Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Break Part 1

It's now time to share our Spring Break adventure (from over a month ago) because new adventures are already on the horizon and I don't want to forget this one (well actually I do want to forget some parts).  The trip was quite a doozy I tell ya, and looking back it was really the first time I questioned whether a family trip of ours was worth the hassle.  But despite how difficult parts of it were, we made more good memories than bad YES, it was worth it!

Our destination was Cloudcroft, New Mexico via El Paso.  The day of our departure was cold and rainy as "winter" tried to get in one last hurrah.  So at our first major stop, Balmorhea State Park, we broke out the puffy jackets.  Kids just love wearing puffy jackets, especially since it only happens like two days out of the year. 
After over 5 hours of riding, the kids were more than ready to burn off some energy.
The main attraction at Balmorhea State Park is a pool created by natural springs. The water temperature is always in the mid-70's and we let kids take turns dipping their hands in it. (Fun little fact: Ten days after we visited the park the pool was closed with the following notice: "Some swimmers have experienced bites causing skin itching from an unknown source in the pool."  Oooh how mysterious! And creepy!)
Joe had a little trouble on the slippery rocks.  For a moment I thought he was going to slide straight into the water and I was already trying to figure out how we were going to dry him off.  A little mud, a little mess, oh well.
The park also contains a marshy area called a cienega with a cool underwater viewing area.  Except the water was kinda murky and we couldn't see really see anything.
Aw, look who still had hair back then!
We couldn't stay long at the state park because we still had several hours of driving to reach to El Paso, our stop for the night.  The El Paso stop was actually the beginning of the hard stuff, starting with having to wait for what seemed like forever for a table in a crowded restaurant with 5 tired, hungry, and squirmy kids who should have been in bed.  Then that night I only got about 2 decent hours of sleep because Rebekah was completely off her routine and refused to settle down for the night.  (And I forgot to mention that Billy was sick the entire trip.)

The next morning we drove on to White Sands, New Mexico.  The kids were pretty grumpy for some reason, which in turn made me grumpy (plus remember I was tired and Billy was sick).  The blinding sun didn't help, either.
Adrian was upset because he had to stay in the stroller.
But then Dad worked his magic and started cheering everyone up.
Eventually even Adrian!
Here's Mamacita!
Handsome Joe!
Pretty Mikea!
And the Danimal!
Oh yeah, and don't forget the handsome Daddy who prevented this little excursion from being a complete grumpfest!
My hero.  :)

After White Sands we drove up into the mountains to Cloudcroft and the CUTEST CABIN EVER:  Cedar Lodge.  I can't wait to share more pictures and share the fun and not-so-fun events of the next few days of our trip.  But that's for next time.  Hopefully tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Blessed Easter

I sure wish I could say that Easter weekend went off without a hitch, but it didn't. It was a good thing for me that a few days before Easter I read an article discussing how the devil doesn't want us to celebrate the Resurrection, so he'll use every opportunity he can to steal our joy by making us think we've failed if we don't acheive the "perfect" celebration. 

So when I had car trouble on a 600-mile road trip on Good Friday, when two of my outfits for the weekend ended up with major wardrobe malfunctions, and I was missing an ingredient for a recipe for a family gathering, I did my best to just brush it off and not get too worked up about it.  It's only cilantro after all.  My only meltdown was on Saturday when I realized that despite all of my planning, I wasn't going to get away with not washing Mikea's hair.  Washing, combing, and styling her hair from beginning to end takes a minimum of 4 hours, with no interruptions.  And you would be correct to surmise that I've never been able to style her hair without interruptions, so whenever I "do hair" I have to set aside an entire day to get it done. I didn't have that kind of time and for a few minutes I thought Easter was ruined because Mikea wasn't going to have an elaborate hair style.  This is where my super hero of a husband came to the rescue again (the first was on my road trip the day before when he loaded up the kids, drove to where I was stranded, and changed my tire - fortunately I was only 30 miles from home!) He washed Mikea's hair, put 3 of the kids down for naps, and took Rebekah to the store so I could have Mikea all to myself.  After combing out her hair, I only had time for a ponytail - but that's ok, she was as still pretty as a picture. 

All that aside, the best part of Easter was that the oldest three kids finally seemed to understand why we celebrate.  I overheard them at the lunch table prompting each other with, "Jesus is risen!"  "He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!" What a happy sound!  We decorated eggs, enjoyed family gatherings with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and participated in no less than 3 egg hunts!  (Four for Joe counting the one at school.)


Looking back, it was a blessed Easter indeed!