Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The skiing trip was WONDERFUL! I'll start with that, as the rest of the week has been *very* stressful for me :(.

On Friday, we left around 12noon. The kids were off from school, as it had snowed 7 inches overnight and now they have to make up a snow day on the 17th, President's Day. Fine with me, because this played well into our hands.

On the way to West Virginia, we realized that Saskia gets carsick when driving through mountainous terrain. After about an hour or two she started to complain about nausea and it got worse and worse. So we stopped, got Dramamine and gave her that. That made it a longer drive and when we finally arrived at the last mountain pass before our resort, the weather had gotten quite bad! It was snowing hard and the visibility was minimal.

Our resort was a left turn off a downhill road and Rick couldn't make the turn and had to turn around and go up the hill. That's the first indication we got that our tires didn't have much traction, as the van should have easily pulled up the hill and it didn't. But around 4pm we pulled in front of our cabin. Our friends had already arrived in the cabin next door.

The cabins were very cozy, with all wooden walls and a fireplace and a loft area with a bunk bed for the kids and a bedroom with a queen size for the adults. Very comfortable! The view was gorgeous too and there was a ton of snow, walls higher than ourselves!

That night it was really windy and it snowed hard and we felt like going to a cozy restaurant. So we piled in the cars and first checked out the ski resort, Canaan Valley, where we'd be going the next day and then stopped at the Deerfield restaurant. We had a wonderful (though slow service!) dinner there.

On the way out of the parking lot, Rick managed to drive one wheel of our car in a ditch. Luckily, a big truck came by and had a pulling cable and pulled us right out. We'd had enough of driving then and spent the rest of the evening watching movies and socializing in Chuck and Christine's cabin.

The following morning, the kids were supposed to be in ski school between 8 and 8:30. So we got up around 7, ate breakfast and got ready. Chuck and Rick were going to take them in our van and Christine and I were going to take their 4 wheel drive to another resort, that offered cross country skiing. But after trying for about a half an hour to get up the hill in front of our cabin on a very slippery road, Rick gave up and Chuck took the 4 wheel drive with all 4 kids to get them signed in at the ski school (this was the first time skiing for all 4 and they were very excited). He was then supposed to come back for us.

Not 5 minutes after he left, the resort people put down rocks on the slippery road and Rick was able to get the van up the road. So we drove to Canaan Valley to meet up with Chuck. We saw a part of the kids' lessons and then Christine and I took off for Whitegrass to go cross country skiing and have lunch and Chuck and Rick hit the downhill slopes at Canaan Valley.

Christine and I had a great time. We took a little lesson in cross country skiing, as neither of us had done it for years! I was glad we did, as there were quite a few hills and I wouldn't have known how to get up them without the lesson. We skied for about 2 hours in the most beautiful scenery! Then we had a very nice lunch at the very interesting little cafe there. Spinach, barley and mushroom soup, yum!

When we were done there, we drove around a bit, she allowed me to take my pictures I was itching to take and we went to check out some of the other resorts around for future trips. This is not a developed area yet and the valley was very full with deer. So when we drove along, we saw herds of them grazing along the road. They were not afraid of people at all, didn't run away and some even walked right up to our car. It was clear they sometimes get fed by the passersby.

At around 2pm we returned to the Canaan Valley Resort and went in search for our families. The first thing we saw were two very ably skiing girls, who, on further investigation turned out to be Katja and Saskia. It is so fun to see just how much they learned in one day! Katja was helping the instructor's teach, that's how well she did and Kai (who we met later) had gone down an intermediate slope already.

But the moment we saw Katja she exclaimed that Mallory had gotten hurt and that she was in first aid and that Katja was getting Mallory's shoes. This scared Christine of course, so off to the first aid we went. We had heard from another instructor, that it wasn't anything serious, but that a snowboarder had run into her and her hip was hurt. It turned out to be just a bruise, thankfully, but Mallory's ski's had been returned already and she wanted to go back out. So we decided to try tubing, to appease her and Saskia, who was also done skiing. Unfortunately, the tubing was sold out, so we had some very disappointed girls.

Since Rick still wanted to take Katja and Kai to the intermediate slope, Christine, Chuck and I took the little ones with us to look at the deer. That did it for them! They loved that, especially when a deer came within touching distance of Mallory's window.

When the others were done skiing, we went back to the cabins and ordered some take out Italian food. We were in no mood to again sit in a restaurant for 2 hours and this gave us a chance to watch some of the movies we had brought.

On Sunday morning, we cleaned up and washed the bedding and then took off to do some tubing. The previous day had been gorgeous blue sky weather, though very cold, but on Sunday it was snowing again. And the wind blew hard! The tubing was a lot of fun though, even little Saskia happily slid down the mountain on her little orange tube.

We did that for 2 hours and then had lunch and said our goodbyes. Our friends left for home and we went back to the cabin, since we had borrowed it from friends, to clean up some more. Around 3 we left for home and were home much quicker than we got there.

On Monday, Rick left for Seattle again and the kids and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. We had such a great time, laughing and giggling all the way, I was really enjoying them, thinking how much fun it is they're getting a little older now.

Yesterday, guidelines about how to prepare ourselves in case of a chemical or biological came out and included taping up our windows with plastic and duct tape. Well, I found some rolls of paint tarp and cut those up and some rolls of duct tape. I also ordered some of the stuff they recommend and water. I figure that's all I can do, but it makes me feel better to know I did it.

Today, I went to the gym and then had to do something totally for me, so I got my nails done. Nice and frivolous ;).

Now I have candles burning and the fireplace on, as it's another cold night. Chuck and Christine are coming to keep us company on this last night (hopefully) without Rick. Off to get things ready for dinner.