Friday, January 29, 2010

Let it snow Let is Snow Let it Snow

The loud music didn’t come as quite the surprise as yesterday morning's concert. The living situation has officially taken me back to my college days; numerous people sleeping on the floor, mattresses removed from beds and being used as sleds both indoors and out, loud music 24 hours a day, and hot showers a rarity.

This is what ski trips with friends are all about. By today, the new faces we first met at the airport merely 2 days earlier are now like old friends. They've seen us eating breakfast in our pajamas with bedtime hair. They’ve seen us eat snow as we toppled out of control on the mountain and swapped stories of previous ski trips and life in general. Throwing 11 people in a 3 bedroom condo brings closeness and friendship at a lightening-like pace.

The mountain we chose to ski today is the Canyons. We could have literally walked to the gondola that would take us to the mountain but we chose to drive since hauling skis and poles while walking in ski boots is not a comfortable option. The snow continued to fall hard and fast which guaranteed us fresh powder. Riding the gondola up, we could hear the avalanche bombs being shot into the mountainside. It was then we learned all the snowfall brought on a severe warning for avalanches at the top of the mountain, and some of the runs would not be open because of the danger. While this was mildly disappointing to the group, it didn’t stop us from taking the chairlift as high as we could go.

My legs groaned in protest with the first turn. The powder covered my knees as I made my way down the hill. This resort (Canyons) is more scenic than Park City, where we skied yesterday. I enjoyed the tree lined runs and scattering of mansion-like homes nestled in the woods. My body quickly learned it was going to be another brutal day on the slopes and just accepted the pain that would course through me for the next 6 hours.

With the same schedule as yesterday, I stayed with the boys for the first half of the morning. It was with our great pleasure at the top of the mountain, ski patrol decided to open a run that had been closed for the first half of the morning. The group excitedly made the first tracks of the day down the run. The snow was so incredible that even the best of our guy skiers had trouble negotiating their way through the 3 foot deep powder.

I took time out from one run to make my way to the lodge for a little quiet time. I grabbed a cup of Starbucks, took my seat at the base of the mountain, and let the snow fall quietly around me as I sipped the warm goodness. I watched people skiing down the mountain and enjoyed the silence as the snow soaked up the sounds around me. The group joined me a short time later for lunch.

The afternoon skiing with the girls proved a bit more exciting than the morning with the guys. As the day wore on, we grew tired and may not have been paying as much attention to our turns and stops as we had earlier in the day. As the three of us unloaded from the chairlift, we toppled onto one another causing a 3 person pile-up. During the pile, my boot hooked itself onto Jami’s boot. We were literally unable to disengage ourselves from one another. In the process of disengagement, my pole became lodged between Jami’s legs and she wasn’t sure if she should feel dirty or violated. Michelle’s snowboard was lying comfortably on top of me and it took a good 3 minutes of us lying in a heap laughing before we could be on our merry way.

While deciding which route to take, it may have been my bright idea to cut through a patch of trees. Little did we know at the time, this wasn’t a run, but really just a patch of trees. It was a hard run and maybe 2 out of the 3 girls ended up sliding down on their butts because it was nearly impossible to ski/board down it. Once we reached the bottom, our goggles were fogged beyond belief; we were completely exhausted, and couldn’t stop laughing.

At this point we realized the mountain had closed.  There were no other skiers around, and we were literally stuck on the mountain. We needed to take a chairlift to another portion of the mountain in order to ski down. The ski lift closed at 3:30…and it was now 4:15. Luckily, the lift guy decided to be nice and open it back up, or else it would have been a long cold night.

The guys were mildly concerned when they made it back to the vehicle and we weren’t there. They figured we would have stopped skiing hours ago, not be the last ones enjoying the powder.

Back at the condo, we decided to test out the 4 person max on the hot tub. Yes, 11 of us climbed in and found a seat. There were plenty of legs tangled up in the middle and we may have knocked a little water out onto the floor. We decided to have a quiet night playing Catch Phrase and enjoying hot cider.  A few guys took their turn skiing behind the mini-van, but that didn't last too long...

 I didn’t complain at the thought of being in my warm pajamas by 8:30pm, in front of the fireplace, playing games with my adventuresome friends. Outside, the snow continued to fall on our cozy condo nestled high in the mountains.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Vacation Begins!

My eyes flew open as Lady GaGa’s voice filled my ears. It sounded as though she was giving a live performance right in my bedroom. As my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room, I realized this wasn’t my bedroom at all. I could see snow piled high outside the window and continuing to fall from the sky at a speed that would paralyze southern Indiana towns within minutes. Ahhh….I’m on vacation in Utah and I’m about to go skiing!

Six-thirty was awfully early to be awake after catching a red eye flight, but after a shower and pancake breakfast, our group was dressed, fed and ready to head into Park City to pick up our skis. It takes a group of 11 a good chunk of time to get fitted for skis/snowboards and pick up a ski pass. By the time we rode the chairlift to the top of the mountain, I was already exhausted and my body was threatening to overheat.

Standing at the top of Park City Mountain Resort, I stared down at the fresh powder waiting to send me down the mountain. I realized that I hadn’t skied in over a year, and maybe I should have warmed up on a green before I began my decent. As it was too late to turn back now, I pointed my skis down and let the cold air surround me as I flew downward turn after turn.

With 11 people, it was easy to look around the slope and find my friends. Some flew down the hill as if they were qualifying for the Olympics. Others took their turns more cautiously and enjoyed the views from above. My thighs quickly began to burn and begged me to quit after that run.

The first half of the morning I gave my best effort at hanging with the boys. Sure I was a bit more reckless than I would normally be because I didn’t want to fall too far behind them. By the time everyone met for lunch at 1, my body was threatening to shut down and my legs were twitching in places I didn’t know were twitchable! Relaxing over lunch was good and I probably could have sat nestled in the warm lodge the rest of the day and been completely happy. But…I was there to ski, so ski is what I did.

The girls decided to go their own way during the 2nd half of the day. Our legs could handle the single blue runs as we took our time and didn’t rush ourselves down the mountain. We stopped at the top to enjoy the view of the valley below. Snow covered every patch of land, as far as the eye could see. The snow stopped falling for a few hours and allowed up to enjoy the warm sun hitting the exposed skin on our face.

Everyone met at the base of the mountain around 4:30, piled into our mini-van, and headed back to the condo. The boys began dinner while the girls showered and cleaned up. Yes, you read that correctly, the boys cooked dinner! And they had also cooked breakfast that morning as well! I could get used to this!

That evening we headed into town to enjoy the nightlife. Irish Pubs always promise a good time, so we headed into an oversized booth at Flannigans. It was here that I got to see one of my friends from years and years ago! She lives in Park City for the winter, so she gave us the scoop on where to go and what to do. A couple of Irish car bombs later, we headed to the “No Name Saloon.” The place was packed! The building was a two story rustic bar with a balcony overlooking the street. The frigid temps and falling snow kept us off the balcony, but we had a great time mingling around the bar.

Shortly after midnight, the combination of lack of sleep from the night before and exhaustion from skiing in knee deep powder all day brought us back to the condo. I climbed into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow…

Monday, January 25, 2010

And we're Off.....

I figured a recap of our trip might be a little lengthy, so I’ll do it in a couple of sections. For those that just want a quick version… The trip was Ridiculously Amazing….

Packing for a trip generates a kind of excitement like no other, especially if it is a trip that includes heading west to the mountains. As I laid down in bed the night before we departed, I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. The excitement of adventure was close enough for me to grasp but just a bit out of reach. I could barely sleep as I envisioned what the winter resort would look like, how much powder would be on the mountain, what ridiculous shenanigans our friends would get into, and if I was still the ski bunny I used to be.

We drove to Louisville to catch our flight. Scott and I were smart enough to share a checked bag, which ended up in a $40 savings. I had my coffee in hand and good spirits were plentiful. At the airport we met up with our group, in total, there were 11 of us. A few faces were new, others we had taken ski adventures with previously.

As we sat in the airport waiting for our departure, the airport was quickly filling up with families carrying red, white and blue balloons, and homemade signs. The signs said a variety of things from “Welcome Home” to “You’re family loves you.” As a stroller was rolled into view and cries of excitement reached my ears, I realized that orphans from Haiti were being brought home to their new families. As I caught a glimpse into one of the strollers and saw a tiny figure staring out wide eyed, tears quickly sprang to my eyes. Luckily, this tiny person will have no memory of the horror it has left behind. And what amazing fortune that this child will have a new life in this country with a loving family. With a heart that was suddenly mixed with a bit of sad for those that won’t see the same luck as this little baby, I boarded our first flight to Dallas.

The sky was pitch black as we reached our cruising altitude. Scott picked up his book and I stared out the window into the night sky. It was a cloudy evening and the captain announced we were headed into a storm. I watched as the lightening bolts grew closer and wondered exactly what would happen if our plane got hit by one of those bright jagged bolts. The clouds erupted with bolt after bolt as far as the eye could see. It was both a neat image as well as a bit eerie.

As we walked through the terminal in Dallas we learned our flight to SLC was going to be delayed due to the weather. Eleven disappointed passengers settled into our chairs to wait it out. At this point our group noticed a smaller group of passengers keeping to themselves in the corner. The women were dressed in what appeared to be multiple layers of scarves that looked worn and tattered. The men were in clothes to large for their stick like frames. Our group realized that these were some of the Haitians that the news had reported were making their way to families and friends in the U.S. They looked tired and kept to themselves. I wanted to buy them a sandwich, but all the airport restaurants were closed (it was well past 10pm). I wanted to talk to them but was torn. I didn’t even know if they spoke English? If I were in the same situation, would I want someone coming to talk to me?

The group stopping for a pre-flight beverage

I had never been pulled by so many emotions while sitting in the airport. I felt guilty that here I was taking a vacation with friends while these people sat a few feet away that carried everything they owned on their backs. I need to find a way to help those that are less fortunate. I may not be able to help the people of Haiti, but I will find a way to give back to others. Consider that my resolution for 2010.

We finally got called to board our flight. Our tired group took our seats and discussed plans for the following day. As we sailed through the night sky, a hot pink shape stared back at me from beyond the window. As I cocked my head trying to figure out what the heck it was, Scott said behind me, “Look at the moon.” It was just the bottom sliver of the moon, brighter pink than I had ever seen. I felt like the night was smiling at me. I wish my camera hadn’t been nestled safely out of my reach because it would have been an amazing picture.

As we landed in Salt Lake, our group rejoiced as the snow was literally being dumped from the heavens above. As we piled into our rental mini-van, we headed toward Park City. By the time we got to our condo and figured out who was sleeping where, it was 2:30. While being very excited to hit the slopes bright and early the next day, I knew that alarm at 6:30 was going to come way to fast…

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All my bags are packed I'm ready to go....

Leaving in 4 minutes to go make fat tracks in some fresh powder in Park City, Utah!!!!!!  Maybe I'll catch a flick at the Sundance Film Festival....

Weather Forcast;


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ups and Downs

As mentioned previously, the wedding planning is going fabulously. That being said don’t think the planning hasn’t caused a head scratch or two. Let’s talk about lodging…

The family and I will spend the week of the wedding in Jackson, WY. Naturally, we don’t want to stay in a hotel that entire time because who wants to eat out for every meal. So, we began the process of looking at condos. Out of the Heavens appeared a place that looked perfect. The price was good, the pictures were fabulous, and it appeared to be open on the dates we need. The condo was actually the penthouse of a resort in the middle of the town of Jackson. It was with great excitement that I called the rental property company and left a very excited message.

I learned early on in the wedding planning process, that customer service may not be what it used to be. I wasn’t surprised when the company didn’t call me back that day, but after 3 days passed…I began to get a little agitated. Wouldn’t a company want to rent their property and make a little money?? I called someone in town that I thought could shine some light on the mysterious rental property. Shine some light she did! The place isn’t even built yet!!! Apparently they started it last year with the intention of completing, but with the economy the way it is, the building process stopped quicker than a Toyota at a red light! Back to the drawling board I went….

While the hunt for lodging is still underway, there have been some extremely wonderful developments in other areas. Let’s talk about music….

Scott and I bonded years ago over our love of music. There isn’t a particular type or style we like, we just love music. As our hunt for a band to play on our wedding day got underway, we quickly realized that bands in Jackson aren’t cheap. It was mildly discouraging that a group of 4-5 people would expect so many thousands of dollars, for just a few hours of music. The ones that didn’t want thousands of dollars didn’t even bother to respond to our quote request. Where was that customer service I mentioned earlier?

Scott and I got used to the idea of having an IPOD reception. While it wasn’t ideal, we could pick the songs we liked and knew they would be performed perfectly! The ballroom we are getting married in has all the set up and it would go off without a hitch.

Then I got an e-mail from a gentleman named Phil. He had responded to my request for a quote a few months back, but his band was out of Scott and my budget. Yet, here he was e-mailing me again to ask if I was still looking and if he could be of any assistance. My heart soared. Was someone taking an extra step to potentially gain a customer? I responded back to him as quick as my fingers could fly across the keyboard. He had attached a sound clip that gave Scott and I goose bumps while listening to. He was perfect for us.

We agreed to have Phil play the ceremony and then he will be joined with a another gentleman to play and sing throughout the cocktail hour and dinner. That only leaves 3 hours of IPOD music, which is actually music to my ears. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

Next time I’ll tell you about my wedding planner…both of them. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Details Details...

Someday I’ll look back at this wedding planning event and I’ll try to remember those stressful days and little details that kept me up at night. O.k, to be honest, this process hasn’t been stressful and the only reason I’m losing any sleep is because I am so excited about this day! It’s actually been way easier than I ever dreamt. Maybe it’s because we are getting married in the most perfect place ever? Or maybe it’s because Scott helps with the decisions? Or maybe it’s because we’re both so low key there’s just nothing worth getting in a tizzy about?

Days after the engagement, my sweet momma purchased a wedding planner for us. It has defiantly helped keep me on track and provided me with helpful tips and new ideas. With right at 6 months to go, I “think” we have everything pretty much under control. Of course we still have a little bit of a “to-do” list;

1. Table Names-We already know our tables will be named after peaks and canyons in the Tetons. We need to pick our 11 favorite names and create the name display.

2. Cut wine bottles-I don’t want to give away too many details for those guests attending, but our centerpieces are a little do-it-yourself project with wine bottles. If anyone has any advice on cutting glass, please supply it!

3. Practice making bouquets-My bridesmaids were thrilled to hear we would all be making our own bouquets the day of. O.k, maybe “thrilled” is a strong word. After numerous ridiculous quotes on floral arrangements, I decided we would take it upon ourselves and make our own. How hard can it be? (wink wink)

4. Create place cards-How else are our guests going to know which mountain peak they are sitting at if there isn’t a place card to tell them?

5. Create programs-Pretty self explanatory.

6. Work on welcome baskets! I’m pretty excited about this because we have some super cute ideas. Lets just say the gift basket is very location appropriate.

7. Officiate-This is a pretty big deal…but for some reason I am procrastinating. I really don’t like the idea of randomly picking some guy to marry us. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone that is ordained???

8. Hair & make-up-I can’t really have someone practice on my hair until we get out there. So this will remain on our list until “wedding week.”

9. Plan the rehearsal dinner-As of right now, we’ve got our fingers crossed for renting a pretty awesome condo the week of the wedding. If we get this condo, we will be able to throw our rehearsal dinner there, because the place is HUGE and has 2 beautiful decks that overlook the Tetons. (I REALLY want this condo…)

10. Last but certainly not least….the Honeymoon-Scott and I are completely flexible about what to do, we just can’t figure it out. Of course we would love to stay out there and relax in the mountains and enjoy the scenery and atmosphere. At the same time, should we do something completely different because it is our honeymoon? Say…jetting off to an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean? We know whatever we
do will be amazing…

And that’s it! Those are the items on our list that still need to be accomplished. Sure there are some tiny things that aren’t on the list that we need to do (send out invitations…) and I’m positive more things will be added as time goes by. Overall, I say we’re in a good place right now. Did I mention that I love planning our wedding???

Healthy Lunch!

This isn’t about eating right or counting calories. It’s about spending your lunch hour with good friends. It’s amazing how 1 hour of girl time can improve your outlook on life. We didn’t discuss ground breaking topics or what we think about Fox offering Sarah Palin a job. We talked about our lives, our goals, our families, and people we love. In the process we laughed And then we laughed a little more. Who needs to eat healthy when you can burn a few hundred calories laughing with friends over a bowl of French Onion soup?

This picture isn't from today's lunch, but it was the only one I had of us girls. Which reminds me...I could go for a pedicure!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Game Night!

Who doesn’t love a weekend day of sleeping in, cozying up on the couch with a loved one and sipping coffee while spending the day just relaxing? As Saturday evening approached, Scott and I headed to his brothers house for a little game-a-thon.

When Scott and I were registering at Target, we decided we needed to register for games, because we didn’t have any. By incredible luck, we picked Partini! The summary on the box looked like fun, so “beep” went the scanner gun and it was on our list.

For Christmas, my fabulous soon to be sister-in-law, Amy, got us the game. It was only fitting that the inaugural game included her and Sean. Despite Audrey’s (my 2 year old soon to be niece) requests to play, we got her interested in Play-Dough while the adults started playing.

The game includes 5 “mini-games” that are played throughout the game of Partini. We sculpted with clay, bounced balls into cups, hummed songs, mimed acts, and wrote humorous comments about our teammates. The best part of the game was when Scott and I were victorious and Audrey called her dad a loser.

After game time was over, Amy broke out the wedding photos of her and Sean. How cute that Audrey wanted to look too!

Quick Trip! Welcome to St. Petersburg, FL

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but pictures of Florida are so delightful. And since I don’t enough vacation time to go…this will have to do. Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time with Momma

One day a week, my office lets us head home a couple hours early. Yesterday was my day to hit the door at 3pm. I had called momma earlier in the day and asked if she wanted to meet for coffee at one of our favorite destinations…Borders. Of course she was up for it and by 3:05, we were sipping large steaming mugs of mocha.

As we picked up a few magazines to read, we started talking about the wedding. (It couldn’t be because I had a stack of wedding magazines sitting on my lap…) I love that she is as excited about the day as I am. She has offered her opinion and advice without being pushy or condescending. She patiently listens as I discuss to-do lists and turn emotional at the most ridiculous times.

As the wedding talk wrapped up, we discussed the latest “news” in US Weekly and O.K. Magazine. Yes, those gossip filled magazines are a guilty pleasure that go hand in hand with our coffee. We feel bad for Elin and wish Kate and her eight would drop out of the public eye immediately. And why exactly do we care about the Kardashians??

As the sun started to descend, we headed home. I stay most nights at my parent’s house and the weekends at my future home with Scott. Once mom & I got home, we played round after round of doubles solitaire until we were victorious.

As I climbed into bed, mom came in to say good night, as she has every night I’ve spent under her roof. I can’t believe in a little over 6 months, I’ll officially move out. It’s a bittersweet feeling because I love spending time with mom & dad (dad was at the office in Illinois last night). On the other hand, I couldn’t be more ready to live with Scott and fall asleep next to him every night. Like I have wished a million times already, if only I could split myself in two…

I love my coffee dates and evenings playing cards with mom. I hope someday in the future when Scott and I have little ones, I can create and maintain the same relationship my mom and I have. She is an amazing friend and an even better momma.