Monday, March 13, 2017

Snow Bunnies.

We had an amazing, rather impromptu long weekend this past weekend. Our friends Kristen and Jeff are both avid skiers, and I remember being absolutely AMAZED when Ellie and Lexi were newborns, that they were going to brave taking a newborn up to Mammoth Mountain for a ski weekend. They go a couple of times a winter, and have gone every year as their kids have gotten bigger. We've talked about joining them since Tim and I both skied as kids, but it seems like such an ORDEAL to make it happen. It's a six hour drive, kids are time bombs, and there is so much gear involved in a ski weekend. Especially when you live some place warm and your kids don't even own a pair of mittens. But, even though they know we are a circus of ding dongs, they invited us to come up and spend the weekend and go skiing with them. So we did! 

And lo, it was great. I managed to beg borrow and steal from family, neighbors and friends to get winter gear for everyone (though, I'll be honest, Saturday our kids wore dri-fit long johns designed for the weather, and Sunday they both wore pajamas underneath their bibs.) I dug out my old ski gear, which I haven't used since 2000, but which all thankfully still fits, because if you never have a growth spurt, the slightly too large jacket that your parents buy you in eighth grade will still be workable. We packed up a million bags (some of which we had to have our friends haul for us - another hard thing about skiing is that we own a subcompact and a sedan with a tiny trunk) and a million snacks and our two children, and right as Ellie got out of school on Friday, we headed out in our caravan to Mammoth. 

The drive up was uneventful. I've only been that way twice in the 20 years we've lived here, and the second time was when we drove all the way to Tahoe for Jake's Ironman (which seems unbelievable now! Who does two twelve hour drives over the course of four days with a toddler and infant?!?) I find the constantly changing geography so interesting, and it was beautiful to be driving through the snowy mountains on a moonlit nice. The kids did great - we were able to have the boys in one car and the girls in another for a stint between a pee break and dinner, which had them all thrilled. Everything is easier when you're hanging out with your bestie!

Technology, I love you!

Our condo was really nice, and the kids were thrilled to sleep in sleeping bags. Poor Adam didn't sleep at all on the drive up, and then woke up early on Saturday morning, which set us up for him refusing to do ski school. I mean, he probably would have fussed even if he hadn't been exhausted and hungry, but uff da, he REALLY wasn't going on Saturday. After being so frustrated that I was near tears (which would have gone great with Adam having a full scale meltdown, and Ellie quietly weeping because she was nervous) I told Tim I was cutting bait, and Adam and I went back to the condo. We ended up having a good day - we had lunch and puttered around a bit, and then he slept for over three hours, and only woke up when I had to wake him up for apres ski beers. And it was better than paying for his rentals, my rentals and a lift ticket only to be called off of the mountain an hour later. 

Meanwhile, we signed Ellie up for ski school and she was nervous, but did well. Tim got to spend the day out with everyone - Kristen and Jeff have a private instructor who works with their kids and is unashamed to give pointers to the adults (she told me to quit holding my arms up like a t-rex, and at one point I was nervous that she'd take my poles away and make me practice!) and so they were mostly moving as a foursome. 

Everyone had a good day, and then we met up at the lodge afterwards - it was really nice that our condo was seriously across the street from the lifts. Ellie reported her glee with ski school, we all had a drink, and as the crowd cleared out the kids slid down the little slope on their butt, and I got in a pretty great snowball fight with all four of them. If you think I won't white wash a child, or put snow down their neck, you'd be wrong. 

Sunday I went skiing and Tim was on Adam duty. They went to a little snow park and had a busy, fun morning together, throwing snowballs into a river and climbing in caves.

Meanwhile, it was a beautiful day. The slopes were uncrowded, the weather was gorgeous, the snow was good. It was a wonderful way to return to skiing after such a long absence, and though, if I'd had another day, I probably would have done some harder runs, for my first day back I was content to ski with Lexi and get my legs back under me, versus ending up at the top of a black diamond, wondering what on earth I was doing with my life.

It was a wonderful day, and one of the best parts was meeting up with Ellie at the bottom of the hill at the end of the day, and having her ask if we could all go on a run together. So, I pulled her over the chair lift (which she had not been on before, eek!) and the girls had a run together. It was SO CUTE. As we were heading over, Lexi said "I'm so excited to get to ski with my bestie!" And after a day on the magic carpet and the t-bar, Ellie thought the chair lift was AMAZING (she did eat it at the top, but what can you do.)

Ellie and I skiing together was basically a direct repeat of the first time I ever went skiing. Had a good day, and then my dad took me to a run I had no business being on, and we went down the hill like this:

She knows how to get her arms up and her pizza set, but she can't turn! So, she can't slow herself down, and she was scared by how much steeper the hill was. But, I shoved her inside my pizza, and with our friends' encouragement (Lexi was so sweet, telling Ellie what a good job she was doing, and Kristen documented the hilarity) we made it down to the bottom with only one big spill. It was tough, but it was fun, and then at the end she told me that she wanted to go one more time, which made me burst with pride. She'll be a Grizz-level skier yet, heading back for the very last chair of the day. The second run went much like the first, her between my legs and crying part of the time, but she was happy when we were done, and even happier when we turned in our equipment and got a hot chocolate. 

Sunday afternoon was even nicer apres ski because it was so much less crowded. I mean, it's the life, right? A good day skiing with great friends, sitting with a cold beer while you watch your kids have a great time. 

On our way back to the condo the girls talked about wishing they could sit on top of a snow bank (the amount of snow they've had is intense - these girls are at least 12 feet up from the road) so I chucked them over at the edge of our stair case. SAFETY FIRST. When Tim went and stood to keep an eye on them, they dropped some snow down on him, which of course makes me proud.

Their little foursome is so funny. They wake up and look for one another, they hold hands walking together, they're thrilled when we threw them in the shower together at the end of the day, and they're happy to sit together on their iPads playing games together, or making pillow forts, or just generally being a bunch of wild animals. Being with our friends made everything so easy and so fun. We may be a family that goes skiing yet! 

This morning we rode the gondola before we headed out, which they all thought was amazing
(please note Adam is wearing our friend Aislinn's snow boots, and LOVING them. He misses the puddle splashing of his old explorer boots, RIP) and then the caravan home was pretty smooth - we had the girls for the first bit, and they were so happy to listen to Moana and color together, and the boys were playing Mario in the other car. Adam took a quick nap right as we got back towards civilization, and after a 5pm stop for chips, guac and potty, we had to say goodbye and head on towards home. On our way back to the car, Ellie asked when we were going to do something FUN, and Lexi had asked if we were going to all be able to hang out tonight and have supper. The fun never ends!

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