30 December 2010

Porcupine Dam

I'm sitting in my bedroom, watching the snow fall and feeling so grateful that I live in such a beautiful place. I love living in Utah! How amazing is it to live in a place that I can take the dog out for a walk and see 7 deer standing less than 50 feet away? The longer I live here in Cache Valley, the more I fall in love with this gorgeous place.

On Monday, Tim and I took a drive to Porcupine Dam. I've heard of it and I knew it was somewhere in the valley, but I had no idea where it was. So, we took Kona and drove out to Paradise and past Avon and then up a canyon to the dam. It wasn't as snowy as we expected and the reservoir wasn't frozen over yet, but it was a cool place. Tim and I decided that we need to go camping there next summer. He seems to think that it is fun to swim in the reservoir. Yeah...I'll have to think about that... Apparently, I'm still somewhat opposed to the whole swimming in open water thing.

Christmas at the Elwoods

This was my first Christmas being married and having the kids, so I'll admit, I had some expectations. That was my first mistake...*note to expectations at Christmastime. We headed to my parents on Christmas Eve, had a yummy low key dinner and broke out the games. We left for a minute to go and pick up Kyra and Rylan and then came back to my mom and dad's. It was really nice to have such a low key dinner and not alot of stuff going on. When we got home, we watched "Joy to the World," an LDS dvd that shows the Christmas story from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We all opened our Christmas pajamas and I had all intentions to take a family picture, including Kona and his antlers. However, due to lack of participation, no picture was taken. We did look super good in our moose pajamas.

Tim and I were both tired and since we had a super busy day on Christmas, lights were out at 10pm. We told the kids they couldn't come upstairs until we were up in the morning. Tim and I were almost asleep and Tim gets a text message from Rylan. The conversation went something like this.

Rylan: Dad, will you come down here. I can't sleep.
Tim: Go to sleep or Santa will not come.
Rylan: Dad, please come down here.
*Tim goes downstairs.
Rylan: Dad, I can't sleep.
Tim: Here's a flashlight. Read for a little while.
Rylan: Ok.
*Tim comes upstairs. Fifteen minutes later...we're almost asleep. Tim gets a text.
Rylan: Dad, the flashlight needs new batteries.
Tim: Just go to sleep. Try counting elves riding reindeer and jumping over chimneys.
Rylan: Dad...just bring me some batteries.
*Tim goes downstairs, gives him batteries. We go to sleep...sort of.

Tim woke up at 5am and took care of the stockings. I was awake too, so we took Kona outside and let him do his thing. He was super tired and I'm sure he was thinking, "Why in the world are we awake so early?!" Rylan texted again and asked if he could come upstairs. It was 5:40am. I started making the gingerbread pancakes and the buttermilk syrup that tastes just like caramel. Kyra woke up and was in a super great mood...definitely a surprise since she's a typical "I wanna sleep in" teenager.

Finally...after a yummy breakfast, it was time to open presents. Rylan put on his elf hat and decided to be in charge of the gift distribution. The madness began. Poor Kona didn't know what to think. I was kinda surprised since I thought he'd want to shred the wrapping paper and be naughty. He mostly just laid on the rug and chewed on one of his new super stinky bones. Here's some pics of the morning madness.

After presents were opened, it was time to shower and get ready to head to Grandpa Elwood's. We delivered his big Christmas gift...a box full of homemade salsa. He LOVED it! We headed back to my parents for the traditional Hansen meal of prime rib, salad, rolls, baked know...just a general carnivorous feeding. Tim and I took the kids to their mom's and then headed back for more feeding. Yep...we ate WAY too much.

It was an awesome Christmas and so much fun. I'm really sad that it's all over. I'm planning on taking the tree down on Monday and starting the new year with a clean house. more highlight.

Rylan got some deodorant in his stocking. When he pulled it out he said, "I got derodiant!" So now, at our house we use derodiant to avoid stinky arm pits.

Merry Christmas!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

This was Tim's surprise on Christmas morning.

I had every intention of spending a quiet Christmas evening at home, but we both crashed around 8pm. We lead very exciting lives... So, my 12 Days of Christmas plan went fairly well. I still owe Tim a back rub, a foot rub, a candlelight dinner, and a quiet evening. Perhaps we can take care of all of these in one day! This might have to become our tradition.

24 December 2010

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

What a busy day Christmas Eve is turning out to be? Who knew you had to do grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, baking, etc? And we don't even have company coming... Anyways, here's what Tim got for a surprise today.

And here's his list...

Oh and here's Kona in his reindeer antlers! Can you tell how much he loves them?!

23 December 2010

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

This morning, I woke up early because I went to bed way too early last night. So, I woke up and started working on Tim's surprise for the day...after taking the dog out 4 times in less than 2 hours.

I toasted the coconut, which got a tiny bit extra toasted since Kona needed to go out...always at the very best times. I made the pudding, stirred in the coconut, poured it in a pie shell and called it good.

Oh and I stuck a note on Tim's phone saying, "Check the fridge" just so he would know where to find his surprise. Hopefully, it's delicious...

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

This morning Tim took Rylan snowboarding and I took Kona over to my parents house. I spent alot of time thinking about how to pull off my surprise for today.

Before Tim left, I asked him if he was in the mood for me to cook anything in particular. He was like, "whatever"...he still didn't know what the plan was and I ask him all the time what he wants to eat. When he got home from snowboarding, we were riding out to his dad's and I asked him again...he was like I don't care. So, I called him a butthead, with a smile of course, and handed him his clue. He apologized for not being any help in the food department. While we were driving home, we decided to take a raincheck on the candlelight dinner. He was tired and neither one of us could figure out what we wanted to eat, so we came home and ate leftovers and pbj.

21 December 2010

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

We have a busy day of Christmas gift delivering, finishing wrapping, visiting neighbors and the super cute kids from our primary class. It's kinda funny how my planning worked out...

So, now we definitely get to spend some quality time together...under the mistletoe.

And, he got some new lip balm to try out. It's "mountain snow" idea what that means, but I think he'll like it better than "cucumber melon".

20 December 2010

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

Tim is on vacation so I got to spend the entire day with him today. I handed him his surprise for the day which looked like this.

He smiled and said that he would definitely be taking advantage of that when we got home. We actually spent the day driving out to Tooele to see the new Proffitts Cruisers museum. It actually hasn't really "opened yet", but we did get to talk to the guy and he was pretty cool. I guess the grand opening will be in the spring and we will definitely be going down for that. Then, we spent some time in Salt Lake. Definitely a fun day.

We came home and Tim got to enjoy his bubble bath and now we're sitting down to watch The Other Guys.

19 December 2010

On the Sixth of Christmas

What a long day it's been! Tim's gone to take the kids home so he gets to come home to a surprise.

Yes...those are chocolate covered strawberrys from Alvey's. That was our quick trip to the mall last night and those were the last 4...hopefully they're tasty.

And for all of you who might be thinking, "Wow...did AJ take up drinking?" Nope, these are a microbrewed root beer and cream soda. Only in Utah right...

The Spirit of Christmas

This clip brought tears of joy to my eyes this morning. Definitely a great way to start off a Sunday!

18 December 2010

A Busy Saturday

Today was a super busy Saturday. We woke up and Tim cooked some yummy french toast for breakfast. We found out that Kona's dog school was canceled and headed out with the kids for a surprise. Earlier this week, Tim and I were talking about some holiday traditions that we would like to start for our family and we decided that we wanted to start going up to Hardware Ranch each year. We didn't tell the kids where we were going, but we all bundled up and headed up Blacksmith Fork canyon in the snow.

The kids didn't figure out where we were going until we were about 5 minutes from the ranch, but when they realized the plan, they got pretty excited. We got up to the lodge, checked it out and bought our sleigh ride tickets.

The lodge has some cool displays about elk, as well as other local animals. There's lots of hands on stuff, which I think Rylan got a kick out of. They also had a full size elk that is always fun to check out.

There was a close call with a sibling beating incident.

Then we headed down to the sleigh ride. It was snowing really good and was beautiful, but wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. We hopped on the sleigh that was driven by a pair of Percheron horses named Scottie and Norman.

Then we headed out to the herd. There was a wildlife management person on our sleigh who was counting the herd, and apparently, there were about 450 elk in the meadow while we were out on the sleigh. There were alot of cows and calves, but only a few bulls. I think Tim and I saw maybe 5 spikes, and then a couple of big bulls. We were about 10-15 feet from the elk, which was super cool. Here are a few pictures of the herd.

The sleigh ride was snowy and fun, but definitely not long enough. I told Tim that I'm going to have to go back in January when the herd is bigger. I guess they get up to 700 elk when it's really cold and snowy. Kyra's favorite part of the day was the sleigh ride, Rylan liked watching the snow fall, and Tim loved the big elk too. Kyra asked me my favorite part and I said it was living in this amazingly beautiful place where you can drive up a gorgeous snowy canyon and seeing deer and how lucky are we to be able to ride a sleigh out into the middle of an elk herd. It was definitely fun.

We headed back to Hyrum and stopped for the best breadsticks ever and then we rushed home to let Kona out and feed him lunch. Then it was off to Grandpa Elwood's to spread some holiday cheer. We decided that he needed a Christmas tree, as well as some gifts. The kids decorated the tree and Grandpa Elwood opened his gifts.

Then we settled in for a good visit. At some point, Rylan got a hold of the camera. Here's how he views the world.

After our visit, we headed back to Logan for a "southern barbecue" with my family. My dad and two brothers cooked a 90lb hog. My mom added some delicious macaroni and cheese. We brought some corn and some chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread cookies that I made yesterday. It was alot of fun and definitely a great way to end the day.

Oh, except that I had to run to the mall to pick up a small surprise for the sixth day of Christmas... Yep, it was a super busy Saturday, but I think we had alot of fun. I think this may be a new Elwood tradition.