Every year at the beginning of the school year the youth program at our church has a combined activity where they go ice blocking down the grassy hill at Cottonwood Creek Park. I decided to surprise Peter and Emma this year and snap a few photos. I loved watching their expressions as they flew down the hill on a tiny block of ice. They were both so excited to have their own block of ice this year. According to Peter and Emma, Andrew hogged the block of ice last year. It was easy enough to get them their own this year. The thing I loved most about watching Peter and Emma was their interactions with their friends. I love that they are two social butterflies. I hope this year brings them good friendships and good memories with their friends.
After 4 months of planning and preparing, it was finally time to send Andrew off to college. We spent the last month buying things for his apartment and checking things off our to-do-lists. We left Wednesday evening after the girls cross country meet and drove 3 hrs to Laramie, WY where we stayed the night. It was a little sad for the kids to say goodbye to Andrew. Madeline was pretty delirious when we got to the hotel. She had fun jumping up and down on the bed. It was pretty cute.
The next morning we got up early and left for our remaining 8 hr drive to Rexburg. The views before and after Jackson Hole were probably some of the prettiest of the entire trip. We stopped in Jackson Hole for some much needed lunch. We ate some pretty amazing burgers at Liberty Burger and then drove the last 1.5 hrs to Rexburg. We have never done this drive before and I think we were all a little surprised and impressed at how amazing the views of the Grand Tetons were from the drive. This made Andrew super excited for the upcoming ski season.
We made it to Rexburg by early afternoon and headed straight to the BYU-I campus. We explored the Manwaring student center first. This is where the food court, BYU bookstore, ID card center, mail center, small market, and the entrance to the library are. It definitely had a newer feel than the Wilkonson Center at BYU Provo. We headed straight to the bookstore and found some fun new shirts to buy. Madeline found a cute new puppy dog with a BYU-I scarf around its neck. Next we just walked around the campus to see the different buildings and then made our way to Andrew's apartments at Northpoint. We wanted to make the walk from campus to his apartment so he would be familiar with it.
After that we headed back to the car and saw a different side of campus on the way back. We also drove past the Rexburg LDS temple. Wow...what a sight to behold. It was way bigger than I thought it would be. These students sure are lucky to have a beautiful temple so close. We made our way down to Idaho Falls where we would be staying for the night. We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn and were stunned by the amazing room Mike had requested. Our balcony looked straight out to the Idaho Falls LDS temple. It was pretty spectacular. We dropped off our stuff and went out the back of the hotel through the patio area and made our way to the Idaho Falls River walk. It was such a fun trail that followed the river by the temple. We walked along until we came to a really neat Japanese Garden area. We played there for awhile and then walked back the same way we came to eat at a really yummy restaurant called the Copper Rill. We started outside on the patio but eventually moved inside because it got a little cold when the sun went down. It was a long last dinner with Andrew. We walked back to our hotel and headed to bed.
(found this cool aerial view of the campus online)
(a beautiful photo I found of the Rexburg temple at sunset)
The next morning we got up pretty early so we could be there shortly after the apartment check in started at 8am. As I was getting ready I looked outside and saw the most amazing sunrise right behind the temple. I quickly grabbed my camera and ran outside with my wet hair so I wouldn't miss the beautiful colors in the sky behind the temple. What a great way to start the day!
With a little bit of construction on the road back up to Rexburg, it still only took us 25 min to get there. There had been notices from BYU-I about the traffic but since we used to crazy traffic up to Denver it was kind of a joke to us that people were making such a big deal about it. By the time we got there the lines were pretty short for check-in. Because I had paid for everything before Sept 1 we were able to go into the express check-in lane. It was definitely a team effort. Mike dropped Andrew and I off and we got him checked into their Get Connected program where they are put into groups to tour the campus and be with others who are in their major. Then by the time we made it to his apartment building Mike had already gotten his check-in packet. Mike drove the car to the 5th floor of the building and we unloaded all of his stuff. It was pretty great that his apartment building is the one that is connect to the parking garage. It was kind of a shock when we looked around the apartment to see that the boys who stayed there last semester were kind of slobs. The rooms were completely empty but there was SO MUCH stuff left in the refrigerators, cupboards, and a few misc items in the living room. There was food and milk that had expired in July...yuck. So Mike quickly grabbed some cleaning supplies from the closest grocery store and we went to work cleaning up the place. Andrew and Mike worked on the kitchen and I worked on wiping down Andrew and Caden's bedroom. Mike and Andrew literally threw everything away...even utensils that had been left. It all went into the trash. It definitely took us a bit longer to get Andrew unpacked with the unanticipated cleaning but at least we knew that he would start out in a clean apartment. As I helped Andrew put his room together Mike continued to clean the first bathroom that Andrew would be using. A few hrs after we were there Caden and the McDowells showed up as well as one of the other roommates.
By lunch time all the roommates and their parents had made an appearance at the apartment. It was great to meet the other parents. They all seemed really nice and you could tell that their boys were pretty great too. By 1:30pm Andrew and Caden left to go up on campus to the Get Connected program while we walked to the Manwaring center with the McDowells to eat lunch at the food court. After that Mike and I headed to Walmart to pick up a few things we forgot, including pillows for Andrew's bed. I can't believe we forgot that. Then we headed back to the local grocery store to avoid the Walmart craziness to pick up some groceries for Andrew. Andrew met us back at the apartment at 3:30pm and by 4:00pm we had to say goodbye. I was pretty sad that I had to leave so soon. I could have used one more day with him but we needed to get back since Mike had an early flight out of Denver the next morning. We drove all the way to Loveland and didn't get to our hotel until 2 am. It was definitely a quick trip to drop Andrew off to college but I am glad that both Mike and I were able to go and be with him.
(these temple photos I actually did take myself...right place at the right time)
We took the kids shooting up in Woodland Park this evening. We left later than we wanted and so we only had about an hour to shoot before the sun went down. We went to the Pikes Peak public range and found a great spot to set up. This was the first time the girls had been shooting and they were both really excited. I didn't grow up with guns so this would be my first time shooting rifles and shotguns. Peter and Mike set everything up while the girls and I hung out in the car eating our fabulous Sonic burgers. Mike took each of the girls and taught them about the parts of the gun they were shooting and gave them some safety advice. Emma wasn't all that nervous and had Mike help her with the first shot. After that she did it on her own. She LOVED it. Emma mostly shot grandma Candace's 22 bolt action rifle. She only needed a little bit of help pulling back the bolt. After shooting that a bunch she tried the over under 410-22 rifle/shotgun. She was a bit shocked with the kick she got from the shotgun setting but she still loved it. Abby, on the other hand, was extremely nervous when Mike finally put the gun in her hand. She actually put the gun down and ran away until I convinced her to just try it once. At first Mike helped her hold the gun and shoot. Eventually she was comfortable enough to try it on her own. The thrill put a smile on her face and she was no longer scared to hold the gun by herself.
As for Peter, well he was a pro at shooting. It was fun to watch him shoot the 12 gauge semi auto. Both Peter and Mike spent most of their turns shooting the semi auto gun. I tried both the 22 bolt action and the over under 410-22. I actually managed to shoot down a can and the cardboard wall with the shotgun setting. It was such a thrill. We all can't wait to go back and shoot together again. Next time I will try the 12 gauge semi auto!!
It's been an extremely long but exciting road helping Peter get to this point. Tonight he sat for his Eagle Board of Review and he passed! Peter is finally an EAGLE Scout!!! He wasn't even nervous at all. We are so proud of him and all he accomplished to get to this point. It’s been a great day for Peter. He had a swim meet before his Board of Review where he got 1st in the 500 freestyle, getting his PR by shaving 14 sec off his time from only two days ago. I don’t think there is anything this kid can’t do. Way to go Peter!!!
After a week of three snow days and two canceled meets, the boys were finally ready to compete in their first swim meet against Palmer HS. They knew there wasn't much competition agains Palmer but they were still pumped to swim their hardest. Peter swam in the 200 medley relay (butterfly), 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, and the 400 freestyle relay. He swam strong in all his events but his 500 freestyle was his best event of the day, landing him a new PR of 6:14.56. This is the event Peter will focus on this season to try and get as close as he can to the state qualifying time.
200 medley relay - no individual time. Team time of 2:45.01
200 freestyle - 2:23.48
500 freestyle - 6:14.56
400 freestyle relay - 31.49, 35.51
Andrew also had a pretty good meet. He swam in the 200 medley relay (breaststroke), 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, and the 100 breastroke. With only 1 sec away from his best time in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 breastroke he did well for his first meet. His 200 freestyle relay team actually got a State qualifying time so that is exciting! After this meet Andrew is even more determined to work hard on breastroke this season so that he can try and get a state qualifying time.
200 medley relay (breaststroke) - no individual time. Team time of 1:56.82
50 freestyle - 26.45
200 freestyle relay - 26.31
100 breastroke - 1:17.16
We have had our fair share of snowstorms and canceled school days since living in Colorado Springs. But, it is rare to get a snowstorm so big that everything in the city shuts down. Today's storm is a storm to rule them all. With winds that could approach close to 70mph and snow that just keeps on coming...most everything along the front range in Colorado from here to Denver has been shut down. Airports, school districts, shopping, freeways...most didn't even open up today and some closed down as the weather got worse. The kids were so shocked to see how bad it was outside when we opened our front door. Everyone braved the outside for just a few minutes to grab a few fun shots before rushing back inside. The wind was so strong that a ton of snow flew into the house and the ice had stacked up against the rubber stoppers around the doorframe so we couldn't shut the door all the way. It took some scrapping but we finally got the door to shut all the way.
Mike had to head down to Ft. Carson to see morning clinic and waited for the hospital administrators to tell everyone to go home. The hospital at Ft. Carson has NEVER been good about shutting down in these types of situations. Good thing Mike left when he did because waiting too much longer would've put him in a real bind to get home. He stopped at Costco on the way home and bought the very last generator. That was something we had been meaning to do for quite some time. It was the floor model so we got a nice discount. As he wound his way closer to home the visibility basically became nonexistent. He drove pretty much blind the last 2 miles home. It's been a crazy day but we are just super grateful to be inside a nice warm home, eating fresh banana bread and watching our favorite shows!
Emma, Peter, and Andrew swam in their second meet of the club season at the CMA Valentines meet at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Since Emma turned 13 last month she was bumped up to swim with the older kids this time. One of the things about the older kids events are the elimination of many of the smaller 50 yd events. There weren't too many options in the 100yd events for today and so Emma only swam in the 100 freestyle race. She was way more confident during this meet than she was during the last meet. She did well, swimming the first 50 yards extremely well. Her second 50 yards was a bit slower because she swallowed some water on the second lap. Still, she was able to knock out a time of 1:35.73. Way to go Emma!
Peter swam the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. He went out too fast for the first lap and ended up losing a bit of steam on the second lap. That's usually how it goes with the butterfly. It's just a tough event. His time was 1:15.31. He did really well, however, on his 100 freestyle. He got a new PR with a time of 1:05.21. It was so fun to see Peter PR in the freestyle and to also try the butterfly event. Most kids don't volunteer to swim in that event.
Andrew swam the 100 freestyle and the 200 breaststroke. He wasn't feeling well at all today and his back was bothering him. His times were still decent though. He swam the 100 freestyle in 58.81 and the 200 breaststroke in 2:54.83. I'm so proud of Andrew for pushing through it.
This year Emma decided that she wanted me to make her a fancy cake like I did for Madeline's birthday. She looked at a couple of ideas and came up with a Paris themed cake. I went to work trying to figure out what I would need and spent 2 days prepping and decorating the cake. It definitely was a team effort to make this cake. I did all the prep work and when it was time to finally decorate the cake, Mike helped with the actual drawing on the fondant pieces. We all think it turned out so cute. It was not just a cute cake but it was also extremely delicious. Everyone just loves the marshmallow fondant. The kids finished the cake by the next day. Wow!
For gifts Emma wanted some more clothes as well as a yoga mat and weights. I found some adorable new outfits for her Emma at Athleta this year. She got a new pair of black warm up pants, two fun shirts, and a cozy sweatshirt. I also found an adorable necklace with a little runner girl. She LOVED that. From her grandparents she got a reversable yoga mat and weights. She was beyond thrilled with all of her fun gifts. Even though it was only a family birthday this year Emma got some fun things from some of her best friends. Natalie gave her a pink fuzzy pillow and Ava gave her a cute little dog stuffed animal. Emma is so lucky to have such nice friends.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. We checked into a small hotel where our entire floor smelled like weed. After unpacking, we went shopping and then ate at KFC. Needless to say, it was an odd first night. The first day, we went to ski at Breckenridge, which is one of my favorite ski areas in the state. I decided to take everybody on a small hike, which gives you access to some of the peaks, where you can drop into untouched powder and rocket down the side of a bowl. It was a hard hike, but easily rewarding as we were greeted with an amazing view and endless selection of possible lines to ski. I really enjoyed skiing all day with some of my friends. That night, we basically sat at the hotel and ate snacks for dinner until we went down to the "pool" which was a 2ft baby pool, and we messed around for almost an hour. The next day we went to Copper Mountain and spent the first half of the day skiing some blues and blacks, as well as many tree runs. We eventually went to the CAT runs, which are only accessible by taking a CAT up the mountain, then hiking 2 miles to the peaks. It was a really easy hike, believe it or not, and we made it up the mountain in no time. The view from the peak was one of the best views I had ever seen in my life, and the narrow EX run was a dream of powder and trees, making it seem like the perfect winter wonderland. I really enjoyed skiing with some good friends of mine. It was an unforgettable weekend.
NEW TESTAMENT STUDY GUIDE
JANUARY 6, 2019
I am so excited to be teaching the adult Sunday school class again this year. This year we are studying the New Testament. I found this amazing study guide that really helps me understand the different gospels. I have learned so much already.
RUNNING AT RED ROCKS WITH FRIENDS
JANUARY 7, 2019
It's very rare in the winter time to get some warmer days on the weekends. Today was the perfect running weather. I met Dionne and Harley at Red Rocks and we did a big loop all the way around Red Rocks with a little jet into Section 16. It was a fabulous run. So grateful for great friends to run with.
SNOWY, SNOWY DAY
JANUARY 12, 2019
I knew the good weather was too good to be true. It snowed a ton today. I really do like how peaceful the snow makes everything. I even like going for a run in it. The only thing I don't like is the mess it makes on my car and in my garage when everything finally starts to melt. Oh winter...
EATING RAMEN WITH ANDREW
JANUARY 12, 2019
Andrew and I went to Flying Horse to go for a swim. I convinced him to come with me so that he could help me with my swimming form. He had some great pointers to give me. It was just fun to be in the pool with Andrew. Afterwards we treated ourselves by going out to lunch at the new Ramen restaurant at the Promenade Shops. It did not disappoint! We were both transported back to the time we lived in Japan. It brought back such great memories for both of us.
NEW BIKE TRAINERS
JANUARY 12, 2019
Mike and I both got new bike trainers for each other for Christmas and we finally set them up in the garage. Now we can bike together on Zwift during the week. I can't wait...I'm so excited to spend some time with Mike working out together!
NEW POSTERS FOR MIKE'S OFFICE
JANUARY 13, 2019
It has been so much fun to help Mike set up his new office for his private practice. I dusted off my mat cutter and cut mats for his medical posters so that we could hang them up in his clinic rooms. They really make the room look professional and nice.
MADELINE'S FAVORITE THINGS
JANUARY 17, 2019
Madeline has lots of favorite things but one of those is probably bath time. She is ALWAYS excited to take a bath after dinner. She loves to play with her foam letters, plastic cups and animals. She really loves it when we put bubbles in the bath.
Another one of Madeline's favorite things is her pretend camera. She loves to tell me to sit in the chair and smile. Then she pretends to take my picture. After she is satisfied then she makes me take her picture. It is adorable.
RUNNING WITH STRIDERS FRIENDS IN THE COLD
JANUARY 17, 2019
Every once in awhile my running group runs with the CRUD (Colorado Runners Ultra Distance) group and does the Cheyenne Canyon run. Today the Sunrise Striders were actually doing a different workout but some of us decided it would be more fun to do the CRUD run. It is 4.5 miles completely uphill and then we take the trails on the way back down. The total mileage is 9 miles. It is such a great run but you have to be prepared for a long uphill climb. Today the road going up wasn't that clear. There was still plenty of snow patches and ice. It made for a tricky climb. The trails were mostly clear and very runeable on the way back down. Caryn, Harley, Dionne and I ran into Dave near the top and ran down with him. The sunrise was spectacular as we made our way back down. Even though the road conditions weren't ideal....it was still a really fun run.
PETER GETS HIS BRACES OFF
JANUARY 23, 2019
Both of the boys actually went in to get their braces off today. Andrew had the bottom 6 braces put back on to fix a popped out tooth. He only had to wear them for 5 months. Peter was finally get his full set of braces off. With 2 rounds of braces, once at 12 years old and this last time, he was ready to be done with it all. Oh happy day!
MADELINE LOVES TO READ
JANUARY 31, 2019
Madeline loves books. She especially likes it when someone reads to her but today she loved looking at and reading her small board books to herself. It was so fun to watch her recite what she remembered from each book.
The kids have all been swimming with the Rapids Swim Club since the early fall and this was the first meet that I was able to sign them up to participate in. The girls were a little nervous as this was their first real big swim meet. The boys were anxious to see what they could swim at this point in their pre-season to their HS swim team season. I was so incredibly impressed with how well everyone did today and how they cheered for and encouraged each other in their individual events.
Andrew's times were already so much better than the last two seasons of HS swim. He swam in the 50 freestyle, 100 breast, and the 100 freestyle events. He PR'd in 100 breaststroke and swam it in 1:16.17. His previous best time was his sophomore year at 1:18.42 since he didn't swim it his junior year. His 50 free time was outstanding for the pre-season at 26.00. His fastest time was during the Eagle Invite his sophomore year at 25.29. Last year he swam a 25.60 during State and that was after a season of an injured hand. Andrew's 100 free time today was 58.00 which was his best solo 100 freestyle not in a relay. His previous 100 free style record was 1:00.73 last season. His overall best 100 freestyle distance was 56.12 in the 400 freestyle relay his sophomore year. After such a successful meet for Andrew he and I both realized his potential. He hasn't been making it to all the club practices and still swam a great meet which only means that with a lot of hard work from here until the HS season starts and through the season, he could potentially make State with an individual event this year. It will be fun to see how far he can come this year by working hard and swimming the events he is strongest in.
Peter PR'd in every event he swam today. He swam in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, and the 100 freestyle events. Peter's 500 freestyle time was 6:28.00 which was 12 seconds faster than last year's best time of 6:42.98. Peter's 200 freestyle time today was 2:27.00 which was one second faster than last year's best time and his 100 freestyle was 1:05.00 which knocked his previous best tie of 1:11.89 out of the park. Unlike Andrew, Peter has been more diligent about going to practice and his hard work is already starting to show. He is so competitive with Andrew and I know that with some more hard work Peter will get the times that he is working towards this year. So proud of this kid.
Emma swam in two events today. She swam in the 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle events. As she was getting ready for her 50 breaststroke she accidentally missed her heat. She got confused because some other kid was on her block. There were a few tears since this was her favorite event. Coach Brody stepped in and got her in the next heat which was awesome. That is the nice thing about the 12&under competition...they are a little bit more lenient. Needless to say, she swam well being a little frazzled. Still, according to Emma, this was not her best time and didn't glide as much as she should have but she was happy to be able to swim in the event. She swam the 50 breaststroke in 43.00. Emma's next event was the 50 freestyle and she swan that in 41.47. Again, not her best time from practice but still a great starting time for her. I was so proud of her for pushing herself even when she was nervous and frazzled. This was a great experience for her.
Abby was a little unsure about swimming in such a big meet but she put on her brave face and went with the flow today. She swam in both the 50 butterfly and 100 freestyle events. She swam her 50 butterfly which was the very first event in 1:03.99 and was 4th in her heat. She was so happy with that. Then she waited until the end of the meet to swim in the 100 freestyle. She was so nervous about doing flip turns and being disqualified. Ramon and I tried to encourage her to just try them but in the end she just touched the wall. Still, with her nerves I was just so proud of her for getting up on that swim block and racing. She did the 100 freestyle in 2:06.00. I couldn't have been more pleased with her efforts.
Since Mike was tired today I was able to go out with all the kids to ski while he stayed back with Madeline. We left a little earlier than we did the day before and made our way across the mountainside all the way over to the Two Elks Lodge area and down Poppyfields so that we could show Andrew and Abby how cool skiing is at the Blue Sky Basin. We were so happy that we didn't have to wait in a long line at the Skyline Express Lift today. Once we got to the top at Belle's Camp we got some water and went to the bathroom. Then we headed once again to the Big Rock Park run and were somewhat disappointed that they had groomed the bottom half of the run. The day before it was so powdery which made it so much fun. No big deal...we headed up Pete's Express Lift so that we could ski the runs over there. Since we had Abby, we let the boys go off and do the Revolution run while the girls tried the Star run and had the best time skiing through the BEST powder in and out of the trees. It turns out that this was the coolest place to ski. Being able to ski in the trees but then pop out onto a wider trail anytime we wanted was so much fun. The girls had fun following me in and out of the trees. Even Abby was able to keep up with me and Emma. After doing that run several times and meeting the boys at the bottom of the lift we decided to take Abby on the black Revolution run. She did really well but there were still tears since the small steep section scared her. We had fun anyways and decided to head all the way back down to the Skyline Express Lift so that we could go eat lunch at Belle's Camp. There were SO MANY PEOPLE at the top and it was hard to find a place to eat even though there was a ton of places to eat outside. The weather was actually quite warm today and so it wasn't too cold to sit outside. The boys opted to sit in the snowbanks on the outskirts of Belle's Camp while the girls and I found a few open spots at the end of one of the tables. We didn't spend too long eating but nevertheless, we enjoyed our sandwiches, chips and hot chocolate. After a decent amount of time resting and filling up our tummies, we headed out again to ski Big Rock Park and then headed over to the lifts we had been doing all morning. We did one more run with Abby through the trees on the Star run but quickly realized that she was worn out and was starting to fall apart emotionally. After quite a frustrating and slow run I left her at the Dawg Haus eating area at the bottom of Pete's Express Lift with some money for a treat and my cell phone so that she could rest while we did a few more runs. Emma and I joined the boys and decided to go down Revolution. It was as good as the day before but we were even more confident this time. The second time going down it Emma and I even tried going in some of the trees on the steep sections and then I took pictures of the kids going off the jump at the bottom of the steep section. It was a fantastic way to end our awesome day at Blue Sky Basin. After picking up Abby we all headed back to the Tea Cup Express Lift so that we could head back to Lionshead Village. On the way down the least little section I got ahead of Abby and right after I turned the corner onto the catwalk she fell. I had the sense to stop at the curve and wait but was getting worried when I didn't see her after 5 min had passed. Luckily another guy had helped her with her binding which had apparently been a little messed up. The line at the lift was a zoo by the time we got there as everyone else was heading back to the front side of the mountain. We took our usual route back to the village and when we finally made it back we couldn't find Peter until we saw him talking to one of the Ski Patrol guys. Apparently he was going too fast down the already steep and icy bottom section and got a warning. The patrol guy was nice, according to Peter, and there wasn't a fine so we just laughed about it and reminded Peter to be more careful in the slow zones at the bottom.
Today was our last day in Vail and it was another beautiful morning. Peter and Abby stayed behind to rest and help me pack up the car while Mike took Andrew and Emma out skiing in the morning. They went up the normal route from Lionshead Village and skied down Hunky Dory, which they LOVED. They said it was the best run of the day since they had just groomed it. They did Northstar before heading to the back side of the mountain. Northstar apparently was not good because the moguls were deep and ice. Once they were on the back side of the mountain and into the Blue Sky Basin, they skied down the Grand Review run and LOVED it. They also skied down the Slot run and the black Hornsilver run before heading back to meet us at Vail Village. Overall, they had a great morning and by the time we all met at 11:30 we were all ready to head home.
After getting everyone packed up and feeding everyone dinner, we loaded up the car and headed out on an epic weekend at Vail. The drive would have been pretty pleasant if only Madeline had not gotten sick twice in the car. This was the first time she had actually thrown up since being a baby and it was unpleasant for everyone in the car. Poor little thing finally fell asleep right before the Vail pass which was good because the weather started to turn nasty and it was a white knuckled drive from Vail pass to our hotel. We did make it to the Marriott's Streamside Villas safely so that was good. We bought an Encore package last year so that we could take advantage of staying at another Marriott Vacation Club without having to actually buy into their ridiculous program. After getting Madeline a bath and everyone settle we all headed to bed so that we could get up early to ski.
Waking up to freshly falling snow is a magical thing….its even better when you’re staying at one of the greatest ski resorts in the world. I stayed with Madeline at the condo, and Mike took the rest of the kids out into the wild. There was about 1 foot of fresh Colorado powder ready to play in and it continued falling all morning. No one was quite ready for how much powder there was on the slopes. It took everyone a few minutes to adjust. They headed up on a high speed quad and made their way up to the Mountaintop Express lift. Once there, the boys went off in search of steep stuff and Mike took the girls down some tamer runs to get them used to turning in powder that came up to their thighs. Abby was having a tough time, so they dropped her off at the top of the mountain in one of the restaurants. Emma and Mike then joined back up with the boys and went down Northstar which was a groovy black that had so much powder that it was hard not to giggle while skiing. After a few laps, they went back to find Abby. To their dismay, she had made friends with a bunch of older skiers and was regaling them with stories of Madeline throwing up in the car on the way to Vail. It was pretty funny. Mike left Emma there to warm up and did a few more laps around the top of the mountain with the boys. After that, they grabbed the girls (who were warmed up with hot chocolate and brownies) and headed to meet me at the bottom of Vail Village. They took Riva’s run, which is a great black run all the way down to Vail Village. This involved the infamous tourist trap which is a steep and pitchy black run. Abby handled it like a champ. In all, it was an amazing morning with killer freshies on amazing snow.
After meeting everyone and switching at the car, we took Gondola One from Vail Village while the older three kids ate their lunch on the way up. From the top of the Gondola we got right on the Mountaintop Express Lift. The kids took me on the black Northstar run and the blue Northwoods run. There was so much powder that I was really having a hard time skiing with good form. It took a few runs just to get the hang of it. Between the intense powder, the low visibility, and the snow that was falling, it was a harder ski day for me than for the kids. On the way back down the mountain we took Ramshorn and Upper Lions Way to get back to Lionshead Village where we caught the shuttle back to our condo at the Marriott.
After a snowy start to our ski vacation we were all eager to get up this morning to hit the slopes with fresh powder. Since Andrew wasn't feeling well and Abby was too tired to ski, we left them back at the room with Madeline. Mike, Emma, Peter, and I headed to the Gondola at Lionshead Village and made our way towards the Blue Sky Basin which Mike and my favorite place to ski when we were here a few years ago. From the top of the Gondola we headed down the Game trail to take the Game Creek Express Lift up. Since Vail is such a big mountain it took us a little while to get all the way over to the east side of the mountain before dipping into the back side. First we took Hunky Dory down to the Mountaintop Express Lift. This was such a cool run with the freshest powder we have ever skied in. It was a nice treat after walking on mostly flat terrain for 5 minutes from the top of the lift to the top of this run. Peter, Emma, and I took a short mogul run off of the main trail and met up with Mike at the bottom and then headed down to our next lift. From the top of Mountaintop Express Lift we took the Timberline Catwalk all the way to the Sourdough Express Lift. This is probably one of the only catwalk trails that is actually fun to ride. It is nestled between a wall of trees on both sides. With the trees covered in all white it was quite a site to behold. Finally, at the top of the Sourdough Lift we were able to pop on over to the backside of the mountain. We took the Poppyfields run all the way down to the Skyline Express Lift which takes you up to the top of the Blue Sky Basin. It took us about 1 hour from the start of our day to get to the top of Blue Sky Basin and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT...even with the 15-20 min it took to get on the Skyline Express Lift up to Belles Camp. We took the kids down a little bit of Cloud 9 until we reached Pete's Bowl and skied down Big Rock Park. This run is like zigging and zagging in and out of beautiful giant trees. It is a hoot of a run to ski. After getting to the bottom we spent the majority of our morning going up Pete's Express Lift to ski Resolution which was the coolest black between Big Rock Park and Grand Preview. Emma and I were a little nervous at first but it turned out to be very doable, especially with lots of great powder. It was so fun to be able to ski where there weren't a lot of people and to try and perfect our skills of getting in and around powdery moguls. We spent most of our morning in this area of the mountain before heading back up the Skyline Express Lift to Belles Camp to eat lunch. We said goodbye to Mike while he headed back to see if the other two kids want to go out and ski. Peter, Emma, and I had lunch at the hut at the top of Belle's Camp. We split a sandwich, chips, hot chocolate and a treat and after that we were ready to hit the slopes again. We spent another 2 hours doing more of the same runs before making our long trek back to Lionshead Village. It was such a fabulous ski day with the most perfect weather conditions and lots of powder to ski on.
Ever since the older kids have been swimming with the Rapids Swim Club back in the fall, Madeline has been obsessed with being just like the big kids. We found an old pair of pink swim goggles and gave them to her to play with so that she would stop getting into the kids swim bags and stealing their goggles. She loves to wear them ALL THE TIME. What's even more hilarious is when she gets down on the floor and pretends to swim. She somehow manages to scoot herself around on the wood floor while telling us that she is swimming. She even does it in the bath. I love how much she wants to be like her siblings. I see a swimmer in her future!
It has snowed a ton this season already and that has made the kids extremely happy. The girls still love playing in the snow in the backyard after every snowstorm. Madeline is finally old enough to be able to join in on the fun with her older sisters. This afternoon was especially fun for Madeline as Emma and Abby built the coolest snow fort and snowman with her. They had snowball fights and pulled each other in the sled. It was mostly Madeline who got pulled in the sled because every time either Abby or Emma tried to get in the sled Madeline got a little upset. Everyone always wants to make Madeline happy so they were happy to let her get pulled around in the sled. Madeline just loved playing in the snow with the best older sisters a little girl could have.