Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Utah Ski Trip 2018

Since the girls have an extra week off school right at the beginning of the year, we decided to head to Utah after Christmas to ring in the New Year and start the year off right with some skiing.  

Even though I grew up skiing Solitude and learning there on Moonbeam, we have been taking the girls to Brighton for ski school.  This was Clara's third year skiing (she started when she was 4) and she is doing just awesome for only going 2-3 times each season.  She went right to class and had a great attitude the whole time about it, doing a full day of instruction our first day, and then just a half day class the second day so we could have more time to ski together as a family.

Rose, on the other hand, struggled with going to class.  Which is unsurprising since Clara was the same way the first year that we had her skiing.  This is the first year that Rose was old enough to be enrolled (and actually, we cheated a little bit because she was supposed to be four and her birthday was still a couple weeks away) so last year she just skiied with me for a day and had done pretty well with the wedgie straps attached to the tips of her skis.  

But this year, the real problem was just that she didn't want to be in the class at all.  I don't think it helped that the first morning she was put in a group with a really young, cute instructor who let her quit pretty early in the morning before they actually started skiing and go back inside the ski school.  Really all Rose wanted to do was play in the snow and eat it.  

I know Rose and she has a hard time with anything that seems hard or foreign at first, but if she just tries it then she is fine and has a great time.  Swimming, ice skating, even dance at first were like that for her.  And there is almost no reasoning with her when she starts wailing about how she doesn't want to do it.  But get her going and then she pretty quickly will change her mind and decide whatever she's doing is the best thing ever.

So after lunch and giving Rose a pep talk and a little tough love, and then talking with one of the program directors, we put Rose back in for the afternoon but with an older male instructor.  I told him that I was pretty sure if he could just get Rose moving down the slope her tears would go away.  Sure enough, even though she wailed and moaned the first 10 minutes out of the building as they trudged through the snow and got set up on skis and went up the magic carpet, once they started going downhill and she felt some actual speed, she did tons better.

By the end of the day she was all smiles and declaring how much she loved skiing.  

We had a repeat performance of her tantrum for the first couple of minutes the next morning, but the same program director was there and once again, as soon as they got Rose up on skis and moving, she was all smiles and had a great time.

Which made it so fun for all of us because once classes were over Paul and I were able to ski with the girls, which is seriously one of the funnest things ever.  I just love watching them ski and cheering for them and seeing how proud they are of being able to do something so difficult.  There are so, so, so many lessons learned from skiing about resiliency and determination and effort, and such a great reward with speed and strength and endurance.  

And the girls absolutely soak in their bonding time with us on the chairlift and skiing down the slopes.  We skiied until the last minute the resort would let us for the afternoon because Clara just wanted to do run after run.  I would still love to get the girls back on the slopes here in California but I don't know if it's going to happen this season with how busy our weekends are through the rest of the Spring.  


I wasn't very good about pulling out my camera the rest of the trip, but did snap these pictures of Rose playing dress-up at Aunt Jennie's house.  Or "Adelaide's house" as Rose puts it.  She loves going there, both because she loves her cousins and because she loves all the toys and dress-ups.  The girls had a great time playing together, which they do so well, and I'm glad we got to spend a couple of days at Jennie & Ryan's, just keeping things low-key since Jennie's girls were back in school.

I took my girls sledding at Soldier Hollow one day when Jennie's girls were in school, which was a lot of fun.  Although it was still a lot of work even with the magic carpet to pull you back up the hill to sled on their runs.  But Clara and Rose loved it.  I was starting to come down with a bad, bad cold though and to be honest, felt a little miserable and ended up completely losing my voice after this.

Our last morning in Utah, we got to go to Emma's baptism.  It's one of the main reasons why we wanted to be in Utah in January in the first place and we are so proud of this girl.  She is such a sweetheart and I can't hardly believe she is already 8 and that Clara will be getting baptized next year, just like this cousin that she adores.

The long drive home wasn't too terrible.  It was just me and the girls and we left straight from the baptism to head out.  Fortunately, long drives like that aren't too bad for me and I'm pretty used to making them alone.  The girls watch movies, read books, and enjoy snacks, and I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and every now and then we just turn everything off and talk.  It's actually pretty enjoyable.  

Looking forward to skiing with these girls again next year!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Valentine's Day, Monrovia Falls, and Other February Stuff

February flew by.  Here are the highlights.  Or at least the ones I have pictures of.

Leading up to Valentine's Day, we spent the week doing Secret Cupid.  My friend Rachel, who is one of the most amazing people I know, gave me this idea years ago and we've done it in past years to lesser extent, but this year after being reminded thanks to her podcast (3 in 30 Podcast- if you haven't been listening, you should!) I actually bought a bunch of small little treats, lip glosses, balloons on sticks, etc. and each of us (me and Paul included) went "shopping" at the "secret cupid store" set up on our bed.  The girls had so much fun with it, especially with the part about being sneaky, and we made sure that service was a big part of it.  

I love that Clara came up with the idea all on her own to organize their shoe closet since Rose can never seem to find her shoes.  I would give Rose ideas for how to serve her person (Paul) and she did a great job bringing in the garbage cans from the street.  Little things like that made such a big difference in the mood of our house.

Valentine's Day itself was a little lackluster since it was so busy with school (I'm room mom again and was in charge of the class breakfast/party), work and ice skating lessons, followed by a dance that I was pretty much in charge of for our stake.  But Paul gave me and Clara and Rose flowers, cards and chocolate covered strawberries and we all felt very loved.  The girls and I still  managed to sneak over to the parking garage at BART and heart attack Paul's car too.

I spaced and forgot that Rose's dance class was going to do a little Valentine's Day party after class.  But since it was the day AFTER Valentine's Day and her class is right next to a Wal-Mart, I just ran in and grabbed a leftover bouquet of roses that had been marked down and she passed those out in lieu of actual Valentines.  

The girls got a care package from Tabby with these little princess nail polishes in it.  It's water-based and just peels off so both girls had fun painting their nails over and over and over.  Rose even gave me a manicure.  

Clara finally got back into gymnastics after a much longer-than-anticipated-break after breaking her arm last September.  We had to release her spot in the session she had just started last fall and then had a heck of a time getting her registered back in because the gym is so busy these days!  She was on the waitlist forever, but finally got the call that a space had opened up and she could start in February.  Despite her somber expression, she is actually loving being back and her coach said she is actually progressing so fast that they are moving her from the Beginner class to the Advanced Beginners, which basically means she will be practicing on the high beam instead of the low beam and working on more difficult skills like backwalkovers and the like now.

We've been doing a lot of ice skating lately.  The girls finished up their first 7-week session of lessons and are actually starting to move and glide and stop intentionally now.  And on a rare day off of school, I took them to the rink for some fun free skating.  Rose still likes to cling and hold and hand, but at least I don't have to bend over and support her under the armpits like I used to, which is back breaking work!

They especially loved watching figure skating during the Olympics and were inspired to keep going back to their lessons because of it.  When the session ended, Clara was moved up to the Tots 2 class, although Rose is repeating Tots 1.  It's another 7-weeks that ends mid-April and I'm not sure if we will continue it through the summer, but it's fun to watch the girls having fun out on the ice and getting back up when they fall down.  If we DO keep it up, I'm pretty sure Clara is going to be asking for ice skates for her May birthday, lol.

Also, I sometimes use Instagram stories and write on my pictures and I don't have a blank copy of this one, which is too bad because I love it of me and the girls.  Oh well.

Paul continues to work hard to keep our house nice.  He did a bunch of clean up in the backyard the other week - trimming shrubs/trees, removing leaves, that sort of stuff.  And the girls loved playing on the hill.  We kind of got out of the habit of using our back yard to explore when it was all dirt this past year and then once the grass was in the weather got cold, so it's only now that things are starting to warm up a bit that we are using it more.

Paul and I realized that we had most of our weekends booked through April and we had been meaning to get down to Southern California to visit Tabby, so we were glad that she was able to see us on a Saturday in February.  Paul was already in SoCal for work, so the girls and I drove down on a Friday after school and met up with Tabby Saturday morning to hike Monrovia Canyon up to the Monrovia waterfall.  

It was a great, easy hike and I find it really rewarding to reach a waterfall at the end of a hike.  The girls loved dipping their hair in the water, scooping it up in their hands, and wading in it. We had a few sad minutes after Rose tripped over a rock while trying to pass Paul on the trail and cut open her left knee in a pretty impressive gash on a jagged edge of the rock.  Rose has always been one to dwell on minor injuries, especially if I don't have a band-aid to cover it up, so I was worried about how she would fare for the rest of the hike.  But fortunately I had brought water bottles and was able to wash off the blood (Rose goes into panic mode at the sight of blood - it's both sad and hilarious) and get her moving again and she was able to shake it off and still have a fun time.

The girls always love spending time with Tabby and usually in the past we have gone to Disneyland when we go to visit, but it was so nice getting out and spending the morning with her hiking and exploring for a change.  

Then over President's Day weekend we drove up to Auburn to spend a few days with our friends, the Millers.  I was terrible and hardly took any photos at all, but on Friday night Jason & Ginny got two girls from their ward to watch the kids while the grown-ups went to a delicious Cambodian restaurant (the tea leaf salad was amazing) and a concert.  Then on Saturday we hit up the farmer's market and played a lot of Aggravation.  

We also went on a little hike while we were there because Ginny had taken her kids earlier in the week and seen a whole bunch of salamanders in the canal.  Clara is pretty fearless about holding creatures like worms and stuff and she got right down into the creek with Ollie and Max to catch salamanders. 

And that was our February!  I still need to go back and pull together a post of January pictures, but then I will be caught up!