Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Annual Tree Trek

This year's Christmas tree trek took place a day or two earlier than our usual ritual. We went scouting for a tree in Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest the same day that we returned from New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest, where we spend Thanksgiving with my family.

Unlike my dad, who can get a tree permit and go cut his tree practically down the road on national forest land, we have to drive about 25 miles to reach our national forest.

We started off across the river from the access road where we park since Tom had seen a good tree there last year. The girls were thrilled to cross the river with Dad's help.

Unfortunately, the tree that looked good last year, did not look so good this year. We had to keep on looking. You would think that there would be a ton of possibilities for Christmas trees in the forest, but once you start looking, you see why most people get a tree that's grown on a tree farm.

Pickings were looking slim, daylight was fading, and Julia was fading, too. All this driving and we're not going to find a tree today, I thought. Then Tom and Ava motioned for Julia and I to come up a hillside. We bushwacked our way to them and there was our tree. Sweet and dainty.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Double Session

It took me a while to recover from last weekend's fit family adventures. For me, it started out with a 10-mile solo run. I couldn't get myself up to join my friends at 7:30 a.m. so waited until 10 a.m. when it was bright, sunny and warm. The solitude and warmth reminded me of spring training for last year's Vermont City Marathon.

In the afternoon, we had planned that Tom would take Ava on the Stowe Bike Path. She would bike while he roller skied. But Julia wanted to go too. She has not taken to biking much and the roundtrip would be 10 miles, so it was up to me and the tag-along to include Julia.

I had trouble keeping up with Tom and Ava. The many narrow bridges slowed me down. Plus, my attire was poorly chosen. I wore yoga pants that were too wide at the bottom and they kept getting pulled in by my chain guard. Fortunately, it was mild enough that I finally rolled the pants up above my knees.

I hadn't been on the bike in a while so my bum was sore and my shoulders, too, but I was proud of getting in two 10-mile activities and for getting out as a whole family even if Julia wasn't always pedaling.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Ski

When the mountaintops become snowy in the fall, my family gets thinking about ski season. My husband, especially, likes to go in search of skiing. The search takes place at Mt. Mansfield and hiking is usually required.

After watching her dad get dressed in ski clothes and disappear for a few hours, our six-year-old asked if she could go skiing, too. I think it intrigued her to think of skiing when our yard was still all green.

We explained that we'd have to hike to get up to snow, but Ava was up for the task. We arranged for a play date for our four-year-old and off went Mom, Dad, and Ava.

Ava was running around in circles in the ski area parking lot. She was excited and invigorated by the cold air. About five steps up the ski slope she asked how far it would be to snow. About a minute after that she said that her legs hurt because it was so steep. Then she asked how far again. And, when are we going to eat? So, we chatted and answered questions for a half mile or so until we reached the snow. Then the world transformed into a winter wonderland.

The snow stuck to the bottom of my skis at first and Ava's binding kept undoing itself. It wasn't perfect skiing, but it was a gorgeous day. The sun was out. There was no wind or precipitation. Even though we stopped a lot, we did not get cold.

When we saw our friends coming down, Ava got really excited. She zoomed up to meet them. Then, when we turned around, she skied between Daddy's legs as the cover was unpredictable for coming downhill.

Ava has chosen the experience for what she will talk about at school tomorrow for her Share Day. I'd say that means she was proud of her ski adventure.