Winter Shenanigans Recap

Winter Shenanigans Recap

Wow, there's a lot to catch up on. There's a lot on which to catch up, technically, because dangling prepositions are lame! First of all, let me say - how in the world is January almost over?! It's nearly time to start thinking about the garden for spring! Thankfully this winter in Minnesota has been mild so far. I'm hoping for February to remain as mild, and for March and April to bring us what they usually do: snow dumps and warm temps!

Alright, so first there was Christmas.

Surprise, Christmas Eve dogs! This photo was really hard to capture, specifically because little Sadie, all the way on the right, was very camera shy, and because the two doodles, Riley (black doodle) and Lewis (right doodle) refused to sit for longer than half a second. Of course, the two Aussies, Jackson and Tonks, knew the drill and I love them forever for their unfeigned patience with me. I used treats and clicked a lot of shutters to make this one happen.

IMG_2920-1

There was also a fair amount of gift giving that involved silly underwear, which according to tradition had to be put on immediately over pajama pants. Mike's TMNT boxers included a butt flap that is supposedly a cape, but since when do those turtles use capes?

IMG_2952-1

I don't know what's happening in this photo, I just like it.

IMG_2954-1

So there was Christmas in a nutshell. We always open presents in my family on Christmas Eve, partially because we all can't wait, and also because we all want to sleep in on Christmas morning!

Sometime between Christmas and New Year's I took the next set of photos. We had some beautiful weather - crisp, cold, and bright, and I was excited to use my wide angle lens for some scenic shots. Mike and I ventured out to Fort Snelling, a local historical site along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Mike found a little fort of his own.

IMG_3017-1

IMG_3015-1

IMG_3010-1

For those of you that don't live in Minnesota, it would be interesting to note that this photo was taken around 3:30 in the afternoon. Look at how low the sun is on the horizon! One of the things I missed most about living up north is how dramatically the weather and skies change from season to season. A winter day in the middle of December lasts roughly 8 hours and 50 minutes, whereas in the peak of summer, daylight hours last about 15 hours and 40 minutes. That's nearly half, or double, the daylight! Sunset in winter: 4:30pm. Sunset in summer: 9:00pm. The difference is in sane. During the winter, the sun makes a peep for those 8+ hours only on the southern half of the sky - in what looks like (in my unscientific eye) less than a 45° angle. I think it's cool. Other people say, how could you live in a place like that?

IMG_3000-1

IMG_2990-1

IMG_2976-1

One of the things that makes up for having less daylight during winter months is that when there is snow on the ground, which is nearly always in Minnesota, everything is SO BRIGHT. I could probably prove it if I were a real scientist, but I think I get more actual light in my bedroom (which is on the north side of the house) in the winter than I do in the summer because of the reflection off of the snow.

Few things beat a blue-skied snow day.

IMG_2962-1

The next two photos were taken somewhere west of the Twin Cities (I don't honestly know where because I was on the road traveling). They're a little dreary because it was cloudy that day, but.... ice shacks!

IMG_2903-1

IMG_2895-1

If I keep going with my timeline of events here, next up is New Year's! There's really too much to say about it and those that were involved can agree with me. But I'll still say something about it because I have photos to show!

In a nutshell, my sister and I were bummed that we hadn't had any holiday parties with our friends and were determined to make New Year's memorable.

So we planned a party and invited those friends that didn't have any other plans yet. The party was a little lame - no decorations, just chips and some wine, a little music. As soon as all the guests arrived Sarah and I slipped out of the house, gave them their first clue, and sent them out into the city in teams on a scavenger hunt! (Think Amazing Race, rather than hunting for eggs in the backyard.)

Once everyone left the house, we jetted back home and turned the upstairs in to party central. We spread decorations galore, made a table full of tasty treats, got out the party hats and noisemakers and liquor, turned up the tunes, turned off the lights, and waited for our teams to return. When they arrived, they were welcomed with a healthy dose of silly string and congratulatory loud noises. Photos and video to prove it.

Planning stages - planting clues. We are the mischief makers! Some clues were photos we texted to them, others were on color-coded tags we hid at different locations. One of the clues for each team even took them to Mom and Dad's house, where Mom sufficiently stalled each team to give us more time for party setup!

IMG_3142-1

We sent them to the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden.

IMG_3143-1_1

IMG_3144-1

Sarah's pointing to the clue, just in case anyone needed help finding it.

IMG_3147-1

IMG_3149-1

 

Hiding clues at one of our favorite locations in the city along the Mississippi River in the St. Anthony Main area. Our beautiful blue city!

IMG_3159-1

IMG_3171-1_1

IMG_3202-1

IMG_3206-1

Katy and Geoff are showing off the cool bandanas Sarah made for the teams. We had blue, black, and yellow team, all with personalized, handdrawn, screenprinted 2015 bandanas. Man, what a rad night it was.

IMG_3210-1

This next photo is one of the few of which I didn't use the flash that night, and while it could be more crisp (I blame shaky party hands), I love this photo. A lot.

IMG_3211-1

Mischief managed.

IMG_3216-1

IMG_3218-1

IMG_3200-1_1

Fortunately for the future of our memory, we took a lot of video that night and Sarah dedicated a day of her time to compile it all into a short video. Take a look!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBm8-R54h9Q&w=560&h=315]

After New Year's (which of course took a day of recovery) we decided our next holiday task was to become sledding maniacs. In one week we went sledding four times. For adults that don't often fall and roll and bump all over hillsides, that is a lot of sledding!

IMG_3223-1

IMG_3231-1

IMG_3233-1

IMG_3242-1_1

IMG_3243-1

IMG_3244-1

IMG_3245-1

IMG_3248-1

IMG_3258-1

IMG_3260-1

IMG_3262-1

IMG_3271-1

IMG_3276-1

IMG_3287-1

IMG_3290-1

IMG_3291-1

^ That pic is the glory of adult sledding.

So I recapped Christmas Eve, New Year's, sledding, and now it's time for Mom's birthday! January 6th, the day back in the 50s when my mother came to being... I am so glad. Love you, momma!

To celebrate I made a 100%-from-scratch coffee-chocolate cake with buttercream chocolate frosting, caramel sauce, and sprinkled with sea salt. You guys. It was so FREAKING delicious. Mom, I will bake you cakes forever.

The photo in the cake picture is of my mom and me on my second birthday. Tables have turned! Homemade cakes are the best.

IMG_3331-1

IMG_3333-1

IMG_3337-1

Love you, momma. :)

If you've read this far, congratulations! You've made it through my longest blog post yet! To reward you, I will leave you with some new shots of DOGS!

IMG_2228

IMG_2319-1

IMG_2322-1

IMG_2348-1

IMG_2360-1

IMG_2370-1

IMG_2388-1

IMG_2965-1

Being with friends and family makes all the difference in living a full life. I'm thankful to have mine.

6 Children, 15 Grandchildren, 22 Great Grandchildren and Counting

6 Children, 15 Grandchildren, 22 Great Grandchildren and Counting

Turning 29

Turning 29

0