31 December 2012

Recapping the Japan Clarks' visit

I still can't believe that Christmas is over and tomorrow is the start of a new year. I have lots of Christmas events to show you, but I'll start with the highlights of Casey's visit.

Casey and family were the best Christmas present we received this year. It was a short-lived visit, but we had a lot of fun with them all.

One night, we enjoyed dinner together at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Then we walked down to the circle to see the Christmas lights.

Never expect a stranger to take a good group picture. The guy was more than happy to help us, but he cut off Caden completely and then couldn't stand still long enough to get the picture in focus!

After spending time outside in the cold, it was time to warm up with some hot chocolate.

A proud dad with his two sons.

After our trip downtown, Shin-ya asked to come back to our house and shoot a few hoops with Chris.

In between games with Shin-ya, Mike and Chris watched IU beat up on Mount St. Mary's.

Most of the time we spent with Casey and his family was very casual, just hanging out and being with each other. That was just fine with us!

One night, all of the kids got new coordinating Christmas pajamas. That offered a lot of great photo ops.

Poor Casey. He's known for never having his eyes open in pictures!

Be on the look out for lots of posts over the next few days!

26 December 2012

Digging out and playing around

Merry Christmas! We didn't expect to spend the day after Christmas stuck inside our house due to eight or nine inches of snow (I haven't heard the final official tally). But we made the most of it by watching a movie, putting away some Christmas gifts and enjoying each other's company on Chris' last vacation day before heading back to work.

We had planned to spend the day with Mommaw since Casey and his crew headed back home to Japan this morning. Their flight from Indy to Chicago was cancelled, so Poppaw drove them to Chicago where we assume they caught their flight to Japan. We haven't heard anything from them yet, so we think no news is good news! Poppaw drove home as far as Lafayette and is spending the night there. It's a good thing, because he probably wouldn't have made it much farther due to the treacherous roads in the central part of the state.

Until now, Avery hasn't been able to play in the snow. Last winter, barely any of the white stuff fell the entire season. And before that Avery was too little to play out in the cold. So she had quite a milestone experience today.

But first, Daddy had to shovel the driveway.

Chris was all bundled up and ready to go!

Here was his task. It took only about an hour to shovel the driveway with a less than stellar shovel. He broke his other shovel last season and never got it replaced. Maybe we should replace it with a snowblower?

I got Avery all bundled up for her adventure: one pair of soccer socks, one pair of legwarmers, two pairs of pants, two long-sleeved shirts, rain boots (because that's all we have), mittens, a scarf, a hat and a heavy coat. Not only was she warm and dry, she looked pretty cute, too!

Avery helped Daddy finish his shoveling, then it was time for the fun!

Avery wanted to build a snowman, but Chris didn't have enough patience for that. They only got as far as this big mound of snow.

Then they moved on to a snowball fight...

...and snow angels.

I'm not sure what Chris was doing here. Which one is the daddy, and which one is the kid?

Last week after a three-inch snowfall, Shin-ya wanted to play basketball. Chris told him it was too cold outside, so Shin-ya played for a few minutes by himself. Today Chris paid homage to Shin-ya by shooting three baskets in the driveway. He made all three! Swish!

"This is Indiana. This is where basketball matters! What do you do on a snow day? You shoot a basket in your driveway."

The only way to top such fun in the snow was warming up with hot chocolate.

We hope you're staying safe and warm in this blizzard of 2012!

14 December 2012

Shirley Hromada's Derby Pie

This is one of my most favorite desserts. Not only is it a rich and yummy chocolate pie, it also is so simple to make...and very easy to double if you need two pies. Put this on your holiday menu this year!

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 stick melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 frozen, unbaked, deep-dish pie shell

Preparation Instructions
Mix all ingredients together with a fork in the order listed. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

13 December 2012

They're home for Christmas!

Finally...this afternoon Casey and his family arrived from Japan. It's nearly a 24-hour trip from their doorstep to Mike and Connie's. So as you can imagine, they were a little tired by the time they landed in Indy. We met them at the airport then spent the evening at Mommaw and Poppaw's house.

Caden was a little worn out, but he did amazingly well!

"Daddy, protect me from all of these strange people kissing and hugging me!"

Avery was more than willing to help with the luggage.

It was amazing to see how quickly Caden and Avery took to each other. It's like they've always been friends.

I hope you don't get tired of seeing these two sweet faces because there will be lots of pictures of them over the next two weeks!

And here's one video.

All night, Avery followed Shin-ya's every move, and Caden followed Avery's. It will be so much fun to see these three interact and play with each other.

We're so happy to have the entire Clark family in the same area code for a short time. It will be a fast but fun two weeks together!