Josh was planning a surprise birthday party for his wife Jen. This is a milestone birthday party. There are rumors that she might have just turned 40 but I will not confirm or deny.
Mom and I were there to celebrate with them. Corvin and dad were off on a uni-cycling adventure and missed the fun. I had a good time hanging out with the adults and entertaining Robert and Eve.
The annual get together with Laura and friends continued this year. We met at Laura’s place downtown.
Laura hosting the party with Jermey
Danelle and Sonora hanging out.
Michael is fighting off Eva and Robert
I don’t think I’ve seen a photo of Laura where she wansn’t happy. Always fun to be around her!
Jeremy and I hanging out!
Jen and Danelle. AKA moms with oldish kids trying to stay awake!
Robert has energy for days!
Eva has that same energy.
Katie was able to make the party and joined us. I was surprised that she stayed as late as she did, cause she had patients to see in the morning.
Playing a family friendly group game together. Can’t remember what it was, but we were all laughing!
And it wouldn’t be a holiday without a game of “Cards Against Humanity”.
Laura wanted to check out Tilles Park’s Winter Wonderland. We decided it would be best to visit on a carriage. So we split a large carriage and invited Josh and Jen to join us. We all met early as we were quite excited to get our ride. The kids were super excited and we all bundled up for the cold.
Once we got started, we had quite conversation as we took in all of the lights around us. Its impossible to get a good photo from a phone, but here is an idea.
After viewing the lights, we had everyone over to our house for dinner. Its amazing how much you can prepare for a group in a hurry. Luckily the house didn’t burn down while we were gone with the ham in the oven.
Josh and Jen invited us over to their house to make apple cider. Ok, the real goal was to get the juice so they could turn it into hard apple cider. But all good things take time and we needed to start with getting the juice out of the apples. Several of their friends showed up.
The process consisted of a few steps. First we had to clean the apples by cutting out any bad spots. They are then placed in the blue bucket to clean them of debris.
Then next step is to pull apples out of the bucket and on to the table. There, we’ll cut them in half and place them in the manual hopper. We take turns turning the wheel to grind up the apples to much smaller chunks and juice.
Once the bucket is full of apple parts, it is dumped into a cheesecloth bag inside of the press. Once the press was full, it was time to start turning the press to get the juice out of the apples.
The juice in the bowl is apple cider. When the bowl is full, it was moved into containers and put into storage until it could be brewed into hard cider. We of course had to sample each type of apple cider.
The spent chunks of apples were taken to the mulch pile while the rest of the process continued. Of course, it wasn’t all work. We had fun and stopped for lunch!
Our friend from college, Josh was in town with his wife, Jen, and their kids around Thanksgiving. They live in Virginia, but Josh grew up in St. Louis. He and Danelle were in the Honors College crew who went to London for a semester and then meandered around Europe for a couple of months. Another Honors College friend, Mark, brought his girlfriend Jung. She passed the test – that is a Blues hockey teddy bear she is holding!
As a blast from the past, Mark even wore his sweatshirt from Gamma Pi Alpha (GPA), our honors fraternity. Weren’t we a clever bunch! We couldn’t believe that:
1. He still has the sweatshirt.
2. It still fits.
3. It looks brand new!!
We spent a good deal of time playing with Chromecast. We took turns with Google Maps on Hogan’s phone linked to the TV, showing each other fun places we’ve lived or done research and looking into the places we are planning to visit next.