Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Snowed Up and Fleeced Out

Is there anything better than putting on fleece pants, fleece socks, and a fleece top, and pouring a big glass of red wine after being in ski clothes tromping around in a snow storm on top of a mountain? There is not. Unless you're on your second glass of red wine and all your kids are sleeping. Then that's even just a little bit better.

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I wrote that yesterday after our day of tubing where we spent a whole 2.5 hours in the snow. Today was colder and WAY SNOWIER and we were skiing in the snow for 8 hours and the fleece and the wine feels EVEN BETTER. But we'll get to the skiing in the next post, now we're finishing what I was too tired and fleeced out to write about last night -- the first 3 days of our trip!

Day 1: So our trip began bright and early on New Year's Day. Cora was super excited about the trip- she had packed days earlier and every time it was time to go anywhere she'd grab her "packpack" and say "we goin on our trip now?!", so she eagerly got dressed, donned her ear muffs, put on her packpack, and flatly rejected the snow boots I had left out for her for her sparkly heeled Rapunzel shoes. She would book no argument on this. This portended things to come.

The drive went really well. It's only 10.5 hours to Colorado Springs, so we stopped twice, ate our bagels, fruit, and PBJs, and arrived in time for dinner at a downtown brewery by 6. The kids were great and we rolled into our $85 hotel room (we're big fans of The Academy Hotel; indoor pool and a fabulous free breakfast) in time to wish I'd remembered to pack the kids' swim suits.

The next morning it was all about the Manitou Incline. James loves the Manitou, it is seriously on his top five favorite things ever. I am generally less enthused about 2,744 steps straight into the air, but we all have our quirks. After a hearty (free!) breakfast we found ourselves in charming Manitou Springs, a town I didn't remember at all from our last encounter with the stairway to heaven. I wished I had more time and dollars and fewer children so I could poke around in all the shops, but to the base of the Incline we went directly instead.

And the children were off. It was in the 30's, but sunny, so we expected it to be a nice climb. It broke James's heart to leave the hiking backpack behind on our first road trip in 6 years, but Cora is too big and he has to let it go. (Not physically- he refuses because of "the memories," but at least he lets it live in the garage), but he got to carry her for a bit anyway. As Claire said, "See Mommy! Daddy is happy because he's carrying a baby again!"

And it was true. Then the boys abandoned us to begin their ascent in earnest. The girls and I goofed off. Cora didn't like it because she took her hiking very seriously. Montessori speaks to her soul and right now her work was hiking.

Then we hit the shade. And the ice. Soooo much ice. After carrying Cora for far too long I realized it was already going to be hard enough to go down, so we needed to turn back now before my arm gave out (I have no hips; I'm carrying her full 38 lbs. on my right arm because my left arm is useless). Cora was displeased and crying "no, I want to go UP! UP!" as I took this picture.

See that ice behind us. Yeah. Teeny tiny sideways shuffle steps for hundreds of stairs. Meanwhile, James and Landon made it to the top!

And the girls and I (f-ing finally) made it down! Then, after an exciting girls' trip to take Cora to a port-a-potty at the base of the trail where she refused to let me assist her in dressing and undressing and made ALL KINDS of unnecessary and un-recommended contact with the pee-covered floor, the boys made it down too!

James owed me all the beers, so we went to our favorite Colorado Springs Brewery on our way out of town. It's an old school (built in 1916!) that was converted into a brewery, bakery, and restaurant a few years ago. We love it.

After a beautiful, 2-hour drive into the mountains, during which we both tried to figure out why we don't live here (seriously why don't we? there's even an SEC office in Denver), we checked into our rented condo and headed to the grocery store. It was as packed and miserable as always, but we made it home in time to make my chicken barley chili and go to bed early. Tuesday was our family play day. We headed to Keystone nice and early with plans to ride the gondola up to play in the snow fort and enjoy an hour on the tubing hill, which was a favorite memory of ours from Skication 2014.

Unfortunately, this time the weather was a little different. Less bright blue skies and more dumping snow. Cora, who was signed up for ski school for the next two days, and had been SO excited to go skiing and be in snow "just like Anna and Elsa!" was NOT a fan.

Claire was reunited with her "magic bubble" - her FAVORITE thing from our last ski trip and the first thing she mentioned when we told the kids we were going again.

Cora continued to be unimpressed with the whole situation.

Once at the snow fort, we tried to tempt her with the slides. It did not work.

Turns out, Cora does not like snow when it is shaped into forts where Anna and Elsa don't live.

The big kids loved it though.

Including the biggest one.

When Cora decided to cry until we removed her from the snow, we took her to the tubing yurt early. Turns out life is way better when the snow is outside and you and two granola bars are inside.

Then it was time to tube! There was SO MUCH SNOW.

We'd planned for Cora to hang out with us at the top, chilling in her mini tube, occasionally going down the kiddie hill while James and I took turns riding down the big hill with Landon and Claire.

But fuck no said Cora, so she was soon ensconced back in the warming yurt, stripped of all snow-related outerwear, sitting happily on the bench in her thermal underlayer and socks, eating a full sized Snickers bar because why not. James and I took turns hanging out with her and tubing and made plans to pull her from ski school immediately upon reaching the village at the base of the mountain.

As an adult, I've learned that sledding isn't always as fun as I remembered as a child. It's bumpy and my bones don't like it. But tubing? Tubing is like gliding over air - just really fast, and preferably while spinning. And then you get to take a space age magic carpet ride back up!

And our magic bubble ride down, which Cora enjoyed more than the ride up because she knew it meant we were closer to returning her to the indoors where she can wear princess shoes as she was meant to do, we got her ski school refunded and raced over to childcare to put Cora in the LAST spot for "preschool play" for the next two days. We've had unequivocally amazing experiences with ski school and I think if she'd just started there on Tuesday she would have been fine, but the weather was only supposed to get worse (so much more snow being dumped down with extreme prejudice from the skies) and colder so why push it? We want her to like skiing, and we save $200 by letting her play indoors where she can paint and work and play princesses to her heart's content.

She fell asleep 1 mile into our 6 mile drive home. Hating the snow really wore her out.

We'll get her on board with snow eventually, I'm sure. It's like cake, she just needs some time. We're still just delighted to be here- all together, in one of our favorite places in the world.

And if she could wear a tutu on the slopes, I think we'd get here there that much faster.

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