We took the girls to see Disney on Ice. They had a blast! Even though they hadn't seen many of the movies, all three sat intently through the whole show. Poor Anna had pink eye (she was on meds, so it wasn't contagious) but she didn't seem to let that bother her.

the girls in their seats

Lee sang along with the seven dwarfs, or "high-hoes", as Rosa calls them.

the dwarfs on stage

I marveled at how the actors could skate in some of the costumes!

Cinderella's mice friends

Cinderella's coach was really cool, too.

Cinderella's coach

Anna's favorite was Mickey Mouse. When he wasn't on the ice she kept asking "Where's Micka Mouse?"

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Goofy got lots of laughs from the girls.


Rosa loved the princesses. She now loves dressing up like a princess.

Cinderella and her prince skating

Her favorite would become Snow White (maybe because of the dwarfs?).

princesses and their princes

At the intermission, the girls went down to the ice, and I got a couple pictures of our own princesses:

Anna, Rosa, and Nora

the girls again

The show was a lot of fun. The performers were amazing to watch. Some even did spins and flips!

A skater landing after a spin

the whole stage full of performers

A huge castle was the main prop. At the end all the performers were on it, waving good-bye.

the castle and performers

Even Mickey and Minnie made a last appearance, to Anna's joy.

Mickey and Minnie on the castle

After the show we spotted a Linus from Peanut fame, and had to pose for a picture.

the girls with a Linus statue

Our place of worship, the local Kingdom Hall, was remodeled. We were so excited to be able to be a part of it. Brothers and sisters from all over the area came to help out. At first it was rather unnerving, seeing the hall all torn apart...

the auditorium all stripped

but soon it began to all come together.

the workers busy working

The new auditorium looked beautiful!

the carpeted hall

The boys got a kick out of the safety sign:

safety sign

Besides getting new paint and carpet in the main hall, the downstairs was tiled and painted.

new tile

A new entryway was made, with double doors and a window, so now the weather wouldn't howl in whenever someone entered.

new entryway

The most noticeable difference from the outside was the new carport.

the new carport

The Hall looks so beautiful now! It was amazing to see it all come together so quickly.

We were blessed with lots of snow this winter. The kids decided to forgo snowmen this year. Instead we built a snow hill. With each snow the hill grew. Here's the kids on top of our hill early in the season:

the kids posing on top of the hill

And there they go!

the kids sledding down

Off to one side the boys built a jump. They all loved "catching some air!" Here's Nora:

Nora on the jump

and Caleb:

Caleb on the jump

and Rosa:

Rosa on the jump

This shot of Corbin on the jump is really cool. It looks like he's on a flying carpet!

Corbin on the jump

What did he think of it? His face says it all:

Corbin smiling

Somehow I was coerced into trying out the jump.

Shannon on the jump

The second run didn't end so well, though.

Shannon flat on her back

The kids loved racing each other. Sometimes the goal was who was the quickest, but more often than not the goal was who could go the farthest. Here's a bunch heading out of the starting gates:

the kids starting to sled down the hill

I even joined in a couple.

Shannon and Caleb racing

Lee seemed to enjoy himself as well.

Lee on a sled

The boys and Nora also tried out their snowboards.

Alex on a snowboard

Caleb learned that going on the jump with the board might not be such a great idea.

Caleb falling off the snowboard

He didn't mind. He had tons of fun.

Caleb happy

Rosa surprised us this year by actually enjoying the snow. She even managed to climb the hill and launch herself without any help!

Rosa on a sled

Anna, on the other hand, appreciated a little assistance. She would wait at the bottom of the hill after a ride until someone would pull her back up.

Anna waiting on her sled

One of her siblings was usually willing to lend a hand.

Nora pulling Anna

One last picture of our winter sledding: Nora sums up the experience with a smile:

Nora on a sled

Our family is really enjoying our Family Bible Study Night. Here we are dressed up as Bible characters.

The gang dressed up as Bible characters

Alex was given his first #3 talk over the winter. Here he is with his assignment:

Alex holding his talk slip

We raided the after the holidays clearance racks and got some gingerbread house kits for the kids to make. Here they are with their city:

The kids with their gingerbread house city

We attended an outing our virtual school hosted: snowshoeing at a state park. The girls and I stayed indoors and did some activities, while the boys tried out the snowshoes.

Caleb and Corbin snowshoeing

They thought is was a lot of fun. They wandered over frozen ponds and through a wooded area.

Crossing the frozen pond

The boys out snowshoeing

Alex thought he would have a little bit of fun with the snow...

Alex holding a big snowball over Caleb

Why get Caleb when Dad is a more tempting target?

Alex aiming at the camera held by Lee

The girls had fun inside. Here they are with a big puzzle they did together.

The girls with the puzzle

Our last early spring adventure was to the Como Zoo and Conservatory. The girls loved the penguins and puffins...

a puffin

and we also watched the trainers feeding Sparky the seal and his family.

At the large cat building we were delighted to watch two snow leopards playing and pouncing like giant kittens.

2 snow leopards wrestling

One even looked like she wanted a tummy rub!

a snow leopard with her tummy up

The lazy lions were all sleeping, but the tigers were out wandering in the snow.

a tiger

Soon we wandered to one of our favorite parts: the new tropics trail. It has a large aquarium with exotic fish...

a large fish

and birds that freely fly throughout the enclosure. Alex was able to get some shots of a pretty yellow one:

a yellow bird

the bird again

He wasn't so thrilled when I tried to take a picture of him, however.

Alex looking annoyed

From there we went to the adjacent conservatory. It is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the wonderful variety of greenery. Grandpa also enjoyed relaxing for a bit.

Grandpa and the boys

Anna loved all the water, especially the fountains.

Anna at a fountain

The kids like to smell each flower; sometimes coming up with a rather yellow nose from the pollen!

Anna smelling a flower

Caleb smelling a lily

Caleb with pollen on his nose

My personal favorite is the cocoa tree.

Me at the chocolate tree

The last room we wandered through has a pond with large koi fish. The kids love sitting near the water's edge and watching them swim.

Anna and Corbin watching the fish

Alex is getting to be quite the camera man, and took a number of photos as we meandered along. Here is a slide show of some of them:

Number of Pictures: of

Our last stop of the day was the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum. They had doubled in size since we last visited, adding on even more interactive layouts.

First we hung out at the area we'd been to before. Nora's favorite is the trolley:

the trolley

The boys were more impressed with the steam engine that puffed real smoke.

a steam engine

Rosa and Anna like ringing the old train bell.

Rosa ringing the bell

My favorite area is were the paddle boat and river are. Watching the trains reflect over the "water" is neat.

the trains and the river

The new addition was lots of fun. The kids all took turns being engineer.

Corbin at the controls

Each layout had interactive buttons we could push to activate something, like a carnival ride or a airplane zooming.

Nora pushing buttons

It was hard to pry the kids away and head for home again.

Corbin doing one more run

We left with many happy memories and some tired young ones.

Anna sleeping

A couple days later we took Lizzy to the groomers. The kids couldn't believe how different she looked! Here is a "before" shot with Lizzy and Luigi:

Lizzy and Luigi

And here she is after her haircut:

Lizzy and the girls

We had a great winter, and can hardly wait for what spring and beyond will bring!

Rosa looking cool

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