We are home now from Taos and I have a moment to write and reflect.
We had two days of "just us" time in-between our families in Taos. The first day, we cleaned and worked and rested. The second day, we took the kids ice skating and then to Twirl, where the kids made snowflakes upstairs and I made us a cruise booking for next New Year's Eve. Then we drove to KTAOS where we had a drink to celebrate and then home.
The next day we had lunch at Orlandos and then that afternoon my family arrived! We all sat by the fire and opened Christmas gifts from each other.
That night it snowed! Michael and the boys and Tiff and Keith and Kade got up the next morning and headed up the mountain. The boys had two more days of snowboarding lessons and everyone else went to ski and snowboard. I hung out at the house with mom and dad and read by the fire and then went for a long walk in the snow. It was beautiful. In the evening, we made chili and Keith and Michael and I stayed up late playing dominos.
The next day the kids and Tiff and Keith and Kade went back up the mountain, but Michael and I stayed home with mom and dad. We had a long lunch at the Gorge (great food and company and conversation, but TERRIBLE service). Then we went and got the kids off the mountain and brought them home where mom, Keith and I worked together to create a dinner of burgers and sweet potatoes.
New Year's eve, Tiff and Keith and Kade and my family drove out to the sledding spot. The kids and Kade sledded and then Michael helped them build a snow fort for an epic snowball battle. I hid and shivered in the trees clutching a carafe of warm cider. After we couldn't take the cold anymore, we drove into town and had lunch at Five Star Burger, which was not a hit. Then we stopped at Twirl for glitter tattoos in the craft room and so I could buy a Christmas present for Kade (the one I had gotten had to be returned). We took a brief rest at home and then bundled back up to head to the ski valley. We walked through the cold and dark to the base of the ski lift watching the lasers make intricate designs on the snow. Just as we got to the lift, and the kids found a great perch in the snow, the show began. Ski and snowboard instructors flew down the black moguls from the top of the hill using only bright torches in their hands for light. It was really impressive and we all cheered as they made their way down. Then we heard several loud, "BANG"s and the fireworks began. They were fantastic. The way the fireworks reflect off of the snow is a sight to be seen. It is truly an awesome sight.
When it was over we came down the mountain back to our warm house and mom and dad. Tiff and Keith picked up pizza and we all feasted on pizza and watched a New Year's Eve concert on the CW. We let the kids stay up and set off poppers. My kids fell into bed and the rest of us sat around the table playing a gambling game called, "left, right, center". It was fun and Michael and I won two out of three rounds!
None of us stayed up till midnight. I fell into bed around 11:30.
The next morning mom and dad and I went to the pueblo to see the Turtle dance, but after waiting an hour and a half, we gave up and came home to cook black eyed peas and lunch with our family. Michael and I packed for a while and then Marcie and Ann and the kids came over. We visited and the kids played and then we all headed over for one last KTAOS visit. We stood around a fire pit outside and the kids had a massive snowball fight. We said goodbye to Marcie and Ann and the kids after a couple of hours as they had to get back home and then the rest of us went out to a fancy dinner at El Monte Segrado. The food was delicious, but again the service wasn't very good. (it must have been our luck)
The next morning we got in the car to drive to Lubbock. We stayed in the homewood suites again and tried to get takeout Thai, but our chosen location was closed and our fall back location had TERRIBLE food. Still, it was nice to rest and relax and do our trip in two days rather than one.
We drove home Friday and got in around 4PM. We picked up our dogs and the kids played and we unpacked. I ended the day in my favorite spot, on the chaise lounge under a blanket in our Lounge.
It was a wonderful two week vacation. We are having a hard time getting out of vacation mode. I don't have a great feeling about 2014, but I will continue to hope for the best.