Wintery Weekends

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Thought it would be fun to show you a bit of what we’ve been up to recently in our free time!  It is very much winter in Seattle, and while I know the rest of the country has been freezing cold, we are in the middle of our usual grey gloom.  The good news is we are super used to it – hard to believe this is our 8th winter in Seattle!  Time flies.

We have discovered over time that the key to surviving the winter dreariness is getting outside of the city and exploring the surrounding areas as much as possible!  Because Seattle sits between two mountain ranges, we get long-term gloom and rain that sort of sits in the bowl between the mountains.  But if you just drive a short bit outside of the city, you discover a whole other world of evergreens and gorgeous nature, and so much SNOW!

Last year, we signed Cullen up for beginner ski lessons for the month of February.  He didn’t love it and didn’t learn much – the lessons were super crowded and slow moving.  This year we decided to try something different!  Casey used to snowboard many years ago, and happened to get a brand new snowboard this year as part of a kombucha trade with a local company who makes boards.  And so we decided to try snowboarding with both kids just to see if it was something they would like, and since we live in such a great part of the country for winter sports.  As it turns out, snowboarding has been a much bigger hit than skiing so far!

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Since kids generally tend to listen better and learn from instructors who are NOT their parents initially, we started with a one-day private lessons for the two of them at the local mountain.  Casey spent the two hours snowboarding himself, and I enjoyed some nice quiet time in the lodge with a hot tea.  The kids learned a ton in the first lesson about taking the equipment on and off, general boarding techniques, and all the important safety stuff.  They were WIPED OUT after two straight hours of practicing.

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I felt a little nervous when the instructor told me he had only ever had one other four year old before, but Graham picked it up like a champ.  The following weekend we all went back up to the mountain again, and this time Casey spent the whole time working with them on getting comfortable and basic skills.  We were lucky in those first few weeks that the mountain was open it was so empty with barely anyone on the practice slops and magic carpet.

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It has also been a gorgeous reprieve from the Seattle weather.  It is truly amazing how it can be dark and grey and gloom in the city, and just a short hour drive away it is blue skies and sunshine.  I don’t know how to ski or snowboard (and think it is terrifying!), and can’t anyway this year since I am pregnant.  So I’ve been enjoying time with each kiddo while dad is helping the other one, and providing lots of snacks, tissues, and water bottles – an important job!

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There were also a few weeks where Casey took the boys up by himself and I had a whole day at home to catch up on things, which was a real treat.   It has been really fun to see them get into something new and enjoy learning a new sport.  I’m honestly pretty amazed at how quickly they have progressed.  If I ever do decide to learn, they will be WAY better than me!

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In other winter fun, we also just got back from our annual weekend at Mt. Hood with our “Seattle family” – our third trip with a group that has grown to be seventeen people now!  We have eight adults and nine kiddos, and we all rent a big house on the mountain together for a weekend of snowy adventures and total chaos.  One of the families moved to Bend, Oregon a few years ago, so it is such a special treat when we all get to be together again!

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The weather was unseasonably warm this year – almost in the 60’s!  It was nuts!  We were lucky that there was still a bit of snow on the ground to play in – such a change from the ten foot snowdrifts we had to climb there this same time last year.

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While it wasn’t the massive snow piles we were used to, the kids didn’t care one bit and still find a nice slope to sled on, and plenty of snow to eat and throw at each other.

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And we were able to trade off kid duty a few times to sneak out for fresh air and gorgeous sunny walks.  It’s such a beautiful area, and always a treat to share with friends.

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These kiddos have all known each other since birth, and they are such a special group.  I hope we can continue to get together for many years to come.  And oh how I am missing that sweet baby who became #9 for this crew last September!  Also, sooooo many boys!

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After a few weeks off for holidays, work, and travel, we headed back up to the local mountains this past weekend and discovered a TON more snow than the last time we were there.  It was snowing heavily the whole time we were there too – lots of fun to play.  Graham was more interested in eating snow than snowboarding this weekend, so he hung out with me most of the time.

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But Cullen was super into it, and has gotten comfortable enough now that he has done two of the regular chair lifts.  I don’t know why I think ski sports are so terrifying – I can barely watch!  But they are having a blast, and most of the people who grow up here learn to do this, so it seems like a good idea to get them started earlier than later.

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It was snowing really hard this weekend while we were there, so we headed to the lodge for snack and lunch breaks instead of just camping out in the snow as usual.  Hardest thing for me?  My snow pants don’t fit!  I can’t button or zip them at ALL, so I have to wear them totally open and keep my long coat closed overtop, which means I’m melting in the lodge.  Tough times, guys.

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Anyway, that’s some of the winter fun we’ve been having these past few months.  It’s sort of new to us despite being out here for a while now.  It’s nice that the kids are getting older and we are able to spend full days out of the house having big adventures, instead of being bound by naps and schedules.  Poor baby #3 is going to have to learn to sleep on the go!

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Hope you are enjoying this cold and snowy season wherever you are as well!

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