Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Christmas Card

 We had many adventures in two thousand thirteen.

 Adam fulfilled a lifelong ambition to climb a serious mountain in Nepal. In March, after much preparation and climbing practice, he flew to Nepal for a month-long expedition. With a team of five British climbers, two Sherpa’s, and a number of porters, he hiked for three weeks through the Nepalese mountains, passing through Everest base camp and a number of small villages separated by miles of rock and ice. His team summited a mountain called Imja Tse, more commonly referred to as “Island Peak” because it appears as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from the tiny village of Dingboche. The peak of Imja Tse is 20,210 feet high and is only a few miles from Mount Everest. Out of the original team of 6 climbers and 2 Sherpa’s, only Adam and two other climbers, along with one Sherpa, made it to the summit. It was a challenging climb that included vertical ice climbing and glacier bridges, and required ropes, ice axes, and boot crampons. Adam made it back home safe and sound with a ton of pictures, fun stories, and weighing 20 pounds lighter. Don’t worry though; he gained the weight back quickly.

In February we took our annual ski trip to Colorado…this time it was Vale.  In May we “did” Disney World…and I mean we did it all.  We all went along with Nana Beth and stayed at a hotel within the Disney park. We were able to ride every major ride in all of the parks, and the kids loved it. They also loved catching lizards next to the hotel, swimming in every hotel pool, and cleaning out the snack table every day at the hotel. 

In August we got a little hot in Virginia so went north, waaay north to Canada.   We heli-hiked the beautiful, magnificent, breathtaking Canadian Rockies. Heli-hiking is when a helicopter takes your group up to a mountain top or glacier, and you get to hike to another peak for pickup or hike directly back to the lodge…or have an amazing meal served to us right there on the glacier prepared by a bunch of chefs…did I say on a glacier?!  The kids learned rock climbing with ropes, we hiked until we were dizzy and couldn’t breathe anymore, and we watched coyotes hunt rabbits, we saw a grizzly bear lumbering along a path, and we saw eagles.  We learned a great deal about plants and animals from a world-renowned naturalist.  Our first time to Canada, but definitely not our last!

In September we hiked beautiful Utah.  Laila was in heaven with her photography.   The slot canyons are so picturesque you just can’t stop taking pictures.  We even had surreal experience of getting stuck in the desert, bogged down in the sand in our rental car and miles from anywhere, in the sweltering sun and heat.  What a nerve wracking but amazing experience that was!  Till this day, I still can’t believe that was real life and not a movie! Luckily we had plenty of water. ALWAYS TAKE WATER.

Aiden turned eight in December.  He’s a busy little guy with a full load of work at school.  He stays very active with sports.  This year he played two seasons of soccer, two seasons of running club, year-round swim, and one season of bouldering (rock climbing).  He’s also on a basketball team this season and he loves it.  He likes to run races - this year he completed three 5K’s all under 30 minutes…making his Mommy envious proud!

When he’s not in school and he’s not playing a sport, you can find Aiden in front of the computer…building. Playing Minecraft is without a doubt his thing.  He knows everything there is to know about Minecraft.  He builds impressive structures…even whole cities, and farms, vacations resorts.  He’s such a Minecraft expert now he’s making his own “how to videos” and posting them on Youtube for other kids to learn from!

 Sky is almost six and half…she’s counting down the days to that “half”…that’ll be January 11th incase you were wondering.  She is an amazing little girl.  She stays very active but also makes time to curl up with a book or write in her journal.  This year Sky played two seasons of soccer and swam year-round. She ran her first 5K in the fall…finishing with her Mommy.  She’s taken a huge liking to rock climbing and now climbs anything in sight.  She’s always packing her gear and pretending to be climbing in the Rockies. Sky also joined her school’s cheerleading club.  She loves cheerleading because “It’s such a happy thing and you get to be happy and cheer for people!” I think the fact that they wear cute little cheer outfit doesn’t hurt either.

Nicolas is three and he’s quite the stud.  He has friends everywhere and he’s not afraid to show it.  When we see a friend in the mall or at the grocery story he makes sure he says hi and tells me “that’s my friend!”  He makes friends very easily and why shouldn’t he? He shares, he smiles at people, and he invites kids to play with him. I love that about his personality. Nick is one of the happiest people on the planet. He goes to sleep with a smile on his face. This is Nick’s world, we just live in it.

Nick’s also had a busy year - he has swim practice twice a week.  His swim instructor, Coach Cassie has trained Nick since he was just six months old. It’s like their old friends.   Everyone should have a Coach Cassie in their lives. He goes to gym classes weekly.  At the gym he’s the instructors pet — always volunteering to do the demonstrations. He hits the books at the library five days a week - practicing his reading, writing, coloring, and drawing.  After all, he is going to pre-K next year…joining his brother and sister at school.

 This year we bought a manufacturing company based in Virginia. The company is called Elvaria, and it makes frozen dessert machines – the big frozen yogurt machines you might see in a frozen yogurt shop, or the soft-serve ice cream machine you might see in a fast-food restaurant.  The company has five employees and sells machines to 40 states and 6 countries. Why did we get into this business? It gives us a platform to manufacturer high-value equipment, to do engineering, design, and logistics, and to market products direct-to-consumer. And it’s fun. Who doesn’t like ice cream? Adam has been taking electrical engineering classes and welding classes at the local community college to improve his skills so he can pitch in at the new company.

Christmas dinner 2013

Christmas morning 2013