Sunday, June 14, 2009

Snowbird 2009

Last week was our annual Snowbird trip (Marc's parents have a timeshare). Most of our vacations involve one of our sets of parents! It's nice to know that we have a guaranteed vacation, and the kids look forward to this one all year.

The packing for these local kinds of trips can be intense, as we have to bring food, games, movies, etc., but it's also nice that it only takes about an hour to get there! Marc joined us for the weekend but returned home for the week because he is teaching Spring term.

We bought our own set of Bananagrams before leaving and it got a LOT of use during the week. I love games that kids and adults can all enjoy. Lucas started out making one or two words per game but he has quickly improved and is now making crosswords with the best of them. (incidentally, that is not a real game in the photo, the kids were just seeing if they could use up all the tiles)

Marc's sister Michelle brought a new 500-piece puzzle, much to my delight. I just love puzzles, and for me that is an ultimate vacation activity. The older kids joined in as well, and we finished it so quickly I was wishing I had thought to bring another. (It's so appropriate that it was a Paris puzzle, since Michelle's family will be visiting us there this fall!)

This is crazy Lucas, eating a huge piece of lettuce. I had to document him eating vegetables, since there are so few he likes. (Note the keyboard behind him. Bob & Mim brought it up for the kids. Bob, Max, and Nicole practiced some pieces for piano/violin/cello -- Max said he couldn't leave his cello behind -- but sadly, I didn't get any photos of that. Marc did, though.)

I made homemade donuts on Saturday night for the whole crew. I made 1 1/2 batches, which made a LOT of donuts! I didn't count them all, but I think there were something like 50? Max helped me with the rolling and cutting and Kristen was my glazer while I fried. I wish I had photos of them, but as I was elbow-deep in donuts, I couldn't take any.

Marc's sister Lisa and her family joined us from California (they don't come every year), and my kids had a great time spending time with the cousins they rarely get to see.

Swimming is always a highlight. This year we had so much rain all week, we had to dash out to swim whenever the rain stopped! I finally got wise and bought my kids rash guards this year -- the sun up there (11000 feet) is super-intense and we always get sunburned -- not this time!

Nicole and Kristen playing one of many games of chicken

Even our niece Michelle (yes, we have ANOTHER Michelle in the family!) was able to come from Idaho with her two cute little ones, Genevieve and Kody.

Grandma & Grandpa joined us for a swim on our last day. The air was really cold, but fortunately the water was very warm. We decided to get out when the thunder started, but we still didn't escape being rained on as we ran back inside (that happened twice!).

Grandma, Eva, Max, Kristen, Greg, Lucas, and Dana indulged me by stopping for a photo even though they were all shivering violently from the cold rain.

Eva and Dana are only four months apart in age (despite the height difference), and they played really well together. Dana has a lifejacket and swims around totally independently. I thought it was a great idea, so I bought one for Eva -- not surprisingly, she was not ready to be quite so independent...

On Tuesday, the adults went down to the Jordan River temple to do sealings with family names. At first, I was hesitant to leave Snowbird (once we get there, I like to stay), but it ended up being a delightful pocket of peace in the noise and chaos of the week.

Lisa and Rob's son James (he goes by Jazz) came with us, and it was amazing to me to see one of my nephews in the temple -- how did this happen?

Bob & Mim are in a branch of special-needs missionaries in Salt Lake, and they arranged an interview for Jazz. He met with the mission president, branch president, and stake president during the week and was set apart as a missionary! It all went so fast, I couldn't believe it. Now he will return to CA for three weeks to gather what he needs and will return to start his mission in early July. He will be in the same branch as his grandparents, which suits them all wonderfully well.

Nicole left on Wednesday morning to go on Trek. She looked so cute in her pioneer gear! While she didn't seem too nervous, I was nervous for her, especially with all the rain in the forecast. I haven't gotten the report yet on how it all went.

I thought Max and Kristen would be a bit lonely after Nicole left, but interestingly, they just started hanging out together. That's a new cousin combo, and they seemed to have a great time during the rest of the week going on photo expeditions and the like.

I made two dinners while we were there, and I had forgotten how much longer everything takes to cook at such a high altitude. Crazy. It's also difficult to prepare food with only twelve inches of counter space! (this particular meal was cilantro-lime chicken with tomato/avocado/green onion relish and yellow rice)

Last night as I made Amy S.'s coconut shrimp for dinner, I reveled in having plenty of counter space and a butcher block for food prep!

I am officially in love with the different greens in the mountains -- the vibrant aspens, just leafed out, and the deeper evergreens. Such a marvelous view. Michelle and I worked out in the spa on the 9th floor nearly every morning, and I loved looking out at all the trees as I pedaled or walked.

We never what we would see when we looked out -- while we didn't get any snow, we did get plenty of rain, hail, mist, and fog, sometimes all we could see was white! It was amazing how quickly it all changed and I loved watching the clouds blow in and out.

Aunt Michelle taught Eva and Dana to play Uno. She has got a lot of patience! They loved it, and Eva later told me, "Mom! We have got to get this game!" She was thrilled when I told her that we already have that game. (We all played it last night, and it was hilarious. At one point, Eva said, "I have cuatro!")

On Thursday night, Rob offered to stay with all of the kids while the women went out to dinner. We went downstairs to the Mexican cantina and had a great time eating and laughing together. I gathered everyone for a post-dinner self-portrait. (I'm horrified by this photo, but am including it for historical purposes anyway.) Aren't they beautiful?

We had to check out on Friday morning, but the Sorensons stayed until Saturday because they checked in later than the rest of us. Lucas was having such a great time with Sam and Greg and was definitely loathe to leave. We had the van all packed up and were ready to leave when his cousins entreated him to stay with them. After a moment's hesitation, and after verifying that that was indeed a viable possibility, we pulled out his swimsuit and toothbrush and left him for an additional day at Snowbird. The look of incredulous joy on his face was priceless!

self-portrait with Michelle just prior to leaving

See you next year, Snowbird!


Natasha said...

Sounds like quite a vacation and you documented so well! So true about having vacations with family. When I "grew up" I finally began to appreciate all of those vacations my parents took me on as a child.

charlotte said...

I never thought I'd ever see Lucas eat anything green. Ha! I'm glad you all had fun!

jenn said...

I love that we live in such a beautiful place and am so sad to see 90's in the future forecast- the rain and 70's have been really delightful!! Glad it didn't spoil your vacation.

Kim Sue said...

I said this last year when i saw one of your vacation post, I have got to remember to pack a puzzle the next time we go to the beach!

Michelle said...

I miss seeing you already - I think the hardest part for me was that someone else finished the puzzles. Darn those smart kids!

Claudissima said...

wow, Michelle gorgeous gorgeous trees. I love snowbird, I learned to ski there....How fun to be able to go out as a group of just girls....the kids seemed to have had tons of fun. Alexei saw the swimming trunks or shorts of one of the cousins, with the sharks...and about died begging me to get him some! funny, you can barely see them. Fun fun fun, to have those times with family. SPECIAL indeed.

Jen said...

those photos are incredible!!!

and i love that you vacation with your family. i think that's awesome. what great memories your kids are going to have...

and i have this yearning that one of my children will love the cello so much that he can't bear to leave it behind.... :)

Susan said...

It sounds as if you all had a wonderful time! I've decided that family vacations are the only way...those memories and bonding moments cannot be duplicated.

Your photos are fabulous and tell the story completely.

Amy said...

Your family vacations sound so wonderful. I'm sad to say that I don't think I would have such a good time with either mine or Jeremy's families. Too much weirdness on both sides! ;) I love to read your recaps though, and plan for future vacations when my children are grown and we have our own extended family. I know I have a loooonnng way to go, and lots of hoping and praying that Kaitlin and Alex make good decisions in marriage partners! Ha!

Denise said...

That sounds like a wonderful vacation--how generous of your in-laws. I wish you could have documented the donuts!

Jill said...

It's amazing how many great vacations your family gets because of the generosity of both sets of parents! Can you imagine life without those trips?

I think Snowbird is gorgeous! I'm so happy to see your beautiful photos from your week there. I'm also impressed that you and Michelle worked out everyday!

I really must buy Bananagrams!

rebekah said...

i need to get bananagrams as well. i have to figure out what it's all about after reading about all of your fun games.

those pictures of the mountains are wonderful. i miss those mountains terribly. i think even i could be compelled to exercise if i had that kind of view!

both sides of your family go on the best vacations.

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