Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Raise Shields!

Along with the chocolate fudge mousse ice cream we bought at the Creamery last night, we bought BYU chocolate milk.  Big hit, is all I can say.

We woke up to snow and were out the door right after breakfast.

Jacob is a fan of standing on his sled as it goes down the hill.   This did not always go well.

David had success with a modified version of this and made many trips down the hill.

The snow was different than last week, so mass wasn't as critical.  Julia zoomed along.

Jacob's skills improved.

Nate flew down the hill.

Then things got a little crazy.

Dave was not part of any solution.

People were speaking Klingon as they fired phasers.

The truth was, we were all having a great time!

Carolyn joined us.  Her crew escaped in a shuttle pod.

Jacob came up with a photon torpedo.

Nate knew what was coming.

I have had the best two weeks!

Don't worry -- I ducked.

Later in the day we had lunch.  This was a filling meal everyone enjoyed, but it all came from the frozen section in Costco.

Julia has discovered edamame.

After lunch, Jacob invited me to play a game of pool.  Oh, so fun.  I creamed him.  After two weeks of playing several hours of pool every single day, this was my first real clear victory!

Yes, that's my 8 ball in the pocket!

The next game did not go any better for Jacob.  While that's his 8 ball, it went in with the cue ball.  I take victories any way they come.

I love playing with Julia.

So does Dave.

Other people upstairs played a complicate board game Ben had bought.

Later, we celebrated two birthdays.

Along with ice cream and BYU chocolate milk, Jacob and I bought A&W root beer last night.  We stuck it outside on the porch because there was no room in the fridge.  Jacob remembered it tonight.  He and Papa Ben enjoyed root beer floats, a fun treat at the end of a great vacation together.

Break Into Song

Nate spied a torte on the counter and chose it for his breakfast on this New Year's Eve morning.  Notice the ice cream beneath the whipped cream.

Julia followed suit.

Nathan received owl pellets for Christmas, except they arrived yesterday.  Carolyn set him up at the kitchen table for the dissection.  In the moment, I was ok with this, but I soon changed my mind.

While I was focused on Nate, Carolyn spied a hawk in the tree outside.  I took this with my zoom through the window.

While others worked with Nate, Julia assisted me in taking down the Christmas decorations.

Jacob removed Cecil's errant cap.  Nothing was broken.

Ben and Dave set Nate up in the mudroom, which seemed like a better location.  Apparently the smell was all in my head, or so they claimed.  Using the microscope, Papa and Dave took pictures of a vole skull and several teeth, but I'm going to spare you those images.

Jacob woke up about this time.  Yes, ice cream on his torte.

In the meantime, Julia and I decided to do some redecorating.

I asked her if she could help me find objects in my house that sparked joy for the mantle.  I would say she definitely succeeded.

Soon it was time for pool.  Jacob does fancy stuff when he's confident.

We were not alone in the basement.

Dave was singing to his own accompaniment. This was music I had never heard before.  I thought he was being creative.

To my surprise, all of a sudden Nathan stopped playing and burst into song, joining right in with Dave.

A few minutes later, Julia joined in on a chorus.  This was amazing to me, also wonderful.  I later learned Dave was playing music from Avatar, music the kids know well, and clearly not the first time they've heard Dave play it.

Soon, it was time for lunch.  We're running out of days, and this needed to happen.

After a brief rest at home, I took Julia and Jacob to the tramp place.

Jacob has worked hard in the last two weeks.

He's way fun to watch.

I had a great time.

Julia likes the obstacle course.

Jacob likes the dodge ball court.

Julia spent a long time learning how to walk along this strip.

She learned that the faster she walks, the farther she goes.  For the record, this is not a staged photo.

For a reason unknown to us, the slide was much faster than it was a few days ago.

Julia really enjoyed this.

Jacob joined her.

Our time was almost up.  On the way out, we made one last pass through the pit.

After we left the tramp place, we visited several stores to get all the essential ingredients for banana splits, an ancient New Year's Eve tradition in our family.

Upon returning home, more pool seemed to be in order. Julia, Dave, Carolyn and I played in teams.  This is a lot of fun.  Julia was allowed to call us by our first names as we played.  It was pretty funny.

After dinner, we played Mexican Train.

Melanie decided we could not have banana splits until she won a game.  Collaboration became necessary.  Dave and I played with our dominoes face up, and for some mysterious reason, my pile grew.

Finally, Mel won!

We got right to work.

This is serious business around here.

Our shopping expedition had produced Ghirardelli chocolate and sea salted caramel, along with Chocolate Fudge Mousse ice cream from the Creamery on 9th.

We also found cherries.

The sprinkles came from my pantry.

Dave took his turn with the whipped cream.

Then it was time for more pool.

While waiting for her turn to play the victor, Julia found my little stacking bear.  I asked her if she knew its history.  She did not.  I told her I bought it for a little baby named Davy.  She asked if I took it from the baby.  I said no.  She asked why I had it and not the baby.  I asked her if she knew who Davy was.  She did not.  When I told her I used to call her daddy by that name, she said that I needed to explain more of the history of our family to her.

Then we played a challenging game.

Nate thought some Star Trek was in order.  After almost two weeks, I agreed.  We like the episode where Picard has hair.  Many family members joined us.

At 11 o'clock, thinking the evening was about over, we broke out the Martinelli's.

I have not used my crystal sherbert glasses for decades, but this seemed like the right occasion.

As we sipped, we all shared one thing.  One thing.  It was pretty funny.

The musicians in the group decided to make some music.

There is a lot of talent here.

It would be lovely to say that we then curled up in front of the fire and listened to the neighbor's fireworks as the night rolled into 2020.  Actually, we did that.

But we rang in the New Year with another favorite episode.

Thank you, Julie. You're Welcome, Louie.

Did I really want to start this last post of Steve's visit with another picture of my groupies watching Star Trek?  I sure did.  We'...