Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Florida - Part I

A belated Merry Christmas, Internet. We were warming up in Florida, visiting Otto's family for the past week, and we had a great time.

Andy and Sam started the visit with a dip in Abue and Abuelo's pool. Otto was kind enough to go in with the boys, as the water was a little chilly. Swim time lasted maybe ten minutes over all.

Later that evening Otto's parents watched the boys while Otto, Aaron, and I went to Tia Lydia's house for a cousin gathering. Below we have (from left to right) Daphne, Carlos, Suzy, Lydia, Raquel, Yvonne, Aaron, me, Otto, Sindi, and Sandra. Orlando is in there, too, but you can't see him; serves him right, because he kept tickling Suzy and making her jump - this was the only picture where she was able to look at the camera!

The next afternoon we went fishing on Otto's parents' boat in the Keys and stayed the night. Andy and Sam are sitting with Tia Vittoria on the way out to sea.

Abue got a fish!
And now Abuelo - hello dinner!

The boys helped catch a couple, too, but mostly had fun running around the boat to see what people were pulling in, and taking bait to others.
One of these birds torpedoed right over our heads and into the water to catch a fish - the sound of it speeding through the air was quite loud.

Heading back to shore.

More on the trip to come....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amusing this week

There have been several things that made me pause in the last few days, so I thought I'd compile a list.

  1. Thick ice on the INSIDE of the windows. It was whiter and frostier than the photo above a couple days ago.
  2. I picked up the water bottle in the car to take a sip of the little that was left, and heard a 'thug' as I pulled it up to my mouth. Large chunk of ice, with a bit of VERY refreshing water to quench my thirst. Refreshing wasn't really what I was after, but who am I to complain about such things?
  3. Otto asking if I brought the garbage cans into the garage from the back alley. Ha! YOU wanted to move to Canada, YOU bring in the garbage cans in the sub-freezing temperatures.
  4. When Andy and Sam are playing together and the furnace kicks on, they yell, "Heater's on!!!", run to the nearest floor vent and lay there until it turns off again.
  5. Today is cold, but a couple days ago when it was REALLY cold, whenever you would open an outside door, a mysterious fog of water vapor would float into the house. I half expected a magician with cape and top hat to wander in behind it.
  6. Cold beer. A nearby liquor store has this in huge neon letters on the building. Who in their right mind is drinking COLD BEER around here? I find a shot of brandy warms me up nicely.
  7. The snowflakes that fell on our heads this morning looked like the real snowflakes that you've seen blown up under a microscope. I guess I had only seen the drier snowflakes before, which look more like white dots, but these were huge, distinctly patterned, beautiful snowflakes that you could stare at and inspect.
  8. Snow that falls with the sun shining behind it looks like glitter falling from the sky.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Sometimes you have to shovel the snow twice a day."

We got our first big snow yesterday, and this is what my friend told me when I asked why people were shoveling their sidewalks while it was still snowing.

Newbie snow person that I am, I figured it would be more productive to wait until the snow stopped before you started to shovel. Not so, apparently; she went on to explain that the snow can get very heavy, and it's easier to go out and shovel the snow in two rounds rather that one.

As we were walking back from meeting Andy at the bus stop, the boys helped a neighbor clear their sidewalk - on their hands and knees.

Back at the house a couple snow angels appeared.

After I cleared our sidewalk and driveway (not on my hands and knees, but with a boring old shovel), we headed in to decorate some gingerbread cookies that Sam and I baked the day before.

Look at all the beautiful cookies we made!

Decisions, decisions! Which one should I eat??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Weekend Getaway

We took a trip over to the mountains this past weekend, primarily to learn to ski and snowboard at Sunshine Ski Village. I have no action shots, as we were all in our respective lessons at the same time, and weren't anywhere near each other. I would have taken a self portrait, but I was too busy trying to keep from wiping out. Andy and Sam really enjoyed the program they were in, and Otto has so much fun he started trying to figure out when we could go back before we even returned home. I actually enjoyed myself, too. I far surpassed the expectations I had about what I might accomplish in one lesson. That's not to say I don't need a few more lessons; I think I had a little thought in the back of my head that I wouldn't get it, at all, ever.

Here the boys were after we picked them up from their lessons. Going down on the gondola.
Sam was wiped out! And on the way back to the hotel, they both took a snooze.
The next day we stopped by the Banff Springs Hotel to see all the pretty decorations, and to walk around a little because we had never been inside before.

This was a candy/food replica of the hotel. Pretty cool. The boys just wanted to eat it.
We found some snowy areas in the back of the hotel to run around in. After working up an appetite we and had lunch at Magpie&Stump. I had eaten here many years ago. I like the food, and they play groovy music - Coldplay and Crowded House's live album while we were there. Sippin' on a Coke. We've cut back on soda consumption around here, so I think they were both savoring their beverages. We strolled a little more up and down Banff avenue after lunch. Here were some ice sculptures advertising the annual ice sculpture event they have at Lake Louise. And here was a parting shot of the mountains from the front seat of the car as we rolled out of town. Otto already found a way to go back. Some fellas from work are driving over for the day on Friday to ski and invited him along. He's ready! My tailbone, on the other hand, needs a little more recuperation time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tree decorating

We put up the ole' Christmas Tree up a few days ago.

We still need a topper. I thought our angel was in another box, but then I remembered breaking her last year when I took her off the tree. So I need to get something else now - I'm thinking of going with a star this time.

Ta-da! They did very well spreading them out and making it look uniform (although I did move a few to the upper part of the tree). It also helped that the tree is on carpet this year - not one ornament crashed on the ground in the process!