Be sure to read Part 1 of our trip and Part 2 of our trip!
The original plan for the last full day of our trip was to ski together as an entire family. Ha. Ha. Ha. We realized REAL quick when we arrived that there was NO way our ENTIRE family could ALL ski together, especially not for a full day.
We switched things up and decided that Zach and Kye would have more solo guy ski time in the morning (they hadn’t had a FULL block of ski time yet!). Spear had done well at ski school the day prior so he went back that morning as well. The girls and I would have some girl time and then after lunch, we’d ski with the guys a bit before picking up Spear.
The night prior we’d watched the Harry Potter HBO Special and it was an emotional experience for Britt. I really wanted to make sure she kept her magic and her love of Harry Potter so we started the morning with the kids re-watching Britt’s favorite Harry Potter movie 🙂
She said her love hadn’t changed and that she’d made the choice to pretend she didn’t know the truth, very much how I feel about Disney characters. She’s my magic-believing girl!
The girls and I had a slow start to getting rolling. We planned to walk down to the little village to look through the shops (we always love shopping together!). We got dressed in ALL our gear only to not be able to find the room key ANYWHERE. It was very frustrating and we searched through the entire condo over and over and all got aggravated because we were trying to look while still wearing all the layers.
Our trip took place during Zach’s half dose and bless he was super forgetful. Ended up he’d accidentally taken my room key and his room key was in the hoodie pocket of his shirt from the night prior when we went to the hot tub. We finally found it and Tess then said “I don’t even like shopping.”
It was probably the first time in history that I was upset with Tess. Tess is very, very sensitive and my being upset sent her spiraling in her emotions. It was a WHILE before we got back on track and had a fresh start to the morning and felt ready for fun.
She does, for the record, love shopping 😉 And I think I was easily upset by the comment because I had spent so long searching for the key and just wanted to do something FUN and had really been trying so hard to make the fun things happen and it just felt like anything I tried to do on this trip failed!
So we had our reset and hit the village! It was SUPER cute but due to Covid every shop was extremely short-staffed and many of the shops were closed completely. Really sad how many places are struggling!
I heard from the guys that they were doing great and so were us girls! The Copper Mountain village area was ADORABLE and perfect girl-time fun. Britt loves exploring new places and both girls love browsing and looking at things in shops.
Plus we had a fun mission to find souvenirs for everyone as well as an ornament! Of course we also stopped at all the photo spots along the way 🙂
Tessie decided she wanted to fill a bag with stones as her souvenir and Britt found THE perfect hoodie. It was a GREAT morning and exactly what we all three needed after the frustrating start! I love spending quality time with my babies and don’t care what we are doing as long as they are happy and having fun I am too so the shopping outing was perfect!
We got back to the condo and the girls kept watching Harry Potter while I got lunch ready!
Of course, as soon as we got back to the condo and were getting excited about going skiing I got a text from ski school that Spear was sad and missing Mommy and wanted me to come to say hi. I decided to wait a bit. I was just about to eat lunch and would need to eat before going to get him anyway. So I ate and then called them. And, sure enough, by the time I called he was FINE.
They didn’t even know what I was talking about when I called. Whoever had texted me wasn’t who answered the phone and the person I talked to said he’d be great all day!
I’m glad that call happened because it gave me more confidence to just go SKI and not worry about ski school!
We finished up lunch and got all our gear ready to go! We got to ride a really cool bubble lift up the mountain and it was Tess’s first time EVER on a ski lift.
Fun fact about me: I’m terrified of ski lifts. I LOVE actual skiing but the lifts freak me out. I get so nervous about getting on the lift and getting off the lift so usually Zach helps me. A big reason we couldn’t ski as an entire family? It was a big enough deal for me to get myself on the ski lift without help…no way could I help Tess or Spear get on too haha!
It was Tess’s first time ever in a ski lift and it was a super cool first experience for her. She did fantastic with it!
Made it to the top and were greeted by GORGEOUS views. We were ready to get our ski on!
Zach was Incredibly patient. It was a lot. Like, again, I love skiing but my skills are nowhere near enough to help a kid down the mountain. Kye would be more helpful than I would be! Thankfully he and Britt were pretty solid. He could have left us in the dust but did a great job leading and waiting on us at certain spots.
It worked out super well, too, that Britt had the prior morning with Zach and Kye to feel comfortable and confident! She got a bit frustrated at the start but I kept reminding her to look around at how blessed we are to see this beautiful world around us and that helped.
I was extremely proud of Tess and her attitude. The girl didn’t even leave the magic carpet in ski school. She’s NEVER been up a mountain, let alone such a big one with such a long slope! She did amazing never getting upset and always smiling even when she fell.
We all had THE BEST TIME.
It was so, so, so fun. And yes, I had my gloves off the majority of the time because I wanted to make sure to get ALL THE PICTURES!
So much of this trip was filled with frustration and it was SUCH a gift to have this time. It was incredible! I loved watching Kye zoom through the woods having the time of his life getting to do his favorite sport. I loved watching his pride in helping Britt and advising her on which way to go.
I loved seeing Britt and how quickly she’d picked up skiing and how amazing she was at it! I loved watching Zach with Tess and the way he kept a fun attitude the entire way down and was constantly encouraging her and lifting her up.
I loved seeing Tess get to experience such a cool opportunity for the first time and to see how she never stopped enjoying it even when she spent more time falling than skiing.
And I loved it for ME. It was so beautiful. And the wonderful thing about skiing (and why I enjoy it so much) is that it’s JUST you. Yes, you’re with other people. But it’s so relaxing and calming and there are no distractions. I just take my time and enjoy the views and feel such peace.
I wished SO BAD that we had just one more day on the trip! THIS moment was everything Zach and I had thought the trip would be. In our minds, THIS was what we had pictured. I’m so incredibly thankful we had that ride down the mountain. We only got to do it once (and yes, that meant I spent a lot of money on 2 days of lift tickets as well as all my ski rentals for me to only go down the slopes TWICE the ENTIRE trip!) but it was AMAZING and made all the hiccups along the way so worth it!
Sometimes we need the hiccups to really appreciate the amazing moments. And this was def a moment that was made extra special for us ALL!
The slope took us about 40 min or so and we finished up right on time to pick up Spear from ski school. We skied over to the lessons and were greeted with a HUGE grin
His instructor said he did FANTASTIC and she was also sweet enough to take some family pics for us!
While ski school had ended we still had a couple hours until the slopes closed and they said we were more than welcome to use the ski school areas. The girls had their ski school on a spot with a magic carpet. We were all still having so much fun we didn’t want it to end so we headed over to the magic carpet area!
Spear did not actually ski at all in ski school (which, again, we didn’t care about him learning to ski!) and he wanted to ski so the magic carpet was perfect!
And yall it was THE cutest thing EVER. Oh my gosh. At first he was unsure and a little upset about the whole thing but once he got going he had THE BIGGEST SMILE.
It was also great for Tessie as she felt super confident and loved getting to ski without help and show off her skills!
Spear wanted JUST KYE to go with him “up the mountain” and it made Kye SO proud that his little brother wanted JUST him. It was the absolute most precious thing ever and it made me SO glad we’d brought Spear on the trip. SO glad he was there. This moment couldn’t have happened without him and it was PERFECTION.
He was so happy. Kye was so happy. All six of us were just overjoyed and having SO much fun. With four kids it’s always a magical moment when those rare times happen when every single person is truly, purely, happy and this was one of those magical times. I never, ever wanted it to end!
Oh how I wished we’d done this one Day 1! Tess said after this day she does love skiing…but that she’d still rather go to the beach 😉
Happy smiles all around – perfect ending to the trip and memories we will ALL forever cherish and choose to remember and focus on over the rougher moments 🙂
Up until this moment, Zach and I spent the trip saying “NEVER AGAIN.” But this moment had us rethinking 😉 I do think North Carolina would have been a much better situation with our entire crew. Yes, Colorado was way more beautiful and the skiing was better and the conditions were better but for our kids’ ages and skill levels, we’ll be sticking to North Carolina for a few more ski trips 😉
Biggest pro mom skiing tip I learned though was to have a TON of hot hands on hand! I had them in EVERY pocket so whenever a kid fell or took off their glove or said they were cold I’d hand ’em one 😉
Zach and Kye had enough time to do one more ski run so the others and I just hung out while they skied and then we headed back and Zach, Kye, and Britt went back down to return the rentals and had a bit of fun with iciciles too!
I had partnered with Kit Lender for our ski gear so we got back to the room and got it all packaged up to return. Zach got a bucket of snow for us to have snow slushies with dinner and we ate ALL the leftovers 🙂
Of course, we had to end the night with one last run to the hot tub followed by cookies and hot chocolate!
On the first day, I NEVER would have thought we’d be sad to leave but all of us wished we had one more day! But truly none of us wanted to leave. It was such a wonderful end note for the trip and we all went to bed thankful for the wonderful memories.
5:15 came EARLY and we had to wake the kids at 6 to hit the road. Spear was DEAD asleep! Bless.
We had another incredible experience with the private shuttle. It picked us up right on time and we had plenty of space to relax as well as a very safe driver to know we’d arrive safely at the airport on time. Thankfully road conditions were MUCH better than on our way into Copper Mountain on arrival day (it was actually 25 degrees that morning…so warmer too haha).
It took us only 90 minutes instead of the 5 HOURS it had taken us on arrival day!
Of course just as we were arriving at the airport we got the dreaded Delta text that our flight had been delayed. First text: flight delayed by 2 hours. Second text: flight delayed by 2 more hours.
We were originally supposed to arrive in Atlanta at 3 but at that point were hoping to arrive by 8 and then would still have the 4 hour drive home after!
We then had the same issues we’d had on the way where Delta had scrambled all of our names and birthdays so it took a long time at check in to get it all sorted. Delta was also extremely understaffed and we couldn’t get anyone to help us with our flight delay issues.
In my flight delay experiences (which have been many over the years!) Delta always goes above and beyond. We usually get meal vouchers. Sometimes they’ve even had snack carts and games! This time there was no one to even ASK.
I stood in line for 45 min with other people on our flight at a Delta help desk that no one ever arrived at to help.
The kids were INCREDIBLE. We were told Delta wasn’t doing meal vouchers but would reimburse us (good luck on that too because I emailed them once home and it took over 90 days to even get a response) so we made it fun and got a feast mode airport mode going 😉
We got Pizza Hut for lunch and even got Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for dessert! We were told Delta would reimburse $15 per person which went a long way!
We also broke down and bought Spear a toy airplane. It kept him happy and content while we waited. The girls had fun taking Harry Potter quizzes and Kye was content with his games.
At this time the guidelines were that we had to wear masks in the airport as well as on flights. Zach and I kept ours on the entire wait. We’d arrived at the airport at 7:30 and didn’t board the flight until 6 hours and 45 min later. We finally boarded at 2:15 for our 10:50 flight.
Zach had been seeming a bit off prior to boarding and he was really struggling with the mask situation. Having it on for that long of a period of time and being enclosed in the airport for that long just made it feel stuffy and uncomfortable. He mentioned he felt like he couldn’t catch his breath and I assumed it was just due to the mask as I got pretty lightheaded myself.
Our seats were a bit split up for the flight. The three big kids were together in front of me, I was on the end with a nice family beside me and Zach sat across from me with Spear at the window.
I could tell something was off with Zach and saw him googling things so I did what any wife would do. I used my phone to take a picture of his and zoom in to see what he was looking up. I didn’t want to be annoying or nagging but I was, naturally, concerned. He was googling heart attack symptoms.
I asked if he was okay and he said he felt weird and like he couldn’t breathe. This was all taking place literally at take-off. Like I couldn’t even google anything myself because by the time I knew how he was feeling we had to put the phones in airplane mode.
The woman beside me told me she’d had a heart attack and that she had no clue it WAS a heart attack when it was happening. She was freaking me out even worse but she did say she had some heart attack medicine on hand if we needed it.
Once we were in the air we got some assistance and the Delta staff was INCREDIBLE. They gave him oxygen and it helped but they were also very cautious and did an all-call over the intercom thing asking if any medical professionals were on board. Def a first-time experience for us (almost as dramatic as when Zach got escorted off the plane by police in Mexico…).
Two super sweet women came over. One was a nurse and the other was an OB. It was all very calm and the kids did fantastic during everything. They were all zoned into Space Jam 2 and I just told them Daddy wasn’t feeling well and was just getting some help and that everything was fine. We didn’t even hear a peep from Spear as he was content with Paw Patrol Movie!
Delta had a medical kit on board that checked Zach’s stats and such and they gave him some medicine. I honestly don’t know all the details as I also tried to be as low-key as possible. It was tricky with so many people in the aisle between Zach and I and I didn’t want to be a bother. I just wanted to let the professionals do their thing.
I did discuss with the OB that Zach has MS. That he’d been having frequent symptoms due to his half does of medicine. (You can read the update here). She said the symptoms he was having could very well be MS-related but that it’s always best to treat heart attack symptoms as a heart attack rather than downplay them and risk it actually being a heart attack.
The oxygen and medicine they gave him (along with lots of water) helped a lot. When we approached landing they told us they had an ambulance waiting for us. We discussed it and declined. We already know how crazy expensive the hospital bill was when the North Caroline puke-fest took place, can you even imagine the cost for an airport ambulance?!?
I am so thankful that Zach is the type of man who takes his own health seriously. So many men put off dr visits or brush off concerns but Zach doesn’t play around. I’m proud of him for speaking up on the flight. Not being embarrassed to ask for help. To take the suggestions and advice offered to him seriously.
We aren’t really sure what caused the shortness of breath and struggle to catch the breath that he was experiencing. One of the many symptoms of MS can be anxiety symptoms and that, to me, sounds similar to what he experienced. He doesn’t have any anxiety usually which would also make sense as to why he didn’t recognize it.
Skipping ahead a bit but when we got home he went first thing the next morning to our local dr. He had a full work-up done to check his heart and we were very thankful everything was okay there! His dr did say that with MS the anxiety is physical, not a mental health thing which was interesting to learn and good to know it’s something to keep in mind.
I didn’t include this experience in his MS update post because we really aren’t sure if it was MS related or not. It was NOT his heart which is great! But his dr also did say it very well could have been that long of a time period with the mask on at that altitude and inside a stuffy airport. Altitude sickness is no joke and without going outside at all and the long delay it could have all been related to that and not to his MS.
We have flown since this flight and he had no issues so hopefully this was a one time experience situation!
We were VERY thankful to land safely in Atlanta. Extremely proud of our kids and how amazing they did with the long day.
We had checked a carry on bag at the gate in Denver and I had always heard that gate-checking was just as safe as having the bag with you in your seat. Well I’ll never be gate checking again! We waited an HOUR at the baggage carousel for the gate checked bag. And it never came!
Thankfully Delta now has this track my bag feature on the app and I was able to locate the bag and found out it had been delivered to the wrong carousel.
At 9:22 PM we finally had ALL the bags and were finally leaving the airport!
We got all the luggage out to the hotel shuttle area and the shuttle was NO WHERE to be found. We tried calling the hotel and the number was “out of service.” We waited around for 30 minutes and then finally offered cash to another hotel shuttle driver and he said he’d take us where we needed to go.
All the kids insisted that they weren’t tired and were just SO HUNGRY (bless they hadn’t had a meal since the Pizza Hut at like noon and it was 10 pm). They were upset that we didn’t let them play video games on the drive home but yet by the time we made it through the drive through for some dinner almost all of them were asleep 🙂
With all the craziness of the day and the concerns over Zach’s health I had NO problems staying awake with him for the drive home. We were right around the corner from the house at 1:15 am and get stuck by a train. I mean basically, sums up this trip right?!?!
We were ALL so HAPPY to be home!!! Britt slept in until just about 11 am and I had to WAKE Spear up at 1:45 PM. Bless. He was EXHAUSTED! The fist thing he said when I woke him up was “I want to go back skiing for my birthday” I’m not too sure about that buddy 😉
Whew. It was a truly whirlwind trip and a crazy start to the New Year! I am so thankful for the memories made and the lessons learned as well. You won’t be seeing another west coast ski trip out of our fam for awhile 😉
Change in altitude for Zach?
I think that def could have been part of it too! The combo of the altitude, masks, stuffy airport and probably not hydrating enough!
As long as it doesn’t happen again!