So, last Saturday we flew to Denver, Colorado and drove to my Aunt Marty and Uncle Bruce's house in Evergreen.
They live on the side of a mountain and the views out their windows are amazing.
This is their balcony! Can you believe they wake up to this? It's stunning.
And Matt was very excited about all the fresh snow they kept getting while we were there for the weekend because our next stop was skiing in Winter Park.
Before we left, though, I got to spend time with my cousins and attend my cousin Calvin's wedding shower, which is great because he's getting married the week my baby will be born, so I probably won't be attending. This picture is Calvin by my cousin (his sister) Julie.
And here is Julie with Kara, Calvin's fiance. Kara was lovely and funny and will be a great addition to the family.
Sammy, meanwhile, developed a bit of a crush on Julie and was very sad when she left Sunday evening to go back to college. He kept asking me if I thought she missed him. I assured him that she did.
Our next stop was the Vintage Hotel in Winter Park...about an hour away from Evergreen. It was a great place to stay near the mountain...
....but still a gondola ride away, which the kids really got a kick out of.
We could watch the gondola from the widow of our hotel window, which Sammy did from the moment he woke up (early) every morning....
....until he could see the operators turn it on.
Then he would throw off his jammies...
...and get into his ski stuff (this is the long underwear part. Long underwear is very funny looking on anyone I realized on this trip, but especially so on a pregnant lady).
Here we are renting our skis on day #1.
And riding the magic carpet up the very tiny hill where the kids learned to start and stop and turn. Well...
...Claire learned to start and stop and turn. But Sammy was too busy trying to be like the guys he had seen on the Olympics to follow any directions on technique. He never learned to steer or slow down very well, but he taught himself how to do a wicked hockey stop (that's stopping sideways with a big wave of snow flying up) and he could jump into the air while flying down the hill.
Then it was on to the rope pull type of lift so that we could go up a slightly higher hill.
Sammy practicing his moves.
And this second hill was where he and I ended up spending the rest of the vacation because apparently my die-hard, super-daring, kamikaze kid is desperately afraid of heights and would NOT get on the chair lift to go up the actual mountain. He wasn't afraid of the mountain itself, but he couldn't even look at the chair lift without having a panic attack.
So Claire and Matt went.
And she was very proud of herself.
I think it was one of the first times that she has been "braver" than Sam and she really liked that.
She really liked telling Sammy all about her adventures on the mountain with daddy and how he really shouldn't be so afraid. Sammy just kept saying "I'll do it when I'm older."
So he and I rode up the rope tug about 150 times a day.
And one time (while refusing to take instructions on steering) he rode off the side of the hill and ended up in a big snow drift. I laughed thinking it was only about a foot deep, (and took a picture of him before rescuing him) but when I stepped off the side to get him I realized the snow was up to my waist! And when he rolled over to try to climb up he sank down another 3 feet. It took us about 10 minutes to climb out and a dear lady helped us with the last few feet.
Then, when we got tired (alright, so I was tired before we started) we headed back toward the base to have lunch.
That was a highlight of the day for everyone because we were all starving, but my favorite part of lunch was taking off my friggin' ski boots. Those things are little torture-chambers for your feet I tell you.
The kids ate a ton.
And then, after doing it all over again for the afternoon, we got on our little gondola and went back to the hotel, (can you see the top of Sammy's tiny head peaking over the side? Haha!). And after going to dinner in the little town of Winter Park, we all fell asleep pretty quickly. I told the Big Guy that I hope he enjoyed himself because, although I saw a woman skiing down the mountain with a baby strapped to her body, that is NOT my style, so I think it will be a while before we go back. But we made it and the kids loved it so it was all good!
A special thanks to my aunt and uncle who let us stay with them on the way home again for another night and for making us fabulous foods. Uncle Bruce: I still think about those breakfast sandwiches you made us every morning and I even went out to get the ingredients for them when I got home! You guys are so hospitable. Thanks again!