Kicking Off 2011

New Years Eve rolled around and my hubby and I realized we had no plans.  What losers.

Originally we had planned to hang out with Roy's family but, sadly, they ended up having to leave for Oregon a little early.  Searching for a Plan B, we called around.  But only to find that most of our friends already had their own plans.  Imagine that!  Though we were invited to come along to a big party up in Salt Lake, Roy wasn't really feelin' it.  

So I gave up and bummed around the house thinking we were going to have a boring New Year: grab a book, settle in, expect to go to bed at ten.  And honestly, there have been very few New Year celebrations that I've actually enjoyed.  How anti-climatic is the ball drop?  Really?  Who cares?  It's not really a drop, it's a very slow, delicate setting down.  I can see how being there in person might be exciting, (not because of that pathetic ball but because of the atmosphere) but watching it on TV is even less exciting than watching golf on TV.  At least in golf the balls go flying through the air and sink into ponds and stuff.

Not that I don't like celebrating.  A lot of my New Year celebrations were with my family up at my grandparent's cabin in the White Mountains, AZ.  Nice and relaxing.  And snowy!  And once we had a big party at our house when I was around 13 or so.  I remember that being pretty awesome.  We all wore stupid hats and blew noise makers etc.  

Maybe the most memorable was the night I was drugged up and puffy-faced.  When Lynn came over and got me out of bed was probably the first time I was really completely conscious since I'd gone under to have my wisdom teeth removed.  She helped me outside and we banged pots and  pans together right when the clock struck twelve.  Good friend, huh?

But this year Roy had secret plans to make this New Years Eve the most fun ever!  After deciding that friends were all busy, he got on priceline and had me help him choose a fun hotel.  We chose Homestead, and got a one-night stay for next to nothing!  Roy was giddy as we were packing.  Literally couldn't stop smiling.  

Homestead is right next to Heber.  We had plans to meet up with my family at Daniel's Summit the next day for snowmobiling, so it actually made sense to spend the night up there.  And I knew it was the best idea ever as soon as we pulled up.  

The hotel was established in the 1880s!  It was originally just another Utah farm before the owners discovered a strange cave with bubbling warm water inside!  So it's been an attraction ever since.  Roy said he saw it on the Discovery Channel once!  In the old pictures they have it looks like people used to climb down inside from the top.  Now they've blown a big hole in it for easy access.  And you can swim in it!

Obviously, I was really into the history of the place.  They had built onto it since the 1880s and added indoor pools and other things.  But it still felt homey and antiquey.  There was snowshoeing and sleigh rides and all kids of cool things.  

We explored around the place for a while and then went swimming.  We wanted to swim in the hot spring, but it was booked for the night.  Too bad we didn't have time to make reservations.  But we went in and saw it both at night and in the daylight.  Visibility was about the same both times.  

 We saw a couple of little girls (maybe 3 and 5) getting ready to go swimming with their parents.  The younger one was flat-out terrified!  And I didn't blame her!!!  At that age I'm sure I would have been scared of the fact that you couldn't see how big the place is because everything was enveloped in eerie fog.  Not to mention the pool is hundreds of feet deep with murky water.  Poor girl.  But since we're not three, we really wanted to get in.  We were ready to take a dip until we learned you had to schedule.

 We went out to explore the town, which they have decorated as though in the Alps.  Really cute.  We found a little restaurant where everything was homemade as soon as you ordered it.  Best baked beans I've ever had in my life!

Then we followed signs to the Homestead cemetery.  I know, I like weird things.  Luckily Roy puts up with it.  As we drove into the middle of nowhere the temperature steadily dropped.  The houses with Christmas lights thinned out.  We rounded the final corner and found ourselves at the base of a hill.  But we couldn't see up the hill because it was completely smothered in thick white fog.  But what we could see was an abandoned shack beneath a large, twisted tree just beside us.  It was a picture straight out of a horror movie.  Roy laughed at how it all made me squirm.  Especially the part where I wasn't sure we could make it up the hill with all the ice.

But we did!  And I even got out and walked around a little bit.  The cemetery was completely, eerily quiet.  But so pretty blanketed in fluffy, untouched snow.  I took pictures, but none of them really did justice to the moment.  So I'm not posting any.

Walking around outside that night was almost painful.  It was -15 degrees outside!  But that kind of chill does crazy things.  Later when we were back at the resort I took a picture of this store window because I thought the ice crystals forming on it were beautiful/interesting.

We also saw some of the biggest icicles in the world!  I'd say that thing was almost 10 feet!  Can you imagine trying to walk in that door right as the icicle breaks off?  

Lots of snow!

Oh and the town had a few ice castles that were hard to take pictures of but were so cool!

Looks cold, huh?  
Thanks Roy, for the best spontaneous new year trip ever!!!!!!

The first day of 2011 we met up with my family, like I said.  Mom was reluctant to go snowmobiling, to say the least.  But she was bundled up for sure!
She reminded me of the little brother on A Christmas Story, so that's who she's impersonating there.  Pretty hilarious.  But we were all pretty bundled up!
 Roy was a little better equipped than I was.  I'm not all that good with snow.  I know how to deal with it snowboarding--and in snowboarding you're working out which keeps you warm.  Not so with snowmobiling!  By the end of the day I was wearing half of Roy's things, haha!  Thanks Roy!
 Roy only got us stuck three times!  Each time it was because he wanted to go off the trail and into the powder.  But, since he didn't really have a lesson on snowmobiling, we usually just nose dived into the snow.  My personal favorite was when the snowmobile tipped over!  It was so fluffy soft we didn't feel a thing and just tumbled off together and laughed.

Alexa, on the other hand... haha- jk, she did a good job.  She didn't get stuck at all.

I didn't get stuck all day, but I definitely came close.  And Dad got stuck real good.   

There was so much snow that tons of people on the trails were getting stuck.  In fact, the trip was a little slow because every ten minutes we would come upon a person that was stuck and Roy would stop to help out.  While I watched.  :-)

And when I tried to stop him...

Haha!  Oh it was fun.  In this picture Alexa stepped off the trail and she sank!  So the snow was at least up to our hips out there!

Snow is fun.  The other day Roy and I went snowboarding with some friends and my hubby is really getting the hang of it already.  I wish we could go every weekend!  Every day!  Bring  on the snow!!!

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