This winter, which after last year quickly became one of my most favorite weekends of the year, I decided to include some people from both high schools I attended. Kahley cracked me up in the days leading up to this winter's festivities. "It's like the Hunger Games, Mom. Which District is going to win? Team Rockridge or Team Fox? And where does your loyalty lie? Just be careful, and may the odds be ever in your favor."
I rolled in laughter. Twenty-five years ago, she wasn't far off. These two factions may have squared off and hunted one another to the death through the woods, if for nothing else because we were idiotic 17 year olds with no life experience, a pinhead of common sense and a needle pointing to empty in the wisdom tank. But fast forward through scads of failed relationships until we found our lifelong partners, fourteen children who rule our calendars, enough heartache over the years to create our own Lifetime series, and we can unsurprisingly live in our own little version of utopia for four days. A world so good, with so much common understanding and appreciation for one another, that we don't want to leave. We are already talking about extending next year's outing and making Monday a mental health/travel day.
Last year's winter weekend was unique in that we crammed so much activity into two and a half days that we all fell into a stupor of exhaustion and muscle regeneration every night by 8:30. I had to post four times just to explain all that we did. Because we squished so much fun into such a short amount of time, I felt a little pressure to exceed the repeat performance this year.
On the first full day, I announced our plans: "We're going to start off by cross country skiing to feed the chickadees. Then we're gonna return the skis and travel to Musky Mountain for extreme sledding. After that, we'll stop off for dinner, then journey out for a nighttime romp through the forest in snowshoes. Sound good?"
Five sets of eyeballs with brows raised in incredulous speculation eyed me. "Sure Jen. Whatever you say."
|Funny sidebar - the FedEx man stopped in the parking lot to take a leak. That's not all he took - we commandeered him to snap this photo before we headed off into the woods. He's my deliveryman. Small Northwoods World.|
And although it's a bit unnerving to hear them whistling through the air and touching your skin, their little toenails? claws? digits? are delicate and light and almost tickly when they land in your open hand.
This'll never get old.
What followed is probably my favorite part of the weekend. It didn't require some unique or extreme activity. It didn't involve shenanigans with strangers and an obscene amount of liquor intake. We simply sat around my kitchen table and talked. I pulled out a table topic card game, and we all took a turn reading a card and responding. Even though it was already happening on it's own, this game helped bridge the friendships I've made between these women. We learned about one another and listened to each other's funny life stories and more serious views on controversial topics. If that sounds like a miserable night in to you, I assure you there's no other place on the face of the earth that any of us would have rather been at that moment. Because what we played next was simply priceless.
I've mentioned it before, but Cards Against Humanity is the funniest game to hit the world maybe ever.
The next day I ditched the notion that we had to cram scads of activity into the day in order to have a successful good time. I recalled from the fall version of Forty Somethings Gone Wild (really not appropriate for a Lifetime-esque program) that some of the best times with friends are the sitting and doing nothing moments. Like when we talk on the boat for hours. Or sit in the cabin and linger over coffee. My mates agreed.
We finally shed the jams, layered up and headed out to the Minocqua Winter Park for some more snow fun.
...even yours truly.
But when the leader of the group face plants, do we rush to her aid and offer assistance?
Why of course not. We snap photos for posterity, squeezing our legs together to hold our bladders tight. Naturally.
To top off a perfect afternoon, we saved the best for last.
She flies in from Florida for this fun. FLORIDA! She enjoys telling everyone where she's from, and that she was on the beach in 78 degree weather the previous weekend.
She's my go-to girl for sound fashion advice because she always, always looks cool.
One of these girls is not like the other. Here, you can hardly tell which one!
This sweet little cupcake might call you Sunshine.
While I love them all individually...
P.S. Thanks to Michelle...