Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life In The U.P., Eh . . .

Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech.  Houghton, Michigan 2012.

Anna and Benjamin catching a ride on a dogsled! 

Petting huskies, snacking, trying to stay warm in the windy 5 degree weather. 
Admiring the ice sculptures, meeting "Blizzard" Michigan Tech's husky mascot, and the kiddies wishing they got a ride in the horse drawn wagon. 

Anna and Benjamin LOVED watching the broom ball.  It looked super fun . . . something I'd like to try since it doesn't involve ice skates!  And the pic of Ben-Ben laying in the snow cracks me up.  He was just tired out so he lay down for a rest.  (He's squinting because snow flakes are falling into his eyes. . . not from crying or anything.  :)

All tired out on the ride home! 
My dad asked if the older kids and I wanted to go up to the winter Carnival the first weekend of February, and I was pretty excited since I'd never been.  And it's fun to get out of Marquette . . . or even out of the house during these winter months.  hehe.  My mom offered to watch Caleb since it was just too cold for him to do an all day thing.  Thanks mom!  Apparently the sculptures weren't as intricate as in years past because of the warm weather leading up to the carnival, but they were still pretty cool to look at.  And the high light was the dogsled ride Anna and Benjamin got to try.  Thanks for a fun day, Grampa! 

 UP 200, 2012

Every year Marquette hosts the UP 200 Dogsled race.  This year, they shortened the race because there wasn't enough snow.  I took the kids last year - Ethan was out of town at a clinical.  So this year, I stayed home with Caleb, and Ethan took the kids . . . and they picked up my dad on the way because he always likes to go.  (I love that my dad is retired!  He is always looking for things to fill his time - and they often involve his grandkids!  Anna and Ben have had so many special "Grampa Time"s lately.  Yay!)

Our 2001 Kia Sportage.  I bought it right before we were married, and Ethan sold his car.  It was our only vehicle for 4 years, then became "Ethan's car" when we got the Montana.  It's been such a good, dependable car to us.  But on to, um, newer things. . . . and hopefully just as dependable.  :)  The 2012 Chevy Sonic, hatchback. 

Final thing -  so Ethan and I (mostly Ethan) just got a new car.  The Chevy Sonic - hatchback, standard.  (I still need to learn how to drive it . . . although I've driven standards a couple other times, and my first "lesson" went okay.  And good grief, I can play the piano, I'm sure I can get this down. :)  We weren't going to replace the dependable Kia for a few more years, but we had the "perfect storm" with our taxes this year, and had some extra cash we were completely surprised with.  Seriously - family of five, plus Ethan only started his job in September so on paper it looks like we do not make much.  hehe.  Plus, Chuck (father-in-law) had a whole bunch of GM points he wasn't going to use, plus this car gets 40 mpg on the highway, plus it's the safest car in it's class with 10 airbags and has traction control/ antilock breaks, etc.  When Ethan drives to Munising twice a week for work (about an hour away), he gets paid his regular wage for travel time, plus paid per miles driven . . . now the reimbursement will seem like more since we'll be spending less on gas.  That makes sense, right?  :)  And yes that means that Ethan gets paid a very nice amount just to sit in his car for four hours a week and listen to an entertaining book on tape, or some good music.  Yeah, we're still getting used to this whole "real job" thing.  hehe. 

Anyway, I think this will be good timing after all, because we're hoping to get at least five more years out of our 2006 Montana . . . then we'll always just have one car payment.  Okay, enough boring stuff - we're just pretty excited about our new little addition.  It's fun to drive and has some pretty cool features that neither of us has had before . . . but I'm sure they're pretty normal in cars now.  Mp3 plug?  Awesome!  XM radio free for six months?  Cool!  On star free for six months too?  Nice!  :)  And there's cruise control . . . which the Kia didn't have.  And as you can see above, all three kiddos can fit in the back . . . we've been having a lot of fun squishing them in there to go places.  How can we not, with the awesome gas mileage it gets??  

Okay, so there's my house-free update - but next post is going to show some projects I've been doing around here.  So you've been warned. 

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