Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monster Truck Jam

McIver's got a friend who turned 6 earlier this month.  He invited his class to join him for the Monster Truck Jam last Saturday at the Colonial Life Arena.  Olivia and I decided to join them (mostly because I just wasn't sure how McIver would handle all of the noise and didn't want some unsuspecting mom of another child to have to deal with him when her own child might be equally as scared).  Turns out that McIver wasn't the least bit phased by the noise and he had a great time.

We started out tailgating in the parking lot with pizza, hot chocolate and cake.  Check out this cake that the birthday boy's mom made!  They also brought snap crackers so the kids had a blast throwing them on the sidewalk and stomping on them to make the noise.  It was good practice for our ears.

If there is a tree to be climbed, McIver will find and climb it.

We went to the Pit Party at noon and had a chance to get up close with the Monster Trucks and their drivers.  We had seen Bad News Travels Fast on the morning news so we decided to stand in his line for a picture and autograph.

The kids were way impressed that the tires were taller than they are.  Hugh's dad got McIver and Hugh up on the tire for a quick picture - you can see Olivia, McIver and Big Hugh eyeing someone off to the side.  That would be the woman coming over to tell us to get down because we weren't allowed to be up there.  Oops!

This was the best action shot I could manage - everyone thought the first part of the Jam was way fun.  We didn't have issues with the noise until after the intermission, but by that point, we were pretty much over it anyway.  We had a great time and I'm so glad that we went.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vail - Day 5

We had to make the most of our last day on the slopes.  Will took off with Dawn and David to ski some of the tougher slopes while Olivia and I spent the morning skiing together.  Unfortunately for Will, Dawn and David, the snow hadn't cooperated so their skiing wasn't all that spectacular.  They had a hard time finding slopes with enough snow to make it fun.  Olivia and I, however, had a blast skiing together.  She took me through all of the trails that her instructor had taken her class on earlier in the week.  (And keeping herself entertained by my skiing abilities, or lack thereof.)

Saying goodbye to Dad before we hit the slopes on our own.  I was very proud of myself for managing to find our way around the mountain on my own.

Check her out - hot dogging on her way out of the Magic Forest.

I love my little snow bunny!  We had so much fun skiing and giggling together all day.

At the entrance to Porcupine Alley - if you look closely you can see the tee pee behind Olivia.  She skied straight through it, but I felt like it was just a little too narrow for my very large 'pizza' to fit through.  Olivia got a BIG kick out of me chickening out and going around!

After Olivia and I had lunch at the top of the mountain, we hit the shops for a few souvenirs.  We found a t-shirt for McIver and a little baby t-shirt for Mrs. Tart's baby.  She had wanted to find a snowglobe to 'start a collection' but we spotted a little Vail Mountain box (sort of like a Limoges box) with a little ski lift pass inside.  Since she already had a small collection of those boxes, she decided to add to that instead.  We also bought each of them a Vail keychain for their backpacks.

We also stopped for a picture in the chairs made out of skis.

We got McIver out of ski school a little early on the last day so we could all ski together.  He really did a great job.  He's much better at making turns this year, but still needs to work on stopping.  This picture was about 2 minutes before he face-planted into a snowbank on the side of the catwalk.  I was proud that, even though he cried just about every time he fell, he took off again as soon as he was upright.

At the end of our ski day, we met back up at the top of the mountain for a snack and then TUBING!!

Olivia was all smiles at the top of the chute.

McIver didn't weigh enough to get all the way to the bottom of the chute, but when he 'trained' with either Will or me, he got a little further.  

Dawn is always all smiles!

 Tubing is so much fun!  I think it's something that we'll probably do every year.  Although, we did see an ad for dog sledding which we thought would be fun to try out, too.

Andrew looked so tiny in his tube, but his smiles were just as big as everyone else's!

Since it was our last night, Peg & Wade were kind enough to babysit again so that Dawn, David, Will and I could go out on last time. We had dinner in the bar of La Bottega.  It didn't really occur to us to make reservations, but we jumped at the chance to have a table in the bar.  That place was hopping!  Dinner was delicious and we had a great time just relaxing (and not refereeing!).  After dinner, we wandered down to a little bar where we made friends with the bartender and just ended up laughing and giggling for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vail - Day 4 (part 2)

Peg and Wade surprised us with a night out at the Game Creek Club Restaurant on the mountain in Vail.  We were also celebrating Dawn and David's hard work and some recent success in their business.  During the day, Game Creek is a private club so only members can stop in for lunch.  It is open to the public for dinner. We left the children with a babysitter and headed to the gondola to go up the mountain.  Then, we had to take a snow cat even higher up to get to the club.

Waiting for our table, we snapped a few pictures which do not do justice to the view.  The sky was clear and gorgeous.  It felt like we could see for miles and miles.

We loved our waiter.  He had a great personality and made fantastic suggestions for us.  Dinner consisted of a prix fixe/ a la carte menu.  Each course was only about 4 oz. of food so just enough to get a good taste, but not so much that we felt stuffed.  We had everything from caviar, sushi and oysters to sea scallops, elk tenderloin and black bass.  We really had a great night!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vail - Day 4 (part 1)

Snowmobiling Fun!!

We caught the boys having fun together in the tent where we geared up for snowmobiling.  They had DOT helmets, snow suits and boots for us to borrow.  We had to use their helmets and we borrowed some warm boots for Olivia because she only had rain boots.  The weather was just perfect (warmer than we expected, so we were all plenty warm dressed in our ski clothes).

Don't know why, but Olivia insisted on riding with Will on our first leg of the trip.  She seemed convinced that he would go faster than I would.  Thankfully, McIver was fine with that.

After about fifteen minutes of riding, we came to a giant open field where they had 4 tiny snowmobiles for the kids to drive.  There was also a big track where we could go as fast as we wanted on the big snowmobiles.

McIver didn't exactly wait to hear all of the instructions, so he took off before he learned how to turn or stop.  Had a bit of a tumble, but got right back on and ended up loving it.

Olivia learned from McIver's mistakes and took in all of the instructions before taking off.  She had a long turn and a huge grin on her face the whole time.

Our guide took us to "The Top of the World" so we could get some great pictures.  Clearly, our team was over it by this  point.  The sun was too bright for McIver and Olivia wanted a snack.  This will not be our Christmas card picture for 2010!

Too bad we can't use this one because all the grown-ups were happy and having a ball!

Olivia rallied and had perked up by the time we got to the hot chocolate stop.  McIver was inside dumping extra spoonfuls of Swiss Miss into his cup so we didn't get a shot with him in it.

Everybody had fun sliding down the huge hill while we checked out after our trip.  They also knew that lunch was in the near future.

We took a recommendation of our snowmobiling guide and went to Endo's Adrenaline Cafe in Copper Mountain for lunch.  It was warm enough to sit outside and watch the skiers coming down the mountain.

We wandered around the village in Copper Mountain looking for a candy store.  The kids just couldn't get over the height of the fire hydrants!

Check them out in the huge adirondack chair at the bottom of the mountain.  (Also, please notice that McIver and Andrew are actually sitting next to each other peacefully.)

We found a chocolate shop in Copper Mountain but it wasn't nearly as exciting as the little mercantile in Vail Village.  So, we headed back there to let the kids fill up a bag full of candy.  McIver was kind enough to share lots of candy with Andrew so they were happy together again.  They aren't smiling because eating and sharing candy is very serious business!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vail - Day 3

We stopped by Starbucks when we realized how early we were for ski school on Day 3.  Check out McIver's skullcap - he looks like a ninja.  We bought it in anticipation of our snowmobiling trip on Tuesday.

(Olivia snapped this picture - I'm loving my new camera!)

My instructor was the most patient!  He gave me several tips to work on to improve my skiing and my confidence.  Last year I skiied plenty of black slopes with Dawn, but I didn't enjoy myself very much.  Will, Dawn, David and Dawn's dad, Wade, all gave me plenty of tips last year, but from my perspective, it felt like a means to and end - getting me down the slope in a more timely manner.  I was in a group lesson with just one other person so we basically had a private lesson on the first day of skiing.  On the 2nd day of lessons, we had a bigger group, but we were all pretty well-matched ability-wise so it made for another fun day.  The instructor took this picture of me as we neared the end of our lesson.

Olivia was MUCH happier at the end of her lesson on Day 3.

Another happy picture of the boys.  We missed the bus to head home after skiing so we waited for David to come back with the car.  The boys climbed up on the wall to wait and managed to have a few happy moments together.

By the time David returned, we were into a pitcher of margaritas at La Cantina, a dive of a mexican restaurant in the transportation center.  When Dawn placed an order for chips and queso, she was met with a questionable look by the waitress.  Turns out, they don't really have 'queso,' so much as cheese melted on chips.  The kids loved it and we all had a great time together.

McIver 'won' some money in the pay phone - he found 75 cents and has managed not to spend it yet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vail - Day 2

Day 2 started early.  No one slept particularly well so we were all up early.  As usual, it took a while to get everyone dressed in all the ski gear, especially the boots.  I had to go with Will and David to take the kids to ski school since I was taking a lesson, too.  We crammed ourselves into the car and headed to Lionshead Village.

Olivia didn't mind being dropped off for ski school with her instructor, Geo, although he wasn't as young or as cute at Andrew, her instructor last year.

By the end of the day when I met up with everyone, Olivia was GROUCHY!!  She didn't have the best first day of ski school this year.  Aside from the fact that Geo was not Andrew, her group never left the 'bottom' of the mountain, the bunny slope.  So, she was completely bored.  And, to top it off, some kid fell asleep and took about 30 minutes to get back on the slopes after lunch.

The bus ride home is always fun.  On the way from the bus stop to the house, we stopped to make some snow angels.  Olivia had perked up a little bit by this point, or at least she thought it was pretty funny that I couldn't get up out of the snow and some had dripped down the back of my jacket.

The hot tub is a good antidote to any grouchy children.  Please note that Andrew and McIver are in the same picture and both relatively happy.  For some reason, they just push each other's buttons like nobody's business.

McIver was pretty worn out after his full day of ski school.  He convinced Peg to give him throat lozenges, three blankets and some headphones.  He was cozy and comfy... and in bed about 10 minutes after this picture was taken.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vail- Day 1

Our flights out of Columbia and into Vail on Saturday morning were pretty easy.  Olivia and McIver were ready and waiting to get up on Saturday morning when we woke them up.  Olivia said she had been up since 3:00 and McIver popped out of bed easily when I went in to wake him up at 4:30.  We had the usual concern on my part that we had not left early enough, but we actually made it in plenty of time.  (Don't tell Will that I admitted to that!)

Had about a 2 hour layover in Houston.  McIver played his DSi while Olivia and I took advantage of a Starbucks gift card (she had a lowfat strawberry frappucino and I had a skinny nonfat vanilla latte - yum!) from my Secret Santa at school.  We also used our time on the airplane to get started on the school work that was sent home for the children.  Olivia did a good job of keeping up with it, but it took some convincing to get McIver to finish his journal.

Dawn and David's flight from Dallas was delayed so we ended up getting to the Eagle airport just a little while after they did.  Will and David took a few pieces of luggage and McIver on the bus while the rest of us loaded into Peggy Pa's car to get to Vail.

We spent the afternoon getting kids (and me) signed up for ski school and fitted for skis.  Turns out that the gloves Santa sent to McIver were too big so we had to get him a new pair.  The children enjoyed the hot tub and playing in the snow at the condo.