We had a long weekend the 17-20. The 20th is a holiday and the 17th was a PIR day for teachers.
A 3-day weekend is a catch-up weekend. Maybe some baking and a dance party in the kitchen.
But a FOUR-day weekend?
This called for a plan.
I've always been a downhill skier. Nothing fancy. A decent skier. A solid skier. I have a poorly-repaired acl and metal rods in my back so I'm not a hotshot but I can muddle my way down most slopes and manage to have some fun.
You can tell the skiers with bad knees. We tend to go faster and faster as the day goes on.... because it hurts to turn.
I haven't skied in years and it is a part of my pre-kid life that I miss. (The other major pre-kid thing I was mising I have recently regained.... eating wheat thins, cheddar, avocado & salami in bed for dinner.....)
So.... I've never skied our local ski hang out. Never. Not even before I had kids. It's a long story.
So I decided to brave it. Daycare was open on Friday so I would only have two kids.... easy, right?
So we got up and got ready..... I made a list for the kids and they checked things off... nothing motivates my kids like checking things off a list.
put on sunscreen
The kids are ready. We talk about the skiing soundtrack. How the easiest thing is to just get a song in your head and move to the music. Sweet picks "Grenade" and Tuff picks song 6 on the Sugarland CD. They ask me about my soundtrack. I realize I don't have Aerosmith's "Pump" on the ipod at all and I only have one Jane's Addiction song..... but the Soup Dragons are on there so I settle for that for now.... Don't be afraid of your freedom.....
And away we go. I immediately regret my decision when Bugsy cries and clings... she knows we are going somewhere fun. Sweet also cries and clings.... his best buddy is at daycare. Sigh.
I give Bugsy a kiss and I give Sweet the "be thankful for your mama because she rocks" speech.
Tuff is a thinker. So as we near the area she is full of questions and details. We sit in the van discussing the merits of hauling our snacks with us versus leaving them in the van. We talk about the lesson they will take later. We discuss walking in ski boots.
We wander around the area checking things out. Where to meet up if anyone gets lost. Bathrooms. Lunch plans. Tuff thrives on this.... she likes to assess.
We get our boots and skis and helmets. I've decided to go it in snowboots (my trusty muckmasters) for the day. I figure we will get about 20 minutes in on the rope tow and then eat cheese fries for a few hours. I'm ok with this process.
Wow, was I wrong.
Sweet had one moment of 7-year-old anxiety.... about run 3 he was just sure he couldn't do it. I remind him to hear his song and as I listened to him talk he suddenly talked himself into trying it a few more times and after he figured out how to put his own ski back on there was no stopping him.
Tuff has some colossal 5-year-old wipe outs..... mostly doing battle with the rope tow.... but she had on short pink skis and was unstoppable.
I was exhausted. Running on snow is hard work. And of course I had to help everyone... not just my kids. The ski area has lots of staff on the rope tow slope helping, guiding and encouraging.... which was a huge benefit when one kid would wipe out at the top while the other was sliding backwards into the bench at the bottom.
An instructor said, "So... how many of these kids are yours?" Just two. "Oh..... which two?" The ones down there getting on the rope tow... "So.... NOT these three up here that you've been helping?"
Finally around noon I had to call a break. The kids were showing no signs of stopping on their own. We had some lunch & a potty break.... sandwiches, popcorn, chips, granola bars and carrot sticks. Sweet chewed about 3 times and was gone again... back to the slopes. Tuff stopped long enough to squeeze me around the middle before she took off.
The weather was incredible. Sunny and warm. The kids had a lesson. Tuff mastered the pizza. Sweet still liked to race top-to-bottom and wipe out... singing the whole time. The instructor said all the right things to say to a mom like me. "What athletes." "What great attitudes."
About then some friends showed up and Sweet was in heaven. Buddies!!! I'd been visiting with the ski school director off and on during the morning and he said, "Tuff is ready for the chair lift." I agreed and mentioned we might try that next time. He said, "No. She's ready now. I'm going to get her a chair lift ticket and taking her up to try it out." Who-hoo.
The kids skied until about 4:30. Sweet had sore feet and a sweaty head. Fortunately the rental shop is RIGHT THERE and we had gear off and dropped off in no time.
Sweet didn't make it out of the parking lot. He was out cold. Tuff managed to stay awake while talking about "delicious roast beef sandwiches" in a sort of delirious trance.
I'm already -in my way-over-the-top way- planning season passes and season-long rentals for all of us for next year. First steps are to get 2-year-old Bugsy on the slopes, get in shape, and get myself going again. I'm not sure how to do all of this. Hot is not very excited about it but I seem to be managing ok by myself... at least with the big two. I have a few friends with kids who are really into it and love it as a family activity. I've always considered skiing a solitary activity but I'm trying to expand my thinking. I know it was amazing to see my kids fall in love with something I love.
And, yes, "Janie's Got a Gun" is playing in my head.....