Monday morning: Temps are below zero and dropping. The landscape is soft and pale as crystals hang and wait their turn to cling in a delicate doily-way to trees, grass, mailboxes and eyelashes. The kids are off to school and a week with their mother. Last week was full of basketball games, after-school practices, and homework. Ali’s 6th grade girl’s basketball team had a tournament at Gallatin Gateway Friday night. They lost their 2nd game by only ONE point when a foul against a teammate in the last 6 seconds brought the chance to get two free-throws and possibly tie the game, (which would have put them into overtime and a chance to win). Alas, the poor little nervous gal made one out of two baskets and they lost the game. She broke out in tears but got hug after hug from her teammates. I am impressed at the heart and gumption these young gals show. Ali is a pint-size force to be reckoned with.

Saturday night we had a pajama party with Mom. Sami baked two different batches of cookies, Paul made popcorn in a pot on the stove and we watched “The Sound of Music” cuddled under blankets on the couches. I thought I had seen the movie enough times in my life that I wasn’t particularly keen on our choice of entertainment but the kids are gearing up and doing tryouts for the musical at school. BUT I got goose bumps in the first few moments and several times throughout. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I have been singing ever since (though nothing like Julie or the girls for that matter!). Julie Andrews is such a bright sparkle isn’t she?  Speaking of sparkle – Mom wore black lounge pants with rhinestones to qualify for the pj party dress code. Jake lasted half-way through the movie but got squirmish and went to bed early announcing that he wanted to be rested up for our big ski day at Bridger Bowl.

Skiing with these three munchkins is SO much fun!!! Jake rips it up! Sami and Ali explore the mountain and pick runs with confidence. We laughed and whooped our way down slopes, ate a picnic lunch and sipped hot chocolate. The temps neared zero. I was more-than-a wee-bit-thankful that we took several breaks in the upper lodge to warm up since I was so sore from Crossfit the day before. Getting back into shape after a year of healing leaves me with plenty of sore muscles but it is more fun to be sore from playing and working out than from major surgery! Humming “Sound of Music” tunes, smelling my favorite Volupsa “Baltic Amber” candle, and drinking tea on this happy Monday morning – the eve of a new month in a year that has launched as especially promising and full of rich blessings.