Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Friday: Ski Pass Time at Alpine Meadows, CA

My husband has been skiing since age 5 and I started when I met him. I was told if I didn't ski he would dump me during ski season. So bound and determined to hold on to this guy I started skiing. I feel in love with the sport as I feel in love with him. And now we are passing this love for the sport on to our children.

Normally the weekend before Thanksgiving we make the trek to Lake Tahoe to pick-up our season passes. This way the weekend after Thanksgiving when most resorts try to open we can walk straight to the chair and start laying down tracks.

Starting next weekend we will bid our home good-bye for 1/2 the winter and welcome again Alpine Meadows Resort as our winter home away from home.
Let It Snow!

Related Links:

Thanks to Debbie at Delicious Baby for this awesome opportunity to share travel photos and posts through Photo Friday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Santa, Please bring Mom & Dad's bicycles back that bad? To twist our child's Christmas list, so we can revive our road cycling passion. A year or two before kids were we were really starting to get into road cycling. At least one day a week after work we hit the local American River Bike Tail an amazing 32mi stretch of trail from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Dam for a ride. We participated in competitive rides like Eppie's Great Race the world's oldest triathlon, test our self rides like the Foxy's Fall Century, and fundraising rides like the Emigrant Trails Bike Trek for the American Lung Association.

But with kids...the brakes went on. We still continued to be active, but with a lot of things at a much less and slower pace. Bike riding is one that took a serious backseat. We never got around to getting one of the pull behind trailers because it seemed as soon as we started pricing them out...well, #2 was on his way. So here we are with #2 coming up on his second birthday and we feel a sense of freedom starting to bubble to the surface. And our feet wish to return to the clips of the bike, but with our kids in tow.
The realization this could come true came one day this fall when a friend called to tell us her girls were finished with their tag-alongs. A tag-along is kind of a half a bike that gets hitched on to and pulled behind the adults bike. It allows the child to be more of a participant peddling as they like and the biggie working on those balance skills necessary to ride a bike on their own. In fact my friend got them for her 5yr old twins and in less than a year she was calling me to pass it on as her girls had graduated to their own bikes and she swears up and down the tag-along definitely sped up the process. So we said yes, and that weekend it was hooked on to Dad's bike and our 4yo equipped with her helmet was on her way...and loving it!

So OK we have one kid moving on to the 2yo and hence "HIS" request to Santa. I was lucky in that my father growing up worked for a Huffy plant in rural Ohio. He was allowed discounted bikes and bike accessories on a renewing annual basis. So I have lots of pictures of myself on back of a nice 70's rust colored bike in a tan child seat. And we have very good friends who have had their now 4yo in a CoPilot Limo since he could walk. Ok, so as a family we have asked Santa for either that or a Topeak for Christmas.

Living in Northern California there are so many beautiful winter days between storms where we want to get outside, but the ground is so muddy we are perplexed as to what to do with the kids. So hopefully Santa will answer our Christmas wish and this year you will spot this family on the American River Bike Trail on sunny days.

So get your child on the go on a bike on the nice days this winter. By simply doing an Internet search of your area and adding the words "family friendly bike trail" something will pop-up. I would have listed some here, but honestly there were listings for pretty much every state, parts of states, metro areas, and national parks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Empty Nest List

At least once a day someone says to me "enjoy them it it goes by so fast." Generally this person is older than myself...with grown or nearly grown children. But I would say a good 75% of the time this person is a "empty nester." I have generally nodded and with a smiled said.."yes, I know and I will."

But the whole concept of time hit me even harder after seeing the movie "The Bucket List." And no, not because I am afraid of my own mortality, but more because of the time factor. There are so many things I want to do and see with my children before they go start lives of their own. There are grand natural places that I want to watch their eyes when they see them for the first time. There are amazing historical stories I want to see how their little ears and hearts absorb and the impact it has on their little persona's. And to be fair there are just some flat out fun stuff I want to do with them.

So recently my husband and I sat down and made out our "The Empty Nest List" and here it is in no particular order:

1) Cross Country Road Trip with camper, including several National Park stops
2) Tour and Multisport through Australia & New Zealand
3) Learn & go scuba diving together
4) Do a stay on a Dude Ranch
5) Learn & surf Hawaii
6) Raft the Grand Canyon
7) Tour America's Founding Roots - Ellis Island, Washington DC, Boston
8) Attend an Olympics in a foreign country
9) Ski Europe
10) Tour and Multisport through Alaska

We are so serious about this when recently meeting with our financial advisor we told him to budget in a major family vacation every other year into our analysis. We have given ourselves the lee-way to adjust our list and locations as finances and new thoughts dictate, but it is a start. And we have placed it in a location that is viewable every day in our house and next step is to start putting some approximate years on the activities to even further ensure this is not simply an exercise, but an actionable list with delivery dates.

So today you are going to hear that phrase from me..."Enjoy them it goes by so fast." And don't just let the days pass by in a pace of normalcy lost in loads of laundry, doing dishes, carpool duties, etc.. So start your list today. There is a world beyond the home and school walls where lessons can be learned by visiting and interacting with the location, environment, culture, people, etc. that can shape and prepare them for the people they will be when it is their turn to be an Adult "On The Go."

Please take a moment and leave a comment with a location or activity you would definitely put on your Empty Nest List.

And if you would like to see a family who has taken this concept to an incredible level visit:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When a 2YrOld Loses it at 39,000 Feet

<- Oh if only it could be this simple...

My kids are pros at airpline travel. Part of this is our love to "go" and part is due to the fact we are transplants, all be it 12+ years now, from the Midwest to the West Coast. Which means numerous trips to the birthplace a year as all of our family remains there. They each have 3 frequent flyer accounts a piece and have flown 7 major airlines at least. So we can breeze through security almost as fast as the every day business traveler and fly so quietly the seat next to me appears empty versus there is a little person in it.

But all of this changed on our return flight from Phoenix on the morning of October 22. We stirred the kids at ~5:30AM to make our 7:25AM flight. Only just over an hour before their normal wake-up time. And our journey continued as peacful as watching movies and behaving so well the steward slipped us extra beverages ($2 a pop on this airline) and the 1st class steward brought them cookies. We also were workng our way through our backpacks of pleasure.

We have backpacks for the kids specifically for air travel. They stay packed between trips and I merely restock them just prior to another take-off. Here's a list of items we keep inside to help us survive the flight:
> Washable Crayons & Coloring Books
> Static Stickers to let them decorate their window
> Miniature Etch-a-Sketch
> iPod Nano or Laptop w/ Favorite Movies, +1 new surprise from Netflix
> Tupperware of their favorite snacks (as long as it is not liquid these can go through security)
> Activity/Sticker Books for the Preschool set
> Seatbelt for non-car seat child
> Lovey...that special stuffed animal or blanket
> 1 ziplock of small toys (Thomas trains, Matchbox Cars, etc)
> ...and then I always hit the dollar store, etc and put in a couple of surprise new items

> Please leave a comment with your child's must have air travel survival item.

My 2yr old son tends to occupy the seat next to his father and then my 4yrold daughter and I sit in front of them, so if he does decide to kick the seat in front of him he is kicking one of us (which btw removing their shoes softens that blow a lot). It started as low grunts of displeasure. I heard my husband talking low and quiet to him. They slowly grew and as they did so did my husband's pace working his way through the pack of pleasure trying to find something to appease him. We could hear lots of "No!" from our ear shot, so my daughter and I started working our way through her pack and sharing things. He was now screaming and crying. He would take breaks for gasps of breath to refuel his lungs and would also suck on his thumb (so we knew it was not his ears). And then he would let it rip again.

Our family's pace continued for the next 20minutes. My husband and I both trying to remember all the psych articles we have ever read. We were recognizing his feelings..."we know something hurts or is bothering you..." But this kid was having none of it. We both said loud enough so our fellow passengers could hear us...."we know you had an early morning...." We threw our travel mates lots of "I am sorry glances" as well as mouthes apologies across the aisles. I personally used a little mental game on myself telling me if I survived and kept my cool I was rewarding myself with a Grande Skinny Vanilla Late when we hit the concourse or if got much worse a glass of Louis M. Martini Cab when I got home. My daughter finally won the challenge playing peek-a-boo over the seat with a stuffed animal and his shrieks of discomfort became ones of delight with 10minutes left in the flight.

As we disembarked most passengers were quite congenial, but a few threw us the evil eye. And then the one directly across my aisle made me very nervous as she leaned across. She had moved out of our row at the on-set...I am assuming to escape such a display of emotions. As I opened my mouth to apologize yet again she interrupted me quickly and said...."There are many days I am having a bad one for some reason or another and how I wish I was a child again and could just let it all out and everyone around me would chalk it up to my being a child."

So when all else fails...just let them let it all out.
Don't you wish you could sometimes.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Political Ads Being Blocked

My sincere apologies for ANY political ads appearing in my AdSense header today. I have submitted to block them, but it may take a couple of hours. I am all about getting out the vote, but not about influencing the vote via this blog.