8 families, 11 kiddos, 1 enormous chateau in Lake Tahoe. That’s how we spent our Thanksgiving weekend 2015…
We borrowed my in law’s minivan and carpooled up there with my cousin Joey and her son Jovian. What was suppose to be a 4 hour drive ended up to be almost double that, due to the amount of snow we encountered along the way. Bridgette and her cousin Jovian were ecstatic about the snow, but poor Alan was stuck putting the chains on our tires for 45 minutes under the falling flakes.
Our plan was to arrive straight to Boreal for some tubing that afternoon, which we did, but we only made it 1 hour prior to their closing time. It worked out, because both Bridgette and Jovi were not fond of the tubing (the bumps on the slope really hurt their little tushes) and were eager to get out of the freezing cold after just 20 minutes. The unpredictability of traveling with kids can never be underestimated!
For our first night up there we stayed at a hotel since most of our friends were not scheduled to arrive until Thanksgiving day. We joined up with one of Bridgette’s buddies, Karina and her family, and had a nice dinner in Truckee before settling into our hotel.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early for a day on the slopes at Northstar resort!
By the time Joey, the kiddos, and I were done gearing up, it was nearly lunch time. We rode the magic carpet up the bunny slopes and tried our best to teach Bridgette and Jovi to ski. This was Bridgette’s first time skiing outside of an actual class, so she was pretty nervous. I’m no expert skier myself, so we struggled a bit that first hour. Thank goodness Alan came to our rescue, and thanks to his patience and persistence, Bridgette finally skied on her own by the time the resort closed that day!
After we left Northstar, we headed towards our Airbnb, but little did we know that the road conditions would be as awful as it was. We didn’t have our chains on anymore at that point, and the roads were icy and dark. At one point, we almost slid backwards, which was terrifying to say the least. We thought we survived the worst of it when we turned into the street our Airbnb was on. Boy, were we wrong. That last stretch was so steep there was no way to get up there without chains. While we contemplated on our limited options on Thanksgiving night, when absolutely nothing was open, a large truck pulled up next to us. When the kind and empathetic driver heard we were stuck, he offered to pull our minivan up the hill! I was really skeptical about the ability of his pick up truck to pull our jam packed minivan up the hill, but given our limited options, I kept my mouth shut.
It was slow and scary as the pick up truck pulled us up but alas, we arrived safe and sound to our Airbnb!! It was a wonderful feeling to walk into the warm home, to be greeted by all our friends, and to inhale the lovely scent of my favorite hotpot being prepared!
It was a good thing we rented such an enormous house for the weekend, because we pretty much stayed in the most of the time. It was simply too cold, and too troublesome, to leave the house with so many kids. Fortunately, the house had a huge deck area where the kids were able to play with the snow a bit without us having to drive anywhere.
Even the kids didn’t last very long in the snow, so more often than not, everyone remained indoors cooking, eating, playing games, and generally “chillin'”.
There was even an indoor pool for the kiddos to splash around!
We also stayed in to eat for every single meal. We planned the meals in advance and each family were given a grocery list ahead of time. Lucky for us, we had an awesome chef in the group, Balkee (also our resident photographer!) and for one of the dinners, he cooked up a feast for us–lobster tail + steak and foie gras!
On our last day, we did finally venture out to try to find a safe hill to sled. Though we weren’t quite successful (too many trees around the hills we located), the kids did enjoy climbing this random snow mountain at the bottom of the hill!
Here are a few tips to traveling such a big group:
- Let everyone have their personal space as needed. There were times when some of us just needed to be in our own bedrooms, away from all the noise and chaos. It may be the introvert in all of us, but it’s just nice to be able to have that personal space to decompress when needed.
- Be responsible for your own children. It’s easy to count on all the other parents around to watch after your kids, but unless there’s a good reason to ask of that favor, it really is best for each parent to be responsible for their own kid(s).
- Pitch in to help! We didn’t really divi up roles but our group was fantastic in that everyone just pitched in to help when needed.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! When traveling with others, everyone will have their own ways of doing things. Don’t try to force others to comply to your ways or you’ll drive yourself crazy. I always try to remain as flexible as possible when traveling with others, and that has helped me maintain my sanity each and every time. 🙂
Until next time….