Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Girls' Weekend

l-r: Mom, Rosalind (holding Adelaide), Elise, Mary Beth, me, Ruth

Way back in July, my amazing family surprised me with a plane ticket out to Park City and a plan for a girls weekend! I am the oldest of five sisters (no boys) and over the past few years I've been a bit sad about the fact that all of my sisters live within 40 minutes of each other whereas I am a looong 22 hours in the car away (I am lucky enough to live just a few hours from my parents, but my mom has been spending the last few months living with one of my sisters helping out with her newborn while her husband is deployed AND she is going to school full-time). So you can imagine my excitement when they told me that we were spending a weekend at a gorgeous condo (which Ruth had tracked down--such an awesome choice!!) and that Neil had cleared his schedule to hang out at home with our children!!


So last Wednesday evening I found myself on a plane heading west! I did cry a few (okay a lot) of tears leaving my little family, but I was SOOOO excited to see my mom & sisters!

My sisters Mary Beth & Elise (#2 and #4) picked me up from the airport and I spent the night at Mary Beth's. Mary Beth and I shared a room most of the years we were growing up and it was fun to lie there in the dark talking again...although fortunately I've outgrown the tendency to hide under her bed and grab her ankles when she gets up for a drink of water! (I did remind her of that and she told me good luck squeezing under her bed and that if I was indeed successful that I'd find a lot of rabbit fur there from her cute bunny Hazel.)

The next day Elise and I got up SUPER early and went to the Draper temple together while Mary Beth packed up. It was the first time we'd gone to the temple together (with the exception of Elise's wedding last summer, but we weren't really hanging out chatting then! This time we were able to go to the celestial room before we left and talk quietly for half an hour or so--it was wonderful!)

Elise and I had a very gourmet (but delicious!) breakfast of 7-11 hot chocolate and donuts on our way home (my sisters live in the same apartment complex) and then the three of us headed up the canyon to Park City.

My mom & other two sisters were joining us later that evening, so we had a few things on our itinerary until we could check into the condo. First things first--horseback riding! Total bucket list thing for me--I've ridden my fair share (we had a pony when I was a kid and I had a couple of good friends with horses growing up) but I have never done a trail ride through the mountains in the fall. Lots of TripAdvisor research led me to one particular stable that had great reviews, especially for one particular trail guide, who turned out to be absolutely fantastic! 

 Mary Beth & I busied ourselves with the very important business of taking selfies whilst hanging on to the corral bars and pretending like we were in some sort of updated-to-2014 Louis L'Amour novel...
This might be my favorite photo from the entire weekend. Elise's horse was HUGE--we found out later that he was half draft horse--and she totally had to scramble up into the saddle, and it was quite the process! I took this photo just as she FINALLY made it into the saddle after a few false starts (his back was way taller than she is and the stirrups were about five holes too long) and I die laughing every time I look at her face.

My horse, however, was the puny one of the group. Ironic since I am the tallest of the three of us.

My sisters were laughing at me as I hopped wildly up and down trying to keep myself warm--fortunately Mary Beth was kind enough to loan me a hoodie to layer over my jacket! Couldn't fit much in my carry-on...

 I took 93 photos on our ride, but I will spare you most of them...just a few gems.

After a blissful couple of hours riding around the mountains we (bowleggedly) made our way back down and had a little picnic on a nice grassy spot. More selfies!

Then we checked into our gorgeous condo at the base of one of the ski resorts (we were literally at the base & the very closest condos to the lifts--I would LOVE to stay there in winter!) and took a few extremely glamorous shots to send to the other three ladies who were on their way up. 

 And here's the view from the hot tub...        

After we unpacked all of the groceries we decided to go exploring. We discovered that the nearby
(really ritzy) St. Regis resort had a funicular that went up the mountain and landed you near some of the hiking trails. The photo below is the view from inside the funicular.

 And a few photos from our hike.

We had dinner at a nearby cafe (absolutely outstanding; I had some divine lime salmon tacos) and hung out in the hot tub waiting for Ruth, Rosalind, and my mom to arrive.

The next morning we decided to introduce them to the wondrous funicular...

 Elise, me, & Rosalind (my youngest sister)
 I love this photo! Doesn't Rosalind look like an ad for an beautiful & adventurous mother? Her sweet three-month-old daughter Adelaide is in the front carrier.

Sadly Ruth (sister #3) and Mary Beth didn't accompany us on this particular jaunt--neither of them were feeling particularly well and so they kept each other company at the condo.

I love this photo--four versions of the same smile.

Cute baby Adelaide (and my head). I think she started screaming about 2 seconds after this photo was taken--she really liked me at first until she figured out that every time I picked her up I swaddled her, stuffed a pacifier in her mouth, and rocked her to sleep when all she REALLY wanted to do was be awake during naptime. Sorry, kiddo, your five cousins have already broken me in.

When we got back to the condo we went to downtown Park City and wandered Main Street for awhile--very fun way to spend a few hours! We had an interesting lunch that was pretty good (I had a roasted beet salad and lobster bisque) but was marred by the unfortunate appearance of a few insects that resulted in our appetizer being on the house, although none of us were really interested in it after its previous incarnation had an unwelcome fly cooked into it, but I did get this lovely photo of my mom holding Adelaide.

And we hit our quota of uncontrollable giggling in the trading post...

When we went back to the condo everyone else was kind of in a resting mood but I wasn't, so I went for a solo run up the nearby ski hill (or mountain, as Elise corrected me the next day after I convinced her to accompany me for a second trip!). It was just amazingly beautiful and I spent a lot of time thinking about how earlier this summer my foot was so badly injured that I was hobbling around on crutches, and now I was able to clamber up a series of black-diamond runs that were the site for Olympic events. I'm so grateful for the blessing of a healthy and capable body--I've had enough times in my life where I've been sidelined (hello, three pregnancies with bedrest!) that I'm just so grateful every time I can do something like this.

That night we went out for an AMAZING dinner (thanks, Mom & Dad!) where I ate about five times as much as was good for me. I was full after the awesome salad bar but proceeded to eat an 8-oz prime rib, steak fries, and a piece of flourless chocolate cake (then I went home and just laid on the floor).

So the next day I figured I better do what I could to work off that meal because I still felt like I NEVER wanted to eat again, so I talked Elise into doing the mountain climb with me and I am SO glad she said yes! We just had an awesome couple of hours talking about anything and everything, and it was a really transcendent experience.

Plus she had her phone with her so we got some pictures. :-)

This is the summit looking down on the ski lift that runs up the back side of the mountain. We looked it up later on the map and it was 2 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1,600 feet (we started about 7,000 feet up so the oxygen was considerably less than what I'm used to in my sea-level home town!).

Couldn't resist...

Some day I'm going to come back and ski this bowl. Just breathtaking.

I saw a mule deer when I ran through these woods alone the previous day, but Elise and I were a little too loud to see much wildlife. :-)

Early in the morning, sweaty, and no makeup--but we felt so alive and beautiful and strong and amazing!! This was about halfway up...can you see the parking lot down where we started?

When we got back, everyone was just about ready to start the awesome craft that Rosalind had put together--all kinds of cool Nordic/Christmas-themed embroidery patterns for napkins. It was so much fun and kept us occupied during all our downtime for the next couple of days (yep, I still hadn't bothered to take a shower).

Then we went into town for everyone to get manicures & pedicures. When we originally made the appointment I opted out, and I was still pretty insistently opting out until everyone else was almost done and my mom finally told one of the technicians that I would be getting a pedicure and told me to just accept it as a gift and let my feet be pampered a bit.

So I did (thanks again, Mom & Dad!). I am not really a pedicure kind of person so this was my first one! (I was so blissed out in this photo--foot rub AND a massage chair AND one of my favorite books? Simultaneously?!)

Then we all sat around and waited for our nails to dry and my mom tried really hard to get a nice photo of all of us and I was sort of not very helpful to that endeavor.

And dinner at a cafe overlooking the lake on our way home...Ruth and Mary Beth smiling beautifully!


All five sisters together, just before we left the cafe and went for a beautiful drive in the mountains (thanks, Ruthie, for suggesting that!).

That night we went back to the condo and watched a couple of movies back-to-back (which if you know my family and especially my mom is a big rarity--we grew up without a TV and we always tease my mom about telling us to go to bed as soon as someone suggests a movie!, but it was so fun doing that together!) while we stitched away industriously at our napkins. The next day we went to church in Park City (quite entertaining because we ended up sitting on the third row of folding chairs in the foyer!) and then went back for a lovely lunch at Elise & Paxton's apartment; Ruth's husband Jordan and darling daughter Evelyn also came up and it was SO fun to see them--sadly my iPad is not feeling like sharing those photos, which is a real bummer.

And then Mary Beth took me the airport and I said goodbye to my beloved mountains and thought how lovely it is to have a birth family that I adore, hate to leave, and can't wait to see, and a Neil & co. family that I adore, hate to leave, and can't wait to see. Lucky lucky me.

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