Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas Eve Nativity Play

 One of our Christmas traditions when we're in town is to go to a neighboring community and attend the Christmas Eve Nativity Play. Children are the actors, and our kids have participated several years. This year we were wondering if little Lily would be willing to be one of the sheep. You can see what she thinks about that!

Desert Boy was cast as Gabriel and Desert Girl as Mary. They started the play with quite a few lines.

They both did well. They really like the costumes!

Usually the play has more younger kids, but there weren't enough in town, so some of the older kids were gracious enough to fill in.

The role of the guard is always a favorite, with "Hark ye, hark ye" as the opening words. You can hear the kids pretending they're the guard before the play and saying those words!

The play has several songs, so the kids learn the basic Christmas carols.

Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in the stable. Mary got a little lesson on how to pick up baby Jesus so she wouldn't cause him whiplash.

The angels head out to shepherd hill to make their proclamation about the newborn King.

Then the three wise men go and visit King Herod. He is obviously thrilled with the visit. The guard thinks it's pretty cool to hang out, too. Even the angels on their heavenly cloud are amused.

The three wise men then visit the newborn King.

Angel Gabriel tells Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt. Joseph made sure none of the gifts were left behind. It was quite cute.

The king and guard hang out at the palace until King Herod dies. These two are both kindergarteners and were so fun to watch!

Then at the end is a rousing rendition of Joy to the World. And in twenty minutes, it's a wrap!

Mary is ready to hold on to baby Jesus and do the final bow holding hands with the actors next to her. (Mom taught her that move!)

Next it was time to change out of costumes and participate in a beautiful candlelight service. I thought Desert Boy would resist going, but he said he found the service relaxing. A dessert potluck followed, so that was extra incentive to stay!
The whole evening really put us in the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Eve Fun in the Snow

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we decided to go see how much snow was up in Great Basin National Park. Down in Snake Valley it was mostly rain with a few flakes mixed in, but up at Upper Lehman Creek Campground, there was over 10 inches, and it was still coming down. It's neat how the elevation changes conditions so quickly--and how we can reach a totally different climate in a fifteen minute drive! We were dressed in our snow gear and had some snow toys with us, so we went to play. Desert Girl couldn't wait to sled. We decided to give the beginning of the connector trail to Lower Lehman Creek Campground a try.
It worked pretty well. After a few runs, I was ready to walk around and see what caught my eye. There wasn't any wind, so the snow was balanced even on small things, like rose hips.

I walked over to check out the newly renovated picnic area. The whole campground was redone this past summer with Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA) money.

But first I got pulled into the massive ponderosa pines that grace the campground. Snow outlined the branches and pine needles.

A new campfire ring is quite cute.

The amphitheater seating has been redone.

New restrooms have been installed.

This perfect white fir, next to a campsite, caught my eye. The snow looks like frosting on it.

This old road will be restored next year, as part of it goes through a wetland area. A new road was made in the campground to access the higher sites.

The upper part of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed to automobiles.

The snow plow was busy pushing snow as we watched.

Desert Boy made use of some of the snow piles to build a snow fort.

There's not a lot of color in the campground, but the shapes are beautiful.

Desert Girl was decked out in hot pink, and she had found a new sledding spot when I walked back.

It wasn't working quite how she wanted.

I took a couple runs to smooth things out and then she gave it a try.
Then she led me for a long hike in the woods, over the ice, across a bridge I had never seen before, and to several picnic tables where we snacked on snow. We figured it was time to go when we got back, but then she asked if she could ski. Sure, why not? We pulled out the cross country skis and she happily started down the road.

Desert Boy watched from the sled as she passed.

Then he decided he wanted to go too.

Last year the kids participated in their first cross country ski race, the Ely Birkebeiner. Desert Girl came in fourth and was quite upset, because only the top three finishers got medals. She came in fourth because she got passed when she had fallen down. So her goal was to learn how to get up faster so she wouldn't get passed again. She wants to come in third this year. She fell several times and did get up quickly. We'll try to get in some more practices before the January 21 event.

It was a nice, gentle ski going down the road on a thin layer of snow.

Desert Boy was so happy to be moving along.

He passed Desert Girl and kept going. And going, and going.

The turkeys had been out on the road.

I thought the kids would stop at Lower Lehman Campground, but they kept going. Eventually we had to get them to stop so we could go do the Nativity Play. It was a great afternoon outside with snow falling the whole time.
We're hoping to get lots more outside time, even though it's winter!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December Lights

 Sorry for the long blogging hiatus, December turned out to be a busier month than expected. I did get outside to walk/run the dog a lot in the morning and evening, and that allowed for some great opportunities to enjoy the colors of December. Even though many of the days are short and grey, the colors at sunrise and sunset can be amazing.

Usually the clouds are what make everything so brilliant, but sometimes it's just that early morning light on snow high up on the mountain.

Timing is crucial, as the clouds don't hold the colors for very long.

On this particular morning, a layer of clouds above the mountains helped reflect some of the light back onto them.

I'm usually not far from home when I get these sunrise/sunset photos. Fortunately there are beautiful mountains in all directions.

One cold evening when I was being a little lazy and driving the van and having the dog run along, I had to stop and get out when I crossed a culvert. The stream had frozen, but there was a little water flowing across the top of the ice. It was enough to reflect the pink clouds. I don't know about you, but my heart always pounds a little harder when I come across some beauty out in nature. It's an added bonus when it's unexpected (but I have a camera with me!).

Last night we were delivering some Christmas treats when I had to stop and go check out a frozen pond. I walked around it a couple times, enjoying the changing colors. The ice caught some of the golden glow.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas!
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