I'm a winner

How many people do you know who have won an all expense paid trip to Niehart, Montana? Probably just one--me.

"Where is Niehart?" you ask.

Why, it's about 100 miles north of Livingston. Past White Sulfur Springs, but before you get to Great Falls. It's about eight miles beyond Kings Hill Pass, the highest pass in Montana that is kept open all winter. If Kings Hill Pass sounds familiar, it's because we stayed at the Kings Hill cabin last year. (Or because you know your Montana locations.)

Thanks to Visit Montana and their "Get Lost in Montana!" campaign, we were treated to two rooms (one night) at Bob's Motel, dinner for four and four lift tickets to Showdown ski area. They were requesting people write about their favorite ski run. I did and I won. It's just a few sentences; obviously not than many people enter. Clearly it was too much for one small family, so we invited Brooke, Peter and Matine along to join in the fun.

Day One

We stopped in White Sulfur for a soak at the Spa Hotel. I think it is impossible for us to drive through this small town without a stop at the hot springs. Then lunch and on to Niehart.

Peter and Brooke in White Sulfur Springs. So cute.

The chaos that is the family photo.

The INconvenience store in Niehart.

Bob's is the place to stay. Unfortunately, we did not see this band.

After checking out the motel (note: request rooms that are not behind the hot tub) we donned our cross-country ski gear and drove a few miles to the Silvercrest Ski Trails. Brooke and Peter are nicer to their dogs than we are and took off on a snowmobile track. We left ours in the truck and kicked and glided along the no-dogs-allowed groomed ski trails.

Anders skied about 1.5 miles with me while Henry hit the hills hard, then I packed up Finn and got a bit of exercise. I can't believe how much Anders will ski. This bodes well for future winter fun.

One of my favorite things Anders said this weekend, and there were many, happened while we were cruising down a hill. He was standing between my skis while I held him up and said, "this is just like riding a unicorn--it's so fast."

Henry, Anders and Finn set off on the trail.

Anders would rather hug than sit for a photo.

Down for the count.

After skiing, it was back to the hotel for dinner, blowing bubbles, art and sleep.

Day Two

We got up early and were at the ski hill when it opened. That's not true at all. We dawdled around the rooms, packed up, walked dogs etc before driving up the hill to Showdown where we promptly sat around for a while eating breakfast.

She's ready.

Showdown Montana, my new favorite ski area.

I haven't downhill skied since high school and I was pretty terrible then. I've Telemark skied a bit, but I'm not much better with those boards. Still, I rented skis and hit the slopes. The bunny slope, that is.

Anders and I rode the Magic Carpet and practiced skiing down the almost imperceptible hill. Brooke used to teach skiing to kids, so she helped Anders, which was a huge help. Then I took Finn for a run (Henry didn't ski, but rather staffed the camera and hung out with whatever kid wasn't skiing). After a handful of runs on the bunny slope, Anders wanted to ride the chairlift.

Peter, Finn, Melynda, Brooke and Anders wait in line for the Magic Carpet. The kids loved riding that thing.

Anders on the Magic Carpet.

Finn rides the Magic Carpet.

Henry hoofs it up the hill to help Finn. Who needs skis to ski?

Yes, I am wearing a helmet on the baby hill. I want to set a good example for my kids. Plus, there were some reckless munchkins on the loose.

Anders gets a lesson from Brooke.

Matine got to ride in the backpack.

Happy, happy Finn.

In our kids' minds, skiing is just something you do to get down the hill so you can ride the lift again. Anders was enamored with the lift. He kept saying how beautiful the mountain was (be still my heart!) and how he had never been that high up, except for in an airplane.

Anders is psyched to be on the chairlift.

At the top of the hill, ready for the big ski down.

He did pretty well at first, with Brooke's assistance. When it all got to be too much I let him ski between my skis while I held him up. My back was killing me, but I wanted to win the "good mom" award, so I kept going.

Of course, Finn had to take a ride on the lift, so we went up next. He loved riding, too. I had to bend down even farther to keep him up, so I am expecting my award any day now.

There were a few more laps on the magic carpet before we drove home. Finn slept the whole way and the rest of us listened to Dr. Suess books. We had such a fun time skiing; I hope we can figure out a way to go again this winter. Let me know if you hear of any contests...

A bison spotted outside the cafeteria.

You can see Brooke's photos here (some of these I stole from her website and FB page. Thanks, Brooke!)

Permalink 03/15/11 08:29:55 pm, by Mel Email , 920 words, Categories: Montana, Cross-Country Skiing, Sleep, Things to Do, Seasons, Anders, Family, Finn , 2 comments »Send a trackback »

Sick days

Last weekend Henry was deep in Yellowstone while the boys and I hung out at home. Unfortunately, the boys got pretty sick. Just colds, but bad colds with fevers. Colds that made us stay in the house all day for three days.

We read a whole bunch of books, including:
Image from Amazon
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle

Then we picked a picture from the book

Eric Carle bear.

and tried to make something similar.

Anders bear.

Then we gathered up a bunch of recyclables to make sculptures. Anders wanted to make a horse, so of course, Finn wanted to make a horse, too.

Recycled sculpture horse

Anders complies with my request to stand next to his horse for a picture.

Finn agreed to a picture after first refusing for ten minutes.

Then they were so tired that they went to sleep on their own. Finn is a known napper, but the fact that Anders went to sleep on the couch by himself shows how poorly he felt.

We are all feeling better now and I hope there are no more inside-only weekends in our (near) future. I missed the cold air.

Permalink 03/02/11 09:43:57 pm, by Mel Email , 198 words, Categories: Anders, Finn , 2 comments »Send a trackback »

Park play

Last week the boys were sick. Finn had RSV and conjunctivitis (that's pink eye). Then Anders got a cold; probably a slightly less serious version of Finn's ailment.

After several days in the house, we were ready to get some fresh air.

It was crazy windy in Livingston. Sustained winds of 60 mph and gusts of 80 mph. Windy. Too windy to go outside without risking having a kid blow to Big Timber. So, we drove over the hill to Bozeman, where the sky was blue and a mere breeze mussed our hair.

Ready for the playground.

Waiting for mom.

There is some great art at Bogert Park.

Finn LOVES the swing.

And now some photos by Anders...

Permalink 02/19/11 12:34:39 am, by Mel Email , 116 words, Categories: Anders, Family, Finn , Leave a comment »Send a trackback »

Transformation

Our horses, Sage and Cactus, have turned into unicorns.

Their new names are Sagicorn and Penelope (pronounced "penn-a-lope").

Permalink 02/18/11 12:23:38 am, by Mel Email , 18 words, Categories: Anders, Family, Finn , Leave a comment »Send a trackback »

Butt-up and adorable

I'm not going to lie--having babies around the house was hard. Anders cried for over a year and never slept. Finn was also tough, until we stripped him of his tonsils and adenoids and put tubes in his ears.

We love our boys, but aren't huge fans of babies.

But, when I walk into our bedroom and I see Finn butt-up on the bed, I kind of miss his baby-ness.

I'm glad he still does baby stuff from time to time.

Permalink 02/17/11 12:22:52 am, by Mel Email , 81 words, Categories: Finn , 1 comment »Send a trackback »

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