Is it possible to fit an entire seasons worth of adventure into just a few weeks?
We were hoping to do just that with our recent visit back to the US.
You see, I absolutely love winter. I dream about snow, skiing, being cold, wool socks, hot cocoa…the works. For me, it’s magical.
One of the hardest things for me living here in the Middle East is that there’s no winter. Okay, they have a season that they call winter here, but they should really call it “not quite as insanely hot” because truthfully the temperatures never really get below 70 and typically hover around the upper 80’s. No that is DEFINITELY not winter. This is winter:
So to say that we were thrilled to go back “home” in January would be the understatement of the year. Okay, the truth is we went home for my brothers wedding, but I secretly think that he planned it in January just so we could come back and get our cold fix (‘cuz he’s awesome like that).
We would all go out for the wedding, but the kids and I would stay for 5 weeks while Andrew would return back home to work.
So if you do the math, that meant that I would be a single mom for 3.5 weeks and then would be flying 10,000+ miles with 4 kids ALONE. But it was going to be worth it! I was determined to squeeze every last ounce of winter out of that trip, even though I’d be playing the single mom.
We were going to ski, sled, and bask in the coldness of it all as much as we possibly could. And honestly, I knew that I could make it happen because I had one major advantage on my side:
We were going to UTAH.
Yes, Utah the outdoor lovers PARADISE. Where else can you fly into a major airport and literally be skiing 40 minutes later? With their self-proclaimed “greatest snow on Earth”, the famed Cottonwood Canyons, and the overall accessibility of everything, I knew this was going to be the perfect combination. If you follow us on Instagram, I’m sure you saw that it indeed was!
So how exactly were we planning on packing in a whole seasons worth of adventure into just one month? Here’s how ew managed it all:
We had a plan.
Since we’re homeschooling the kids, we have a lot of flexibility with how and when they do their work (hence the 5-week trip in January). They would all work hard in the mornings and get their studies done before lunch, leaving the afternoon open to adventures. To compensate for the distractions that would inevitable creep in on vacation, the kids had also done about an hour extra of school each day in December so that they were well ahead of where we planned (shhhh, don’t tell them – I don’t think they even noticed).
We scheduled everything.
To make sure that we didn’t forget something and that we really focused on the things we wanted to do, we put all of our activities on the calendar. Not only did this help us get a ton done, it was also a breeze to share with other people so that they could choose where and what they wanted to do with us. We even went so far as purchasing lift tickets on Liftopia months in advance!
We asked for help.
I’ll be the first to admit that I honestly can’t do it all. I knew that with 4 kids on my own for a month, I was going to need reinforcements on a lot of our outings. I needed someone to play with the baby while I skied with the older kids, someone to play hockey with my son while I skated with our toddler, and some extra hands to layer our crew for the cold. We enlisted grandparents, siblings, cousins…okay pretty much everyone we could think of to join us on our adventures. This was not only a great way to get to spend quality time with everyone, but a way for me to get a little help and check off several things off our must-do list! Remember, asking for help doesn’t mean you’re a weak parent, but rather a SMART one!
So if you’re looking for a place where you can pack as much winter fun as possible into a short period of time, Utah is the place for you.
Here’s what we did in just a few weeks:
Ice skating at the town park in Huntsville.
Skiing at Snowbird, Sundance, and Snowbasin.
A sneak peek at Snowbasin’s new ski school program.
Sledding and Strider bike skiing.