Friday, January 8, 2016

Being Good At Family

Hey there!  Yes it's me.  I know I totally fell into the pit of being overwhelmed and overburdened with a thousand things to do with school and the holidays, which left me no time to write.  I wrote a bunch of blogs in my head, but none of them made it to the computer.  Looking forward to the day where I can think something and Suri will write it down for me.   I even got a little bah humbuggy at one point because of how crazy everything was.  Even though I still have much going on-like helping to produce the Variety Show at the girls' school-I decided to put everything else I should be doing right now on hold (changing sheets, cleaning, getting cat litter) to do the one thing I like to do for me.  Writing.  So with that here's a little story about a New Year's Eve Day trip we took last week.  (Was it really only LAST week.)

Over the holidays we didn't have any family in town which was (sorry parents) kinda nice.  I mean don't get me wrong, I love when my parents or Andy's parents come and spend Christmas with us.  The kids love them being there and it's nice to have a big family together for the holidays.  However, every three years it's also kinda nice to not entertain parents for a week or more.  This year was that year.  So there was more hanging out and just doing nothing, which is good for us since we are always doing something every damn minute of every damn day.  The only bad part about doing nothing for a family who is very active, is that after a while we start to go a little stir crazy.  So we decided that on New Year's Eve, during the day, we would drive to the mountains to a sledding park. 

One of the advantages of living here in Southern California is that we are so close to the mountains to go sledding anytime in the winter if we want.  Even though we hadn't had any rain yet last week, the sledding parks all make their own snow.  The other great thing was that it was actually cold here this Christmas.  In fact while we were in the 50's here on Christmas day my in laws were sweating it out in the 70s in Rhode Island.  Crazy!  Since it was so cool here it was even colder in the mountains which was perfect for the snow making and sledding.  

I found a place on line that is only about an hour from our house, called Mt. Baldy.  When we got there we were to purchase tickets to take a "scenic lift" to the top of the mountain where we could do the snow tubing.  They also have skiing and snowboarding but we weren't going that crazy for one day.  After we bundled up and purchased our tickets we walked up a little hill to the lift.  That's when we realized the lift chairs were only for 2 people.  Last time I counted there were 5 of us, and three of us are kids.  Huh.  How was this going to work?  I wasn't crazy about the idea of Sonya going by herself, and sending her with one of the girls could prove disastrous.  I didn't need a fight to break out on the lift and someone pushed off onto the side of the mountain.  No worries though.  She wasn't allowed to go alone or with one of the girls unless she was 14.  That would have been nice to know BEFORE we bought our tickets. They did let us know she could ride with another adult who was alone and wanted to go up the mountain.  Oh yes-let me put my 11 year old on a ski lift with some stranger for 20 minutes who could be a Jared from Subway for all I know!  I don't think so.   Oh and by the way-it was seven degrees at the top of the mountain.  SEVEN!!  Now I know there are a lot of your out there who that freezing temperature might not bother so much and probably think we are big pussies.  However to those of us who just went through a 55 degree Christmas and were complaining of how cold we were, making fires in our fireplace every night,  seven degrees would have killed us.  

Andy and I made the decision to see what we could do about getting our money back, then figuring out what we could do to salvage the day from there.  It was of course greeted with a barrage of questions from the girls who were so looking forward to sledding.  

"We're not going?"

"Not here."

"But why?"

"Because Sonya can't ride the lift by herself and it's colder up there than it is down here even."  They were already freezing in the 32 degree temp.  

"So we aren't going to go sledding at ALL??"

"I don't know yet.  We will figure it out."


"We will see!"

Neither one of us was optimistic about it being easy to get our money back, but turns out it was!  They were very nice about it after we explained that we had no idea about the age for the chairlift.  So we were happy we didn't lose any money on it, but now what the hell do we do?  We had decided to go to this mountain because it was closer than the one in Big Bear.  Were we even in the right direction of heading to the other one?  Unfortunately, it took us a bit to find out since there was no service on the mountain.  Once we got to the bottom I found that the other place I had looked at was less than an hour from where we were.  Since we had left the house so early it was only 11am at that point, so we decided to go for it.  

We arrived at the tubing park about an hour later.  No traffic at all thank goodness!  This place was right off the side of the road, no lift, and cheaper than the other place.  So win win!  We went and got our tickets.  Georgia and I made a trip to the disgusting outhouses.  

Side note here-Why, in the year 2016, have we not figured out a better way to keep an outhouse clean?  Those things are the most disgusting places on earth.  I am always so grossed out when I go in one.  I have been in nicer ones that are brought in for outdoor weddings or other such things, but then they are usually newer and not used at all yet.  The ones on the mountains though are just so incredibly gross. I just tell the girls the whole time we are in there, "whatever you do, don't look down."  I gag now just thinking about it.  Back to the main story...

After we paid and grabbed our tubes, we headed to one of the smaller hills because the girls were a little nervous and wanted to start there.  To be honest I was fine starting there too.  Sonya and Georgia went down almost immediately raving about how much fun it was and climbed the stairs to go again. Lana though.  Well Lana and I spent 10 minutes on that first little hill together.  She was nervous to go down, I sat there trying to convince her everyone else was still alive after sledding, and she would be too.  I think it was that fact that she had to go on her belly head first that freaked her out.  She would start to lay down  and then say  "No, no, no, I don't want to."  Andy claimed I was babying her, but I know how Lana is.  She has always been this way.  It takes her a minute to try anything new, food, swimming, jumping off the diving board, skiing, sledding, bike riding, roller blading, whatever.  She is convinced something bad is going to happen to her.  I knew as soon as she did it though she would love it.  

I'm not sure exactly what it was that made her finally go.  At one point I gave up trying to convince her  and went down without her to show her it was fine.  Not to long after that, she went with me and that was that.  There was no stopping her.  She loved it as I knew she would.  

When we first got there all three of the girls agreed they weren't going near the big hill.  Even after Lana had been going down the smaller one, she pointed to the big hill and said, 

"There is no way I'm going down that one!"

I reminded her that she didn't want to go down the little one at first and look how much fun she was having.  So she said,

"Okay maybe I will at some point but NOT today."

"That's fine," I told her.  

At the end of our hour we were all riding down that big hill.  And we were all loving it.  It is only an hour you pay for at a time.  You can go more, but then you pay more.  At first I thought-an hour that's it?  But trust me, after walking up those stairs a bunch of times you are exhausted and done after your hour.  At one point we all went down together which was comedic.  I laughed so hard when, at one point, Andy was trying to push us all down the hill together, and Sonya and Georgia accidentally broke free leaving Andy holding on to Georgia's mitten at the top of the hill. 

Andy and the girls going down the hill together.
It was one of the best family days we've had as a family and a great way to end the year.  The girls keep talking about how they want to go back.  It was fairly easy too, minus the detour we made to the other mountain an hour away.  I was proud of us that we found a way to salvage the day even though we ran into a problem and our original plan didn't work out.  It was a good lesson for all of us.  Especially for me, because when my plans get thrown off I tend to get anxious.  It was one of those days where I thought to myself, "We are good at family!" 

*(credit to that line goes to the show The Goldbergs, which if you aren't watching you should be!)
Me and Lana

Georgia, Sonya and Andy

Happy 2016 everyone!  Hope to write more for you in this year and here's to everyone finding a day where they feel they are good at family too.  I know all to well how some days that is so hard to do.  

Sonya and Georgia