I’m back from vacay, y’all!
Can you call it vacation if you took toddlers with you?
I’m going to say yes, but with the disclaimer that it was not an especially, uh, laid-back vacation. Here are the trip highlights!
- We stayed in a cabin near the Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. The temperatures stayed in the mid-70s during the day, and dropped to the 40s at night. Such a blessed difference than scorching Oklahoma heat. My family of four went, along with my parents, and my brother and his family of four.
- On the way, we had a scary storm experience. We had noticed the clouds building in the distance and knew that a bad storm was brewing just as we reached the first major town in New Mexico. We thought we would just pass the edge of the storm, but we were so wrong. Hail started falling fast, growing bigger and bigger until the windshield on my Tahoe began cracking with each thud. For some odd reason, the hail only damaged the windshield on the passenger side where I was sitting. The road was completely covered in hail, making the highway look eerily white and feel crunchy as we continued driving along. Other cars were stopping and waiting it out, but Brad drove off the road to get around them and out of the storm. I tried my darnedest to hold it together, but after the 3rd or 4th thud-crack I lost it and started crying. I was so afraid that the whole windshield would cave in on me. Thankfully it didn’t! However, we are now stuck with about $7,000 worth of damage on my Tahoe. She is no longer my dirty ‘hoe, but my dirty cracked-out ‘hoe. See what I did there? 😉 What?! Just trying to make light of the situation…
- Since we stayed near a ski village, we got to ride up the side of the mountain on the ski lift. I’ve been skiing before and I don’t generally consider myself to be a squeamish person, but there was something about being able to see everything underneath you so clearly, instead of it being covered in a lovely blanket of white that made my tummy do somersaults. Gracie loved it though, so it was all worth it.
- Plus. There was still snow at the top! Snow in July is always exciting!
- One afternoon, we drove down to a nearby village for ice cream. If you are unfamiliar with this area, Taos is known for it’s artistic culture and the inhabitants of Taos and the surrounding villages are very, uh, colorful. The little ice cream shop we stopped at was super cute and hippy. My family pulled in earlier than the other families, so we piled out and checked out the little mountain creek that ran behind the building. There was another family with older boys playing along the water while their parents were talking. The woman in the group nearby started talking about a specific piece of art, and the moment I heard her voice, my eyeballs got as big as saucers. I looked out of the corner of my eye and there, just a few feet from me eating homemade hippy ice cream was JULIA ROBERTS. I contained my excitement rather well, and tried my best not to stare. I considered introducing myself, but she was so clearly enjoying her family privately that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I could tell, though, that we would have been BFFs. Totally. For sure. I coolly watched my kids (who were intently gazing at JULIA ROBERT’S boys as they jumped around the creek), and casually mouthed to my husband to look over to his left. He had the same Okie-response as I did. It made my day!
- I read two delicious mystery novels while listening to the river. Now, THAT is why I love vacation. I can still hear that river rushing by.
- My husband convinced everyone to rent two ATVs and take an off-road trail leading to a lake way up in the mountains. Last fall, Brad and his good friend (who happens to be our “hay guy”) hauled their 4-wheelers to this same area. They had already been on this particular trail to Goose Lake and Brad raved continuously about how fun it was, and how majestic the lake was, and on and on. We caved and rented the ATVs. We strapped our children into those things and proceeded to drive straight up into the mountains. FUN is not the word I would have used for this experience. Stressful? Dangerous? Precarious? But definitely not FUN. Going down was much easier, however. I didn’t grip the baby seats nearly as much as we passed sheer drop-offs on the way down. And, after meeting the 3rd jeep around a hair-pin curve on our one-way trail, I didn’t even blink. I will agree, though, that the view at the top was magnificent. Goose Lake was crystal-clear from all the melted snow, and I admit I have never seen the sky as blue and still as I did that afternoon. So, perhaps it was worth it. If nothing else, it was an adventure and I can now say I’m a seasoned off-roader.
- You know what the best part of a vacation is? Coming home. I missed my ponies, chickens, doggies, and kitties. If felt so good to feed with my mom the next morning and get the barn cleaned up just the way I like it. I jumped on the tractor and dragged the outdoor arena, and “the girls are back in town” kept playing over in my mind. I’m so happy to have had a break, but I’m even happier to have such a wonderful place to call home.