The 2018 Ski Trip

Last week we went with the entire Kansas-based Menke family to Granby Ranch in Granby, CO for our ski trip. It was great, and if you’re looking for a family-friendly place to go skiing, Granby should be on your list. The condo was awesome (we had our own hot tub – score!). Lessons were affordable. And the slopes weren’t very crowded. All in all, the makings of a solid week of family fun.

It’s always crazy an adventure to take the kids on a 10+ hour drive. Honestly though, we nearly have that down to a science thanks to Tony. He always makes sure we have plenty of drinks, snacks and movies that are easily accessible, and he’s willing to make copious bathroom stops.

The thing that really stood out about this particular ski trip, is that it was the first time we’d have the entire family up on skis at some point. Leo is an old pro, but it was the first time Alex would get to attend lessons, and Kate was finally big enough for us to get her out on the bunny hill for awhile.

We enrolled Leo in two days of intermediate ski lessons, although he skied all day, every day, regardless of whether he had lessons or not. He complained about having to go to lessons (cousin Carson didn’t have to – it’s not fair!), but after two days he had made several friends in the group, so I think it was a good investment in his time and our money. Because Leo’s quite adept at skiing and prefers to ski terrain parks and narrow trails, I didn’t get any photos of him. It’s a sad but unfortunate result of being better at skiing than his mother. Instead I’m including a photo of Kate and Alex looking over the balcony of the base lodge, trying to find Leo.

We also enrolled Alex in ski lessons. We opted for three days for him since it was his first time in lessons, but only half-days. Initially, we were a bit disappointed he’d only get half-days, but as it turns out, those ski school people know what they’re doing. Alex loved lessons until around 10:30 each day. Then he was tired. And done. So we would inevitably get a call from ski school, and either Tony or I would have to go down and cheer/console/bribe Alex in attempts to get him to finish the remaining hour-ish of time.

Kate was not old enough for lessons, so we took her out for about an hour one afternoon on the bunny hill. Alex tagged along and showed Kate how to ride the magic carpet. Initially, Kate didn’t really want to stand up on her skis, and couldn’t quite follow along with what was going on. But it was only a matter of time and that girl figured it out. Before I knew it, Tony had her skiing down the bunny hill all by herself, and Kate was giggling the whole time!

In addition to skiing, we also spent some time playing in the snow and building a snowman. As it turns out, the fresh powered didn’t pack well so we had a non-traditional triangle snowperson instead of the typical three-ball configuration.

For Tonythe skiing wasn’t particularly challenging. Granby had an entire mountainside that was exclusively blue and black runs, but they weren’t terribly long and several still weren’t open (while it snowed 6-9″ while we were there, they hadn’t had a whole lot before then). And let’s face it, Tony really likes the super steep, super fast, crazy stuff. I know he had a good time though, watching the kids and getting to spend time with his dad, sister and brother, along with various assortments of the cousins, going down the green and blue runs on the other mountainside.

Tony also invested quite a bit of time helping me try to take my skiing to the next level. After seven years (although technically I’ve only been skiing five times), I’m still trying to make the transition from relying on the wedge (pizza) to slow down and turn, to going all parallel, all the time. It isn’t a tough concept physically (although it does take some work), but mentally, you have to trust yourself and take the risk… and that’s something I struggle with. After a few rough moments (and one afternoon where I wasn’t on speaking terms with Tony), I think I finally got there. By my final couple of runs, I was pretty good at doing parallel turns. (We’ll see if it sticks for next time.)

All, in all, I really do enjoy skiing, and I especially enjoy skiing with Tony around… I don’t really like many other folks around because a crowd makes me really anxious, but I’m pretty comfortable with him there.

I’m so thankful that I married into a skiing family and that I get the opportunity to take my kids skiing. I can tell they’re all going to love it. (In fact, Leo declared the other day that he’ll probably be most likely to go to the Olympics in skiing, lol.)


2018 Goals

I’ve spent several weeks thinking about these, trying to come up with a well-rounded list that included a tangible tracking mechanism so it would be easier to determine success. Without further ado, I present Alissa’s 2018 Goals:

  1. Listen to 15 audiobooks.
  2. Post on my blog bi-weekly (or at least average two posts a month).
  3. Run in three adventure races with Tony.
  4. Go on one big adventure.
  5. Make more memories doing stuff. With the kids. With Tony. With my parents. With my sister. With my brother. Focus less on things.
  6. Help DARI hit it’s 2018 sales goal.
  7. Decide where we’re going to live and make it happen.
  8. Stay within my lunch budget each month.

Some of these will be pretty easy to do. (I’ve already listened to two books this month.) Others will require work – training, writing, thinking. And my favorites will require quality time, something that I’m cherishing more and more as I get older.

Update: I decided to add an additional goal to my list (see #8 above). It seems like a simple one, but it’s going to be a challenge… I always like challenges.

The Thankful Season

It’s been a big year with lots of change since last Thanksgiving, but I’m feeling more thankful than ever. There’s nothing like experiencing the full range of highs and lows in life to really appreciate everything you have and everyone that loves you.

  • My family – I’m always thankful for my family, but this year they’ve been there for me more than I could have ever asked for. Through the divorce and single mom transition, I’ve gotten a lot of support and advice from my parents. My sister’s always been available to talk and give me advice on boys, even though she lives hours away. (In some ways it’s like high school, but I think we get along better now than we did back then… that’s probably the benefit of living hours away.) Even my brother has really stepped up to help me out this year. Whether it was watching Leo when I was in a pinch or giving me a place to crash after a less than stellar night out in Lawrence.
  • My friends – It’s quite possible that I’ve got the most eclectic group of friends, ever. Work friends, techie friends, sports friends and others that sort of defy definition. I love them all. They keep me inspired and enthused and laughing. This year I’ve really needed all of that. I appreciate all the smiles, funny messages, free meals (and drinks) and general good times I’ve had with all of them.
  • My son – Leo is pretty awesome. He’s growing like a weed and becoming such a cool little guy. It’s fun to see his personality blossom, and watch him learn about the world around him. And I’m learning so much from my time with him, not just about life with a toddler, but how to be a better person and cherish the moment.
  • jhP – I’m almost certain I work for the coolest place in Topeka. This year my work family at jones huyett Partners has been super supportive of me, both at work and in my personal life. My co-workers are fun people, that I genuinely enjoy working with. I’ve been given the opportunity to grow the digital media department into a pretty legit piece of business running successful campaigns for a lot of great clients.
  • My boyfriend – When I ran into Tony at the bar earlier this year, it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting him to become my boyfriend. Heck, I didn’t even tell him my name, (instead I told him that it didn’t matter). But lucky for me, my sister was smart enough to make sure he got my number, and he was crazy enough to text me the next day. I appreciate how close Tony is with his family, his competitive spirit and that he’s also a small-town kid. He’s a great guy, I love the way he interacts with Leo, and I’m really glad he’s part of my life.