Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...

www.ourzimbabwejourney.blogspot.com.

31 March 2018

Vail - A Much KNEEDED Ski Vacation

with college friends' kids in York, NE
We had no idea that we were headed to the mecca of knee surgery recovery when planning our trip to Vail.  We did, however, expect Erik to begin his recovery there while he attended an emergency medicine medical conference.  The kids and I tagged along, of course, and although we were nervous to venture out without Erik, we had much anticipation for the fun we'd have on the slopes.

We loved the run "Simba"!
Before we had left home, Erik called and scheduled some physical therapy in Vail at a clinic that was recommended to him by his orthopedic surgeon.  He was rather surprised that the Vail therapy suggested that their patients come twice a day (compared to the twice a week that he was suggested to do in Minnesota), but welcomed the idea and the chance to get a jump start on healing.  The appointments were nicely scheduled in between the conference times and the free city bus made it very convenient for him to get back and forth.  Not only was Erik impressed with the clinic and the plethora of knowledge and resources, but he was also impressed with the wall of professional athlete jerseys, all belonging athletes who had gone to the clinic for knee surgeries and/or recovery.

The view from our room - pool side/slope side!
Spring skiing means light layers!









Prior to leaving, while planning our trip to Vail in the Skimobile, we discovered that RV's were not common or easy to have in (or near) Vail in the winter.  Fortunately, after several phone calls, we found someone to keep the Skimobile for us while we bunked down at a hotel close to the medical conference.  This initially seemed like a inconvenient task because we had to pack everything up and move it to the hotel, but once we saw our slope-side, pool-side room, there were no complaints!

Look at all the bruising. :(
Date night!
The weather was perfect for spring skiing!  We only had to wear our light coats or vests and still worked up a sweat on some of those runs!  Unfortunately, we had some back talk, disrespect, and downright bad choices on the kids' part, which caused us to have leave the mountain early almost every day. All except the little lady were even completely grounded from skiing at one point or another while we were there, which was very unfortunate on many different levels.  Giving the kids consequences is usually always just as much as a consequence for the parents, too!

St. Patrick's Day
After five days in Vail, a wonderful medical conference, and a successful week of physical therapy, we decided to head back to Park City, Utah, where we planned on meeting up with some friends from Minnesota, who were coming to Utah to ski - perfect!  Well, not everything always goes as planned and so when we went to pick up the motorhome and found that there were some obvious major problems that we couldn't quite figure out, we had to think fast and re-plan our journey.  Luckily, we were still able to drive the RV and we easily made it to Grand Junction, Colorado, where there was a Newmar Dealer and technician.  Also lucky for us, we also had some friends who lived there.  We stayed the night in the RV that night, in the parking lot of the Newmar dealer (with their permission first, of course), also enjoyed dinner with our friends, and were blessed with worshiping with a really great church congregation the next morning.  Shortly after church we decided to take off in the car for Park City, leaving the RV to be fixed over the next week.  Some other friends of ours opened their Park City condo to us, which made it easier to leave the RV, knowing we had a place to stay.  As always, our trip to Utah surprised us with a sick little boy, needed to stop and throw up multiple times.  Skogen has always had a touchier stomach, so I passed it off as that was all it was, but that night after we had arrived at the condo and all got tucked snugly in our beds, I found myself awake at least every 15 minutes with three of the four kiddos puking all. night. long.

Morning came and brought with it a whole new day, and plenty of time to lay around and relax after an eventful night.  The kids were able to catch up on some homework, get in the hot tub on the deck, and most importantly keep down saltines and Ginger Ale.  The next day, I took all except Skogen (who was still grounded) skiing at Canyons/Park City.  It was a perfect day with perfect weather and perfect snow.  We were all excited about returning the next day with our friends from Minnesota.  The next day brought warmer temperatures, which made the snow very sticky, and the ski conditions less desirable.  However, we still enjoyed our time with our Minnesota friends, accomplishing Night-Nine-Ninety, a double black diamond!  That evening we got pizzas and then took the kids to an escape room!  We had no idea what to expect with the adults being outnumbered by the kids, and the puzzle being created for adults, but we solved the mystery with minutes to spare!  We all pitched in to help and each of us -even Torsten- was valuable in solving the case.  So much fun!!
Skiing with Minnesota friends.








Our drive home went very well with a smooth RV pick up in Grand Junction, a quick stop at a friend's farm to see the animals, and then smooth sailing the rest of the way.


02 March 2018

Whistler, the Highest Highs and Lowest Lows



On the road between Vancouver and Whistler
Going out of the country wasn't anything new for our kids.  However, crossing a border easily and stress-free, was!  The borders of African countries are anything but easy, so as we approached the Canadian border, our kids anticipated hours and hours of stressful paperwork, questioning, and waiting for approval to enter. I was thankful we could show them a peaceful, organized, stress-free border crossing!

*Video currently not working*
Putting the AutoSocks on, trying to get into the campground.
The drive from Vancouver to Whistler was so breath-takingly beautiful! Despite the winding roads, the kids loved looking out over the water and at the islands and oooooing and aaaahhhing over God's wonderful creation.  We had already booked campground near the mountain, so we had planned for a quick pull in and unpacking before Erik was to head to the mountain for a meeting.  The meeting was with a race team he joined for Whistler's famous Peak to Valley Race.  This race is the longest GS team race in the world and Erik was excited to participate.  Our plans were slightly altered when we got stuck trying to just get up the road into the campground!  Even though they knew of our arrival, the park hadn't prepared the road at all.  It was a bit frustrating and time consuming, but we eventually made it up with the help of some sand, which Erik shoveled by hand all the way up the road.  The RV park overlooked the mountains, with lots of beautiful trees.  The kids appreciated all the snow and immediately headed outside to make a snow fort.
our cute little campground

We were originally heading to Whistler for an Emergency Medicine conference, but went a couple days early for Erik to race.  So the first two days were full of race-time activities.  Two of Erik's teammates raced on day one and Erik raced on day two.





Whistler tree house

The kids and I enjoyed a full day of skiing the first day while Erik helped carry coats and other things for the racers.  That night Erik turned the RV into a ski waxing center to get his skis waxed and edges sharpened perfectly for the race the next day! 

Ski waxing in the RV!














All of us were up early and headed to the mountain with high hopes of seeing Erik place well in the race, even against the Olympians he was racing against!  Klaasen slipped the course with Erik in the morning, they went for a fun run while I skied with the three other kiddos, and then we met back at the coffee shop for a quick hot chocolate before escorting Erik to the top of the race.  


All ready for the big race!

He was number 130, so when we left him at the top and racer number 119 was just going down, we knew we had only a certain amount of time to get spaced out on the course.  When we got to a good position to watch a little over halfway to the bottom, racer number 125 went by.  So, I quickly sent Maida and Klaasen to the finish line to wait for Erik there.  I got my camera out and the video in the on position, ready to hit record.  Racer 127 and racer 128 went by.  When racer 129 went by, we were all anticipating he'd be next (in fact, I was surprised he didn't pass 129 yet, since the course is over 7 minutes long!!).  As number 131 came around the nearest gate, I gasped, knowing something had to of happened.  Racer 132 came by and racer 133.  Then my phone rang - it was Erik - calling from the ski patrol's sled.








Unfortunately, Erik's ski season ended that day with a torn ACL.  In disbelief and disappointment, we reconsidered the rest of our trip.  With Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Telluride, Vail, Aspen, and Taos still on the agenda for the following three weeks, we had no idea what to do.  After much prayer and discussion, and advice from the surgeon (who happened to be one of Erik's friends from medical school), we decided that it would be better to get his knee fixed sooner rather than later.  Erik finished out his medical conference while the kids and I took full advantage of Whistler Blackcomb mountains.  I was worn out after skiing two full days with these kids!  It was lots of fun, but they never get tired, and want to go, go, go (sounds like someone else I know...).









During our last few days, we tried to find a few things Erik could join us for.  He did so well on his leg with the brace that we were able to go shopping, walk around Whistler Village, play on the Olympic village playground and sledding hill, and take a ride on the Peak to Peak gondola!

First ski day without Daddy  :(

Daddy met us at the top for lunch!

On the glass bottom Peak to Peak Gondola!



So happy Erik could ride the gondola with us!

So much snow!!!

Biggest flakes I've ever seen.

Tim Hortons donuts after a great day of skiing!
As I write this, we're on the way home.  Erik's MRI is scheduled on Friday and surgery on Monday.  One of our good friends is doing the surgery, which is comforting, and we're hoping that Erik will come right out of surgery and start on the road to healing pretty quickly.  The Skimobile is definitely not over, yet, and even though we're short a ski team member, our ski season isn't over yet, either.  Our travels haven't been perfect and there have been plenty of learning moments, especially with the RV, but I feel so blessed to have had this winter season to spend with my kids and make memories of a lifetime.  I know there aren't very many people who have this opportunity to drop everything in life and do something like this and I'm seriously so thankful.

Goodbye, Whistler!


21 February 2018

Wyoming, Idaho, Washington

The first leg of our six week journey...
Minnesota ⇒ Jackson Hole, Wyoming ⇒ Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho ⇒ Sun Valley, Idaho ⇒ Spokane, Washington 









Jackson Hole - I'm pretty sure that Jackson Hole will always be one of our favorite ski places. Great terrain park, variety of hills, and very family friendly. We only skied two days, but wish we could have stayed longer!




Erik was having so much fun on the terrain park that he decided to try a backflip! He used to do them all the time, no problem, but it has been years and years since he's even tried one, so this was a surprise to us all, especially when he landed on his head! Haha! He's determined to land a backflip before the year is over, but I keep reminding him just how old he is and not to get his hopes up!




While we were at Jackson, Erik was lucky enough to be able to go on the legendary Corbets Couloir.  It's one of the top ten ski runs in the world that all skiers try to hit at least once in their lifetime. Next time, the kids have high hopes of trying it. After reading this and this article, I may have to pass. :)





Craters of the Moon National Park - We had NO idea that this place existed until we started noticing the crazy landscapes as we drove through Idaho in the early morning hours. Then, we came upon the visitor center, which was actually a very nicely done museum!  We learned all about the Craters of the Moon and even took our roadschool classroom for a ride to look for the different kinds of lava formations that we had learned about at the museum. What a great, educational morning!









Sun Valley - Definitely our favorite lodge of all the ski resorts we've been to!  Right from the start, Sun Valley welcomed us in, and right away we realized just how fun this place was!  There was enough variety to keep us all loving it and just enough challenge to keep any of us from getting bored.  We entered a family fun race, which was very icy, but so so fun to compete against each other.  Torsten hit a big milestone at Sun Valley when he and Skogen got on the chairlift alone and took a run by themselves! Up until this point, Torsten has always had to have an adult help him, or be there to help him, if needed.











Spokane - On our way to Whistler, we were blessed to be able to stop and see friends from residency on the way! They welcomed us to Spokane with lunch, lots of playtime, and dinner!  It was so great to talk homeschool, emergency medicine, and catch up a bit on each other's lives.  We also stopped just outside of Spokane to meet up for coffee with a medical missionary friend who works in Guatmala. It's always fun to talk missionary work, too!




Despite a little car trouble with our tow car, everything has gone so well! It's nice to only really have a destination and not really have a schedule. Mountain passes close, powder days come unexpectedly, and it's good to just be able to be flexible.  Now we're headed to Canada and excited for the adventure that awaits us there.


We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin