Friday, December 30, 2011

i couldn't stop taking photos in utah.

the view from the lobby of the Natural History Museum

One morning this week, we met my cousin Tiercy at the amazing and brand new Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City.  It featured dinosaurs and tons of hands-on exhibits for kids.  I didn't get many shots of the kids in action because they all ran in different directions. 

My mom, Liesel, me and Tiercy. 

Skyler and Laney looking at specimens under the microscopes

I did manage to pile all the cousins up for a few photos.

Skyler, Laney, Cameron, Tyler, Grant, Ethan and Reedo.
I love having these 4 beauties together.  And the mountains in the backdrop aren't too shabby either. 
lucky me with my siblings.  There are too many miles between us. 

Chris soaking up the sun on the porch.  This view shows the main house and the guest house where my mom lives several months a year. 

I ski with my camera and  I make everyone stop at scenic vistas. 

Parting shot:  That's me lying in the sun in December.  So so warm.  I will miss those mountains.

last day in Utah.

And we are making the most of it.  Loooong travel day tomorrow, and more pictures when I get home.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

more silliness on the pond

happy goggle-wearing boys.

I just love these three photos.  And I just love these three boys.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

let's talk about skiing.

I have been skiing since I was 7 years old, and I have always loved it, always thought it was one of the purest kinds of fun.  Now when I ski, it is still pure fun,  but it also feels bigger to me.  I just take in the fresh air, the wind, the sunshine, the open views from a place of total gratitude.  I appreciate the fact that because skiing is so expensive, it is a total treat to experience it.   I appreciate my body feeling strong and able as I cruise down the mountain.  I appreciate the fact that my body knows how to ski in such an ingrained way;  my muscles remember how, and even if I only ski a few times a year, I pick it back up instantly and it feels totally natural to me.   I want to shout and sing and hoot and holler at the views.  It also just feels magical to fly down a mountain like that, past the pine trees and aspen trees and breathing the clean air;  it's a treat for all the senses.   I even love the way the snow smells.    I don't want to get all spiritual on you, but skiing to me is, well, spiritual.  I feel deeply relaxed, happy, and fulfilled on the mountain.  A full day of exerting my leg muscles like that, wind and sun-kissed cheeks all add up to that satisfying whole-body buzz and a sense of calm.

You know how when you've been skiing all day and you lie in bed at night and you still feel your body gliding down the mountain?  Yeah.  Like that.  That's the stuff.

In other words:  Skiing?  You complete me.

I get to go AGAIN on Friday.

Here are my favorite still shots from our day on the mountain. 

mountains make me giddy too.

I can't get enough of Reed with those goggles.

Liesel and Sam on the way up up up.

Reed looking tough and confident.

apre ski glow

who looks cuter in a helmet?  nobody.

magic carpet ride.

the view:  dumb, boring, and ugly.

"Mom!  Take my picture on the ice couch!"

After I said "no, I won't carry you," Uncle Craig said "YES."

aspens, blue sky, snow, tracks.

Skyler feeling satisfied by the fire pit. That whole-body buzz?  She's got it.

amazing day on the slopes.

This video represents Reed's first day on skis, Skyler's second day, and mostly, lots of footage of my amazing 10 and 11 year old nephews, Cameron and Grant.

I am still warm from the sun and wind. Just delightful.

the skating pond.

Right next door to my sister's house is a pond, and in the winter, it comes alive with skating and pond hockey.  My brother-in-law Craig keeps it meticulously smooth.  There are white Christmas lights strung above it, and even a sound system so that while we skate, there is Christmas music playing.  It is so crazy cool and fun, and it's right out their door.

looking back at the house from the pond.
Liesel and Cam
that's my big brother Chris. 
Craig taking a rest after some serious hockey time

blue eyes.  blue sky.

For the first day, we kept Reed in his boots and he played hockey on the ice with the big kids for hours.  But today, we got him some skates.  We have laughed and laughed and laughed at this.  Check out Reed's skating debut.

We also had an incredible day of skiing today, and there are photos. And more video!
Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, part 2.

 Obviously, we got our Christmas miracle and made it to Utah.  Our travels were incredibly smooth, everything was on time or early, and we had clear skies all the way.  Reed was my seatmate and for the most part, he was very good. 
 It always amazes me to fly east to west.  A few hours into the trip, everything changes dramatically out the window.  This was the view just east of Las Vegas. 

We landed in Salt Lake and soon we were in the full swing of Christmas Eve at Liesel's house. 
We got to sit at one table with my mom and siblings and nephews for the Brand family tradition of Cheese Fondue.  Champagne toast to all being together.  Merry Christmas indeed.

 Uncle Craig read The Night Before Christmas to the kids, and then after some cajoling, we finally got our kids to bed at 11, (1 am Maine time!)

And then in the morning, the mountains were waiting for us.  Good morning, Utah.

 Look!  Santa got the memo about where we were this year. 

 New bathrobes!  (Reed wouldn't wear his, even though we told him that warriors wear robes)

my beautiful nephews.

my beautiful sister and mom.

Breakfast and Christmas gifts with cousins.  Does it get any better?

Skyler drawing the sunrise over the mountains with her new art supplies.

Reed's dream come true.

 After all the food and coffee, I felt the need to get out.  I ran just shy of 4 miles; it was hard up here at 7,000 feet.  But the sunshine and fresh air felt sooooo good. Hope everyone else had a fantastic day.