We got there Friday evening after dark and quickly made homemade pizza for dinner (I had made the dough earlier in the day and frozen it so that it could just thaw and rise while we drove - it worked out okay) and got the kids to bed around 9:15 or so (really late for all of them). Then the adults stayed up just chatting until about 11:00 when Clara came up from the bedroom downstairs crying that Rose was hitting her (they were sharing a bed). My guess is that Clara had a bad dream, which woke up Rose, and they were both upset. Needless to say, we called it a night and I got them both settled back in.
The next morning was absolutely beautiful and after a delicious cinnamon roll breakfast that Tiffany made, we got bundled up and headed out to try our hands (erm, feet) at snowshoeing. We just borrowed snowshoes from the cabin for the adults and the kids just hiked in their boots. Paul and I were surprised at how nice the snowshoes were! We really thought they would feel more cumbersome and awkward than they did. But they seriously made it pretty easy to hike around in the snow, to the point that Paul was talking about buying snowshoes for ourselves, (because, you know, we go to the snow so often).
While we were getting everybody bundled up, situated, and ready to start the hike, Paul started a snowball fight with the kids. Except Rose was more interested in just sitting and eating the snow, which she did any time we stopped to take a break. Silly girl.
Rose and Clara did awesome on the hike. Paul did some research online and read that the hike up to Chickadee Ridge is about 4 miles, round trip. It didn't feel like it was quite that far to us though and both girls hiked almost the entire thing by themselves. I only carried Rose on my shoulders (and then piggyback when my shoulders couldn't take it any longer) for a short portion of the hike and it was mostly when we were going up a steeper section and she had been hiking for quite a while and was starting to fatigue. But she hiked out entirely on her own, and at a pretty decent pace even, especially if she was holding hands with one of us.
We took breaks along the way to catch our breath, shed layers, and let the kids make snow angels and pluck icicles off branches that they could suck on.
The hike was totally worth it, especially when we got to the top of the ridge and had stunning views of Lake Tahoe below.
Our friends brought along a bag of bird seed for the chickadees. This is a really popular hike in the wintertime and there were a dozen or so other people up on the ridge feeding the birds as well. You juts hold your hand out flat with some seed in it and the birds fly right over and land on your fingers to choose their favorite seeds. Clara was in heaven and probably could have stayed here all day long. Rose couldn't be bothered to give it a try because she was too busy eating snow.
Paul took some really cool video on his phone that I should post on here if I get motivated and can upload it to Vimeo. You can see them on our Instagram accounts though.
The kids stood like this for at least half an hour straight until we started pulling out the snacks we had brought with us.
This little chickadee went from my hand to my hat before flying away and Paul caught all of it on his phone.
The Ball family. We are lucky to have such fun and generous friends. We had such a great time with them.
Seriously, I just cannot get over those views. Lake Tahoe is one of the most gorgeous lakes ever.
I was pulling up the rear on the hike out and came around the corner to see the girls posing like this for Paul. They always pose better for him than for me.
We were all starving by the time we were done so we did a late lunch/early dinner and got some delicious sushi (the Crystal Shrimp roll was amazing) at a local sushi place.
Then we went back to the cabin where everybody rested or took naps or read books until the sun started going down. Then we put on swimsuits and got in the hot tub, which the kids treated as a really warm swimming pool even though we were packed pretty tight in there since it was a smaller hot tub set out on the deck looking out over the lake. I knew, sitting in the warm water, that I should have grabbed at least one of our phones to snap a picture of the sunset and of hot tubbing, just for the blog post, but it was so cold and snowy and the water felt so nice that I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
After a light dinner of leftover pizza from the night before with carrots & apple slices, we put the kids to bed at their regular 7:30-ish bedtime and then stayed up playing a card game called "Loot" that was super fun.
The next morning we had french toast with bananas and strawberries for breakfast, then got dressed in our snow gear again and did some sledding down the side of the house before packing up and cleaning the cabin to head out. The drive home was a little miserable thanks to some bad traffic from Tahoe to Sacramento, but we stopped by the Millers for a few minutes for a potty break and quick visit (Paul remarked that all of us were talking super fast during the 20 minutes we were there to get as much visiting in as we could, lol) and they sent us on our way with hot rolls that Jason's mom, Jan, had just pulled out of the oven and a jar of Miller's cinnamon creamy honey (omg, that stuff is SO so good).
It was such a great weekend and we are so glad the Balls invited us to go with them!