Friday, February 27, 2015

Skiing with Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam wasn't able to join us at Snowbird this year, so we were SO glad he could hang out with us for a morning at Afton Alps.  It was VERY cold out, but the kids were troopers.  It is really fun to be able to not worry about what level the runs are marked-- they are strong enough skiiers that they can pretty much get down anything at Afton without stress!  A hot cocoa stop midway sure helped warm fingers and cheeks!  Justin is obsessed with the mini terrain park at the end of his favorite run.  Here's a video of him skiing down--
After our morning, Uncle Sam got to come with us to drop an exhausted Justin off at The Children's Farm for preschool (sorry, teachers!).  We got a tiny bit of visit in with Auntie Carrie and Vera before we had to leave for our workout session.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Midsummer Night's Dream.....for a 1st Grader

Alex saw a flyer for the Guthrie's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream yesterday.  She really thought it looked interesting.  Since I taught it to 5th graders in my former life, I decided 'why not' and got us two tickets for this Sunday.  This meant that we have approximately three days to learn all about the play before we go!
 We have a lovely illustrated Shakespeare book by Charles and Mary Lamb that has a nice little summary of the play, so we read through that first, making a character chart as we went.  Alex has read  Magic Treehouse: Shakespeare on a Summer Night, so she had some prior knowledge of who Shakespeare was and why he was important-- how great is that!
After we read through the plot(s), she illustrated her favorite scene-  Puck dripping the juice from the love-in-idleness flower. 
The next day I found a theater guide geared towards third graders online, and used some of it as a review.
 Basic it is, but I think she'll have a good idea of what is happening.  We also talked about the language of Shakespeare, and how it is important to watch the actors' body language and facial expressions to figure out what they mean.  Technically, the Guthrie only allows kids ages 8+, so she is also prompted to add a year onto her age if they ask ;-)  I love homeschooling!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nature Walks Resumed

Over the past two months, due to the face-freezing cold, we've suspended our daily Nature Walks.  I know, not very 'waldorfy' of us.... I'm pleased to announce, however, that they are back on our schedule whenever the weather is in the double digits.
The kids were SO excited to rediscover their favorite spots and gather lots and lots of 'treasures' to examine at home.

"I'm just glad to get a real walk in again"
Alex discovered these birch eyes watching us...
Justin ran upstairs as soon as we arrived home.  Without us even knowing what he was doing, he got on his tiptoes to reach up high and bring down the microscope to examine his treasures.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baptism Day!

Dave and I are excited to announce the Baptism of Vera Jane Mason!  We are Godparents again :-)
What a special day-- Grandma Mary and Papa Bob flew in from Phoenix, and Vera's other grandparents were also there to celebrate!

The girl of honor looked angelic in her custom-made Christening gown! 

 What a sweet girl!  Welcome to God's family, Miss Vera Jane! :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hockey Player!

So.... we've decided to try something new.   Alex's little next-door friend has three older brothers who all play(ed) hockey.  Therefore, it is only natural that these two girls wanted to sign up to learn how to do it too......   And there you have it.   Hockey.   
I have to admit that they are pretty darn adorable in their hockey gear.
 Gotta be safe--
 I feel kind of guilty because I was asked today why Justin wasn't playing as well (the Intro class starts at age 4).  I honestly didn't even think of it.  After a non-successful skating class earlier this winter, giving my four year old a large stick and hockey skates was the last thing that would enter my mind.  He'll get his chance next year, after he has a little more ice time under his blades.
 Every new adventure is more fun when you have a friend with you!
 On the ice.  There is a WIDE range of ability level in this intro class.  I'd safely say Alex and Ana are in the bottom 25% for pure skating ability, but they sure improved in the hour they spent out there today.  I have no doubt that they will be zipping around very soon.  Alex was so focused on her instructor's directions that I couldn't even get her eye to wave.  Strictly business out there.

Valentine's Day in SLC

I received a surprise Valentine's present delivered to the hotel room a few days ago, so that was our 'traditional' celebration.  (Thanks, Dave-- they were YUMMY!)

Today, our flight left SLC at 5:30pm.  We were to check out of the Cliff at 10am.  That left a whole lot of time in between.  So, I did some quick research and we found out that the light rail in SLC goes straight from the airport to Temple Square.  Destination acquired!  We checked in our bags at the 6 hour before flight mark that Delta has, and we were off on an adventure!
(our co-navigator was only too glad to read a train map!)

Our first stop was at The Garden restaurant overlooking the Temple.  Lunch was really good (the peach lemonade divine) and we all had full tummies so we could explore.

Surprise #1:  Valentine's hearts at lunch!  What a cute idea to hand out to the kids today--  although I felt REALLY old when I discovered one that said "TXT ME"

 Surprise #2 (perhaps the BEST discovery according to the kids)- spring bulbs sprouting!  What a great feeling to see the green pushing up!  It gives us hope that our spring in Minnesota will indeed be here.  Someday.

The kids were in heaven, running from bed to bed to bed.  They did NOT want to go inside any buildings or Visitors Centers.  Only check out the gardens.

I found the statues of mothers and children in the square to be very touching (I may have teared up a bit).  Brad had told me about them, so I was on the lookout, and I'm so glad he mentioned them because I appreciated them immensely!

It was a gorgeous day to be outside, in a beautiful spot with such a welcoming and peaceful feeling.  

 We FINALLY convinced the kids to go inside a Visitor Center, and they were glad they did.  Dave and I studied a 3-D map of Jerusalem that walked the observer through the Easter story-- it was very helpful to see as we will be making our trip in a few short weeks!  The kids really liked the life-sized Old Testament story dioramas in the lowest level.  I wish I would have had more time (and less tired kids) because the Book of Mormon is very interesting to me, and I enjoyed seeing a few of the dioramas set up from those stories as well.
 Scripture that God put in this exhibit to boost my homeschooling spirits-
 The kids were getting a bit squirrely by this time (having woken up 5:30am), so we headed back to the airport, found a quiet corner of a gate and camped out for a few hours.
 Alex tired herself out entertaining Vera.  Vera tired herself out watching Alex.  Nice.

Dave gave me his upgrade for the return flight (thanks, honey!), and since I have silver status, I was actually on the upgrade list too-- so we brought Carrie and baby to share our First Class seats.  Vera was the perfect travel companion-- she fell asleep right before take off and slept the entire flight.
Home again, home again........ and it's back to the bitter cold of MN!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Continuing Adventures at the Top!

The remainder of the week followed a pretty set pattern-- Papa Bob, Carrie, Dave and I would go out in the morning.  After lunch we'd take the kids out (sometimes one at a time, sometimes together).  Justin really liked going over to the "Mini Miners Camp", a bumpy path through the trees that I declined to follow him on.  He LOVES jumps, and this was the perfect spot to do them.

Here's another video of my little ski-guy in action- 

 One afternoon we took the kids up the Tram to the top of the mountain.  We love doing this every year-- soon (maybe next year) Alex will be able to ski down from the top.  The cat-tracks are a bit narrow, though, so she needs to be confident doing that before we plunge into that new territory.

 At the top we visted the Avalanche Dogs and brought a box of treats for the handlers to give them.  Ridge, a retiree, was there today, and the kids got to meet him and actually pet him!  What a treat!
 A shot from the top-- someday we'll all head down the Road to Provo together--
 Alex's skis with the Cliff Lodge in the background.  Our home away from home!  What an amazing vacation-  we are so blessed!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alta Adventure

Since both kids are skiing solid greens (and easy blues), we decided to take the inter-resort shuttle over to Alta.  They have some beautiful long, wide green groomers that were perfect for Speedy Gonzalez (Justin) and our more cautious, but very competent Alex.  Grandma Mary and Vera stayed back at the Cliff, but someday soon we'll have three littles to watch.
Justin's style:  fast.  He's pretty good at turning across the hill, but you need to remind him to do so.  We skiied under the chairlift one time, and a rider called out "Wow-- he has NO FEAR!"  Not sure that was a compliment, but Dave and Justin took it as one.
Alex's style:  cool, collected, safe and in control.  She is waaaay more like me.  You can tell that she's running drills in her head while she's skiing.  Always thinking!  You may notice she earned her poles!  That was her main goal this year, and her instructor agreed that she was ready.
 Due to the age difference, you'd think it would be hard to bring them both out, but they are skiing the same terrain.  Alex skiied some blue runs with me that I wouldn't bring Mr. Speeding Bullet on in a million years (due to steep cliff sides and the like).

We stopped mid-mountain for a delicious lunch (best burgers ever) and refueled for the second part of our day.

And on to more skiing!
My favorite photo from the day.  Alex was helping Justin across the flats by skating ahead and letting him hold onto her pole.  What a great sister!