Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: Eat, Drink, Be Merry, and Play in Mud

Thanks for checking out my blog in 2011, I appreciate those who have taken the time to read what I have written and checking out the photos. Writing this blog helps keep me organized. Even if I have just discovered a photo from back in September.

As for the photo, the kids just couldn't resist getting wet and muddy while Dad was out irrigating. I figure that's apropos for enjoying life: playing in mud takes us back to our roots, grounds us, and is one heck of an exfoliator.

So here's to a happy and healthy and muddy 2012 for each of you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Children's Nativity Play-2011

 Friday afternoon was the dress rehearsal for the Children's Nativity Play to be held Christmas Eve. The kids were so excited to put on costumes, although Desert Girl wanted to keep her sparkling red shoes on with her sheep costume.

 As the children waited to put on their costumes, they watched a video from two years ago. Desert Boy had been a lamb that year, and all the other kids had had other parts. They thought two years ago was ages ago, and it was true that they all looked quite a bit different.

 Once everyone had their costumes on, it was time to take their places: King Herod on his throne, the angels on their cloud, the shepherds and sheep on Shepherd's Hill, Joseph and Mary in the stable.

 Desert Girl liked the pillows under Shepherd's Hill. The sheepherders weren't too concerned about keeping their sheep behaving well.

 Doug skillfully accompanied all the songs. I sure wish I could play the piano better--I used to take lessons from Doug but eventually gave them up because I didn't have time to practice. But I'm getting more tempted to make that time...

 The girls--and Neto--lined up to sing a song. Desert Girl was happy to stand up there even though she didn't know any of the words. I guess she's not so shy.

 The angels are always so fun to watch. One of the advantages of photographing during the dress rehearsal is seeing the orange socks! Oh, the lighting is a little simpler, too.

 Little Ella had fun wandering all over the stage and back and forth from the audience during the dress rehearsal.

 She found the other angels for this song.

 Desert Boy had several lines and was really good about memorizing them.

 The Three Wise Men made their grand entrance.

 Joseph and Mary (aka Megan and Kayli) had to check out what was happening over at the palace.

 Desert Girl was a little tired and ready to be held.

 The grand finale, Joy to the World.

 On the night of the performance, Isaac joined Emma as a sheep.

 This little lamb had fun playing with Grandpa before the performance.

My husband then videotaped the performance, but I haven't had much luck uploading the large files yet.

The kids did an excellent job, despite a wandering sheep and angel that caused a little havoc.

For the last song, all the kids were up on stage singing except for Desert Girl, who sat on Shepherd Hill making funny faces. I guess I could say she was basking in the limelight!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

School Christmas Program

  The local elementary schools had their Christmas program Tuesday evening, and the preschool kids (with a couple helpers) started off the evening singing a couple songs. Desert Boy belted it out, but I'm not sure if Desert Girl ever opened her mouth!

 Those cherubic cheeks just make me want to pinch them! They won't have them for much longer.

 I'm not sure if they weren't hitting the right notes or if there was something else of concern to make Ava and Emma look so worried.
 Fortunately it turned out okay!
 Afterwards, the kids went and sat on the gym mats. They goofed around, and I thought this was a good "See no evil, hear no evil, smell no evil" pose. Or something like that.

 Next up was K-2. Yep, this is the whole class (minus one) for those three grades. Have I mentioned we live out in the boonies?

 Oops, I got distracted by my mega-cute niece Kayli.

 Time to watch the elementary school play, about inventions. It was fun to watch.

 Grades 3-6 went next. I think there are 17 students in that school, all in one classroom. They did a nice job and had fun with the fancy microphones.

 Megan and Melanie were obviously having a good time.

 Desert Girl always likes to visit her babysitter when she has a chance!

 Then Santa arrived, to the merriment of all the kids.

 Well, almost all the kids. Desert Girl wasn't too sure about getting close to Santa, even with Grandma's urging.

 Meanwhile, Desert Boy had no qualms about plopping down and telling Santa his whole list.

Hmmm, still thinking!

It was a great evening.
Tonight we're going to the children's Nativity play, which both kids are supposed to be a part of. It's always so cute to watch them.

We hope you have a very blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Lights

 With Desert Girl getting extremely excited over Christmas lights, we decided we would visit downtown Salt Lake City at night. She said, "Whoa!" every time we saw cool lights. Soon she sounded like a train, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!" It made us laugh.

 I liked this fountain, it made me think of aliens--or amoebas--emerging and doing a little water dance.

 We were surprised how many people were wandering around Temple Square on a Sunday evening. The light displays were terrific. When I looked at this photo, I noticed that there were even more lights (from building tops and high windows) illuminating the scene.

 But then we had to take a detour. Desert Boy's biggest wish wasn't to see Christmas lights, but to ride the Trax train. So we walked down a block to the station and waited for the train.

 He can't wait to get on!

 Here it comes, the big moment!

 We rode down a couple stops, got off, then got on a returning train. That counted as a train adventure, and Desert Boy was happy. I think I've only been on the Trax trains once or twice before, and again I was impressed with their cleanliness.

Then it was back to Temple Square to look at some more lights. Uncle Ed's friend Nick told us about the Nativity scenes, so we went over to take a look.

 The Nativity scenes were so interesting, representing different cultures. I didn't see signs saying what cultures, so we just guessed. I really liked seeing Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the angels, and Wise Men shown in different ways. It was also fascinating to see what animals they chose to accompany each scene.

 These Wise Men seemed so serene.

 These angels are ready to trumpet!
 I really liked the bird in this scene!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Utah's Hogle Zoo

 My brother suggested we go to Hogle Zoo while we were in Salt Lake City, and as we had a free afternoon, we decided that sounded like an excellent plan, especially since none of us had ever been there before. Granted, a zoo is usually a warm-weather destination, but the animals don't take the train south for the winter, so the zoo stays open year-round.

A winter visit meant no line to get tickets and plenty of space. We did have to bundle up, though, and we put the kids in their snow pants, which worked out great.

 Desert Boy immediately spotted the playground, and we had to drag him away from that to go see the rest of the zoo.

 I enjoyed the canyon country walk, with the native animals and a replica of a Native American house.

 Yes, this is a plain old rooster. But it seemed very colorful, so I couldn't resist taking a photo. Desert Girl wanted to capture it, but that will have to wait for another visit.

 Here's something more exotic in the primate house. I told myself I was going to remember the name, but it's been over a week, and that is just too long. I should have made Desert Boy memorize the name--his memory is much better than mine!

 Desert Girl and the chimpanzee looked like they were connecting. Or maybe the chimpanzee noticed the copious amounts of grapes that Desert Girl was eating (which we decided a few hours later really wasn't the best idea to give her a whole bag of grapes).

 My, what a big mouth you have. And maybe you need a little dental work.
 Desert Girl made a face like she was wondering if she really was safe.

 Fortunately she and the chimp parted on good terms.

 I liked the exhibit of different sizes of primates. Desert Boy fit right in.

 Then I saw something I had never seen before at a zoo: an emergency ladder. That made me think twice!

 I loved the detail of this iguana! It was nice to have some indoor exhibits where we could warm up a bit.

 Uncle Ed was amused by the kids' reactions to all the animals.

 Desert Girl had to climb higher to see better. She managed all by herself. We definitely have another climber on our hands!
 Desert Girl is becoming more intelligible at a rapid rate, so she is really fun to listen to!

 The meerkats were hilarious, scurrying around and then posing. Okay, they weren't really posing, but it seemed like it.

 One came over to check out the kids, and that made them laugh a lot.

 Desert Girl checking out something. She had this great expression on her face a lot of the day.

 She loves cats, so she was fascinated by this one in the basket. I never did see its head.

 Then we went into the giraffe house and I was fascinated by these odd-looking creatures.

 What beautiful eyelashes!

 And quite a tongue.

 Yum, that branch must have tasted really good!

 These two cool dudes were strutting around.

 Meanwhile Desert Girl and Daddy shared a good time in front of the elephants.

 We tried for a family photo in front of the elephant sculpture, but once again we couldn't get the kids to look at the camera and smile.

 The giant ball supported on water was fun to push.

 And then it was back to the playground.

Desert Girl in the tortoise shell.
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