Friday, February 17, 2012

Some winter fun and a little aloha!

The boys and I went on a crisp but sunny bike ride this morning--it was perfectly mild, strangely typical of this winter. We used our snowblower exactly once and shoveled the front walk only a handful of times! Now there are bike-riding days in February: hallelujah! Max is feeling the goodness:
All winter long, we've had blessed little sunshiny days for zoo trips
and lakeside hikes.
And yet we've had the best of both worlds: we've also enjoyed plenty of "Wisconsin winter moments:"
UW hockey,
snow hiking,
ice fishing,
hanging out in the neighborhood warming hut (with my dad, ah yeah!),

(Zach was a natural on his first ski trip!),
ice skating (Michael's first time!),

 okay, LOTS of skating, 
 and more skating!
(This is Eric on Lake Monona--see the state capitol in the background?)
Seriously. We're ice skating junkies! I don't have skates--I run around on the ice in my boots, pulling the non-skaters in donuts on a sled. Jacob helped me out yesterday:
The kids skates (or "ice skaters," as Adam calls them) were the best investment of the year: the outdoor rinks are absolutely free and incessantly fun.

We interrupted our winter activities for a trip to Hawaii, where Eric attended an ophthalmology meeting. He has been a ROCKSTAR with his studying this year, putting in no fewer than 3 hours of studying after work each night, but usually much more. It was refreshing for him to change his studying venue from here
to here!
The boys and I hit the pool at 7 a.m. the first day, and we spent at least a few hours each day poolside
or beachside!
A whale-watching cruise,
snorkeling in the open ocean,
enjoying the resort slides (see, Eric relaxed, too!),
hiking around the island,
and a 5-hour zip-lining tour
were especially memorable times.
Also, how cool is this? I ran into my old BYU intramural flag football buddy Rachel in Maui.
Mahalo, Nana and Grandpa, for a truly awesome time!
(Michael and Adam stayed home with my dear friend Vanessa and her family. Vanessa was a peach to them, and to me, too! We returned to find everything in perfect order, plus several meals and baked goods in the freezer! Her kindness alone deserves an entire blogpost. WOW.)

 After the Hawaii trip, we prepared for an exciting week of birthdays and visitors! Zachary and Jacob celebrated their sixth annual "Brothers' Day," the birthday that they share:
This was an especially notable birthday for Jacob, who turned eight and became eligible for baptism. Our family and friends made the occasion even more special by participating in Jacob's baptism:
What a light he has! I know that his goodness will influence many throughout his life. It's blessing us now.

For a special baptism celebration, Eric's parents took Jacob and his cousin Spencer on a trip to upstate New York. Jacob requested the trip so that he could see the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,
 but he was even more fascinated with the church history sites that they visited.
 Clearly, it's been a special, special time for Jacob.

After all these events, we've settled back into our normal routine: Scouts, piano, school, basketball, and home activities. Jacob's class built and presented a model of Madison at the annual Terrace Town exhibit downtown. (Also: He and I have also spent several hours building his pinewood derby car [phew--it's done!].)

Zachary loves his basketball practices and games. (Also: Zachary is a self-proclaimed hip-hop dancer. "I know TONS of moves!" he told me recently.)
Michael and I have been preschool-ing, playing music, and crafting (here he is at Vanessa's for a darling decorating party she threw). (Also: Michael explained to Adam this afternoon: "Jesus loves people. You are people, and I am people. Everyone is people, and Jesus loves us all!")
Adam has been busy doing all sorts of experiments! (Also: lately Adam and his Superman figurine have been inseparable. He's named him Nephi. Batman is called Sam. Oh, and there's a rubber duck, Quacky.)
And Max has been growing up, thrilling in being part of the gang. (Also: his favorite expressions are 1. a roar and 2. "OOOOO!")

And now, if you've read this far, you must really love us. You deserve a virtual Valentine in return:
I thought that Jacob's personally messaged Valentines were adorable. Too bad they can't fit "Isn't this a fun experience?" on a conversation heart candy.  :)