Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If I Don't See You...Happy Easter!

Here we are in Holy Week, the week behind Palm Sunday and Easter.  I love Easter and the symbolism of rebirth and new life that comes with it.  Although, around here the standard images of green grass, tulip bulbs popping from the mud, new white dress shoes on little girls and frolicking baby animals in reality are replaced with full snow cover, single digit morning temperatures and occasional winter storm warnings.  This year I can actually see my lawn which is nice I guess.  Oh well, we don't need green grass to remember that "He is risen indeed!"

I love Easter.  I can't wait to do fun traditions with my children like we did when I was a kid like following scavenger  hunts around the house looking for our Easter baskets and eating some Easter candy discreetly during church.  Sometimes my cousins would be visiting and we would celebrate my birthday along with my Grandfather's birthday.

Oh look, I have photos of such and Easter...looks like about 1993 judging by the ages, gross perm/poodle bang hair and nautical spring jackets my sister and I are wearing.  Yikes.

Wooohooo!   Partaayyy!  I wonder what shape of cake we had?
  We also would bring a small tree branch in from outside and decorate it with eggs and other Easter related miniature ornaments.  I will save that one until I have children who actually enjoy it.  So far the child I have prefers holiday decorations strewn about on the floor. 

So, if I don't get on here before then everyone have a happy Easter from everyone at our house including Allan! 

Hehe this picture is an old classic.  Poor kitten.  He puts up with alot!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Change of Scenery

At this time last week, I was gazing upon this beautiful panorama.  There were awe inspiring views in all directions and at every elevation. 
Today, I find myself looking upon this panorama...
Yes, that is a picture frame on the floor under a baby puzzle and laying on top of Ben's jacket.  Yes, that is a swiffer (a very good tool for fishing cat and baby toys out from under the furniture!). 
Yes, that is an easter basket spilling plastic eggs all over the floor.
Yes, those are the couch pillows which are ALWAYS on the floor for some reason.  And yes, that is the outgrown baby car seat.

Holy crap, what a hell hole.  And you think, "just pick that stuff up! It's not that hard!"  No, it isn't hard, but it would be a waste of time because as soon as Mr. Wild Man wakes up it will all be turned upside down again. 
I don't want to be uptight about a mess or anything.  I know kids are just like that.  I knew families growing up where we would be playing and we had barely finished playing the game or building the fort or whatever and the parents were already on the kids about picking up the mess.  That is no fun.  But I will be glad when this "throw everything everywhere without discrimination" phase is over.  A picture frame is not that fun kid!  I don't get it!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back From Big Sky

The first year my family went skiing and the year I learned was in 1993.  We went to a small resort called Indianhead that was in Michigan somewhere on the upper peninsula.  I was in 4th grade.  I can't believe I have been skiing for 20 years!  Most of those years have included skiing at Big Sky, Montana.  It is my favorite vacation place and always will be.  There are fancier, warmer, more glamorous places but that doesn't matter if you are in love!  Even the journey there is something I look forward to.  I love the grocery shopping before heading into the mountains and the excited restaurant meals on the way and the overnight stay in Billings. 
This year the first Saturday of travel happened to be on St. Patrick's Day.  We ate at a fun old restaurant in downtown Bozeman.  Some people had green beer.  I forgot the food coloring for Ben's milk so he had to have regular white!  Boring!  Sorry buddy!

Everyone wanted to take a picture with him in his green shirt!


He got a little raft for his birthday so we had some fun at the hotel on Saturday night.  He really likes water. 

I insist...he really likes it!  Even though he looks mad!
On Sunday night we arrived at our cabin for the week.  It was beautiful and just what you imagine a mountain cabin to be like with stone fireplaces and timber rafters.   Here it is!
Haha.  Riiiight.  This is an actual cabin at Big Sky but not the one we rented!  There is a run at the edge of the resort that is lined with these mansions.  This one is one of the biggest.  There is even more square footage to the left that was cut off in the picture.  The strangest part is that they all look unoccupied!  No tracks, no lights and some have not even had snow removed from the stairs and walkways.  People, if you don't want to use your mansions I know some people who would take care of them for you! 
Here is what ours looked like.  It was plenty big even though it was no mansion!  It had four bathrooms and a hot tub which is what our group requires. need to learn not to put your tongue on metal! 

This is how we would ski in and out.  The access lift passed in front of us but you can't see the chairs because they are blending into the trees. 
There were thirteen adults on this trip and everyone kindly took half days off to watch Ben so Justin and I could ski.  It felt so wonderful to ski again!  Last year I had recently had a c-section so I had to take it easy.  Also, to my dismay, I couldn't fit into my ski pants or jacket.  It is pretty amazing to see how a body can recover from pregancy and birth. 

This was taken in "The Bowl".  It is as it is named...a big white bowl of snow above the tree line.  You get off the lift and traverse around until you find where you want to start skiing down.  The path is hair raising.  I usually get off the path at the most moderate spot.  This year, my brother, brother-in-law, dad, and cousin-in-law (is that a real term?) decided to push the limits and challenge themselves by going farther around to where it was steeper.  It was fun to watch! 

There I am at the main base area.  You can ski for miles here and you have to start at the bottom!  I can't believe that I have skied from that peak in the background all the way down.  The tram that goes up there was closed this year although I don't know if I would have had that in me this year!  I'm not a teenager anymore! 

Here is a nice view of Andesite Mountain (the location of many of my favorite runs) from the Bowl on Lone Mountain.  

Times have changed for me.  During the college/law school years we rented a condo near the base and would go to the bars at the base probably three nights of the week we were there.  It was usually during Spring Break and there were often other friends of ours vacationing at Big Sky as well.  We would have lots of fun. This year we were driving distance so we just went to our favorite bar/restaurant, Whiskey Jack's, one night.  We fixed our matted, flat hat hair and put on non-spandex and non-thermal pants and headed down the mountain.  They always have some mellow live music there and it is fun to try the local beers they serve.  It was still fun even though I spent more time picking Ben's cheerios off the floor than swilling drinks. 

We took a picture with Ben in this spot last year.  Hopefully it will be a long lived tradition!

Some of the crew including my brother and his fiance, my sister, my cousins, my aunt and my dad.  Some of the men stayed home to grill our dinner. 
There couldn't be a mountian vacation without bundling Ben into his snowsuit while it still fits and taking a bunch of pictures! 

He was thrilled.  Because all babies love being bundled into big, bulky clothes!  Notice his cute ski goggle hat! 

Baby in the fire pit!  To give an idea of how much it snowed, think of this.  A few nights before this photo was taken, we had a fire out here so the whole thing was cleared off.  I can't believe how much it snows in the mountains!
It was a successful trip.  The bad parts were that Ben decided to not sleep unless we were holding him for the last two nights we were there and it was a struggle getting him to sleep all week.  Too much commotion I guess!  Fortunately, last night he was back to his old self.  Also, it was really cold for a few of the days!  Yes, I know, we are form North Dakota and should be used to cold but that doesn't mean we like it!  A good skiing temperature in my opinion is around 25 or 30 degrees.  I like it even warmer but the snow gets melty then so not everyone likes it.  On Friday it was zero.  That was not pleasant. 
See you next year Big Sky!  I miss you already!  And don't worry, you big empty mansions!  I know this is the year that I will win the Powerball jackpot and then I will come and get one of you along with your luxurious furnishings and you won't be alone anymore! 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Vacation TIme

Tomorrow morning is the start of my favorite yearly's time for Big Sky!  I can't help but remember how delerious I was last year with a 3 week old Ben on the trip.  I tried to remember details of the trip and I honestly have very few memories.  Probably because I was getting four hours of interrupted sleep each night.  To say that I am looking forward to this trip as my old self is an understatement.  By Sunday evening I will be seeing this view! 

What a sight to behold! 
I am really excited to use my new skis that Justin gave me for Christmas.  I got my first pair of skis when I was fourteen and as everyone else in the family has purchased new equipment I have used my old ones year after year (how often do they get used anyway?).  They are scratched and scuffed and have never caused me a problem but they are being retired for these!
I love hte pretty gold and sliver accents!  Because, you know, prettiness is the best indicator of how a piece of equipment will perform! 
I have been trying and not succeeding all week to prepare for the trip by digging out my ski clothes and making packing lists but here it is, Friday, and I have done nothing except find my snow pants.  Ben was not going to make this easy!  I had big plans for yesterday but he decided to nap for one hour instead of three and so my plans were derailed. 
Here he is in my favorite hat!  OK, I must go...he is sleeping now and it's my last chance to get ready for the trip!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Birthday Pics

Here are some pictures from Ben's birthday celebrations!  We had a small party with just the three of us on Thursday and Ben's Nana and Grandpa visited for the weekend so we had another one!  
I told Justin to stop at a grocery store and buy a cupcake or something after work on Thursday so we could let Ben smash it and smear it all over his face and he came with this little monster cake!   


He really wasn't interested in eating cake!  I wasn't surprised since he's not really interested in eating in general!  That frosting was very bright!  It turned my whole mouth blue after a few bites and stained our hands where we touched it!  Yuck!

How do you like my decorations?  Fancy, huh?!
For the weekend, I decided that I would try to make a "shape" cake like my mom used to make when I was young.  My siblings and I had many shapes over the years.  She even made my dad a red SUV to match my dad's work vehicle back in the 80s. 
I looked through a book and on the Internet for ideas and finally decided to try a cat shape because it looked easy for a first try.  And of course, the cat would look like Allan! 

I adjusted the food coloring until it made the perfect shade of orange.  Red food coloring looks like blood doesn't it?
Here are a few old cake photos...I tried to move them to the proper spot but it is not a very user friendly blogger function so I decided to leave them! 

Mr. Bunny was a popular choice!

That is a butterfly if you couldn't tell.  This was when we lived in Yemen and you can see that it is colored with sprinkles.  I am guessing food coloring was not easy to obtain!
So, back to the present...

I managed not to destroy the cakes while cutting the pieces!

The finished product!  I tried to match Al's markings including the swirls on his sides and the white tip on his tail! 

Ben is saying, "Mother thank you so much for the time you spent making that cake for me!  I TOTALLY get it!"

Ben with his Nana and Grandpa. 

Present time!  I guess this party ended up cat themed!  Fine with me! 

Once again, he wasn't too interested in his cake.  The adults enjoyed it though!