Saturday, January 11, 2014

Slopes and the Polar Vortex

I'm sitting on my deck enjoying some warm sunshine. The kids are all in costume and they are making a movie. Andrew is the celebrity, Olivia and Jack are thieves, and Michael is some sort of military guy. Olivia's character name is Victor Van Evil; apart from that I am out of the loop but I am thoroughly enjoying their creative play.

Some pics of our time in Canada~

One of the highlights of our trip came courtesy of my family: A day of skiing and snowboarding. We went to our old hangout, the humble slopes near where I grew up. Seriously, as a kid I'd ski nearly everyday of the week with my friends. But since graduating from high school I have skied only a few times, the last time being the year I was married. This was a real treat for me, and a fantastic experience and memory for my kids.

My brother-in-law took my 4 yr. old nephew out skiing for the first time. He did awesome.

They say that once you learn how to ride a bike, you will never forget. I have discovered that this saying does not translate to ice skating, and I was concerned that neither would it apply to skiing. I was happy to discover I've still got it, for the most part. What a thrill!

My youngest brother is a certified snowboard instructor, and he did an amazing job with my kids who have never experienced anything like this before. It took an enormous amount of patience and physical stamina to get them going. My kids were eager to learn and caught on much quicker than I expected.

The first few times I went up on the lift alone, and I was just brimming with thankfulness and joy. I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear, and I thanked God out loud way up there over the slopes. Later that evening, as I was driving back into the city through a small snow storm, I shared with my kids just how thankful I was to God throughout the day. I'm actively trying to speak of my relationship with God and of the things He is teaching me to my kids, and I was blessed to hear Michael verbalize the same thing.

No trip is ever standard though, and there always seems to be something unexpected. Many times it has to do with Michael.

At one point my brother called to me from higher up on the slope, asking me to wait, then came down and to tell me he suspected Michael's nose was broken. Michael had blood from the rim of his hat and dripping down the front of his jacket, bleeding from both a gash to the bridge and the inside. He looked like he had a double nose.

He knew he was bleeding, but didn't see it as a big deal. I pointed to the ski patrol shack, which happened to be at the bottom of the slope we were on, and calmly said we needed to head in that direction. The ski patrol quickly met us, and took us in. They cleaned him up and iced his nose, but couldn't tell for certain if his nose was broken. They urged us to take him to the hospital, at the very least to get some stitches.

Michael was so bummed. His only concern was weather or not he could keep snowboarding. 

Fortunately for us, my sister is an ER nurse. She took a look and, knowing that the village hospital had a bad reputation, figured she we could run to the pharmacy and get some needed supplies. The small pharmacy was not well stocked, so we went to the hospital to consider our options. When we learned that the registration fee alone would be $600 and that the lines were long, we went with what we had. She used steri-strips to hold the edges of his gash together, and before long Michael was back on the slopes for the last couple hours of the day.

Back home, my sister used derma glue to "suture" his wound, and determined with certainty that there was no break since the swelling had dramatically gone down.

In the car outside of the hospital entrance

Back on the hills with my brother

The shot below makes me laugh because Jacob often made his way to the ditch, and my brother would have to rescue him.

 Jacob surprised me most of all. This kid is fearless.

Such a familiar scene to me, and really special to see it again.

Before the day was over, Michael and Olivia were confident enough to do it all on there own while my brother continued to work with Andrew and Jacob.

This day was the warmest day of our whole trip, but bitter cold marked the majority of our days. They call it a Polar Vortex, and the cold arctic temperatures brought more than miserable freeze.

It shut down entire airports and grounded our planes out. Jon was forced to stay nearly an extra week; he wasn't able to make it back to officiate a wedding, or to preach at church. The kids and I had planned on staying with family a little longer, but by the time our travel day came, our flights were delayed, then cancelled too. We all ended having to book and re-book tickets numerous times before finally leaving.

I was awake before 3am, the kids up by 3:30, and we were loaded up and frozen stiff in the car by 4am. Like thousands of other stranded travelers, we were ready to take whatever flight we could. We had a 6 hour layover in Washington, but amazingly everything went smoothly the whole day. We were dead tired though, but that seemed insignificant.

We have seen it all when it come to travel:

Cancelled flights
Unexpected overnights in various cities without our belongings
Paying a guy to get us through customs in time for our flight
Sitting on the runway for 3 hours before the flight is cancelled and we return home for another day
Babies with blowouts in small planes with no bathroom
Stolen items from suitcases
"Wardrobe malfunction" while holding a squirming baby
Lost luggage
Delays, delays, delays
Turbulence so bad we could hear the flight attendants cursing, and passengers cheer when we land
Missed flights
Interrogations in the back room of the customs area
Children with ear pain or bloody noses in flight
...and more. At times it has been nightmarish.

Other times, things go quite smoothly. But at the end of it, there is always a story.

 Morning sun after we were well on our way.

Waiting. Lots of waiting.

His face after nearly a week of healing. He said it was totally worth it.

Our first day back went smoothly enough! Ha, everything about it somehow seemed completely normal to me. Truly, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, at least in terms of random family events. It was like a familiar "Welcome home!"

The kids slept long and well. I was glad to get up nice and early (jet lag helped me here) and take a nice leisurely shower, then a start on the unpacking. I had a small selection of frozen items and refrigerated oranges and eggs to make breakfast with from the fridge in the garage. I watered plants, unloaded the dishwasher, started laundry, and scrambled to get my kids out of the house in time for some make-up sessions from missed lessons earlier in the week. I checked for all the right lists, piled my stuff in-- library books and returns-- made sure Jacob remembered to wear shoes, ran to grab a booster, realized someone had left the fridge door open, and started the car. Except the car wouldn't start. It turned out that my battery was super corroded and couldn't be jump started. Cancelled lessons, etc. Now we have even more make up lessons to make up.

School. We had to jump right in because we had missed so much. Surprisingly, we got a lot done. Except for science. In between I did laundry and unpacked some more, and did more laundry because it never ends. Then I found Michael's bottom retainer in the dryer. We couldn't find the top portion and he 'just couldn't understand' because he had put them in his case. No, my dear, it was probably stuffed into pajama pockets and stuffed into the suitcase at 3am. Finally we found the top portion at the bottom of the hamper of clean clothes, only to discover the retainer had broken and one wire was all wonky. I am not mad. These things happen, but they tend to happen a lot with my eldest son. Somehow, he would say it's not his fault.

It was beautiful and warm out, and Jon was home at lunch time, so we had a late lunch of more random food on the deck. After that he tossed the football around with the kids and (sort of randomly, I must say) climbed one of our larger trees with some of the boys. Then apparently he sort of fell out and messed up his fingers. Poor guy. I don't like to see peeled back skin, so I handed him the bag of frozen peas and a band aid as my best attempt at sympathy. Then he fixed Michael's retainer wire... We'll see what the orthodontist says.

I received my first box of farm fresh produce on my door step-- a lovely delivery on any day, but especially great since we needed food!

Later in the afternoon, the new refrigerator that we had to buy the day after Christmas was delivered. We got a great deal on a floor model, but its delivery was cancelled/rescheduled three times due to our delays in Canada. It needed to be cleaned out a little, which I did as the boys played outside and Olivia practiced on the electric guitar in the living room. I had to laugh to myself because she was also wearing sunglasses.

Then I began to tackle the Christmas decorations. I couldn't finish by dinner time, but most of it is packed away. A good feeling, though I did think it would have been nice to have a plate of gingerbread cookies, especially because I was beginning to feel tired and cranky.

Jon decided he's going to get going on the baseboard in the living room. Random for a day like today, but I'm super happy. We still need to finish his office and the school room, in addition to an upstairs bedroom.

After dinner, Jon read and discussed a passage from Mark. It was so nice to return to this routine after several weeks.

(sigh) I am tired. And happy.

Anyway, for in years to come, a short summary of the first day back at this stage in my life. Maybe I'll get another laugh. It's good to be back.


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad for you to have been refreshed by the beauty of your girlhood home and simultaneously happy for your return back to everyday life. What wonderful contentment the Lord has given you, friend! You're a great example.


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