Thursday, January 20, 2011
Our New Tradition
Turns out we didn't have much of a signal in New Mexico, so there went my New Year's Resolution to blog daily. Oh well. Not sure why that Resolution should stick when others don't.
We had a great trip, and it was totally worth pulling Alex out of school for one extra day. He hadn't missed any school all year, so I felt pretty comfortable that we were making the right decision. And he's now over his disappointment that he won't get a perfect attendance award for a 3rd time.
The drive to Ruidoso went great, and didn't seem long at all. West Texas is like the Texas you see in movies and postcards. Cotton fields, oil wells, and flat, wide open spaces. In other words, nothing.
We did find the Best. Playground. Ever. in San Angelo, and stopped there to let the kids play for about 15-20 minutes. Its called Kids Kingdom, and its incredible. The boys LOVED it.
The next 'big' stop was Roswell, New Mexico. We toured the International UFO Museum, which was about as exciting as you might think. And we visited the McDonalds which is shaped like a UFO, and has the coolest McDonalds playground ever.
The entire reason for this trip was snow. Team Danger has been feeling deprived, and so I came up with the idea of Ruidoso, a place we used to go to back in my early youth. But as we neared the end of the ten hour drive, and were clearly in the state of New Mexico, Alex was a tad concerned about the lack of snow on the ground. So was I, to be honest. And when we arrived in Ruidoso, it was dark, and it did not appear as if there was much snow. We had rented a "fake house" (as Ryan calls any vacation home/hotel room) in the middle of the Lincoln National Forest, and when we pulled into our driveway and you could actually see snow, well, I can't begin to describe the excited energy in the Mommyvan. I know, any non-Texan reading this is going to laugh at our amount of snow, but hey, we take what we can get.
The next morning, the boys woke up before the sun (grr..time change). As the sun rose, and they could see the white on the big hill in front of our fake house, their excitement grew. They bundled up, and quickly went exploring.
The hill was a huge hit. The boys hung out there every free moment they had, and they especially loved seeing the "reindeer" (as Ryan calls any deer) up close and personal.
The ski resort in Ruidoso doesn't offer ski lessons to children under 7 - unless one springs for very expensive private lessons - so we forgoed skiing attempts and just concentrated on having snow fun. I had picked Ruidoso primarily for Winter Park - a tubing mountain that makes its own snow, and which has an extremely dangerous conveyor belt which carries you and your tub up the mountain. You can go on your own, on a two seater tube, or in a giant family sized tube.
We mixed it up. We went alone, the boys together, Carl and Ryan, Alex and I, Carl and Alex, Ryan and I, and even all four of together. We had a blast, and it wasn't long into the morning before Alex asked if we could make this trip a family tradition. Both Scouts and School focused heavily on "Traditions" in December, and since then, any time Alex loves doing something, he asks if we can make it a tradition. So apparently we have a new family tradition.
We did some hiking in the forest, and discovered even more snow. Since this was older snow - I think the last time it fell was over the Christmas holidays - it was iced over nicely and was perfect for sledding. So sledding became the other favorite past time of Team Danger. And it was dangerous - Carl and I were on constant catching duty, since there was a nice sized ravine over to the side I was afraid they might go into if they didn't stay on track.
At the end of our trip, Carl demonstrated nicely just how exactly one goes into the ravine. The video cuts out when I realized I might be taping my husband's early demise, but you get the idea.
We also took our time in this area of the world to visit the International Space Museum in Alamagordo, as well as White Sands National Monument.
We brought our sleds with us, and the boys simply adored sledding in the sand. They also enjoyed just jumping in the sand, and it made for some very cool landslide effects when they did.
At the end of our trip, we decided to spice things up by driving home a different route, one that would take us past Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Carlsbad is such an incredible cave, although we've probably spoiled the boys for any other cave from now on, for what could possibly compare? All National Parks were free for the holiday weekend (bonus) and we bought the boys the US Parks Passport, so they can get a stamp in each one they go to. I thought it was a nice way to encourage them to visit more parks and spend more time in nature, and sure enough, it made a big impression on Alex. It even made the list in one of his stories we had him write during the trip! I felt like such a good parent at this moment, it alleviated some of the guilt I felt for having him miss school for a day.
The rest of the drive home was long - unbearably long. According to google maps, the route past Carlsbad should have only added one hour to our drive, but Carl and I felt like it added quite a bit more. I'm not sure if its because we spent so long at the Caverns, but this was just interminable in length. The only other highlights of this drive were the signs that said "Next Service Station: 132 miles" and the 80 MPH speed along I-10. Although you can't go 80 at night, as I learned when I was pulled over. But my trusty little badge came in handy, and I'm pleased to report that it does work outside of Travis County. No ticket for me! When it was 8 pm and we were still nowhere near home, we told the kids it was time for bed. They turned off the DVD player, pulled their blankets up, and went to sleep. It was miraculous. We finally arrived back home about 11:30 pm, and carried them up to bed. They, at least, had good days back at school the next day. Carl and I, on the other hand, struggled at work. But it was all worth it, and a good time was had by all. I even got the approval of Carl who admitted this was a great trip - although the fact that I stayed within my budget for everything probably helped quite a bit. :)