Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Salt Lake Thanksgiving 2016

Christmas is over and the New Year is almost here--better hurry up and write about...Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving 2016, the Andrus/Wilhoit/Wheeler clans all gathered in Salt Lake at a vacation rental near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.  Just before Callie headed to the airport, she sent a text asking if Eila needed her snowpants.  Thinking about the warmish weather we'd been having, I told her no.

Boy was I wrong!  A glorious winter storm hit with such fury that we almost didn't make it up the hill to our vacation home that evening.  Here's what the place looked like in the morning.

Despite the snow, we didn't hole up for long.  Brooklyn and Eli were singing for a nondenominational Thanksgiving service at the Federal Heights chapel, less than a mile from our Avenues home.   Even though they were headed up to Idaho later in the day, Charles, Susie, Christy, and Jason's cousin Thad all met us there.  Afterwards, we headed to our Avenues home for an amazing breakfast which Christy prepared.  Check out this shakshuka, an Israeli breakfast dish topped with eggs.  Delicious!

Christy even baked the amazing bread.  No wonder LDS Living tagged her as one of the "8 Most Interesting Mormons in the Food World."

Here we are lounging after breakfast.  Cousin Thad, a commercial airline pilot, had a few hours to spend with us before heading back to the airport for his next flight.

The Wilhoits made it and are ready to dine!  From right to left we have Adam, Eila, Callie, Kara and Christy.

We also dropped by Virginia Avenue while in the area since we had just barely placed an offer on the property.  While not perfect, the home certainly has charm.

Here's Kara trying to decide whether this charming living room makes up for a notable lack of bedroom space and the garage sized for a Model T.  Let's hope it does!

From there, we headed back to our spacious vacation rental for the rest of Thanksgiving Day.  NomiAnn brought some great crafts to help us celebrate.  Here are Brooklyn and Talia making nametags.

As for Papa Kay, he came equipped with a trivia quiz.  Thanks to a recent Thanksgiving unit in first grade, Eli passed with flying colors.

Of course, everybody's favorite part was snuggling with cousin Eila.  Here's Brooklyn bonding with her cuz.

Papa Kay cleared the slide for Annie, snow and all.

At last, turkey was done and it was time to dine.  Three cheers for the cranberry relish!

Can't forget the sweet potatoes! (Or Adam.)  With the exception of pie, everything else on Thanksgiving is optional.

The next morning was likewise quite special, thanks to the nickname breakfast Papa Kay planned.  Here's Eila/GoGurt eating a Cheesestick (Eli) with a glass of Eggnog (Callie) to go along with it.

Cheesestick seems pretty pleased with his nickname.

Of course, ReddiWip really likes hers as well.  We also served buttermilk (Brooklyn) pancakes, ate cheesecake (Annika), and passed around milkweed (Kara) seeds.

After breakfast, it was time to head to the Gateway Center to see Moana on opening day.  They even had dancers and giveaways to celebrate.  Amazing!

On the way back, we swung by the planetarium for a few minutes of play.  Just like a little kitten, Eila enjoyed chasing the lights.

In the evening, we headed to Temple Square to see all the lights.  Kind of a bust, to be quite honest.  It was CRAZY busy!  We headed up to the tenth floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a bit of breathing room where we found this awesome fountain to explore.

Posing for a picture in the lobby.

So pretty!

Saturday morning we headed up the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for an Andrus Amble, despite some icy conditions.

With Baby Boy Wilhoit well on his way, Callie let Adam tie her shoes.

Aren't they the cutest couple?

Eila doesn't seem convinced about the whole snow thing.

Papa Kay looks like he's in his element though, pointing out many of his old stomping grounds.

Pondering the valley.

Brooklyn certainly looks ready for mischief.

On our way back, we walked past this, ahem, unique spectacle.

Definitely one of a kind.  Wouldn't want to live next door, though.

Took this picture just for you, Janet.  Poor snowman is trapped!

Eila seems overwhelmed by it all.

Or maybe she's just jealous because Annika keeps stealing all her Momma's snuggles.

Later in the morning, we headed to the Leonardo for some building creativity.  Many thanks to Callie and Adam for the membership!

It's not often that Callie gets to do tall favors for those who can't reach.

Constructing our own pendulum machines.

Back at home, it was time to explore all the treasures NomiAnn brought.  Annie absolutely loves her new fishy swimsuit.

Fish face!

Eila just loves taking everything out of the boxes.

And as for Eli, well, Vader's never looked so cute.  (Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher.  We watched Episode VII last night in your honor.)

Speaking of resting, Jason sure liked snuggling in with his niece.

Last but not least, some lovely cousin photos in the new Christmas dresses/suit that Papa Kay bought.

Just don't fall!

NomiAnn and Papa Kay, thank you for organizing such a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration for us all.
We love you, miss you, and above all, we are so thankful for you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Talia Turns Ten

In mid-November, our Talia Lily turned double digits--ten years old!  We began the celebrations a day early with a ride aboard the Heber Creeper.  If you ever want to venture aboard this historic train, we totally recommend going on Monday night Family Night.  Not only was the price great, but it also included live entertainment, a shoot-off between the sheriff and some outlaws, and a spaghetti dinner.  (Okay, so we had to bring our own spaghettti dinner, but at least they allowed it on the train.)

November 14th's supermoon made the evening even more special.  While difficult to photograph, it truly was remarkable--the largest since 1948.  It kept hopping along the horizon during our drive out to Midway, giving us the chance to watch it rise half a dozen times.

Naturally Jason and I enjoyed the journey along Memory Lane as we recalled our romantic Homecoming date aboard the Heber Creeper fourteen years ago.  He didn't kiss me then, but gladly made up for it this time around.  (Plus, we love listening to the kids squeal eww!)

The next afternoon, Talia came home from school to find an outrageous number of packages just waiting for her to open.

What a lucky girl!

A fun shirt from NomiAnn.

Most of the presents, however, were craft supplies for the art party she was planning for her friends later that week.

Instead of a traditional cake, we enjoyed some Peruvian crema volteada.  Can't go wrong there!

At last, Friday night party time.  Talia planned the party all on her own, browsing Pinterest until she found the perfect crafts.  Three of her classmates came, which was ideal by the time you added our own crew to the crowd.  I would invite these cute little artists over anytime for more crafting fun!

Here we are making galaxy slime out of clear glue, liquid starch, glitter, and watercolor paints.  While I may have been skeptical initially, it turned out to loads of fun. Not only that, it stores extremely well.  I pulled the slime out a month later with my preschoolers, and we amused ourselves for at least an hour.

Here's Taylor with an impressive slime beard.

Next craft: salt art.  The girls used chalk to color their own salt, then layered it in clear containers like you might do with colored sand.

Ta da!  So pretty, Brooklyn.

Melted Crayon Art.  Another super fun idea, you start by hot gluing crayons to a canvas, then apply heat using a blow dryer.

Wait just a moment, and voila!  The crayons start to melt creating a totally awesome piece of art.

Here's Clara working on her creation.

Taylor seems pretty happy with her masterpiece.

Next up, clay modeling.  Everybody throw your hands up for Karsyn's best idea ever... adorable little gnome.

No party is complete without cake, or in this case, yummy cheesecake.

A few minutes left to open a couple presents...

...and it was the all-around perfect artsy party.

Happy Birthday, Talia Lily!  We sure love you and your creativity that inspires us all.