I haven't posted in quite awhile but I did find a draft that I had started back at Christmas time, so I thought I would add to it and supplement with photos for less writing on my part. :)
We just experienced our second white Christmas here in Utah. Our first white Christmas happened in south Texas, believe it or not! We went to a couple's house that we met at church who are also from Texas. They had already gone to Texas for Thanksgiving and were going to be alone for Christmas so they invited us over for a Christmas meal. It was great, because BJ made brisket, which is not very common in these parts. (I actually am not sure where a BBQ restaurant is in Logan.) We stayed over at their house for awhile and talked with them for longer than I thought we would. They are very nice, a little older with children around our age, who also miss aspects of Texas but also enjoy living out West like we do.
Our house -somewhat decorated.
Here we are in front of our tree. We ended up buying one from the Forestry Club on campus since we were unable to cut our own down. Lucy is sporting one of the jackets she received from her grandparents for Christmas.
Here's Lucy, in front of Matilda, our snow-woman.
Before Christmas, we had decided to send care packages to soldiers in Iraq, and we planned to send one to an Aggie geology graduate who was in two of the labs that I TAed at A&M. I had emailed him to get his address and he emailed me back telling me everything was going well and offering to bring me back some rocks from Iraq. I was in the kitchen making the cookies to go in the care packages when Adrian read that Jeremy had been killed in Iraq, 5 days before Christmas. Jeremy was such a good guy and I know that he will be severely missed. He is the first person that I actually knew who was killed in Iraq, which made it so much more real to me.
Other than that, we had a nice Christmas break, although I do have to admit that I spent a lot if it being somewhat lazy. We did do some work around the house and went sledding and skiing to take advantage of Utah powder. I strictly stay on the super easy (and pretty cheap) lift and was able to return my ski pass with a doctor's note, so I may not ski that much more, but I am extremely cautious when I go and have perfected the snowplow.
Sledding down Old Main hill on campus.
On New Year's Eve, we went to the Hardware Ranch outside of town to take a horse carriage ride through an elk herd. The Hardware Ranch feeds the elk that migrate down in the winter time so that the elk do not become a nuisance and migrate into the town and surrounding farms. This is something that they have been doing since the 60s, and every year at around mid-December, the elk come to the ranch, hang out and eat some free food, while visitors stare at them from a wagon pulled by two big horses.
The elk are used to the horse carriages and don't mind the people, but we're told that the elk would scatter if someone approached them on foot. In the background, you can see a little elk nursing (I'm not sure what baby elk are called - perhaps calves?)
Before school started, we decided to take a short trip to get away from Logan a bit. We went down to southern Utah and camped out in Escalante State Park in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It was cold - we were the only campers. We also drove through Bryce Canyon, which was so incredibly beautiful with the red hoodoos covered in snow - probably one of the most scenic places in the country, especially during the winter time.
Here we are, in front of some hoodoos. :)
We also drove through Great Basin National Park and will have to go back when the spring orchards are in bloom for some free, fresh fruit. We did a nice hike in Escalante State Park that wove around numerous deposits of petrified wood. Lucy attempted to chase a jack rabbit on the trail but she did not get too far, because first of all, she got too tired and second of all, she got into trouble. In the visitor's center, they have pieces of wood that were returned by visitors who had stolen them from the park but returned them, after experiencing bad luck.
Lucy in front of a piece of petrified wood, for scale.
And, in early January, we went to our first real doctor's appointment and had the chance to actually see the baby and hear the baby's heartbeat! Which was nice, because even though I knew I was pregnant, I didn't much feel like it, so it was nice to know that there is actually something in there! I haven't really had that much of a bad time. At the end of last semester, I was pretty tired and there were some things that made me feel nauseous, but now I feel 100% (except for some reason, I can't stand still for long periods of time without my water, so I have to make sure I bring it to bball games), so it will be nice when we go to our second appt on the 31st to get the confirmation again that the baby is still in there...here is the baby at about 11 weeks
That's pretty much all that has happened since my last post. School has started and we are on our 3rd week. It's been pretty hectic so far, but for the most part, I am enjoying my classes and learning a lot and getting the opportunity to read some interesting articles. I have also begun water aerobics class on campus with a friend of mine on Mondays and Wednesdays. Last Wed, we did deep-water aerobics, which I had never done before. It was really fun. You wear a water belt and go out to the deep end where you can't touch the bottom. I felt that it really worked my legs and arms without any kind of impact on my joints.
We've also begun to get kind of plugged into our church. We have been going to a small group Bible study, which has been really good. It is actually led by an Aggie couple (class of '87 and '91), so it is fun to have that in common and to be able to reminisce about College Station. There are actually several people in the church that have A&M ties. But the study is made up of a nice varied group of all ages for a lot of different perspectives and experiences. First, we eat dinner together (and there are tons of kids) and then we have the study in the basement, while the kids hang out with a babysitter upstairs. It's been kind of nice to meet some people in a different context from school.
And, there - I should be all caught up!