall river cliffs capture the sun just right

found a checkerboard!

I climbed down a steep section to see some otherwise unreachable rock art, including this nice 1861 signature in wagon axle grease by good ol Don Graf.

three different layers -- close art, middleground art, and the kids up above on the edge of the cliff

It was a great getaway and adventure--we're ready to go back!