Sunday, February 13, 2011

One year older and my knees are barely hanging on. . .

Best Birthday Ever!
I'm thinking about starting every post with some sort of Best _____ Ever! That way reading this blog will be like reading an email in ALL CAPS, or watching the third Jason Bourne movie--one heck of a vomit-inducing ride. Mmm hmmm. But really it was the best birthday ever.

First Mike made me breakfast. We tend to eat only cold cereal for breakfast around here. Otherwise someone (Mckenzie and Hannah, that's you) throws a major fit and our day begins with hatred and tears. Always a good send-off for school. So I was happy with breakfast. Kenzie, upon learning that it was my birthday, and with promises of getting to choose her own cereal for breakfast on her birthday, smiled and ate the eggs.

Before Kenzie left for school they gave me my present--new AT boots! AT is the act of rebelling against ridiculous ski lift prices by paying ridiculous amounts for ski equipment that allows you to ski-climb up the mountain. Mike is a superskier and I enjoy "earning my turns." We've been talking about getting AT gear and going into the backcountry for a couple years now. Our lack of knowledge about avalanches and lack of equipment has kept us in check, but we went to an avalanche awareness class last winter, and we've decided to slowly but surely accumulate gear. With prices for ski gear as they are, by the time we pay off our house we might have all our gear, you know by 2030.

This is me saying, "Mike you spent too much money. Thank you." 
Next we waited for Ellie to wake up so we could take her to Summer's with the girls. And we waited. And we waited. Finally at 9:30 I went to check on her and she was rolling around in the crib, smiling and talking to herself. Cuteness abounded.

We dropped off Hannah and Ellie and we were off to the UofU to rent some skis and bacon. Haha. Not bacon, beacons. (Another mindbogglingly expensive piece of equipment that allows people to find your body after you are buried in an avalanche. Although I'm sure some bacon might make you more findable too, you know, for the search dogs.)

We drove up to Alta, geared up and headed up the mountain. It was hard. And awesome. I'm always good with going up the mountain, it's the going down (the part Mike loves) that freaks me out. Same thing with mountain biking. As we kept going up, and up, and up some more, I started to feel nervous. I've skied off and on for about 12 years now, but I am by no means awesome. Especially on my first run of the season.  The last time I skied was two years ago.  So as we climbed up the mountain in beautifully fresh powder, I started to picture myself with a ski impaled in my head. Not so awesome.

I may have been a little whiny, and perhaps even cross, up at the top. Good thing Mike is a patient man. As we took off our skins (things you strap to the bottom of your skis that make them so they don't slide while climbing up), I tried to remember how to snowplow. And then down we went. I've never skied powder; it was like floating. Until it was more like falling. I spent a good portion of the day trying to figure out how to stand back up.

The downhill lasted about 1/8 as long as the uphill (minus the time spent trying to pull myself up out of the powder). Then we put our skins back on and skied up a groomed road. We practiced some more powder turns and then it was time to go get my new boots fitted and return the other equipment.

What a good day of skiing!

On the way home we grabbed some dinner and an ice cream cake to eat with the girls, but when we got home they had made me an all chocolate cake with sprinkles! I forgot to get a picture with the candles in, but isn't it cute? My parents had brought the girls over to our house to get ready for bed, they were so nice. It was fun to do cake and ice cream with them.

The sequence of me blowing out my birthday candles is actually quite embarrassing. I think I have a picture from other years that shows me doing the arm-flapping thing while I blow the candles out. Let me explain. I believe that flapping your arms and thrusting out your chest help you inhale. And I'm starting to get enough candles on that cake that I need all the air I can get. So watch for more arm flapping to occur. I might even try it during my runs.

I used to think of my birthday as being during the most depressing time of the year, but since we discovered snowshoeing and now AT skiing, my birthday is during the best month ever!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sledding the North Ogden Divide

Best Sled Hill Ever! On Saturday we took the girls to redeem Kenzie's Road To Reading coupons at Costa Vida. They hated it. But then we went sledding up on the Divide and they loved us again. At first, I was afraid it was a bust. We can usually handle about one activity a day before a major melt down, and lunch seemed to have been it. Hannah and Ellie fell asleep in the van on the way up to the Divide and we almost bagged it, but Kenzie was so excited and we had already packed up all the gear and were there, so we decided to see what would happen.
Kenzie is getting old enough that she's not as reliant on us to entertain her. She gets excited independently. We didn't have to convince her that sledding is fun. When we got there she geared up all by herself and headed out to enjoy the slight incline at the head of the trail with Mike while I stayed in the van to dress Ellie and wait for the sleeping dragon to wake.
When Hannah woke up she threw the expected fit. She just wanted her pillow. And no! (angry crying) She would not get dressed! But then when she saw what fun Kenzie was having, and when I told her it was just fine if she stayed in the van, she decided it was in her best interest to ask me nicely to help her get her snowpants on. Phew. After we got that out of the way, it was lots of fun. 

Ellie being shielded from a fierce wind  by Mike.
Here the girls are chasing a run away sled next to the road.
This wasn't really a sled hill, just a mild incline, parallel to the road. It was fun, but the wind was fierce and it was cold. So we decided to go check out the real sled hill up above the parking lot. 

Ellie was pretty good all snuggled up in her snowsuit and she rode in the backpack for the first time. If you do any hiking with a baby backpack, you need to get the Deuter Kid Comfort II Backpack. It's so amazingly comfortable. It's pricey, but less pricey than a chiropractor. It beats the Snugli and other cheap backpack carriers hands down.  My vertebrae thank me every time I put it on.

The real sled hill at the Divide is a rocking roller coaster that is probably a half mile long. I don't know how long it really is. We didn't dare go to the top for fear of garage sale-ing down the mountain. When we walked over to that hill it was shielded from the wind and we had it all to ourselves! Here's Kenzie enjoying her first run on just the bottom part of the hill.

Hannah loving it on the bottom of the hill.

Happy Hannah.

I was reluctant to let Kenzie go much higher than just the bottom hill. Sledding is fun, but I picture heads hitting trees and bodies crunching against hard snow if the hill is too long. Mike used to sled on this hill with his cousins, so he was a little more optimistic about the outcome. Here Mike and Kenzie test out the roller coaster bumps. We only rode the first three bumps. See how far it stretches behind them? Someday when we have helmets and feel a little more confident maybe we'll try it. Right now I fear for my children's brains too much. We didn't sustain any injuries, although we did crash into the outhouse at the bottom a couple times (the outside walls, not into the actual toilet) and Kenzie rolled off once. I love our tube. The little green sled is not as nice on the bottom, if you know what I mean.

The girls didn't even whine about having to walk back up the hill, and they even carried their own sleds (sometimes). 

We even saw a moose across the mountain, that Kenzie spotted. It's that little tiny black dot above the air escape on the outhouse. Fun stuff!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!

The more children I have, the more I feel like the role of motherhood is sinking its teeth into me. I am still cobbling together my vision of motherhood, but I find myself less likely to be defensive when someone asks me what I do, and more likely to walk around with snot on my shoulder.  While once it was funny and unusual to can peaches, to brag about my children (instead of my wonderful self), and to sew, I find myself doing these things regularly, as if this is my natural state. (Not that motherhood is a natural state of canning and sewing, just my personal vision of motherhood.)  I am getting better at faking this whole motherhood thing.
(Kind of. Right now Ellie is screaming in her crib because we're trying the cry it out philosophy. And it is slowly. driving. me. mad.) (And  I took the door knob off of the girls' door the other day because Kenzie would not stay in there.) (And right now Hannah is in big trouble for sharpie-ing a book.) For the love of everything holy, there is nothing worse than a baby's cry. I'll be right back.

7 hours later:

And there is nothing better than this:

The girls are all wearing shirts from Stacie, who is serving a mission in Thailand.

Except maybe this:

[insert picture of Michael when the stupid server stops rejecting me] Yes I feel that this is a personal insult.

And since my brain cannot put together a coherent thought, this post is nothing if not an exact replica of my brain:
Hannah woke up this morning and said to me, "Mommy, I'm going to miss you when I grow big." Then she cried real tears. Awwww. I tried to reassure her that she probably wouldn't miss me much. I told her we could live by each other and visit each other and that she would be busy with her own little babies and cute husband.

"I don't want to grow big. I will miss you." She was so sad. "I had a dream that I growed big and I didn't see you."
[insert melting mommy heart]
I remember having this conversation with Kenzie. Now if only I can get them to remember that they like me.

[insert witty transition]

I have a new blog header! With new family pictures in my sidebar! Exciting! Must See! Come visit! My pictures were taken by my lovely and talented sister Alisha Siddoway. If you want her to take your pictures, she's awesome and in the Salt Lake area. Hooray! (And she didn't even pay me to say that. I just owe her for all the times I locked her out of our room and wouldn't play Barbies with her.)