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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ice Castles in Midway, UT

      Ever since I found out about the Ice Castles a month ago, I've really wanted to go and check it out.  Making it a reward for losing weight was definitely good motivation to work hard.  It's about an hour drive away in Midway.  Once we started getting into city limits you could tell that was German/Swiss inspired.  Even the church buildings were followed that design.

      How cool is that?! I looked up Midway later and it is in fact all about the Swiss culture. I will definitely come back for some of the events they have going on in the year. It reminded me of Leavenworth and made me feel like I had a little piece of home. 

      There were two lines for the Ice Castles. One for people who needed to purchase tickets and one for those who bought online. Really glad we bought online before because that line was much shorter. The downside was that we went on a Saturday and so it was still really busy, so we were still waiting to get in for about 20 minutes or so. It was FREEZING! 

      When we finally got in, it was amazing to see what these people had created. You got an idea for it from the outside, but being inside really made the experience whole. Anna was just excited to be outside and running around and she kinda made her claim on an in between area where the snow was softer and she kept falling and getting snow all over her sweatpants. It was cute and I would have let her just go for it, but there were too many people and she was getting in people's way. Once it started getting darker, you could start to see the lights under the ice. So cool! Definitely the best part. 

      There was a lot more to see, but we were cold, hungry, and it was too crowded to enjoy any more than we did. We came home and ate quick meals. We decided that next year we will come on a weekday and then go out for dinner afterward. In all, though, we marked this visit as a success. We got out of the house and did something we've never done before. In the winter, that's definitely a success.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

(For our families, this post is FULL of pictures and videos.  We hope you enjoy them!!)

      This is the first year that we didn't spend Christmas with either of our parents.  With living so far away, making that trip during the winter and so soon after we had just done it for Thanksgiving, wasn't something we are able to do.  We were glad we were able to spend a good portion of time with both of our families during the time we were there.  Being with them always brings a lot of joy.  Especially seeing them love on Anna.

      Living in Utah hasn't completely left us without loved ones, though.  Both of my mom's sisters, one of my dad's brothers, and Ty's brother live close.  We are so lucky!  Not long after we moved here, my Tante Karin invited us to their German Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.  I can't even describe how relieved I was.  My mom's Christmas Eve German dinner is the highlight of Christmas for me every year.  The thought of missing it was very depressing, so I was very prepared to accept.  My Tante Ingrid even made Sauerbraten, in addition to the Schnitzel they already make, because I requested it.  She's the best!  It's just not a full German Christmas for me without it.  (I confess I might have cried like a baby earlier that day thinking they might not have remembered. I'm ridiculous, I know.)  I'm definitely loved.

      After dinner, we ate treats and my cousin's daughter read the Christmas story, another cousin read Llama, llama, Christmas drama, and we sang some Christmas songs.  Then, we opened presents.  Anna has been one spoiled girl this year.  I can't say thank you enough for everything.  It really made our Christmas special to spend time with my mom's side of the family.

      We came home full, happy and with lots of leftover Sauerbraten, Rotkohl, treats that Karin made, and plenty of gifts.  It was past Anna's bedtime when we did get home so we quickly got her ready for bed once we got home.  When she was in bed I got the meat ready for the next day's stew and then put out the presents.  It was so pretty and made me nostalgic of Christmases growing up.

      That night's sleep was kind of rough.  Anna woke up around 2:30, crying loudly.  She doesn't do this often and usually calms down quickly.  This time wasn't much different, except she took awhile to fall back to sleep.  She kept kicking her mattress with her foot over and over and over and I was going crazy.  She finally fell back to sleep after about an hour and a half and it took me another half hour or so to follow suit.  When she woke up around 7:45, I was exhausted and didn't feel very excited about getting out of bed.  We decided to take her into our room to do her morning routine (bottle and diaper change) so she wouldn't be distracted by the gifts. When we did take her out to the living room, her reaction was the best.  She walked up to the display and said, "Oh Wow! Look at all the presents!" Perfect.  If only I had had enough storage on my phone for the video.

      Opening presents with her was fun and once again, she was very spoiled.  We even took out toys that she doesn't really play with anymore, earlier in the week and plan on donating.  There's way more going in than coming out.  She's a very lucky girl.

      Our plan for each other, this year, was to keep things pretty low key.  We had decided on a couple of gifts.  A movie, a bedding set, and something very simple for each other.  (My gift to Ty was a Superman cape that I found on Clearance after Halloween.  His gift to me is priceless.  Getting up with Anna duty for the next four Saturdays so I can have a chance to sleep in.)  Then, we decided that we really needed to get a new mattress because we weren't sleeping well at all and it was becoming a need.  Ty was gifted the mattress that we had a few years before we were married and it was used then.  The new one was delivered on Christmas Eve and I gave the delivery guys a very generous portion of Peanut Clusters as thanks.  Before they took away our old mattress we saw just how bad it was and were glad to be rid of it.

      Once all the gifts were opened, we had Gingerbread pancakes for breakfast.  I think this is a tradition I'm going to keep doing no matter where we are.  So good!

      Later in the day, we Skyped with my parents and then Ty's brother, Nathan, his wife, Celia, and their crew of kids came over for dinner.  It was so good to be with them.  We really haven't been able to spend a lot of time with them the last few months and we love hanging out with them.  After everyone had eaten and we started in on dessert, we Skyped with Ty's parents.  Skype is such a great lifeline for us. We had such a great Christmas.  Even though we miss our parents, we both enjoyed not having to drive anywhere, being able to stay at home, and make our own family traditions.

We hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as we did and that you had a very Merry Christmas indeed!

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