Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sam Sellers, 2 yr old

Happy Birthday my sweet Samson!

How did our family ever seem complete without you? You are constant entertainment to all, and best friend to Gavin. Too bad we can't say the same for the cat, whom you like to constantly terrorize.

I can't believe you are only two. As your beloved Grandpa Dan said the other day "he's the oldest two year old I know". Thanks to having such a great older brother, who has always taken the time to talk to you and engage you - on his level - you have developed so quickly. Sometimes too quickly, because my sweet little baby is quickly slipping away.

If there is one phrase to describe you - it's that you live life irreverently, I suppose as only 2 yr olds can, but you do it to the extreme! You are such a paradox. You have the best manners (please and thank you's), you love to have your hands and face cleaned, pick up your toys and love throwing away any piece of litter you find laying around the house. You also love pulling your brother's hair (or hitting him, or kicking him) for no reason, other than fun, and when you aren't the center of attention you are likely to grab whatever is in his hands and throw it over the stair rail.

You do all of the above with such glee, it's quite impossible not to smile (even for your brother). You are horribly unempathetic, and when we try to employ a time out you sit and put on an act of crying, peeking out at us from behind your hands, and bring the show to a halt when you realize we aren't buying it. When your sentence is over you hop up excitedly, giving the party you offended and quick (completely unapologetic) "sorry!" and requisite hug and kiss and go on your way.

You are crazy obsessed with sports. Basketball obsession has moved on to baseball, and you always love cheering on your brother at soccer games. I can't believe it's another 2 years before we can sign you up! (sigh)  You also love to run races around the living room, and your endurance amazes me - those legs get quite a workout!

You are equally obsessed with babies. You are so sweet to your baby cousin, and befriend any baby that comes in the near vicinity of you when we are out in public.

You love to accessorize. Hats and sunglasses are a favorite.

You can speak full sentences and communicate anything you want. You know all your shapes and colors, but sometimes pretend you don't, just to mess with me.

You are a wonderful eater, and I hope that never changes. You eat all the weird vegetarian food that I make and appreciate my Vita-Mix shakes as well.

You fiercely love your family. You make everyone feel so special and loved, and your special attention to your great-grandma Lois is something I know she treasures. You could spend hours looking through old photo albums and pointing out everyone by name, and I especially love how you know "Grandpa Joe" even though you've never met him.

But what I love most about you is that hiding within this crazy, rough and tumble, naughty, exuberant, carefree boy, is a little guy that needs his mommy and his bottle at the end of the day. I love when it's time to "snuggle mommy", and that even once you're asleep you still sense when I'm trying to move you off of me, and bury yourself harder against my chest.

We love you so much our big (91% height, 72% weight) man!

Here are some pictures of studly/quirky Sam:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing Hooky

Since we cut our vacation short, I let Gavin play hooky on what would have been Day 5 of our vacation. We met Grandma Janet for lunch at Perkins. Then we headed for the Science Center for what we thought was a noon showing of an IMAX movie.

When we got there we found out the listings were wrong and the movie we wanted to see didn't start until 1. So we played at the science center for an hour - mostly building lego cars.

We also caught the tail end of the weather forecast for our local news channel that is broadcast from the science center every weekday.

Then we had a private showing of the Hubble space telescope IMAX documentary. I think I've only seen an IMAX film once, 15 or so years ago. And we were really the only two people in the theater. Back when I was in school, I swear we didn't know what was beyond the Milky Way. It was a very humbling experience to see all those galaxies that we now know exist, and to think how tiny we really are. Amazing!

And one final photo op before leaving the science center.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

I woke up on Day 4 of our trip at 5 am (due to Gain having turned sideways in bed and kicking me IN THE FACE) to hear the wind howling. It just sounded cold. I checked the weather app on my phone. The high was 5 degrees and it wasn't going to break into positive territory until after noon. The "feels like" temp was -24. I knew Gavin was getting worn out, and with not so favorable conditions, I was worried about making it another day on the slopes.

When Gavin woke up he complained that his tummy was hurting so I suggested we head for home. He agreed and I went upstairs to pack up. When I came back down my uncle said "I heard him say he wants to ski actually". Great! I call Chad to tell him we'll be skiing after all. He says just the right thing "you're there, you might as well ski". So we're skiing. Then Gavin wants to say bye to him, gets on the phone, yells "bye!" and hands it back to me. I say "be nice and talk to your dad for a minute". He bursts into tears.

This is not a kid that is going to hold up well to cold and windy conditions on the mountain.

I couldn't believe I was going to talk my own kid out of spending the day skiing - but I also didn't want to spend $100+ to be on the slopes for two hours, decide it's way too cold and leave, or worse yet have a complete meltdown on my hands. I got to the root of the problem, which was not so much that Gavin had his heart set on skiing, but going back early meant having to go back to school. So I promised him a fun day in DM with me to make up for the lost ski day.

Went out to my car. The battery was dead. Of course it was! Fortunately, my uncle had not left yet and had a power pack in his car and was able to get it started up. I had left the cell charger plugged in (no cell attached to it) but I guess that was enough to drain the battery in two days, assisted by some bitterly cold nights. We finally get on the road.

I got about a mile from the condo and realized I didn't know where my cell phone was. Not in my purse. Not in my coat pocket. Go back to the condo where my other uncle had opted to stay in for the day and not ski. Pound on the door til he hears me. No cell phone in the condo. So he calls my phone while I look in the car again. Where is that ringing coming from??

The breast pocket of my coat. Where I had never put it before (and will never put it again). Feeling like a moron we finally were on our way for real this time. Fortunately the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful, despite the dire DOT reports of road conditions in Iowa. It did get slick about an hour from home, and we had one scary moment when a pickup in front of us, hooked up to a trailer lost control and started swerving around. I had turned on the 4 wheel drive a few miles back and was able to slow down my car quickly enough without running off the road myself, and narrowly avoided a collision.

Sam was very excited to see us when we got home. Maybe more excited to see Gavin! Meatball was also happy to have us back, he showed his appreciation by peeing all over our clean clothes the next morning (I had washed them at the condo before leaving). So I was treated to doing three loads of laundry the next day.

Oh yes, and our special day home together to make up for the lost ski day?

To be continued....

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Let's Just Go Down the Hill and See What Happens"

~ Gavin Sellers, overlooking a drop onto a blue trail

Day 3 in Colorado was another cold day, with a promised high of 5 degrees! We skied with my uncles/uncle's cousin and headed to Beaver Creek - as it was not quite as high as some of the other resorts, and therefore potentially warmer. The resort was BEAUTIFUL!

We had some fresh snow to ski which was bad and good. The runs at this resort were fairly flat (at least the ones we started out on), so Gavin had a hard time getting any momentum going - especially with the fresh powder. After a couple green runs, of which we had to "skate" quite a ways on basically flat land, I decided we could try a blue hill. The blues had been utter failures the day before, but there was no way I was pushing/pulling Gavin over these runs all day!

We went up the lift, talked about trying a blue run, and mapped out our path on the trail map. I had Gavin play follow the leader with me, I stayed just one turn ahead of him, and he quickly got a good sense of skiing side to side, carving out the mountain. A huge improvement vs going straight down the mountain in a snow plow! And this was only the fourth day in his life he's ever skied!! *insert one very proud mama here*

Pretty soon, he had the hang of it, and wanted to ski in front of me. He was so controlled and methodical - I was so impressed! In fact, there were times I started thinking you know, you could go a little faster, but I would much rather be slow and steady than flying out of control into trees.

After building up our confidence on the first blue run, we were ready to take the mountain by storm. Mapped out our run on the trail map again. Started going down the mountain. Then Gavin decides he wants to change course and go down "Rose Bowl" - now that he can read he likes to make decisions based on the name of the run!

Oops - Rose Bowl is one of the ungroomed trails. Lots of fresh powder. Not to mention the MOGULS! This was a bit of a frustrating run because we just kept getting stuck in the powder. But we made it down to the lift. By the time we got back up the mountain, it was time to meet up with my uncles for lunch. The lodge had an amazing dining room and I had a lovely treat - grilled portabello mushroom burger with roasted red peppers and garlic aioli - yum!

After lunch we skied with my uncles for a bit. We trekked to some runs on the other side of the mountain. More flat trails. Gavin and I managed to get into a bit of a rhythm. As long as he didn't come to a complete stop I could get my momentum going and come up behind him and give him a push. But if he came to a complete stop, to get him going I would get in front of him and swing my pole back to him and he would grab it as I gave it a good pull to get him moving. It was 5 degrees out and I was sweating buckets!! Definitely a workout - but it kept me warm and I got some exercise anyway.

Despite the flat parts, we had some more really nice runs in the afternoon. Gavin started absorbing the inconsistencies in the snow with his knees, rather than falling every time he hit a rough spot. He stopped and "took a rest" when his legs got tired, or his butt for that matter. Seems like all that control was giving him a glute workout! I also noticed that when we would catch up with my uncles and they would ski ahead of him, he would start to parallel his ski's a little. Somehow just seeing them as examples ahead of him helped his form. We even went down a blue run in a lot of fog - it looked a little scary from the lift, but he made it down just fine. I wish I had taken some pictures or video - but it was way to cold to ski without a glove on.

After leaving the resort, we stopped by a bakery where I seized the opportunity to buy sandwiches for dinner, since Gavin was once again too tired to go out to eat. Another yummy meal - smoked salmon sandwich on marble rye!!

And that was Day 3 of our trip. Unfortunately the next day was even colder and we opted to head home instead of ski. To be continued....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"You're Not HELPING Me!"

This quote sums up Day 1 of skiing (Sunday).

I was a bit nervous when we left Denver around 7 am - it was snow/sleeting, hard to see and the interstate was slushy and slippery. I was not looking forward to the drive up the mountain, but just after getting out of town, the weather improved immensely. We had one tense moment when a pickup in front of us, one lane over started fishtailing into our lane, but fortunately we were slightly behind him and missed hitting him.

We stopped in Dillon to grab some breakfast and swing by a ski rental shop to pick up discounted lift tickets. We also ended up with a ski helmet (we had just brought Gavin's bike helmet), which was used/refurbished and looked way more safe than his bike helmet, ski socks, new (really warm) glove/mittens for both of us, and t-shirts for the boys.

But, I am so glad we did, because we were in for a COLD couple of days! Sunday we skied Keystone, which is where we spent most of our time skiing when I was younger. It was about 15 degrees, but windy and snowy, so it felt worse. I had to run into the lodge after a couple runs and buy a face mask, it was so cold!

Gavin did pretty well - although we had some issues with stopping - not that he couldn't stop, but I told him he needed to stop whenever there were trail signs, or the trail split in two directions - to make sure we picked the right trail.

He had a hard time hearing me behind him with his face mask and helmet on and at one point he didn't stop, and headed straight down a blue trail. Tough lesson! But we made it.

By this point it was well into the day and he was getting worn out (he'd woken up at 5 am remember??). We looked at the trail map and decided to go with "Ripperoo's Run (Easiest Way Down)" as it was marked on the map. Sounds like a nice, easy path - right?

Well, it may have been the easiest way down, but we couldn't tell you, because we could not.find.the.trail. Oddly enough, I don't remember this one from my days out there. We did find it at one point, and then hit a fork in the trail. I was tempted to keep going across what looked like a pretty flat trail through the trees when Gavin noticed a dark brown, bear shaped sign with an arrow pointing down the hill. It said Ripperoo's Run. Going against my gut, we followed what (we thought) the sign indicated.

Basically all hell broke loose from there! On the green trails, there were very few people, but there was more traffic on the blues. And that's where we ended up, on some pretty tricky blues and Gavin had not yet mastered the art of carving back and forth across the mountain. And then his goggles started fogging up but he didn't tell me until he literally couldn't see anything. So there was a lot of falling and me trying to get him up, and the above quote. We managed to get to the bottom, take off his goggles (it had stopped snowing at this point) and got another couple runs in before we called it a day at 4 pm (our first ride up the gondola was at 10:15 am) so we got in a good full day of skiing. Gavin was asleep by the time we hit the parking lot.

He was so tired he declined eating out at a restaurant, and we just stayed in the condo and relaxed and ate leftovers from our delicious Italian room service the night before. He had quite a headache, but a little ib profen and he was bouncing off the walls! I had to make him go to sleep at 9 pm.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Need for Speed

Gavin woke up before 5 this morning and I told him to try to lay down and sleep for another hour. I peeked at him ten minutes later and his eyes were wide open. And I mean that super excited wide, wide eyed open. I said "you're not going back to sleep are you?". Gavin said "I just can't stop thinking of going skiing!"

Sam also spoke his first real sentence yesterday, I was telling him that we were going to be gone a few days and he said "Why can't I go to Colo-ro-ro?". Totally broke my heart, but he's destined for ski's next winter for sure!

The drive out yesterday was super easy and uneventful. We made it here in 9 1/2 hours and only had to stop twice and Gavin was a great traveller. He only started getting antsy the last couple hours, and didn't sleep at all.

When we got to the hotel we went to the pool for a little while. I picked a hotel based on ratings and cost - wanted a 4+ rating at the lowest cost, and we ended up in a GORGEOUS suburb of Denver. It seems fairly newish amd there were some beautiful neighborhoods and condo complexes that we saw from the interstate.

After getting showered up, we ordered room service from the Italian restaurant across the street and had a FEAST of a picnic on our bed. At one point I almost teared up - I haven't had much Gavin 1:1 time for - well, almost two years and it used to always be the two of us all weekend when Chad worked for Hubbell. He made the comment "I get Mommy for 4 days". As hard as it is leaving my Sammy, I'm so glad we are spending this alone time together. And it's making me think about perhaps each parent doing a 1:1 mini vaca with a kid each year, and then switch kids the next year.

Gavin fell asleep a little after 8 Denver time and was up before 5. No doubt he'll crash early tonight. We're going to start packing up and will hit the road to the mountain shortly. We're supposed to be getting quite a bit of snow, so should make some great skiing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"I Knew When I Met You, An Adventure Was Going To Happen"

~ A.A. Milne

It's been quite an adventure since I first met Chad 16 years ago! Who knew that our adventure held this:

Ski Vacation

I'm so excited - Gavin and I leave for our big adventure Saturday bright and early. I'm going to take my little netbook with us, so hopefully I can take some good video/photo's on my phone and upload them there.

I will also be taking a tally of how many times Gavin says "are we there yet?" - what's your guess? I'm thinking it will be close to 50!