Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow Adventure

I have a love affair with winter. Sitting by the fire, all warm in my quilt, with a hot cup of tea and a handsome, warm husband at my side, is my idea of heaven-especially if we're chatting. The only problem is that I live in California and I always have which very frankly means that I have no clue what winter is. So therefore, this love affair that I seem to think I have, is only in my dreams because in reality, I have only seen crazy, snowy weather a handful of times.

That is, until this past weekend. This weekend took the cake. Yes, my friends, I got my fill of winter for awhile when the family and I went on the craziest, funnest, coldest snow adventure of my life (which isn't saying much due to my lack of winterness in general). Yet, hang onto your hats-I'm about to tell you a fun story.

It all started when Steve came home from work soaked because it was literally dumping rain. He loaded the car with our many bags (remember...four little kids and a mom who doesn't know, even after six years of kids, how to pack light! I'm trying, people, I'm trying!) and then all of the children got loaded. He started the car...well, he attempted and all we heard was clicking. Uh oh...the battery. Somebody had left a light on in the car. With all the little hands going in and out, this is a frequent occurrence. So, Steve gritted his teeth, gathered his patience, pulled out the cables and started our very old, reliable white truck up to jump our Pilot. Within minutes we were back in business. Phew...that was close. Nothing like a loaded car and a dead battery!

Off we went to our first stop-dinner at In n Out. Now can I just put a plug in here for In n Out? If I ever do get my wild, winter fantasy of living where there are seasons, chances are we'll be moving out of state, which would mean we would move away from all In n Outs. I'm not sure which is worse, me not ever being able to experience seasons, or forever saying, "bye" to the Grilled Cheese Animal Style. (Yes, I don't like burgers. Shoot me!) Good thing we don't go to In n Out often. It's my one weakness. Ha! We met our buddies at dinner and had a great time. Best of all, we were on schedule to be up in South Lake Tahoe at a decent time. I had visions of getting the kids all in bed before midnight. Everything was going perfectly. The only downside was the pouring rain while we were driving but knowing that it would make for great snow in Tahoe, kept our spirits light. Things were looking up.

About twenty minutes before arriving in Pollock Pines (where our friends' cabin is), the snow started to come down hard. There were hundreds of cars lining the highway stranded until they could strap their lifelines-chains, onto their slippery wheels enabling them to drive in the heavy snow. We laughed as we very simply pressed a little button in our vehicle that threw our car into 4-wheel drive. Suckers! Arrogance set in. We were born for this. We could brave this weather. Even our car was cut out for this stuff! We squealed with delight as the snow came down blanketing everything is sight. It was simply beautiful.

By the time we actually made it through the woods (and non-plowed roads) to the cabin, it was just before midnight. We pulled up and immediately noticed that the 80 foot driveway was three feet deep in snow. This could get interesting. Devin, our friend whose family owns the cabin, trudged through the walk to get things turned on inside and a fire started so that we could lug everyone in. When he didn't come back for awhile, we knew something was amiss.

He finally came back with some news. There wasn't any power and the house was 30 degrees at best. Did I mention it was the middle of the night? Oh and there were 9 children, two of them infants, who were set to sleep in that house for the next few nights. But where were we to go? We had to make the best of it. Steve and Devin went off to search for candles and flashlights to be able to find the things needed to build us a very important fire! And Allison and I waited in our cars with the kiddos. At this point, the kids were now awake. And the last family was set to arrive with their little army at anytime. Whew!

By the time the Dads came back to start carrying the kids in one by one, Elliana was screaming her little heart out. Poor girl didn't get the memo that we were on a snow adventure. When the last child was finally carried in, I got out and trudged through the blanket of white to the cabin, still enraptured with the beauty surrounding me. Steve got me Ellie's pack n play and I got to work getting the kids to bed. Then the guys started shoveling. Steve was shoveling and I quickly realized I needed sleeping bags, blankies, pillows and jammies in order to get anyone to sleep. So, instead of letting everyone run around for the rest of the night until Daddy was done shoveling the drive, I made several trips down through the snow with Elliana strapped securely to my front (wrapped up well of course) to get all of the things we needed. Steve was busy and I was determined. A little past 2 am, everyone was tucked in and trying to get warm. By 3 am, the last one was snoring. A little after 3, Steve, thoroughly soaked, came slopping through the front door.

We attempted to sleep for the next three hours but the cold seeped into every crevice and crack in the blankets. Elliana cried relentlessly and quickly ended up sandwiched between us in an effort to keep her warm. It was the coldest, longest, shortest night of my life. Does that even make sense? It was such a short period of time but yet it felt so very long as we went through it. I never knew cold could be so sneaky. It bled into our appendages and robbed us of the little comfort we had! Amazingly, I was so happy to see the light starting to dawn the next morning.

And dawn it did. Everyone finally woke up. We made pancakes on the gas stove. We even made coffee (which was much needed)! We figured out how to keep food cold, despite our lack of refrigeration and we came up with a gameplan for our stay.

Don't you love all of the essentials stacked up in the snow!! Bacon, milk, fudgesicles and beer!

Even though things didn't end up like we planned, we still had such a great time together. The kids played in the beautiful snow going sledding and building snowmen. Us adults got to hang out and talk. There was wrestling. There was eating/fellowshipping. There was reading. There was playing. And by the second night, it was so warm in the house from the fire, all of the kids had to sleep in their undies! Hilarious turn of events!

We ended up coming home early since the power never turned back on and things were getting a bit complicated at times with a houseful of children and no electricity (I know, I know, the pioneers...but they weren't used to electricity-so we have an excuse!) But all in all, it was a GREAT trip. Wouldn't have traded it for anything.

I've had my fill of real winter for a bit but it still calls to me. It's a mystery. One that I hope someday to experience, drink in and enjoy.



  1. Oh Nikki...I'm sorry, but I am afraid I laughed very hard at the three feet of snow and wet clothes and probably not in a very sympathetic tone. Ryan and I spent Sunday night and Monday morning shoveling one foot that fell in about 18 hours! I am glad you still enjoy winter after your ordeal. We have had four months of serious winter; you can come and take the rest of it if you would like (we'll even loan you powders to keep you all dry!). Your boys would love it: ours have! Awesome story girl!

  2. Oh my!! Crazy story. Yes, winter CAN be fun... if electricity and fires are involved. :-)

  3. any time you guys wanna come out to indiana for a real midwestern winter -you let us know! we'd love to have you. and we'dintroduce you to some good local burgers places (that have things other than burgers) while we're at it. :)

  4. Oh my girls keep wondering why we don't live wher it snows! (Could I make it? Would I learn to add extra time in for bundling instead of skipping out into the weather without further thought???) Oh, but the quietness of snowfall is pure poetry!!! Glad you are all back safe. That was an adventure for the collective memory.