Friday, January 31, 2014

Sledding Away in the Santa Fe National Forest

While we were in Santa Fe, we headed up the mountain into the Santa Fe National Forest.

Our snowsledding discs from three years ago still worked great (since they are, after all, practically new, living in Texas).

The boys couldn't WAIT to run into the woods with their discs.

Can you tell this native Texan was excited with the snow?!?!?!

We drove all the way to the top of the mountain (where Santa Fe Ski is located), and we would stop every mile or so when we would find a new, better place to sled.

Sometimes they didn't even break out the sleds.

Those ski pants and boots from Granny were VERY handy.

My apologies for the picture-heavy post, but we were all soooooo happy to be in the snow.

In real, into-your-ankles deep snow.

Snow so fluffy you could cuddle up with it (if you wanted to, crazy Alex).

Alex even started to build a snowman, but that idea didn't last too long.

His sled was calling him.

But the best place for sledding, bar none, was our final destination.

The sheer number of cars stopped alongside the road was testament to how great is was.

We spent hours upon hours here.

These boys could not have been happier.

They were in their element.

For the most part, Carl and I were content to just sit back and enjoy our kids being kids.

But it wasn't long before the snow fun became contagious, and before you knew it, Carl decided he had to get in on the fun, too.

Which meant putting his name of Danger Daddy to the test because anyone weighing more than a hundred pounds really shouldn't be on these sledding discs.

So he went to work catching the kids mid-slide and giving them a little spin.

Getting them to slow down and pose for a picture was near impossible.

They just wanted to run back up the hill, as fast as possible.

And do it all over again.

But best of all, the sledding was completely free.

I would have gladly paid in the triple digits for a day like this.

It was priceless, and will go down as one of my all-time favorite family memories.

And the scenery wasn't half-bad, either.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Santa Fe

There are only a handful in towns in America which, in my opinion, have a unique heritage and feel to them. Places where every bit of the city is unique, and not just a historical center (like, say, our San Antonio) . But San Francisco, New Orleans, and Santa Fe, meet that criteria.

Santa Fe is a lovely little town, with an incredible history, and a unique cultural identity. Its the oldest capitol city in the United States, having been serving continuously as a capitol for over 400 years. Much of its history is told at the Governor's Palace.

Santa Fe is famous for its museums, art galleries, and its jewelry stores. Needless to say, Team Danger didn't see much of these places. I did get some time to visit the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.

She's one of my favorite artists, and definitely my favorite American artist. My high school and college rooms housed many of her posters and prints through the years, and even today, her sunflower painting graces my office at work. Carl and the boys went geocaching while I visited here, which was probably as well, considering the museum houses several of Alfred Steiglitz's nude photographs of her (parents, beware).

Almost all of the buildings in Santa Fe are of the adobe-pueblo style. Somehow I didn't get a really good picture of most of them, but if you look at this picture I took coming back down the mountain, into Santa Fe proper, you can see the buildings a bit.

In a bizarre coincidence, my aunt Cheryl was staying in Santa Fe for the holidays with several of her friends, and my uncle Bobby was also in Santa Fe with his family. What are the chances all three of us Texans would book Santa Fe holiday trips separately?!

While we didn't spend a lot of time with them, we saw them two of the evenings while we were there. Bobby's older step-kids babysat Alex and Ryan, and we had a chance to go out and eat and drink with the adults, at places I never would have sampled with munchkins in tow. And we had fun happy hours at Cheryl's fake house.

The boys loved the Railyard.

We went there on a Saturday, so we managed to be there for the outdoor Artist's Market...

As well as the (much preferred since it was freezing) indoor Farmer's Market and a sort of Flea Market.

Loved all the goodies at the Farmer's Market!

The city was beautiful, all lit up for the holidays. The 400 year old St. Francis Cathedral was my favorite. It was stunning!

Looking through my photos, almost all of my photos of places in Santa Fe itself focused on the holiday lights.

No surprise.

The Plaza, particularly, was stunning.

By comparison, here is the Plaza in daylight hours.

Lovely, but not quite the same level of loveliness, now is it?

We had learned about the Santa Fe Trail at Pecos National Historical Park, so the boys were excited to see the start of the Santa Fe Trail, right in the middle of the Plaza. The building in the background was the Governor's Palace, and if you look closely, you can see all the vendors set up in front of it. They were there every day, selling mostly jewelry.

Bobby and Nanette said that Christmas Eve was completely magical, with a candlelight processional through town that ended at the church. Luminarias were literally everywhere. Its called the Farolito Walk, and I found this photo at Sunset magazine.

So I've made a note to go back and spend Christmas Eve here sometime in the future. No one in my family will complain, because Santa Fe was a big win in Team Danger's book.


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