Ski Trip to Beaver Creek with Jea and Eddie

We planned a ski trip for the 2nd week of the kids’ break. It’s always a gamble with the snow that early in the season and a week or two before our trip to Beaver Creek it was looking very bleak. It was dumping in California during that time, but not all of the storms seemed to be hitting Colorado.

While we’re used to going to Beaver Creek now, we chose it in particular because Jea and Eddie planned to be their with their family and their friends. It’s a crazy time to travel and the only thing we could find was a 3 BR at the Westin. We didn’t need all the space, so Jea and Eddie joined us in one of our rooms, which was nice to be able to stay together.

Between COVID-19 and the weather, our flight to Eagle was cancelled after several delays. We spent most of the day at the airport trying to re-route and got on a flight to Denver in the afternoon, rented a car, and drove ourselves up that evening. It was very snowy and slow, but we made it safely, but our bags did not.

We arrived on Sunday, but our bags didn’t arrive until Wednesday night. Luckily I had shipped all of our ski gear ahead of time because we were supposed to be coming directly from NY. The kids didn’t have their base layers, so we bought some there and everyone wore the same clothes for 3 days straight. Thankfully we had laundry in the unit to stay fresh.

It snowed pretty much every day we were there, yet much of the mountain and lifts were still not open. The lack of staff impacted everything from the restaurants, in-room dining menu, and lift operations. I don’t think I skied a groomed run all week. Even Starbucks was shut down in the hotel, which is usually an important part of our routine.

In any case, we made the most of the fresh snow and being with our friends. It wasn’t easy to coordinate the whole group, but the kids skied together some days, as did the adults. We had some meals together and celebrated Olivia’s birthday. We enjoyed spending time with the Lim family and their boys were great with Olivia and Lucas (even if they were no match for him in Super Smash Bros). We were supposed to spend NYE together, but the other groups headed out a day early to beat a big storm that threatened to snow them in. They made it safely to Denver after a 5-hour drive.

We were suffering as well back at the hotel, watching Michigan get destroyed in the semi-finals. I barely made it to east coast midnight, but I did manage to get out early on New Years Day to find some fresh powder. Lucas and I skied 6 days while Olivia took her birthday off with Grace.

Although we were delayed again on the way home, we were relieved to just get a flight out with all the cancellations. We made it home safely with all of our luggage (though our shipped ski bags were dropped off ironically to the wrong house).

Happy New Year!

Christmas Day at Home

We came home early from New York City and spent Christmas at home alone (with Luna). The kids were excited to open all of the presents that were under the tree, as they originally wouldn’t have been able to open them until after we returned from Colorado in January.

Thanks to all our family for the generous gifts.

NYC for the Holidays – 2021

We finally had planned to spend the holidays in NY to be together with family. This was technically a Park Christmas, but my mom would be with Jen and the Haus would all be around. I hadn’t been to NY since Eemoh’s 80th birthday over three years ago. We planned to spend the first half of the week in Manhattan. Grace wanted to minimize walking, so we stayed at the St. Regis vs. the Essex House or Mandarin, which are more towards Columbus Circle.

We met Dave for dinner on the first night. My mom came down from Jen’s to hang out with us on Monday. We went to Rockefeller Center to check out the tree. It was pretty crazy down there. We had our first celebrity sighting when Olivia noticed Gaten Matarazzo from one of our favorite shows, Stranger Things. I told her to ask for a photo, but she hesitated. My mom was the most aggressive in getting close to him and in the end Liv wanted one, but we missed our opportunity.

We had a late afternoon snack at the St. Regis before heading out to go skating in Central Park at Wollman Rink. It was a bit of a zoo down there, but we had fun and no one got injured. We had dinner at Quality Italian with Dave, Jeanah and my mom. The last time we came here together, my mom took a really bad tumble on the last couple stairs and broke her knee cap and wrist. We rode the elevator this time.

On Tuesday, we went to the MOMA with the kids. They weren’t really in the mood for a museum and were being very teenagery. Grace did a little shopping on her own while the kids and I had another snack at the hotel. All the food and service there was excellent by the way, especially breakfast. That evening, we had dinner with Zoë and Jeanah. We hadn’t seen her since SJC.

By Wednesday, things were getting a little crazy with COVID-19 in Manhattan. Our Christmas plans were becoming very uncertain and it looked like we weren’t going to see extended family, including my mom, and Grace’s parents, who didn’t even come in from Michigan. Although the kids were very sad to miss spending time with Cameron and Dex at Addy and Charles’s house, we decided to head home early on Wednesday.

We took a PCR test before we left, got home safely, and all received negative results. We survived and Luna was especially happy to see us arrive home early vs. being gone for two weeks straight. We were supposed to fly directly from NY to Colorado, so those plans had to be rearranged.

Until next time, NYC!

Annual U of M Holiday Party – 2021

It’s hard enough to schedule a holiday party and much more so during a pandemic. We skipped it last year, but were determined to get back on track this year. Some regulars decided to leave the country (temporarily) and others had conflicts. Amy and Grady were kind enough to host at their new home.

In the time of COVID-19, it’s perfectly normal for one of the hosts to participate virtually. Grady had a solid reason to be away and Amy handled this rowdy group effortlessly. As we age, the gift exchange becomes tamer and tamer (and more full of CBD-related products).

Glad we didn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with dear friends, despite a lot of other things going on. Happy Holidays and GO BLUE!

Lake Tahoe with Mom and Jen

We capped off our Thanksgiving holiday with my mom and Jen in Lake Tahoe. I’m not sure if it counts as a staycation when you drive 4-5 hours each way, but it is somewhat routine for us. We wanted to give them the full treatment, which included a stop at Il Fornaio in Roseville for dinner. Blue came along and they were nice enough to let him sit with us in the restaurant (instead of on the patio, which would have been chilly).

Grace was thinking that this would be somewhat of a ski trip, except it was in the 60s and the only snow on the ground was from October. I think at that time they were optimistic for an early start to the season, but it has been quite dry since then. It turned out to be fine because we could just relax and show them around.

We were all able to fit nicely into a 3BR at the Ritz-Carlton. We started Saturday morning with brunch in the hotel. Olivia wanted to skate so we took the gondola down to Northstar village, but the rink was closed until the evening. We drove half way around the lake to South Lake Tahoe. It was a perfect day and in the 60s. My mom hadn’t been to Lake Tahoe in 33 years and back then she didn’t see much.

When we got to Heavenly, it was a lot more crowded. Lucas has been wanting to do the bungee thing since he missed out in Jackson Hole. And, to Olivia’s delight, the skating rink was open over there. I took my mom up the Heavenly gondola, which has stunning views of almost the entire lake at the observation level. By the time we got down, Olivia, Jen and Lucas were all skating.

The main event for the evening was the Big 10 Championship game. This was supposed to be an early birthday celebration for Jen. There was a lot of planning of dinner around this game, including a dog sitter for Blue. In the end, we just ordered room service and watched the game in the room, which turned out to be perfect. Also perfect was our blowout, decisive victory. Everyone was happy.

Sunday, we just had brunch again at the hotel and got on the road to return home. It was a short trip and a long drive, but worth it to experience Tahoe all together. Lucas is doing ski team at Northstar this winter, so he and I will be making this trip often.

Lunch with Lilly in SF

Mom has been missing her beloved Mia so much. We had lunch with her daughter, Lilly, in San Francisco during her visit. We spent some time before lunch at the Ferry Building and walked to Waterbar along the Embarcadero. It was so nice to catch up and hear about her family and her new passions.

Brunch in HMB with Mom and Jen

Even though we might have still been full from Thanksgiving, Grace arranged brunch at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay on Sunday, November 28th. We’ve had mixed experiences with brunch there over the years, but in the past they were the big ones during Easter or Mother’s Day.

This brunch was in Navio and allowed sampling anything off the tasting menu for two hours. Olivia ordered the scallop three times. Lucas did not get his money’s worth, but did enjoy a Wagyu slider. Most importantly, Mom and Jen had a great meal and we got some nice photos at the coast. We were also able to pick up our Christmas tree on the way home.

Thanksgiving with Michigan Grandma, Aunt Jen & Blue

It had been two years since my mom and Jen have visited using California due to the pandemic. My dad had been wanting to come visit us and see our new home. That was one of his main intentions he had at the end of his life and I’m sorry for both of us that it didn’t happen. This was our first holiday without him, and his absence was felt more now than just being apart, which was normal.

This was also Blue’s first visit with us and his first encounter with Luna. No one expected it to go well, but there were dreams that they would be cuddling by the end of over two weeks together. It didn’t happen.

There was some discussion (among the cooks) that maybe we should just order out Thanksgiving dinner and give everyone a break. Olivia insisted that was a terrible idea. We decided to divide and conquer and our team effort all turned out great.

I had to redeem myself from my last turkey on the Big Green Egg. We all learn from our mistakes. This year it turned out great and my mom said it was the best turkey ever. I think she’s just saying that.

Many of the sides were upgraded, which sometimes is a downgrade from what we had since we were kids (i.e., fresh potatoes instead of frozen hash browns). Really, it was all delicious and we didn’t have crazy leftovers.

We all still have so much for which to be thankful, despite our losses this year. Mostly, I’m thankful that we could all be together and spend the holiday together. To many more…

Lucas’s 13th Birthday Party

Lucas had a small birthday party with some friends from school. He wanted to do VR at Sandbox, which only allows 6 participants. Afterwards, the kids came over for dinner (Delfina, his favorite) and hanging out.

Lucas also received generous presents from his family.

Happy Birthday, Lucas! We love you.