Tag Archives: ice skating

Skating under the Stars


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On Monday, following our road trip to Cleveland, Ohio to visit The Christmas Story house, we headed back towards home for a very full remainder of the day. Tyler had his dyslexia tutoring in Wexford at 3:15, after which we were headed downtown Pittsburgh for an evening outing with PA Cyber.

This cyber school outing was scheduled for after dark, from 5:00-7:00 pm. It was an ice skating event at the MassMutual Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place.

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When I had signed us up two months prior, I thought it would be a fun Christmassy activity for us to enjoy the week before Christmas…

And I was right!

It was simply magical,

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Like a scene from a Hallmark movie.

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We checked in and Tyler, as a PA Cyber student, received a PA Cyber winter hat to keep him warm. It was so cute on him!

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The boys got their skates and prepared to get on the ice while I took my place outside the rink, happy to soak up the festive Christmas atmosphere and capture the magic with my camera.

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It was a perfect evening, chilly but not bitter. The city buildings surrounding the rink blocked what little wind their was, and reflected the twinkling lights of the large Christmas tree off their mirrored surface.

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The boys had a blast, skating along to the strains of the Christmas songs that filled the plaza.

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Halfway through the activity skaters were sent off the ice so that the Zamboni machine could clean things up. We used that time to enjoy the complimentary snacks and drinks that were laid out by PA Cyber staff for the families to enjoy.

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Another hour on the ice and it was time to head home. It was a fun-filled day, to say the least!

We arrived home physically worn out by the busyness of our day but hyped up on Christmas Spirit. It was just what I needed to jump start my Christmas enthusiasm for the tasks that awaited my attention in the upcoming days.

I can hardly believe Christmas is days away!



Ice Skating at North Park




For years my kids have agreed that one of the best reoccurring youth activities is the January ice skating activity at North Park skating rink. It seems that this event has been a favorite activity for almost a decade, as I have fond memories of Grace donning skates on a cold winter night at age 13 and now find myself helping Tyler tighten his laces at this same winter activity.

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While the activities of the night have remained constant, the faces in the crowd have changed. Many of the youth who were skating circles around the rink a few years ago are now college graduates, full time missionaries or newlyweds. For some reason the marching of time hit me extra hard on Saturday as I watched a new, rising group of young people take the place of familiar faces who have moved on.

Among the new faces were Brandon and Tyler…

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Brandon, because of this being his first opportunity to attend since joining our family.


And Tyler, because he is now 12, which makes him a participant in the young men’s program which allows him and his buddies from church to take part in the fun activities planned for the youth.

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It was weird finding myself with only boys in tow, as this was a favorite activity of Grace and Molly for many, many years. Molly, unfortunately, found herself having to work Friday night and thus having to miss her last year ice skating with the youth.

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Instead it was an all-boy adventure and I got a taste of what life is evolving into with Grace and Molly growing up and gone more than they are home. I am preparing myself for life as the only girl in a testosterone saturated house. Lord, help me!

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Rusty, having been the only one to attend this activity previously, filled the other three in on what to expect.

The night was split into two parts. It began with 3 hours of ice skating (or board games for those who chose not to skate.)

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This was followed by socializing over a dinner of pizza, wings and desserts.

Since I had no responsibilities over this activity, I used my free time… you know, the down time between jumping up to capture moments on film…to get a little school work done now that school has resumed.

And a lot of jumping up I did!

This was Brandon, Tyler and Ozzie’s first time at this activity and Brandon’s first time ever ice skating, so I had to record the adventure in photographs.

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All did amazingly well. I expected Rusty to be a pro but I was amazed how much better the other three boys did than I anticipated.

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The snow began falling soon after we arrived, making the skaters look like they were caught inside a Christmas snow globe.

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The scene was magical, with fat snowflakes turning the world white.

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It was a great night with great youth!


Ice Skating at North Park



Last Saturday was the annual stake youth ice skating activity held at North Park. This is one of the favorite youth events offered every year and has become an activity eagerly anticipated by the kids and their friends. We have been attending this activity for the last seven Januaries and some of their friends from co-op, who they invite each year, have been attending almost as long.

The event ran from 4:00pm- 8:00pm, so we made plans to pick up their friends from up north at 3:00 for the hour drive south to North Park. (That sounded way more confusing than it actually was.) 🙂  When we arrived I found a corner to settle into with other adults who were also there as drivers or chaperones and enjoyed some conversation and catching up while the kids headed off to enjoy the activities offered.

Ice skating was available from 4:30-7:00 so the time leading up to the ice rink opening was spent playing board games that were set out for the youth to enjoy.


Once the ice rink opened we saw very little of the youth as most of their time was spent on the ice or hanging out around the edges of the ice rink.


I think everyone had a fabulous time:


The evening concluded with a walking taco dinner provided by the stake leaders.

At 8:00 everyone shuffled to the car with sore ankles and big smiles…true signs of a great night!

*A big “Thank You” to the leaders who made it happen!*


Fun on the Ice


On the Friday following Thanksgiving we made plans to get out of the house and take the kids ice skating.

Gaylord, Michigan has a fun Sportsplex in town that offers indoor ice skating and an indoor swimming pool. We had never gone before, given the fact that we have always visited Kelly during the warmer months of the year and our time is usually spent enjoying all the lakes and outdoor activities in the area.

Visiting in the winter months makes our usual stomping grounds inaccessible so we were looking for an activity we could do that would get the kids out of the house and allow them to burn off a little energy.

Kelly suggested ice skating. That day the Sportsplex was offering “family skate” from 1:30-3:30 pm for a cost of $3.00/person.

We bundled the kids up and loaded into our van. Our 12 passenger van fit Kelly and I and our 10 children perfectly, allowing us to drive together rather than take two separate vehicles.

On our way to the Sportsplex we stopped at the Gaylord Elk Park to see the elk, a must see stop every time we visit the Kirks. We lucked out and found a couple of the big bucks right near the fence line. The kids fed them fallen leaves through the fence and were able to touch their antlers.


There is something thrilling about seeing these creatures up close.


From there we drove over to the skating rink.

After paying to get in we began the monumental task of getting everyone in the right sized skates and getting everyone laced up.


Then it was time to head onto the ice. Kelly and I stayed on the sidelines with Noah and Charlie.


This duo had fun climbing up in the stands, playing “Ring around the Rosie…BANG,” and making faces for the camera that they immediately wanted to view and view again.


They are such funny boys!


The oldest 8 kids took to the ice. Some had previous skating experience…


While others were on the ice for the first time.


The rink offered walkers for new or unexperienced skaters. These walkers allowed skaters to lean on something steady as they worked out the coordination of moving across ice.


Grace paired up with Nate, helping him as he skated for the first time,


And Molly paired up with Sammy.


Rusty, Lydia and Tyler had fun zipping around the rink.


Ozzie was the one who surprised me most. As a new skater he took to skating far more easily than I anticipated, choosing to forgo the walkers and just learn on his own. He did wonderfully!


Everyone had blast and at the end of our two hour skating window

exited the ice with pink cheeks, sore ankles, and big smiles on their faces.


Have an Ice Day!



Saturday evening was the annual ice skating activity for the youth of our church. This is an activity that my kids look forward to every year. Youth from all around the Pittsburgh area come together for a night of free ice skating, dinner, and games. The leadership that put together this event always do a smashing job and it is one of the favorite activities of the year.

This year Ozzie missed attending by a few weeks. (He will be turning 12 in February) He was disappointed but I assured him that he will have many years of ice skating ahead of him.

Rusty invited his friend, Lucas, to join us.

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The event lasted four hours, beginning with skating…

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Then everyone came back inside for dinner. Those in charge prepared a dinner of “walking tacos” which was a big hit with the teenagers.

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The remainder of the night was set aside for the kids to play board games and socialize with each other.

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Everyone left with pink cheeks, sore ankles, and big smiles on their faces.

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Thank you!