Monday, March 30, 2009


Once again, I am a month behind.  Back on the last day of February we took the kids to the cabin.  I have never been there in the middle of winter - Never in the 9 years our family has owned the property.  I am a big chicken.  I HATE driving in winter weather and I am usually afraid that it will snow up there and we'll be driving in the bad weather either on the way there or the way home.  And the ice...  As a mother there's really nothing I fear more in the winter than a child falling through the ice on the pond.  I have been hesitant to take my children up there in the winter for fear of someone falling in.  AND - anyone with children knows how awful the "clothes on - clothes off" scenario is.

Times have changed and now they wear the one piece snow pant/bib set.  The 3 older ones can get their own pants, boots, hats, gloves and coats on and off.  That's a huge help.  Plus they don't get all wet through 3 layers like we did when we played in the snow.  We would wear long johns, jeans and sweats to keep warm and dry - but you never stayed dry and there were always so many wet things.
We had THE PERFECT DAY.  It was sunny and about 26 degrees.  But it didn't even feel cold if you were in the sun.  In fact during the afternoon many of us took off our winter coats and just wore sweatshirts.  Dan used an auger to check the thickness of the ice and at about 10 inches he stopped.  You could still see down that it was probably another 6 inches thick.  That calmed my nerves - as long as they didn't get to close to either end of the pond where the water is moving.  
We left in the morning around 9 am.  We arrived at the cabin after a couple of quick stops around noon.  We left the cabin around 7 pm and got home a little before 10.  A super long day packed with lots and lots of fun.  We really couldn't have had a better day.  MacGregor brought along his friend Nick E.
Lucky for us we found a net, several hockey sticks and several pucks in the basement of the cabin.  And believe me - you didn't need official ice skates.  We all had trouble staying on our feet just in our boots.  Apparently it had rained a lot the day before melting a ton of snow in the area then over night it refroze - so it was like we had our own smooth ice rink.  The entire pond was frozen except for a small area on either end.  The kids had fun walking all the way to the dock and to "Bone Island" from the picnic grove.  There were some big cracks in the middle of the pond and tracks from what looked like a car, tractor or 4 wheeler.  Obviously some other people had been on the ice as well.
Even the girls wanted to play hockey.  It was a lot of fun but MacGregor had hurt his sternum at a gymnastics party the night before.  He had a much harder time playing hockey and sledding with the rough movements.
The Whole Hockey Crew!
(I really was there too but I took all the pictures and didn't end up in even one)
Ainsley and Piper perched on a rock.
We saw lots and and lots of deer tracks and even more deer poop (which we opted not to take a picture of) but no actual deer.
This was the perfect sledding hill.  The snow here had not melted because it was in the shade but it was slick and crusty from the rain.  We sledded all the way down and sometimes if you had a good push you went onto the ice and out near the middle of the pond.
Ainsley in "triple tree".  We use this tree for photo ops every year!
Lost in contemplation!
Dan fixing the rock wall.  We do little repairs every time we're up there.  It's always shifting and moving.
Here is a batch of ice crystals in my gloved hand.  We would find these under rocks in the dirt.  I guess the water would drip down under the rocks and get caught in dirt crevices and then freeze into these beautiful forms.  MacGregor wanted to bring them home but I told him they would never survive the trip.
Here's a view from the forest floor.  It thought it was so beautiful as I was looking up while stretched out on a bed of leaves.
Here is the semi frozen creek.  My kids love to play here in the summer splashing and romping along the rocks, building swimming holes.  I thought these ice formations were really cool.
This is the water running out of the above ice formation.
This is the dam that is at the end of the pond near the house.  It also had some very large very beautiful ice formation.
And here's one of my favorites.  Right before we left as the sun was setting I snapped this.  It's the area right in front of the dam.  The area where the kids were NOT allowed to get near.  I love this place - I really do.  And I think I actually look forward to going again next winter, as long as I can be guaranteed a perfect day.

Monday, March 23, 2009


MacGregor had to do a project on homophones.  I think his choices are so MacGregor and I love his drawings.  Enjoy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Middle Aged

I had a birthday about a month ago, back on February 19th.
 TURNED 35!!! 
I must admit that this one was a bit hard for me.  Inside I still feel like the same 18 year old that just graduated from high school, although I've grown a lot and feel more confident in what I know I can do and accomplish.  I'm more independent.  
But outside - it's beginning to show.  Although I still get the occasional - "I thought you were a teenager when I saw you walk into the school" from other mothers - I think that has more to do with my height.  If you see me close up it's a little more obvious.  The white hair around my cowlick that started growing in about 5  years ago, the fine lines around my eyes and mouth, the sagging eyelids and skin around my jaw, the spongy belly and rounded hips.  How can this be?  I don't feel old!!!! 
I still feel like the same 23 year old that cuddled her first baby and wondered what in the world to do.  Now if I had a baby - I'd be a candidate for genetic counseling since birth defects raise dramatically at the age of 35.  Did this really happen?  How did I get here?  I was called to be Primary President last summer - Seriously?  I'm not old enough to be President of anything - or so I thought.
Daniel took these pictures of me on my birthday.  One day I'm going to look back and say - Look how young I look (at age 35)!  Here are some of my emotions on the subject.

JOY -I wouldn't give any of the time back! 
CONTENT - I wouldn't change a thing (OK maybe the spongy belly and rounded hips)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sleeps in a Tent

Piper sleeps in a tent every night now - and every afternoon.  She thinks its really cool and I think it's a lot cheaper than a canopy bed.  :)
It's always her Princess blanket that makes the tent and you have to know how to put it on exactly right or it won't stay.  But hey - if throwing a blanket over the top of a crib helps your kid WANT to go to sleep - I'm all about that (not that Piper ever gives us trouble about going to bed - she is so easy that way!!)
She totally started to wake up with the camera flash going off in her pitch dark room.  Oops.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blue and Gold

MacGregor had his Blue and Gold banquet a few weeks ago.  We all attended and had a good time.  Their theme was Patriotic/Presidential.  It was the Red, White, Blue and Gold dinner.
One of the big activities was a father-son cake decorating contest.  MacGregor had decided he wanted to do an American flag.  That was a popular idea as it turned out, but each flag was unique.  MacGregor received the award for the cake with the most "sparkle".
Notice that MacGregor's flag looks backwards, but Dan drew the outline of the flag.  I think he has seen the flag patches on his military uniform one too many times.  The flags on military uniforms are reversed, like you are looking at them from the back.  I can't remember the purpose for this but I will look it up.  If any one else knows, please feel free to enlighten us.  This was another reason that MacGregor's flag was unique.
While the boys were doing the cake decorating they had the 11 year old scouts run some games for the siblings.  Ainsley and Piper had fun doing the bean bag toss.
One of the feature presentations was spotlighting some of our former presidents of the United States.  Each boy drew his president and read a few facts about him.  MacGregor wrote his facts all by himself and memorized them for the big show.  He chose George W. Bush.
You never know when a little painters tape will come in handy!