Full Speed into 2011

We had a great send off to 2010 and a pretty great start to the new year, too.

Originally there were some plans for hockey, but the mountains of snow sort of messed up the ice. And then buried it. It was supposed to be freezing on New Year's Eve--only a few degrees above zero. I'm not sure what the temperature actually was, but it had to be warmer than that. It was beautiful.

A bunch of us headed up to the Dam with shovels.

Dev and his shovel.... he did use it eventually.
Erin & Christy hard at work.

After an hour or maybe even two, we had a pretty big chunk of our rink cleared off.
But we were sure happy to see Jacques show up on his four wheeler with his plow. He finished the last third pretty quickly.

 After all the shoveling (and a lot of hanging out before the shoveling began, discussing whether or not the shoveling should begin) by the time the ice was clear it was already getting dark so we postponed the actual playing until the next day.

I went back into town to pick up the kids and some food for some evening sledding. I'd left them to find all their winter stuff and get ready to go and they actually did a really good job-- other than Lex who was ready with only his jeans,  blue gloves and crocs. 

We moved from the fire down my the ice up to the sledding hill and all sorts of people started showing up. There were probably at least six or seven families and a bunch of other middle schoolers hanging out up there. There were fires going at the top and bottom of the hill and dozens of kids (and adults) going down the hill.

warming up around the fire
Lex figuring out how to warm up his hands.
Israel...needing to warm up. Good thing I've bought him all that winter clothing. I know he even brought some of it with him. Maybe he's keeping it nice and warm in the truck.
Th hill--with two lanes at jumps at this point.

We got back from sledding a little after 9:00 and neither Dev or I had much ambition to do anything. We did end up going out to the 44 so we could get some food because we were both starving. It wasn't a great choice.  It was awful. All sorts of young (like teen-aged young) kids singing bad karaoke and not many people we wanted to talk to and then they made Dev the wrong pizza and my food was just gross. We didn't hang around too long. I realized I was actually really tired and the most exciting way to end the night seemed like just going to sleep early. It was barely after midnight when I went to bed-- quite a few hours earlier than I go to bed on a normal night.

The next morning we got up and got ready to head to Polson for the Polar Plunge. They don't officially do it there anymore, but I wasn't too eager to drive all the way to Bigfork and there aren't a lot of bodies of water that aren't completely frozen over closer to home. The last few years there have still been a few dozen people up at Riverside anyway. This year, we were basically the crowd.

The weather conditions may have had something to do with it.

Michael chipping away some ice to find a good pathway into the water. Not usually something you want to have to do before a swim.
The nice inviting lake. Someone said it was about -2. Of course down on the lake there was also wind. It was freezing even before you took off any layers or got in the water.
Starting to get ready to jump in...
The first wave: Gage, Ronnie, Eldon, Michael, Israel & Daij...and two others who joined our gang. Zoran and I and Bryce were behind this group with one other guy we didn't know.
Zoran was pretty cold once he got out. We bundled him up and Papa gave him a ride so he didn't have to get his shoes back on before heading back up to the warm car. Once he warmed up he was pretty proud of himself and was already planning for next year.
Israel all snowy again. I think his hair is already frozen. He seems to be trying to warm up with a snow-covered robe. I probably shouldn't let him do things like this and it's often unclear if his lack of sense is a personality thing or an adolescent boy thing.  Later in the evening we were in the car and he was remembering how cold he was. He explained: "The hair on my legs froze as soon as I got out and my toes wouldn't move at all and then when I did move them with my hands they'd just stay that way, and I couldn't feel my fingers for like an hour. I'm pretty sure I have some permanent tissue damage. Man, I can't wait to do it again."
Happier in the car with the heat blasting. We borrowed Mom and Dad's van since the night before something came loose in mine and all the power steering fluid sprayed all over under my hood and drained out in a puddle at the Dam. We didn't have time to get it fixed that morning, my poor neglected kids who have never had a van thought it was pretty cool to ride around in Yaya & Papa's. Israel was pretty sure it was the coolest minivan you could get because it was equipped with a giant flashlight and a buck knife.

After the lake we all went to Pizza Hut to eat.

Of course this was Lex's favorite part. After he got out once to see who was at the Lake and realized how cold it was, he wasn't even interested in venturing outside again. He was the first one out of the car and into the restaurant when he heard pizza was involved.

Once we got back into town we headed back up to the Dam for some hockey.

It was still pretty cold up there, too. The drinks turned slushie. 

But once you started playing, it wasn't bad at all.

The gang (for the most part) and a few extras too.
Even though it was cold, it was still a really nice day up there.

We never have pictures of us together... Christy said her and Justin have the same problem so she took this photo for us.
The sunset on  the first day of the year.
I wanted hot chocolate when I got home, but Zoran took it over.
After we got back we packed up the kids once again and headed over to Aspen and Brian's to watch the UFC fights.  My children probably shouldn't be allowed to watch them--they were practicing all sorts of potentially harmful moves on each other all evening. At least we left before breaking anything in their house. By the time we got home it was after 11:00 and once again we missed Jump Dance. I think I'm making getting there one of my resolutions for next year.

But of all the problems to have, having too many good places to be and too many people you want to spend time with is not a bad one to have.

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