Tag Archives: bluebird day

Whistler Vacation

Whistler is one of Alex’s and my favorite places to visit and ski. The village is adorable and the mountains are extraordinary – Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America! We thought it would be the perfect destination for our first family-of-three vacation. Alex and I hadn’t been there together since 2013, though I was there last winter with my dad. While the trip was very different than we expected, we had a great time and we’re scheming on making an annual family Whistler trip every winter.

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Our trip began on Friday morning – we had gotten pretty much everything packed up the night before and were hoping to wake up and load up the car and then hit the road before Ben took his morning nap so that he could snooze in the car. The timing worked out really well, but I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a train. I was operating at about 20% and that’s being generous. Alex took one for the team and by some miracle we were out the door by 9 and Ben quickly fell asleep, as did I.

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The drive to Whistler is 4.5 to 5 hours, depending on Vancouver traffic and border wait times. Once you pass through Vancouver the drive is absolutely breathtaking along the Sea to Sky highway. Sadly I did not enjoy any part of the drive other than when it was over. By then I was feeling better but not 100% {by the next morning I was fine}.

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This was going to be our “big vacation” and we had reserved a condo for a full week – Friday to Friday. We scheduled a babysitter for three days so that Alex and I could ski. In addition to downhill skiing we brought our cross country gear so that we could take Ben out too. We’ve heard from several friends that there is a lot to do with babies in Whistler and we were really excited to experience that first-hand.

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The condo we stayed at had a really good location for being a young family in Whistler, though it wasn’t as close to the lifts as we had hoped. It was situated just outside the village, quite close to the Olympic Plaza, which has a skating rink, a sledding hill, and a playground. It was also near the library, a grocery store, several coffee shops and other great restaurants. Next time we visit we’d opt for a place closer to the gondola and more in the heart of the village.

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Our first full day was great – the sun was out and it had snowed a few inches overnight. Perfect for exploring the village and doing some sledding!

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Day two was scheduled as a ski day. We requested a babysitter through a local service, confirmed with her the night before and much to our surprise, she never showed up! Our “Plan B” was pretty okay and we spent another day in the village and went cross country skiing.

{Coffee on the couch instead of skiing!}

{Coffee on the couch instead of skiing!}

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{Coffee on the couch quickly turned into boozy hot drinks on the patio…}

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{We skied around Lost Lake – it was a short 2.5 mile trail and by the time we made the first loop the trail was getting icy so we opted to call it quits. This trail was a little more hilly than the one we’re used to at home and I wasn’t very comfortable going downhill with Ben on my back.}

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We were able to flex our skiing schedule a little bit and the babysitting service managed to switch us to a different gal who did show up on Monday morning so we could go skiing. Alex and I were more apprehensive about leaving Ben with a babysitter than we expected – something about a stranger and being in another country, not to mention we were going to be skiing, was a little weird. Once she arrived in the morning she put our nerves at ease and we hit the slopes.

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What ended up being our one and only ski day was terrific. We skied our hearts out! We skied on Blackcomb Mountain and covered it top to bottom. The sun was out, the snow was soft and we were ripping it up. The combination of being there on a Monday at the end of March meant we skied right on to the lifts every run – we got so many runs in that we found the time to take a much needed coffee break.

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{One of our favorite areas was the new Crystal chair – we found some powder pockets and skied in an area that had been hit by a forest fire, which provided a perfect gladed run through the trees with some nice soft bumps.}

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At the end of our ski day we were very happy to get back to a content Ben who had a great day with his Aussie babysitter. She offered to come watch him the next evening for us, so we happily took her up on that so we could have a date night together. We went out for a glass of wine first and then headed to a fancy restaurant for dinner. It was a great night!

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Taking Ben to restaurants is totally hit or miss {mostly miss right now} – he’s got to be in the right mood and he’s not particularly fond of sitting still {just like his mama!} so it’s not always fun for anyone. If we can get him in the right mood he’ll just sit there and munch on a pickle or a french fry or whatever we’ve got in a similar shape/size. But mostly he just wants to get down and crawl around and say hello to the other diners.

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We had some really terrific food while we were in Whistler. In past years Whistler has not been my favorite ski town for good food but it’s starting to move up the ranks. Some of our favorites were a bakery called Pure Bread {should have been named “Heaven”}, an adorable creparie called Crepe Montagne, as well as Araxi and Basalt, where we went out for our date night.

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Wednesday ended up being our last day in Whistler, though we were booked until Friday. Ben somehow contracted hand, foot and mouth disease which is a really awful and highly contagious virus that’s very common in young children. After a couple hours Wednesday morning we pulled the plug and started packing up to go home. Since home is so close for us we thought we’d all be more comfortable there and saw no point in staying in Whistler.

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The drive home was slightly better than expected, though I spent most of it in the back seat with Ben so I could be there if he needed some comfort, which he undoubtedly did. On the drive home we decided to stop at the famous Tim Hortons because we had heard it is the cat’s meow. Turns out it’s Canada’s version of Dunkin’ Donuts and we’d have been much better off stopping just about anywhere else. Otherwise, the car ride home was mostly uneventful and we made great time. We were fortunate to arrive home to a clean house with banana bread in the oven – our nanny stayed at our house while we were gone.

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All in all, even though our trip was very different than we had expected, we had a terrific time and I’ll look back on it with many positive memories. We’re excited to get back up to Whistler!

Another Ski Day!

Last weekend Alex and I headed to the mountains for our second ski day of the season. We timed it well because it ended up being a bluebird day {skier speak for a sunny day 😉 } – the weather was perfect and the conditions were pretty great for the most part.

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Powder Bowl and the King are poking out behind us… Crystal Mountain is our absolute favorite place to ski. The terrain and opportunities are limitless! Whistler Blackcomb comes in at a very close second, followed by Jackson Hole and Snowbird. Oh, and Snowbasin is awesome too. We’re pretty spoiled with incredible mountains nearby, I guess!

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Mount Rainier was out in all her glory. We saw Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and Mount Baker, too! Everybody came out to enjoy the day.

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The view from the top of the High Campbell area. This is an incredible part of the mountain to ski, but it’s experts only. I opted to not venture up there last season during my pregnancy so we had a great time exploring the terrain last weekend.

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We have our nanny lined up for one more ski day in March and we are taking a week-long ski trip to Whistler later this season, as well. I’d love to get at least 5 days of skiing in this year!

Spring Skiing!

I think it’s safe to say that our ski season is officially over. We had one final glorious day on skis to close out the year, but now it’s time to say farewell…

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Despite being pregnant for the whole ski season and enduring another “el nino” year, we really had a great winter and filled it with as much skiing as we could. Winter started out being cold and wet, which of course creates perfect ski conditions! We had several December powder days to remember. Sadly it warmed up in the Pacific Northwest after the new year and we’ve hardly skied in Washington since the holidays.

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Our trip to Deer Valley with Alex’s parents, then Alex’s cat skiing trip and my trip to Whistler were perfect mid-season stints that carried us through. Alex managed to get about 16 ski days in this year, while I got 13.

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For our last ski day of the season it really was just what we were hoping for! Perfect spring-skiing conditions – bluebird skies and soft groomers. We had cheeseburgers out on the patio for lunch and loved feeling the sun soak into our skin. Somehow I managed to still zip my ski coat {though just barely!}, but this growing baby made it a little harder to comfortably sit on the chairlift and properly position myself when going downhill, so our day was fairly short-lived, but that’s okay! We had a great time in the sun and enjoyed the time together. I’ll always look back fondly and with much appreciation on this ski season.

Utah Ski Trip

After a wonderful Christmas Alex and I decided to hightail it off to Utah to take a ski trip just the two of us. It’s not too often that we take a trip other than to visit family or friends, with family or friends or to attend a wedding, so it was a real treat to spend this time together.

{Utah here we come!}

{Utah here we come!}

We flew out to Salt Lake City the morning of New Year’s Eve and after a few minor flight delays arrived at lunch time. The first day of our trip and a few days leading up to it were a bit odd. Logistics and details became more difficult than they should have. Long story short, we thought we reserved a hotel room at a hotel via booking.com but it turned out to be a vacation rental through either a private owner or a property management company – honestly we still aren’t even sure! It was such a mess and the owner/property managers were not experienced in dealing with renters which makes me shocked that we were able to get into the room at all.

{such a nice day for flying!}

{such a nice day for flying!}

On top of the lodging confusion, the specific car we reserved to rent was unavailable and we had to seriously upgrade {which ended up being okay because we got to drive a brand new SUV}; the restaurant we wanted to eat lunch at was closed for a health inspection; the lines at the state controlled liquor store were out the door; the truck with all of the produce going to Whole Foods broke down in Wyoming, so there was a complete shortage of food; and then the unit we reserved did not have heat or hot water the first night. There’s a lot of details I left out but what matters is that eventually we got heat and hot water and the place we stayed was beautiful, it just was a really weird, weird experience topped off with unmet expectations.

{exploring Park City}

{exploring Park City}

Our New Years Eve celebration was wonderful. We had a really fun, unique dinner at Fireside Dining, which is a fondue restaurant at Deer Valley. Our evening started with a horse drawn sleigh ride around the area. Mind you it was about 5 degrees below zero…

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We quickly warmed up inside, as the restaurant boasts four open, wood-burning fireplaces, which is how the fondue is prepared and served. There are four stations – one raclette station where there is a block of cheese propped up next to the fire that literally drips down onto a plate that you take and fill with little dippers, like bread, pearl onions and potatoes.

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Another station hosted soup where huge kettles of thick, hearty stews rested on the hearth of the fireplace to keep warm. These were so tasty! I had the wild mushroom stew and Alex had the hunter’s stew that was full of wild meats. The third fireplace had lamb legs cooking over it. I don’t usually care for lamb, but this was delicious!

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Finally, the fourth fireplace was home to dessert! There were three different pots – chocolate, white chocolate and caramel – then you got to choose from a sampling of desserts, like pound cake and strawberries, to dip into the yummy sauce.

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We shared a bottle of prosecco, lots of memories from the year that was coming to an end, and great conversation about what our hopes for the year approaching might be. We both agreed that the years just keep getting better and better and that 2015 is going to be full of new memories.

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New Years Day meant that it was time to strap our skis to our feet and hit the slopes! Our first of three ski days was at Snowbird, which we had been to previously. Snowbird is amazing and we were so excited to be back. Utah is known for its blue skies and champagne powder. We only experienced the blue skies during our trip, but it sure beats skiing in the gloom Washington has to offer. We missed the big powder fest by a few days, though we did find a few secret powder stashes in the trees.

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We rocked around the mountain all day, mainly sticking on the Peruvian Express, since the north facing slope seemed to boast the best snow. I was wishing we could have spent more time back in Mineral Basin where it is completely wide open, full of bowls and beauty, but the snow was really firm and crusty there.

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All in all, it was a great first ski day of the new year!

{Our stats from all but the first two runs at Snowbird - we forgot to download the tracking app!}

{Our stats from all but the first two runs at Snowbird – we forgot to download the tracking app!}

Our second ski day was spent at Alta, which is right next door to Snowbird – you can ski between the two mountains. Together, they have 4,700 skiable acres, but on their own, they are both smaller than our home mountain, Crystal Mountain Resort. We had not been to Alta before but had the preconceived expectations of it being an old-school resort without any glam. That definitely was true, but it had some nice updated technology features, like RFID passes, and a new lodge.

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The runs were longer than we expected and we had a really fun time exploring some bowls and the trees. I spent most of the time “in the lead” which is unusual for me – usually I am the caboose because I am slow and can wrangle any stragglers – but Alex said I am more adventurous in new terrain, which was also news to me. I had a lot of fun hopping all over the mountain, ducking into the trees and trying to keep us out of the deep mogul ruts.

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Unfortunately our day at Alta was cut a little short, though. I had been having some issues with my helmet for quite a while, but the last straw finally broke and my head couldn’t take being in my helmet for another second, so we called it a day when my head was screaming, and headed home early. The silver lining that day; however, came when I got a call from my boss informing me that I got a raise!

{After the final straw I finally got a new helmet and all my cares are to the wind. Here is my new helmet!}

{After the final straw I finally got a new helmet and all my cares are to the wind. Here is my new helmet!}

Since we got back to our “hotel room” a little earlier than we had expected we decided to do some Apres skiing and celebrate my exciting news. There’s really no better place to celebrate such a thing when you’re in Park City than at the one and only St. Regis in Deer Valley. When in Rome…

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We set out for the St. Regis Bar and had such a lovely night. We parked in the Deer Valley parking lot and had to take a funicular, think slow motion roller coaster, up to the hotel. We timed it perfectly because we had to put our name on the list for a table which allowed us a little while to wander the beautiful hotel. Boy were we glad we had some extra time when we stumbled upon the most impressive hot cocoa bar you could imagine!

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Each of these beautiful hammered copper urns contained homemade hot chocolate, really probably the best I’ve ever had, and then there was another table with copper bowls filled with toppings, like marshmallows, fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings. You better believe we indulged!

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We had just enough time to enjoy our hot cocoa outside by the fire before we got called to sit down in the bar. Our experience at the St. Regis Bar was wonderful. Our beverages were fantastic! While we appreciate a good drink, neither one of us is much of a cocktail snob, but these drinks were incredible. Alex ordered a Moscow Mule and I ordered a Winter’s Dream, which was hot chocolate, Irish cream and amaretto {the key ingredient!} and they were out of this world. To go along with our drinks we decided to order fondue since it had been two whole days since we’d eaten it…

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The evening was topped off by a champagne sabering ceremony. Yes you read that right. One of the staff at the restaurant literally sabered off the top of a champagne bottle {yes, with a sword} under the almost full moon and treated all of the diners to a complimentary glass of bubbly. It was a great celebration!

Our final ski day was at Snowbasin, another resort we had not been to previously. We started the day rather early, as we drove into Ogden to buy me a new ski helmet. We timed it just right and as we pulled into the parking lot of the resort, the snow started to fall. We were eager with anticipation, as some of our friends had been to Snowbasin before and alerted us to the expansive resort that it is, plus, the icing on the cake that comes in the form of incredible lodges.

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We were blown away by how stunning the lodges at Snowbasin are. They all have a log facade, multiple chandeliers, and wood-burning fireplaces. We really lucked out, too, because it seems like everyone who goes to Snowbasin sticks to the beginner trails, so we felt like we had the mountain all to ourselves. As if that wasn’t enough, the food was exceptional. I had chili for lunch and it was absolutely fantastic.

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It was so fun to be able to ski at three completely different resorts. Snowbasin was so huge and open, with all kinds of wild, unkempt terrain, and extremely long runs. Alta was really old-school and had a lot of challenging terrain and odd fall-lines, but was really hard to navigate. Snowbird was wide-open and full of fast groomers and powder pockets, and we felt like it was laid out exceptionally well. We really hope to get the opportunity to come back to the Park City/Cottonwood Canyon area again soon!

{Our most impressive stats! 18,500 vertical feet in 8 runs... no wonder why we're still tired!}

{Our most impressive stats! 18,500 vertical feet in 8 runs… no wonder why we’re still tired!}

Packing, Sunshine and a New Dog Trainer

Two of our major priorities the last couple weeks have been getting Jackson and his anxiety under control and preparing for our trip to Europe this summer. We have mixed in a few fun activities the last few days to enjoy the unbelievably gorgeous weather, too!

I had a HUGE milestone with Jackson last week. We went for a run on Friday around Seward Park and he did awesome! I needed a win like that.

I had a HUGE milestone with Jackson last week. We went for a run on Friday around Seward Park and he did awesome! I needed a win like that.

Last week we had Katie, a dog trainer from Pawsitive Packleader, come over to our home to give us an evaluation and discuss how she would go about working with us to help ease Jackson’s anxiety and curb some of his unwanted behaviors. She was amazing, simply put. We had a 2.5 hour long session with her last Thursday at no charge and we learned several strategies to implement immediately. We have officially hired her as our trainer and she begins on Friday! Here are some things we’ll be working on with her:

  • Minimize stress
  • Help meet his drive needs (scavenge, dig, dissect, chew, etc.)
  • Build confidence
  • Teach impulse and arousal control
  • Enhance leash walking manners, especially in distracting environments
  • We had already discovered that Jackson needed more exercise than the 5-7 mile walks we were giving him, so we now play ball or go for a run about 5-6 days a week, replacing one of our walks with the more heart-pumping activity
Katie recommended this Kong Wobbler for Jackson - it is bigger than my hand and fits one of his meals in it. He knocks it over with his nose or paw and it dispenses his kibble. This allows him to work for his food and scavenge for it, which helps him meet his drive needs.

Katie recommended this Kong Wobbler for Jackson – it is bigger than my hand and fits one of his meals in it. He knocks it over with his nose or paw and it dispenses his kibble. This allows him to work for his food and scavenge for it, which helps him meet his drive needs.

We ended our ski season on Saturday with a perfect spring skiing day at Crystal Mountain. It’s sad to wrap up such a short ski season but we had an amazing day on the corn snow under the sun.

See ya later ski season!

See ya later ski season!

I spent a couple hours going through my closet and recommendations from travel experts to see what I could come up with to bring in my teeny tiny carry-on bag for our trip to Europe. Somehow I am going to live out of a backpack for a month this summer. I really am not sure how this will work but I know it’ll come together.

Some options...

Some options…

We ran over to REI on Sunday so Alex could purchase his Europe backpack and some travel accessories. He picked up a few packing cubes to help keep his clothes organized. We also found a compact daypack that folds up into itself that we plan to bring with us and will probably use every day while we’re there.

Alex and his new backpack

Alex and his new backpack

After our REI trip we headed over to the Millers house to discuss travel plans and packing solutions. The Millers are leaving in just a couple weeks for their trip to Europe so we were comparing notes and ideas. It was a spectacularly gorgeous day on Sunday so we spent a few hours drinking wine and snacking on their back patio. It was a glorious way to spend the day! Plus, we made some progress on our Europe trip and schemed up a summer trip to take together.

Our Sunday wrapped up with Chris and Heidi coming over for dinner. We had a lovely time catching up with my cousin and his wife and always enjoy spending time with them. Plus, it was nice enough outside to where we could grill and sit on the patio past 9:00 p.m.

Gorgeous weekend

Gorgeous weekend

Monday was our anniversary, which we spent celebrating at Bottlehouse and Restaurant Zoe. We enjoyed a delicious glass of bubbly at BH then moseyed on down the hill to Restaurant Zoe to take part in their three-course Restaurant Week special. It had been a while since we had eaten at Zoe but both of us were glad we made the choice to return. Everything was excellent!

We’re looking forward to Jackson’s first training session this Friday and a fun weekend of seeing friends and getting things done around the house.

Ski Trip in Leavenworth with Alex’s Parents

After my parents’ repeat visits it was time to welcome Alex’s parents for their spring visit to Seattle. Donna and Stan came out to spend some time with us last weekend. They arrived on Friday morning and we had a quick lunch at the Hi Spot before we packed up the SUV and hit the road to head for the mountains.

Cascade Mountains from Stevens Pass

Cascade Mountains from Stevens Pass

It was a beautiful day for a drive and we loved checking out the views through Snoqualmie Pass and Bluwett Pass as we approached our cabin in Peshastin, Washington, just outside the town of Leavenworth. It took us just over 2 hours to get there from our house, which was a nice and easy drive to get us out of town. Our rental cabin was so cute!! It was really in the middle of nowhere, situated on a huge lot. The cabin had a funny layout but it worked really well for us with a galley kitchen that opened up onto the dining room and living room. The view of the Cascade Mountains from the front of the cabin was incredible.

Our cute little rental cabin

Our cute little rental cabin

Jackson was in paradise the whole time we were at the cabin. The property allowed for him to go outside off leash and run around and roam free. He and Alex played ball for hours upon hours. Jackson has some pretty substantial anxiety issues, we’ve realized, so we were a bit nervous and unsure of how he would do in the new space. Much to our surprise he actually did do pretty well! At our last cabin weekend at Crystal Mountain we didn’t get any sleep at all the first night because Jackson was up crying all night from anxiety and restlessness. Thankfully he went to bed just fine both nights and was able to feel comfortable in the house and he didn’t feel the need to mark his territory in the house, either.

He was in absolute heaven.

He was in absolute heaven.

We didn’t have much on the agenda for our first night, other than to run into Leavenworth, check out the town and grab some groceries. We picked up some steaks, a lot of wine and some appetizers to enjoy back at the cabin. It was so nice to relax and catch up with Alex’s parents on our first night.

Jackson did such a good job of settling down in the cabin.

Jackson did such a good job of settling down in the cabin.

On Saturday we had a wonderfully relaxing morning at the cabin before packing up the car and driving about 45 minutes to Stevens Pass to go skiing for the day. Alex and I typically ski at Crystal Mountain and I have only skied at Stevens Pass once, while Alex has skied there a handful of times. Neither one of us is too familiar with the mountain so it was fun to explore some new terrain.

Ski tips up!

Ski tips up!

The weather on Saturday was wonderful! We enjoyed skiing in the sunshine – it was so warm that most of us ended up dropping a layer in a locker we rented. I always get a kick out of skiing with Donna and Stan because it is amazing to watch how much they improve from the start of the day to the end. The last time they had skied was in Breckenridge at Thanksgiving when they had their ski lesson. I think the pointers from ski instructor Rick really stuck with them! Stan, especially, showed drastic improvements – he truly looked like a different skier from the first run to the last.

Pro skiers!

Pro skiers!

After our fun ski day we headed back home to soak in the hot tub. It’s not a ski vacation unless there’s a hot tub! We had a wonderful dinner together before we all passed out on the comfy sectional in the living room.

My handsome hubby!

My handsome hubby!

One of the disappointing parts of great weekends is they always go too fast! We were all enjoying our time at the cabin so much that it was very sad when it was time to say goodbye on Sunday morning. It was such a relaxing environment for all of us, which was much needed. I wish we could have stayed longer!

Hanging out in Leavenworth

Hanging out in Leavenworth

On our way back to Seattle we decided to stop in Leavenworth again to spend a few hours perusing the town and grabbing lunch. Leavenworth is an adorable Bavarian-style town in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. It is really quite picturesque. Alex and I have spent more and more time here in the last few years and adore the town.

The four of us

The four of us

Since it was another gorgeous day Alex and Stan parked themselves at an outdoor beer garden and ordered a stein of beer to enjoy while Donna and I browsed in some of the shops and did a couple wine tastings. We met up with the boys for a lunch of sausage and pretzels at the Muchen Haus before getting back on the road to Seattle.

Leavenworth photo opp with the mountains in the backdrop

Leavenworth photo opp with the mountains in the backdrop

The rest of our day kept in line with being very relaxing. We shared a bottle of wine on our front porch before walking up to the new restaurant in our neighborhood, Red Cow, for a delicious steak dinner. I haven’t been impressed with Red Cow’s dessert menu, so I suggested we walk across the street to Bottlehouse to see if they’re still open. Everything about Bottlehouse is impressive, including their dessert menu, so we were happy to see that they still allowed us to come in for a night cap even though they had already technically closed. One of the many perks of being regulars, I guess! Donna and Stan got to catch up with Henri, one of the owners, while Alex and I ordered a bottle of bubbly and some pots de creme, two of our favorites.

Wine tasting

Wine tasting

Monday meant back to work for Alex and me. Donna and Stan were feeling independent so they hopped on the city bus and headed downtown to do a little shopping before meeting Alex for lunch near his new office. Shortly thereafter it was time for me to take them to the airport before I had to go to work.

Alex and Stan

Alex and Stan

It’s hard to believe how quickly our time came and went with Alex’s parents! As always, it was wonderful to have them come and visit. We are so fortunate that although we live so far away from our parents they still come to see us in Seattle and we always have a great time!

 

March {Powder} Madness

March is notorious for being the month with the highest chances of skiing powder. At least that’s the case here in the Cascade Mountains. We were starting to think that it wouldn’t happen, but March 2013 sure has lived up to our expectations.

St. Patrick's Powder!

St. Patrick’s Powder and frosty hair!

St. Patrick’s day brought us an unexpected powder day – the best of the season, in fact. We skied deep, light powder all day long. Since we weren’t expecting powder, neither Alex or I brought our powder skis out for the occasion. For the last several winters I watched Alex continuously having so much fun on his S7 powder skis, so I couldn’t resist and got some for myself. St. Patty’s Day would have been the perfect opportunity to try them out for the first time, but my everyday skis {Line Celebrity 90s} rocked the conditions just as well.

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…And I got another opportunity to bring out the big girls!

 

Rocking the Rossi's

Rocking the Rossi’s

Thursday morning I swung through SeaTac Airport to get my dad, then we headed out to Crystal for Powder Day Numero Dos… complete with my S7s.

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Thursday and Friday were both great days on the mountain, delivering soft, fresh turns and free refills wherever we skied. Everything got tracked out really quickly, but we found some deep, un-touched snow hiding out in Northway.

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Sunday was not a powder or a bluebird day – just typical conditions for the Cascades. We got up to Alpental expecting the sun to be shining in full force and were disappointed that it came out only as we left. It was a great day on the groomers and we even had some soft snow {and a whole lot of bumps} on International.

IMG_5251I ended up having to call it quits earlier than I had hoped, due to a sore knee, but I was just as happy to sit by the fire and watch all of the gapers {people who don’t know what they’re doing but try to pretend they do} and little rippers come down the mountain. Afterwards, we drove over to Summit West to watch their first-ever pond skimming event. We are hoping that they’ll bring this event back next year so Alex can participate.

Pond Skimming @ Summit West

Pond Skimming @ Summit West

 

Bluebird Days, Cirque & Chocolate Cookies

We have been loving the spring-like weather that mother nature has thrown at us here in Seattle. The perennials are starting to sprout up, trees are starting to bud, and by golly, we’ve even seen sunshine! I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I am always in favor of seeing the sun.

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Last week I got out on a few mid-week walks and Alex had a couple of great bike rides. It’s so nice to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather while it’s here. We just decided to cancel our gym membership for a number of reasons. We just got some home workout equipment, so we’ve been doing weights and strength-training at home. Alex is training for his 202 mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland that takes place mid-July, so he has been riding his bike a lot more anyway, and I have commissioned myself to start running again. We’ll see how that goes. When we get our new puppy (late spring??) we know that will wreak havoc on our schedule, plus when the pup starts going for longer walks and eventually runs we are anticipating walking or running at least 3-5 miles daily, as was the case with Aspen. We never went to the gym when we had Aspen because we went on three walks with her each day.

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Last week we had a lot going on. Wednesday evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our friends Ali and Tyler and their sweet baby, Vivian. I made some crazy chocolate brownie cookies with salted caramel filling, as well as white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. We have loved spending more time with the Furtwanglers and it’s been so fun watching Vivi grow and develop into such a darling 12 week old bundle of adorableness. Alex spent the evening at Quinn’s in Capitol Hill on Thursday to celebrate his friend Jamie’s new job.

Friday night Alex and I had our weekly date night. We went to dinner at Redmond’s Bar & Grill then saw Cirque du Soleil.

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The show was incredible. Neither of us had ever seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, but had a good understanding of what the show would entail. It was really fun to watch the acrobatics.

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Alex and I enjoyed yet another beautiful day on the mountain yesterday. The conditions weren’t great, but the crowds were few and far between now that the ski lesson programs have wrapped up for the year, so we got an unbelievable number of runs in before we called it a day after lunch. This ski season has blessed us with more sunny days than I can ever remember getting in seasons past! While we love the bluebird days, it would be okay if we got a powder day or two before spring comes…

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It had been nearly a month since we’d been up to Crystal Mountain with our trips to Whistler and Portland and last weekend’s visitor, so we were itching to get up into the mountains again. For Alex and me, being in the mountains is rejuvenating and almost detoxifying. No matter what the ski conditions are like we thrive so much on the fresh mountain air, the spirit and mood of everyone around us and simply being in nature with no cell service. We are so lucky to live so close to the mountains!

Weekly Recap

With heavy hearts full of memories, Alex and I laid our sweet Aspen to rest yesterday. One of our favorite things to do with Aspen was to take her up to the mountain where we ski and go for hikes in the snow with her. I never saw her happier than she was when she was bounding through fresh powder, catching snowballs in her mouth or just prancing along on the snowy path. We thought it would be a perfect place to spread her ashes. We walked up the trail where we usually took her on a little hike and we found a beautiful clearing where she now rests in peace. Now, every time we go up to Crystal Mountain, Aspen will be there with us, watching over us.

Crystal Mountain

 

We made the most of the rest of the day yesterday and had a great time skiing with Carrie and Patrick. There was a bizarre temperature inversion and it was foggy and 35 degrees in Seattle, but it was sunny and 45 degrees at the top of the mountain. It was such a treat to have a spring ski day in the middle of January! The snow was fun to ski in and we came across some new runs and new areas that we had never skied before. It always amazes us how much Crystal Mountain has to offer!

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Our week was much less exciting than the last one, which, given the circumstances, I am a-okay with. The main highlight is that we are doing a bit of decorating in our house. We have purchased/ordered several things for the walls to jazz up the rooms a bit, so once everything arrives and is hung, I will post some pictures now that we will finally have some completed spaces in our house. After this week, hopefully our music-themed media room will be decorated and done. Then… onto the dining room. Maybe by the time we sell our house it will be completed!

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Weekend Fun, Sun, Laughs

We’ve had a great weekend filled with fun, sun and lots of laughs. We kicked off the weekend by seeing Book of Moron, a Broadway musical by the writers of South Park. It was well-done and kept us laughing the whole time!

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Saturday we relaxed at home in the morning and headed up to Alpental for some mid-day skiing. We met up with Patrick, Carrie and Emily and enjoyed a bluebird day. Alex brought his Contour camera (it’s a small, portable video camera that mounts to his helmet so he can record his ski day), so we’ll plug it in today and see if we got any good footage. The video always looks better when the skies are clear, which is a rarity for us here in Washington. Alex is becoming quite the speed demon on the mountain – Patrick better watch out!!

WP_20130112_005Today we’ll just get some stuff done around the house. With all that has happened in the last week or so we have put our to do list to the back burner, so we’ll just do some catching up today. It’s been a VERY chilly week here in Seattle – normally the temperature is 45 +/- about 3 degrees, but it’s gotten below freezing here most days in the last week. We aren’t used to scraping our cars, straying away from the usual fleece jacket, or cranking up the heat so much!

Check out the mountain reflection in Carrie’s goggles:

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