A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

ice ice babies...

Our kids never cease to amaze us... We threw them into skiing and skating this weekend and they did so well! We'd had a lot of advice about getting them started young, before the fear sets in!

They were excited when we told them that the activity for Saturday would be skiing and that their teacher from school, Sandra Kelpin, would be teaching them.

But I don't actually think they knew what skiing meant. They had probably heard the word ski but listening to them confuse ski and skate and snow and ice, I really don't think they could have described skiing to us before we sent them out there! 

We bundled them up in plenty of layers as it was -10oC and headed 30 minutes north to a ski resort near Allegan called Bittersweet.
They have a couple of smaller ski slopes with magic carpets which make it so easy for the kids to learn.
So we got them kitted out in rental helmets, boots and skis and their teacher whisked them off. It was so good to have her as it took away a lot of anxiousness for Charlotte.

We went off for a coffee to give them time to practice without us watching but soon enough we were able to wander over to the slope and see how they were getting on. Having never skied myself I really had no idea how they would do. I was nervous for them but so grateful that they have the opportunity to do this right on our doorstep!
And they did great! Charlotte took to it really quickly and was ready for the bigger slope after only 45 minutes of practice. She happily rode the magic carpet up to the top and patiently waited for her teacher to help Toby before giving her the all clear to make her way down.

Unfortunately Toby needs to grow a bit before he can master the ski slopes. He was so happy to zoom down in a straight line but his little legs are not long enough to bend and make the 'pizza slice' necessary to slow down and stop! He has guts though and was happy to ski down the slope at full pelt with someone to catch him!

Charlotte went back on Sunday with friends from school and was soon being taught how to make turns and bend down to ski under an arch.
Skiing in Michigan isn't quite like France or Italy. The sun doesn't always shine and the wind can be wickedly cold, so instead of worrying about sunburn on your face you are more worried about frostbite!!
All of her friends did great too! It was so much fun to stand at the bottom and cheer them all on, marvelling at how our little 5 year olds were suddenly so grown up and mastering a skill that hopefully they will use for many years to come.

Miss Sandra and Mr Craig 

And if that wasn't enough, we took them to the local ice rink - the KWings stadium, home to the local ice hockey team and Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association, for their first skating lessons! They have skating lessons for kids of all ages from as little as 3 years old. It is so cute to see all of the little kids tottering around on the ice!

They were back in their snow pants, fleece tops and gloves along with helmets and rented skates and before they knew it, they were being carried onto the ice by the teachers and helpers and being shown how to stand, fall safely and walk across the ice.
I lost count of how many times they fell over (we weren't laughing too much, honest!) but they just kept picking themselves up and trying again! And they loved it!

They had a half hour lesson and were free to stay and practice for another half an hour but given neither of us can skate, we just spent the rest of the time watching the other kids.
When we saw Toby at the end he said to me "Mummy wasn't that so cool?!" with a huge smile on his face! Charlotte refused to take her skates off until we reassured her that we would be back again next week for another lesson!

I can't tell you how proud we are of them this weekend. We really are embracing the winter months and everything that Kalamazoo and Michigan has to offer! 

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