The Best At Remembering

Recently Jane’s snow pants went missing. I’m not sure how regular of a reader you are, or if you live in the area, but this is January in Wisconsin. It’s cold and we do things outside. Snow pants are super necessary.

On the evening it was discovered that Jane’s snow pants were missing, we were on our way to the kids’ cross country ski lessons. Again, when you are seven and the windchill is in the single digits snow pants are super necessary for skiing.

In attempting to track down the snow pants we decided that they were either, still at the ski place from last time we were there, left at Grandma’s where the kids had been since the last time they skied or in the back of the truck in the ginormous pile of bags, ski clothes and general debris.

The only thing we knew for certain was that they weren’t in the truck and so a lively discussion of where they might be started. It was all hypothetical and going fine until Jane panicked when she realized she  might have left them at Grandma’s, about a two hour drive from home.  Then I reminded her that Grandma is a wonderful Grandma who will pack up forgotten items and send them in the mail the next day.

“Really?” says Clara, “I didn’t know she did that.”

“Yeah,” Jane says, “once she mailed me my rainbow crown.”

“What rainbow crown?”

“The rainbow crown that Otis broke and then that one guy was at our house I think his name was uhhh Matt, yeah Matt and he fixed it with that thing that started on fire in his pocket and then I left it at Grandma’s and then she mailed it to me” Jane explained.

I broke in with a “Wow. Yup. She’s right, good memory Jane” (Because Otis is a little boy who moved across the country almost three years ago and the man who fixed it was indeed named Matt and she only met him that one night, and no matter how you cut it that’s a pretty good memory).

“Yeah.” says Jane with not a hint of modesty, “I’m the best at remembering.”

“Okay remembering girl!” I said, “Remember me this! Where are your snow pants!!!”

“Mom. I don’t remember stuff like that!”


They were at the ski place. She… forgot… them there. 

Monday Night Ski Lessons

For six weeks in mid-winter, Monday night is cross country skiing night.

Ivy and Clara both take lessons, (with Peak Nordic Kids of course!) while I follow along with Clara’s group as a volunteer. Today was the last of this year’s sessions and looking back on the last few weeks I don’t feel that telling people it’s cross country skiing night really sums up the event.

You see, it starts at 1:30…

I figure 1:30 is the latest I can start gathering everyone’s skis, boots, and snow apparel, while double checking that we have extra socks, hats and gloves, without forgetting to collect a pair of p.j.s and a blanket for each girl’s ride home, all while on the phone consulting with my mom for a dinner plan. Because by 2:45 we have to be headed out the door to pick Ivy up from school. If we don’t make it there by 3:05 she’ll get on the bus and then we’d never make it to my parents’ by 4:00, so that we can enjoy the previously planned dinner with them by 5:00 so that at 5:30 everyone can put on their ski stuff. We have to have ski stuff on by 5:30 so that I’ll have time to switch Jane’s car seat to my Dad’s truck, say goodbye to the two of them and be out the driveway by 5:45. That way we can be at the ski place by 6:00 so that the kids can finish getting their ski duds on, while visiting with my mom (who is one of the coaches) and we can all be out to meet our respective groups on the trail head by 6:30.

While skiing is done at 7:15 it seems a bit insane to just go home so we take another half hour (or until someone’s toes are frozen) to play around on the trails with my mom before we go back into the warming house. Once back inside, we need to change into p.j.s (an activity that manages to spew two giant bags worth of gear all over the place) then pack everything back into bags and load all the skis, so we can be ready to go when my Dad gets there at 8:00 with Jane. But of course we never actually manage to leave at 8:00 because there are snacks, and adults to talk to and I’m never excited about getting back in the truck. So it’s always more like 8:30 that we get going, which means that it’s already past bedtime. Once we get half way home we have a “one last thing” request and then it’s officially bedtime in the truck.IMG_0541

Which means when I get home at 9:30, I have three sleeping kids, two giant bags, three sets of skis and poles, at least two pair of boots that have been kicked off, Ivy’s school bag, and random other debris scattered about the truck that needs to be transported inside.  Usually by 10:00 it’s all sorted. Everything is inside, the chores have been done and the wet ski clothes are hanging up around the rekindled fire in the woodstove.

Then I eat everything in the house, collapse on the couch and wonder how a 45 minute lesson can take eight and a half hours.

But worth it?

For sure!

In Michigan…

“Well, I guess in Michigan they have really big cats and lots of snow.” Ivy stated as we drove to meet my Uncle for an afternoon of skiing and sledding.

John and I agreed. It was undeniably true that the house cats we had seen since arriving in Michigan  were huge (I think one of them is actually part mountain lion) and the snow was impressively deep.

While I’ve no photo evidence to show you that the cats were at least three times the size of ours (and part mountain lion), I did bring the camera out into the snow.

After an entire afternoon of skiing and sledding followed by a delicious dinner, we headed back out into the snow for a fire and s’mores.

Soon after Uncle Jim joined us around the fire, Ivy calmly walked over to me, tugged on my jacket and said, “Can I whisper something to you?”

“Mom, why is Uncle Jim wearing a skirt?”

In Michigan, they have really big cats, lots of snow and they take perfectly good Finnish candles, call them Scottish Cabers and then stand around them in their kilts.DSCN7527-(2sm)

Alright, to be fair to the rest of  Michigan, I’m pretty sure it’s just my uncle that does that.

But we are so grateful that he keeps putting our animals back together when they break that we’ll still admit to being related.


No worries we didn’t bring any really broken animals with us this time. Just some veterinary maintenance that Clara presided over.

All in all it was a great trip, even the drive (two adults, three kids, two dogs, two cats through Chicago) wasn’t too bad.

Noisy- but not bad!

The Birkie

You know those canoe races I do? The ones where I can’t beat my Mom?

You know that triathlon where the boys couldn’t beat her even when they worked together?

The training my Mom does for the event this last weekend is no doubt why none of us can catch her all summer long.

For 18 years my Mom has skied the Birkebeiner, a 50 Kilometer ski race from Cable to Hayward. Of course being my Mom she doesn’t just ski it, she does disgusting things like come in third in her age group in a race of more than 8000 participants.

While I do ski I haven’t yet done a Birkie, instead I’ve tagged along with Mom and her friends as a spectator on most of the Birkies in the last ten years.  So this last weekend I drove all by myself to meet up with my brother so we could watch our Mom ski the Birkie, a very cold Birkie.

When Tyler and I got up Saturday morning, we noticed it was a bit chilly.How cold was it you ask?

Too cold for GU that’s how cold.

For those of you not up on your gooey supplements GU is an energy… uhh… goo that athletes can eat during races. It comes in a little foil pack that can be…well… gooed out into their mouth easily delivering a shot of carbohydrates and other important stuff. It helps a person do crazy things like keep skiing for hours in below zero weather.  Often in the Birkie you will see racers staple the GU to their numbered racing bibs so they can grab it and rip it off and eat it without stopping.

On Saturday morning thermometers were at ten below at start time. At that temperature nobody staples on their GU. At ten below they would be GUsicles, nobody wants a GUsicle.

After delivering a hitchhiking skier to the start of the race Tyler and I had  hiked out along the trail at the halfway point to watch for Mom. The first sight Tyler and I had of herwas as she came barreling across the trail at us yelling “Get my GU! Get my GU!”

This raised some questions in our minds.

A: Why she couldn’t get her own GU?

B: Where was the GU? Did she have it? Were we supposed to have it?

C: Were we going to be in trouble later for fumbling the GU feed that we didn’t know we were supposed to be doing?

D: Did the race and the cold do her in? Had the last of her marbles been lost on the trail?

E: If “D” is even a question why do both of us keep contemplating joining the insanity and racing ourselves?

While Tyler and I stared in confusion Mom made it clear that the GU was tucked into the hip of her ski pants and that she needed it out and opened up for her.


Tyler, the dutiful son, dug it out, opened it and looked up to Moms best impression of a hungry baby bird on skis.

I, the not so dutiful daughter, took pictures.

You don’t get to be one of the fastest grandma’s in the Birkie by hanging around with your kids midway through a race.  In seconds she had sucked her GU down and was headed back down the trail, leaving a her son staring at an empty packet of goo wondering what had just happened.

Tyler and I continued to ponder what had happened as we scooted down to Hayward where we were able to catch Mom on the trail one final time as she came across the lake before finishing in town. It wasn’t until later when she had sort of warmed up that we got the answers to our many questions.

A: Her hands were frozen and she knew if she were able to get it out of her pants she’d never get it open

B: It was of course stuffed in her pants so that it wouldn’t freeze, she was expecting us to be there and was watching for us so we could help her out. Poor watchers we had been distracted by one of her high school skiers moments before and would have missed her if she hadn’t come at us yelling!

C: Nope, ever since the time the group of us giving her a personal feed tripped her… twice… so long as she stays on her feet it’s a job well done!

D: It appears some marbles have remained in her head. It’s possible that after a night with the shotski they left, but that’s a whole different issue.

E: I have no idea.

Congrats to Mom and all her friends – Not only did you have great ski’s, but you did it with minimal frostbite!

Anne, as soon as your ready to commit to that babysitting I’ll send in my registration for next year! 🙂

If not I’ll see you at the finish line!

Have fun at worlds!

OFG on Skis

All right! All right!

I know, it’s been DAYS since I’ve written, but seriously people calm down.

I was out of town, and now I’m back and I’ll tell you a story, show you some pictures and we’ll all be happy right?



Ever since my Uncle Jim, ( You remember him? ) Started cross country skiing again and setting OFG records some members of my family (myself included) have been harassing him, on his speed or lack thereof (it’s almost like a tradition, remember the triathlon?).  Last weekend while we were in Michigan visiting for another Storm surgery there was some time to play when the vet work was done.  It was then that I think Uncle Weasel enlisted Ivy’s help in getting me back for all my back talk on his skiing speed.

Sunday morning was beautiful, calm, sunny and cold, 7 below when we headed to the Allegan forest. Knowing it was a bit chilly out I had dressed the girls and I appropriately.  Ivy had double socks and mittens and lots of layers under her snow suit, Clara was bundled up and then put into my amautik. I had long underwear, sweatshirts, jeans, snow pants and the amautik (which I can’t wear unless it’s at least down to about 20-25 or I overheat) lots of socks, mittens and my thickest hat on. After we hopped out of the car and got suited up we spent a nice leisurely Ivy paced 10 minutes on the trail and I mentally congratulated myself on all my layers.

Then Ivy was DONE. John swooped in and took her on piggyback snowshoe ride and Clara and I headed out with my Uncle down the trail. So here I am, dressed to be virtually standing still skiing with Ivy at seven below, really skiing down the trail. I had a thirty pound heater on my back with the ability to lurch from side to side  (that’d be Clara) no poles (can’t use them in the amautik and don’t need them with Ivy) and my perfectly layered clothing was suddenly way too much! Clara soon feel asleep in her cozy spot but would grumpily and noisily wake back up if the motion of the skis was a bit too much (gliding all the way over one ski or the other, almost falling down, etc.), or if we were to, heaven forbid, stop.

I had a great time trailing after Uncle Weasel down the trail,  as I admired the beautiful morning and tried not to be trailing behind by too much I discovered something.

He is pretty speedy for an OFG!

But take away Clara, three extra layers and give me back my poles and I think I’d have him!