New research shows that imaginary friends continue longer into childhood than previously thought. Claire Lerner, Senior Parenting Strategist at Zero to Three, discusses why older children may have imaginary friends. She also discusses what an imaginary friend can do for your child and how you should react when your child tells you that she has an imaginary friend.
This show focuses on Nancy’s recent trip with her kids to London. Listen to hear the amazing experiences they had. Since there could never be enough time to discuss it in one podcast, here are more details to consider (some will also be covered in more detail in later shows).
NOTE: For more personal reflections, see this post (no podcast).
Rent a Flat! London hotels are incredibly expensive and rooms are very small. You can rent a flat for the same or less money. We paid about $190 a night for a 2 bedroom flat near a Tube stop. Having a kitchen allowed us to skip eating out for breakfast and gave us the option to take lunch with us. It also got us to go into the local grocery store to try different British foods (do not miss Cadbury Chocolate or Hob Nobs–chocolate covered oatmeal cookies).
To locate a flat, check out HomeAway.com but make sure you check the source. I filtered through about 40 different flats and about 9 different companies. Some companies/flat owners did not reply, others were just sketchy. I googled each company and checked reviews on Trip Advisor. I finally went with Ivy Lettings. They had a story written about them in the London Times, good reviews on Trip Advisor, and they had a phone number on their site as well as a live chat. The person I chatted with was able to help me find the best flat for our family. There were a few problems when we got to the flat and Ivy Lettings was good to fix them quickly. I’d rent from them again.
Ride the Tube! One of the amazing thing about London is watching the people from all over the world. There is no better place to have that cultural experience than public transportation such as the London Underground. You don’t have to worry about sticking out as an American because you will probably be a minority speaking English. I heard Russian five times a day, Italian, French, German, and a slew of different languages from the African continent. It was so much fun to try and guess the languages.
You can just purchase a one-way ticket each time you use the Tube or a bus but if you plan to use public transport as your mode of transportation, there are ways to save money. Thanks to Bob Hanford, a dedicated blogger whose site–London Toolkit–focuses on everything London, I was able to figure out the best option for my family. Check out his blog on Oyster vs. Travelcard. For us, it was better to Get a 7-Day Oyster and a Youth Oyster. Bob patiently answered all my questions and even gave me suggestions of things to see near our flat and around London. Thanks Bob for the great advice–even advice on getting to Heathrow early in the morning.
Take a Bus Tour to Orient Yourself London is a huge city but the main tourist area isn’t that big. Things are quite close together. Taking a hop-on-hop off tour or another type of tour is a great way to get your bearings. We took the Big Bus Tour and loved it. Opt for the tour with the live guide. It was so much fun and the one time we got on a bus with the taped guide, we switched to a different bus after one stop. Big Bus Tour included a 48-hour ticket, a night tour, and a river cruise. We were too tired for the night tour but we loved taking the river cruise. Actually, the kids asked to take the tour a second time toward the end of our time in London.
One of the fun things about a hop-on-hop-off bus is the ability to get off when you see the unexpected. A friend had suggested going to Hamley’s toy store so when we saw it on the tour, we jumped off and spent an enjoyable 45 minutes in the store. Alex also wanted to take a picture at a certain Piccadilly Circus Underground sign and we saw it on our tour and jumped off to capture his photo.
Suggestion: If you are in London on the weekend and can schedule your bus tour on Saturday or Sunday, do so because the traffic during the week really slows down the tour. We were on the tour on a Friday and getting through the financial district was like watching paint dry (except for the great scenery). On Saturday and Sunday, the roads were clear and the tour would have been much quicker.
Get Down Under in London One of the newer museums in London is the Churchill War Rooms. These are the actual rooms where the British Empire strategized its moves against the Nazis in World War II. Nothing like being in the actual Map Room to bring history to life. The tour
includes an audio guide to help you get a feeling for what was happening below ground complete with stories told by the people who lived and worked in the rooms. The impact of seeing the table where Churchill sat to give his address to London and the World during the war while hearing the actual speech was very impactful for my 14-year old. His world history class will have a very special feeling when they discuss the war.
Lay Siege to the Tower One of the kids’ favorite day was spent at the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It’s not everyday you get to walk in the courtyard where queens lost their heads and see the crown that sits on the pretty head of the current queen. Tip: Get there early–even before they open because the line to get in is long. Then, when you enter, head right to the Crown Jewels before anything else. The line to get into the Jewels can be so long that the interior of the Jewel House is more like the line labyrinth that snakes up to a Disney ride complete with pictures of what you are going to see and history tidbits to keep you interested while you wait 45 minutes to see a few rocks. Since we were first in the Tower and first in the Jewel house, we were out in about 10 minutes. That is enough for kids.
Make sure you take the Yeoman Warders’ Tour. They do an excellent job and give a glimpse back into the gorey pass of the Tower mixed in with humor and facts about the buildings. Not to be Missed.
Tower Bridge is easily the most famous bridge in London. Now you can experience the Bridge in a startling way–a glass floor that looks down on the traffic below. Having walked on the glass bridge at the Grand Canyon, I thought I was prepared for the experience, but it was a bit more intense for me. The kids loved it.
Ho Wench! One of the most fun experiences I had as a teen when I toured the UK was to go to a Medieval Feast. There is nothing like pounding your fits on the table and saying Hey Nonny Noony or yelling Ho Wench to get more mead (aka apple juice for those of us not imbibing). The Medieval Banquet in London was fabulous! The food was plentiful and the entertainment excellent–think court entertainment like singers, acrobats, jugglers and jousting. We were each assigned to a House to which we pledged our allegiance and cheered for our knight in battle. The kids loved every minute of it. It isn’t cheap but if you have a London Pass, there is a discount. And you have to remember that you get a great meal and entertainment. It is cheaper than theater tickets and more fun for the family.
Get Bawdy with the Bard We attended Shakespeare’s Globe and saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Before we went to London, I had my kids watch the Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer version so they would know the play. There is nothing like sitting Globe–nothing. And I have never seen a version of Midsummer like that one. It was a modern interpretation with an Indian flare. Think Shakespeare meets Cell Phones meets the Sitar and Rap Music. I can’t even begin to explain how the song Major Tom ends up in a Shakespeare play but it WORKED! The way the language and mood was interpreted (there are tons of ways to interpret Shakespeare) made the text and the concepts very accessible to my kids. I had to cover my 10 year old’s eyes a few times and happily she doesn’t understand the sexual references in Shakespeare, but other than that, the play was a great experience (even with a pole in my way). If you can go to a play, do so. It is worth the cost.
Go Back in Time A bit off the beaten path, Greenwich is a great opportunity for sightseers interested in science. Greenwich is the place where the Prime Meridian that divides the East and the West is located.
The site also hosts several amazing museums that cover topics like the history of how time was agreed upon (you might have heard of Greenwich Mean Time—yep it is that Greenwich), British Maritime history and so much more. The views of London are also great from here. You can see the huge size of the city from One Tree Hill (I can hear U2 singing).
Greenwich has so much to see that it would take a full day to see even a part of it. For us, the Royal Observatory and The Cutty Sark were the two best museums. Be warned that the Royal Observatory is up on One Tree Hill and there is no bus to get to the top so you need to walk it. But you will be walking in the footsteps of amazing scientists like Sir Isaaic Newton. Just about everything in our modern life works because of the men who worked at the Royal Observatory (clocks, calendars, map coordinates, and so forth that make travel and cell phones and just about everything possible). The Cutty Sark is an amazing museum that allows you to see one of the great sailing vessels ever built. The museum has interactive opportunities for kids and parents to learn more.
Cruise the Thames One of the best ways to see the city’s most famous sites is to take a Thames River Cruise. We took the cruise from Greenwich to Westminster Abbey. It was a bit rainy and blustery, but the cruise offered some needed relaxation for tired toes and the first mate gave a great tour of the sites. Not sure it was all true, but it was very entertaining. The descriptions of the different bridges along with his comments on politics and history had us all laughing. Remember that if you take Big Bus or get the London Pass, the cruise is included.
We Will Rock You
Stonehenge is less than 2 hours from London. There are dozens of tour companies that can take you there. But I wanted the experience to be something the kids would remember and learn from. So, we went on a tour with an Archeologist who actually works on digs at and near Stonehenge and other prehistoric sites around London.
This isn’t a tour for little kids but it worked for my 10-year old and my 14-year old learned a lot. If your kids are interested in archeology and history, this is a great option that gives them amazing access to information and insight into the pre-historic cultures that created the henges (no Druids or Aliens needed).
Our guide Edward was so excited to share his knowledge that it was infectious. Being able to ask questions of an expert was also great. Check out Tours from Antiquity for various tours. We chose the Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury tour.
Sing with the Angels It can be quite expensive to enter St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. However, they are working churches and have services at specific times of day and on Sundays. These are times when you can get into the churches for free. The bonus to this is that you often get to hear an amazing choir and a beautiful sermon. The minus is that there are areas of the church that are off limits and “touring” the church is not allowed. However, if you want to sit and stare up at the beautiful surroundings and listen to angelic choirs, this is a superb experience. Sometimes, you can even sing with the choir.
We attended St. Paul’s on Sunday and arrived a few minutes before the service started. We found great seats and while we waited, I explained the history of the Cathedral and why old churches were decorated the way they were as well as the significance of various parts of the church and what would happen in the service. We are Christian but not Anglican so the experience was very different from our church experience and was an amazing cultural opportunity for the kids. During our service, we sang along with the choir as we read the liturgy. It was a chance of a lifetime to lift our voices with the St. Pauls boys choir.
Check out the Markets for Lunch London has several food markets that offer both fresh vegetables and hot food. These are great places for families with diverse tastes because you can each find something you like. We ate at Greenwich Market, Borough Market, and Kerb at Southbank. The food was quick, excellent and not too expensive. We were each able to get something we liked and share with each other without the time and expense of a restaurant. The only drawback is limited seating.
Kerb was the best market with all sorts of middle eastern dishes and picnic tables. Alex had a lamb curry burger and I had the most amazing kebabs. You will have to plan your schedule so you end up at the markets at the right time of day. Some of them are only open at lunchtime, others are only open at night. Then, each of them have a day in the week when they are not open. It would be horrible to have hungry mouths looking for food when the market is closed. Camden Market is supposed to be great but it’s a bit off the main tourist map.
Give Me a Break! This should have been obvious but it took us more time to get going when we got up the first day. We landed at 1pm and stayed up until 9pm to adjust to the time in London. But, it still took us more time to get going in the morning. So, cut yourself some slack the first day and don’t plan anything with a specific timetable. Everything we had planned for the first day was flexible within a few hours of time. Having an Oyster Travel Pass also added to the flexibility because we could get off the bus tour and take the Tube to the location we wanted to be.
Consider a City Pass In the past, we have suggested purchasing city passes. These are tickets that give you entry into multiple museums, tour options and so forth. The London Pass also includes Fast Pass entry into some of the most popular attractions. We used this to get right into the Tower of London without the line. It saved us a few hours time. The London Pass isn’t for people sightseeing for one day unless you are a crazy power-sightseer. You can’t see enough in one day to make it worth the cost. If you have multiple days to see the city, check out the site and see if the museums and other sites you want to see are listed.
The Fast Pass for Westminster Abbey, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, along with the bus tour and river cruise make it a good deal if you are there in the height of tourist season. The cost of getting in to places like Westminster Abbey also makes the card a good possibility. And if you want to go to Windsor Castle or Hampton Court, there are travel benefits in addition to the admission and Fast Pass.
If you are in London in the off peak season, Fast Pass probably isn’t important. And, if you know the dates you are going to different locations, you can purchase tickets online for a discount. Do some calculating before you go. If you want flexibility, then the London Pass works well but may cost more.
Note: The London Pass includes a different hop-on-hop-off tour that we did not take.
Make Time for Personal Interests One of the benefits of travel is seeing how something you love to do is done in another country. Alex loves
skateboarding so we spent time at a few skateboarding venues. It gave the rest of us time to rest our toes. Anna wanted to ride double-decker busses so whenever we rode a bus, we went up to the top. A few times, she got the front seat and was able to see out the window.
Plan Purchases Before You Leave Home Instead of spending our money and time shopping for souvenirs, we planned what we wanted to buy before we left. Of course that was easier since I lived in London a bazillion years ago. But you can still decide if you want to get t-shirts or teddy bears. Harrods is a must stop for teddy bears so we bought these for friends. I had been wanting a Union Jack pillow for my couch and I found a fabulous one at Harrods.
We also shopped Primark–a H&M type store that has a larger variety of goods (not just clothes). This was on my shopping plan because I had heard they had great UK themed goods. My kids got underwear with the Union Jack, journals with the flag, and t-shirts for $2. Planning helped us save money and spend less time shopping and more time sightseeing.
Plan Your Expenses You no longer have to go to a money exchange bureau to get cash in London. Check out your bank and credit card companies to see if they allow you to withdraw from ATMs in London. We found that Barclay’s Bank allowed us to withdraw for a very small fee and our bank at home did not charge fees. Also, using Visa cards with chips is very convenient. I love my Capital One Venture Card because it allows me to pay for trip expenses with the miles I have saved on the card and it is easily used all over Europe. Plan your expenses and know which things you will need cash for (street markets and quick treats) and which things you will use the card for. When all else fails and you have too much cash at the end, buy chocolate to bring home!
Give Up! Give In! Give Yourself Over Really, there is no way to see everything in a city like London. Some of the things you want to do will be closed the days you want to see them (we learned that the hard way); you may encounter long lines (like at the Platform 9 3/4 photo site); or you may be just too tired to see that site (the British Museum fell victim to our tired feet and we spent less than 2 hours there). Give up trying to get to everything. Give in to whatever falls in front of you–especially if it is delicious food. Give yourself over to the experience of being in the city and spend time talking to people rather than seeing dead people. One of the most delightful experiences was speaking to the guard at the British Museum. Our 30-minute conversation gave my kids a glimpse into the life of a Londoner.
Get Closer My goal for this trip was to get closer to my children. I think I achieved that in more ways than one. You be the judge!
Itinerary Here is the itinerary we followed in case you are planning 6 days in London:
- Arrive in Heathrow
- Take Heathrow Express to Paddington Station
- Buy the Oyster Card 7-Day and Oyster Youth 7-Day
- Take the Tube to Ladbroke Grove
- Get Money at the ATM
- Eat Fish and Chips at the place across the street
- Take a Tour or Go Shopping for groceries
- Bed at 9pm
- Take lunch with us
- Big Bus Tour Hop on Hop Off Bus
- Churchill War Rooms
- Eat Lunch in St James Park
- British Museum (open til 8pm on Fridays)
- Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station (the lines are long–take time)
- Kebabs and Fish and Chips
- GreenwichRoyal Observatory
- Greenwich Market for Lunch
- The Cutty Sark
- Thames River Cruise to Westminster
- Walk Houses of Parliment
- Attend Westminster Abbey at 5 for Evensong (you get free entry)
- KERB food market at Southbank for dinner
- Church at the Hyde Park Ward
- Church at St. Paul’s Cathedral (listen to choir)
- Shakespeare’s Globe Play
- Medieval Banquet (Opens at 5:15 and closes at 9:30)
- Tower of London (it opens at 10 on Mondays–we were first in line because we arrived at 9–oops)
- Tower Jewels first
- Yeoman Warder tour
- Tower Bridge and Tower Bridge Experience
- Borough Market for lunch (seating is very limited)
- Free time and shopping (skate shops and Harrods)
- Stonehenge Tour withTours from Antiquity
- Home to pack and sleep–Denmark in the morning
I recorded a few podcasts about our trip that will post over the next few weeks. The first one is located here. But since the podcasts are meant to educate listeners about travel, it is hard to include the feelings I have about our trip. So, this post is an extra one about my impressions and reflections.
My goals when I planned this trip were:
- Show my kids the places I have lived and loved
- Introduce them to other cultures and people
- Allow them to experience life in another country–not just see the sights
- Expose them to the people and places that changed history
- Get closer to them and help them get closer to each other
Preparing the Invasion Having lived in both London and in Odense, Denmark, I thought it would be easy to take the kids to these cities and feel comfortable in them. After all, I had spent significant time in both places. But, I have to admit, two days before the trip, I had an overwhelming panic attack. Did Patton have that feeling before the invasion on D Day? What was I thinking taking my kids across the world? What about terrorists and so forth? What if we got separated? What if, what if, what if?
I had done so much planning and strategizing. I had an plan that would make both General Patton and Rick Steves envious. I knew what sights were in the same area and how to get to them. I knew how much time we needed for transportation and with the help of Google Street View, I knew details about the neighborhood we stayed in.
To calm myself, I reviewed my plan over again and plugged every detail into my phone. It made me feel better. Until we landed.
Places I Lived and Loved: London I thought it would be a great idea to take the Heathrow Express Train into London. It was faster than a cab and much cheaper. We flew Carry-on only with Backpacks and rolling bags so it was supposed to be simple. Not so much. But, we found our way to the Train and into the City. Google Maps is the trip planner’s best friend. It gave me timetables and options for the Tube as well as Street Views so I knew how to walk from the Tube Station to our Flat–right to the door which was behind the building. Phew.
When we reached the flat, it wasn’t quite ready. Lucky for us, the best fish and chips shop in London was literally right across the street. Never having been in a tiny fish and chips shop, the kids were overwhelmed with the fast pace. They both opted for the Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas. Mushy Peas did not go over well. They are kind of like pea soup without the soup. Not too bad if you added a bit of salt and pepper and ham. The kids also got fizzys–that is what the Brits call sodas. We sat on the street watching the hustle and bustle around us. Being from a quiet town, this was an experience for all the senses. Big cities move at a fast pace.
After dinner, we had a few hours to kill before bedtime and the kids opted for a trip to Oxford Street–the famed shopping street. It has changed since my time in London over 20 years ago. The more posh stores have been replaced with H&M and Primark and many American stores. Maybe for the Brits, this is great but it was a bit disappointing for us. However, we did join the masses of Londoners in Primark and buy a few things we needed as well as a few cheap souvenirs.
Lulu and the Loo Then, came the reoccurring problem we experienced the entire trip: Lulu needing the use Loo. She must have the tiniest bladder of any human being and the worst timing too. Just after we leave a place with a free toilet, she needs to go. REALLY BAD.
NOTE: According to Bob the Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, you can’t call it a bathroom or restroom in England because, as he was quick to point out, you don’t take a bath there and you don’t rest there. So we spent the rest of our trip not trying to trip over our tongues when we said, “Where’s the toilet.” Sounds so vulgar to my prissy American ears.
Thank goodness for the Golden Arches and Starbucks. They saved our bacon more than once. By the end of our 2-week trip, we finally remembered to go to the toilet before leaving any location with a free toilet. I really should have taken pictures in each Loo. I could have started a new blog rating them. I think my favorite was the toilet at the Tower Bridge. It could have been in a designer magazine. Marble countertops and gleaming faucets, modern toilets and excellent lighting.
The funniest Lulu/Loo experiences we had were in Denmark. The first public toilet in Copenhagen is in the Round Tower. We had discussed this building during our family home evening prep for the trip. Dad had explained that the Tower had a chute that people pooped into. After a few years, it got so filled up that they had to clean it out. We joked that it was a Crap Shoot as to who got that job. Anyway, we found the Toilet in the Tower. And guess what they built right next to it? A modern toilet. We had a great laugh and a few photo moments and thought fondly of Dad who wasn’t with us to see it Ah, Shoot!
Then, we found this sign for the toilet at a Danish castle called Egeskov. Conde Naste Travel Magazine voted it one of the most beautiful places in Europe and they were not kidding. But the sense of humor and the family charm well exceed anything in any other castle in Europe. It really was the best castle experience I have ever had. More about the castle itself later.
Meeting the Rainbow of Humanity London truly is the most ethnically diverse city I have ever seen. The first time I visited London in 1981, it wasn’t that way but today, you see people from every continent, every country, every ethnicity, every religion. We live in a pretty homogenous part of the US. But in our small part of the world, we have diversity. On my street, there are families from five different countries and our kids go to school with a diverse ethnic group (very surprising for Utah Valley). But I am not sure we were prepared for the array of languages, clothing, and beautiful faces we met on the Underground.
From Burkhas to belly-piercings, the array of ways people dressed was incredible. We heard different languages everywhere we went. Some I recognized: Russian (of course), Czech, Spanish, German, French, Danish, Swedish, Hindi, Arabic, Swahili, Chinese, Japanese and of course American (the really loud people on the Tube).
Alex had an assignment to meet and talk with local people. That was a great experience for us to learn more about London and its people. The woman who let us into the flat had recently arrived from the Czech Republic told us a bit about her reasons for moving to London. The guard at the British Museum, Kenneth, explained what it was like to live in London and his decision to move to a suburb so his kids would have better schools. A woman making bracelets from tires at the Greenwich Market explained that she had come to London from Hungary for a better, more vibrant life. Gary at the skate park discussed politics, religion, and travel with us. And Edward, our archeologist guide to Stonehenge explained about his life as an archeologist and his new assignment to write curriculum for British schools teaching the kids about their own pre-history. These are some of the things my kids will remember most.
When you meet the SEA of humanity and SEE that they are not to be feared and that you have more in common with them than you have differences, you gain a different view of the world and its problems. If we all understood how interconnected we really are, it would help end the violence.
Experiencing Other Countries One reason I wanted to rent a flat was so that the kids got the feel for what it is like to LIVE in London. Our Danish cousin working in England, came to London to visit us. Maria gave the kids a perspective on their experience. For the kids, the flat was a tiny, cramped space. It was smaller than 1/6 of our home. But when Maria came in, she was so impressed with the size and told the kids that it was huge for a London flat. Going to the grocery store was also an adventure. Seeing different foods, the small size of the store and even having to pay for the plastic bags was eye-opening.
Alex has always thought he wanted to live in a big city with public transportation and bustling life. He enjoyed London very much. He told me it was his favorite city and he was going to move there. Then, we went to Copenhagen and his favorite city quickly changed. The day we were in Copenhagen was unusually hot (we were not dressed for that having come from rainy London). In the Danish fashion, the short skirts came out to celebrate the weather. Danish women are very pretty and Alex enjoyed the view.
In the end though, he kissed the ground when we reached home and said that he loved home most. I did the same thing after my first trip in 1981. Then, I went back again and again and eventually moved to Odense and then to London and Moscow. Maybe he does have the world traveler/citizen of the world gene in him. I’d live in another country in a heartbeat.
Making History/Living History In Europe, just about everything you see is older than just about anything in the United States–much of it older than the country itself. Especially in London. Starting with William the Conqueror in 1066 and his fortress that turned into the Tower of London where all those beautiful ladies lost their necks to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster and all the Victorian edifices build by the most industrious queen, London is awash in historic buildings mixed with the modern. There are plaques on even seemingly normal buildings telling you of the famous people who lived there or the important events that took place there.
When we visited Salisbury Cathedral, we saw the Magna Carta written in 1215 which limited the power of the king and which is considered a founding document for modern democracy. While viewing it, an American woman next to me turned to the docent and said in a Texas accent (and I am not kidding or exaggerating), “Well, this is older than our country!” I could not help myself and replied, “This document is one of the reasons why we have our country.” I wanted to say that the floor she was standing on, the cathedral she was in, the town she was located at and even the dirt she kicked as she walked was older than our country.
Speaking of Old, one of the most fascinating things we did was to take a tour to Stonehenge with an archeologist. I let the kids choose what they wanted to visit outside London for a day excursion and they chose Stonehenge. There are several tour companies taking sight-seers to Stonehenge, but I wanted more than a distant glimpse of some big rocks (you can’t get up close and personal like I did in 1981). So, we went on a tour with Edward from Tours from Antiquity. Edward spent the time it took to drive to Stonehenge as well as other henges and Salisbury explaining the Pre-History of the area. His research dates human activities back to 5000 BC and he explained the types of cultures creating henges all over the countryside. I learned more in 20 minutes with Edward than I had learned the previous three times I had visited Stonehenge.
Note: If you are ever at a cocktail party and someone begins to discuss the Druids and Stonehenge, you can let them know that the Druids were about 3000 years too late to the Stonehenge Party. And there is no evidence for aliens even though I kept trying to get Edward to confess that there was–especially when I saw the crop circle in the field nearby. He tried to tell me that it was just a farmer turning his tractor around, but those of us who grew up near Area 51 know better. Diverging question: Why are they called cocktails anyway? Well the answer to that is also almost older than the US.
In our time machine, we went back in time and visited many amazing sites and met with incredible people who changed the world. Bill and Ted would have been proud of our most excellent adventure. At the British Museum, we saw the Rosetta Stone written in 196 BC and used in the 1800s to understand hieroglyphic writing. We visited the Parthenon by viewing the friezes from its facade.The friezes are called Elgin’s Marbles because Lord Elgin, a lover of all thing Greek, found them laying around on the ground and loaded them in his ship in the 1800s and brought them back to London. They served as dual purpose as balast for his ship. We viewed Egyptian mummies and fist bumped with Amenhotep III.
We learned about British kings and queens: how they lived, loved and died. The Tower of London was an incredible journey back in the bloody history of London–the battle fought by William the Conqueror, the prison for the famous and infamous and the location that for so many beautiful necks to lose their heads. The Tower is now besieged only by tourists. I guess it is arguable which raging horde is worse–the invading Normans or the invading Tourists.
For me, one of the most important historical figures we met was Winston Churchill. The War Rooms where Churchill and his generals strategized the battles against Nazi oppression are now open for everyone to see. These rooms located in a bunker under a government building in Whitehall remained virtually untouched for decades until they were turned into a museum in the 1980s. When I lived in London, I had never heard of the museum. For a student of history, the War Rooms were a tactile journey back in time. Seeing the map where the battles were planned and troop positions recorded was incredible as was listening to the speech Churchill gave to the British people while standing at the table where he gave the speech on the BBC.
But all history and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, some history has to be experienced in a fun atmosphere. The Medieval Banquet in London was a fun romp back to the gastronomical lives of kings and queens. Complete with jesters, knights and wenches, the evening was pure fun. Pounding the table, singing Hey Nonny Nonny, and calling out Ho Wench were so much fun.
The other fun romp in history was in Denmark at Egeskov castle. Touring the castle itself takes about 30 minutes at kid speed and about 2-3 hours at adult speed. But we spent the entire day there with our Danish cousins enjoying the amazing grounds with a zip line, a tree walk, bungie jungle gyms, hedge mazes, secret alcoves, music gardens, automobile and motorcycle museums and (wait for it) Segway Jousting! Not even kidding–maybe exaggerating. The kids rode their trusty Segway steeds through the course. Alex got fancy with his ride. Check it out. Besides all the fun, the view at Egeskov is incredible. Built in the middle of a lake on the oak timbers of an entire forest, Egeskov has the ultimate moat. I could not take a bad picture that day.
Places I Lived and Loved: Odense Growing up as an only child was lonely so my mom decided to have an exchange student come live with us. Lene was from Denmark and was also an only child. We became very close during the year she lived with us so I decided to live with her for a year after high school graduation. Her parents, Hans and Hanne, opened their home to me. Going back to Odense was a real mental time warp.
Not much changes in Denmark. Everything looked the same as it did 30 years ago. Taking my kids to the house I lived in, the school I went to and the city streets I walked was fun. Attending Church with people I had know 30 years ago was incredible. And beginning to remember my Danish was a real brain-bender.
Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen but it is also the birthplace of some of my greatest adventures and fondest memories. It might not be as exciting as London in terms of sights to see but it is filled with great memories and family that I love. We are so close that we are sisters by choice if not by blood and our children are as close as they would be if they were really cousins. That is the great gift I received in Odense.
Getting Closer My biggest hope after being safe was that my kids would grow closer to each other and to me. I think we achieved that. Before we left, we talked about how we had to be a team while we traveled and watch out for each other. We talked about how we needed to put our petty differences aside and not allow the tiny annoyances to ruin the experience. The kids were great! They didn’t fight the entire trip (besides a few minor scuffles) and we all got to be together in a place where we had to stick together. Even though Alex would not let me say it out loud, we were the Three Musketeers. I loved watching my kids open their eyes to the big world, to take in history, to understand their place in the sea of humanity.
We did not only get closer to each other but we also got closer to our Danish family. It was the highlight of the trip to spend 5 days with Lene and Kurt and their amazing kids. It would not have mattered what we did in Odense. Just being together with them was everything wonderful and then some. Our kids just love every minute together. It was fun to see Alex having his hair braided by his older girl cousins. It was fun to see Anna learn to play football (yes–soccer) with her cousin even thought she got the mother of all grass stains on her new pants. It was amazing to see Hanne again and go back to the house I lived in the 30 years ago.
I was also able to reunite with our other Danish exchange students, Steen and Kim. Thanks to Kurt, we drove to Arhus and met them and their families and enjoyed an amazing day just being together. In 3 seconds, 30 years of time melted away and it seemed like we had talked only yesterday. The day wespent together was actually the day Steen and I had graduated from Western High School 30 years earlier. Kind of poetic. I loved their wives and their kids and they loved my kids too. I can’t wait until they visit us in the States.
What Does it All Add Up To? You travel to see new places–or old places as it turns out. But in the end what you really take home with you are the people you meet and the time you share together. Travel is about getting to know yourself and others in the context of a different environment. It’s about reuniting with friends and making new ones. It’s about returning to places you lived when you were a different person and introducing your kids to your past self. It’s about riding a bike and playing a game of SKATE with a famous person you didn’t even know was famous. It’s about getting to celebrate your 10thbirthday in Denmark with your family singing to you in Danish. It’s about tasting chocolate from four countries, sharing your favorite cookie (Hob Nobs) and your favorite pastry (brunsviger) and trying liver pate for the first time. It’s about banging on tables and drinking a soda in a pub in the middle of an ancient henge circle. It’s about leaving the comfort of your routine to enlarge your view of the world.
And even then, you can’t explain what happens to you when you travel. It’s all that and so much more. No travel log can describe the feelings I have after this trip. People ask me if I had a great trip. Of course, I answer that it was wonderful. Then they want me to tell them about it. I can describe some of the places and some of the experiences, but I can’t put into words the feeling and the change that was wrought in me and my kids and in our relationship with each other and the world. That is the souvenir I bring home.
Worth a Thousand Words and Better than Mine
Tricia and Nancy discuss what to do if your child is showing his privates. How do you handle it and what can you do to help your child understand that Privates are Private?
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t freak and if you do, don’t show it.
- Figure out what is going on.
- Very young kids can seem immodest and may display curiosity about other people’s bodies and bodily functions. These can include touching women’s breasts, wanting to watch when grownups go to the bathroom, wanting to be naked (even if others are not) and showing or touching private parts while in public. They are curious about their own bodies.
- When you are ready and they are ready, ask open-ended questions (and they are old enough to answer)
- What were you doing?
- How did you get the idea?
- How did you learn about this?
- How did you feel about doing it?
- Have a general discussion about what is private and what to do if someone invades your privacy.
Some causes for concern:
- Actions beyond their developmental stage (or language)
- Actions with threat or aggression
- Actions between kids of very different ages
Our Past Show for kids who are a bit older: http://www.themompodcast.com/2010/10/24/when-to-discuss-the-birds-and-bees/
Nancy and Tricia discuss how therapy can change the way you mother and what therapy has done for them at different stages in their lives. They discuss finding a good therapist, what to discuss with the therapist and surprises that happen in therapy.
Worried about getting therapy? Today’s therapy is life coaching. No more Freud and no more laying on the couch. Therapists give you tools to use in daily life and other ways to look at the situation you are in. With these tools, you are better-prepared to handle the tough stuff.
We Nancy and her kids are taking a 2 week trip in carry-on luggage only. Think it’s impossible? Tricia can’t pack for a weekend in anything less than a large suitcase. But Krista Paul, VP Content Marketing at eBags, explains tips and tricks to get the most out of carry-on luggage. You will be surprised at how much you can actually take using these tricks.
Nancy and her kids are packing their clothing and Anna’s big blanket using the eBags Packing Cubes. Below you can see all their clothes packed up as well as Anna’s blanket and the bags they are taking with them. Nancy is in purple, Alex is in blue and Anna is in green (one for her and one for her blanket). Then check out the packing tips below.
Other Great Travel Finds
I will be using the SHOLDIT and the Limber Stretch to secure things like passports, credit cards and phones. Pick Pockets won’t know where to find our valuables!
NOTE: I said that one version SHOLDIT baby carrier–OOPS. It is a nursing scarf and has the pocket I like so much.
Travel Suggestions from Nancy and Krista
- Each passenger gets 1 carry on and one personal item (and one bag for toiletries) but maybe you don’t need them
- Decide if you need roll on or backpack
- If you have to walk, think backpack
- Roll on for kids (consider one with wheels that go all ways so they can push it instead of pull it) if you don’t need to walk
- If you have a baby, you can wear a backpack and a baby carrier/sling
- Make sure you measure the bags to ensure they will meet airline requirements (some airlines are more stringent)
- Use your day bag as your personal item for the cabin and include:
- Things to do, snacks, sweater or shawl (it’s cold on a plane)
- Change of clothes for small children
- Sanitizing wipes or spray
- Electronics for easy access
- Important documents
- Pile everything you are going to take and take things out (get really critical)
- If you have time, wear what you are going to take and see how it works (if you are going for a week, wear your items for a week and see if you actually wear it all).
- Do a rehearsal run of packing and carrying/wheeling your luggage. If you have kids, involve them. Have them carry their bags or if they are small, practice holding their hands with your luggage
- Keep jewelry simple
- Find out if you can do laundry at your destination or bring a sink plug and a rope so you can wash things in your hotel room with a bar of detergent like Fels Naptha (no liquids)
- Pack clothes that wash easily and dry quickly. If not, you might want to change clothes.
- Americans wash clothes way more than people do in other countries. Wash only the important parts (stains and private areas).
- Think Layers not bulky sweaters/jackets (if it’s a cold destination bring thermals).
- Invest in the little sizes or the bottles you can transfer your creams and shampoos to (and label those).
- Remember the 3-1-1 rule
- Bring meds you need in bottles with prescription.
- Limit makeup.
- Bring makeup remover wipes instead of a liquid (you can pack it in your carry on instead of in the 3-1-1 bag
- Wear your heaviest shoes and clothes on the plane
- Rolling? /Cubes?
- Use electronics that do double duty (camera/phone; reader/video player/game console)
- Pack one electronic per person
- Bring plugs/converters for your destination plus a power strip (most destinations never have enough outlets)
Consider shipping to your destination or buying things there
- Ship diapers from Amazon Prime to your destination
- Make a run to the store when you get there
- Foldable Water Bottles
- TSA Locks so they can get in your bag without ruining your lock
Read about Extreme Packing: One Bag for a Family of 4 for 21 Days in Europe
- One, at most two, changes of clothing
- Basic hygiene items
- One (small) comfort item per child
- One electronic device
Beverly discusses the joys and struggles of adoption. She has adopted babies at birth as well as adopting older children. She has also adopted in the US and Internationally. Her experiences will help you decide if adoption is a possibility you should explore.
She gives guidance and tips on how to find an adoption agency and how to make adoption work with your family dynamics. She also discusses how to know if you are ready to adopt.
Nancy shares her exciting news about an upcoming trip and how to take kids out of school for travel. Some school districts fine parents for taking kids out and others just don’t like it. There are ways to make a trip work for both your family and your child’s classroom.
What to consider first:
- Know what your child’s School Policy is and how you can work with it.
- Ask yourself how is your child doing in school and can they make up the work?
- Ask your child how she feels about missing school. This may not be the right time for your child.
- What grade is your child in? Earlier grades are easier than when it counts in High School.
- What time of year is it? Time travel when it is close to a break or not during important testing time or semester finals.
Some tips to help in taking your kids out of school:
- Talk to the teacher(s) before you plan the trip and Ask them. Talk to the Principal as well.
- Go in with an Educational Plan (why the trip is educational) explain to teachers they history, geography, language arts, and science your child will learn.
- If necessary, make plans to cover topics missed—not just homework so that your child is caught up with the rest of the class.
- Keep the amount of school missed short and if you can’t make it short, make a really good pitch.
- Remember you are your child’s main educator and if you feel the trip will be educational, take it.
Making the Pitch:
- Show how your Child will be Learning
- Quantify the Results
- Make it benefit the Class
Mindy Gleason, a mother not afraid to open her mouth and speak for change, discusses how she is making a difference for children in her community and how you can find the courage to make a change in your neighborhood or city.
Mindy is the mother of two amazing girls. Her oldest, Presley, has a rare disease causing her to be in a wheelchair and on a ventilator. Presley is incredibly social and loves to be with her friends. Because of her issues, Presley has a hard time finding parks where she can play. She is always stopped by wood chips and park barriers.
Mindy was inspired to approach the City of Orem and ask for changes at a local park, but the park idea has gone much further. Now the City of Orem is building an All-Abilities park where children of all abilities can play together. Listen to Mindy’s story of triumph and her advice on how to make something happen in your community
Learn more about the All-Together Playground and how you can donate to this amazing cause.
Mindy Gleason, mother extraordinaire and proponent of a positive outlook, describes how she met the challenges in the darkest part of her motherhood journey and rose above the pain to embrace life and learn wisdom we can all use in our daily lives.
Mindy is the mom of two amazing girls. Her daughter, Presley, is an inspiration to people all across the globe. Take a look at their amazing journey over these past 6 years and where they are now. We can all learn to allow our children to soar from the flight that Mindy and Presley have taken.
And remember to share this show and the links to the Vote for Presley campaign so she can win a bike for her special needs.
- Bike Giveaway https://www.friendshipcircle.org/bikes/2016/02/presley-g/
- Movie about Pres https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMCBv3rPcU8&feature=youtu.be
- The All Together Playground http://www.alltogetherplayground.com
Have you heard the song by Sia called Unstoppable? On my way up to Sundance Ladies Day today, I head this song for the first time. Call it fate, but that prepared me for something big. In the words of the song, I put my armor on, I’m unstoppable today.
Sundance ‘s longest Black Diamond is called Bishop’s Bowl. It is intimidating because when you start at the top, you can’t see the bottom. It’s not the length, but the slope of the mountain that is intimidating.
But thanks to my totally awesome Sundance Ladies Day instructor Lisa who would not listen to our whines of “I can’t do that,” our entire group of ladies conquered our fear and were unstoppable today! She let us know that we would be doing Bishop’s early on in the lesson and some of us were hesitant, others were down-right against it.
Before the run of our lives, we had some good runs working on our technique and we had almost forgotten about Bishops. Sitting on a lift, we passed over an extremely scary track only wide enough for 2 skis (if you fall, you fall down a double black diamond run). Several of us said out loud, “I am NEVER doing that.” Lisa just smiled. Then when we got to the summit, she announced we were skiing Bishops. Two ladies were excited and two ladies were terrified (guess which group I was in with my leg in a brace still from my daughter’s panic attack getting off a lift a month ago)?
As we were skiing over to the top of Bishop’s, one of the other ladies said, “I’ll just go over and look at the run with you and then I am walking back. You can ski it and I will meet you at the bottom.” She was determined that there was no way she was going to ski this monster.
So in typical Sundance Ladies Day fashion, we all grouped together to help her overcome her fears. And, believe me, it is intimidating to look over the side of a mountain and see nothing below you and THEN decide you will ski off of it. Lisa explained that we did not need to ski the entire thing at once–just a bit at a time like eating an elephant. That got me down past the slope of no return. Then we waited for the other ladies.
The woman who was determined to walk back, was stuck at the top. Another woman said to her, “I’ll stay behind you because if I go and you are last, you will walk back and you can’t do that.” She sacrificed her first run of Bishop’s to help her Ladies Day friend. The rest of us stood clinging to the side of Bishop’s cheering her on.
We made it to the bottom and then we had to traverse a section of the run on a track–the same one we had seen from the lift and had said we would never ski. Together, we all conquered our fears and made it through the track.
The track runs into another black diamond run actually steeper than Bishop’s (but shorter and you can see the end). By that time, I figured I had survived the worst,I could complete the run. The woman who had encouraged our struggling friend had her own issues on this run. But we all encouraged her and helped her and we all did something amazing! We were Unstoppable Today!
That’s the magic of Sundance Ladies Day . It can’t be duplicated with private or group lessons. When we came together in January, we were a group of women who didn’t know each other. Our skiing abilities were similar with each of us having strengths and weaknesses. But over the course of Ladies Day, we bonded and we were able to help each other. When our greatest fear faced us, we were unstoppable because we trusted our instructor and we trusted each other. Lisa christened us The Bishop’s Bowl Babes! We took this picture AFTER the run and see we are all smiling!
So in the words of Sia: I put my Ladies Day armor on, show you how strong how I am, I’ll show you that I am Unstoppable today! Chicks on Sticks Rock! I feel powerful and invincible and ready for the next life challenge on or off the slope.
#chicksonsticks #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort
Katie McClain, author of How to Tame Your Thought Monster, discusses how we can have compassion for ourselves when we feel a pain deep within ourselves. Self-compassion allows us to give ourselves the comfort that a good friend would give us. Using the findings of Dr. Kristin Neff, Katie has created Kind Cards to help us walk through the process. She works through the process with Tricia.
Be compassionate to yourself and have a listen!
I missed three weeks of amazing snow, but today, I was up there again! I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for Sundance Ladies Day , so I went up to try my knee and meet the Ladies after Ladies Day for a few runs.
The knee happily held with the brace on, so I decided to try and find the ladies. Sundance is on a mountain that was named after a native American princess called Timpanogos. Today, the Princess helped me find my fellow Snow Sisters. I was led by her spirit right to their location on the mountain (if you have ever searched for someone at a ski resort, you know it is almost impossible to find them while they are skiing).
When I found them, the ladies excitedly told me that they had done 2 black diamonds. I was so impressed. Then Lisa, our instructor, looked at me and said, “Now it’s your turn. We are going again and you are coming.” So I went. Who can deny Princess Timpanogos or Instructor Lisa.
AND . . . it was amazing! It was actually easier than I had imagined. I had Black Diamonds hyped in my head as one of the runs in a Warren Miller movie. Don’t know what a Warren Miller movie is? Check this out. As a woman, it is way easier to ski with other ladies. It was so clear to me today that I tried the run because my friends were with me (sorry hubby).
The black run I skied is called Top Gun. I could hear the Top Gun music in my head. So glad no one had to say “Speak to me Goose.”
I made it! And now I am Back in Black!
#chicksonsticks #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort
Your child is born with inherent attitudes and traits (their CoreSelf). Nancy Rose, author of Raise the Child You Got Not the One You Want explains how understanding a child’s core traits can help us see our children for who they are and not what we want them to be. From this position of strength and leadership, we can help direct them to be productive and well-balanced adults.
We discuss how to mitigate conflicts when a parent and child have opposite CoreSelf traits and how to guide behavior when a CoreSelf trait may cause issues. Finally, we discuss how we can change our language and attitudes about our children’s CoreSelf traits so that we don’t describe their core traits as negative (inflexible vs. consistent; lazy vs. energy conservationist).
Co-host Nancy and her family used the CoreSelf checklist to understand each family member’s CoreSelf traits and this has helped family interactions and has led to better ways to deal with challenging behaviors (in both parents and children).
Check our our previous podcast on Understanding Your Child’s CoreSelf. Download the CoreSelf list for yourself at Nancy Rose’s website (you sign up for her email and the link is sent to you–just know you don’t get spammed or get too much email–I haven’t gotten any additional ones).
If you have older children, it is a great experience to have a family meeting and have each member mark their CoreSelf traits on their own paper and then discuss them together and how these traits help the family or can be improved.
Check out Nancy’s videos on her blog. These explain the 9 traits of the CoreSelf.
Since I began to ski, my biggest fear hasn’t been tumbling head-long down the mountain. It has been falling off the lift. Well, it finally happened after 5 years. But it wasn’t my fault.
My daughter has a wicked sense of self-preservation. I guess that’s what kept this 4 pound preemie alive. We got on to Flathead lift–the small one and I sensed she was nervous so I tried to calm her fears. I guess I had not done a good job. When we went to get off the lift, she put out both arms in fear. I did not see her and I tried to stand up. Next thing I knew, I had landed hard on the packed snow with one knee twisted the wrong way. UGH!
With some cursing, I got up and asked her what she was thinking. She just shrugged. So we skied off. My bum and my knee hurt a bit but it wasn’t too bad. The day was not a stellar ski day and conditions were very windy so after 4 runs, we left.
By the time I got home, the adrenaline had worn off. Coming out of the shower, I almost collapsed when my knee gave way. To make a painful story short–a strained MCL and a bruised tailbone. No last Ladies Day class for me. BUMMER.
But I am going to be back on the mountain at Sundance in a few weeks if I take good care of the knee. Got my brace on and my smile in tact. Can’t miss the most EPIC ski season ever. I’ll see you on the mountain! #sundanceresort #sundancelaidesday #chicksonsticks
Did you know that having a baby could ruin your hearing? It’s not from the screaming child. Listen and learn how Tricia learned about otosclerosis and how having 4 children helped her to lose hearing in one ear. And learn how a doctor solved her problem. Can She Hear Us Now? Listen and find out!
For more information on otosclerosis, check out this site. As soon as Tricia meets with her doctor for her follow-up and gets more information about other resources, we will post them here.
Today was one of those days when everything comes together. After a week of being sick and having to help a family member having surgery, I was worried that I had nothing left in the tank. But the day dawned beautiful and clear—one of those days that groomer girls love.
So we packed up the car and the kids (my daughter and her best friend) and we headed up to Sundance. I left my cares back in the valley. My fears about skiing are almost all gone (except thinking about moguls, deep powder, and black diamonds). This is my season to cement the skills I have been gaining over the past few years.
Today, I could feel the rails, feel the movement, feel the groove. It felt good. Class, as always, was uplifting and educational. Lisa gave great feedback and it was fun to see the other women progress so quickly. Watching them ski helps me understand the theory I have been learning all these years and why we should not do something (like drop our pole behind us). I am now reaping the fruits of the seeds planted during previous classes.
And the fruit is tasty. Look at those smiling faces. Can’t you just see what a great time we are having?
And then the day got even better! My dear friend Kristi took my challenge this year and decided to learn to ski. But I haven’t been able to ski a run with her yet. We hooked up and headed up to the first stop to ski together. Then, she introduced me to Margaret, a woman from her Never Ever class.
Margaret, it turns out, learned about Ladies Day from my blog! She had googled ladies ski classes and found my story and a bit of inspiration. WHOO HOO! I’ve had other people tell me that they read the blog and it influenced them to ski but it was so much fun to have my Never Ever Kristi introduce me to Never Ever Margaret who read my blog. And boy could these ladies ski. We didn’t go down the easy front mountain run. No, these ladies took me to a back trail that I have been on several times. It was a bit torn up and challenging but they did great and we had so much fun skiing together!
Thanks Margaret for reminding me why I blog and podcast about Sundance Ladies Day and skiing in general. It’s time to get out and do something that challenges you and gets you moving. Take the chance and you will see the fruits of your labors too! And maybe you will be lucky like I was to be able to share those fruits with amazing ladies. They sure taste better when they are shared together.
#chicksonsticks #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort
This is my fifth year skiing and the snow is incredible. You know it is Epic when Sundance has more snow than Snowbird. It really has been amazing. But that is not the only reason this is an Epic season. As always, Sundance Ladies Day is incredible. It is fun to ski with my friends and learn. But this is the first year I feel confident in my skiing. I see a huge improvement in my confidence. I know what I can do and I trust my skis. Some real learning is happening because I trust myself and my skis this season.
What I am learning is that skiing is 90% in your head and 10% in your body. OK, I have been told this many times, but I think it is sinking in. At least a bit. I’m hard headed it may take more time, but for now, I am beginning to understand that the key to a good ski day is confidence in myself.
Isn’t that the way it is with everything in life? It’s 90% confidence and 10% ability. Not to discount ability and a good teacher, but it takes confidence to implement what you learn. That is where Ladies Day is incredibly helpful. When I ski with my family, I am worried about my kids, about the mountain, about what my husband thinks of my skiing, and so on. At Ladies Day, I am not thinking about anyone else but myself. I can concentrate on my skills, my reactions, and my friends (we laugh all class long and that eliminates a lot of stress too). I have a chance to try my skills in a controlled environment with a teacher who helps me understand a better way to ski.
This season, our teacher Lisa has helped me with my confidence and has let me know what is going right. I did not realize how much that would help my skills. After 5 years of learning, just having someone who is not related to me tell me I am doing things well has really helped.
Today was a wonderful day. Conditions were just right and so was my attitude. Each run was fun–even the tougher ones. This was a great gift because I need confidence. I can feel the confidence in skiing translating into other areas of my life. There is something about standing at the edge of a mountain and looking down at it and knowing you can ski it that translates into confidence in other areas.
I can’t wait to strengthen my confidence this season along with my abilities. Come join us and strengthen your confidence! Chicks on Sticks RULE!
#chicksonsticks #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort
The year I learned to ski had to be one of the worst snow years on record. I learned on sheer ice. Every lesson, I wondered to myself “Why do people like this so much?” But then, I realized that an entire industry could not be built if the activity was not fun. So I plodded along. The first day of actual powder was like a revelation. I finally understood why people traveled great distances and spent so much money to throw themselves down a mountain.
Well, if that year was the worst snow year on record, this year is the most epic snow year ever. With more snow in one week than in that entire first year, this has been amazing. And that makes learning to ski for the first time so much easier. And it makes learning to ski powder a must.
This year for Ladies Day, I brought a few more Never Evers. One of them, my dear friend Kristi has lived in Utah her whole life and had had one ski experience as a teen. It was one of those “dates” where the young man takes the girl to the top of the mountain and says “I’ll see you at the bottom.” Kristi ended up walking down the mountain and she never went back up (or out with that guy).
After 2 months of convincing her, she finally gave in and came with me to Ladies Day. Today, she had her first experience on skis. And it was glorious! She loved it so much! Class wasn’t enough. She wanted to ski more and longer. WOOO HOOO! Just the experience I wanted her to have. Check out those smiles!
As for me, this is probably the season I learn to powder ski. Until now, I have been a groomer girl. I love my corduroy groom tracks with a tiny dusting of powder on the top. But the deep stuff has always scared me. Thinking about trying to turn in that powder has made me cringe. The few times I have tried powder have left me wiped out. Today was no different. 12 inches of snow and my first Ladies Day of the season wiped me out. However, I learned a few things:
- I need to relax in powder and not let it get to my head
- When you ski powder, you have to ski like you are on a glass table and not press down into it but rather ski on top of it
I’ll get there this season since there is so much powder. This is my year to learn.
The Epic Season is off to an Epic Start. Contact me if you want to ski with us in February or March. It is not too late because with a 60 inch base and counting, this looks to be the best ski season ever.