Father Of The Blog

A Journey Through Fatherhood and Parenting

Father of the Blog

Hosting A Sleep Over Party

The Sleepover

When my sister turned eleven years old (I was close to ten at the time) she had a huge sleepover birthday party. There was probably a dozen young girls whom attended and I distinctly remember a wild soiree with lots of fun and laughter as well as catty bickering and hysterical crying. Not exactly sure the cause of all the disagreements and tears. Looking back, I’m sure that it was frustrating for my overwhelmed over-matched mom and I’m unsure where my dad was smartly hiding out that night. There was no plan to keep all the girls busy other than bring your sleeping bag and have cake with ice cream. Err, well, there probably were a few planned activities, I cant recall, however this was the first and only big sleepover party my sister had.

Thirty years later: Olivia turns eight years old and requests a sleepover party. I imagine an out-of-control party with Olivia in tears, crying over one thing or another, a crazed troop of little girls running mindlessly through the house and tauntingly dancing on my broken spirit. Apprehensively, Kim and I agreed to the sleepover party.

We planned the party for a Saturday night and before we sent out the photoshopped invitations Kim called the parents of all the girls that Olivia wanted to invite verifying if each invitee was available and able to spend the night. Six of the eight girls that could attend the BFF Sleepover themed party planed on spending the night.

We arranged for Hailey to spend the night at her friend Parker’s house for the duration of Olivia’s party to avoid sibling rivalry which meant we would be responsible for nine little people (including three of our four). I was excited for a big fun party but I think Kim’s apprehensiveness had turned to fear and anxiety at the reality of this daunting responsibility. I’ll twist the story back to this soon.

If the party was to succeed we needed a plan. Olivia had a few things in mind that she wanted to do and we turned her ideas into activities. We planned a scavenger hunt, a BFF quiz, nail painting, sleepover t-shirt signing, a movie, pizza and cupcakes.

The preparations started a week before the party. Kim picked up t-shirts at local craft store for 2.50 each, not too bad, also bought a pack of blank iron-on screen transfers equating too a dollar per each transfer. I used Photoshop to create a BFF sleepover design which printed on our inkjet and then I adhered the design via iron. This took a bit longer then anticipated and was a good thing I did this in advance of party.

The BFF quiz Kim found online and Olivia had pre-answered the questions the day before the party. The giant pizzas we picked up at Sam’s Club on the cheap. The cupcake-cake Kim ordered from Walmart’s bakery, good quality for the price.  Kim also restocked the nail polish supplies as well.

An hour prior the party, I put together a rhyming scavenger hunt. The Sleep-Over Bandit had dog-napped Olivia’s can’t sleep without stuffed dog Fetchy and it was up to the party crew to find each clue leading them to the rescue.

Did the party go well? Did anyone get over emotional and break down in tears? Were there arguments or squabbling? I’m getting to that.

We had planned as well as we could. Kim’s pre-party nerves manifested into a whole house blitz cleaning. I mentioned to her that the house would likely be a mess after the party and she was merely wasting her energy cleaning beforehand. “This house is a mess!” was her curt response. I couldn’t argue that fact and slinked away without offering to help.

The first activity was the scavenger hunt. The girls raced from one end of the house to the other finding each clue, Olivia, being a gracious host, allowed each friend to read one clue and eventually they rescued Fetchy. No breakdowns or meltdowns at that point but it was early. Luckily the weather was good because in-between activities the animals herded out into yard and played.

The BFF quiz was clever fun. Ten questions about Olivia ranging from her most embarrassing moment (forgetting her homework) to favorite food (pizza). No problems with sore losers and there was no cheating involved but it was just for fun and no awards were given out. Side note: Olivia and I changed the game a bit without Kim’s knowledge so when Kim was explaining the rules of the game to all the kids Olivia and I had to correct her and I think she was a bit perturbed at me for lack of communication.  After the quiz, the party headed outside for more active play.

Next was mannies but this man shied away from the activity. Everyone shared the polishes and buffers and sandpaper-tongue-depressors so no arguments or problems. By the time the paint had dried they were running and playing outside.

The BFF sleepover shirt signing was a hit. Each girl, including Elizabeth and Kim received a custom designed shirt and all the girls signed each others t’s using fabric markers. No fray over who got which color shirt or which color marker, at this I was surprised.

SleepOver T Shirt Design

SleepOver T Shirt Design

Popped two huge sixteen inch cheese pizzas in the oven which were inhaled, not a piece left, there was just enough and unlike a pack of wolfs fighting for the last scraps of meat the girls calmly dived the last few pieces. Like a pack a wolfs there was more running and playing outside.

Then we lit candles on the cupcake-cake and sang “happy birthday”. Followed by ferocious play out in the yard until dusk settled in and the sugar wore off. Surely as the energy dwindled someone would emotionally meltdown but no.

The half dirty dozen that were staying the night got cleaned up and into nighties. I popped white corn in our well used whirly-pop while Kim hit play on the DVD player, Tangled was cued-up but I don’t think any of the little people watched past the first scene, rather gossip instead. I was positive the cackling would induce some heated emotion but it did not.

The sleeping arrangement was precarious and the six remaining girls had to figure out whom would sleep with whom. They negotiated between the bunk bed and one extra mattress on the floor without any arguments and fell asleep with many giggles and silly stories around midnight. A bit earlier then anticipated.

The girls rose with the sun and soon after I was sizzling  up a couple pounds of bacon and whipping together my specialty, Chocolate Belgium Waffles, (pancake mix, cocoa, sugar, eggs, oil, pinch of salt). We didn’t really have a plan for the morning so the girls just played with Olivia’s gifts and other toys and packed up for a prompt ten o’clock departure. Kim busted out the vacuum right after breakfast and I kinda barked at her to relax and wait till the guests were picked up and I felt the cold stare of resentment for it. As it turns out, the only bickering and emotional outbursts throughout the entire party, happened between Kim and I.

Accepting Death and a Eulogy Reading

The eulogy was close to one thousand words, not enough to sum up the life of my mother, she was much more then a simplistic speech. The reality of her death as well as a graveside reading during the funeral proved to be one of the most difficult times in my life. I will elaborate on this in a moment.

Rewind one day from the funeral: My two older brothers, my older sister and myself collaborated on the eulogy in the rabbi’s conference room right after the funeral preparation meeting, condensing my mothers life into three modest paragraphs. My sister took a few notes, then sketched out and handed me a rough draft, “think this is ok?”

With a weak smile I answered, “ill give it a few tweaks”.

An hour prior to that: During the family meeting, the rabbi asked who was going to read something about the life of our mother at the graveside service, I knew that this would be an excruciating emotionally difficult thing for any of us to accomplish and like many other unimaginable situations in my lifetime, the burden was passed to me. Usually, blame works it’s way down the sibling ladder and responsibility works it’s way up. Not this time. While we pondered the rabbi’s inquiry of who would be reading the eulogy, our eyes averted from oldest brother Sam to middle brother Joe to my sister Rachel and then all eyes rested on me, neither of my sib’s wanted any part of it, hesitantly I volunteered to read the eulogy.

Going back a year, September 2010: I get a shocking call at work from my sister, she tells me to meet her at a diagnostic center that she had taken mom to. “It may be cancer!” she said. Carol, my mother, had been complaining for a few weeks of problems swallowing and a constant soar throat. All my siblings were there, (at the diagnostic center), we met with the doctor first, mom was still in the observation room. The doctor showed us the results of the endoscopy. There were what appeared to be cancerous polyps in her throat and spreading to her lymph-nodes and liver. Mom was immediately enrolled into the Siteman Cancer Center and for the next few rounds of tests and exams, all my siblings and myself attended. It started in her esophagus. Her oncologist determined it was from cigarette smoking even though she had quit twenty years ago.

Chemotherapy was prescribed and the first few rounds seemed to be at least containing the cancer. It was an awful treatment. Mom would get blisters all over her body or her skin pealed, her head throbbed, her body ached and it wore her down physically.

Initially, the first few scan results were positive. White blood cell counts were higher then before and the cancer was contained. We all relaxed and figured that my world traveling mother who volunteered and worked on Israeli Defense Force bases could handle cancer. “Pshtt, she got this” Is what we thought and life was back to normal for my siblings and me at least for a little bit. We didn’t suspect, or maybe we denied, that the cancer was slowly taking over.

For almost a year we took turns taking mom to her chemo treatments. It was really the only help she wanted. Through the year, she worked, bookkeeping in the family business. She attended university credited classes, acrylic painting and anthropology. She planned adventurous excursions, she was supposed to teach English for a semester in China but had to postpone. She chaperoned her grandchildren on “Bubbie” trips, the last one being a trip to New York with My sixteen year old niece Shaina who is interested in Broadway and acting. For my mother this was normalcy.

The end came quick. Mom arrived back from the two week New York vacation, (my dad went on this trip and they also went to Washington DC). The following day she was examined. The results were negative, the cancer was spreading fast and the doctors took her off of the chemotherapy, apparently the many different drug combinations they had tried were now damaging and or ineffective. We scrambled to get her admitted into different hospitals one in New York another in Jerusalem. But her body deteriorated quickly and she was immobilized and unable to travel, her liver failed and her abdomen distended, filled with fluid and had to be drained several times within a couple weeks.

The last three weeks were really painful and tough (on whole family) she stayed at my dads condominium (they divorced twenty years ago but remained business partners and somewhat rekindled over this last year). My dad made sure mom was comfortable, he showed a lot of kindness, humanity and compassion. Her only complaint was she wanted her bed and not the hospital rental. My siblings and I were there every day feeling guilty about time lost over the years and tended to her last few needs. I brought my kids to visit as much as possible, Sophie and Elizabeth were oblivious to what was happening to their Bubbie but Olivia and Hailey eventually distanced themselves from her because it was scary and difficult for them to understand what was happening and why.

A hospice service came to check vitals and adjust medications every other day but it was us, my dad, my siblings and myself who took care of her up until the end and she wanted no life support or hospital rooms. No IV. No monitors. No catheter. No injections. Nothing except pain medicine.

There were few preparations that mom did not take care of, one was her funeral arrangements and the other was where she was going to be buried. Sib’s and I morbidly took care of both and this was also a setup for the last joke my mom made. We made possible so my mom and dad had a burial plot next to each other. When mom overheard my sister and dad talking about the burial spots, my mom remarked to my dad with a grin, “looks like we will be arguing for an eternity”.

A few days later she took her last breath. It was a sweltering Friday afternoon. My older brothers and their significant others, my sister and brother in law, a couple older nieces and nephew, my dad, Kim and I, all solemnly huddled around her. A silent good bye. An unspoken acknowledgement that we would be alright and that mom would suffer no more. Silently, we bargained for one more burdened breath that would never come, we said a peaceful goodbye.

*

Back to the reading of the eulogy: The funeral was the following Monday morning. Kim and I decided to send Elizabeth and Sophie to child care because chasing them around the cemetery would be distracting. However Olivia and Hailey attended the service. A traditional conservative Jewish funeral and service is done graveside followed by seven days of shiva. First the rabbi cut a black ribbon pinned to the shirts and blouses of the immediate family members then he recited the kaddish, a mourners prayer. He said a few more prayers and summarized my mom’s life from the notes he took at the family meeting the day before. He told a story, one which I was unaware of, a story of how my mother had arranged for prayer books to be sent to a small start-up synagogue in Israel and how while on a sabbatical in Israel the rabbi and his group became lost and happened upon a temple. The disheveled group entered the temple looking for help. After a quick explanation, the rabbi was delighted to find that this was the very temple that my mother arranged to send the prayer books too. The host rabbi was so excited to find out who the lost strangers were, he exuberantly showed them the inside cover of their prayer books which read “donated by B’nai Amoona” and he ended up treating the weary lost strangers as if they were royalty as well as catering the group to a big meal.

The rabbi also talked about all of the volunteer work my mom did, the hospitals she helped in, the military bases she spent months on and he talked about the organization that my mother helped in founding, Shaving Israel, which coordinates donations used to supply the Israeli Defence Force with necessary toiletries.

After a few more heartfelt words, The rabbi then handed the mini microphone over to my eldest nephew Nathan a college kid studying acting and English who prepared a brilliant eulogy on behalf of all the grandchildren. He delivered a poised elegant speech with touches of humor and gratefulness. It was perfect.

After Nathan’s speech, my niece Sadie said a few words and then Olivia and Hailey stepped up to the make-shift podium and read a few sentences that they wrote together commemorating their Bubbie. I was very proud of them. It was heartbreakingly wonderful.

Then it was my turn to eulogize. Like Nathan, my eulogy had a spot of humor, it was poignant and full of thoughtful remembrance. Unlike Nathan, I have failed to deliver even one public speech in my lifetime. At my wedding all I could conger up was a bumbling “thank you”. Here at my mothers funeral, about to give a speech representing my siblings and myself, I trembled in front of a couple hundred people staining my notes with tears. The first few sentences came out in sobs. I stumbled through a few more sentences and dared not make eye contact with any of my brothers or sister as it would have spiraled me into a swelling of emotional cries. I looked at my shoes, tears raining down upon them, it looked like i had stepped into a puddle. I could taste salty tears on my lips, tongue and back of my throat. I stammered though a few more sentences, my head was spinning, I was on the verge of passing out, I’m sure I was ivory white because Kim jumped up from her seat, came to my side and rescued me. With her extra support I was able to continue. I couldn’t believe that I was standing there reading a eulogy for my mother. It was surreal, but I read on and I’m glad that i did. The burden became an honor and made the unbelievable, undeniable. I finished much stronger then when I started.

*

After I read, my dad told a short story, the one about the last joke my mom made. Then the cantor sang a few of my mothers favorite songs as the casket was lowered into the ground. The heavy lid of the concrete sarcophagus slammed shut with a loud resounding bang, snapping disbelief from anybody who was in denial. Then everyone in attendance tossed shovel fulls of dirt on top. I did four heaping loads. One for each of my children.

We spent the next three days at my sisters house sitting Shiva, welcoming friends and family to share memories, photos and meals with us. Traditionally seven days of Shiva is required however the rabbi had made an exception for us because we had been together everyday for almost a month caring for my mom.

Acceptance is an on going process, a process that may never be fully completed. It has been two months and not a day goes by that I don’t grieve and reflect on the death of my mother. It is haunting. Writing about her has helped but I’m still recovering and reconstructing myself. Remembering what an inspirational life she lived.

Breckenridge Colorado Destination Review

Southwest Airlines got us to Denver twenty minutes earlier than expected, great, but what happened to family preboarding? You know, with the handicapped folks? I am one dad traveling with two ruddy wise-girl preschoolers, which could be considered a handicap. Forced to wait while the ‘A’ class boarded, I grumpily asked the mannequin-esque attendant, “What! No family preboarding! When did that change?” Unfrazzled, coolly she replied “A year or so ago” she probably had heard that complaint a billion times.
The flight was smooth, I came prepared with a feed bag of crunchy goodies, a fully charged laptop, a plethora of Barbie and Disney princess movies, (enough to last a on trip to the moon and back), dual headphones, and a half dozen fresh activity books for back up. The 737 preformed exceptional and the crew was professional.
A two hour flight plus a two hour drive somehow equals ten hours of travel with Olivia and Hailey. Although I can’t lay all the blame on my well traveled preschoolers, the travel time was extended by a small portion of my family that arrived a couple hours after our flight. In that couple hours, I rented a big blue Town and Country van, found a Subway to feed the kiddos and then we rendezvoused back at DIA’s passenger pickup with my oldest brother Sam along with his second daughter Samantha who is idolized by my dear second, we also met up with Zadie, (my dad). The six of us traveled in rush hour traffic via Big Blue (the Thrifty rental van), from DIA to our condo duplex in Breckenridge. The drive took twice as long as it should have because of an accident on highway 70 and once again my perception to sniff out potential meltdowns saved me from a most assured “are we there yet” headache. Anticipating a two hour drive (which turned into almost four), I packed a portable DVD player inside my carry-on, and installed it in Big Blue prior to our stint down 70.
Around seven thirty that evening we finally reached the 5000 square foot duplex/condo/house that my brother in law Alan had procured from an associate for the week. The condo was huge, four levels, five suites, six or so (lost count) bathrooms, a massive kitchen and three common areas. The only issue was the lack of beds. Eventually our party would hit fourteen and upon first inspection, the condo only housed seven complete bed sets. Down on the lowest level of the house was an entertaining room with a ping pong table and a basketball toss game. Also down there silently stood a pair of bunk-beds with no mattresses or covers and in a dark empty room was a broken iron bed frame without a box-spring or a mattress, very crime scenish. I made a sign for the big musty room, “Master Suite – Reserved for the Taxman Family” a little prank for my sister’s husband who had sent an email to my dad, my brothers and me stating a request for the master suite.
The lack of beds created a standoff right from the git-go. I have to rewind the story just a bit here; A few days before departure, any time the subject of our Breckenridge ski trip was brought-up, Hailey would say, “I want the blue room.” How do you explain to a four year old that, there may not be a “blue” room and I have no idea what the sleeping and bunking arrangements will be when fourteen family members crash for a week in an unknown place. So I told her that once we arrive there, she will get to pick where she wants to sleep and if there happens to be a blue room she can pick that room to sleep in. Well wouldn’t you know it, we arrived at our home away from home and of course there is a “blue room” in which my dad had just parked his bags. Hailey walked into the room, spied the blue roman shade covering the window and a blue comforter on the bed and gleefully shouted, “Daaadeee! A bluuue roooom!” She dragged her suitcase into the room, unzipped it, opened all the drawers of two humongous antiqued dressers and started unloading her clothes. My dad walks out of the bathroom and saw Hailey occupying what he thought was going to be his suite for the week and briefly attempted to stop her. “Hailey, I was going to stay in this room.”
“I said… I… get… the blue room!” she shouted over her shoulder as she feverishly emptied her suitcase.
I was standing in the doorway and my dad glanced over at me for support. Shrugging my shoulders, I sided with Hailey, “Well, she did call the blue room.” Thanks to Hailey, I didn’t get stuck on the couch or worse this annual ski trip and Olivia, Hailey and I shared a queen sized bed for the week, (‘shared’ is a stretch for a ‘family bed’ newbie) in the “blue room”.
Our first full day in Breck began early. Sam, Samantha and Zadie spent the day on the slopes, so Olivia, Hailey and I taxied them down to the lifts then parked Big Blue near Main Street. We spent the morning shopping for light weight ski apparel and to our dismay, children’s clothiers’ were scarce. The few kids’ shops we happened upon had nothing but heavy winter gear and we already had that stuff. We did find a cool toy store, Peak-A-Boo Toys that had a big ‘test the toy’ play area where we spent an hour playing and the kiddos talked me into some small stuffed animals. Then for lunch we found a great pizza place, Eric’s, with a decent video game room where we won more stuffed animals.
The town square was equipped with one of those towering bungee jumper trampoline things which Olivia and Hailey insisted upon at fifteen dollars each for a five minute jump-off. We milled around main for a couple more hours popping in and out of shops and stopped at all the sculptures for photo ops until it was time to meet-up with Zadie, Sam and Samantha.
That night I had a big surprise planed for Olivia and Hailey. Unannounced to them, cousin Mikey was in Breck on spring break. Mikey was there visiting cousins Chris and Glenda who live in Breck. (Chris is one of Aunt Linda’s sons, Glenda his wife). So we caught Mikey on his last day there and met up with him at one of Chris’s restaurants, the swanky, upscale Briar Rose. Olivia and Hailey were delighted to see Mikey and a bit confused, “we’re not in Houston, what are you doin’ in the mountains” Olivia said.
We visited with Chris for a while, unfortunately he had to work and we only hung out for a short time. Then Mikey walked us up and down Main Street trying to find Empire Burger, another restaurant operated by Chris. Oh and to throw even more relatives into the mix, my sister Rachel, her husband Alan along with Louis and Sadie had arrived in town that evening and joined us for dinner.
It was a long first day and I wanted to get to bed as soon as we got home from diner but Olivia, Hailey and Sadie had other plans. They were bouncing through the huge condo, showing off for the older cousins. I had the not so bright idea to set up the portable DVD in bed to lure them in, and calm them down, that was a mistake, because the girls expected that same routine every night thereafter. Also, the family bed thing was getting old quick, I don’t know how any parent can pull that off, arms and legs thrashing around like hungry baby pythons, finally, after the kiddos nodded off, I scooched down to the end of the bed and slept perpendicular with my feet and lower legs hanging off the edge. That is how I slept the rest of the week.
Day three (technically); Olivia, Hailey and Sadie played games and paper dolls the whole morning while Rach and I waited for the cable guy to come and hook up a modem, (don’t ask). Around noon Rach and I took the kiddos to the Stephen C West Ice Arena. Hailey’s first time on skates and she did great. It took her a while to get used to the ice but after four or five trips around the rink with the ‘walker’ thing and me holding her at the waist she ditched the support device and skated quite well just holding my hand. Olivia’s second time on skates and she did awesome. Maybe one or two laps pushing the orthopedic learning-to-skate devise and she was skating all by herself trying to keep up with Sadie who is a natural on ice. Olivia had a few falls but popped right back up and kept going without a wince. I’m not sure why, but damn that made me proud to see.
After ice skating we picked up Zadie who had S.O.S.ed us from the slopes, he had enough trying to keep up with Samantha. Rach and I dropped off the kiddos at the condo with Zadie and ran down to the convenient City Market grocery and loaded up two carts which was just in time for the arrival of Joe (my brother), Nathan (eighteen year old nephew), Shaina (Fourteen year old niece) and Danielle (Sam’s oldest daughter) completing our annual family ski trip tribe.
Day four; we actually skied. Olivia and Hailey attended the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School for the day. I got to ski with my dad, my brothers Sam and Joe, my brother in-law Alan, nephew’s Nathan and Louis, nieces Danielle, Samantha and Shaina. Rach stayed at the condo with Sadie who didn’t feel well.
Pausing the review for a quick rundown on nephew’s; Nathan, (and brother in law Alan for that matter) ya’ll didn’t stand a chance against me playing Risk. And Louis gets a gold medal for fastest hot dog eaten… in a hot dog eating contest of one. On to my nieces, Shaina forgot to pack boots… to the mountains. Samantha’s skies only point downhill… it’s sick. Danielle did something to the toilet in the teenager’s suite… Sadie…I’m not even sure where to start with her.
Day four resumed; perfect morning of skiing in Breckenridge, not too crowded, sunny, warm, groomed just right for my chump like ski style. Although toward the end of the day the warm weather caused the snow to become slushy. So before I needed to pick up the kiddos, my dad and I headed down early, to the coral, stop it, it’s not what you’re thinking, the coral is the pen where all the pre-scholars take their lessons. I was hoping for a chance to get some action photos and I was not disappointed.
That night we ordered in from Fatty’s Pizzeria and yes, I ordered way too much, but I was factoring in fourteen people and that was with four hungry teenagers and two Taxman boys (Alan and Louis). When calling in the order I asked about party catering options and Fatty’s hooked us up with a good price for an army sized scrumptious meal.
Day five; another almost five hundred dollar day of skiing. That was approximate cost per day to ski. That included lift tickets for Olivia, Hailey and Me, all our ski equipment plus helmets and lessons for kiddos. The crew was minus Alan this day, the conditions and my timid overly cautious skiing was much the same as the day before. My dad cut out after lunch and Louis and I bailed on the group early to find Olivia’s and Sadie’s ski group. I had Alan’s video recorder and wanted to get some footage of them going up a lift and skiing on the mountain for the first time. Miraculously, without GPS, or short wave radios, or walkie-talkies, or cell phones, or locator beacons we caught up with them at the bottom of the Quicksilver Lift, I’m guessing my D.A.D.A.R. was in operation that day. I got to ride up with Olivia and then recorded her, Sadie and Lou, the entire decent. I could tell that the Ski and Ride School had a good crew and did a fine job, the kiddos wanted to go another day, Louis was baited into a snow ball fight with Olivia’s and Sadie’s instigating in a playful way ski instructor and I didn’t have any problems refunding Sadie’s unused lift ticket.
Later in the afternoon the kiddos stayed at the condo with the Lord of the Flies older cousins in command, while Rach and I hit Main Street for some souvenir shopping, she had her R.A.C.H. on, finding the Mountain Sanctuary Spa within a stone’s throw of our parking space. Rach received some kinda hand rub massage thing, while I found some goodies for Kim.
Day six; opted-out on skiing and opted-in on sledding which I borrowed, stop it, I asked the neighbors If we could use their sleds. It snowed that day and it was cold. Danielle, Shaina, Olivia, Hailey and I found the designated Breck sledding hill at Carter Park. The snow was gusting hard and Hailey was fouler than the ominous storm overhead having real issues with doing anything that day particularly the steep climb to top of hill. The cold fresh powder was awesome and I couldn’t help from kicking myself for not skiing that day especially when Hailey had thrown herself face first into the frozen mess in a fit of uncontrollable rage. But eventually, I duno twenty minutes, she calmed down, hiked up the hill on her own and within one trip down the fairly nice sized hill she was over it. Spending the day sledding with the kiddos was worth every non penny spent.
The wet heavy snow was eating a frostbite hole right through Shaina’s high top Chucks, yea, no boots on a trip to the mountains so the sledding ended sooner than anyone wanted. We stopped at a crepe making shack called Crepes A La Cart on Main Street for lunch and it was incredible, the absolute best crepes anywhere. Unfortunately, the staff was alarmingly dispassionate and distracted with their own dramatic drug induced lives. How could I tell? The young self-mutilated crew of three seemed not to care about any customers who may overhear their conversation of possession, arrest, trial and all the crazy details, but damn those where the best crepes ever.
That night we all went out for dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery. While we were waiting for our table Hailey challenged everyone to an arm wrestling match. Well first, and this only took a half a second, Samantha pinned her older sister Danielle and after that, Hailey defeated anyone in our party who stuck their arm within her reach. The staff there was quick and put our table for fourteen together relatively fast. The food was ok but the freshly brewed beer was freaking great. The Avalanche’s came crashing down. I can still taste it, so fresh and tasty.
Day 7; a late return. Packed, cleaned and rechecked condo for any claimable items. Olivia, Hailey, my Dad and I had lunch at Eric’s again, the kiddos had to show Zadie the games. We had to find Olivia a Breckenridge photo album for her school assigned photo journal project so after lunch and games we patronized a few more of Breck’s multitude of shops until we had tracked down a couple photo albums at twenty a pop.
Our flight departure time was 8:00pm, Sam and Samantha had a later flight. We were going to meet them at the skier pick up in Big Blue and head to airport. The meet time was set at 3:30pm, but that didn’t happen. We waited, with no return calls until 4:30pm. “I thought it was at four thirty” Sam and Samantha grabbed their luggage out of Joe’s rental car and tucked it into Big Blue and then return their ski equipment. Thankfully there was no traffic and we rolled up to DIA Southwest Airlines curbside passenger drop off around 6:30pm. Where we stood for like twenty minutes waiting for two people in front of us for the super slow motion porter. And the night crew on this flight seemed a bit condescending. One of the male attendants made a remark about my kids being “asleep in no time at all”, hinting that I should convince them to fall asleep. Luckily, packed in the feed bag of goodies were a few mini chocolate bars and cookies. Two Disney movies, a steady stream of sugar and they were bouncing. They didn’t cause any trouble on the airplane but they were being a bit loud, not obnoxiously. Although, I didn’t hear “Thank you for flying Southwest” on the way out. Olivia and Hailey were plain goofy in the baggage claim area at our home town airport. Running up the going down side of the escalator, ridding on the baggage carousels and doing things I couldn’t see but I could hear in the women’s restroom. They weren’t completely out of control and because they had jumped though all the hoops the whole day without too much of my directive, I didn’t mind them having a little fun in the un-crowded airport capping off a great trip.
Side Note: this post was pulled from the buried father of the blog archives, we took this trip last spring and I can’t wait to get back to Breck or any mountain for that matter although it may take a year or two more to save up for it.

Kevin Henkes Story Telling and Book Signing

Olivia and Hailey go to first book signing. http://www.kevinhenkes.com/

Bike Ride to Trader Joes

Hailey’s First big ride with encouragement from Olivia. A 2 mile round trip.