Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vacation Tales - Part I

Over the River and Through the Woods...

Once upon a time, Grandma H. ventured into the woods and came upon a house in the country. After seeing herds of deer trot lightly across the backyard, she was instantly sold. This is what happens when city folk venture north of the Tappen Zee. Crazy encounters with wildlife get them itching to buy real estate.

Just kidding. The house in the Poconos is now serving as a great vacation away from our home in Bermuda. Since the kids do nothing in school but enjoy one break after another, we decided to enjoy their week off in a winter wonderland. We also had to throw a biopsy for Jordan in there too, but more on that later. Big thanks to Grandma H and Michael for hosting our gang and making the vacation so much fun.



Of course, we first had to figure out how to get the car down the driveway.



Ah.. look! A man with a shovel!



Just when we thought "we" were done with snow forever. Bwah ha ha!!



I particularly enjoyed these pictures. Of course, I had to work quickly because I didn't want the change in temperatures or condensation to adversely affect the lens of my Nikon D90. (bwah ha ha!!) But like a good documentarian, I thought it necessary to capture the moment when my shorts-lovin', cycle-ridin, new Bermudian resident donned his boots and parka and hit the white stuff again. Look how cute he looks all manly like this with a shovel and determined look on his face. It's like being back in college in Binghamton! Snow, boots, and rosy red cheeks.



Speaking of rosy cheeks - look at this guy. Our munchkins look much happier than their dad. Being kids, they are impervious to the cold.



I know Mina is buried in there somewhere. Possibly under the fur cuff.



What happens in Grandma's house, stays in Grandma's house. That includes episodes when the baking fever drives Grandma and grandkids to produce both cupcakes AND cookies in the same day.



Oh those cookies are good. They really, really are. Having eaten at least twenty of them myself, I speak from experience. Conveniently, Grandma's home is a developed community located on a beautiful three-plus mile loop. I spent some serious time out there running those cookies (and lobster, and wine, and chocolate, etc) off. It was a blast. The air was crisp and clean. Without the humidity (or the trails, or sand, or heat) running was a lot easier. I did have to watch out a bit for ice, but you can't have it all.



Ever heard of something called "Penguin Sledding?" Me neither. But my kids made it up and it's a cheap winter sport. Just find a hill and throw yourself down it belly first. But don't come crying to me if you bang your chin up or there's blood on you somewhere.



Yeah, you either.



The trip to Grandma's coincided with Valentine's Day. Jeff's present to me was a night away in a local resort. My present to him was not bankrupting us on the way to said resort. I sort of tried to restrain myself, but it was hard given that we passed the Crossings Outlet Mall on the way. The porter counted our bags and told me I had just set the record for the year. I wasn't that impressed since it's only February.

For the record, I know it looks crazy, but I have to put it in context. Most of the bags are Jeff's anyway.



The next day, we returned to the homestead. The kids looked up for a minute from their sugar frenzy; and we headed out for the next adventure - skiing!! Take a look at that sign above the door. That's the kind of sign I like to see.



And this is our reaction.

The kids spent three hours in the "Snow Monsters" ski school at Jack Frost Mountain. We watched them in the comfort of the lodge. Through the glass windows, we laughed at them trudging through the snow, up the "magic carpet" conveyor belt, and then wedge themselves down the little baby hills.

So cute!!!



Look at this little guy. He did so good!! He took to it right away. Once he got the hang of it, he did the typical guy thing and tackled the hills straight down.



This one, I'm not so sure about. But she does know how to pose.



Then they took them on the ski lift; and I lost a few more years off my life. That girl sitting next to Jordan is only six as well. Nothing like letting the blind lead the blind. Notice the bar isn't even down. This is the end of the lift, so you can't really appreciate the height it went to coming UP the hill. The thought of Jordan hanging up there with nothing but own wits to protect him, oh Lord...




Turns out, they did just fine.



Thankfully someone in a position of authority realized that Mina might need some help.



Kidding aside, it was seriously awesome watching these two learn to ski. Having learned relatively late in my own life, I'm glad these two are getting an earlier exposure to it. Like other parents who're crazy enough to let their tots do it, we all agree that little kids have less of a distance to fall when they topple over.



Watching the kids have so much fun prompted Jeff and I to rent some skis the next day and give it a go too. The weather was gorgeous! Warm (I was sweating in that puffy jacket and hat), barely a breeze, and perfect for an afternoon of skiing down nice, gentle slopes. Jeff dragged me to a couple intermediate ones, and much to my surprise, I did not kill myself. Or him. I guess growing up in upstate NY has its advantages. If you don't ski in the winter, what the heck else are you going to do with yourself?



And then the kids wanted to go with us. Jordan went with Jeff.

1

And Mina went with me. And then I realized that she hadn't learned a darn thing in class and mid-slope, she decided she couldn't make it down the hill. Argh!

me: Mina!! We can't climb back up the hill!! Didn't they teach you how to make a wedge? Come on, just hold my pole. We'll take nice big turns and go slow.

Mina: (sniffling) Mommy!!! I want to go back!! I want to go on the lift!

Me: Mina, we can't go on the lift till we get to the BOTTOM of the hill. The lift takes us back to the top of the hill. We have to ski to the bottom.

repeat conversation a few more times. I begin to feel myself slip from my parallel position on my skis and start to move backward...

Thankfully, Jeff and Jordan came shushing by. We switched kids, and I went down with Jordan. Or I should say, I tried to slow Jordan down while he desperately tried to snowplow his way down the bunny slope.



(more to come.)



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