Isaac was hired last-minute to photograph Hidden Meadow Ranch and an ASU event being held there this weekend. In addition to his rate, he was given a couple nights' stay at nearby Greer Lodge and some giftcards to cover all meals, family included. So, a two bedroom cabin, New York strip steak and halibut for dinner, omelets for breakfast and a blanket of snow to roll around in? We're there!
Friday was a flurry of get-up-and-pack-as-fast-as-you-can-or-Isaac's-leaving- anyway, followed by about four hours on the road, which I happily spent paper-piecing a grandmother's flower garden quilt that I hadn't touched for three years. It was the only project that was ready to go at a moment's notice -- and, I had to have a project.
We arrived at the ranch two hours before sundown, layered on random warm-things we'd tossed in the car and sploshed out into the mud and snow. Charlotte and I visited the horses while Elijah rolled around on the ground, collected icicles and tried out his sled on flat ground. Isaac went to work.
The next day, Saturday, the kids and I were car-less, so we played in the snow (which Charlotte called "snowman" no matter how many times I corrected her, "It's snow, sweetie"). We dined at the lodge and enjoyed a many-hours snuggle: Elijah read Bridge to Terabithia out loud while I stitched away on tiny hexagons. Charlotte jumped and stirred about before curling up in the closet for a nap.
But, yesterday was the the best. We loaded up the car, loaded up on breakfast and took a short drive to sledding wonderland. Sledding Wonderland! Not just one great sledding hill, but layers and layers of great sledding hills, one on top of the other. Some crowded, some quiet. Ramps, bumps, straight, curvy. Icy-slick or deep & fluffy. Have your pick.
As the designated baby-escort, I figured my time in the snow would be short. Isaac set right to work on a Charlotte-sized snowman and Elijah tore off on a maiden voyage with his Christmas sled. It took Charlotte a few minutes to establish the lay of the land, but it wasn't long before she was throwing snowballs and sliding down hills on her bum. After a few turns on Elijah's sled, there was no holding her back. She found herself a plastic disk with handles to borrow and took many rides down the big hill on her own -- barely two years old! And, if you're nervous, like I was, I'll add that she didn't go nearly as fast as the others. She doesn't weigh that much.
Three hours later, we hugged the snowman goodbye, packed up the snow gear and headed back down the road toward home: more paper-piecing, a John Grisham book on CD and The Incredibles on portable DVD (with headphones) for the kids. Ah, vacation -- an embarrassingly rare treat.