The Best Gift I Received This Christmas

Friday, January 08, 2016

You may (said optimistically) or may not (more realistically) have noticed that it has been a while since I posted anything on the blog. There are several draft posts sitting in blogger purgatory that I started but did not have the time nor energy to post. 

One was related to making crafty Christmas gifts, what was I thinking? Another was related to Christmas cooking, who was I kidding? And another was on being more present throughout the holiday season, which I eventually decided to do rather than just write about. Hence, it is now mid-January of 2016 and I am finally posting something. I thought I would feel bad about not blogging for a while, but in reality, I feel relieved. Relieved and relaxed.

Over the holidays, my husband's grandfather passed away. His kind, loving and faithful spirit is one of many who have influenced our lives. Between the two of us, we lost all four of our grandfathers in a year and a half. They are all deeply missed, but dearly remembered, especially during the holidays. So while I hope that writing this blog matters, I know that it is not all that matters. Being with family and friends and truly experiencing the joy, love and grace of Christmas was our priority this year. 

As part of our "present" holiday season, my husband and I took a trip, sans baby, to go skiing in Utah. It is only the second time in our daughter's life that we've gone on a trip without her and as much as I missed her, it was long overdue. Being able to sleep in, not having to fight a toddler over nap time, and actually running out of things to talk to your husband about over dinner because you get to finish a conversation instead of convince your child to eat their veggies and not throw their milk glass on the floor was heavenly - just heavenly. If I could give one gift to all of my hard-working and selfless mama friends, it would be a trip away to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect.  

Originally we had booked a ski trip at Boyne Highlands up in northern Michigan, but thanks to El Nino and this unseasonably warm winter, they were a little short on snow. So at the last minute we cancelled that reservation and made the decision to follow the snow - all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sometimes in life you just have to say f-it, we only live once, and take the chances that our thoughtful, conservative conscious would otherwise shut down. In not so surprising news, it was completely and overwhelmingly worth it.

View of Alta from the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge.

We flew to Salt Lake City and then took a quick 45 minute ride to Alta, Utah where we stayed at the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge. If you're looking for a fun and easy ski trip - this is the place to go! With it's quirky 70's vibes, ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain and tasty breakfast, tea and dinner meals included - staying at Goldminer's Daughter was an awesome experience. An added bonus is access from the Alta ski area to Snowbird and with the AltaBird pass you can ski at both resorts. We spent one day at Alta, one at Snowbird, and then took our favorite runs from both on our last day. My legs were jelly after three straight days of skiing, but you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. 

One happy skier returning to our room for food and rest at the Goldminer's Daughter. 

I didn't know Darth Vader liked to ski?
View from the Summit restaurant at Snowbird.

Panoramic shot at the top of Snowbird. 

Without a doubt, the best present I received this Christmas was presence - the presence of my friends, family and myself. I may not remember every gift I gave or received, but I know that I will remember the experiences I shared. A new year is upon us, and while I don't generally make resolutions, this year I am resolving to be more present in my life. It goes too fast to do anything else. 

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

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