We got up on Sunday and headed to North Carolina. We caravanned with the VanWies and had Ava Mae ride with us, a little Birthday fun for Marly. I listened to Shoe Dog and was very happy to make it up there. Phil drove most of the way and I got the fun high country part. We checked into our hotel and found a place to rent skis, right across from the entrance to Sugar mountain. Many places charged for that day but this guy went to FSU and wanted to close early so he hooked us up. We went to a Mexican restaurant down the street for dinner. We sang to Marly and she got her face smacked with whipped cream. All the calls and sweet texts made her a happy ten year old! Yay, Marly! Monday morning we were up and ready to go. The grab and go breakfast at the hotel was perfect. We actually made it to App Ski so early we had time to do a Reels dance before the lifts opened! We were ready! Aside from achy legs in ski boots when we walked, it was an awesome day on the slopes. I like the idea of starting with App Ski because it's easy and small. Ellie had conquered the place by lunch. Everyone felt comfortable and remembered how to ski. It was a beautiful day. We shed our coats in the afternoon. The VanWies did ski school. Phil and Marly were done by 4. I begrudgingly convinced the rest of the kids to pack up, although we could ski until 6pm. I was good with that choice when we found a fun dinner spot and inhaled my fried chicken sandwich and flight of beer. We were wiped out! Marly spent the night with the VanWies in their condo that night. Phil and I took a dip in their swanky hot tub before heading back to our hotel. A hot tub is key for this experience going forward! Tuesday was a breather day. We found a pseudo hiking trail before hitting up some snow tubing at Sugar Mountain. Of course everyone loved the tubing! We went to a BBQ lunch in downtown Banner Elk. Then, we hit up Banner Elk winery after for a relaxing afternoon of sipping and swirling and splitting a case of cab. We picked up a pizza on the way home then back to the VanWies hot tub! Wednesday was another ski day, this time at Beech Mountain. My shins were so sore and almost felt bruised when we began. Wow, is this normal?! I powered through and got used to it. The kids did so awesome. They all ended up doing a black diamond together! That was just so cool! Ava Mae flew off the starter green slope and ended up in the ER for x-rays. She's okay but freaked us out. No more skiing on this trip for them. I'm proud of Phil for making it to the top of Beech Mountain (highest slope in eastern America) for a beer before heading down. That sky bar is so cool up there! That night we did a parent's night out at a nice steak house. Ellie spent the night at the VanWies. We were all wiped out. By this point, the one hotel room for the fam was getting old. We had an air mattress but it was a lot. Thursday was another day off. We slept in and finally found the Linville Falls hiking trail (the road was closed so that took a while). We played on the trail and did a waterfall Reels then found a country diner for lunch. Next stop, Linville Falls winery. It was another gorgeous, spring day with a beautiful farm. We did another parent's dinner out with a kids popcorn party in the hotel. We tried this Cuban place and then a fun bar. It ended in turmoil with too much booze. Friday was our final ski day at Sugar mountain. It was misty and rainy and almost looked like snow (according to Abby). The kids loved it. Sugar is the largest resort in the area with so many lifts. We skied until close and we were all wiped out! We went to the Hennings for dinner- they had a cabin not far away. We played poker and grilled out with yummy southern veggies. It was a nice ending to the vacation! Saturday morning we got up, packed up and headed out. Phil and I finished listening to Shoe Dog on the way home, it was such a great book! It was a long drive home but we made it. We picked up Spot and I walked him home. Lots of laundry and washing the car. Phil and I went out for a sushi dinner to recap the week. This morning we sprang ahead an hour and barely made it to mass on time. Ellie and I did the readings and Marly altar served. It was so neat to have half the family participate (Phil said that was his high at dinner tonight). The kids went to confession at religion class. Phil and I went to Panera. I walked Spot down to visit my parents but they were out boating with friends. We went to the TCC pool for a bit but it was too cold. I made BLTs for dinner. We went on a walk and said the rosary. Reading and bedtime and ready for school tomorrow! I'm thinking of this time last year which began the longest spring break ever. I'm so grateful to have them back in school!