Part of the lovely stream outside our yurt.
There is something so charming about mittens and socks hanging to dry near the fire.
The view from the center of our yurt (looking up).
This was our skylight!
Lily and Eli wrestling in the yurt under the skylight.
Fun brother and sister moments!
Below: A picture Joe took the first day of our staff and a few students hiking Frost Moutain.
Over spring break we went winter "camping" with our family, staff team, and a few of our student leaders!
For three nights and two days we camped in yurts at Frost Mountain Yurts and it was wonderful! The yurts themselves were perfect for winter camping- spacious and cozy inside, warm and toasty (with a wood stove inside we could get it up to 90 degrees if we wanted), and just totally charming. The kids also loved the yurts and Lily even got to sleep in a bunk bed for the first time.
The first afternoon we were there Joe went with the student and staff to hike up Frost Mountain so the kids and I just played outside in the snow. It might just be the best afternoon I've had with the kids all winter! We simply just played in the snow- we made "snow castles" with sand buckets that we brought, we smashed the castles (Eli ate some of them) and we explored.
And we discovered. The whole area, full of trails and trees and streams, is incredibly beautiful. And right near our yurt was a lovely stream. Eli sat in my lap and for a good ten minutes just snuggled with me and watched the stream and little waterfall. He hardly EVER sits this long so this was a special moment for me. And once he was done snugging and watching Lily joined us and we made snowballs and threw them into the stream (and watched them travel and melt). This place, this stream, and these moments have actually charmed me so much that I've been inspired to write a children's book about our family adventures at Frost Mountain (and the story of the traveling snowflake). I've NEVER thought of myself as a writer (much less an author), but this idea just came to me and so I hope to write it later in the year. A good friend of mine is an artist and so I'm hoping to hire her to illustrate it. I don't know that I'll do anything with it, but if nothing else I want to write the book and give it to my children as a very special gift for next Christmas!
So our first afternoon was just lovely. Joe had a great time too with the rest of the group and we all joined up together for an incredible dinner at the yurts including chocolate fondue for dessert (yes, the yurts have their own fondue supplies)!
And that night (and the next too) while Joe lead (and participated in) training times for our students I stayed back in our yurt with the kids. With the fire going it was warm and the kids fell asleep quickly so I snuggled up by myself and by candle light did a Bible study and just spent precious time with God. There was just something so peaceful about it.
And then the next day we switched and while Joe stayed back at the yurts with the kids I took off for a whole day of snowboarding with our staff and students! It had been about 5 years since I had been snowboarding and I was long overdue. My first run down was a little rough around the edges, but then it all started coming back to me. It was great just to spend the whole day with the students and for them to see me in a role other than being a mother. And I remembered that snowboarding for me is really a lesson in relaxing because if I'm tense and stiff when I'm turning my snowboard I often land smack on my behind (or knees). And I did end up with one pretty bruised knee, but by the end of the day I was learning to relax a bit (and this is very good for me). Joe decided to be crazy brave and pulled both of the kids up Frost Mountain in the sled (which unfortunately exhausted him much more than the kids- although Eli once again fell asleep in the sled- and once again there was no camera there to capture the moment)! And then the second day ended with Joe and kids joining us for some fantastic organic pizza at a local place not too far from the mountain.
On the third day Joe and our staff did a snowshoeing program with our students (focused around helping them to become better Lifelines trip leaders). We had to check out of the yurts that morning so the kids and I headed into North Conway and checked out the children's museum there. Lily found an entire area there dedicated to dress up clothes and she could have spent the whole day there if I let her! Both of the kids had a blast at the museum. Lunch in town was a bit more harrowing and I've decided that it's just too hard to eat out with both of my kids by myself ! Thankfully our hotel was right next store and we were able to settle in in time for Eli's nap (and a break for me)!
And the rest of our trip (that afternoon and the next morning) was pretty much spent at the little indoor water park in our hotel! We picked this hotel specifically for the water park and it was a good decision. There were two big water slides and two smaller kid's water slides (and a pool and kiddie play area with sprinklers). Both Lily and Eli loved the smaller slides, but by the middle of the morning the 2nd day Lily was braving the big water slides all by herself! She would run up the stairs (multiple flights) and slide down all on her own (with either Joe or I waiting in the pool)- and she did this over and over and over again! Sometimes she is just so brave that it amazes me.
Oh, it was just a wonderful trip- although Joe and I were totally exhausted by the end! We are already looking forward to camping in the yurts next winter with our family- although next time I think that we will just go as a family so that we can actually spend more time all together! If you are looking for a wonderful winter adventure for your family I can't recommend yurt camping enough!
P.S. Sorry I didn't get more pictures- as you can tell we had our hands pretty full (and I wasn't about to bring my camera snowboarding)! Maybe next year I'll get more:)