Tuesday, January 7, 2014

20 things I learned while on vacation

Hello and happy new year! Once again, it has been an eternity since I have blogged. I have a feeling that is going to change now that I am running again, the holidays are behind us and the kids are back in school.

The holidays are such a busy time of year for us, as they are for everyone. In the midst of all the usual Christmas decorating, baking, present shopping, menu planning and endless trips to the grocery store, we also have a birthday to celebrate. Mia was born two weeks early, on December 23rd, and her birthday only adds to the craziness of the holidays. 

Here I am the day before Mia was born...out for a walk in the snow with no idea a baby would be in my arms less than 24 hours later.
Back home on Christmas Eve with a 1 day-old baby

This year was no exception as we were hosting a Christmas dinner at our house, had family staying overnight with us and a Christmas brunch planned for the morning. It was a fun chaos, however, and nothing beats watching kids open presents while relaxing and drinking hot coffee in pajamas in front of a warm fire. Ahhhh...if only the whole day had been so relaxing! 

We actually left our house on Christmas Day for a week of skiing in Utah with my in-laws, including my sister-in-law and her family. There were eleven of us in a condo for a week and we had a great trip. As I was reflecting on the 12 hour drive back home (yes, you read that right, 12 hours!), I realized I had learned quite a bit in the past week.

1. I learned taking down the tree and having it on the curb by noon on Christmas Day so you can hit the road by 3pm feels very Scrooge-ish.

2. I learned restaurants are closed on Christmas Day (duh!) so be prepared to eat your Christmas dinner at the only thing that is open, even if that means a McDonald's at a truck stop. And if you are a vegetarian like I am, "dinner" at McDonald's may mean oatmeal.

3. I learned we are creatures of habit. On our way home, we stopped at the same truck stop McDonald's on New Year's Day, where I once again ordered an oatmeal for dinner. Apparently, we spend all our major holidays at McDonald's. You don't need to tell me how disgusting this is. I already know.

Christmas Day and New Year's Day at McDonald's.

4. I learned 12 hours in the car with a 3 year-old feels like a month.

the minivan

5. I learned you are guaranteed to have at least one child who has a bathroom emergency that requires you to race off the freeway to the nearest gas station only to hear the words "I don't really have to go" once you get there.

6. I learned you don't always have to look hard to find the motivation you need to start marathon training.

view from our hotel room in the middle of Idaho

6. I learned running shape does not equal ski shape.

7. I learned (as I do every year) how much I love, love, love to ski. Despite the fact that I have Reynaud's syndrome and my toes are usually painfully numb, I still just love the feeling of freedom that comes when I am flying down the mountain.

8. I learned how much I love skiing with my teenage son, especially the rides up the chair lift with him and my husband when we all laugh, tell jokes and tease one another.

another beautiful day on the mountain

9. I realized how much I can't wait until my daughters can ski all over the mountain, too. They did awesome.

10. I learned my husband is a great vacation planner. He literally did everything for this trip, from finding the condo we rented to making dinner reservations at night. 

11. I learned having a built-in entertainment system in the car (DVD player) with headphones for the kids is invaluable.

12. I realized how fortunate I am to have in-laws who I love so much.

13. I learned how exhilarating (and how hard) it is to run in single-digit temps on a snow-packed trail at 7,000 feet elevation.

trail leading into downtown Park City

14. I learned (again) how beautiful, big and wide-open Oregon, Idaho and Utah are as we drove through them.
somewhere near the Idaho/Utah border

15. I learned the speed limit in Utah is 80mph.

16. I realized how much I wish my sister-in-law and her family lived closer to us.

riding the cabriolet up to the mountain

17. I learned (again) that I may have a little bit of crazy in me as I like nothing better than waking up and attacking the day. Thankfully, this trait is shared by my husband. 

18. I learned where my husband got his competitive streak as I witnessed one of his parents (who will not be named but let's just say it wasn't his mom) cheating in a board game by writing down a word well after the buzzer sounded. This is when he was playing against his own grandchildren in a friendly game of Scattegories.

19. I learned what an investment my parents made in me by teaching me to ski at such an early age. It is physically back-breaking work to stand over your 3 year-old and help them down the mountain but it is so worth it for them to learn as a child.

20. And, finally, I learned all beers are not created equal. This one was consumed in front of the fire pit on the base of the mountain on New Year's Eve after a hard day of skiing. It was my last beer of 2013 and was the perfect end to a great year.

Deschutes River Ale

Did you go anywhere over the holidays? Do you ski or have another sport that you love? 

- Kristen


  1. I am always inspired by your commitment to live life to the fullest...all the time.

    1. Thanks, Rick. You are definitely an example of someone who does the same!

  2. Love the Micky D's Christmas and New Years Day photos. I went to England for the holidays and had a great trip. I learned that I can run in cold, windy, and rainy weather even though English people (used to this) are looking at me funny!

    1. I know, so gross that we were forced to eat there twice in a week! Good for you for getting out there in the nasty weather over the holidays. And it is always a good thing to have people look at you funny, right?! At least, that is what I tell myself. :)

  3. It looks like it was an awesome trip! Your kids are so cute! 12 hours with 3 kids is brave ina car. I love snow boarding but ive not been since before my kids were born. In good time I'll be able to go again I hope. Your daughter was such a cute newborn.

    1. Yeah, in hindsight I think flying would have been a much better choice. But the cost of five plane tickets and a week's car rental was sufficiently high that we decided to drive. I used to snow board, too! Hope you are enjoying the summer where you are. So jealous!

  4. What an amazing trip this sounds and what gorgeous looking children you have (and you and your husband are gorgeous as well!). I LOVE LOVE LOVE skiing (am heading to France in February) and agree on just about all of this! Have I told you lately how I can't wait to see you in April? Happy training xx

    1. Hi Petra!! Thanks for the sweet words. We should go skiing sometime together! :) I hope your training is going well, too. Can't believe you are doing an IRONMAN. You are a beast! xoxo

  5. I am an utter disaster on skis. (Admittedly, I've only tried about three times....my parents invested in me for a lot of things...skiing wasn't one.) I've decided that I prefer the chilly runs, then snuggling in front of the fire with hot chocolate and good book, and making the dinner reservations, and waiting for everyone else to come back from the slopes. I love most kinds of outdoor adventure, but am totally OK sitting out the skiing! :)

    Glad you guys had a blast, though - man, your photos are GORGEOUS!

    1. Chilly runs followed by snuggling in front of a fire with hot chocolate and a good book does sound heavenly, I will admit! I think skiing is one of those things that is just so much easier to learn as a young child. I'm sure I would be a disaster if I were trying to learn now!

      Hope all is well - I need to go catch up on your blog!

  6. I can imagine the craziness of having a baby that close to Christmas. I had mine on the 22nd and it was nice to be home on Christmas and have everyone come visit us. Of course I didn't host anything.. I just laid on the sofa. hahaha. McDonalds really gets a bad rap. :) It's not that bad. :D Unless it's where you have to have a holiday dinner.

    Having family close by is wonderful. I wish you could have the SIL closer. Mine is here this year (military) and we are enjoying every second we have with them before they go back to Alaska.

    What a great post. I am sorry I missed it when you first posted it, but i sure love your writing!