Saturday, December 31, 2016

Celebrating the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 in one of our favorite places

If you have been following this blog for any amount of time, you know that I dislike New Year's Eve.  I don't like thinking of it as the end of something and the beginning of another something.
I just like to smoothly move right into the new year and continue on just as I was.
I don't do resolutions either because I do not keep them.

John and I have never had a New Year's tradition until four years ago when we started coming up to the Landmark in Door County and it has become one of our favorite places to spend New Year's Eve.
So, if I must celebrate it, I will do it up here with John by my side and a cherry martini in my hand.

John took me up to Oshkosh on Friday, Dec. 30.  He worked half the day while I cleaned and organized Soliana's room so her new playhouse and Barbie stuff would all fit.
Mission accomplished for me by mid morning.
John arrived about 1:00 and we were off.
Arrived at the Landmark by 3:30ish.
This condo is owned by the man we rented from, a few years ago, so we were expecting to know exactly where it would be located in the resort, but he must own more than one, because this one is a reverse of the other one.  Set up for a left handed person, we feel, but we are used to it now.
It does have an electric fireplace so that is nice.

We went up to JJ's in Sister Bay for a fish fry that night.  We had whitefish and it was so yummy.
I wish it had been all you can eat because I could have eaten so much more.
We got back to our condo and watched some Twin Peaks before bed.

Today, Saturday, New Year's Eve Day, we went snow shoeing at the nature center in Peninsula State Park.  It had snowed about 5 inches last night and it was so perfect for shoeing.
We had not done much of any exercise for months so we surprised ourselves by being able to do the three miles so easily.
The temps were in the 20's so even that was nice.
Here are a few photos from our adventure:

After snow shoeing, we drove up to Northport to check out the tip of Door County.
Still there and cold today.
We got back, relaxed and got ready for our night out at the Carrington here at the Landmark.
Looking forward to their cherry martinis.
Hope we make it to midnight, but if we don't the new year will come in anyway!

Stay tuned for more details about our night and the rest of our get away in tomorrow's blog.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

And, Just like that, it is all over!

The Van Aukens just left and, like always, I feel bittersweet.
Sweet because it was such a wonderful Christmas.
Bitter because it took months to plan, buy, decorate, and get ready and just like that, it was over!
I wonder why these holidays have to go so fast, but I know that is just how it is.
When we used to go to my parents, grandparents, and John's folks homes for Christmas, I never really felt like this.
I was always kind of glad when it was over and we could head home with our little girls and just be a family of four.  I am guessing my mom, John's mom, and my grandmas felt just like I do now!  
Everything is relative, I guess.

We started our celebration  on Friday, Dec. 23 in Oshkosh.
We had gone to church before that at St. John's to see the kids' program which was awesome.
We took my mom there to see Courtney's tree.
We met them at Red Robin and enjoyed a fun lunch before heading oer to see their tree.
It was a short visit because the Hunters were arriving here that evening.
We got home and they were here waiting with Mallory.
We all went out to Rock river Pizza and then to Fire Cracker, it was a great way to start our holiday.

On Saturday we went over to Kev's about 4:30 and enjoyed a great dinner, followed by gift opening and then beers in the basement bar.
So many great laughs.
Kev was in rare form and we didn't even feel like we had to leave, stayed till midnight.
Here are a few photos from that night:

On Christmas Day, the Van Auken family arrived about 11:00.
Gifts to the girls were opened and enjoyed all day long.
We got Tiz a sewing machine for her item wanted and a clubhouse for Soli's wanted item.  
We got both of them a gym mat for their thing needed.
Those three items were very popular.
We all spent some time in the clubhouse with Soli and we all tried our hand at sewing.
There were countless routines on the mat, too.
My mom gave Soli a Barbie camper and accessories, another very popular gift.  Again, we all took turns playing with Barbie.
Gigi, my mom, gave Tiz a sewing basket with lots of sewing supplies which came in very handy, too.
Great gifts all around.

We enjoyed a dinner prepared by Nathan and Paul.
Nathan made the prime rib roast and Paul made the mashed potatoes.
It was a very yummy feast.

Then it was time for the couple's exchange which included a yard ornament for each couple.
It was fun as usual and included lots of beers.
 Courtney had my name and bought me this cute shirt and leg lamp earrings.
 I had Paul and bought him a t shirt and a book
 Paul bought Nathan a bottle of beer
 Nathan bought Courtney a gift certificate to a favorite store and
John bought Alissa some tasting glasses, a picture, and some coasters while Alissa bought John an Illinois Wesleyan hoodie.
Great gifts all around!

The Hunters left after lunch on Monday.
We did some more sewing and played games until today when the Van Aukens left.

So much fun, but still so bittersweet.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A weekend of snow and Christmas services

It started snowing on Friday at 2:00 just like my weatherman Charlie said it would.
My kids did their first Christmas service on Friday morning.  It went very well.  No one can tell the Christmas story as well as a preschoolers.
The way they belt out "Go Tell it on The Mountain," is matched by no one.
The snow continued through the night.
The temps plummeted on Saturday afternoon just as the second band of snow came in, again just like Charlie said it would.
John shoveled a few times.  He says his armstrong power shovel is no longer so much of a power shovel anymore, just more of an armstrong shovel that works slower than in years past.  
On Saturday night we had chili, I made a fire, and we watched movies.
On Sunday we woke to way below zero wind chills.
My Preschoolers performed their second service and again, it went beautifully.
The rest of the day was spent watching the Packers beat da Bears, wrapping some gifts, and finishing up some Christmas stuff.
I have three days of school this week and then Christmas break starts.
It's going to be a great Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Taste of Shakespeare, Christmas Service, and Double Digits

We just got back from another fantastic weekend with Soliana and Tizita.
On Saturday, we drove down to Oshkosh and picked up the girls to take them to our annual play at First Stage in Milwaukee.
We have seen Rudolph and Charlie Brown there the past two Decembers.  The girls decided they didn't want to see Rudolph again, so I bought tickets for Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.  I was really worried that the girls would not understand anything about the play.  I was pretty sure that I wouldn't get it either.  The suggested ages for the play was 12 -adult, oops, didn't read that very carefully, we were going with a 5 and almost 10 year old.  Oh, well, they are smart girls.  I was just hoping we would get through the 90 minute play without too much disappointment.
Well, who am I to worry.  The girls actually loved the play even if it was difficult to understand at times.
The story is actually pretty funny and after the play, the girls were able to talk to the actors which made the whole experience a positive one for them.
Success all around.

The predicted snow had started as we left the theater.
We arrived back in Oshkosh, met Courtney and Paul for pizza and beer at Cranky Pat's.
The girls went to bed to rest up for their Christmas service today.
Courtney and I enjoyed a few more beers and some nice conversation late into the night.

Today we went to the girls Christmas service at their church.
I love Children's Christmas services and this one was fantastic.
Soliana was a sweet angel.

Both girls sang beautifully.

After church we went over to the Roxy for some delicious breakfast foods.
The snow was still falling.

We ended the perfect weekend with a celebration of Tizita who is turning double digits on Dec. 19.
She was so excited to get her Cheer jacket, a double digits T shirt, and her first goody box.
It was a great way to celebrate a great lady

We left around 12:30, still snowing, but the roads were in good shape.
John shoveled, I unpacked, and now we are hoping the Packers can  pull out a win!
That would be the perfect end to our weekend.
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