Here is part two of the story of my family's visit to see us here in Santa Fe. Here we are picnicking at Bandelier. There are signs everywhere saying you shouldn't feed the animals. Apparently, there's a reason. This bird was a little too friendly and unafraid of people. There were also a couple squirrels that almost climbed up my leg...
This shows some of the many staircases we had to climb at Bandelier. Mom and Dad don't do well on stairs, but they made it without ever falling. Mom was quite proud of herself for making it. She hasn't walked this much since Las Vegas, but at least this time her knee felt ok.
Dad and Nate both climbed up the ladders to check out the cave dwellings. We were a little worried since last time Dad climbed a ladder (onto the roof) he couldn't get down. He made it this time, gratefully.
See the straight lines of holes? That is where there used to be beams to support roofs for rooms in front of the caves. They lived in the caves and built storage rooms in front of them. These were occupied around 1200 to 1400 AD.
All hail, the conquering heroes!
This wildflower is growing in our front yard. It reminded Mom of a plant they have in their yard. They discussed buying one to take home with them. We did some research and think it is Russian Sage.
The cathedral downtown. Mom enjoyed looking at the pictures inside of the stations of the cross and wishes she spent more time to see them. Johnny, however, couldn't wait to leave.
The sign says it all. This is another sight typical of Santa Fe. It is mostly silver and turquoise jewelry, with a few other crafts thrown in.
The man making marbled paper. He was very patient and answered all of Ben's questions. This was our favorite paper he made. It's a very interesting process.
The gay pride parade. Welcome to Santa Fe!
And just think, if you come visit us, you'll get free room and board too and us as tour guides to these places and more! We moved here last August and these were our first guests. Everyone is invited!!
Mom, Dad and Nate (or is it Nnine he he he) just left to drive home to Salt Lake. They got here Thursday afternoon and we kept them busy. We started with Karate class, where the family got to see Ben and Courtney do their thing. Friday we took them to hike Bandelier to see all the old cave dwellings of the ancestral pueblo people. Mom amazed herself by doing the whole mile and a half hike up and down many stone stairways and it didn't even hurt her knees.
Saturday we went downtown to see the heart of Santa Fe. We went in some shops, showed them artwork, jewelry and pottery that we think is typical Santa Fe, and saw the shop that sells Kyle's woodwork. While we were there Kyle found out he'd made a sale and got his commission. The highlight for me would be that we got to see the Governor's palace and see how marbled paper is made. The highlight for the kids would be the parade around the main square. It was, however, a gay pride parade. At least we were able to give them a Santa Fe kinda day! We went to lunch at one of our favorite places, Tia Sophia's, and we trained Dad well. When asked the state question, "red or green?" he responded perfectly: "Christmas on the side." Good job Dad! We all are green, for sure. We ended the day with dinner at a Chinese buffet since this is the kids' favorite kind of food. After serving Johnny about 10 different foods, including ice cream, we finally found something he would eat...the lo mein. 3 bowls full. And he figured out how to use the split front toilet seat while at the restaurant.
There was a lot of Wii playing going on too and Mom said, more than once, that Nate needs one of these. He just got the PS2 for Christmas, but she thinks the active nature of this one is better suited to his needs. Yeah, and how many times did I tell them this before they bought the PS2, hmmmmm? Not to say I told you so, but....
I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all had fun. Now we have a week until we do it all over again. Kyle's parents and his brother and his family will be here next Monday. Oh well. At least I only had to vacuum the stairs and the car once to prepare for both!
Johnny took a couple days to use the potty at home, just like in the hotel. But he figured it out again. Yesterday I decided to just go for it and he is going to wear underwear during the day. He kept it clean and dry all day yesterday and even told me he needed to go last night. This morning he woke up wet but then we put on the underwear and just now he came running down the stairs tell me "I need the bathroom" and he went. He is SO different that the other two. During potty training they never told me, just went in their underwear.
We'll just see how it goes with #2. Haven't dealt with that yet in the underwear and he hasn't done it yet in the toilet. Wish us luck! (Especially since we are having house guests starting on Thursday...)
We made it home at 6pm and Kyle is now putting the kids to bed back in our own house. Here are some highlights and things we learned from the trip:
*Kyle ran a 5K and came in # 161 out of 222. He ran 1 1/2 miles in 16:46 (not bad when he hadn't been training at all for it!)
*I lost a toenail on one foot by kicking a suitcase...no surprise there, I'm always kicking something
*...and got a mega bruise on my other foot by dropping a peanut butter jar on it
*Benjamin took a nap on the sidewalk of Truth or Consequences (we let him out of the car because he was sick and we didn't want him sick all over the car)
*Kyle, true to form, came home with three nice bags jam packed full of hundreds of drug pens and other random drug labelled stuff (like a clock, stapler, pocket knife, toothbrushes, rubber duckies, otoscope)
*Johnny has become excited about potty training (see my last posting) and is still doing pretty well with it!
*Johnny had his first experience in a real swimming pool (our town in Oklahoma didn't have a pool)
*Benjamin is learning how to swim and isn't afraid of the water
*Courtney started not being so afraid of the water
*Kyle got to sing and play his saxophone for the Acting Surgeon General and lots of his higher up underlings
*We learned that scotch tape is a byproduct of making cheese
*Kyle loves saguaro cactus
*We love the waffle makers at hotel breakfasts!
* One thing the kids enjoy on vacation at hotels is that they get to watch TV. We're glad (meaning...Kyle and I are glad) that we don't have cable or satellite TV.
*Lots of FFA kids and Maryland Air Force Reservists now know about the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
*Kyle's always going to bring an extra collar device or two on business trips (since he's glad someone else did...an almost disaster)
*Tucson has a pretty cool Children's Museum we walked to about a mile from our hotel. The kids got to drive a sub, a police motorcycle, and a fire truck. There was also this very cool shadow room where you could pose and then move away from the wall and your shadow was still there. I had a lot of fun in that room!
*The kids DON'T like walking in the hot weather. At all.
Our little dairy farmer, inspired by the hotel full of FFA kids we spent the week with:
Mom, these are the swim shirts. You can't see it well, but Johnny's got his "muscle suit" on. And Ben is wearing his "giggles".
Aunt Bethany, this is for you:
And to end, here is a video of one of our favorite areas at the Tucson Children's Museum. There are velcro frogs on a velcro conveyor belt and a ceiling fan to help them take flight. Enjoy!
Kyle has a conference this week in Tucson and we all came along for the ride. We arrived Saturday and we leave on Thursday. The drive was no biggie...only 8 hours. Seriously, it went quickly; we are experts at long drives. It's staying in this dinky hotel room that is miserable. The kids get stir crazy all too quickly! Sunday we went to church with a new friend (Bettie's sister and her family). Then Kyle was gone from 2 until bedtime. Yesterday we went swimming in the morning and then walked a mile to the Children's museum. The kids were so worn out from walking, I don't think I can convince them to walk anywhere today. We'll see. There's a park I saw pretty close by--that might convince them. We need to find something to do because even an hour holed up in this room is more than they seem to be able to handle.
On a positive note, Johnny is potty training himself on this trip. (Courtney also began her potty training in a hotel room!) He has never had success in actually going in a potty, until Sunday. He has always said that "it doesn't work". Well, guess what! It works! He went three times on Sunday and only used his diaper for, um, #2. Yesterday we were out so much, we didn't get success, but he still tried and instead of saying it didn't work, he put a positive spin on it and just said there wasn't any pee in there.
We called the grandparents on Sunday to let Johnny tell them the good news. He said:
"I went potty! My p_ _ _ _ works. It had yellow on it." Yeah, um, last week when changing his diaper, he pointed and asked what his male parts were called. So I told him. And he has been using that word ever since. Joy.
The SFPL is the closest thing to us and the only place remotely walkable from our house. We don't have a playground, but we do have the library. Here are a few posts from the library blog with pics of the kids:
Last week we finally decided how we wanted to stimulate the economy. Our desktop computer is showing it's age and is getting obnoxious to use, so we decided to go all out and got a MacBook Pro laptop computer. So far we have been able to figure out everything we want to do on it and it is so fast and so fun!!
I love being able to use the computer and the internet wherever I want. I love how fast it does things...especially when working with photos.
Speaking of photos, the Mac has a built in camera and some fun filters. here are a few of our favorites. Aren't my boys cute? LOL
I love to play with paper, photoshop, and books. He loves to scroll saw. And we both love to play board games with our friends. We love spending time with our family and we've gotten good at the long drives to go see them.