Sunday, January 4, 2009


My children are truly deprived. As long as they've been alive, it has never snowed here. To be honest, I remember it snowing only twice in my lifetime. Once when I was Mam's age and once in 1999. And most people wouldn't even consider that stuff snow. It mostly melted as it hit the ground.

A couple of years ago, it snowed in the hills above our town and we took the kids up to enjoy the couple of inches of white stuff. They weren't that impressed. It was COLD. And, of course, we don't have much in the way of appropriate clothing for snow.

This year, we got wind of a possible opportunity to join my stepinlaws (Yes, I'm quite sure it's one word, at least in this case) at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe. Although the stepinlaws are a crazy bunch of people, I knew Daddy would want to spend some time with his dad (who spent almost the entirety of the holidays up there) and the kids were already asking to go to the snow, so we shopped the Lands End sale at Sears after Christmas and as soon as Karen and SPENCER! left, we headed to the Sierras.

Thanks to Junie B. Jones, the four-hour trip up there was a no-brainer. And as soon as we arrived, the snow clothes were on and the sleds and saucers were out on the hill behind the cabin.Daddy and Grandpa dug them a snow cave.Step-gram gave them snowball makers. They made liberal use of them quickly.I clearly need to learn some evasive moves while trying to take artsy photos with the new camera or Smuch is going to nail me. Mam decided maybe snow would taste good.We learned why snow bibs are a whole lot more practical than plain ol' snow pants when Smunch had a whole lot of trouble keeping his up.After an hour or so, everyone was cold and wet and we went inside, where the kids began a rousing game of Jenga with their grandpa.Guess who was winning...Considering that many of the stepinlaws are pretty hardcore skiiers, there was some significant pressure to sign the kids up for ski lessons the following day. Step-gram had even gone to all the trouble to provide us with all the registration which point we realized that two hours of lessons for two kids would cost more than $300. Yikes! But I thought I'd at least run it past the kids and see what they thought. It would've given Daddy a chance to get his skis out and hit the slopes himself, at least. But being left to my own devices with the stepinaws didn't really thrill me a whole lot.

Smunch, ever the timid one, insisted he wasn't interested in skiing. Mam thought she wanted to try it. The next morning, we went out to the ski slopes to take a look at the kiddie ski classes. Smunch still didn't want to go. Mam did. But then, maybe not without Smunch. Then I gave them the choice of going ice skating or skiing. They unanimously chose to go skating. My wallet breathed a sigh of relief, but a little part of me wished they were a tad more adventurous.

For the uninitiated, the ice skating rink at Squaw Valley is a really spectacular venue at 8200 feet. You have to take a gondola up to "High Camp" to get there.Although there was a lot of whining, some crying and a ridiculous amount of snot (thanks for stocking Kleenex, Squaw), Mam had a great time.and Smunch had his share of success before the wind kicked up and made it unbearably cold to be skating outside in the mountains in a completely unsheltered ice rink.There are lots of reminders that Squaw Valley was the venue for the 1960 Olympic Games.We went inside for some cookies, hot chocolate and coffee. I should have known that Smunch would find a sports page that would fascinate him, even if it's almost 50 years old.It was New Year's Eve, so we all headed off the mountain for a fine few games of Wii Sports and Ryder spaghetti.

We escaped Squaw just in front of a snow storm and while we could still get home in time to spend the weekend at home before getting back into the whole school routine. It was a fun time though and we left, already talking about when we might be able to get back up there.


they call me mama said...

Squaw Valley! Woo hoo! Squaw Valley WITHOUT skiing? In winter? Really? I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble wrapping my little brain around that one...;)

Cammi said...

HOW FUN! The scenery from the ice skating rink looks amazing. Your new camera is awesome - and your photography skills - those pictures are amazing! What a fun way to spend the week before school starts up again.

Anonymous said...

Oh so jealous over here. My kids would have LOVED that trip. Check out Squaw Valley in the spring. They do a BEAUTIFUL guided spring flower hike. (Bring boots) Even without gobs of snow, there is still plenty to do and it's just as beautiful.

As b'days near, I find myself missing "y'all" even more. Your monkeys are just darling.