Ice castle with Grandma

We made a trip to the ice castle, with Grandma this time. We had such a good time and we loved the delicate ice formations! The light was so pretty as it came through the ice, and the colors of the ice changed as the sun went in and out of cloud cover. Beautiful!

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Furry

I'm sorry, if you don't like lots of pictures of bunnies you should probably click away now. But this furry little bunny-bundle is so much fun. We are having a great time getting to know him!

He and Marigold have a natural affinity for one another. I don't know if the bunny can just tell that she's a baby and is therefore not scary to him? Although, babies can definitely be scary, so I don't know! They are kindred spirits, though.

A blur---running through a toy we made for him

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Ice

I had heard someone talking about this ice castle in Midway, so while Sam was home between Christmas and New Year's, we took a trip up there to see it.

We really, really loved it. I think we went at the perfect time of day (we arrived just before 4 pm) because it wasn't very crowded, the sun was out long enough to reflect off the ice in really beautiful ways, and the light was constantly changing. The ice formations reminded me so much of Carlsbad Caverns---doesn't the picture above look just like this?
First of all, a cute baby. We must establish that, first of all.
Now, the eerie, otherworldly, lit-from-within ice. So delicate! So pale! (This does not actually have lights under it. Although at night, some of it does.)
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Gift ideas, ages 0-11 years

I can't post these before Christmas, as my kids are avid readers of my blog (and some of the only ones who comment these days . . . hi, Abe!), but I found I really liked having a record of what kinds of things we got for the kids last year, so I'm doing this again. I hope it's useful.

Have I mentioned on this blog how much of a Rubik's Cube whiz Abe has become? He learned how to do the cube from his cousin Andy, and now you rarely see him without one in his hands. He can do it with his eyes closed . . . at least for a few of the steps! It's quite amazing. For his birthday in October, we got him the speed cube, which is way more fun to use, apparently. Easier to turn and so forth. But he couldn't fit it in his pocket for on-the-go cubing (I know!), so for Christmas I got him the cute tiny version so he can take it everywhere with him. He also got this triangle version, which I hoped would keep him challenged for more than . . . an hour . . . but I hoped in vain. He looked up a tutorial online and had it down by lunchtime. He still likes it, though, he says. (Although he is the soul of politeness, so he would say that even if he didn't.)
Abe would also like to show you how magically his shirt changes color in the sun. Abracadabra!
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From the kids

A shark for Sam, from Abe
I love the Christmas presents our kids made for us and each other this year! I know some people help their kids make sibling gifts for each other. It sounds lovely, but are you kidding me? I scramble to even get my own presents together in time, and I feel like there is no way I could come up with a bunch of independent projects for them all, plus time to do them in. Maybe someday! But the kids had their own lovely ideas for their parents and each other---trading old toys and making new ones, and there was great secrecy and giggling and wasting of wrapping paper. It was awesome.

Sam got lots of shark things and I got lots of bunny things. It's good to have a favorite animal so people know what to get you! (Although it helps if it's actually your favorite animal instead of one others have sort of assigned to you . . . like Sam's mom and pigs . . . ) Here are some examples:
Abe made me this box full of fuzzy bunnies

Seb made me this informative book about bunnies. My favorite part is how you're supposed to "lift the pages up and down vigorously" to make the bunny hop.

And this little bunny, which you can feed with the cut-out bottle

This lenticular shark was for Sam from Seb

I love this game Abe made for Malachi, modeled after Battleship. (But named "Birdle Find," for Malachi.)

And this pop-up penguin was from Seb to Daisy
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