Friday, December 31, 2010
After the big storm, the car was not visible. In fact, I started to dig it out and only after I cleared the license plate did I realize I was digging out the wrong blue honda odyssey.
I made a small dent in it one day and then went back the next day to continue. Luckily the lodge's bob cat machine plowed away some of the snow leaving me at least with a path to the car. I, then, with the help of the girls, dug out the back and cleared off most of the top.
At Micheal's suggestion, I opened the trunk, crawled in, started the engine and kept clearing out the back. He showed up with Parker, helped dig out the tires a bit more and then backed out of the spot. We didn't shovel any of the sides or front and it only took Michael a few up and backs to get going. It was quite a scene to behold.
Eran and Amy brought up some gifts for the kids from my mom. Parker was thrilled with his goggles which he wore everywhere after getting them (on day 2 I think).
The girls got mittens (always good to have extra!) and both families got snow ball makers which were huge hits with the kids. Parker and Oliver especially loved them. Parker even tried making a marble run with the snow balls as the marbles.
Elizabeth had a hard time during the trip pretty much daily. I think she was just tired from the non stop vacation, so it made sense, but her melt downs and tantrums were hard to take and Michael and I switched off dealing with her. Here she is doing her cranky face with me and then actually enjoying herself.
Michael took Elizabeth cross country skiing on day 2. Well, not really cross country, but in front of the ski shop about 50 feet up and back. Then later, that day, Parker went. He did better and seemed to enjoy it.
So on day 3, we tried it again, with Miranda who was very upset she had not gotten to try. I was hesitant as I figured Miranda would start whining and complaining within minutes. Was I wrong. She was a pro! She loved it!
In fact, everyone was doing so well and it was quite the family outing with people oohing and ahhing over the little ones doing so well. Then, Elizabeth and Parker both melted down almost completely after about 15 minutes. Miranda wanted to keep going. She kept saying, "I LOVE SKIING!" Parker and Elizabeth were heaps of crying mess, but Miranda was all smiles.
The lodge had a hot tub. And where there is a hot tub, I will go. Never mind that it was raining or had snow within feet of the tub. So, one day two, Amy and I took the girls in. Michael thought we were crazy, until he and Parker joined us. Oliver joined in too. It was a little logistically challenging to keep your clothes dry, but it was do-able and we had tons of fun in there. Not quite like Maui, but not bad at all.
We're back from our snow holiday. And when I say snow, I mean, shit loads and shit loads of snow. Hours of snow. Feet and feet of snow. Lots. Of. Snow.
We drove up Monday arriving at the rendezvous point a bit early. You aren't allowed to drive to the lodge during the winter without an escort that goes only three times per day. We had lunch, played in the snow and Michael put on the (much needed) chains.
At 3pm, we took off with the large escort. We drove about 10 miles an hour for about 30-40 minutes as the snow around us got deeper and deeper and higher and higher.
We arrived, immediately saw Amy and family, checked in, and got settled.
The lodge was very lodge-y with a big dining hall, play room (with games, puzzles, ping pong, foosball). Each meal was included with the (not so cheap) price of the room which was very nice for us, but not always great for the kids since the meals were not necessary kid friendly. We had a large room that had two bunk beds and a huge king bed and plenty of extra room for lots of snow gear.
The lodge rented out snow shoes, cross country skis, snow boards, and provided sleds daily. Amy took Miranda and Parker to the sledding hill while we stayed with Elizabeth who had been behaving extremely badly for the last couple hours.
Over the next three days, we ate, did some sledding, tried the skis, played in snow, ate some more, hung out with the Martin/Marcuses, and did a lot of sleeping over until driving home today, Friday. Oh, and there was a big snow storm on our second day which dumped about 4 feet of snow which made for interesting walks and a completely covered car that had to be dug out. Good times.
We both agreed it was a good trip with lots of memories for the kids, but it was a lot of effort and money and three days probably would have been enough.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Everything in Hawaii was fantastic. It rained a bit, but we didn't care. We ate too much, but we didn't care. Nothing was going to keep us from enjoying ourselves, a fact that Michael reminded me time and again when I got annoyed at petty things like stupid waitresses (I sent back some sushi and they still got it wrong!) and plans that went wrong (like Paia).
That all being said, the kids were really quite annoying almost every day. Sure, there were large amounts of time when they were very sweet, playing well together, or just hanging around doing their own thing. But they were evil a lot too. Mostly it was Elizabeth and Miranda, alternating between being bully and victim, over and over. Elizabeth would do something randomly mean (blocking Miranda from going somewhere, stealing something of hers, poking her, hiding something she wanted, or on occasion just kicking her) which would incite Miranda to start whining or making strange baby sounds. Sometimes Elizabeth's behavior was triggered by hunger or being tired, but sometimes it wasn't. She is just a mean little girl too often.
And Miranda...oh my god, the crying was endless. She cried about tiny scratches on her finger, about not getting to sit where she wanted, about a stolen crayon, about a bumped toe, about not getting enough milk, and about crabs on the beach. (At shark beach [see last year's post] after happily playing in the sand for a good 20 minutes building a big hill, she saw a tiny crab and completely flipped out. I was trying to snorkel with Elizabeth and told her just sit in the beach chair. She just kept screaming and crying. Granted, it was sincere screams of terror, but I just couldn't deal with one her while trying to help Elizabeth in the water. So I ran up to the sand, picked her up, threw her in the minivan [that we could see from the beach] and locked it. Then I went back to the water with Elizabeth. About 1o minutes later, I went to check on her to see if she was ready to come out and stop screaming. She politely said, no thank you she would stay in the car.) On another day, after a drive and walk to a new beach, she played well for about 15 mintues and then started crying and screaming about a "sun burn" on her cheek. Only later when we "debriefed" the situation did it sound like she might have been stung by a bee or something similar. She really drove me crazy with all the crying, even though I know she is only 4 and even though I, too, am a big cry baby. Enough is enough.
Parker was pretty good on most days, playing with the girls, reading to them, and generally just being happy to be there. He did complain too much about seating arrangements (who sat where when during meals) but I think most kids do that. Parker's main issue is just being a spaz. Not paying attention to where he walks and walking into old people, almost knocking them down or having to be asked 6 times to get his pjs on. He's not "anti" pjs, he just can't focus (on certain things) to get it done.
I'll end on a positive note, all three did amazingly well on the flight there and back. It helped that it was a direct flight, they each had their own backpacks of endless activities supplied by Grammy, and individual tvs to watch if they wanted. But I'll still give them credit for not kicking the seats, not having to get up every few minutes, not arguing about when to use the bathroom, and sharing the one window seat we all shared. We got compliments there and back about our "lovely children". When we landed in Oakland on the way home, they all, in unison, starting singing Jingle Bells and got through one verse before I shushed them, but not before half of the plane smiled and laughed.
Last year, we got some underwater cameras, took lots of pictures and then forgot the cameras by the pool. This year, we got three cameras, gave the kids almost free reign to use them. As you might expect, we got lots of pics of feet, the floor of the pool, people's legs (random people), sand, and silly kids. Michael may blog about others, but here are a few of the "better" ones. Parker did really great snorkeling this year (he saw an eel!) and Elizabeth did extremely well too after a couple false starts. Miranda wasn't having it, but actually did well the one and only time she tried in the pool.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
In the many months prior to our trip, Michael and I discussed how great it would be to have the kids be able to swim on their own this year. We envisioned them playing in the pool while we sat on chairs enjoying books and the sun. In general, our dream came true and the kids played with each other and other kids quite a lot. They did need help going to and from the bathroom which happened a lot and every so often one of them, feeling shy, would need our help going to the hot pool where a bunch of adults were hanging out. Michael was a good sport tossing them about, swimming in the deep end with them and doing many bathroom escorts.