Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Snowing!!!

Okay, back on track.

After Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland, Universal Studios and Hollywood, it was time to wind down the pace back to 'normal' for us and head for the snow and time with family.

We flew from L.A airport to Montana via Salt Lake City.

If you are a non- U.S citizen and are travelling internally on a plane DO NOT assume photographic identification constitutes a driver's licence.

We were going through security after having guzzled all of the water out of our souvenir water bottles (ggrrrr) when we were asked to show i.d.

I pulled out our wallets and showed them our driver's licences.

Big mistake.

We were asked if we were U.S citizens (no) and where we were travelling to (Montana) and could we please step aside and wait for someone to escort us to an interview room, (um, but why?).

The whole thing came down to me not presenting our passports!

Luckily, after plonking myself down on the ground and pulling out almost everything in my carry on bag and the backpacks, I finally found my passports and showed them.

After that, no interview room and interrogation was required and we were free to carry on.

I was in such a fluster I don't know if anyone looked at us like we were criminals, but I did talk to some other people along the way who said it is 'normal'.  

Good grief!

After that, we made sure our passports were in the holder around our necks anytime we went near an airport!

We flew with Delta and I noticed they boarded families with small children early - in this instance we didn't qualify. 

I really hate travelling at times because of the amount of carry on baggage people bring onboard with them to avoid paying for luggage.

I hate it when you go to take your seat and the overhead locker above the three seats on one side you have booked and paid for is taken up with little suitcases, suit bags, laptop bags and shopping bags.  

The Groom just ended up removing some of the stuff from above his seat and the flight attendant moved it elsewhere so he could make room for his bag.  

I made the kids shove their backpacks under the seat in front of them and put my carry on bag in the overhead the locker. 

The flight to SLC was uneventful but the scenery from my seat was beautiful.

I loved the airport at SLC and we had some soup and crackers for a snack at a Quiznos before boarding the next plane to Montana.

Luckily, this time around, we were lucky to be allowed to board with the children before everyone else, so no searching the aisles for overhead locker space.

We got into Montana in the late afternoon and were met with hugs and smiles from The Groom's aunty and uncle.

We rugged up as we were met with a brisk Montanan winter before heading off to a local bar for a quick introduction to new-found friends then we were off to our first game of college basketball.

But enough about that.

I want to get to the best part of all.

Waking up in the morning and seeing snow from the bedroom window!

I've been to the snow once before, as a child, on a day trip with my family.

That was nothing compared with what was to come for the next two-and-a-half weeks.

The Princess promptly came down with a cold the day after arriving so the men-folk and Little Man took the opportunity to go skiing, while us ladies pottered about the house and relaxing. 

Aunty J and I had lots of gossip to catch up on, too.

Eventually, The Princess felt well enough to get out and about so we went and did some Christmas shopping for gifts that we didn't bring from home, and make our first trip to Costco for last minute Christmas groceries and wine.

Lordy, lordy, lordy.

What an experience Costco is and I loved it!

I could easily spend all day there, but we were there on a mission and we were in and out as soon as practical (but not before sampling almost everything that was on offer).

We don't usually spend Christmas with anyone but the four of us in our little family, so this was a special Christmas and one to remember.

The children made a family of snow-people, complete with pets, but Montana was experiencing a warm winter, so in the morning much of them had melted away.

It was so lovely just spending time with Aunty J, Cousin-in-Law J and The Princess preparing our Christmas meal and chatting away in the warm house.

Christmas Eve was lovely but we skipped going to church due to both kids having been sick by now.

Christmas breakfast was Aunty J, Uncle B, Cousin N, C-I-L J and the four of us, lunch was Aunty and Uncle plus us and dinner included some old friends of J and B.  

It was a Christmas full of laughter and love and full tummies.

We drove out of town in the days following for fireworks for New Years, then let most of them off not long after that, necessitating another trip out for even more fireworks.

Coming from a place where these things are illegal, The Groom made the most of his chance to release his inner pyromaniac and buy up as much as we could.

On New Year's Eve we had the same guests as we had on Christmas Day plus a friend of Cousin N's.  

It was a bit of an oddity to be standing around a campfire in the snow with our drinks, wrapped up in down jackets, snow boots, gloves, scarfs, beanies and our red noses, waiting for midnight to come around to let off the fireworks.

Leading up to midnight the sounds of fireworks reverberated through the valley, but I think we had the best lot of all if I may say so myself.

A couple of days later we packed up the car and headed to Yellowstone for a couple of nights.

It is such a beautiful place and we stayed at West Yellowstone opposite the Grizzly and Wolf centre.

We hired a snow coach to ourselves for the day and our driver took us wherever we wanted to go and see what we wanted to see.

J and B had been to Yellowstone before but never in winter so we made sure the main focus of our trip was to see Old Faithful.

We saw deer, bison, coyotes, foxes, eagles but no moose.

And no snow shoed rabbits!

(I'm still not convinced they're a real animal and are up there with drop bears and bunyips)

We spent time in Montana just being homebodies and skiing and ice skating.

J and B had to work some days so we would take their car and tour around the area, but never wandering too far.

Little Man and The Princess were happy enough playing in the snow in the yard, or inside playing on the keyboard or just reading and playing with the dog.

It was a wonderful way to relax in the middle of a fast-paced holiday.

Would we go back to Montana?  In a heartbeat.

The people were so lovely and in this part of Montana we were in they don't get many tourists so we were a bit of a novelty to some.

We liked trying to get people to say "g'day" or "mate" or "sheila" and they just wanted to hear us talk as our accents "were beautiful" (or so they said, maybe they were just too polite).

We have decided that we will go back again next year if we can manage it and do some more skiing.

Actually, let me clarify that.

The Groom and Little Man want to go back and do some more skiing.

The less said about my attempts and ability to ski the better.

I was better suited to the ski lodge I think.

After the slow, natural pace of rural Montana, it was time to brace ourselves for the spectacle that is...

Las Vegas!

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