We had a fun 3 day weekend planned to go to a ski resort (that friends of ours recommended) and stay at the hotel/hostel, get lessons for the kids to learn to ski, a free morning for us to ski while the kids were in lessons, some hot tubs, sledding, etc. Since it was President's Day weekend, we were going to go from Sat - Monday.
BUT, our journey started out with a bad omen. I even said it to Patrick when it happened. It started when Patrick got his snow boots out from the back shed. He brought them inside (and even shook them a few times in case there was a bug inside or something). I ended up carrying the boots (with a bunch of other boots) outside and dropped them next to the car. When I dropped them a dead bird fell out of them!!! And if you ask Wikipedia (or anyone in Arkansas)... dead birds = bad luck! But we shook it off, and got on our way. Well, LONG story short, we went to the Yujo Center (where you go to get directions for places around here) and they sent us to the wrong ski Lodge. 4 hours in the wrong direction. We didn't know - since we had never been there - but they sent us to a different prefecture - that has a lodge with the same name. We told them which town we needed - but they must not have heard/cared/understood because we ended up all the way north of main Japan. The poor people there did not speak a lick of English so eventually we found the number we needed and had them speak to each other in Japanese to figure out why we were in the wrong place. Patrick did a great job in not blowing his head off in frustration - but I was pretty ticked. We jumped back in the car and drove another 4 hours to the correct place (only about 2 hours from our house). Luckily, the kids were great (even with a broken DVD player) and it was a beautiful day. And we were driving through some amazing scenery. And as much as we tried to enjoy it - you know underneath our blood was boiling.
Once we got to the right place, we grabbed some dinner. It was some of the best food EVER - but we just wanted to go to bed! We scarfed down some food and headed to their hot baths. That was just what the doctor ordered! They were the nekkid kind - so Evie and I went and relaxed for a good 20-30 minutes. After that we went to bed. Luckily, the kids fell asleep pretty quickly (they were loving the old school wooden bunk beds and tatami mats) but unfortunately for me I am a light sleeper. And the walls were super thin. And it was a saturday night with drunk skiiers, college kids, some DJ playing live, etc. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much at all. BUT - the kids did so I didn't care too much. The girls in the room next to us were a gaggle of gigglers - but as a friend pointed out to me - I was once one like them too. This place was cool - but not when you have kids.
Morning came and we grabbed some breakfast and made the executive decision to go home after our day of skiing. We did not want another night like that, and we thought nothing would be better than sleeping in our own bed, and doing nothing all day on Monday (plus, patrick was coming down with a cold and didn't feel great)! The Lodge was super cool about it and refunded us the whole night.
We got packed up, skis and boot fitted and headed to the slopes finally! It was a GORGEOUS day (I was sweating and taking off layers) so we really lucked out. The kids had a 3 hour lesson - which they did great for 2.5 hours :-) Patrick and I got to ski by ourselves for that time - which was nice. Worth every penny of their lesson!!! We did about a dozen runs or so. It was crowded - but not too too bad. The snow was great and the runs were well groomed. And the scenery was spectacular!!! We got to watch a bit of the kids lessons and they learned to pizza, steer with their hands on their knees, walk up the hill sideways, and fall and get up. They really did better than I thought :-) But they were definitely done after three hours!
We went inside for a quick bite to eat - but it was packed!!! Luckily, I had shoved some granola bars in my jacket so we ate on some of those and Evie got a bowl of rice (love my little Japanese girl). After lunch we headed back out, this time for sledding. They had a cute little "Magic Carpet Ride" that helped you go up the hill (more for kids on skis) and then a little sledding area. We raced and the kids loved it. There was also a huge hill they could climb and they were determined to reach the top. It was pretty scary too - but they didn't want to stop until they got all the way up. So we trekked up there and then slid down on our bums :-) It was their favorite part of the day!
After all was said and done, we returned our skis and headed home. It took about 2.5 hours because of some crappy traffic and accidents - but much better than EIGHT hours from the day before!!! The kids slept almost the whole trip so we stayed up late and played Wii. But I am certainly looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.