We took our annual ski break to Tahoe this year. One of Ed's brothers joined with his family, which meant there were COUSINS to ski with. That was fantastic. Amazingly, Helen kept up with the big kids which at first was causing me great stress as I saw her cruise down hills that I would've thought much too difficult for her, but after I got used to the sight it was pretty fun to watch! At one point, Helen followed others onto a black diamond trail through the trees, and thank goodness she realized she was in over her head and had the good sense to pop her skis off and slide about 10 feet on her bottom. She quickly turned almost-tears into laughter. When we got to a point we could exit the trees, I told Helen I'd ski with her on the main path and she was happy to follow. She told me she had always been curious about what a black diamond was and she was hoping she would get to try one. I'm not sure when she'll try another, but if she decides to, she could make it safely down just about any black diamond out our way. The mountains are just much smaller out here.
It has not been a good snow year at Tahoe, which meant that the mountains we visited were not fully open. It wasn't a big issue since they're so big, and plenty of trails were available. But we still hope we get luckier with fresh snow in the future! We seem to often miss the big snows when we head west. At one point, it was so warm Helen was skiing in a t-shirt!
We were also joined for the first half of our trip by a former au pair which was a huge highlight. She has skied with us twice before, gone skiing one day with friends, and she can totally keep up on the trails. It's pretty impressive, and made the day a lot of fun since everyone could ski together.
We spent a day in Reno, sorting a rental car debacle out and winning stuffed animals at Circus Circus casino. Before the kids had spent they're allotted spending money at the casino, I had to call a stop to it - we wouldn't have had room to take everything home. Plus, I have to deal when the stuffed animals at home, and we just got rid of about 100 of the things last year!!
Travel home at the end of vacation was not pretty due to a storm on the east coast. I am so grateful that Connor and Helen are very good at keeping their sh*t together when we travel. It made a difficult situation bearable, and we ultimately made it back to DC about 12 hours later than expected. It was some very tough travel, lots of negotiating, and the shortest hotel stay of their lives (in lieu of sleeping on a cot in the airport, which I just could not stomach).
Great to see Grandpa Dick on the slopes for another year!