Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So Much To Tell!

I know Ben has been keeping you all up on the snow situation out here...like we have LOTS! I have to say though that it is beautiful and it is cold, but today the sun was shining and although it was not supposed to be above 27 degrees, I was able to walk to my car after work today in a sweater and drive home comfortably without a coat. The sun is just that warm. So, if this is how winter is going to be I can definitely do this! We'll see though...it may be a bit early to be trusting winter weather.

Ok, I promised to blog about Thanksgiving and as that was weeks ago now, I feel I still owe it. Plus, we had such a nice day I don't mind going back and thinking about it. Our friends Jamie and Nathan F. (Micah 3, Lydia 1.5) invited us along with the C family (Greg, Kathy, Andrew 5, Esther 3, & Phoebe 1.5), Scott & Marissa K, and Mike and Newkirk for dinner. We traveled about 30 minutes south east to Morgan, UT which is a SMALL SMALL SMALL town in the mountains. We got on route 84E in the direction of Cheyenne, WY to head toward their house and couldn't help but laugh at that idea...who ever would have thought we would spend a Thanksgiving anywhere near Wyoming. haha

So they had a full house and I really enjoyed being with the kids A LOT! :) The food was really great as everyone brought their specialty and the fellowship was even better. Each family was far from any relatives for the holiday, so we were able to take this small group from church and create a makeshift family atmosphere that was really quite cozy. Don't get me wrong...NO ONE could ever replace or even come close to being like the Hollers OR the Hardys, but this was a suitable subsitute when they were all 2000 miles away. We really enjoyed getting to know some friends better and learning about what had brought people to Utah and to our church. Ben spent a lot of time hanging with the guys & watching the GB Packers game while I visited with the women and played with the kids to let the moms cook and visit as well. After dinner we played a group game and had dessert and visited more. So a pretty relaxing and over all really enjoyable day. Here are some pictures.

This is Jamie and Nathan...our loving hosts and very dear friends!

Ben with Scott & Marissa. Scott is Canadian (but super conservative) who wants to live in OH or Kentucky (random) and is going to school for accounting and Marissa is from SLC , half her family is LDS and the other half is Muslim. So she has some really interesting stories and insights. We get along great with them...notice the antelope head in the background. Nathan is a bowhunter with SKILLS-take that Napoleon Dynamite!

Kathy and baby Phoebe. The C family is such a delight. Kathy homeschools Andrew for K and Phoebe has special needs that take a lot of time and energy...but they are truly lovely and a blessing to our church family for sure!

Michael & Newkirk...newlyweds as of October, their first married T'giving and her first in UT as well. She is a sweet southern girl from Lousiana who has a great accent and makes amazing sweet potatoes!

This is Micah and Lydia F. Two of the cutest kids...here they are showing off their olives on their fingers. Micah's pants are too big for him so his mom rolled them for him...so cute. These two weigh the same. Micah is in the low end of healthy weights for his age and Lydia is in the high end for her age. Really too cute....but wait there is more!

This is Micah, Andrew & Esther making silly faces. If you look closely you can see Greg in the background also making a silly face.

"Little Esther" is just too cute for words...you should hear her little voice, it's like a cartoon how she talks with such excitement and sincerity. Of course I get a kick out of a little Esther who has brown pigtails (like I did at her age) and who loves pink and horses. Everytime her dad says her name to get her attention I find myself turning expecting to see my dad and to willingly do as he asks...so wierd. I think it wierds Greg out a bit, but I promise him it is stranger for me to hear my name in such a DAD voice. haha

So we also had the chance to go to a college basketball game and see Jamie F's cousin Andrew play for Santa Clara U against Utah State. The tix were free as almost no other family for the team was at the game. We sat directly behind the team on the floor and had a total blast with Jamie, Nathan and Micah. We were the ONLY people there cheering for Santa Clara and it was definitely a full crowd...so I went back to my Holler roots and found my voice to cheer (WOOHOO) for the guys. It was so neat to be sitting right behind them and hearing the coaches comments and all. The Utah Aggies fans could give any PA fans a run for their $...we had fun with a little clean trash talk and all. It was a blast. It definitely brought back college memories for all of us. I was sure to tell Jamie about how we girls didn't like to miss Geneva's mens basketball games our freshman & sophomore years b/c the team was so dang cute! Remember girls? :) The twins? hehe...we were so boy crazy.

This is Andrew. He is a freshman and played most of the game against a Senior who was really huge...but Andrew was a good match. He's like 6'9" and a really good player. Good job Andrew! You played a great game and we had a blast! Utah State won by 4 pts in the last few minutes after Santa Clara had had the lead for the whole first half.

Ok, other updates will be that we had another guest and that we went skiing together for the first time in UT this past weekend. But THAT is a whole other blog. Craziness...that is all I'll say for now....pure craziness. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

First Snow, Christmas tree!!

Well, after a few dustings of snow in Sept (just strange) and a few more in Oct (tease), we finally got a good coating of snow in Ogden. It's great to enjoy the Christmas season.

Ogden puts up a huge lighted "Christmas Village" in the center of town. Local businesses create a themed cottage and they are spread out in the center park, amidst all the lighted trees. It's almost like the German Christmas markets, and is a lot of fun to take kids to.

The snow also came just when we wanted to go out and get our Christmas tree. So it was super exciting to go out to the farm and cut one down. Out here, you can also get a forest service permit for $10 to go out and cut one in the Wasatch backcountry. We'll probably do that next year. But for now, North Pole Pines was a great place to go.

The tree farm, with the Wasatch mountains in the background. (Pennsylvania mountains are really hills, Exhibit A)

"Eagle Eye Esther" picked out a great tree, and was dutiful enough to snap a few pictures of my butt as I cut it down.

Only 3 weeks left til we head back to PA!! We're excited to spend lots of time with family, get a real Yuengling, and dig some real Pennsylvania people.

Esther will get you caught up on Thanksgiving and other things. You can always count on me for snow updates.