Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check Out Our Flickr Account!

I just posted more pictures of our family from the last three or so months. You can go here or you can click on the flickr badge to the right.


Sunday, December 9, 2007


I realized the other day that it has been an incredibly long time since I updated this page, almost two months in fact. I can't believe how much time flies when you are busy!

Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed us by and Christmas is almost upon us. Lena was a cow for Halloween and was totally adorable (I will post pictures on flickr later). Before we knew it we were flying off to San Diego to thaw out for thanksgiving... especially appropriate because, in case you hadn't heard, San Diego was on fire just a month previous to that. (Again, I will post pictures on flickr soon.)

Last weekend brought the first storm of winter and it was nice to have everything in Provo, that was looking so barren and dead, covered in a sheet of glittery white stuff. Baby didn't take too kindly to the snow, however, and when we tried to put her down to crawl around she quickly decided she didn't like it and arched her back to try to get her hands and her feet off the cold stuff. Since she was in her snowsuit, though, it had the effect of making her look like a rolling marshmallow, which, much to Lena's dismay, Evan and I found hilarious.

This weekend also brought snow. More snow, in fact, than I have ever seen in Provo. We easily got 8 inches of snow yesterday alone, and as I write this it is still just about snowing outside. (They didn't plough the streets until the evening, and so running errands and grocery shopping was quite the adventure, let me tell you!) We thought we would give Lena and the snow another chance and so last night we decided to bundle the family up in as many layers as possible and go sledding. We went to Rock Canyon Park, famous for it's bowl shape, and were astounded at the number of people there all with the same idea as us. Lena, thankfully, had far more fun than we expected her to and just loved being sent down the hill by herself, obviously with one of us at the bottom to catch her. She even rolled off mid-hill one time and when she finally stopped she was face down in snow and grass giggling away. The cutest part of the whole evening, though, went to Lena trying to crawl through the snow in her suit that already made her look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. She was in the snow to her shoulders and it really looked like a task to bring her arms out high enough so that she could move. At times it was just too much work and she had to stop for refueling - lowering her face about and inch so it got covered in snow and then licking it off. Mission accomplished.

Next order of the day... introducing our cat to the snow by throwing her in it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Flying Baby Photo Sequence... Kinda

This took a couple of takes, but the photos are really cute!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The $800 Furniture Project

Inspired by Guinevere, we have been wanting an ottoman that we can tuck into a corner that will serve a dual purpose... mainly more seating, but also a family reading corner. (And of course, cute!) We decided that with the time that we had today, and with our limited budget, we would see what we couldn't do to solve our "problem." Guinevere acquired an adorable naked but still cute ottoman from IKEA that she upholstered and painted. It looks like a million bucks! We got intimidated by the upholstering factor of things, but still wanted something cute that fit within our limited budget.

We stopped by the local clearance furniture store, mainly to browse around and price things out. (Interpret as, how many weeks would we be eating top ramen to have the project that we wanted.) Sadly, everything cute was priced higher than we could really afford, and we obviously didn't want something ugly... There were a LOT of ugly things.

Then as we walked back by the ottoman that we really did like, but couldn't afford, we saw the sheet of computer paper taped to the wall, stating, "Ottoman Blowout! Leather - $100, Upholstered - $50." We couldn't believe our luck! The $550 giant ottoman that we loved now cost us a steep $50! We obviously collared the first salesman we could find to make certain that our eyes weren't deceiving us and whisked it off to the checkout.

Although upholstering may be a talent that we haven't quite mastered as of yet, accessorizing happens to be Hannah's specialty. We proceeded to a couple different stores, ultimately dropping in at the Pier One store. We also managed to steal bargains there too, picking up six cushions (about as many as Hannah could possibly carry) for a total of $65. They were all on clearance too.

Here is the finished product:

If we had have purchased everything full price, we would have easily spent over $800.

We're pretty happy that we can buy normal groceries next week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Labor Day Hike

We miss San Diego a lot. We miss the beaches, and the weather, and normality. But one thing San Diego does not have is pretty mountains. I have never really liked mountains, but I have a new found appreciation for their beauty since Labor Day.

We decided we would go on a family hike since we had the day off, and the weather was reasonably warm. We were going to hike Timp, but we decided that, seeing as we had only recently moved up to Utah and were, therefore, still getting used to the altitude, it might be a bit of a tall order. Not to mention that fact that the trail would be swarming with BYU students. We wanted something that was long enough (and short enough at the same time), hard enough to get a good workout (but yet easy enough that we didn't kill ourselves), and, of course, with views worth our going.

The trail we ended up hiking was in Alta, and it was perfect. When we got there the skies were threatening at the very top of the mountain, but it was dry and cool, and the sun was fighting back. So on our way up (when we are all hot and sweaty from exerting energy holding baby the whole time) it was nice and breezy with no sun to bake us. Then when we reached the lake at the top and went down again, the sun broke through and kept us warm. Couldn't have picked a better introduction to hiking.

And did I mention it was absolutely beautiful? The trail took us through mountain meadows, and while the flowers were at the end of the season - drying up - it was spectacular.

The trail linked up with another that heads up to a lake hidden at the top of the mountain. It is called 'Cecret Lake'. Ingenious. Must have been an accountant that came up with that name!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it was excellent, and we are going to hike it next summer when all the flowers are out. And (what you are really all reading this for) we got some pretty good pictures! (My personal favorite is the one where baby is holding up a twig that Evan gave her at the beginning of the hike like a trophy.)

Life in Happy Valley

Well, it has been a while. We are still trying to get into the swing of things. Evan has got so much on his plate with his full-time commitment to both school and work. I'm not sure how he does it, but somehow he manages. I have a feeling we shall need a vacation soon.

It has been an interesting month for us. I think Provo is a different experience when you are married, but I am still trying to work out if that is a conscious choice that we have made or whether that really is the reality. It definitely seems, judging from a lot of the people in our soon-to-be old BYU married students ward, that there are people for whom the whole BYU experience is exactly the same, married or not. (Sadly, I think those people fall under the category of things we didn't like about BYU in the first place.) So, the question then becomes an issue of whether they have made the conscious choice to keep it the same, or if they are living in 'fake-believe'. I would like to think that I am the one slightly more in touch with reality, but this place is so overrun with strange people that I am beginning to be filled with self-doubt. It's rather akin to the main character in Orwell's '1984', although, I hope, less sinister and I pray the ending will be different.

Oh well. It is all rather odd, and at the end of the day all I can say is I am glad I have someone who has the same outlook on life as I do, and I am so glad I never have to go to a singles ward again... I makes life here more bearable.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Only in Utah

Well, we did it. We sucked it up and loaded our junk into a trailer, the bed of the truck, and our little car and moved back to Provo. Can't say it has been a joy to be back, but at least we have a sense of humor.

On that note, we decided to take a break from cleaning out the remnants of the previous tenant from our new place (a whole exciting story in itself and wish to do it justice) and decided to go to the mall... mainly because there is nothing else to do. While we were driving and trying to find a decent radio station to listen to (a tough task) a commercial came on for U.T.A. bus passes. They were very pleased to announce their new family passes... for, and I quote, "up to 6 children and 2 adults."

Now, where we come from family passes are 2 kids, 2 parents, going along with the whole 1.8-children-average-American idea. But, no. Utah has really outdone itself this time. Guess they had too many complaints with people having to buy multiple "family passes" for their small army. In fact, a family pass for 8 is enough to cover a sports team - 2 coaches, a basketball team, and a sub. Cheapskates.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Picture of the Day

One of the (many) things I love about my baby is the funny faces that she makes. She has become increasingly more expressive, and it is such a joy to see her experimenting with her facial muscles... especially when she cracks into a mischievous, cheeky grin! That grin she got from her daddy, of course.

Growing up I perfected the looking-innocent-when-guilty look and the "And, you are...?" look. Ask anyone; they will tell plenty of stories I am sure. Evan, from what I can gather and from the pictures I have been shown, had the cheeky smile. Baby, it seems, has inherited the cheeky smile - and now we are doomed to never being able to discipline her because she will make us laugh when we are trying to be mad.

Another look of Evan's that Baby has inherited is the one I snapped below while they were playing in the pool the other day. I think this is one of my favorite pictures of Evan and Lena together - I love her little lip - and what makes it even better was that they both looked at the camera at just the right time... I was having such a hard time before that of catching Baby's attention while she was having so much fun in there! Therefore, I have given this picture the 'Picture of the Day' award for being spontaneous and, in my honest but biased opinion, too dang cute!

Mobile Baby

Well, to add to a post a little while back, Lena has learned to mobilize herself. Really mobilize rather than the turning around on her tummy tricks that she was doing. I think it is safe to say that, really this time, NOTHING is safe now! (Yesterday I found her playing with the fan we have on the floor, and then with a socket in the wall... needless to say she and the fan were moved, and the sockets blocked off with those cool little plastic thingys, which Evan and I have now vowed to invest good money in.)

She is 'crawling' now... getting herself up on all fours and then flopping down again because she hasn't figured out how to move her arms yet. It is really cute!

Check out this video:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our Cute Garden





I have finally posted pictures. They can be found here or by clicking on the flickr badge to the right!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Our Car

We have a new car. Yes, it is true. We decided that as much fun as our 95 VW Golf III was it just was too old and too small for our ever growing little (big?) girl. Besides, it's only a 2 door and we didn't want to have to deal with strapping in an unwilling toddler into a car seat in the back at awkward angles... it just complicates things. So we traded out and moved on to bigger, better, and newer things. So now, instead of a little black fuel-efficient VW Golf we have... a little black fuel-efficient VW Jetta. I know, I know... it's just a Golf with more trunk space, but we liked our Golf and we needed the extra two doors but didn't want something big and heavy. We love it.

So, now we are all grown up and entering the real world... I mean for reals this time because getting married and having a kid wasn't really the real world. No, it is only now that we are buying a car to suit the needs of our family and making old people decision as it relates to safety and whatnot that we are embarking on a new chapter in our lives: Real Responsibility. And I hear it only gets worse from here on out. The joys of life.

I will miss our old car. It has been trusty and faithful and it is a wrench selling it because it, in a way, represents the life that Evan and I have had together this last year or so. But all good things must come to an end...

Oh yeah, and I passed my drivers theory, and am taking my test in about 2 weeks. Yay me!

Monday, August 6, 2007

July in Review...


A lot has happened in the last few weeks! So much in fact that we haven't had time to update our little blog to let you all in on the fun! One big rap on our knuckles for being slackers.

So, in review (pictures will follow sometime):
- San Diego County Fair
Otherwise known as the 'Del Mar Fair' for those hard-core San Diegans. Highlight: Baby in the livestock petting area with sheeps and goatses. It was kind of around the time that she was mastering the reach-out-and-grab skill and she certainly had a blast. Also worthy of note was the root-beer float that I had because of the bad-for-you food I had that day it was the only one that tasted any good.

- 4th of July
While we weren't in Boston to celebrate high treason to the crown, we did have front row seats to the fireworks display at Poway High. It was great to spend the evening with family and friends (not to mention getting a paid day off work for Evan... sadly there is no end to my work), but most of all it was great to have a baby that laughed at giant explosions and then was lulled to sleep by them. Awesome. Did I mention we have the best baby ever?

- Grandma P Comes to Town
...Finally. Grandma spent a good 10 or so days with her first (and therefore best) granddaughter and introduced her to the joys of babysitting, giving Mummy and Daddy a chance to go on some much needed dates. It was also really nice to have Grandma in town because it let us do two additional things...

- New Garden
First of the two things... Our landlord finally put up a dividing fence so we spent $100 and put down a new lawn, new flower beds and planters (complete with flowers... imagine that!), and a flagstone and pavers. It looks rather good now if I might say so myself and now that we have a hammock in there we will be VERY sorry to leave in 3 weeks.

- Temple with Family
Second of the two things... Thanks again to all who were able to make it. It was extra special to be there with family!

- Kitty's 1st Birthday
Congratulations to our cat who turned the ripe old age of 1, and is now fully grown. She is also reaping the benefits of having a new back garden since, with FeLV, she wasn't allowed outside before. She has become rather accomplished at chasing and eating flies, and loves to sit in her corner behind the big rock.

- Family Trip to Mexico
Lots of fun and more enjoyable than the last trip because the sun was out and it was warm and the beach was sandy. Oh yeah, and we had food. I quite enjoyed it down there, and if you turned a blind eye to the 3rd World poverty, the place where we were kind of had a Med holiday feel to it. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but sadly Evan just got the one day off work. Tijuana was interesting... I had my first Mexican Popsicles in the border queue, which, once I forced myself not to think about the hygiene of the place they were probably made in, weren't all bad. Coming through the border was interesting too. They were being pedantic and seemed to think I was violating my Student Visa, which i haven't had for over a year now. So we got sent to secondary inspection with a screaming baby who was hungry and hot and tired to wait for 20 minutes (in the car) only for them to come back to us and not apologize for wasting our time and being wrong. Jeez!

- Baby keeps growing...
The news you all really came to see. Our baby, it seems, does not stop growing. We fear she is at the point where we need to look seriously at buying the next size car seat, and soon. Her mobility has improved... she can scoot herself around, and gets herself on all fours and kind of sway precariously before flopping down (she has worked out that if she does this it actually moves her slightly forward). However, she is lazy and moving around mean that you have to... well, move. Exert energy. Oh well. At least she is causing minimal trouble right now. She is sitting up almost unaided and very much enjoys the bead rollercoaster at Grandparents T's place. She has mastered the grabbing and reaching thing, and has also mastered the hand-mouth coordination, so when the two combine things get interesting. She loves her sippy cup (thank you Guin!) especially now since she also has teeth... little razors. She cut her first one last week, and then the next day the one next to it cut. So, she has two little pegs on her bottom gum right at the front. It is really cute... until she bites you. She is loving solids (and we are paying the price with her nappies) and she is weighing in a healthy 19lbs and about 28in. Thank you Evan!

Well, I think that is it for now. Pictures will come later... promise!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

In Other News...

This week, I got my social security card through... finally. Now I can do what every other law-abiding resident of the USA does and pay taxes! Just what I always wanted. But it also lets me other things like get a drivers license, and apply for all the credit cards I want. Plus, now I can fill out any form and instead of leaving the SSN box blank and having to deal with the inevitable odd looks and dumb questions (confused face and "what, you don't have one?"), I can put in numbers and leave in peace. Marvelous.

Also this week I was able to watch my first rugby game of the year. I miss such simple pleasures as watching the All Blacks beat another team. It makes me happy. It also makes me happy that my husband and my baby enjoy it too. If there is any brainwashing that I will do as a parent it is to make my kids All Black fans, and that starts, I guess, with dressing them up in rugby apparel when they are too young to object. So anyway, here is a photo of our baby in all black gear, growing at the kind of rate that would make any aspiring Polynesian prop proud!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beach Bum

Yesterday we went to the beach as a family in the afternoon. It was fun, but it was kind of a last resort. Baby hadn't slept all day: we hoped it would tire her out. We also wanted to build her a sand castle to sit in/wreak havoc upon. We have made a new discovery, which is that in addition to hating her sun-hat, she also hates sunscreen. However, sadly for her, her sun-hat and sunscreen are both a necessary evil to go to the beach, which she loves. Such is life.

Anyway, she decided that there was far too much going on at the beach for her to be sitting in her push-chair and loudly protested until we picked her up so she could get a better view... and play with sand. Evan had the genius idea of making a sand-throne to go with her sand-castle. which also had the dual effect of allowing us to complete construction of her 'palace' as quickly as possible.

She certainly had fun grabbing at the sand. Sadly, though there was nothing we could do to stop her from putting it in her mouth, but she didn't seem to mind. At least she is broadening her culinary palate by experimenting with new texture and flavor combinations. If getting her own castle eventually fails, maybe she will be a taste-tester for royalty when (if!) she grows up.

We also made another new discovery. Don't take a baby to the beach wearing a cute dress. It gets dirty.

Once the castle was as complete as we cared to make it (... baby lost her patience and the tide was coming in...) we stripped her down and let her play 'Godzilla in New York'... an instant hit. She has this new noise that she makes, akin to Benjamin's squeals, except her are grunts. Our little piggy. And yes this site will be used for future blackmail. She has different levels though... some express anger, some express tiredness. Then there is the sing-a-long grunt, and the I'm-talking-to-you grunt (she likes to use this one to tell you when she wants to be picked up... i.e. she rolls on her front and grunts at you... very ladylike), and then there is the happy grunt, which was the one she used while destroying Evan and my hard work (but mostly Evan's).

After that, Daddy took her in the ocean to play and wash off. She came back happy, cold, and tired. Perfect! It meant that I could wrap her up in a towel and blanket and cuddle her to sleep. She was out cold by the time we got to the car. And then she slept from 8pm - 6am. (Note the tiny dots in the ocean... it's Evan and Baby.)

I think we shall do the beach run more often.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Week of Firsts

So this week had lots of 'firsts' in it: Evan's first Father's Day, the first time Baby played in paint, the first time Baby rolled over and fell off something, Baby's first time to Sea World, and Baby's first solids. I guess thats is kind of cheating because at this stage of her life, Alena hasn't really done very much, so everything is a first for her. But, nevertheless, Sunday was her first time eating real food... well, rice cereal. Once she figured out that it tasted good she was all about it, and ate the everything we dished out to her. I love our baby!

The Sea World Weekend

At the end of April we decided it would be a good idea to get season passes to Sea World. We figured it would be fun and, since we live so close, we would get lots of use out of them. Well, this weekend, after making several very weak commitments to go, we made a concerted effort to actually pack up and haul ourselves all the way down the I-8 to Sea World to finally get some use out of those tickets.

Apart from the fact that everyone and their dog was there being a hot Saturday afternoon, it was actually a lot of fun. The beautiful thing about having season passes is that you don't have to do everything in one day, risk suffering from overkill, and then hate life at the end. We went first to the Dolphin show, which would have been excellent entertainment in an of itself, but which was made even better when a woman from Tuscon, AZ fell into the tank (clothes, shoes, and all) trying to take a picture of her son who was petting one of the dolphins. The tank is 55F and she had no wet-suit so she came up gasping for breath and splashing around - very funny, but it didn't stop there. One of the star dolphin swam out to where she was, and she started patting him on the head. The audience let out a sigh of relief thinking the dolphin was going to rescue her and take her back to dry land, but the trainers all started yelling at her to stop. "Don't pet him! No, no! Stop!" And sure enough the dolphin promptly put it's nose to her shoes and pushed her across the entire length of the tank thinking she was a trainer in disguise and a part of the show. Then he did it again back the other way and looped around so she went sailing into that ledge with 6 inches of water. High entertainment value. I think Sea World should recruit the woman and make her a part of their shows... I would go to watch that again, for sure! I just wish we had captured the whole thing on video.

Baby seemed to quite enjoy the dolphins. We were sitting on the top row (determined not to get wet in any way!) and so I'm not sure how much she could really see, but if nothing else she really enjoyed the atmosphere. She got pretty excited, especially when the crowd was cheering, and she was looking intently at the tank - mainly, I think, because it was bright blue and big.

From there we went across to see the penguins and sharks and tropical fish. It was kind of sad to see actually... the penguins definitely looked like they had given up on life and were, therefore, quite boring. Baby slept right through everything with her sunhat pulled over her eyes, Mr. Monkey's leg tightly in one hand, and her thumb in her mouth. Maybe we should take her to go see the dolphins more often - all the excitement tuckered her right out!

Anyway, after the highly disappointing performances by the penguins we decided our last stop would be the Forbidden Reef with the Bat Rays. Since baby was asleep in her push-chair I didn't have to worry about dropping her in the water, so I got to pet the rays. It was a really cool experience - cool meaning cold too... the water was 55F. They felt slimy and rubbery, or to quote the little boy who was petting the dolphin (whose Mom fell in), "It feels like a hot-dog". We also got a quick little science lesson and learned that Ray don't have any bones in their bodies, and they are essentially boneless sharks. I thought that was pretty neat - I petted a shark! Then, right at the end, just as my arm was going completely numb from cold, this big papa ray swam over and put itself right in front of me and went to sleep while I stroked its head and back. If it could purr I think it would have!

So all in all, we did just about enough that we had lots of fun, but we left enough out that we still want to go back to do the rest. That's the best way to do it, I think!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nothing is Safe Now...

A few weeks back Lena rolled herself over from back to front... on accident. Now she does it on purpose. All the time. She has also taken to using her feet to turn herself around in circles when she is on her back.

Check this out. This is what happens when I put her in her cot on her back... length-ways

And yes, our baby is a giant. She now measures in at 26.5 inches. Great-grandpa T asked me the other day if she was 8 months old. "No, just 3 months grandpa." "Holy smokes! She's a long girl!"

Anyway, last night we knew we were in for it. We put her down in her play gym (which, by the way, is the best $50 we ever invested in anything... thank you craisglist and generous middle-aged people who refuse to have anymore kids) and she promptly rolled over for tummy-time, which she hates. But she spied a toy on the floor just out of her reach and proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes getting increasingly frustrated that she couldn't get it. Then she discovered she could get her knees up underneath herself. We think its only a matter of weeks now until she starts really mobilizing herself, unless she decides that she is lazy and that it is easier to be picked up and carried around. I am hoping for the latter. Otherwise I am going to have to start child-proofing our home (and the cat's litterbox, and while I'm at it, getting the cat to stop molting) a lot sooner than I thought I would. Wish us luck, and pray for lazy babies!

Water Baby

We decided the other day that we were going to put baby in the bath. I assure you we wash her frequently, but usually it is in the shower - something to do with our water heater being the size of a cereal box. But nevertheless we decided the time had come and she might have fun in bath.

We were right.

We knew she loved being in the hot-tub. Turns out that bathtime is even more fun. She particularly enjoyed learning how to 'swim', and even when her face went in the water it didn't seem to curb her enthusiasm for splashing around and kicking her legs like a frog.

(Note the waves she is creating... she was having fun...)

I guess that's what you get when a swimmer and a surfer get married...

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sicky Family

Well this last week has been interesting. We drove up to Utah last weekend and it was the first time that Lena had been in the car for so long. We decided to stop in Mesquite overnight, and it was just as well because about 15 minutes out from Las Vegas she decided she had been in her car seat far too long and was very vocal about it. Then, on the trip back, she got lonely. She cried for about 15 minutes before we could pull over so I could get in the backseat. After that she was much happier, and we had a lovely conversation for about 30 minutes until she fell asleep. But, those two incidents aside, she did really well and we couldn't have asked for a better baby to travel with.

It is really amazing to see how much of an individual she is. I have to remind myself sometimes that she is only a 3-month-old baby because it feels sometimes as though she has been around forever. That was one of the things that I was least expecting when she was born; how complete a person she was. Her personality was so developed that it was undeniable that she had not just begun her life 9 months previously. She was tiny, and completely helpless, but there was no doubt that her immature little body was (and is) housing a fully mature spirit.

Anyway, our trip to Utah was good. We caught up with friends and family while we were there, which was really great for us since the temporary situation here in SD has put our social lives on hold (plus we’re newly marrieds, so overall not a socially productive combination). It was especially great to see Guin, Clark, and Baby B, and to watch the cousins interact. Both babies were fascinated with each other, and since they are both at the grabbing stage (Ben obviously with slightly more control than our little girl) I guess it was only to be expected that they would hold hands eventually.

Somehow, Evan got food poisoning on the way back, so the drive was miserable for him. His tummy has been angry all week. Then yesterday I got really sick too (can you catch food poisoning?) and I have gone off rice for a while. Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Baby got sick and threw up projectile vomit style. Fortunately, though, I think she felt better after that and was a little smiley angel for the rest of the day, whilst Mummy and Daddy got better. So, today I am thankful for having good health, a husband who has a flexible work schedule, and a healthy, co-operative baby.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Park

When we were dating, one of our favorite things to do together in the evenings was find a park with a playground and sit on the swings. It was fun to play and act like a kid again... even in the middle of winter. Most of all, though, it was a place where Evan and I could talk about everything and enjoy each others company, with the added bonus of being uninterrupted by engaged roommates and their fiances. We would sometimes be there for hours talking about school, life, hopes, dreams, news, things we had done that day, etc., and it was usually the cold that drove us inside rather than a lack of conversation. So, here is my virtual continuation on that theme, which I think is instantly better because it doesn't have to be done in the snow!