24 February 2014

Oh, There's No Place Like Minot for the Holidays

We spent this Christmas with our sons and their families, since we'll be spending next Christmas with our daughters and their families. So very early on the morning of Christmas eve we flew to Minot AFB, North Dakota, where Garrett and Krystal's family lives.  Tyler, Rachel and Andrew flew in from Colorado later that evening. 
Here's Garrett with his two cuties.
 One of our Christmas eve traditions was to act out the nativity story, and Kent's role was always the donkey that Mary rode on--until the kids got too big.  Garrett and Krystal are continuing that tradition, and you can see Garrett is doing a fine job as the donkey.  I guess Joseph was tired and needed a ride, too.
Here's a picture of Garrett and big sister Lissa riding donkey Daddy in 1986.  The years sure fly by!
 All the stockings lined up in a row on Christmas eve.  I made all of them except Rachel's (I believe her grandma made hers for her) and I haven't made Andrew's stocking yet.
The following photos were taken on Christmas day.
 Makyla had fun with her little cousin, Andrew.
The three of us who were wearing our Christmas finery on Christmas day.
 17-month-old Makayla playing with her new kitchen set.
 Kent and I were soooo excited by this fantastic gift of all the grandchildren.  This picture is now hanging in the kitchen where we can admire it every day.
All ready for our Christmas brunch.
All the Carson guys together.  I'm not sure why we didn't get a picture of all the girls....
 I gave Andrew this "my first Christmas" onesie, which went perfectly with the hat and socks someone else gave him.
 Such proud parents of a truly adorable little boy!
Granddad and Andrew bonding.
 Granddad bonding with Daniel and Makayla, reading The Bike Lesson to the next generation of Carson children.
A day or two after Christmas it wasn't too cold outside, so we bundled up and went for a walk and to play in the snow.
 Daniel is an old pro since he's had lots of experience with the white stuff.
  Three generations of Carson women walking in the snow.
Looks like Tyler and Rachel built an Andrew-sized snowman.
We tried to get the cousins lined up for a photo, but you can guess which child wasn't too excited about it.  By the next photo Daniel had slid off the couch.
 Makayla showing off her ability to stand on an empty box.
 Hey, both Makayla and Daniel are actually smiling in this picture!!
Garrett and Krystal's sweet family after church on Sunday.  Another great picture of everyone smiling!!
I gave Daniel and Makayla The Hungry Caterpillar book for Christmas, and they both really liked it.
 Daniel's third birthday was on December 30th and we celebrated in grand style.  Kent made the party hats and Rachel and I decorated the room.
 Krystal made an amazing volcano cake with orange lava frosting.  It tasted great, too!
 It's hard to believe this little guy is three and is a Sunbeam in Primary this year.
The mild temperatures that we had earlier in our visit didn't last, and it was very cold our last few days in Minot.  And by cold I mean, negative 18 degrees (below zero.)
It may have been cold on the outside, but it was warm on the inside as we spent a week with half of our wonderful family!

18 February 2014

Christmas Carols Filled the Air...

I usually put the pictures from my Christmas recital in with the rest of the December photos, but wanted to put a few more in than usual this year, so I'm doing a separate post.  Below are the two versions of the invitations I made.  It's great to use my silhouette machine for the fancy background and to cut out the piano. It's hard to see, but the invitation is printed on paper with music notes on it.

For the first time ever I set up two pianos for this recital.
Here's a better view of the two pianos.  This is also a cute picture because these three siblings are playing a trio version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."  Note the slide on the screen.
This shot is mostly to show the powerpoint slide show Kent and I put together; each Christmas carol the students played had a picture slide to go with it.
This was also a first and the main reason I set up two pianos for the recital--a brother and sister playing a duet on two pianos instead of on just one.  It sounded awesome!
A picture of the crowd, showing what a large group it was.
This year's group of students. I have more boy students than girls this year, which I don't think has ever happened before.
Every year I give my students a music themed ornament, and these are the ornaments I gave out this year. They're made out of  thin wood, which Kent cut out for me. I painted the white first, then the black, and drew the keys on by hand with a permanent marker. They're about 3.5 tall by 3 inches wide.

13 February 2014

Christmas is the Warmest Time of the Year

Now that it's almost Valentine's day, I thought I'd better blog about some of our Christmas activities.  
We were fortunate enough to take two different trips to see the lights at the DC temple, once with a neighbor couple and once with one of Kent's coworkers and his wife.  
 The lights seemed especially lovely and colorful this year.
 You can tell by our coats that one visit was a colder evening than the other!
 I love the shot below, with the side of the visitor's center with the church's name of the side, and the spires of the temple showing in the background.
 Kent was inspired by the spectacular temple lights to do some colorful lights on our trees, bushes and fences at home, as you can see in the following pictures.  He put up more lights on the other side of our yard as the month went by, but unfortunately we didn't get pictures of those.
 Kent bought more colorful lights and plans to get even fancier next Christmas.
This shot from the outside looking in, shows the German lichtbogen I put in the window every Christmas.
The ladies in my Bible study group went on a daytrip to see Mount Vernon at Christmas.  I love to visit Mount Vernon, and it's especially fun at Christmas time.

Speaking of the Washingtons, we also took a candlelight tour of the home of Mary Ball Washington,  George Washington's mother.  Her home was in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
  I've been to Fredericksburg many times and have seen most of the historical sites there, but had never been to Mary Washington's home.
On a different and MUCH warmer day, Kent and I went on a volksmarch through downtown Fredericksburg.  As you can see, we didn't even need coats that day!  The home you can see pictured below behind Kent and me is called Kenmore, and it belonged to George Washington's sister, Betty Lewis and her husband.  (Yet another Washington connection.)
 Here's a shot of downtown Fredericksburg; such a picturesque little town.
 Our volksmarch led us past the Confederate Cemetery.
I invited the ladies from my Bible study group to come over to my house for a "Christmas in Germany" party. Not everyone was able to come, but it was fun to wear my dirndl and show my power point slide show about the German Christmas markets.

I'd bought German sausages and cookies at Aldi, the German grocery store in our town, and also made German potato pancakes like they serve at the Christmas markets.
 I think this year's Christmas tree was one of the prettiest we've ever had, and we just bought it at Home Depot for $30.  The shape was perfect, rather tall and not too wide, and it held up amazingly well, losing hardly any needles.  We put it in front of the window in the dining room, which was a new location for it.
 As it is every year, it was sad when it was time to take it down and put it away.