Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sydney!

Sydney just had a birthday!

Can you believe she is 14 years old?

It seems like just a minute ago she was a little baby...

She was a ham even then!

She cracks me up!

She went fishing this fall - what a catch!

 Last week she was in the science fair (she's the one on the left)

And here she is with her Grandpa and her Dad (she's the one in the middle)

And in the rain

And with a dog

And in the air

 Pheasant hunting last year with her dad and dog.

Thumbs up for a great kid!

In honor of her 14th birthday, here are 14 things about Syd:

1 - She is a smarty, but she doesn't flaunt it.

2 - She is really good at doing hair - her own hair and her sisters' hair.  If you need a fancy 'do, ask Sydney!

3 - She is very athletic - she seems to be able to just jump right in and do anything - volleyball, basketball, running, jumping, waterskiing, tennis, dodge ball, pull ups, etc!

4 - She can do hard things, even if she doesn't want to.  This year as part of her calling as Beehive class president, she has had to make a lot of phone calls.  She hates that!  And she will complain about it (oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth) but then get on the phone and do it, with such a sweet voice!  Yay!

5 - She is very organized.  She likes her things to be just so, and sharing a room with a messy sister is a little rough...

6 - Sydney is the same height as me.  5'2"  She wants to be taller...

7 - It is really hard to get Sydney to smile for the camera - she can always sense with the camera is on her and will hide or make a silly face. 

8 - Sydney could drive now.  14 years old is the legal driving age in SD!  It is a little scary to see some of her 8th grade friends driving! I think we are going to wait a while....

9 - Sydney did drive yesterday in the church parking lot with her dad.  Watch out!

10 - Sydney is a great babysitter.  She is totally fun with little kids, but she is also really selective about who she will babysit for.

11 - She will be a high school freshman next year!

12 - Sydney loves fancy fingernails.  She keeps her nails looking lovely all the time, and is really good at painting them.  She has done several of the fancy nails as seen on pinterest -- like the tie-dyed nails and the newsprint fingernails.  So fancy!

13 - She is crafty - she is good with beads and string and paper and paint and the sewing machine.

14 - For Sydney's birthday yesterday, Nathan and I took her out to lunch at Taco Bell (she had less than 30 minutes and TB is close, plus, I heart taco bell).  We were all enjoying our taco's when I suddenly knocked my drink over.  The lid was doing a fine job holding the soda in until I grabbed the cup and popped the lid off.  My diet coke completely covered Sydney's brand new jeans.  And she just went with it.  She laughed about it and didn't get mad at me for ruining her day.  That's just the kind of kid she is -- awesome! (we did take her home to change before going back to school)

Happy Birthday, Syd!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


It has been so fun to have Nathan home.  The transition back to family can be a little rocky, but so far everything has been great.  Sometimes by the end of his two weeks of leave after a deployment, I am itching for him to get back to work.  He is heading back in to work tomorrow, and I'm not even feeling a little sick of him (yet!).
me - still happy!

We didn't go on a cruise, or take the kids to Disney World, or go to Hawaii.  Those kinds of things are tricky to do when you have school aged kids.  And I think learning how to be a family again, at home, is a good thing.

So, we just stuck around here. Nathan has taken the little kids to school each day, and has rushed out to meet them after school.  John and Emily are loving that (I usually make them walk alllllll the way home.)  He has been a good sport about cub scouts and violin lessons and wrestling meets and band concerts and volleyball.  Whew.  It's been a busy, and fun two weeks.

Nathan and I did plan a little mini get away in the Black Hills last weekend.

First, we took a nice drive from our house, up Nemo Canyon, and on into Deadwood.  Then, we had lunch in Lead at the Roundhouse Restaurant.  It is a beautifully restored roundhouse with a nice menu.  You could even eat in a engine!  Which we started to do, but then our server spilled our drinks while climbing the stairs to the engine, so we decided to sit down on the ground floor.

at the Roundhouse Restaurant

Next, we drove to the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It is a lovely log cabin lodge in a beautiful location - towering canyon walls, deep snow, waterfall - beautiful!

We had dinner at the Latchstring Inn across the street.  We also had breakfast and lunch there the next day.  Breakfast and lunch were great, but dinner was a little gaggy.  Who serves a caesar salad with fake powdered parmesan cheese?  So weird....

But dessert was amazing!  We split an Apple Dumpling.  Mmm...  It was so good, we decided to come back and have another one at lunch... and then we had to make a batch when we got home.  Yum!  That recipe is really close to what we had at the restaurant, and the sauce is amazing - it looks a little thin and watery when you poor it in the pan, but it turns into a rich caramel sauce while it bakes.  Must eat with a scoop of ice cream!

I had made reservations for the snowmobiles several weeks before our trip.  It seemed like a good idea at Christmas time, but we haven't had much snow since then, and I really thought I should cancel.  When we got up into the hills (really not far from our home, just 45 minutes or so) there was lots of snow.  And lots of snowmobilers at the lodge.  Trailers of snowmobiles from North Dakota and Minnesota.  And snowmobiles zipping all around.

There are 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Spearfish/Lead/Deadwood area.  And lots of people enjoying them, but not so many that we felt crowded.

I rented a double snowmobile, mostly because that was all that was available, and also because I am a wimp.  It was fun, but I could see Nathan looking longingly at the wild trails of the cooler and more agile one-person snowmobiles.  Our machine was kind of like a station wagon...

But the trails were great, and we were able to get unstuck both times we crashed!

Lovely views of the back country.  We were even in Wyoming for a while.

It was a cold day, but not too cold.  Most of the snowmobilers we saw appeared to be professionals with their slick snowsuits.  We were looking a little getto in our military issue gear.  But we stayed warm!

It was a fun little get away, and we had a great time!  Yay!