For so many years we've been telling each other how it would all be worth it. Every time we were sweating and stressing and exhausted we would remind each other how it would pay off in the end. Teaching four small kids to ski was never easy. It was always hard. But in the midst of all the insanity Todd and I reminded each other that some day it would all be worth it.
When Gracie was a baby I brought tiny shovels and buckets so that she could play at the top of the bunny hill as Todd and I chased the three boys up and down the hill. We would bounce from child to child, helping them stand back up, wiping their tears after a huge wipeout, putting skis back on, getting snow out of gloves, and helping them up the tow rope, while also keeping Grace close and occupied and happy(ish).
When Grace was just over two Todd and I began taking her down the hill with us (and back up the tow rope as well). So, we were still chasing and helping three boys on the bunny hill, but this time we also had a small child between our legs or in our arms as we raced from boy to boy.
Teaching our kids to ski was a workout, I tell you. Todd and I wouldn't even need winter jackets because we would be sweating just trying to keep the kids going. I think we both lost a couple of pounds on those days. And I don't think there was one time when I didn't leave the ski hill without a migraine. Migraines were inevitable on those ski days.
But we knew they would pay off. All the migraines, sweat, and tears would be worth it when, years down the road, our whole family would be able to enjoy family ski trips. Then Todd and I would sit back and enjoy all our hard work and know we did the right thing in teaching four small children to ski.
The kids are ready to go!
The kids are ready to go home!
(skiing is exhausting work sometimes)
Once again we hit the ski hill with the kids. There is still a fair amount of madness involved in taking four kids skiing, even though they are all a bit older now. There are still four sets of skis, poles, helmets, and boots to rent. That in itself can make you a bit crazy. And then there is ALL the winter gear to get them into and out of. It is surprising the amount of help the two older boys still need with some of this, but ah well. I can not tell you how long it takes to get 6 people into the winter clothes and ski equipment. Let's just say it is excruciatingly long.
Nevertheless, eventually we are out on the bunny hill. The boys catch on fairly well, Ben needs a refresher on how to turn, and Ben and Joey work on quick stops, while I give Grace the basics again. The snow was very packy and slow and soon the boys are bored on the bunny hill and want to take off on their own.
The boys were able to wait just a little while longer on the bunny hill until Todd and I decided Grace could handle the ski lift. Now we could all tackle the hill together and Grace could get some real ski experience. Yeah!
Joey and Tommy partnered up on the first ski lift. Ben was my ski lift buddy. And Grace partnered up with Todd. Poor little Grace was actually pretty terrified and all of the riders on the lift could hear her screams for the first 15 seconds or so. Todd held her tightly and whispered encouraging words to her and I turned around to take a pic and tell her what a great job she was doing. She didn't want to talk about it.
It was pretty special to be back at the Homestead Lodge with Todd and all of our kids. Todd and I (and many times a big group of our friends) spent a lot of time there when we were first dating, engaged, and early in our marriage. Many good memories. And now here we were with our four children. Pretty amazing.
I hadn't been to the Homestead Lodge in over 7 years. Normally I would be back on the bunny hill teaching the basics to our littles, but Grace is now able to take the lift and here we all are. So good.
We all enjoyed our hot chocolate, hot cider, hot dogs, burgers, cookies, brownies, and rice krispie treats, and warmed ourselves by the wood stove. It was the first time I could begin to enjoy the fun of skiing again.
When we were all sufficiently full and warmed up, we bundled back up and hit the hill again. Soon Todd and the boys were off on the hill and Grace and I were back on the bunny hill. Grace got a little bored with the slow hill and decided she wanted to try another lift. So, up my girl and I went to the top of the hill again.
So, though it may still be hectic, crazy, and migraine inducing, it is starting to be fun. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It's getting good.