New Years at the Lake...

After saying goodbye to Scott's family the night before, we packed up and woke up early on the 30th to head up to the lake for some winter fun with my family.  I love lake living and winter is no exception.  I wish we lived on it for daily ice skating sessions and exploring.  I especially love to scrape away the snow and look to the depths below the water is crystal clear in the summer so when it freezes its like a clear picture to the world below.  You can see the sand, random objects and ice bubbles that just floated up and froze on the way to the surface.  It might be my favorite part of the ice.  This year the weather has been so warm in MN that there was no permanent fishing houses on the lake yet.   By now there are little streets plowed on to the lake and everyone's fancy houses are placed along those streets -- :).  Minne-snowtans know how to do winter :).

My sister, brother-in-law, Scott and I set about clearing the fresh snow off the ice to make a little rink in front of the house.  My dad built a bonfire and my mom wrangled the kids.  Once we had the rink ready to go, Solon was ready to test out his skates and play some hockey.  The adults joined in for some broom-ball fun and Ellen and I both fell reminding us we are not as young as we used to be.  I had a nice LARGE bruise on my knee cap to remind me of that fact (after I momentarily prayed I didn't do more damage -- as a stay at home mom of three -- yikes!).
Grandpa and Solon...(Grandpa is forever young but he even took it easy ;)

My figure skating lessons came right back to me, I took them for about a year here and there (once in Switzerland and some more in Iowa) before we moved to another place.  I love skating...
I am also quite competitive ;) So we had a rousing game of broom-ball. Solon joined the girls team and we won (not that we were counting!).
I forced Vera on to the ice (kicking and screaming because thats what my kids are like with new experiences - nuts just like their mama!).  She tried it, she told everyone she skated and was off the ice in about 5 minutes but thankful she tried it :).  She then went and hung out with grandma where they made S'mores for us all...I think she got some extra chocolate.
A lovely warm fire...S'mores taste good year round!
Grandma and her grandgirls!
All the ladies...
That night we exchanged gifts to each other...the kids got Grandpa a selfie stick and they had fun messing around with his "gag" gift.  He always tells us we need one so they got him one!  Everyone had fun watching each other open gifts and there were lots of hands to assemble and play with the new goods!

The Smitten Swintons got matching sweaters on accident ;)  They are moving to Seattle this week...nuts we are going to miss them but what a fun adventure for them!  Too bad the discount isn't better with Amazon ;)!
Everyone loves to take turns on my mom's piano, Uncle K took Lucy for a turn.  He can really play, a hidden talent ;).  If I had a piano at my house I think I would play it quite a bit, it comes back to me when I am at my mom's and Solon LOVES to play.  I think he is getting a keyboard for his birthday!
The next few days were repeats of day 1, more hockey (less falling with a little lighter competition), more sledding and lots of fun and laughter!  Winter at the lake is SO much fun!  We didn't leave home once but we had a blast!  In between we ate lots of cookies, played lots of table games - both kids and adult and watched a fair amount of football :).
Uncle K and Auntie E on the toboggan 
How many people can you fit on one toboggan?  4 adults and a Solon and you sled right out on to the ice too!!!!

We wrapped up 2015 with a sparkling juice toast, a pre-recorded ball drop and the kids were passed out from all the fun by 9pm.  We celebrated with the east coast at 11pm and followed the kids to bed! All that fresh air knocks you right out...

Happy New Year from snowy Minnesota!  A highlight of 2015 for sure...