Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's Gettin' Good

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.

Well, it is not quite that time yet, but at least I can see it coming now.
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.
We were all waiting for Grace as she and Todd exited the lift (fairly smoothly, I might add) and we all rushed over to tell her what a good job she did. The boys patted her on the back and told her how brave she was as I gave her hugs and kisses and high fives.When we were finally done lavishing her with praise, she looked up at me, with tears in her eyes, and said, "Can I have a hot chocolate now?" Todd and I burst out laughing and immediately led her down the hill to the Homestead lodge she had heard so much about. Grace was getting her hot chocolate.

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. 
We took a long trail back down the hill, Grace tucked safely between my legs. Once we got to the bottom our faces were frozen and Grace was ready to call it a day. We made our way over to the ski lodge and soon Todd and Ben came in as well (one of Ben's ski's broke on the hill- a binding just busted off out of nowhere and Ben went flying- thankfully he wasn't hurt and said it was actually really fun). It was a good thing we were wrapping it up a little early since I was getting a migraine. By the time we got back to the cabin it was a full blown nasty-laid-me-out kind of a migraine. Ugh.

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.


Tabor said...

Can those migraines be due to the cold air in sinuses? Due to the snow blind white in your eyes? Maybe not due to the stress of teaching kids how to ski? Just wondering.

Peruby said...

I'm thinking like Tabor. What a perfect concoction for a migraine.

Stress, snow blindness, cold air - sinus pressure, hot dogs, exhaustive exercise, (height adjustment? - thinner air?) - what about your sleep the night before?

Oh, dear. If you are a medication taker, take it before the ski day. You will feel wonderful enough to enjoy the after party with your family!

But, I understand if you don't like medication. A lot of folks don't. It changed my life from acting like a drunk on the couch to a human being again!

Bijoux said...

Wow! What an accomplishment! I have t skied since college. My kids never showed any interest and my husband has never gone, so it somehow faded out of my life.

Kat said...

Tabor and Peruby- My migraines are usually brought on by stress on my body combined with not enough food and sleep and water and also hormonal changes. My hormones have been kind of wacky lately. I haven't had a migraine in quite a while so I didn't think it would happen this time. Especially since this time was not as difficult as in the past. But, I forgot that I had given blood only a few days ago so I'm sure that didn't help either. I don't take medicine for my migraines because they aren't a regular thing anymore. I think I only had two this whole year and the one before this one was not that bad at all. This one was the worst I've had in a long time. Usually, when I start to see the auras (flashing lights and spots) I chew some Excedrin quickly (it is the most hideous taste EVER but it gets the medicine into my system faster) and it stops the migraine from becoming too severe. It is usually just a headache. This time I didn't chew the Excedrin because I wasn't even sure if I was getting one and I didn't feel stressed or anything. It was kind of surprising. I thought I had eaten enough that morning and had plenty of water but I didn't actually have much for dinner the night before, didn't sleep great, and was low on blood.
Anyway, I normally have it under control. Thankfully. I really feel for people who suffer from migraines all the time. I can not imagine. Horrible.

Anonymous said...

You are at the edge of those GREAT years of SO MUCH FUN with your kids! I remember when my baby turned 5--everything changed for the better. My workload reduced about 80% and the fun really became FUN for all of us! Glad to see you enjoying the fruits of your parenting labors.

Peruby said...

You chew an Excedrin? Yikes!

betty said...

I think that was wise to start your kids young on the slopes, it looks like a wonderful family activity.


Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

I can't even imagine taking my four skiing. But, I'm hopibg to relate to it being worth it...in some regard...maybe it's travel, school or life!

Riahli said...

Oh man all that work is totally going to pay off and be such a blast for all of you! How fun! I can hardly imagine though, I'd most definitely leave with a migraine each and every time as well! We went up to the mountains on new years day, as we always do, to go sledding. That alone is such a hassle, getting the kids bundled up (just to have them need to pee and have no bathroom or privacy in sight) and stomp through the snow, up and down hills until you are ready to fall over and tap out, ha ha! So much fun though. My kids love the snow, I'm sure they wish we were a skiing family. ;)

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson