I realize that I've been M.I.A. from the blog. It's January, I'm generally just proud of myself for getting out of bed and getting dressed in January. If I can pull it together enough to blog, I'm doing super awesome. :)
In case I haven't mentioned it recently, I hate January. January can bite me with it's grey skies and 4 degree temperatures. You know that awesome grumpy cat meme? That's me in January.
I'm hanging in there though! I'm here right this minute blogging, which means I'm surviving January! Yay Wendy! I should get a gold medal every February first with a big awards ceremony for surviving January. Can someone do that for me? Nothing big, just a red carpet gala with a few celebrities talking about how brave I am for making it through the torture and injustice that is January. And a cake. There should definitely be cake.
No? No one wants to head up that committee? Darn.
Ok, well then if we don't have an awards gala to plan I can tell you what's been happening here for the past few weeks.
First of all, I'm sure you're asking yourself where the year of books went. I'm sure you're losing sleep over my reading habits. I came here bragging about how fast I read and then two weeks later I'm still on the same darn book.
The Year of the Books is still happening, we just had to take a brief hiatus last week. Last week was finals week at school for Josh and that kid studied his butt off. We decided to disband our little family book club for a week so that we could help him study. Josh takes school very seriously and he works really hard for his grades. He has never in the whole history of school gotten a final grade that was less than an A (or in elementary school it was an E, or whatever it is they do there.) He's always getting academic awards and honor roll certificates and I'm ridiculously proud of him.
School has always come pretty easy for him but now that he's in seventh grade it's starting to get a little tougher. He's had to work for his grades this year more than he ever has and actually, I've really liked that. I like seeing him challenged a little more. He's learned new study habits this year that be never had before because he never needed to study that hard. But this year has been a little bit more of a challenge for him and he's had to work a bit harder for his grades.
So last week we cleared our evenings so that he could get a lot of good study time in and it was totally worth it because he did great on his final tests and offically got straight A's for the semester. That kid rocks. I told him to pick an activity to celebrate his accomplishment and he wants to have a family movie night with big ice cream sundaes. Done. One night this week we're going to let him pick a movie and we're going to pig out on too much ice cream and brownies. Hard work deserves ice cream. :)
The other thing fun that has been happening here is that we took our annual trip to Cascade! We left on Saturday and came home yesterday. Cascade is a tiny little town in the mountains about two hours or so from here. It's seriously in the middle of nowhere, but there just happens to be a super awesome hotel up there that we love. So every January we make the trek up the mountain to hang out there for a few days. We get a big suite with a living room and we hang out and watch movies, go swimming at the hotel pool and if we're lucky we get to feed elk!
There is a place near Cascade where you can take a sleigh ride out to feed a herd of wild elk. It's seriously the coolest experience. There is a family there that owns a big ranch and a lot of land and for decades there has been a herd of elk that comes down and hangs out on their property in the winter. The show up when it starts to snow and in the spring they leave and go somewhere else. Try used to take their family and friends on sleigh rides to go see them and feed them hay and it got to be such a big thing that they realized that they could charge people and now it's like this super cool thing in the middle of nowhere that you can go do in the winter.
The problem is that the elk are unpredictable and it only runs when the elk show up. Last year we had a weird lack of snow and the elk didn't come until later in the season so we didn't get to go while we were in Cascade last year.
But this year there is snow up there and the elk were there so we got to go. You get on a big sled and sit on bales of hay and then there are two beautiful horses that pull the sled though a beautiful snowy field. Then you enter a grove of trees and there is a big herd of elk just hanging out. They've gotten used to the sleigh rides and the people over the years so when the sled stops they surround it and eat the hay bales we're sitting in. It's absolutely amazing to sit there and watch these beautiful animals eat practically right out of your lap. They'll nudge you with their noses if they want to eat where you're sitting. You're literally nose to nose with them.
For someone who loves animals as much as I do, it's really kind of an amazing experience. Everyone stays pretty quiet so you don't scare them off and you just sit there surrounded by beautiful snowy mountains and just watch this amazing wild life show right in front of you. I love it. Love doesn't even describe how I feel about it. I would go out there every single day and sit in five degree weather all afternoon just to experience it. It's awesome.
So we had a great time feeding elk and then we went back to the hotel and warmed up and then snuggled up and ate ice cream and cookies and had a movie night with the kids in the hotel room.
It was pretty much a perfect weekend. I look forward to our Cascade weekend all year. It does wonders for my January doldrums and it's such a great opportunity to just escape for a few days with the kids. It recharges all of us and we make great memories.
Now we're home and unforunately Clarissa is sick. She has a bad cold and has had a fever today, we've just been sitting around snuggling. Poor kid. We've managed to avoid most of the sickness that has been going around lately, but I guess our luck has run out. I'm hoping that it doesn't spread to the rest of the family.
Tonight we are restarting our book reading. I'm anxious to get back on track. So far we have read over 3,500 pages! Matthew alone read 1,500 pages in 15 days. He is loving all the reading and I love that he's so enthusiastic about it! We planned our first milestone celebration for 1,000 pages and we took the kids out to dinner at our favorite restaurant to celebrate when we hit it. We're going to have another party when we hit 5,000 pages.
Josh came home from school today and said that he has to choose a non-fiction book for a book report and he chose The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. That is my favorite book of all time so I'm really excited that he has chosen to read it! He has heard me talk about it a lot so when he was assigned a non-fiction book that was the first one that came to his mind. I'm always trying to get people to read that book so I'm super excited that he's old enough to read it now! I've been known to buy extra copies and hand them out to my friends and family. I love that book. I might read it along with him.
So that's what is happening here these days! I'm surviving January and lots of fun things have been happening.
Last call for the awards ceremony committee! Still no? Darn.