Tuesday, February 23, 2010


We are all moved into our old townhouse and I am overflowing with ideas of how to update it. It's just too bad I am not also overflowing with cash to do so! Anyway, the move went great. We are grateful that Dirk's dad Gerald was along for the drive in the moving van to keep Dirk company and to keep Dirk awake! The kids all did amazingly well on the flights from Vegas to Baltimore. I was just giddy about having no meltdowns the whole time; me or them. I think the dum-dums helped, and all the airline staff who were so generous and patient with a mother traveling with four small children. Gerald stayed on for a week to help us and spend time with the kids. They love their grandparents. He read Book of Mormon stories to them every night and listened patiently to all of their made up stories and news. We are so happy to be in our own place again, but miss Grandma Ellen too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents' Day

I thought it would be fun to take the kids to see Mt. Vernon to celebrate today. It was fun, but still cold and snowy. I definitely appreciate the place more in the spring, when everything is blooming and cool and green. But, we loved meeting George Washington (who looked strangely familiar to Dirk and me . . . does anyone else recognize him?) and seeing the animals and the new museum exhibit. Plus, I enjoyed sharing some American history with my chickadees. Isaac loved hearing about the Revolutionary War and the crossing of the Delaware.

Dirk was really interested in the smokehouse.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Cookies

I finally gave in to my children's holiday cookie pleadings. I am ashamed of myself, but I am really annoying when it comes to baking holiday cookies. We have had this huge box of cookie cutters in every shape that you can imagine since before I was married; a gift from my mother. The kids have always wanted to break them out, but I never let them because there are all kinds of nooks and crannies in the shapes and I don't want to clean them. And don't get me started on the frosting and sprinkles. This cookie bit is not a holiday tradition I have enjoyed at all over the years because it is such a lot of work. No more! This time, they mixed, they measured, they rolled, and they cut with anything they wanted -- not even holiday-related! They made as many frosting colors as they could dream up. And you know what? It was actually kind of fun, and the cleanup was just a normal messy cleanup. I hope I haven't stifled their creativity so much that there is no going back. I hope that the memories they have don't include me sneaking off to mix and roll and then call them one by one to cut out their allotment ("Cut them out close together! We don't want to reroll it more times than necessary!") Eeegads. I hope I have made up for this cookie thing in other ways.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Last Snow Post -- I Promise!

We made "snow cream" with a big bowl of snow, a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a can of evaporated milk (only I just had regular milk -- I think it would have been better with canned). Thanks Becky for the recipe!

We made paper snowflakes and hung them above our pretty bay window.

Before the snow really got going and the kids could move outside without getting buried, Isaac made a snowman on the deck table. I think he looks like Jabba the Hut.

The Dark Side of the Snow

As much fun as we've been having, I can certainly recognize the negatives of uncharacteristic precipitation.

Here is our deck before:

And after a bit of snow:

And after a whole lot more snow:

And here is our neighbors' deck after, totally collapsed:


We lost power the first day of the big storm, but it was fine. Dirk pitched a tent in the living room to help kids stay warm and fired up the propane stove. It was an adventure and power was returned within 24 hours. However, many people out here lost power for a week or more. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have had these kinds of expensive, inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous troubles.


Snow-staters, prepare for the irresistible urge to start rolling your eyes and marveling at the profound wussiness of residents of our nation's capital and its surrounding areas:

We have had an historic week of snow here on the East Coast (is that supposed to be capitalized? I can never remember. I could look it up, but I would prefer someone just tell me.) Honestly, I have never seen anything like it, and I was here for the last big one, in 2003. Our county seems to have got the most in Maryland, too. I couldn't resist snapping lots of pictures. The kids and I have been absolutely loving it, though I try not to say that too loud because Marylanders can be cantankerous. I accidently mentioned what a fun week we were having to the cashier at Costco as I was stocking up in between snowstorms and a lady behind me said loudly that if her kids didn't go back to school she was going to kill one of them. Someone else reminded me how much this is all costing the State (capitalized? No? Somebody help me.) I am trying to be sensitive to that fact, but my kids are really at an age they can enjoy the white stuff. Remember, we arrived here from the desert, thinking we'd missed winter this year. Surprise!

Dirk and I are pretty tired of shoveling snow, but Brody isn't! He likes to destroy our little mountains and push the snow back onto the driveway. He thinks it is a game. To be fair, Dirk errs on the side of macho and the only shoveling I did was when I could sneak away and work while he was otherwise occupied. It's great exercise.

When we started reading the forecasts for, no kidding, "potentially paralyzing" weather, we went out to buy sleds and snow shovels. Sold out! Remember, we just moved here not three weeks ago. We borrowed a shovel from our neighbor and used our boogie board as a sled. I am proud to report that it was among the fastest on the neighborhood sledding hill.

This has been the only time I took Tristan out. It was the day after the blizzard and the weather was warmish and the snow was melting.

Luckily, we had recently visited our family in Utah and they had given us a bunch of hand-me-down boots. We would have been lost without these.