Madeline was so excited for her 5th birthday this year. We were originally going to do a friend birthday party but with the way COVID was still evident in our society and little kids not being able to be vaccinated yet, we opted for a family only birthday party this year. Madeline choose fox cupcakes. I went to work figuring out how to make the cutest and simple fox fondant cupcakes. Emma and Abby helped me with some of the fondant pieces. They turned out so cute. Madeline was excited by her pink and gold balloons and her number 5 balloon and all her presents. We FaceTimed Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz so that they could be part of her birthday celebration. Madeline got some unicorn and pegasus figurines from the girls, some amazing new dress ups from Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz, a magazine subscription to National Geographic Kids from Grandpa Al, some cute books from Aunt Kim and family, and a cute wooden tree house for her wooden dolls and animals from mom and dad. Madeline and I had so much fun putting her wooden tree house together after eating a fabulous lunch and yummy cupcakes. Madeline played with that tree house all day long and tried on all her new dress up outfits. It was the perfect little birthday celebration for our perfect little 5-year-old.
Madeline has got to be one of the most remarkable little girls I have ever met. She is so bright, curious, creative, imaginative, and always optimistic. Madeline always has a smile on her face and she is a friend to everyone. There is not a day that goes by that she doesn't put a smile on all of our faces. She is the face I want to see when I get up and the face I want to see when I go to bed. She has so much love to give. She has a kind and sensitive spirit and I just love that about her. She is eager to please but also has her opinions about things. She brings so much joy into our family. She rarely has any temper tantrums and is just an overall obedient and good little girl. She cracks us up with the things she says. There are so many cute and funny things that come out of her mouth. I wish I could remember them all.
THE CUTE THINGS SHE SAYS:
Madeline - "Do spoons grow baby spoons?"
After mom opened up all of her birthday gifts Madeline said - "you have one more present...it's ME. I'm adorable."
After tooting in the car Madeline said - "Excuse me...that tickles...my toot tickled me."
Madeline - "Oh my gosh my eyebrows look so pretty after I get out of the shower."
(This is the second time she said it. I thought it was funny because her eyebrows look darker when they are wet so she can see them better)
I told Madeline she had to get out of the bath. The she said - "Can I stay until all the water is gone?"
When Peter was home for lunch one day he started singing the Pina Colada song. Madeline then started singing "Pee on your mother..." because that is how she heard it. Then she was in a goofy state and starting saying pee this and pee that.
After sitting on the heated toilet seat she said - "Ahh, it's like a warm pillow."
One day Mike asked Peter what he was doing and then asked him if he was going to talk to the ladies. Then Madeline said - "I'm going with Peter to go and see the ladies."
Madeline - "Am I going to make good friends in school?"
Mom - "Yes you are!"
Madeline - "I'm so nervous."
Madeline - "When do I have to get married?"
Mom- "Not until you are grown up."
Madeline - "But how will I find a boyfriend to marry?"
Mom - "You will meet someone when you are older."
Madeline - "That makes me so nervous!"
Madeline - "Mom, you need to do my laundry because I only have one pajama left!"
Madeline - "Are you married to your daddy?"
Mom - "No, but I am married to your daddy!"
Madeline - "He is your soulmate?"
Mom - "Yes he is my soulmate!"
Madeline - "Do soulmates kiss, hug, go on bike rides together, run together, squabble, watch TV together, sleep in the same bed....?"
Mom - "Yes, soulmates do all of those things."
THE FUNNY AND SWEET THINGS SHE DOES:
I pulled the bin of blankets down for Madeline because she wanted to play with them while I prepped for dinner. I called her to help me grind the wheat and she didn't answer. I went into her room and found her asleep with all of the blankets on top of her. It was so cute.
Madeline is in the question phase. She will have question sessions with me where she just asks whatever question pops into her head. Some of the questions I know she already knows the answers to, so I just respond with, "What do you think?" I am always amazed at how smart she is.
Over the last few months Madeline has developed the cutest laugh. It is kind of like an exaggerated laugh and it cracks me up every time. I often find things that make her laugh just so that I can hear it.
Madeline has a sensitive little spirit. It is a blessing and a curse for her to live with older siblings. They love her and play with her but she also is exposed to moments when her older siblings get into trouble. Most times if I raise my voice at one of the other kids, Madeline will come up to me after and say, "Are you mad at me momma?" It melts my heart and reminds me that I need to be a little calmer around her.
THE THINGS SHE LOVES:
Madeline loves to play with all of her toys. She doesn't have just one thing she likes but plays with most everything in her room. She spends the most time playing with her Sylvania Family animals, her princess people and their castles, her stuffed animals, baby dolls, legos, and her dollhouse people. One thing is for sure, Madeline loves her dress ups and is usually dressed up in something while she is playing. Her favorite dress up is probably her Elsa dress followed by her Anna dress.
Madeline loves to go for walks and just loves to be outside. She is the instigator of going on walks after dinner on most days. She will usually ride one of her bikes while we walk but sometimes she just wants to walk next to us. She loves to run and hike and she is an excellent skipper. Madeline is still taking swim lessons and she is progressing at her own pace. She can put her face in the water, blow bubbles in the water, go under the water, and swim a few feet to her instructor. However, she is still a little timid when it comes to going under the water.
Madeline loves to wear boots outside. All winter long she wears her favorite Bear Paw boots and even when we are in the middle of summer, sometimes she pulls them out to wear on walks. She also loves her other cute boots and will choose those over other fun shoes. I recently bought her some new ankle boots for the fall months and told her that she could wear them when her other boots got too small. She found a way to wear them anyways. Madeline has great style. She picks out her outfits the night before and its cute to see the things she puts together.
Madeline loves to eat. She is always asking me for something to eat. Just when I think I've fed her enough, she is back in the kitchen asking me for another snack. It's a good thing she is willing to eat her fruits and vegetables. Her favorite healthy snacks are bell peppers, apples, cheese and cinnamon toast. Other snacks she enjoys are fruit snacks, fruit leathers, mints, and gum. But of all the things that Madeline loves, she loves chocolate the most. She is always asking me for some sort of chocolate to eat. At one point she was getting into the chocolate chips so much that I had to put the chocolate chips away so she wouldn't eat too many of them. Madeline's favorite breakfast is oatmeal with brown sugar. For lunch she prefers a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and for dinner she is just happy to eat what the rest of us are eating.
It was hard to top Peter’s birthday from last year and since COVID was still around, we opted to not do a friend party and just do something with the family. The day before his birthday, Mike and I took Peter to Scheels where we bought him a brand-new camping backpack and he got to pick out his own rifle for graduation. Then we headed to Flying Horse to eat dinner to celebrate Peter. The next day on his actual birthday we had a nice celebration at home where he got to open up another present. All he wanted for his birthday was the new space shuttle LEGO set. He was so excited when he opened it up. After devouring his ice-cream cake, he headed into the dining room to start working on his awesome new LEGO set. Mike took his Stranger Things set out from the previous Christmas and started building that one too. I love that Peter is happy with the simple things in life. It’s hard to imagine that he is finally an official adult. He is such a ray of sunshine and happiness in our home. We are so lucky that he is part of our family.
This year Madeline was finally old enough to dye Easter eggs and enjoy it. I bought a simple egg dying kit and she had so much fun using all of the colors and then drawing fun designs on the eggs with a white wax crayon. On Easter day, we used our dyed eggs to make deviled eggs. We had our traditional Easter dinner of ham, honey roasted carrots, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, and homemade rolls. We hid candy filled eggs in the backyard just for Madeline this year. We also hid 3 golden eggs filled with money for the older kids. Madeline loved having all the easter eggs to herself. She was so ecstatic the entire time she hunted for eggs. Even though the older kids are getting too old to participate in Easter egg hunts, I know they enjoy watching Madeline have so much fun.
There wasn’t a ton of exercising in March as I was slowly adding back in running and biking after my surgery. It felt good to get outside and run, even if I had to do it in the snow. I surprisingly love running through fresh snow. There is something so calming about a new snowfall. I was able to run up Rampart Range Road with Dionne and Amber and did pretty well until the last mile or so. Mike and I biked together, and I actually got QOM on one of the Cordera segments. I was completely shocked. The last half of March I was preparing for our upcoming trip to Disney World so although I didn’t run or bike during the end of the month, I did do a lot of walking.
After quite the epic snowstorm dumped a ton of snow on the ground, I knew that running and biking would be off the table, so I dusted off my snowshoes and went for a jaunt in the open space behind my neighborhood. It was really the first time I had explored the trails back there and it was quiet and peaceful. I quickly remembered why I loved snowshoeing so much. After one big lap I headed home to grab some of the kids. They weren't interested except Madeline, so I headed back out with Mike and Madeline. We attached the sled to Mike's pack and just pulled Madeline along since none of the snowshoes were small enough for her. She loved sticking her hands out of the sled to brush the snow. She had a great time being pulled in the sled. I was able to do a few pick-ups of running and we even saw some gazelle jumping in the fields with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak in the background. It was a perfect little snowy morning! When we got back to the house Madeline just wanted to play in the snow and Peter and Abby did their swimsuit snow challenge where they dove into the snow in their swimsuits. Many of the other swimmers in their club also did it. All I can say is my kids are completely nuts to jump in the snow with their bare skin. Brrrrr!!!
We never quite know what kind of weather we are going to get in March. One thing is for sure, there is bound to be a snowstorm or two. This year we got a massive snowstorm like the one we got two years ago. There was so much snow that the snowplow was essential to move all the snow off the driveway and sidewalks. The kids had so much fun playing in the backyard and since there was a couple of feet of snow Peter had fun throwing the kids in the snow. Madeline especially loved being thrown in the big blanket of snow, building a snowman with Peter, and throwing snowballs behind their snow fort. We loved watching Mike wrestle with Peter and win, of course. Peter put up a good fight though. There was lots of laughter and silliness which made it easier to stay outside and play in the frigid temperatures.
Peter has been in full swing into his off-season swim training with the PPA swim club. He swam in his first swim meet since his swim season before COVID hit. With COVID restrictions still in effect, we weren’t able to watch the meet from inside the building but stood outside and watched through the glass windows. The weather was cold, and it was snowing but we stood outside for each race and then warmed in the car. Peter swam in the 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, and 500 freestyle. His times were definitely better than a year ago and that made him really happy. He swam the 100 butterfly in his best time ever finishing in 1:04.97. He swam the 100 freestyle in 58.17 and the 500 freestyle in 5:50.96. It was very exciting watching Peter swim again.
I was only able to exercise during the first part of this month and so I fully took advantage of some great runs and a surprise bike outside when the weather was cooperating. I did an easy run with Dionne on the Santa Fe one morning after a really stressful day the day before and that was a nice way to open up the month. Then I found myself being able to get on my road bike for a quick ride outside. It felt so good to be able to bike without the trainer. I ran the CRUD Cheyenne Canyon Hill Climb with Dionne and Caryn and that was an awesome run. I didn’t get my PR but I was only 10 seconds off from the month prior and this time the road and trail were definitely snowier. My last run before my procedure was a quick little run up in Cordera. It felt good to push the pace a little in the cold. My last bike was on Zwift where I challenged myself to the Innsbruck 15-mile hill climb. It was brutal but I’m so glad that I did it.
It was a lot nicer to sleep in and then not be so rushed in the morning to get to the gondola. We parked at the Solaris parking garage again and headed to the lift line. Once again, the line was extremely long. We even got there when the gondola opened but it didn’t matter, there were just so many people at Vail who wanted to ski. It took us about 20+ minutes to get through the line again but this time at the top we all stuck together and decided to ski together for the day. We headed up the Wildwood Express Lift and decided to all ski down Hunky Dory together. Madeline did great on this true blue run and even did the harder pitch towards the bottom. From there we headed up the Mountaintop Express Lift and went a short way down the Timberline Catwalk before attempting a new run. Peter went down the black Northstar run while Abby went down the blue Northwoods run. Emma apparently went all the way down the catwalk, so Mike went after her while I attempted to do Northwoods with Madeline. There were two steep pitches that she did fairly well getting down. The second steep pitch she fell over and I had a little trouble getting her upright and started back up again but really, she did awesome on that hard blue run. I was super impressed with her mad skills. We met Mike, Emma, and Abby at the bottom. Peter was already in line to head back up to the top, so we told him to ski it again and meet us on the Highline Express Lift but then later just had him meet us at the top for lunch. We got to the top right when our reservation to eat inside was ending. We didn’t anticipate how long it would take to get through the lift lines. Fortunately, I had cute Madeline with me and when I explained that we missed our reservation and if they could just find us a table for even 5 minutes, he took pity on me and he found a table for all of us for a new reservation. It was glorious to sit inside to eat lunch and relax for a little bit. After lunch, we headed down Boomer and then headed down Flapjack all the way to the bottom. We made our way over to do Swingsville a few times and then Madeline was kind of done so Mike took her and Abby and headed down on the gondola while I went with Peter and Emma and skied down Riva Ridge. Riva Ridge was a fun run, but definitely hard in some spots. We went through some more groomed steep sections and then some deep mogul runs. It was a blast and a great way to finish off our amazing ski weekend at Vail.
We got up super early to get everyone ready and out the door by 5:30am. We did pretty well and actually left the house at 5:50am. Since I-70 was a mess we choose to drive the back way through Breckenridge. The roads and weather were actually pretty good until we got closer to the pass before Breckenridge. The roads became snowier and everyone seemed to be very cautious, so it took longer to get to Vail. We got to the parking garage around 9:30am only to find that it was full. Luckily, the Solaris parking garage was open and only $10 more per day so we opted to park there. We must have gotten there at the perfect time because we were able to park close to the front of the garage. We got on our gear and headed to the line at Gondola One. The line was extremely long, and it probably took us at least 20-30 minutes to get on the gondola. At the top, Mike took Abby and Madeline while I headed off with Peter and Emma to see if we could ski some of Blue Sky Basin on the backside of the mountain. By the time we got all the way to Poppyfields, I could tell this time would be very different than our last ski trip. There was so much snow it was almost harder to ski. I felt very uneasy skiing on so much powder with so many people that didn’t seem to know how to ski on powder. We opted to ski all the way down to the Tea Cup Express but were surprised to see the line was uncharacteristically long. We actually took off our skis and walked around to get in line since the “official” line before the bottleneck wasn’t moving. It was kind of a nightmare but after a few minutes of waiting in that we heard lots of cheering and massive amounts of people in line left to head over to the Skyline Express Lift because apparently Blue Sky Basin was opening up. It was marvelous to not have to wait so long to get on the lift. We headed back up to the top and then skied down Sourdough to try and find Mike and the girls. After getting in touch with them we realized that we could ski all the way down Flapjack and up the Highline Express lift and then meet them at the top for lunch. Apparently, Madeline and Abby had been having a great time skiing on the front side of the mountain. Madeline didn’t seem to have any trouble with more snow on the runs and at one point she fell and before she got up, she said to Mike, “I think I broke my legs.” She was ok and didn’t even cry but it was funny what came out of her mouth. We all met at Two Elks Lodge and had to eat outside because we missed making an inside reservation. We all skied together the rest of the afternoon and had a great time. We ended our day skiing down Swingsville a few times. Peter and Emma took Riva Ridge down the mountain for their last run and Mike and I took Abby and Madeline down the gondola. However, Abby got separated from us and when we got to the top of the gondola steps, she wasn’t there. We headed down the gondola thinking she had already left but when we got to the bottom she wasn’t there. Mike headed back up the gondola and found her at the top waiting. The rest of us headed to the car and started to pack up our ski gear. Then we headed to our hotel for the night and got settled, ate dinner, and watched Ponyo together.
We usually get a few random warm days in February so when I saw that the weather was going to be in the 60’s, Madeline and I headed to the zoo on one of her days off from school. She was so excited to see all of the animals. She talked constantly about the giraffes and how she wanted to feed them. The giraffe exhibit is the first thing you do when you go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I paid for 2 giraffe feedings and when I went to hand over the lettuce to Madeline, she wanted nothing to do with feeding the giraffes. I think their dominance in height sort of frightened her, so I fed the giraffes instead. She eventually warmed up to the giraffes and was talking to them from a distance as we made our way around that exhibit. Then we headed towards the elephants and found a few roaming around outside. It wasn’t long after we got there that Madeline was already keen on leaving so that she could go and see the snakes and birds. We walked to the Australia Walkabout section and saw the red necked wallaby’s, the alligator basking in the sun, the tree kangaroo, and the many snakes and lizards. From there we saw a black bear, tiger, seals and baby moose before heading into a new section of the zoo called Water’s Edge: Africa. In this new section we saw African penguins roaming around outside, the Nile hippopotamus roaming in the waters, and some warthogs. Then we walked into the primate world where we saw the gorillas, orangutans, and siamang monkeys. The gorillas were massive and interesting to watch as they were either picking at their nails or regurgitating their food and then eating it. The most interesting animal in this section was definitely the baby siamang monkey. That baby monkey was so tiny, yet so full of energy. We stayed and watched as it tried to swing from rope to rope. It was quite marvelous to watch. As we left the Primate World, we headed down to the Skyline ride and took the chairlift all the way to the Mountaineer Summit. Most of the exhibits at the top were closed so we decided to get back on the lift and head back down to the bottom. We stopped at the gift shop on the way out of the zoo where Madeline decided on a baby giraffe figurine. It was such a fun day at the zoo with Madeline.
Since January is one of the coldest months during the winter in Colorado, it is extremely important to keep up with a good exercise routine. It was too hard to bike outside most of the month with the frigid temperatures and snow lined roads, so running remained one of the only things I did for exercise outside. This month I was able to run with Dionne and Caryn doing some of the Striders workouts, the Incline, the Cheyenne Canyon hill run, the Bear Creek tempo run, and a fun run at Red Rocks in the snow. I had such a blast dividing my time between fun, easy runs and some more challenging runs. There is nothing better than running with friends when it is the hardest to get yourself outside to run.
Emma wanted to do an anime inspired theme for her birthday this year. She choose to base her theme from the movie, “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” We found an awesome cake on Pinterest and went to work gathering all of the supplies to try and replicate it the best we could. It definitely was a team effort to put together this awesome cake and fun Totoro cupcakes. We had fun cutting out the fondant pieces together. We even found the best homemade chocolate cake recipe. Emma was so happy with her awesome cake and fun gifts. Peter bought her an advanced paint by number canvas which she loved, Abby bought her a cute anime cottage craft kit, Madeline gave her a puzzle from the anime called, “Howl’s Moving Castle,” my parents gave her the cutest Totoro mini backpack, and Mike and I gave her some new anime movies and a brand-new laptop computer. Grandpa Al’s gift was some new clothes that she could pick out online. It was kind of the perfect little birthday party for a 15-year-old who loves anime and all things Japanese.
Dionne took me on the coolest fun run downtown Colorado Springs where we saw over 20 murals in 4 ½ miles. After running downtown over the last several years, I never even noticed or knew that there were that many murals painted all over the city. Some of my favorites were the 3D multicolored mural outside of the library, the buffalo, and the girl in the cotton fields. Dionne and I had so much fun videoing ourselves running away from the buffalo. I love that we could just do a fun run together and not worry about pace or distance.
Abby’s second meet with PPA occurred over the weekend. On Friday night she swam the 100 freestyle and did great. I was able to watch her swim from the outside window on Friday evening. She had a really great start, and she was in the top 3 in her heat until the last 25 where she lost a bit of steam. Abby is a really strong freestyler and would be more competitive if she improved her starts and turns.
On Saturday, Mike went and watched Abby swim in her other events. Abby was confident and swam well in the 100 IM, 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. She had a strong stroke in the water and only seemed to lose time on her turns. What was interesting to watch was how the other parents acted. Mike was so disappointed to hear such crazy rambling from some parents who were swearing outside the windows at their kids who were swimming. We are so glad that Abby loves to swim and that she has a good attitude about it. She always tries hard and that is good enough for us. We don’t care if she is the fastest in the water. The only thing that matters to us is that she does her best. At the end of the day, parents who go so far as to swear at their children because they aren’t swimming fast enough are missing out on truly supporting their kids who are working hard.
On our last day of skiing at Vail, Mike went with the older two down Poppyfields to ski Blue Sky Basin. The kids took him on Poppyfields East and West and he loved it. They spent most of their time skiing Grand Review and The Star runs off of Pete’s Express. Apparently, the snow wasn’t as good as the day before. I took Madeline and Abby and we skied down Boomer a few times before taking Flapjack all the way to Northwoods Express Lift. At the top Madeline was a little cold and hungry so we stopped at Buffalo’s Henry’s Hut to use the restroom, warm up and have a quick snack. Then we decided to head down Swingsville. The first half of the run Madeline did well but then her legs started getting tired and she fell. She was ok but I could tell she was a little shaken up. I kept a close eye on her the last steep pitch. After I made it to the bottom, I looked behind me to see where she was, and she had fallen again. I took off my skis and jogged in my boots up to her. She started crying because her leg got twisted and she was just tired. She cried for most of the wait in line to get on the chairlift and most of the ride on the Mountain Top Express Lift. After some soothing songs her spirits were lifted, and she made it down the Timberline Catwalk without any problems. She was so excited for lunch and we took off her boots so she could relax. After lunch I headed off with Peter and Emma while Mike, Abby and Madeline headed down the mountain back to the condo. Peter, Emma and I headed to Blue Sky Basin and skied down Cloud 9 which was about the same as yesterday. We went down Grand Review again but it was much too icy so we decided to head on some of the blacks where there would be more powder. We did Hornsilver first and that was a pretty good run with plenty of powder and lots of moguls. Then we decided to try Resolution. We learned about this run with Andrew the last time we were at Vail. This is probably one of my favorite black runs because it is a good mix of powdery moguls at the top and a fun powdery run at the bottom. By this point, our legs were pretty tired, so we decided to head down to Tea Cup Express and head back to Two Elks Lodge and head down the front side of the mountain back to the condo. We took Flapjack all the way down, then headed up Northwoods Express and then took Riva Ridge all the way to the bottom. It was another great day of skiing. We walked the 5-7 min walk back to our condo and just relaxed, snacked on cheese and crackers and vegged in front of the TV. Mike and I headed out a little later to eat dinner at the French restaurant right next door. The food was beyond delicious and it was nice to just spend the last night on being able to hang out together.
This morning I got to go ski with Peter and Emma at Blue Sky Basin while Mike took Madeline and Abby to ski the easier stuff. After getting up to Two Elks Lodge we headed down Poppyfields West to the bottom of the Skyline Express Lift. We were so excited to head up to Blue Sky Basin but realized that the lift didn’t open until 10am so we headed up Tea Cup Express back to the top and skied down Poppyfields West again and then took Orient Express so we could ski Poppyfields East. Poppyfields was such a fun back bowl run and I’m glad we got to ski it three times while we were able to get first tracks. We then headed up Skyline Express Lift and took in the amazing views at the top before heading down Cloud 9 to the bottom of Pete’s Express Lift. We did Grand Review several times since it was groomed, and the snow was pretty good. I was able to get some great video and photos of Peter and Emma bailing down this run. Those two are great skiers. Then we went back up the mountain via Orient Express and met Mike and the younger girls at Two Elk Lodge to eat lunch. We made a reservation to eat inside and that made lunchtime so much more enjoyable. Before lunch Mike, Madeline and Abby skied all over the front of the eastern side of the mountain. After lunch we decided to all ski together. We skied Flapjack all the way down to the Northwoods Express Lift. We loved watching Madeline crush every run with her amazing turning skills and her cuteness when she went through the wooden signs. She took every turn like a pro, even with some turns looking more like parallel turns. Then we decided to take her on an official blue, even though some of the other green runs she did all had steeper blue pitches at the end of the runs. We took her on Ramshorn which had an easy start and then got progressively harder. There was one steep pitch that I was so nervous for her going down so I popped in front of her so that she would follow my wide turns. She made it down rather well and didn’t freak out or stop at all. When I looked back up that section looked more like a black than a blue. We finished off the day with our last run down Swingsville.
We spent our first day all skiing together in the morning. We took Madeline with us up Gondola One to the middle of the mountain. We decided to head up Wildwood Express to take Madeline on The Meadows run which was the easiest green run. Peter and Emma went down Hunky Dory twice in the time it took us to go down the long Meadow run. Madeline did really well on her very first real green run. The Meadow had too many flatter sections, so we opted to head up the Mountaintop Express Lift to the left side of the mountain to try all the green runs over there. Peter and Emma headed over to Game Creek to do some harder runs while the rest of us took the Timberline Catwalk all the way over to the Sourdough Express lift and spent the rest of our morning taking Madeline down the Boomer and Sourdough runs. Madeline amazed us with her awesome turning and fearless nature. After a few runs we headed up to Two Elk Lodge to eat lunch. We found a table outside right away and waited for Emma and Peter to show up. It was a bit cold, but we managed. After lunch Abby and I took Madeline down some more fun green runs and Mike went with Emma and Peter over to Blue Sky Basin. Madeline ended up loving the Flapjack run and she crushed it, even the steeper sections. We had initially planned on just heading down the mountain, but when we realized that we got headed down an annoying catwalk, we decided to head back up the mountain on the Highland Express and take Flapjack down again, head up Northwoods Express, down the Swingsville run and then ride Gondola One back down to the bottom. We had several people ask how old Madeline was because people just couldn’t believe that she was only 4 years old. She crushed every run, was happy doing it, took all her turns like a champ, and hardly ever fell. It was quite amazing to watch.
We took our time getting up and ready to leave for our ski trip. We made it to Vail in the early afternoon and unpacked the car and settled into the condo we were renting for the next few days (Vail Core Condos). We knew this place would be much smaller than the last condo we stayed at in Beaver Creek, but we were all pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was. The kitchen was plenty big, the living room area was cozy, the master bedroom was spacious, there was enough storage space for our boots and skis plus a washer and dryer, and the kids had the coolest area to sleep in up in the loft with two bunkbeds. What was even better was the kids had their own bathroom up in the loft. This condo had clearly been updated which was awesome and the walk to Gondola One was only 5 minutes away. Mike and I ventured out to walk around the village and we were shocked at how many people were there. Most were wearing masks, but there were plenty that failed to follow the mask mandate. We found an ice-sculpture path and walked all the way to Gondola One and the Riva Bahn Lift. On the way back we saw a really cool pirate ship playground that we knew Madeline would enjoy. The village was so cool to walk through and it made us feel so lucky to be staying right in the center of the village.