Skiing with Hilaramis

February 13th, 2009 by Christy

One of our nicknames for Aramis is Hilaramis, because he is always saying or doing the funniest things. This week’s ski trip has been no exception. Here are some of the highlights:

We watched “The Sound of Music” last week and the kids have been singing the songs ever since. One night we were driving around Avon and Aramis was singing with great force “When… you… know… the… notes… to… sing…, you… can… sing… most… an-y-thing!” Only he wasn’t hitting the notes. Any of them. But what he lacks in tonality he makes up for with enthusiasm. The effect was hysterical and Dave and I shared a good chuckle over it.

We’ve worked out a great system on this trip where I ski with the three older kids for a few hours in the morning, then Dave skis fast and furious on his own for a couple of hours, then Dave and Emma and sometimes Atticus ski together the last couple of hours ’til it’s quittin’ time. Aramis and I ski at approximately the same level, only he likes going faster than I do, except in the flat parts where he needs to go fast. We have been working on a slingshot move where, when he gets stopped or is going too slow in a flat part, I ski up beside him, stick one of my poles in his belly, he grabs on and I sling him forward while he yells “Slingshot!” This works out great most of the time, but today we tried the move on our last run with surprising results. I had taken the straps off my poles to help Aramis up from a tumble in the powder and decided not to put them back on since we were almost done, and when he was stuck a short while later, I attempted the slingshot move, but I was going a little fast and the pole came out of my hand. The result was that I kept going and Aramis stayed standing still, each up us holding one of my poles and looking bewildered. This had us laughing for a good while. It’s a bit of the blind leading the blind when I’m in charge.

It snowed last night so today was our first good powder day. But when you’re 5 years old good powder can have its drawbacks. Like it comes up to your knees and makes it harder to ski and easier to fall. But Aramis didn’t seem to mind, in fact he found it amusing that his skis kept getting “dirty” (piled high with snow). He did fall more, but he took it with his usual good humor, and even expressed a preference for skiing in the deeper stuff. We were on one trail where we passed a snow cat on its way up grooming the trails and I pointed out to the kids that we now had the choice between the fresh powder and the freshly groomed trail. Emma shouted, “We want powder!” and Aramis echoed her sentiment with gusto. On one such trail he lost his balance and pitched forward, but managed to catch himself and was skiing for a few moments bent over, hands on skis, helmet gliding along in the snow, and then righted himself without falling over or even slowing down. We laughed all day about Aramis skiing on his head.

One of Aramis’s spills took place in a spot where the rest of us had made a sharp turn, so Emma and I were a bit ahead of and below Aramis, and Atticus was even further ahead of us. Aramis lost a ski in this particular fall, so we were all waiting a good while for him to get going again. He finally gave up and decided to come to us. He picked up his ski and half skied, half walked down to where Emma and I were watching him. The site of him trudging/skiing while carrying his ski was enough to start us giggling. We cleaned off his boot and got him put back together, and the moment his boot snapped into his binding he gave Emma a little wave and said, “Out of my way, Emma!” He was ready to go!

Aramis has always been a chatty kid, very talkative, even to himself. He is also very expressive when talking, he makes lots of hand gestures. Anyone who has spent a lot time with him knows this. I realized this week that he talks while skiing. Nonstop. I think he has taken to skiing so intuitively that he’s not really thinking about what he’s doing, he’s just entertaining himself. I first realized he was talking because I kept hearing his voice, but then it struck me that he was doing it without ceasing because he kept gesturing and bobbing his head from side to side. Who knows what kinds of conversations that kid is having all the way down the mountain? I’m sure they are amusing, as just knowing that he’s doing it is amusing in itself.

Emma is officially the second best skier in our family, closing fast on Dave. She leads the pack most of the time when I’m skiing with the kids, she loves jumps and skiing through trees and going very fast. She gets a little bored and frustrated when skiing with Aramis and me because we slow her down, but she’s a trooper as always, and is quick to help anyone out who gets into trouble.

Atticus is slightly behind Emma in skill, but he makes up for it with a daredevil’s spirit. He likes jumps too, but he can rarely see where he’s going to come out, and he doesn’t seem to worry too much about it. I’ve seen him shoot out right in front of an approaching snowmobile, and with Dave and Emma he took a jump which landed him about 6 feet straight down, right under a boundary rope. When he gets bored with the slower pace I see him doing nutty stuff like skiing on one foot, with the other lifted out to the side. Crazy kid!

One thing is for sure, we are having a lot of laughs!

That boy sure is a walkin’ fool!

February 13th, 2009 by Dave

Eragon’s doctor had informed us that it might take several weeks before he would start walking again, but that one day something will click and he will just start walking all the time. Well, we’ve hit that point and, boy, is he walking. It started a couple of days ago, as Christy mentioned in her earlier post, but today he took it to a whole new level. While the older kids were tubing today, I took Eragon over to the patio seating of the nearby cafe. He then proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes or so rearranging the chairs. He pushed them all over the place. Then he started getting cold and wanted a drink, so I told him we’d go get some hot chocolate. The Starbucks was only about 100 ft. away, but he walked all the way there. When Christy and the other kids showed up later on, he was raring to go outside walking again. So I bundled him up and we went walking outside while the rest of the kids finished their hot chocolates.

Christy and the older kids all decided to go ice skating again. As they were skating around the rink, he decided he wanted to see the Lego car again that was on display. So we walked down to the end of the courtyard to see it. On the way back, he asked “Can I walk backwards?” I had to have him repeat the question to make sure I actually understood, and as soon as I said yes he turned around and started walking backwards!!! He enjoyed walking backwards so much that he did it several more times.

He reminds me of the scene from Forrest Gump where the old men on the corner say of Forrest, “That boy sure is a runnin’ fool!” Well, we have our own walkin’ fool, and it is a good sight to behold.

A Well-Oiled Machine

February 11th, 2009 by Christy

Today was the third day of our annual February weeklong ski vacation, this one at Beaver Creek, and we have had BIG fun! We are staying in a condo a short drive from the slopes, and our routine today worked out like this…

The 3 older kids and I started skiing in the morning, Dave dropped us off just a few feet from the lift and returned to the condo to play with Eragon. We took the first lift from the drop-off point to a second lift which took us to the top of the mountain. The first lift goes up and down over ridges and roads and feels a bit like a roller coaster. On the first steep descent we were all yelling “aaaaaahhhhh!” in mock terror and when we stopped Aramis (who looks amusingly like young Anakin from Episode I) yelled, “Now THIS is pod racing!” That kid couldn’t be funnier if he tried!

We had a blast skiing for a couple of hours. Emma was in the lead because she knows the place better than any of us at this point. She took us on some fun and beautiful runs, and we had a great time doing small jumps, skiing through sparse trees, even tackling a couple of blues. We were headed down to the bottom to ride the roller-coaster lift once more before calling Dave to pick us up when Atticus had a big wipeout in which he bent one of his ski poles. By the time we got to the bottom he wanted to take a break, so we called Dave and he came and picked up Atticus and Aramis. Emma and I decided to stay and ski some more and agreed to meet Dave at 12:30. Once more Emma took the lead and we really had some fun, her skiing fast and doing lots of jumps and trees, and me trying my best to keep up with her. She did get me on one blue that was pretty steep, but in all we just cruised along. Beaver Creek has some neat wooden bridges that you ski over and under, a unique feature in my ski travels so far.

We met Dave at 12:30 and switched places–he took off to ski for a while on his own while I took the kids back to the condo for lunch. We agreed to meet again at 2 pm when Emma would rejoin him for the last runs of the day. When I dropped Emma off again, I told Dave that there would be freshly baked chocolate chip cookies served at the base of one of the lifts at 3 pm, and we agreed that we’d all meet up at around 4 pm for the kids to do some tubing which the resort sets up a couple of times a week. Dave and Emma explored some new areas of the mountain, took advantage of the complimentary cookies, and at the end of the day Dave declared that Emma is a real pro skier now.

The kids loved the tubing, each taking 3 runs, and then we set out to explore the village. We stopped at a Starbucks for the most exorbitantly priced warm drinks we’ve ever had, then Dave showed us a full-sized Lego car he had spotted on his first trip to BC. The village is gorgeous, all soaring stone and wood buildings, filled with trees covered in lights. It is magical. The kids spotted an ice skating rink and asked if we could try it out, so the big kids and I rented skates and started spinning around the rink. Well, not really. Emma has skated a handful of times in her life, mostly when we’ve been on ski trips, and she’s still pretty unsteady. Atticus took to it well, but he fell quite a bit. Aramis mostly pulled himself around the rink along the rail, and I skated around and around to each of them in turn, helping how I could. I’m not much of an ice skater, but I was pretty good on roller skates in Jr. High and I’ve rollerbladed quite a bit since college, so that makes me the most qualified instructor in our family. Despite their lack of proficiency, the kids really enjoyed it and didn’t want to leave, so I expect we’ll return again this week. I mentioned the possibility of taking ice skating lessons when we return home and they were all pretty excited about that idea.

It was a very full and fun day for all of us. Eragon has been spending his time at the condo working on walking, and he’s getting around very well. He has even resumed one of his favorite old games–when I fill up his sippy cup with milk he likes to grab the lid and run away with it and laugh and hide from me. He is doing this now in the condo, and he can get away from me pretty fast! He’s still a little stiff, but he’s doing great. And he’s insisting on walking all by himself as much as he can while we’re out. It’s wonderful to see him mobile again!

That’s no bueno!

February 10th, 2009 by Dave

This morning while driving the family to the slopes, I missed a turn at a roundabout and exclaimed “oh no, I missed my turn!” to which Eragon, without missing a beat and in his cute 3-year old voice, shouted out in proper context “that no bane-o!”

That kid is just too cute sometimes.

Getting there…

January 28th, 2009 by Christy

Eragon got his cast off one week and one day ago. He has enjoyed a couple of nice long baths, and he started crawling about 48 hours after the cast came off. He has been pulling up on the couch, and can crawl up on things pretty easily. Crawling down is a bit of a challenge. It’s funny to see him re-doing all the baby steps, crawling, cruising, walking while holding our hands (just a few steps at a time, very tenuously), and once he’s walking well, we’ll go back and do the potty training again. So much for thinking we were leaving the baby stages behind! But he still takes everything in stride with his amazing good humor. We cherish the small moments, like being able to tickle him and hold him close and watch him splash around in the tub, grateful for his healing.

Dragon Cars Rule!

January 24th, 2009 by Dave

Atticus’ Boy Scout Pack had their annual Pinewood Derby contest today. Atticus took 1st place in his Wolf division, and did so by easily winning each race that his car was in.

Way to go Atticus!!!

The first place finish in his division qualified him to compete in the finals later in the day. All of the cars in the finals were very fast and he ended up tying for 4th place overall.

Here is his completed “dragon” car. Atticus really focused on making the car simple and fast this year, eschewing any accessories that might cause it to be less aerodynamic. His choices really paid off this year as his car was consistently fast. He picked out the fire skin, dragon decals, and exhaust pipes when Mom took him to Hobby Lobby earlier in the week. While looking at the myriad of possible accessories, he kept telling her that he didn’t want such and such accessories because they might slow the car down. He clearly took the lessons from last year’s losses (despite winning Best of Show) to heart.


The pack leader setting up one of the races in which
Atticus’ car is competing (Lane 2)


The Wolf pack winners displaying their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals.
Atticus won 1st place!!!

No cast!

January 20th, 2009 by Dave

Eragon’s X-rays looked good today, so they took off his cast. Yay! He won’t be walking for a while until he gets used to using his leg again. It’s obviously a little tender and strange for him. He did try crawling briefly, but wasn’t able to yet. Here are some pics of him without the cast and after getting all cleaned up with his first real bath in six weeks. He’s also excited that he gets to wear pants again.



Anticipation

January 19th, 2009 by Christy

Eragon has an appointment tomorrow, well not AN appointment, THE appointment, to see if his leg is healed enough to take his cast off. We are trying to be very low-key about it just in case the doctor says he needs to have it on longer, but it’s hard not to be somewhat excited about the possibility of it coming off. It was originally supposed to be on for 5 weeks, but because of the doc’s availability tomorrow will be 6 weeks and one day. We are hopeful!

Eragon has been an incredible trooper. He barely seemed bothered by the cast (after the initial pain and frustration wore off) until last week, when he started getting pretty restless. He will sometimes struggle to push himself up into a sitting position and say “I’m not sitting up!” I’m sure he would love to bend his body at a right angle. And he has gotten through this ordeal mostly on Dora episodes and playing with Little People, with other activities sprinkled in, but these days he’ll occasionally blurt out, “I’m done watchin’ Dora!” We have wondered if he would have Dora withdrawals when he can move about. The rest of us certainly won’t!

We are planning a big “cast-off” party when it does come off, starting with a nice long bubble bath, courtesy of Aunt Cathy. We’ll definitely post the good news when it happens, so in the meantime, prayers for a full recovery are much appreciated!

Our “Best of 2008” photos updated

December 31st, 2008 by Dave

I’m almost done rating and tagging all of our 2008 photos, so our “Best of 2008” photo gallery should be close to finalized. Go to http://gallery.me.com/dpond.

The bad of skiing on a great day during the holidays

December 30th, 2008 by Dave

I took Emma and Atticus skiing yesterday at Breckenridge. We thought we’d give it a try since we hadn’t been able to ski as often as we wanted due to Eragon’s mishap, and the weather was perfect (sunny skies, high 30s/low 40s temp, mild wind). Despite our efforts to leave early enough to get there in time for the lifts to open, we were stymied right out of the gate by a wrecker clearing up an accident less than 10 miles from our home. That put us behind on our trip. When we did arrive at Breckenridge, we drove right up within about 100 yards of the entrance to the parking area. And then we proceeded to inch forward for the next 45 minutes before we were actually able to park. Then we spent another 45 minutes or so in line waiting to board the gondola. Then the lift lines were insanely long. In all, it took over two hours from the time we parked our car until we were actually skiing. We probably spent a total of 4 hours of the day standing in lift lines. No joke. Fortunately, what skiing we did manage to squeeze in was great, hitting both Peaks 8 and 9. And the kids have a new favorite spot going through the “mineshaft” on Peak 9.

Emma and Atticus at the top of Lift 5 at Breckenridge


Emma and Atticus at the top of Lift 5