Monday, March 31, 2014

march (ing) through the new testament

Charlie and I have been hosting a Small Group at our home for the past two months. Every Sunday night, from 6 until 8, four other families - with ten children across them - come to our home for fellowship.  With five couples and 14 kids running around, it's a great time.


When we first started our sessions, we had a pamphlet to work through that the church had provided as part of a "starter package."  And fortuitously, once we wrapped up our 'starter package', the church gave us the assignment of reading The New Testament which coincided with the start of Lent. The goal is that we will have finished our reading by Easter.  That translates to approximately 18 pages of reading, five days a week. Provided you actually do your reading five days a week.

Unfortunately for me, instead of reading the Bible everyday, I got totally hooked on Jane Austen (esque) movies. After I'd watched Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones' Diary (including The Edge of Reason), and the six series BBC version of Pride & Prejudice three times (once by myself, once with Charlie, and once with the kids), it dawned on me I really should give up Colin Firth / Mr. Darcy for Lent.  Before I do, I must say ... Pride & Prejudice ... if you have six hours, is the BEST MOVIE EVER. Especially the third time you watch it in less than two weeks.

While I've never read the Bible cover to cover, I've certainly tried. Years ago, I started the Old Testament and made it to Leviticus and then had to stop with all the slaughtering and blood and sacrifice. I've also skimmed through the New Testament and am familiar with all of the parables.   And what I didn't pick up from reading the actual Bible, I picked up from reading our Children's Bible which is much more my speed.

The pictures really help. 

So we've got this assignment that we're supposed to be reading the New Testament (this is the version we're reading) and when our group met last night, we should have already read  through page 206 (Ephesians).   As for me, I was still hung up on the introductory chapter trying to decipher the map of Israel in the First Century.  Charlie, however, who felt like he was totally behind the game and very much dislikes feeling like he's behind the game, had read AHEAD of where we were supposed to have read, and was quoting Bible passages like a scholar and correcting people from our small group who honestly, know a lot more about this than we do.  

I was trying so hard not to crack up, because cracking up at someone else during Bible Study seems so wrong, especially since he'd just scrambled to read the information that day.  

Anyway.  Today, I had to fly to Puerto Rico (again) and I thought this would be a great opportunity to get caught up on my reading.  By the time my flight from Washington had landed in Miami, I'd read Philemon (that was easy, it's only 1.5 pages), Philippians, 1 Timothy, and Titus.  We then had a mechanical difficulty which resulted in a three hour delay that included a plane change, followed by a 2.5-hour flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Instead of feeling vexed (that's a Pride & Prejudice term), I seized the opportunity to read so that by the time we landed, I'd read 2 Timothy, Matthew, Luke and Acts and am now only 50 pages behind my group!


I probably could have read more, but I was taking my time and reading passages 2, 3 or 4 times to ensure I understood what had been written. I also kept flipping back to my Israel in the First Century Map to envision where all of this was happening.  There was a lot of highlighting and questions written in the margins.  I did wonder if it's sacrilegious to write in the margins of a Bible, but decided I'm not going to dwell on that, too much. Although I don't want any one to think that I'm practicing my righteousness in front of others (Matthew 6:1).  Honestly, I'm just trying to understand the story!

This was one of my favorite passages, written in Paul's letter to Timothy, to which I totally took heed: Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and frequent illnesses. 


It was only 10 AM, so I opted instead for champagne.


Along with my chocolate chip cookie.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

too many holes to count

This morning I attended the funeral of my friend and colleague.

The meager obituary that appeared online didn't capture that my friend was born in Africa and possessed a very quiet and kind demeanor, and absolute love of the outdoors and sports. The first time I ever spoke to him, was the day after I ran / hobbled through my first marathon in 2009.  I was living in California and he was living in Virginia and during the course of our call, I told him that I'd just completed a marathon the day prior. Truth be told, I was partially expecting that he'd be amazed at my athleticism because how many people do we know in our every day life that run marathons?!

Instead, he asked how it went? When I told him I didn't think I'd ever be able to walk again, he told me that the best cure for the stiffness from a marathon, is to go out and take a run. While he was extremely humble and did not boast about his own accomplishments, I would later learn from others, he had not only run marathons, but also ultra-marathons ... those races that are greater than a traditional marathon distance and often encroach on 50 or more miles. I listened to what he had to say about recovery, but in recognizing that I was not in the same league as my colleague, decided my cure was to take Tylenol, sit in the hot tub, and vow never to run a marathon again.

The obituary in the paper also didn't mention that my friend leaves behind three beautiful children aged 2, 4 and 8. When we met on a business trip in California, he relayed the recent story about rescuing his (at the time) one and only child from Maryland.  Since he was a successful attorney, it shocked me that the nanny he had carefully screened, prior to hiring, had the gall to take his infant daughter across state lines and embark on a shoplifting spree.  When security stopped her in the mall, she had a baby carriage stuffed full of stolen items that were carefully tucked in the lower basket and around the sleeping child. After she was taken in to custody, he got the call that his baby was at the police station. Once I'd heard the story, I immediately phoned my husband and said, "Remember that nanny we were talking about hiring for the children? FORGET IT."  

Today, I'm heartbroken that he's gone. I'm heartbroken that my friend, who shared my sense of claustrophobia and would always park outside beneath the lovely trees at our office, instead of in the bowels of the parking garage beneath the building, will never walk in to the office with me, again.  I'm heartbroken for his mother and father, and siblings, and sweet children who undoubtedly feel his loss most profoundly of all.  I'm heartbroken that circumstances in his young life were so grave, that he felt like there were no other options - than to leave it.  I'm heartbroken that the people in his life didn't recognize the signs of his desperation.

Today, I'm angry at his choice to leave this world and his children without a father, and his parents without a son.  I'm angry at the circumstances and relationships, that I can't even pretend to comprehend, that led to this decision.  I'm angry at myself that I'm judging people that I don't even know and even if I did, I have no right to judge.

Today, I'm confused because there's a lot that isn't being talked about regarding how my 38-year old colleague died.  There's a stigma that comes with it, that people don't want to openly discuss because it seems so incomprehensible.  But on the heels of the seventh suicide that has occurred in the past two years at our local high school, I think it's critical to talk about it.

Today, I recognize it's critical to be extremely cognizant of our actions and words, and be kinder than necessary to those around us, because everyone is fighting their own battle. Charlie recently shared this video with me and it struck me how so many of us are waging internal battles, that are simply not visible to the naked eye. Especially the naked eye that's always in a frenzied rush (i.e., most of us).

We really need to be kinder to ourselves, too. How easy and acceptable it is in our culture to push ourselves so hard, as we try to live up to standards that aren't feasible or sustainable in any kind of physically or emotionally healthful way.  I've come to believe that it's just a matter of circumstances.  We might fiercely claim that we'd never do something to harm ourselves. But if the circumstances of our lives were perhaps slightly different, we might be faced with a sense of hopelessness and despair that we consider simply unlivable, especially when fueled by depression. So instead of taking a different path on the hike of life, we decide that we don't want to hike anymore.

In the past twenty years, suicide rates have climbed almost 30% and have surpassed car accidents as the #1 cause of death. This is the second person from my life that has been lost to this epidemic and I wonder if either of these people realized just how much they are loved, and how sorely they will be missed?  Today at my friend's funeral service, it was standing room only.  Several of his family members from South Africa were in attendance, and I so hope that they were able to grasp how many of us were impacted by the gift of his gentle existence, and are now devastated by his loss.

There's that one scene in the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life" where angel-to-be Clarence Odbody, after showing George Bailey what the world would be like without him says, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"   

The obituary didn't mention that there are so many holes left by my friend's passing.

And as I sit here on this perpetually rainy Saturday, it feels as if the skies are weeping, too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

RIP General Electric P*7 Automatic Cleaning Oven

This afternoon when I came home from the office, Henry rushed me and begged that I make him a batch of banana muffins.  There are a lot of things I can easily turn down, but I can never turn down an opportunity to bake with the children.  So there we were, measuring and mixing and stirring and putting batches of muffins in to the oven, when I noticed that the heating element was on fire.


I wasn't immediately alarmed, because I know that heating elements burn sometimes. Especially when something falls on them. But when I removed the muffins and saw that there was nothing on the element and it was actually sparking with flames, I realized there might be a more significant issue at play.  So I turned the oven off and closed the door, thinking that would do the trick.


Alas, a few minutes later, when I looked back in the oven, it was still sparking and the fiery heat was very slowly moving it's way along the length of the element.

Huh. "Charlie? Something looks as though it might be amiss here..." I said to my husband.

We both looked at the element that was sparking and popping like a welder's torch, and burning brightly like magnesium from chemistry lab.  I poured some baking soda on it, which just made a mess.  Then I poured some water on it, which just made more of a mess.  I would have just left it alone, except I was slightly worried that if the flame continued to migrate and reach the junction at the back of the oven, we may have an electrical fire.  We thought this would be a great opportunity to show the children how to use a fire extinguisher, so we pulled out our little 1-pounder and Charlie pointed it toward the oven.


Quick show of hands if you've ever used a fire extinguisher?


We hadn't ever used a fire extinguisher before, so we were quite surprised at the ABSOLUTE MESS that a fire extinguisher makes.  When a cloud of fire suppressant material immediately engulfed the kitchen, and drifted throughout the entire house,  Charlie started hacking and ran around opening all the windows before darting outside in to the 25 degree air yelling for the children to follow him.




I peeked in to the oven and the glow of the still hotly burning element reflected off the suppressant.  The fire extinguisher had done absolutely nothing. Except make a mess.


So I called the non-emergency fire department line and asked what should we do?

They suggested we turn off the power breaker (of course!) and unplug the oven, which wasn't an immediate option since it's a wall mounted version and connected in the back.  Lo, once Charlie turned off the power, the flame died out and we immediately set to work cleaning up the mess.

It wasn't long before there was a reporter and camera crew on the scene ...


They were trying to cover the story of what exactly had happened?


Charlie was interviewed and as he relayed the harrowing experience, he explained the FEAR and CONCERN he felt regarding the welfare of his children and family.


He described the super human strength that was required to pull the pin on the fire extinguisher and wield it so expertly.  Most men would have a difficult time picking up the extinguisher and knowing what to do, let alone calmly and swiftly swinging in to action, as he had done.


He went on to explain that he was a remarkable model of poise and grace.

He has lovely feet and he smells good, too.

And his hair? Why, he's like a Greek God!

(Oh dear Elizabeth, if you think he's embarrassing you now ... just you wait.) 


Our reporter wrapped up her story on the nearly 50-year old oven that will now require replacement. The question remains whether this will be a simple replacement, or whether it's replacement will result in the full demolition and reconstruction of an entirely new kitchen.  Regardless of what happens, I doubt our new appliance will boast the handy cooking guide that I've come to rely upon with our GE P*7 Automatic Oven Cleaning variety.

I must remember...  Two Crust Pie 400-425.  Two Crust Pie 400-425!


In the meantime, our reporter moved outside to cover the weather.


Although April is less than a week away, we had our umpteenth snowstorm yesterday. By all accounts, northern Virginia hath definitely frozen over.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

here they grow again

Our next door neighbors have two children that are a few years older than our brood. Their older son is an accomplished lacrosse player and ever since the day William saw him in the front yard tossing around a lacrosse ball, our son was hooked.


"What is that game he's playing?!" he excitedly asked me.

"Field hockey!" I excitedly replied, because I knew it was either lacrosse or field hockey and figured I had a 50% chance of being correct.


His enthusiasm about the game was only escalated once our neighbor kindly gave William his smaller sized lacrosse stick. So last year, we signed him up for a lacrosse league and twice a week, he met with a group of 8-year old boys and they were so adorable, running around the field, tripping over themselves, learning how to scoop the ball, cradle it, pass it, and all other types of lacrosse-y things.


Unlike other activities where he is excited to participate and then burns out after the first week or two, his enthusiasm for lacrosse has not yet waned. In fact, once he wrapped up the spring season last year, he's been asking nearly every month since, when does the next season begin?  


And so it was, Charlie signed William up for lacrosse again this year.  Although this year, his league is for boys 11 and under. This age range didn't alarm me too much, until I witnessed his first scrimmage last weekend...


For starters, the scrimmage - which occurred in a huge field 90 minutes from our house - started at 10 in the morning and lasted until 8 at night. We arrived at 10:30 AM and a mere four  hours later - we were desperate to leave.  Or rather, everyone except William, was desperate to leave.


William could have stayed there all day and would probably like to be there, still.


But there is only so much coloring and picnicking and story telling one can do. 


Now there are some BIG differences between lacrosse last year and lacrosse this year.  The most notable difference is that last year, it was just my little boy with a lacrosse stick and ball, and practices with similar sized children two times a week.  None of the kids really knew how to play and it was fine, because they were little. This year, our team who is still on the small side, didn't seem to know what was happening as the opposing team scored once, twice ... eight times in 20 minutes.


Last year, there were NO games, there were certainly NO marathon scrimmages that consume an entire weekend day.  And there definitely were NO big kids out on the field playing against my son that looked like they were twice his size and had enough facial hair to warrant a razor and can of Barbasol.  The physical difference between a nine year old and an eleven year old can be quite large, and some of these boys were big.


The other equally notable difference is that this year, the top half of our son's body is covered in protective pads and he wears a helmet and face mask atop his blonde head. In his mouth, he has a guard to protect his teeth.  When I first saw all the gear, it didn't really strike me that lacrosse is a CONTACT SPORT and the reason they have to wear all the padding and helmets and mouth gear, is because part of the game is whacking your opponents like a piƱata with your lacrosse stick until they drop the ball or fall to the ground in agony.

And to think, I thought football was violent.


There was a boy, from the opposing team, who we saw fall to the ground in agony and it took everything in my power to not run out to his side and scoop him up like a newborn.  When his coach came out and after kneeling beside him for a couple minutes, helped him stand up and walk off the field, it surprised me that I had tears streaming down my cheeks.


And that is precisely why William is now signed up for ballet.*

Shhh, don't tell him.


*No, not really .... but I'm very, very tempted. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

the winter wild life

We've had an awesome winter for snow this year.  I'd estimate that we've received at least 24-inches of snow since January, which by our standards is a whole lot.


Since the beginning of the year, the children have only had one full week of school. Every other week ... all 10  of them ... have been truncated by either delayed starts due to snow, ice, or bitterly cold temperatures. Or, cancellations if the wintry conditions are severe enough.  Remarkably, the one week that they didn't miss any school, we received two snow storms - but the snow didn't start falling until 10 minutes AFTER the children arrived at school, and stopped by noon.


Last week, we received six inches of snow early Monday morning, which prompted the children to miss school on Monday - Tuesday - and have a two-hour delayed start on Wednesday.  In order to make up all of the missed "snow" days, the children will now be in school until nearly July.


We still love it, though.  Especially when we look out the window after a big snow storm and see the signs of winter wildlife such as a bright red cardinal perched in a tree...


Or deer tracks through the crisp snow.


Or perhaps best of all, our children that spend hours sledding down our steep back yard and once they get to the bottom, running up to do it again. Over and over and over - so many times - they're completely exhausted and can barely walk ...


So eventually just crawl up the hill, pushing their sled before them.


A winter storm, a steep hill, a canceled school day, a sled and siblings. Without a doubt, these are some of the key ingredients for the sweetest childhood (and parenting!) memories.

Monday, March 10, 2014

a conference call in real life

Last week, my boss shared this video clip with me because it so perfectly captures our lives in the current day "teleconference" business world:

This video clip is my reality EVERY DAY because I spend the majority of my working hours on conference calls that resemble exactly this. The fact that it is so hysterically funny to me is because it so incredibly accurate.

Happy Hour in Five!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

springing forward

Charlie recently registered Carolyn and Elizabeth for a running program called, "Girls On The Run."  Their training started on Thursday, and they showed up - ready to go! - with their bright pink running shoes that we'd carefully picked out the weekend prior.  As part of the program, they've been registered to run a 5K race the third weekend of May. Which means, the rest of the family is registered, too.  And so it is, we were up yesterday with the dawn to run through our neighborhood.  And again today, we were up with the dawn to run again...


When we returned from our  run, we all dropped to the floor to stretch before we chugged big glasses of water. We then enjoyed a healthy and light breakfast and high-fived each other over all the awesome things that we'd accomplished before 9:00 AM!

But then I looked at my phone and realized it was actually 10 AM and we'd forgotten to "spring forward" an hour on our clocks. Fortunately, the endorphins of my run are so strong, the fact that we lost a full hour today is not getting me down ... too badly.  Although, I really think we should start a petition to eliminate Day Light Savings Time.  In my realm, anything that even subtly shifts the School Year schedule so that we inevitably sleep later in the morning, and subsequently have a later bed time for children at night, is more painful than shin splints.

Monday, March 03, 2014

the bunny slope drill sergeant

The last week of January, we took the family on our second-ever ski trip.


Because our school had teacher workdays on Thursday and Friday, we made the decision to take the children out of school on Tuesday and Wednesday and treat ourselves to the wonder that is mid-week skiing.  Since the temperatures had been colder than average, and there had been record amounts of snowfall in the region, we felt fully justified in our decision and believed the experience of staying at a ski-in, ski-out cabin, would be well worth the expense.


We arrived in Snowshoe, West Virginia on Tuesday evening. The temperature when we pulled up to our cabin was 10 degrees.  By Wednesday morning, when we ventured out to the slopes, the temperature was -8 below zero, with a windchill that lowered the temperature to -22.  But it was so beautiful and aside from the bone chilling cold that would freeze any exposed skin in less than 10 minutes, the conditions were truly magnificent.


When we arrived at the mountain, I vetoed Charlie's opinion that we enroll all four of our children in ski school, because it was $150 per child, per day. For as much as Charlie wanted to just ski with me, and not be slowed down by our little people who he didn't think could keep up with us, my opinion was that the triplets had ski school last year and since both Charlie and I have been skiing for 35 years a piece, my theory was that we can teach them and save ourselves $450 a day, or $1800 for the four days we were planning to be there.


But since Henry could hardly stand up on his skis, it made sense for us to enroll him.  So while Henry slid off with the rest of his tiny tot ski school class, Charlie and I took the triplets out on the mountain.  By the end of the first day, they were doing fantastic and able to keep up with us on all of the green (beginner) and several blue (advanced) runs.  Henry appeared to be doing well, too. At least every time we saw him - he was upright and smiling ... probably because the ski school offered his tiny tot class hot chocolate with marshmallow breaks every 30 minutes. Aside from the -22 degree temperatures, Wednesday was the perfect ski day.


When we arrived on the mountain Thursday morning, our beautifully desolate slopes that we'd experienced the day prior, were now populated with northern Virginia families that had also retreated to the mountains for the teacher workdays.  What we didn't anticipate was that there would be so many people, the ski school would be overbooked and there would be no space in the class for Henry.  So when we were told that he couldn't register, Charlie thought that our next best option would be to sign him up for snowboarding lessons. And yes, maybe, snowboarding would be a good option.  But I have this mental block that our children must know how to ski before they attempt snowboarding.  Why? Because I don't know how to snowboard, so if our children get stuck, there's nothing I can do to help them except tell them to walk down (or up) the mountain for assistance.


So when Charlie told me that he'd signed Henry up for snowboard lessons for Thursday through Saturday, to the tune of $450, but first we'd need to stand in line for over an hour to exchange his ski gear for snowboard gear ... it wasn't one of my most gracious moments. We are here to ski, not snowboard and I will not spend $450 on glorified babysitting after losing more than an hour of skiing because we have to first exchange his gear.  And that is how Charlie and I began what would shape up to be our most miserable day in skiing history.  We were both upset because skiing for a family of six - even without ski lessons - is an expensive endeavor.  So expensive, that we opted to pack our own food each day and had our children eat snacks in between runs.

A snowy tapas picnic, if you will.


And yet here we were, not able to really get our money's worth out of our trip, because we had Henry who could not ski, there was no space for him in ski school, and one of us would have to stay back with him, while the other one skied with the triplets and I'm trying my best not to think about how much it is costing us per minute, just standing there debating what to do.



As a compromise, I took the triplets out skiing for an hour, and then I'd trade with Charlie, who would take the triplets skiing, while I'd stay with Henry on the bunny slope.  So on and so forth we'd do this, until just after lunch time, when William and Elizabeth decided to hang back with their father and Henry for a little longer to warm up while I took Carolyn skiing ... just the two of us.

As Carolyn and I were preparing to trade with Charlie,  I called him on our remote-controlled radio and told him I was on my way and to get ready to switch.  That's when he told me that William, Elizabeth and Henry (and I quote), "Had had enough skiing and were playing at the indoor playground for the rest of the day."


They are playing at the PLAYGROUND when we have forked over fortune for lodging and ski equipment, and rental gear, and full-day lift tickets after "only" skiing for a total of three hours that day?  My response, upon hearing this news, made my prior ungracious moment, from earlier in the day, appear regal.  Worst of all, perhaps, was that we were on an RC radio, so anyone who was on the same channel heard me. Oh, sometimes, you can hide your anger from the world, and sometimes not.

I skied in a mad rush to the lodge, clop-clopped through the lodge in my ski boots, and upon seeing my three children who were having a grand time running around barefoot, bellowed THEY BETTER GET THEIR SKIS BACK ON AND GET OUTSIDE ON THE MOUNTAIN! 

Meanwhile, my husband shook his head in dismay and sarcastically said, "Excellent, Jen.  This is really fun for everyone, isn't it?"


Do I detect criticism?!



I don't remember everything that I said, but it was loud and angry and borne of the frustration that happens when you have expectations for the way something is supposed to go, and it isn't going that way at all.  My response was something along the lines of, "SKIING IS FUN, WE LOVE SKIING, AND WE DIDN'T JUST SPEND A SMALL FORTUNE SO OUR KIDS COULD PLAY IN A PLAYGROUND LIKE ONE AT MCDONALD'S SO THEY BETTER GET THEIR LITTLE SELVES WITH THEIR LITTLE SKIS BACK ON THE SLOPES BEFORE MY HEAD ROLLS CLEAR OFF MY HAPPY SHOULDERS!"

People stared.

People who tried not to stare craned their necks to eavesdrop.

One guy was nodding his head in agreement and laughing because maybe he could relate?

Charlie was afraid to leave me with Henry, and Henry was afraid to be left alone with me - but my auditory expression of frustration continued at an elevated acoustic range, and soon enough, Charlie and the triplets were on their skis and back out on the mountain. That's when I turned my attention to a tantruming Henry who told me he didn't want to ski anymore because he didn't like it and he couldn't do it and NO! NO! NO!


There is a psychological, birth order reason - I'm sure - Henry tends to give up easier than he should at certain activities.  When he suspects that he can't keep up with his siblings, rather than try and fail, he instead pulls the baby card.  But I absolutely knew that he could ski, and I knew that once he did it, he'd really love it. And I know these things, because I'm his mother.  Charlie likely knew it too, but he was worried he'd turn him off from skiing forever if he pushed him too hard. I don't believe it's possible to push kids too hard when it simply comes to trying something and at least, giving it your best shot.

So in a "beatings will continue until morale improves kind of way" I told Henry that he COULD do it, and I didn't want to hear any more of his defeatist attitude.  I told him to wipe the tears off his face before they froze and then I made him tell me, "I can do it!" over and over again, until he was nearly screaming at the top of his six-year-old lungs, "I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT!" 

After a few runs down the bunny slope with Henry wiping out left and right, I held him between my skis and had him lean on my poles.  Once we accomplished one successful run, I took him to the top of the mountain and told him we were going to ski the whole way to the bottom.  He was concerned. And rightly so, because skiing down a 2-mile stretch with a little chap between your skis isn't the easiest thing in the world to do and I was fully aware that my thoughts of what I can athletically do often eclipses the reality of my ability.  But I still had some adrenalin coursing through my veins from my outburst an hour earlier, so I pointed our four skis down hill, and off we went.

You can do it, Jen!



Midway down our run, we (almost literally) bumped in to Charlie and the triplets. They were stunned to see us skiing down the mountain and as we went past, I gave Charlie a proud look that conveyed, "Yes, I know, I'm totally awesome, right? This is how you do it, Sweetie Pie!" and then I caught an edge and promptly fell down on top of Henry. Once we recovered, we skied the rest of the way to the bottom, receiving only some minor assistance from siblings on the flat terrain.


When we were within 200 yards of the lift, I pulled up my poles and had Henry ski the rest of the way down, practicing his pizza cut / snowplow stop, until he pulled along side Charlie at the chairlift.  We did another few runs with him skiing between my skis, and Charlie's skis, and the children were so thrilled that their little brother was out there skiing with them. That is how we wrapped up the day on Thursday.


On Friday, we set off - determined that we'd continue skiing with Henry, and teaching him ourselves. After we did two runs with him skiing and holding our poles, we set him loose to ski on his own. He made it down every run, turning, stopping and soon hitting jumps along the side of the runs like a pint-sized pole-less skiing wonder. All the while he'd be crouched with his arms on his hips, loudly singing, "DA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA BATMAN!"


By Saturday, he was nearly leading the charge down the hills and when I jokingly asked him if he'd had enough and wanted to take off his skis and go play at the indoor playground for the rest of the day, he hollered, "WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I LOVE SKIING AND WANT TO DO THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY!"

It made my heart soar because he absolutely meant it...


And that's precisely how I feel, too!