Sunday, February 23, 2014

North Carolina Ski Trip

Over Valentine's weekend, we, along with two other couples we've met through church, went on a ski trip in the North Carolina mountains.  We, rather spontaneously, started planning the trip mid January and it really all fell nicely into place, despite the last-minuteness of it all.  The Valentine/Presidents' Day weekend was the only weekend we all had available. It wasn't really meant to be a holiday thing, but luckily, after lots of looking, I found a cabin rental that wasn't raising its prices for that weekend. 
We rented a cute three-story cabin, nestled into the blueridge mountains with a beautiful view of grandfather mountain. 

We headed out early Friday evening, around 5:00, and arrived at the cabin a little after 9:00. Each couple had their own floor, consisting of a bedroom and bathroom. 

Here is the cabin from the road. The back side dropped off down the side of the mountain and faced the woods, so this is the only angle from which I could capture it.  It doesn't do it justice, especially on that foggy morning, but it is better than nothing.

Here is a picture, from Sunday (the prettiest day), from the back porch. 

 Although the individual floors and desperate bathrooms were really convenient and nice to have, we ended up mainly congregating around the cozy fire place - talking and playing games during the evenings. 

Here are some cabin pictures. I didn't take any pictures of the bed rooms or the basement, I just kept forgetting. 

View when you walk in the front door

Loft area on 3rd floor

Main floor back porch

We did have one eventful hiccup on our trip: Mr Mouse. 
Proof of his existence was lingering atop the comforter on the downstairs bed when we arrived and, after a little hunting, we discovered he had been there for quite some time.  Although I never saw him, he made a couple of flash appearances for the guys. 
Needless to say, a bed of mouse droppings was not about to be where I nestled in- everyone else felt the same way. So we left an informative voicemail with the rental office and shuffled around the sleeping arrangements to accommodate being short one bed. Not ideal. But nothing to get too bent out of shape about. 

Saturday we woke up early and, after stopping into a local ski rental shop, bought our ski passes for Sugar Mountain Ski Resort. It was a very cold, snowy, slightly windy, morning. We were bundled beyond bundled. Thankfully, the sun came out as the afternoon wore on, but so did all of the people. 

Waiting in the ski lift line. 

This was the morning weather, but we eventually had a nice view of the mountains once the fog lifted. 

I had only been skiing once before, about three years ago. Simon and I went to St. Louis with a group of engineering students to a tiny and, due to the weather, a man-made-snow resort. For a first experience it was just right. 
Sugar Mountain resort was definitely bigger and the fresh snowfall made the skiing a lot smoother and more fun.  I took a private ski lesson to help get a better handle on the basics. I am really glad I did, because it made me feel more at ease with everything: less like I was being handed two weapons and set lose on unsuspecting vacationers.  

I mostly stuck to the greens and ventured into a blue, while the rest of the group (all experienced skiiers) tackled the tough stuff like the double black diamons... The blue was tough enough for me... 

The rental company sent over housekeeping, Saturday afternoon, to tend to Mr. Mouse, so we would have all the needed beds that night.  After a day of skiing we were all quite worn out, despite our initial intentions to make it a 2 day skiing adventure. So as we all nursed our sore muscles in the hot tub that evening, we decided to make Sunday a sleep-in-and-relax day. 

And it was wonderful.

We all did our own thing Sunday morning, sipping coffee and getting ourselves together.  Around 10:30 or so we packed up the car, returned the cabin keys to the rental office, and hunted for a hole in the wall breakfast joint in downtown Boone. 

Success. We happened upon this rather eclectic spot, Sunrise Grill: complete with creepy run-down arcade, obviously carpeted in the 90's, as the back of the restaurant waiting room.  Really, it was just what we were looking for: the waitress was quirky, the biscuits and gravy were delicious, and the crappy cafe coffee didn't disappoint. 

We wandered aimlessly in and out of the antique shops and local boutiques for a few hours soaking in the small, mountain town culture before heading back home. 

We all found this to be hilarious and rather hard to believe. 

As far as I am concerned, it was just the weekend I needed!  We had a lot of fun with our friends; they are the perfect group to just relax and go with the flow. The whole weekend was low key, casual and just all around enjoyable. 

After talking with the home owners and rental company regarding the hygiene hazard and bed shuffling, they offered, generously, to give us our first nights stay free to make up for being inconvenienced.  We had not expected quite that much compensation, but certainly didn't complain. As it turns out, our one hiccup panned out rather nicely. 
But I'm not telling that to Mr. mouse. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Life Update

Over the last few weeks nothing particularly "blog worthy" has happened in our little world.  That's not to say nothing remotely exciting has happened, just nothing I felt like deserved it's own post.  Today, as some winter weather has graced us with its presence, I thought it would be an opportunity to put all our not-so-exciting news together.  

A couple of weekends ago we went to Monster Jam - yes, a monster truck rally- with some friends, Patrick and Patricia.  Never would we have sought out such an outside-our-box event, but they found a BOGO coupon, invited us to go, and we thought... why not?!

The overall experience was.. meh..  It was definitely loud and colorful: the things you hope for at such an event, but the arena was just a little to small for there to be much real action.  I think normally they have more room for wowing effects and energetic tricks.  I say that because in the brochure and in the commercials I saw, there was a lot more going on than what we witnessed.  It definitely wasn't a flop, and it was fun to do something different, but I think we would all agree it left something to be desired. 
Here are a few pictures from the evening.  

 Mid jump
 Me and Patricia with the Trucks in the background

 A selfie in our earplugs.  It was even louder than F1 I think.

In early February some dear friends of ours, who have recently moved to Tennessee, came into town for a visit.  We met them through our church and as they will move over seas in March, they came back into town to see friends before their departure.  We grabbed lunch after church on Sunday at a Mexican place.  It was great to catch up with them and ogle over their precious daughter. She was only a month old when they moved away, so it was special to spend more time with her as well. 

Both Simon and myself have been under the weather a time or two over the last months, but nothing some rest and hot tea couldn't fix.  We've have had some crazy weather lately! Snow and ice, mixed in with days that were sunny and 65. We just never know what to expect. 

We were home last week from Tuesday to Thursday due to snow and ice. The snow days were fun but the city totally shut down. 
It was definitely nice living downtown on those days. Our friends Ilka and Franzisca had us and Patrick and Patricia over for a spaghetti dinner one night. It was nice to just walk on over. No hassle, just some snowballs to dodge. 

We have recently gained a new furniture addition to our apartment.  We were on the hunt for a larger table for our large, unused kitchen space. I enjoy hosting so much and we have a great space for it so I wanted to find a thrift store or garage sale table that, may not be too cute, but would accommodate a larger group than 4.  I mentioned the table hunt to my boss, in casual conversation, and she said they have a table in storage we could use until we get a house or move (whenever that will be). 

We have already been putting it to good use and really enjoying it. We like the style and feel of it.  We are really thankful to have gotten it for free.

So that is what's up with us since we got home from our trip to Germany.
We have a few fun trips planned in the near future and we're both looking forward to those!  Ready for this winter to thaw out so we can enjoy the fun days that come with spring!