Friday, March 1, 2013

Christmas 2012

I know that these posts are all sorts of random, but I’m really trying to catch up on things. This is the year of not running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I started out right and seem to have the dinnertime battle conquered, then I began exercising again, and now I’m trying to catch up on all the little things that have been sitting undone. My vow is no new projects until all the old ones are finished, and we’re getting there. Tortoise and the hare, right?

One of those things is getting all my older pictures posted. I don’t really scrapbook anymore, and I’m not an awesome journaler, so this is it. So if Christmas pictures are no longer of interest to you now that it’s March and everyone is three months older, then skip it. But I know grandmas and grandpas will love it, and I want a record, so post I will.

In 2011 we started doing an activity advent calendar, and I’ve really enjoyed that tradition. It helps us to get the important things in, and makes sure we plan our calendars in advance so we don’t run out of time to do the things we really want to do. I think we got nearly everything done this year, which is a big deal.

We began the month with the Corrales Christmas parade. It’s a quaint, small-town parade, and the perfect length for our kids. Now that our kids are getting older, we’re going to add an activity onto this one (maybe the town bonfire afterward?), but for now it’s just right.





That weekend we put up the Christmas tree and decorated it together. I actually wound up changing how the tree was decorated, because I wasn’t loving it. I did really like what we wound up with. Pictures of that to come later on. We also opened our first Christmas presents. Usually I get them Christmas jammies, but for some reason everyone’s pajama drawer was overflowing this season, so they all got Christmas slippers, except Bridget, who did need more jammies.












We went to see the River of Lights at the botanical gardens, another one of our Christmas traditions. We rode the train in from Tingley Beach this time, and they kids thought that was totally awesome, because we never spring for the trains at the zoo.









We made our family gingerbread house together. I make it all from scratch, so we only do one large one, and we spread it out over several days. It just wouldn’t feel right to not have the delicious smells of fresh baked gingerbread wafting through the house. I try to let them do as much as possible, and it’s fun to watch their different personalities show through in their decorations.






I think that just about everyone would agree that some of the most meaningful memories of Christmas center around the story and the music. I love hearing the first verse of Luke, chapter 2 read out loud. I get chills up my spine every time.


On Christmas Eve we started the morning with Rudolf pancakes and cookies. Because if you can’t indulge on Christmas Eve, when can you?



The stockings were hung on the railing with care (since we have no mantel to speak of)…


and we made sparkly ornaments with pinecones from our front yard.




Then we made our New Mexico Christmas dinner of tamales, and it was a smashing success. Everything went perfectly this time. Cooking the meat the day before was definitely key.


Katie was channeling her aerobics instructor look.




Bridget ate so many tamales over the space of a few days. Her…um…movements…were bright red from the chiles for at least a week.


The tamales were delicious, but my favorite thing I made was the green chile stew. Heaven in a pot. I slathered that stuff over everything I could, and I ate it for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.



When we weren’t looking, Bridget found the tub of sour cream and ate nearly the entire container.

After dinner we drank hot chocolate and read the Christmas story as a family. Then we put out homemade cookies for Santa (he told me they were delicious) and a carrot for Rudolph) and then hustled the kids to bed. That’s when the real work for Christmas began in earnest.





Next up…Christmas Day!

New Mexico Getaway

For my birthday, my sweetie whisked me away for a mini-vacation. He decided that we would play tourists in our backyard, and he planned a very fun two day itinerary. Connie and Kerry were willing to come down and stay with the kids, so it truly was a vacation.

First we stopped at the Very Large Array. If you’ve seen Contact with Jodi Foster, you’ll be familiar with it. It’s one of the world’s largest arrays of antennas. There are 27 antenna, and each one is 82 feet in diameter. Hence the “very large” part. To say that Aaron was excited to see it is a definite understatement. He was completely geeking out. I thought it was very interesting, but honestly, the best part for me was watching how excited Aaron was.




After that we drove to Pie Town to get…pie. How could we live with ourselves if we left New Mexico (no plans to leave, by the way) without having eaten pie in Pie Town? But, sorrow of sorrows, everything in Pie Town was closed for the winter season, so we were unable to check that off our list.

We made a stop on the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail (yes, that is a real thing) and had burgers at Ella’s in Reserve, New Mexico. It was rather strange eating there. I had the feeling I had invaded someone’s family reunion. Everyone in the restaurant knew everyone else, and the waitress treated them like family members rather than patrons. The burger was very good, though.

After that we drove to Silver City to spend the night. I had no idea how beautiful that part of New Mexico is. It’s very mountainous, and full of tall pines. We saw two huge male elk and several wild turkeys on our drive. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in a charming Victorian home in the historical part of the town. It would been delightful—period-style dining room and parlor, lovely wood floors, huge jetted tub in the room—except the room smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke. It was really a shame. Regardless, we had a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast in the morning.

In the morning we visited the Silver City Museum and learned a bit about the town and New Mexico history. I wish they would have had more detail on Silver City itself, as it seemed to be a very interesting little town. Billy the Kid was raised there, and it had quite a heyday as a mining town. I would really like to go back for a visit and see more of the town and visit some of the other historical sites.

After the museum we traveled to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. It was such an interesting place! We arrived right on time (by chance, which is usually the only way we arrive on time for anything) for the only tour that they give each day. It was better preserved than other cliff dwellings we've visited, even though they did see their fair share of looting. I became the tour guide's star pupil. It was a bit disconcerting after a while, because he didn't even bother addressing anyone but me after a few minutes. Guess that's part of why I did well in school—teachers usually loved me. Not sure why, but they did.




Then we drove the longest, most winding road back to I-25. After nearly three hours of that, even my iron stomach had nearly had enough. I'm glad my mom wasn't with us. She would have had to have been completely doped up on Dramamine.

We drove to a town called Truth or Consequences. Here's the Wikipedia entry on it: “Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to Truth or Consequences, the title of a popular NBC radio program. In 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Hot Springs won the honor. Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next fifty years.” In reality, the place is…somewhat frightening. (Sorry if anyone happens to live there who reads my blog.) The entire city seemed to be a huge trailer park. Aaron has planned for us to visit a hot springs there, and we started to get really nervous. We imagined that someone was going to hit us over the head and sell us into human trafficking...or something like that. However, the hot springs was AMAZING. It was like something you'd find in a top-notch resort. The landscaping was beautiful, and the pools were right on the river. It was incredibly beautiful at night, when you could look out across the river and see the mountains silhouetted by the moon. The weather was also the perfect temperature for being in a 109 degree pool. It was supremely relaxing and the perfect way to cap off our trip. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Thanks for a marvelous trip, honey. So glad I get to spend the next 30 years (and more!) with you!