Our next morning was the 4th of July. I made a big edamame sushi roll salad for an early lunch and then we all took off for our days adventure. First we drove out to Arroyo Seco and parked down a side road and walked for quite a ways, stopping at an enterprising youth's lemonade stand. We thought that the parade started at 1PM and so we aimed to arrive around noon. Turns out the parade began at noon and was just beginning as we got to the crowd. This was a very crowded, but fun and eclectic parade. It reminded me a lot of the Just For Fun Parade here in San Marcos. It was full of colorful costumes and colorful personalities. I really enjoyed it.
After that parade, we drove up the mountain back to the ski valley. We bought a number for the rubber ducky race and got free balloons and then the kids were invited to ride on a big float in the parade. Everyone accepted except for Sam who thought he might get more candy if he watched the parade rather than rode in it. The parade was fun, but short and there was lots of candy thrown. Sam did well with his choice.
It poured down rain after the parade and we all huddled under the pass through and watched the creek waiting for the duck race to begin. Michael's Aunt Dianne and Uncle Jim and Aunt Patti all came and met us at the ski valley! We were so happy to see them and get to spend some time with them. The kids of course, took off when the rubber ducky race began and then went off to the playground after that and I followed them while Michael got some time to visit with his family.
The rain was off and on, but it was still very wet so we didn't stay long. We went down and got some popcorn and listened to the winners of the race (not us) and then we caught some bumper stickers and prizes thrown from the stage. Then we went back down the mountain in the hopes it wasn't raining down there and that we could enjoy happy hour at KTAOS.
When we got to KTAOS, it wasn't raining and Aunt Dianne and co were there as well! We all had a wonderful happy hour on the lawn. It made me so joyful to be in my happy place one more time. We had dinner and drinks and hula hooped and did some cloud shape spotting and then headed home.
We put the kids to bed and then gathered to watch Avengers in the living room. After a while we heard some booms and wondered what they were. Then we realized they were fireworks! We ran outside to the back of the house where we had a gorgeous view of the Taos town fireworks. They were wonderful.
The next morning was our last day. The kids took us out in the yard and collected our tickets and we all sat in assigned seats to watch their "pinecone works" show. They had spent days crafting pine cones with ribbons attached and choreographing a show where they stood on the adobe walls of the house and threw them into the air to create a fourth of July "pinecone works" show. It was great.
Then we drove up to the ski valley one more time to ride the ski lift. We bought our tickets and browsed the gift shop and then rode up the mountain. We hiked a little bit and found a patch of grass in a copse of trees to have picnic. Cheris had made an amazingly delicious quinoa black bean salad which we ate with chips and prosecco. It was delightful. The kids climbed on boulders and Chris and Rob managed to play a little frisbee. We took some family pictures and hiked around some more before Michael and I got a phone call that Marcie and her family were waiting at the house. We rushed down the mountain and drove to the house to meet them and spend some time. Apparently, Brynn lost her hat on the ski lift down and Chris had to climb up and down the mountain and had a huge adventure, but we missed it as we packed and hung out with Marcie and Ann and the kids.
We all joined back up at the house and packed and then settled on the front porch while Chris and Rob played guitar and mandolin in an amazing jam session. It was awesome! We are so lucky to get to travel with such excellent musicians.
That evening we said goodbye to Marcie and family and welcomed a babysitter and then we grownups headed to a fancy dinner at El Meze. I'd never been there before, but I loved the atmosphere and the food. We had fried olives stuffed with blue cheese and a bean dip with pita and then I had a whole trout (bad vegan) for my entree and we shared cardamom donuts for dessert. It was all delicious. Michael and I split a bottle of rose wine and it was all splendid if a bit fuzzy after that. We admired the gardens and then loaded up in our car to drive to El Monte Segrado bar. The atmosphere and drinks there were really good too, but I was tired and feeling a bit poisoned by my food so we headed back to the house. The kids had stayed up late, but were all safe and healthy and I thought it was a wonderful way to end our trip.
We all woke early the last morning and cleaned the house and loaded the car and said goodbye. We drove through Lubbock and checked into the Overton. Cheris and Rob picked up Thai food and met us at our hotel and then we all went swimming at the pool and lounged in the hot tub. This was a nice way to ease back into real life.
The last day we drove home.
It was a wonderful trip. I loved it. The only downside is that I was plagued by my hormones for some of it (I had run out of hormone pills and I NEED them since my hysterectomy.) I had hot flashes and crazy dreams and I feel like I was often annoyed when I shouldn't have been and I was overly sensitive to others moods. Michael said it was barely noticeable and I hope it didn't mess with anyone else's trip. It certainly didn't ruin my trip, but I think it did affect it.
All together though, I had such an amazing time. I love Taos and the amazing weather in summer and I adore our friends that chose to spend their summer vacation with us. The boys were in heaven to have their best friends with them and that was so special too. I really hope we can do this trip again next year and years after. It is the highlight of our year to spend a week in paradise with our best friends.