Wednesday, February 25, 2015

tracks in the snow

vintage, gnome, snow gnome, grandma's garden, winter garden
Snow Gnome 

That little guy sits in my front yard and keeps an eye on things. He used to sit in my grandmother's yard and keep an eye on things there. I remember moving him and his buddies around her garden when I would come visit.

The snow this morning is perfect for tracking. I took the dogs out for a walk and saw deer tracks and rabbit tracks and perhaps squirrel tracks? I don't know... but I'm open to suggestion.

rabbit tracks, snow, tracks in snow, Virginia, animals, east coast
rabbit tracks in my yard

deer tracks in snow, deer, Virginia, animals
deer tracks

what are these? are they squirrel tracks?

When I came in from my walk I took the 8 year old and the 10 year old out to show them the rabbit tracks. You could follow them, a clear line into the woods behind our house. And the girls did follow the tracks down into the woods for 15 or 20 minutes. Made me smile.

It has been some time since I joined the "Outdoor Wednesday" meme, but I am joining them today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day Play-do

I was trying to find something to keep them (the kids) busy the other day - our area is not accustomed to snow and ice and so we are one of the many places that closes school when we receive an inch of snow. And then it stayed cold and the roads didn't melt off, so school was closed for the entire week last week. They went to school today - but it started snowing around 2:30 this afternoon and what do you know. No school...

Last week I asked the 10 year old to make play-do. There are two recipes floating around my house:

here is one (from Mother's Day Out at the Methodist Church in Williamsburg)
2 cups of flour
1 cup salt
1 package of koolaid
2 cups boiling water
4 tbsp vegetable oil

and another (from the COOP Cookbook 2001)
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp alum
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp vanilla or other extract
food coloring

M-Lyons followed the second recipe omitting the alum and made us lovely vanilla smelling green play-do

play-do recipe, home made play-do, pink gap sweater, recipe
home made play-do

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The ski cabin & busted pipes. Again.

I am tapping on my phone-not my most efficient form of communication- so bear with me.

A few weeks ago Tim was at Bryce mountain for a race, and I brought the two littles (and the dogs of course) to Wintergreen for ski practice. Well, Bitsy for practice with the D team and Little Hawk to ski with me. When I arrived the place was quite frozen. Ice in the toilets sort of thing. And there was a burst pipe in the bathroom adjacent to my bedroom. A waterfall in the basement resulted and my husband drove over to fix it.

This weekend I arrived with four children and the dogs. My husband and the two older kids are racing at Sugar Mountain. Again the house was very cold. The outside temperature had been low all week and despite the small heaters we have, the water in the bathrooms was frozen again. So I warmed up the house and around 10:30 PM when the house was registering 60 degrees-I turned the water on.

At 12:15 AM I woke up to the noise of gushing water:
the fixture in the bath tub had broken. I took a photo to help diagnose later, went downstairs and flipped the water off, went back to bed.
broken bath fixture at 12:15 AM

In the morning it occurred to me that when Tim had fixed the pipes before he had put in a valve behind the tub. Rather pleased with myself I turned the valves off, stationed the ten year old by the tub in case it didn't work and turned the water on. My 12 yr old son shouted "Mom! Turn it off!" Apparently he'd heard a loud noise and then water was gushing in his closet- that closet is going to need to be redone this summer!

It snowed a lot on Saturday. We had breakfast and were cleaning up to go home and I was frustrated - I haven't skied in weeks. So I asked them could we please ski a few runs first.
windy, snow, storm, blue ridge, wintergreen resort, Virginia
crazy windy at Wintergreen!

We drove to the parking lot around noon. The wind was terrible. We took one run. Everyone was miserable. I thanked them for trying and loaded my car back up and headed back up the hill to our house to get the dogs, unload skis, lock up and leave.

I should point out, my minivan does not have snow tires.

We got stuck in front of the parking lot. And were pushed up the hill. We made it passed the resort and started to climb towards the founders outlook and lost traction several times. I was actually crying when we pulled into the founders outlook parking lot. I was certain we wouldn't make it all the way up to our house so I sat there in the parking lot a few minutes and decided to hike to the house and get the dogs. I left the kids in the car (still blowing snow like mad and they are in ski boots). I started walking and someone stopped and gave me a ride. Got to the house, turned everything off, leashed the dogs and hiked back to the car. When I arrived back at the car it was obvious that the roads were worse. So I got the children out and we hiked back up to the house.

winter scene, hiking, snow, wind, whiteout, wintergreen, blue ridge mountains, Virginia
tough cookies, they hiked a mile in crazy wind
wearing ski boots

We got the fire back up and roaring and filled several pots with snow to be melted on the stove -for cooking water -dog drinking water -and toilet water. Luckily we did have some bottled water we drank ourselves.

fetching snow to melt for water!
well, little man now knows that if you
melt snow, you get water!
Today the weather is much warmer and there is no precipitation-in about to hike back down to the car and start the process of trying to clean up and close up the house.

I find that I'm very grateful to live with running water most of the time. And grateful to own a car that works most of the time. And mostly, very grateful that my children took this entire experience with a sense of adventure. No fussing, no whining, and making the most of it. I am very lucky.

***later, I was thinking about it as I drove home. When I was about 10 yrs old and we were living in Spain my dad created the family "Adventurers Club." He had the idea that he'd make patches and everything. And we would keep track of different things; I don't remember really now. I think it was along the lines of how many countries we visited, or languages we learned or something.
He would have been proud of his grandkids this weekend. They were real troupers.

I'm joining the Outdoor Wednesday Link up

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mulhare Interior Design - Some Windows

My mom, Mary Mulhare is an Interior Designer. A good one! And occasionally I share her photos with my bloggy friends. I took these from her website at Mulhare Interior Design. She also has a Facebook page: with more pictures if you'd like to peek.

In this room I am drawn to the warmth of the floor
and the curtains and the basket holding the plant
as well as how the light reflects inside the china cabinet
all against cool walls. 

What do you think?

This rooms looks so relaxing to me.
Though very different than the room above.
Here I am responding to the play between the white 
and lavender. Lavender is a calming scent and a calming color.

Wintergreen Weekend

the trail to my spot as gate judge from the Look Out to Big Acorn

Wintergreen, Virginia, Ski racing, SARA, Acorn,
B-netting at sunrise

Last weekend the Wintergreen Ski Team hosted races for SARA. Giant Slalom was on Saturday, Slalom was on Sunday. My family was all over it. Saturday morning my husband was out with the crew setting netting and gates and doing whatever else was needed to get things up and running. My oldest skis in the U18 group and they were running later, so she took the youngest to the Treehouse (Wintergreen's ski school) at 8:30 for drop off. We got Bitsy to D-Team practice at 7:45 and everybody else to the Lookout for registration and picking up their bibs. I was on duty as a shadow gate/keeper so I found my gate keeping buddy around 8:30 and by 9 AM we were racing.  Sunday followed a similar schedule, except that I was gate keeping for real for Slalom. I might have missed one of the Masters straddling a gate, it is hard to see, they move so fast and this is just rec. racing. How do they judge this in the big leagues? (and in case you ever need to know what gate keeping also called gate judging means the USSA has a very informative video ) Luckily I had fairly easy gates and didn't have to DQ anybody. Just  yelled, "you are good GO!" at two, and "back, back, back" for one of the last runs of the day -but he didn't have to hike far and he knew what to do.

It was all around a great weekend. Everyone raced well. Bitsy had fun at practice and then afterwards they dropped her off near the races and she found siblings and hung out. One of the long time race dads has a place right off of Eagle Swoop - just by where the races are. He opens it up for the team. Those who can bring pot luck lunch and dinner and drinks and so on and the all the kids just go in and out for lunch. Particularly nice as I had kids all over the hill - gave us a good meeting spot. At one point it felt a little like a summer swim meet - where the adults are all volunteering and the kids are kinda running around and nobody really knows exactly where their kid is at any given moment - but I've always had a non swimmer with me at swim meets so I found the ski race atmosphere way less stressful. No fear of drowning.

M on Saturday after racing
M had a great weekend, she medaled in the U10 in both GS and SL. She was very pleased with herself!
megan mcjames, independent ski racing, team usa sweater
waiting to head out to the races, shout out to Megan

wintergreen resort, wintergreen ski race, ski team, racing, SARA
Wintergreen Race Team inspecting the course on Sunday

SARA, racing, wintergreen, ski, virginia
Bryce Race Team inspecting the course on Sunday

Snowshoe, race team, SARA, Wintergreen Resort, Virginia, ski,
Snowshoe Race Team members inspecting the SL course

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blue Skies over Ice and Snow

Blue Skies for Blue Monday

taken at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia this weekend

winterscape, wintergreen virginia, virginia, blue ridge mountains
Founders Overlook at Wintergreen

View of Eagle Swoop from Founders Overlook

I particularly like the ice on the trees and the clouds.

Ice is so treacherous and yet so pretty.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It actually happened! Megan McJames guest coached the Wintergreen Race Team!

Last weekend, Megan McJames (World Cup Skier, Two Time Olympian, Currently working to earn a slot in World Cup Championships in Vail next month) came to Wintergreen Virginia. Totally crazy.

Over the summer we got see Megan a bit at Mt. Hood. She was guest coaching at a few camps, I believe she worked with the Ligety Weibrecht camp and with Keely's camp this summer. She came to dinner and to talk about possibly sponsorships another night and rode the chair lift with my kids here and there. At some point over the summer we were talking specifically about her story, about making ski racing happen on her own and how much I am struck by her ability to focus on the positive when faced with challenges. And so we talked about surrounding oneself with people who believe in you, and people who will support you (emotionally, financially, however) and how that applies to professional sports, but also entrepreneurship and the arts and really any field, because they all hold challenges. And so I kind of threw out there that that is an important message for not just my kids, but any kids. And maybe she'd want to come visit our team? And then sort of left it to stew. In the fall I got an email that the race schedule would allow Megan two weekends in January if I still wanted to have her out- so I threw that over to the head race coach, Robert Sandy, at Wintergreen. He took a look at the SARA schedule and came back with the best weekend and so we got it going.
When I spoke to the Wintergreen Boosters and explained that it wasn't just a visit but a fundraiser for Megan they got right to work. Luckily several members on the Board have experience in fundraising and putting together events and so they took and between the coaches and boosters a weekend schedule emerged. We kept Megan really busy! She guest coached in the morning, ran Nastar and did some meet and greet in the afternoon... and evening events as well. She did great. The kids were excited, the parents were excited, there was a kind of buzz on the mountain that we don't usually have... and Chris Shephard set up a long Slalom course on Saturday on Big Acorn and a long G.S. course on Sunday on Wild Turkey and the kids got to watch Megan run them both. It is a totally different experience watching that in real life instead of on t.v. The kids were blown away. I had parents telling me they were blown away. It was really cool. And then the kids ran the course for practice. Many thanks to Wintergreen Resort for supporting this event and letting us take up the mountain like that. It was wonderful.

Megan McJames, Olympian, World Cup, ski race, GS, Giant Slalom
greeting Megan at the Richmond airport

DataXstream, Megan McJames, Coppermine, Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
Tim (sporting his DataXstream shirt) and Megan
at the Coppermine at Wintergreen Resort for dinner Friday

megan mcjames, wintergreen, wintergreen race team, SARA, alpine ski, gs
Megan warmed up with the team each morning
olympian, world cup skier, signature, helmets, Wintergreen Resort, McJames
Megan signing helmets before practice

olympian, world cup, sk, gs, McJames, Wintergreen Resort, Virginia
signing more helmets!

Wintergreen Race Team, development team, Megan McJames, Olympian, Virginia
guest coaching the development team
in the stubbies

riding up the chair lift with some of our Development Team kids
(when have you ridden the lift with a two-time Olympian?)

Coach Helen ready to run the stubbies
These are just a few of the photos I was able to capture on my phone. Luckily we have ski dad Richard Wyly taking photos and uploading them to SmugMug, they are much better than mine. Please visit his album: Megan McJames Gallery

A local news crew came out and did an interview: WSET TV

I am proud to say that it was a really fun weekend for everybody, I think even Megan had fun! Thank you to DataXstream for flying her out here and being one of her sponsors. Thank you to the Boosters for getting behind the event. We raised just over $5,000 which is being matched by DataXstream. Not too bad for our little mountain!

for more about Megan please visit her site: Megan McJames or follow her facebook page and let her know you are rooting for her!