We had a pretty tough start to the trip with the bad Atlanta traffic, then hiccups at the airport (I may not have mentioned this the first post but Delta had ALL of our names mismatched with our birthdays and it took AGES to find someone who could even fix it!), and a snow storm that caused a 1 hour drive to take 6.
We got checked in MUCH later than we’d anticipated when we booked the trip and were exhausted. We all crashed HARD and the time change worked in our favor because we all were able to fall asleep early and wake up easily the next morning feeling very rested.
Thankfully I was able to partner with Kit Lender who pre-shipped ALL of our ski essentials directly to the condo! They were all there waiting for us when we got in so we just got dressed and headed down to pick up our ski rental stuff. Unfortunately, since we did arrive so late on check-in day we weren’t able to go ahead and pick up all of our ski stuff upon arrival which did make the morning a bit off!
Since we arrived in the dark it was awesome to wake up to all the SNOW! We got dressed and ate a few bites for breakfast and watched the snowplows do their thing before riding the resort shuttle down to the village area to pick up our rentals.
We got there and I realized I didn’t have my gloves and also realized we were WAY too early. We were there before anything was even open. Zach had time to run back to the room and get my gloves for me and I tried to keep the kids entertained while we waited for opening. Snow angels for the win 😉
A BIG tip if you plan a ski trip with kids – make sure to arrive early enough to pick up your rental gear the day BEFORE you plan to ski. The whole process is always long and frustrating. Fitting 4 kids for ski boots (which even when they fit properly are a pain) and skis and managing all the gear all while all dressed in tons of layers will make 30 minute feel like 3 hours – trust me 😉
Everyone started the day super excited about everything but by the time the ski gear was situated, we had a few tears, mostly from Tess. She felt overwhelmed by the process and a bit nervous about skiing too. She didn’t love skiing when we went for Kye’s 10th birthday so we had planned out the days to try to make sure she had fun.
Our game plan for Morning 1: Spear, Britt and Tess ski school while Zach, Kye and Mommy skiied together.
Zach had a goal to be in the first group up the lift for the day – but that did NOT happen haha. We got everyone dropped at ski school then the three of us got ready to go up the lift when I got a phone call from Spear’s class. He was crying and they said I needed to come be with him.
Listen. Ski school for a 4-year-old, we all know, is supposed to be childcare. Like we are paying a bunch of money so WE can SKI. Sure, if my 4 year old gets to learn some basics, that’d be awesome. But the main goal of Spear being in ski school was so Zach and I would get to ski together!
I was baffled by the Copper Mountain ski school situation. Everyone who has ever kept children at all knows that they cry and you distract them and they GET OVER IT. Distract them and the will be FINE.
Instead they called me like 2 minutes after I had left and instead of getting to go down the slopes I had to go sit with Spear. So I spent money on ski school for him, a lift ticket for myself, all for nothing. I had Zach snap a picture of me on my skiis since I had a feeling it’d be my only time on ’em!
I was very bummed as I had been looking so forward to getting to ski with Kye. I haven’t skied in ages, and actually enjoy it (I know, shocking ha!) and skiing is Kye’s favvvv sport so I was really excited to get to see him in his element since I heard ALL about how awesome of a time he had on his solo trip with Zach!
Thankfully both the girls were in a ski class together, and unlike Spear’s age group their ski class was (and should be) about learning skills!
I finally got Spear to calm down and was able to meet up with Zach and Kye and we got on the lift to ski together and my phone rang again the minute I got off the lift at the top of the mountain. I couldn’t even enjoy the ride down because I was stressing about Spear. I was worried that he was upset and needed his mama and worried that the ski school people were annoyed and worried that they weren’t helping him feel better.
At that point, it really set in that we made a mistake with this trip. After Key West and how much Zach and I missed Spear on that trip we said we’d not leave him anymore and this was the first BIG Christmas trip he was included in (other than Great Wolf Lodge).
And the reality is that every kid is different. Every trip is different. This trip was a LOT. And yes, at Spear’s age Tess handled the California trip amazingly. But Spear isn’t Tess! He’s his own unique, wonderful person and this trip just wasn’t best for him at this stage in life.
If we’d left Tess at home when we went to California she would have been devastated. But that is now how Spear is at all! He either isn’t quite mature enough to feel left out yet or he truly just doesn’t care. He loves when he gets to spend solo time with Big Papa on the tractor!
Being the youngest it may mean he’s “left out” of some things but he also gets HUGE perks the older ones didn’t at the same age. Hello he’s done Disney since birth. He’ll also be the last kid in the house and will have lots of experiences then that they won’t. It truly all balances out!
It’s so hard because we do have such a broad age gap of kids and can’t put off taking trips until they are all old enough to enjoy it because we will probably be grandparents by that point haha This trip also took place during a tough time with Zach’s health so I felt extra tender about how important it is to take the trips NOW and make the memories NOW.
Just as much as we wanted those family memories, having Spear along for them made it really hard to make the joyful memories. He’s little! He’s tired! He’s in a new environment. It was too much for him to handle and I felt SO MUCH MOM guilt that I put him in that situation and that by having him in that situation I was also then failing my other kids because I wasn’t able to enjoy them either.
I know it probably sounds silly that we put so much trust in the ski school situation but Spear LOVES preschool. He never cries at drop-off. He LOVES Bible Class. He races to his class every Sunday and Wednesday and never looks back. I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned that he’d enjoy ski school. Even leading up to the trip he talked constantly about how excited he was about it!
If I had to do it all over I’d either have seen about Spear staying home OR, ideally, I’d plan the trip at a more family-friendly ski resort located much closer to the airport. Zach and I both really and truly wanted this to for a FULL family adventure and wished we’d just made better plans for it to be fully enjoyable for us ALL.
I had read that Copper Mountain was fantastic for families, but it just wasn’t great for little ones like Spear. If we’d gone somewhere with a more family-focused environment the ski school would have better been able to handle a crying kid and know how to make it work rather than calling parents over and over anytime a tear was shed! Very expensive lesson learned 🙂 If you go skiing as a family – spend the money and go to Utah to a resort close to the airport! I def wish we’d done that!!!
I went and met with Spear at ski school and at that same time Kye, who was the most excited about skiing, felt miserable with altitude sickness. He hadn’t been feeling well leading up to the trip and was on antibiotics for his first sinus infection so I’m surrrre that played a role in his altitude sickness.
I told Zach to GO SKI. Go enjoy the day! Enjoy the time on the slopes!
I took Kye with me to come back to the room because he needed rest in order to be able to enjoy the trip and everything I read about altitude sickness said resting was best. I went ahead and picked up Spear from ski school as well and talked to them about shifting his class to the next day.
While I wouldn’t be able to ski the next day, at least he’d be at ski school and I’d get some quality time with Tess (original plan was for day 2 to be Kye, Britt and Zach ski together while I stayed at condo/played in snow with Tess and Spear but if we’d already paid for ski school, I wanted Spear to go to get used to it so he’d hopefully stay well the third day when I was supposed to ski again!).
So I go pick up Spear and have all my stuff, all Spear’s stuff PLUS Kye and his stuff who is feeling pitiful. It’s a LOT of stuff to try to carry. Skis, poles, helmets, plus we had to get our boots from the locker that we wore down to the village that morning when we picked up our rentals and we tried to help Zach by getting ALL the boots from the locker that we could (4 pairs). AND a bag of stuff I had sent to ski school that morning in case he needed it (extra clothes etc).
It was too much stuff to even be attempting to carry with all of our ski gear on as well as trying to manage Spear! We have to walk from the ski school to the bus. I couldn’t even hold Spear’s hand because I had too much stuff and I just had to pray he was following me. Kid was straight bawling for his doggie that was in the condo and I couldn’t get it for him. I just had to keep going.
I’m dropping everything non-stop and finally catch the bus. On the step up I’m dropping stuff and Spear literally face plants up the stairs then he’s crying more. We get off the bus and random strangers were coming to our rescue. Had to help us off, I couldn’t even step down the steps due to all my stuff.
We get off the bus with everything, including a crying Spear, and we looked around and Kye and I had NO CLUE where we were. NO CLUE. We had arrived at night in the dark and didn’t see the outside of the condo. There are lots of condos at the resort that all look alike and neither of us had any idea where to go.
Kye and I just start crying. I started asking random strangers for advice and help because our key said “Passage Pointe” none of the buildings said Passage Point on them! This couple came over and felt SO bad for us (literally we were a hot messsss). The husband took our skis and help them for us and the lady told me to take care of Spear while they helped us figure things out. I basically said just ignore him because I didn’t have the ONE thing that would help him calm down. He was a lost cause at that point!
NONE of us had gloves on because we had to be carrying everything and Spear, of course, kept crying that he was cold but then kept touching the dang snow. It took a solid 20 minutes with this sweet couple who helped me go through my emails from the condo people which also didn’t say anything about a specific building, only an address.
Then the wife said “lets just try this door and see what happens.” And yall. WE HAD BEEN STANDING IN FRONT OF THE CORRECT CONDO THE ENTIRE TIME” So my life.
Kye and I came in and gave Spear his doggie and then just SOBBED. Of course Zach walked in 2 minutes into us bawling. Kye and I had some snuggle time and just vented about the last 5 days. It had been a LOT. Kye ahd left for Alabama on Monday, a 9 hour drive, got sick Tuesday at the event. Had a 10 hour drive home Wednesday. Then a four hour drive to atlanta on Thursday. Followed by a 4 hour plane ride and 6 hour shuttle ride on Friday and then altitude sickness on Saturday. Woah.
We both felt WAY better after a quality cry, some grilled cheese sandwiches and a good solid laugh. I’d been saying I was wanting some quality bonding time with Kye and I def got it 😉 Spear was so happy to be reunited with his doggie and immidately fell asleep sitting up in the chair!
After lunch, a good vent session and some rest Kye was ready to hit the slopes! I stayed with Spear while he and Zach went to have some fun together for a few hours before picking up the girls from ski school 🙂
The kids all shared a bunk bed room for the trip so Spear was napping in that room. We didn’t bring a monitor or anything and he was super quiet so I assumed he was worn out from the craziness of the day and was just sleeping solid. Turns out he was actually grubbing out on everyone’s candy bags that he got out of their travel book bags from the flight! OOPS. Just another #momfail added to the day 😉
Zach and Kye picked up the girls from ski school and headed back to the condo worn out from a fun time! I’m very proud of Tess for not quitting – I was the most nervous about her going into the trip. She said she liked it but when I asked if she wanted me to buy her a lift ticket for the next day she was quick to say “no thanks!” 😉
What was also funny was that Kye, Spear and I had been through this crazy day but the girls had no clue. Britt was SO precious and when she walked in from ski school she had a big grin and the first thing she said was “this is the best day EVER!”
I loved getting some sweet post-nap/sugar rush snuggles from my baby!
We had a SUPER chill night with pizza for dinner watching Boba Fett and it was perfection. I think I needed the good cry, I needed the expectations lowered. I needed a solid reset and having all my babies snuggled up with me hit the spot!
Afterwards we took a trip to the hot tub! Zach and Kye loved the hot tub life on their solo trip together and the kids were super pumped about venturing out to check out the hot tubs. Oh my word yall it was FREEZING. And that run from the condo to the hot tub was torture but also so hilarious and so fun! Literally NEGATIVE FIVE degrees!!!
We all had the best time and agreed it was our favorite part of the day. Zach’s hair instantly froze! My mama heart needed the super fun hot tub full family memory to end the day. Because, yes, we could have left Spear at home and the trip would have been much easier and gone much smoother but having him meant different memories got to be made and there is just nothing quite like having ALL my babies TOGETHER!
Even the crazy moments turn into funny stories pretty quickly and Kye and I were cracking up about our “getting lost” experience!
The kids all loved getting to share a room – a very “big boy” opportunity for Spear that he did super well with (once the candy was all eaten ha!). And they all slept too!
Kicked off the next morning after a GREAT night of slep to walking out and seeing all the people I love most snuggled up on the couch. They all woke up crazy early bc of the time difference so the day was ready to get rolling!
We learned a valuable lesson on Day 1 – ski gear is a LOT. You start off the day frustated because it take a lot of time to get everyone ready! We split up duties and got everyone dressed and ready to go in shifts which helped it run much smoother.
First goal was to get Spear successfully to ski school. He got all ready and sent a picture to Big Papa to show him what a big boy he was going to be! He was ready and confident!
Kye and Britt got mostly ready and sipped on some hot chocolate while they waited for Zach to get back from dropping Spear to take them out on the slopes together.
The original game plan was for Tess and Spear to stay at the condo with me and go play in the snow during the morning time while the others skied but with the issues the day prior Spear went to ski school so Tess and I took our time getting ready last and waited until everyone else was out the door before heading out for some snow fun!
The snow was beautiful but the icicles were SO cool to see! I was excited for Britt to join Zach and Kye because I knew she’d love getting to be included and she’d have so much fun. Zach said she did SO great too!
Tess and I headed on a mission to find a snow play area and when we arrived we were the ONLY ones there! We had all the beautiful, fresh snow completely to ourselves 🙂
As soon as we stepped foot in it my phone rang. From ski school. This time Spear was fine but Zach had forgotten Spear’s skis. They couldn’t get ahold of Zach, I couldn’t get ahold of Zach. And by the time that whole thing was resolved Tess said her toes were cold and she didn’t want to play anymore.
Tessie just ain’t a cold-weather girl 😉 I refused to let the whole thing frustrate me. We played a bit but I also didn’t want to put pressure on her to make this fun memory if she just wasn’t feeling it. So we headed back!
While it was pretty to see falling snow the day prior, having the clear skis against the snow was even prettier to me!
Hey, I was just super impressed with myself for finding the condo this time 😉 Already a step up from the day before!
Britt did fantastic on the slopes and had a lot of fun! Tess and I got lunch ready and had some chill time together.
Ski school for Spear was from 9-3. I did early pick up though as we wanted family time and my only goal for that day in ski school was for him to enjoy it and stay the whole time so he’d be better able to stay the following day!
I was quick to volunteer to be the one to go into the village to pick him up. I was SO proud that he made it the WHOLE time and the girl who was in charge of him when I picked him up said she was shocked he had struggled the day before. That made me feel so much better hearing that too because truly Spear isn’t the kid to cry like that!
He said his favorite part of ski school was watching the rhino ski down the mountain and told me he wanted to go skiing with Mommy so I lugged him over to the bunny slopes where he proceeded to eat the snow.
I took about a million pictures but it was this sweet, precious moment with him and I wanted to ALWAYS remember it!
Ski school told me he did “get on skis” but that was as far as he’d gotten. He told me he was ready to ski down the big mountain so I put him on the skis and he went down about 3 feet on the bunny hill and he was done 😉 But hey, he enjoyed it!
My big personal goal for the day was to make the most of every little moment. Be present. Enjoy it. So yes, I took Tess on a bus ride to play in the snow for like 30 min and then headed all the way back because she was cold. And yes I carried my four year old all the way to the bunny slope and he skied for 3 feet and was done. But it was precious and fun and I can always remember that I got to ski with my baby!
We were ON this trip. I needed to do all I could to embrace the chaos and just ENJOY the moments!
Our morning may have been divided up, but our afternoon game plan was FAMILY TIME. We all wanted it and needed it and agreed that if you’re going to take a family vacation you gotta make sure to have some set aside time as a full family!
Tess got better socks on and we headed back to the snow play area. We bought a sled and brought that along as well as a snowball maker I randomly had at home.
It. Was. Perfection.
I share all our moments, the rougher ones as well as the wonderful ones because I think it’s important to be authentic. Not just for my readers, but for my kids as well. It’s good for them to know that every moment isn’t perfect and amazing, but that those rougher moments help us to better appreciate the awesome ones 🙂
We all took turns sledding (even Mommy!) and Tessie taught her baby to make snowballs.
Picture overload of our super great family time together!
Spear even found an excavator in the snow! He was THRILLED. I mean such a cool find right? His favorite kinda tractor covered in snow just waiting to be explored!
So. Much. FUN!
Spear told me he wanted to climb the big mountain (see the picture of him pointing up in the snow?). He was very determined and was on a mission to reach the big mountain. It was so funny watching sink down in the snow each step he took but it was also a proud mama moment because he was not giving up!
Spear asked me to bury him in the snow and he makes the cutest snow baby!
We had an epic family snowball fight. I got hit in the face quite a few times! Tess was crowned the snowball fight champion. She was unafraid to enter enemy territory and never gave up or complained 🙂 Like any good family battle, we always end with “everyone attack Daddy!”
Before we left home to head on the trip all the kids picked a hat to bring (we did get the birthday girl a special Hogwarts hat!) and Tess’s hat was a full VIBE. So stinking adorable.
Spear had SUCH a great day. If the first day of ski school had gone that well it would have been a total game-changer for the whole trip and our likeliness to do it again. He was so happy and so fun and I was so thankful for a great day together!
While we didn’t have experience skiing with four kids, we have gone a couple times to North Carolina with the kids and know you are wore out afterward. We were intentional in never going out to eat on the trip! We made dinner at the condo each night and kept it cheap and easy and chilllll.
Being that it was Britt’s special birthday trip I wanted to make sure SHE felt special! We surprised her with a cake and we watched the Harry Potter special in honor of the 20th anniversary of the movies.
Britt LOVES Harry Potter. She is my magical girl. Like her mama about that. As for me Mickey Mouse IS MIckey Mouse. Don’t talk to me about costumes. Unicorns are totally legit real. It doesn’t hurt anyone by believing in happy, magical things and it brings people like Britt and I joy in having them!
Britt has been writing letters to Hogwarts and checking the mail daily waiting for a reply. It’s been tricky for me to navigate because I don’t want to disappoint her or ruin her magic but I also don’t want to lie to her either (by responding to those letters). I talked it through with some friends and felt like watching the Harry Potter special would really help her.
I’ve been worried that her magic believing is too legit and she’s set up for heartbreak in learning realities. By watching the special she saw that they are actors. That the movie is based on books. It was a gentle way to let those things “click” for her without us having a conversation about it.
It worked. She loved the special but she watched with tears in her eyes. She hugged me right after and said she is just so sad that Harry doesn’t really have a scar and wished they hadn’t shown the green screen scenes. We snuggled and I reminded her that it’s fun to believe in the magic and that it doesn’t have to change anything!
Spear’s bribery reward for staying at ski school all day was another night in the hot tub 🙂 I got smart and wore a hat this time around! Zach even dared Kye to get out of the hot tub and stand in the snow for 5 seconds. We all laughed and had so much fun. The hot tub was our favorite family memory of the entire trip for sure and we even bought a hot tub Christmas ornament to remember the trip by!
I actually am not a fan of hot tubs but this experience miiiiight have changed my mind on ’em 😉
I know this was a crazy long blog post but I really wanted to include the happier day after the drama day! I like to end on a good note and thankfully, out last day, ended up being an awesome one to end on too!