Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vail -- part 1

A friend of Denise's offered her the use of his "cabin" in Vail, and she invited us to join them. I had been debating, since my boys have missed so much school lately, but ultimately we decided to go. It was a great vacation and we were all so glad we did! (Marc had to stay home and teach, but at least he had 6 days of peace and quiet.)

I dared to snap a photo when there were no other cars around. I love the way these windmills look.

As previously mentioned, we had a terrifying near miss when I started to fall asleep at the wheel. The kids haven't said anything about it since, but I know I was traumatized. For a few seconds there, as we spun out across two lanes of traffic, I thought we might all perish together on Highway 6. Thankfully, we were protected and came through the experience with no physical scars! The remaining 5 hours of the trip was a white-knuckle drive for sure.

I was so very relieved when we arrived at the house, and a very beautiful house it was indeed. We estimated about 10,000 square feet!

This is the amazing view from the family room.

Mom and Dad were there, too, and Dad's birthday was the next day. His birthday breakfast was this mountain of donette gems. (Ashley calls them fauxnuts, which I think is the perfect moniker for these waxy little donuts.) Everyone was thrilled.

He spent his birthday going back to Denver to pick up Ryan and Miles -- my brother and nephew whom I haven't seen for 3 years! My cousin Sarah was also returning from her clogging competition (national champions!), so they waited and all came back to Vail on Saturday night.

We watched Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea! I haven't watched them probably for 15 years, and it was a real treat. That Matthew is unbearably sweet. They are quite possibly my favorite movies ever, but I don't have anyone (in my house, at least) that would want to watch them with me, so this was a fun opportunity to indulge our love of Anne, Matthew, Marilla, Gilbert, and all the rest.

Mom and Charlotte were helping Emily to wind her yarn into balls, until they got to the "hell ball" and gave up because it was too hard to untangle. Emily came out the conquerer, however! I love the colors of her yarn. She knitted her first hat with it and then started in on muffatees (our new shared obsession). It's fun to have a fellow knitter around.

Dad opening his cards and gifts. I gave him a subscription to Smugmug, so maybe now I'll be able to see all of his cool photos!

Even though Grandma and Grandpa decided not to come to Vail, Grandma made Dad his favorite carrot cake and sent it up. I forgot to get a picture of it, but it was delicious, of course.

There was plenty of time and space for everyone to do whatever he or she wished. Here my very tall cousin John is stretched out, playing his Nintendo DS. The kids' domain downstairs had an air hockey table and foosball, and Lucas was pleased to discover a basketball hoop in the garage.

As Denise said on her blog, we are sort of low-level recreators in our family. We are happy with movies, good food, walks, and maybe a little shopping expedition or two. Ryan and Miles, however, are real outdoorsmen. They took Max on a long hike and a fishing attempt (no bites).

We enjoy cooking together, and it cracked me up that, with 5 bloggers among us, the food was surrounded by paparazzi.

Denise forgot to bring a rolling pin, so she had to improvise with the can of Pam.

Many hands make light work, especially when you are making 4 batches of breadsticks! (I thought this excessive until I discovered that they were all gone shortly after dinner. Denise knows what she is doing.)

Miles doesn't sit still for long, so I was glad to capture this cute grandfather/grandson moment of relaxation.

Charlotte and Emily taught all the kids to play Killer Bunnies. I never did learn the game, but they sure did have fun! They had several long, rousing games.

We played a lot of Bananagrams. I love that game! I can't remember the last time my mom sat down and played games with us.

We went on daily walks around the neighborhood, soaking in the fresh mountain air, the sights and smells. Everywhere we turned there were babbling creeks (one of my very favorite sounds), beautiful trees, and many varieties of birds. I discovered that hummingbirds make a sound -- other than that of their wings flapping -- and Eva and I became experts at spotting them. In fact, she would keep a "creature count" during our walks. Mostly we saw birds and dogs, but we also saw a few squirrels and a fox.

This picture is for you, Jess. Eva and Miles were looking for big rocks to throw in the creek and she was quite taken with this one. Of course it reminded us of rock you became attached to as a tiny girl, coincidentally also found in Vail!

Many of the homes have bear statues, but we dubbed this one the "were-bear". It's kind of creepy, but it became a friendly landmark of sorts over time.

On Sunday, we attended sacrament meeting at the Vail branch. Half of the meeting is in Spanish -- half of the hymns, prayers, and talks. Well, at least my dad understood everything! It was a wonderful meeting and I absolutely loved the talk given by the visiting high council member. I was shocked to discover that this branch is in Denise's stake, as it is about an hour and a half from where she lives. Oh so different from the boundaries we have here in Utah.

One night we had homemade pizza for dinner: barbecue chicken, cheese, pepperoni, and veggie varieties. Delicious!

Stay tuned for part 2...


Miranda said...

I LOVE every single picture of this post. I can't even pick a specific one to comment on. Seriously. Love.

lelly said...

the food pics! love the photo of the food paparazzi!!

what a fantastic getaway. we are pretty low-maintenance recreators ourselves.

the group photo of the breadstick makers is such a cool sight!

Denise said...

I just finished my Vail post last night, or rather this morning, at about 1:45 a.m. It's so fun to read and see your take on things. I'm trying not to torture myself by playing the "One week ago at this time" game.

Love your Smugmug photos, BTW! Thanks for the link.

patsy said...

How much fun I've had reading this post!

Your family is so delightful :)
and yes... I was really excited to see the food- so glad the paparazzi did their jobs!

Jill said...

I'm still freaked out by your almost-car accident!

Holy Crap to the size of that house! I'm so glad Denise's boss let your family use it.

I have a fondness for fauxnuts.

Can you believe I have never watched any of the Anne of Green Gables movies?

I love it that all of you bloggers were like paparazzi!

Ashley said...

What fun to be with family in such a beautiful place. I'm jealous... love the house, the fauxnuts(!), the games, the food, and of course the people! So, what are muffatees?! Please tell. Miles is so cute and old. Would love to see Ryan. Let's get together soon. I'm working, but I'm usually off by 2:00pm and we could work in an afternoon/evening thing if that works for you. Miss you!

emily said...

I love looking at your pictures and reading your commentaries. I can't not be happy when I remember the time spent with all our family.

rebekah said...

well i am glad to see that your always elegant family has one not-from-scratch, somewhat shameful weakness -- fauxnuts! but, of course, you do them with style!

denise said...

As I was reading this post I kept wishing I would have been with you in Vail. Some of my most favorite things were mentioned...

waxy chocolate doughnuts - a favorite, especially when I'm sick (gross, I know)

Sweet Matthew from Anne of Green Gables - I cry over the sweetness of that man

Killer Bunnies - a family favorite

Bananagrams (what we call speed scrabble) - always a fun game and great for any age. It is played often at our family gatherings

Food - who doesn't love good food?!?!?

Looks like a really fun trip!

Anonymous said...

That stack of fauxnuts looks so good. I don't know why I like them, I just do.

Anne of Green Gables...I would watch them with you! I am waiting for the day when Mya and Kaylee and I can hunker down with some projects and indulge.

I love how your family does food together and doesn't cut corners on vacation, it always looks so good!

We play Killer Bunnies a lot- it is different for sure and can last so long or be over too fast.

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