New Year's Birthday

Carolyn made French toast from the leftover baguettes from yesterday's sandwiches.

She also used the remaining buttermilk from Steve's pancakes.

We were all quite creative with our food this morning.  It was delicious.

My assumption that Will wanted chocolate mousse cake for his birthday was incorrect.  Julia and I made a quick trip out to get a lemon cake mix, his traditional birthday cake.  A few other items found their way into the cart, including a Christmas sale item.

A little pool happened this morning.  Nathan has been practicing.

Will has been giving Nate a few pointers.

I was surprised to see Lewis's name on the leaderboards until I learned this has been Jacob's doing.  We sure miss Steve's family.

We drove to Big Springs today and hiked to the beaver ponds.  My Texas grandchildren were fascinated by the ice.  I couldn't explain why week-old snow would form these crystals.

I was better at explaining icicles which formed in abundance under the bridges.

Julia called this a popsicle.

The morning was glorious.

Melanie was curious about everything.

I was able to walk alongside each of these people.

They kept me from falling in when I got too curious.

Jacob, however, was on his own.

He harvested this block of icicles.

I'm not sure why we were all taking pictures of snow and ice, but we were.

Our elegant caption for this picture is "fuzzy snow."

Jacob and Julia walked in step and shared this walking stick.

Jacob found a location where he could look courageous.

He also found a way to look fearless.

Julia and Nate couldn't resist joining this activity.

It was fun for me to see the walking groups switch around.

Melanie enjoyed sharing her pictures.

I knew exactly how she felt.

Papa successfully guided us to the beaver dam.

Before tromping off, I captured these frozen flowers.

Actually, I captured many frozen things.

Usually I reserve my sport setting for people, but apparently it works on ice and water, too.

Jacob found a blade of ice with an imprint from a log.

Dave's family was fascinated with the ice.

What was pedestrian to me was an object to study for these curious children.

Papa and I were happy being patient and watching them observe and think.

The morning warmed up to the point that Julia could hand off her coat to someone else.

Will could carry his own coat.

Ben encouraged most of our group to race across a meadow.  He sang "The hills are alive" as they ran.

Their jaunt was interrupted by a gigantic puppy.

This dog is only nine months old, but he was so happy to see kids that he rolled over and said, "Play with me!"

This was our last chance to study the ice.  Of course, I'm studying the students.

After a surprising number of naps this afternoon, we enjoyed artichoke and spinach dip.  It was delicious.

Papa grilled fabulous burgers.  Mine had a slice of fresh tomato, cooked red onion, cheese, pickles, my special mustard, and lettuce, of course.

After the dishes were done, Nate and I watched a few Star Trek episodes.

Julia had the magnets all to herself.

Soon, it was time for cake.  Papa lit 19 candles.  No grandfathers were injured during this activity.

One breath -- that was the goal.

No problem.

This was fun.

In my house, adults get to serve their own birthday cake.  What a great day!