Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Last Day :-(

There's a saying that "all good things must come to an end."  While this certainly is true in some respects, it isn't true universally.  But for our last day at Massanutten, it certainly felt true.  It seemed like we had just settled in and now we had to leave. :-(  Oh well, we had so many exciting things planned for the rest of the day, so there was no time to pout. :)  

We woke up late, ate breakfast late, and left the condo late.  We were supposed to check out at 11 A.M. and it was more like 11:30.  :)  We always forget how long it takes to pack everything up again!!  While we were packing up, Josiah came and told me to get my camera because Daddy saw some deer nearby.  I put my telephoto lens on and went to find Daddy.  Daddy, seeing I had no shoes or socks on, offered to take the camera and grab some pictures of the does while I continued to help pack up.  (The deer were on a bank opposite the condos.)

I looked out the window once and saw Daddy, laying on his belly, on a 45 degree hill, taking pictures of the deer through the gap in our steps.  :)

 Isn't she beautiful?

Caleb has often asked me if I would want to go hunting and I honestly wouldn't mind going with him.  The only thing that holds me back is knowing myself...and knowing I probably couldn't shoot a deer if I saw one.  Not that I have terrible aim (I actually enjoy shooting) but because I would just want to sit and watch/take pictures of them, not kill them.  :)

Daddy did a great job with these pictures, didn't he? :)

11:30 A.M. rolled around and we climbed over everything to our seats in the van.  We then went and dropped off the keys to our condo and proceeded to the ski slopes.  Yep, the ski slopes!!  All of us got to pick one activity we would like to do while at Massanutten.  I had never skied before, and it seems like everyone who has skied, says it is lots of fun (with the exception of my honorable Uncle Kevin :).

Anyways, skiing happened to be the most expensive thing, so only a finite number of us could ski.  So, it eventually came down to Mama and I.  Hannah and the older siblings watched the younger ones and Daddy took pictures of Mama and I. :)

A family photo before heading to the ski lodge.  (Oh, how I love all these guys!)

Mama and I filling out forms.

I had never filled out a ski form so I relied on Mama to tell me what to fill out. :)

Putting on those obnoxiously heavy and tight ski boots. :)

It was quite an experience to get up and walk with those boots on!  They definitely were not designed for walking shins and ankles were aching before I even got on the bunny slope! :)

After getting our shoes on, and receiving our skis and poles, we headed out!

Mama and I.

The bunny slope looked a tad intimidating for a first-time skier (a.k.a. me!), even though there was hardly an incline! :)  I asked Mama what to do, and Daddy demonstrated how to "snow plow" and then I went down the slope.

Yes, don't I look terrible? :)

The first time I went down the bunny slope I went to the far left side of the slope...and it just happened to be the farthest point from the ski lift.  So, I had to figure out how to move my skis uphill.  Needless to say, it was extremely frustrating.  Most of the time I'd try walking sideways and keep slipping downhill, losing ground when I should be gaining. 

Meanwhile, Mama was zooming down the slope like she'd skied all her life (Mama and Daddy have been skiing a few times before).

Going up the ski lift.

So, yes, I did eventually make it to the ski lift after a very frustrating experience. :)

Mama and I went up and down the bunny slope until I had enough confidence to go the next level.  Then ensued another round of trying to walk with the skis on to the next ski lift.  We soon just decided to take the skis off and carry them to the next slope. :)

Mama was very patient with me as I tried to maneuver my way to the next ski lift. :)  We soon got on and were taken up  to a the top of a hill that had two ski routes.  Mama and I decided to try and take the left.  

Compared to the bunny slope, the next slope I tried was a bit scary.  It was okay at first but it had a steep (to me at that time) incline at the end and I was scared I wouldn't be able to stop for the ski lift and would run over someone.  Long story short, I figured out how to ski very quickly. :)  I think I just fell once on this hill, which isn't too bad...

Mama and I went on this same hill a few times and then decided to try something else.

See that pro on the top right of the picture?  That's Mama!  And see that person snow plowing like her life depends on it...that's me. :)  I'm pretty sure that I looked like this coming down every hill we did. :)  I definitely did not have the best form, but, hey, I had lots of fun!

It didn't take very long for me to understand how the skis worked.  Soon I was really enjoying myself!

Mama's face is this picture means, "So, what'd you think?!"

And I loved it!

Now, you probably want to know how many times I fell down on my first skiing adventure.  Quite honestly, I think it was just 3.  And one time it wasn't my fault. :)

Anyways, I'm sure you all want to see some pictures of one of my falls.  Daddy was there to capture every moment, and he just happened to get one of my epic falls.  

Here you go:

There I am...snow plowing big time. :)

I could see that I was getting too close to the edge for my own good, but the snow plowing and weight shifting wasn't taking me where I wanted to go!

See it coming?

Ta-da! :)

 If you can enlarge this picture, you can see my face...and I'm smiling. :)  I cracked myself up every time I fell (with the exception of when the girl slammed into me...). 

So, now you've witnessed one of my falls!  I was surprised when Daddy said he got pictures of me falling, but I'm glad he did because it was so fun to have my "fall sequence" captured on my camera for me to remember forever.  :)

Going on another lift!

It seemed like it took longer to go up the lift, than down the hill itself. :)

Mama is a great example of what a good skier looks like.  She just comes down the hill, and stops like a pro.  I have no idea how she does it.  :)

After doing the smaller slopes, Mama and I decided to venture on one even bigger.   We lined up for the lift and watched the skiers going down.  Then we got off and were like "Wow, that looks steeper from here than it did from the bottom."  Oh well, there was no turning back!  So, we took a big breath and down the hill we went!

I went so fast that I made it all the way down to the very bottom of the ski slopes. :)  And then I sat and waited for Mama.  Yep, I went faster than Mama.  Truthfully, that's not a prideful statement it's just the pure truth.  I couldn't figure out how to go any slower than breakneck speed, so that's how fast I went.  Mama, on the other hand, zig zagged down the hill carefully and effortlessly.

Mama says that I ski like Daddy.  Daddy definitely has more "daredevil" in him than Mama.  For example, one time when Daddy was skiing he thought he could do a black diamond (and he'd only skiied a little bit before).  So, he got on the lift, got off and then realized he was way over his skill level.  Undeterred, though, he headed down the Black Diamond, rolling head over heels the entire time. :)  Thankfully he's still here to tell the story today! :)

I really liked skiing...and skiing fast.  :)  There's just that rush of energy and fear as you're sliding down the mountain...and you're going so fast you can't see because the tears are flowing out of your eyes (not because I was crying...for some reason the wind was blowing the liquid right out of my eyes)...and it's just a great experience.

 In line for the ski lift...

...on the ski lift! :)

My Aunt Megan said she fell off the ski lift and flat on her face, the first time she tried to get off.  So, I was scared to death that I would follow in her example and make a spectacle of myself. :)  Thankfully, I managed to get away with only dropping one of my poles at every place I got off (for a grand total of 3 times)!

Sooner than we knew it, our time was almost out.  We decided to do the hill I hereby dub "Intense" (and therefore amazing) one more time before we left.  It was a great way to end my first skiing experience!

Once we met up at the bottom of the hill, we took our skis off and proceeded to return our boots, poles, and skis.  (Boy, did it feel nice to get into real shoes again!)

We then found Daddy waiting in the parking lot with the van.  We hopped in the car and headed over to the ice skating rink where the rest of my siblings (minus Hannah and Judah) were skating.




Daddy said one of the Massanutten employees responsible for watching over the ice skaters, said Caleb was really good...especially for never having ice skated before.  :)


Weedels did a pretty good job skating as well.  She stuck to the wall for most of the time, but a few times she let go and skated on her own. :)


Lydia relied on a helping hand to get around the rink.

Judah has a way of making friends with total strangers. :)

Caleb chasing Lexi!

Mama and Judah.

While the majority of my siblings were skating, I sat and talked to Hannah.  It eventually got pretty cold, so we went and stood by a little bonfire nearby...and ate carrots. :)  We had skipped lunch, and by now it was around 5 P.M., so we just had some veggies and crackers because we would be eating dinner soon (or so we thought).

The 1 hour of ice skating ended at 5:40 P.M.  By this time it was almost dark and we piled in the van and said goodbye to Massanutten.

So, you would think this would be the end of our vacation.  Well, it's not.  :)  

For awhile our wheels had been screeching as we drove and it got worse on our way home.  As Daddy would apply the brakes (which is very necessary for mountain driving :) it would screech and we could hear something grating.

We drove along, eating snacks, and reading our books as Daddy carefully listened to all the weird noises our van was making.  Eventually we stopped in a town near Charlottesville because our van noises weren't going away...they were getting louder.  And Daddy didn't want the brakes to give out while we were in the van.  :)

We pulled into the parking lot of an unfriendly looking motel, and Daddy went in to get some info.  Then he spotted a truck with a trailer and we pulled over and asked the guy if he knew a mechanic.  Believe it or not, the guy was a mechanic!  (The Lord works things out perfectly!)  Daddy told him our situation and, long story short, we followed this mechanic (nicknamed Meatball) to a Wal-Mart.  "Meatball" then unhooked his trailer and Daddy left with him to go get some brakes for the van.  The rest of us were left to ourselves.  

I stayed all cozy in my corner of the van and finished my G.A. Henty book.  Caleb and Hannah also stayed and read for quite some time but everyone else went into Wal-Mart to stay warm (seeing as we didn't leave the van running all that time) and to just simply have something to do. :)

It was over an hour before Daddy and "Meatball" returned.  Soon they were jacking up the car and replacing our brakes (I was in the van, with my book, the whole time :).  When the brakes were replaced, we could only travel 7 miles to the nearest hotel because the bearings needed to be replaced too.  ("Meatball" couldn't fix the bearings at that time and it was already pretty late.)

So, our 3 day vacation turned into 4.  We ended up in a Best Western hotel with one room for around $80 (it was a really nice hotel too!).  All of us piled into our room (by this time it was like 9, 10 P.M.) carrying only our pillows, a few blankets and toiletries.  :)  We settled in and then Daddy disappeared, coming back with Papa John's pizza!  All in all, we ate our delicious dinner about 10:15 P.M., which may be a record for us! :)

You're probably wondering how we all fit in a hotel room.  Well, Hannah, Lexi, and I shared one bed (it's good to be a girl!), and Caleb, Seth, Eden, and Josiah shared the other bed.  Mama and Daddy were going to sleep in the other bed but they gave it up for their children instead.  (Aren't they the best?)

Judah slept in a port-a-crib we brought and Lydia ended up in the bath tub.  Don't worry, Daddy made Lydia a very comfortable bed by filling the tub with the soft, downy pillows from the hotel and a warm blanket.  :)

When I woke up in the morning, Daddy had been gone for a few hours, trying to get the van's bearings fixed.  The rest of us did devotions, ate breakfast, watched T.V. and pretty much did nothing.   Daddy kept us updated on the condition of the van.  It was supposed to be done by 11 A.M. but it kept getting pushed further back.  Mama called the front desk and found out that check-out was at 12 P.M., so we didn't have to go sit out on the sidewalk with all our stuff, waiting for the van to show up. :)

Daddy and the van showed up around 12:30 P.M. and then we finally left for home.  This time we actually made it home, too. :)

I couldn't end this series of posts without mentioning the Jacksons. :)  While we were gone, they came over twice a day and milked Halle, gathered (and washed) eggs, fed everything, and made sure they had water.  They also covered for us on Thursday night and Friday morning when we couldn't make it home.  They were great...thanks, Jackson family!

There you have the concluding post!  I have so much more I need to post right now but I can only find the time for one a week.  
Kimber :)