Sunday, December 26, 2010

Collins' Christmas 2010

Happy Holidays! We had a handful of Warrens' and the Collins' to our house for a four-day-baking-eating-drinking and gaming extravaganza! Rarely changing clothes, we just rotated between outfits-those with flour on them and those dribbled with liquor.
Homemade cinnamon rolls, peanut brittle, peppermint bark, gingerbread cookies and a lemon birthday cake made for me, rounded out our bellies and the memories we had growing up with Mom in the kitchen for days. The Guiterrez family looked great-happy and healthier than they have been in many winters-having been stuck inside for months on end while living in Chicago.

Needless to say, none of us can button our pants, despite the walks we took and the day of sledding. Knowing we won't see these goodies for another year makes all the bloating, weight
gain and under-eye-bags so worth it!
Gavin really got into Christmas with help from Becky and Mema who had planned special projects to do with him while here. They made modeling clay ornaments and really fancy gingerbread people that looked just like our family-wider than tall and without inseams! If we could have thrown in a few hammer-toes and moles they would have been a genetic match!

We missed those who were not with us but that meant more 42 for others and a new trivia game-yes Becky and Mema kicked all our butts. Ryan kept us all laughing with the sense of humor he has been graciously given by his folks and he was a huge help, following his Father, with the mountains of dishes, garbage and beer bottles that accumulated by the hour. We can't wait until he moves to Texas so we can see him even more! Happy New Year to All!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Happy Holidays!
A mulligan, or a do-over, for those of us who do not golf, is a perfect way to describe our trip; we had so much fun and would love a repeat of Mexico with the Scott's. We had many adventures planned just for an active young family. Carla and Doug tailored a trip just for us with a hike, beach volleyball, a stocked fridge in our HUGE suite, club card for the resort and many amazing meals of fresh from the sea shrimp. I think I ate a pound a day! Not to mention they did a great job of entertaining Gavin with beach-side restaurants. Gavin is still telling everyone he slept on a boat! His classmates think that is really cool. Despite struggling with a double-ear infection, he was determined to have a good time while we were out and about. Carla chronicled our trip on her blog so I will be brief. See our pics on this page and under the slide show at your right. For more please visit her site; Big hugs and thanks to the Scott's who we will miss dearly at Christmas time in Ruidoso. Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scooby-Doo ala Collins

We enjoy Halloween almost as much as Christmas~maybe because we can act weird (which comes naturally) and we don't have to cook!
Dressing up, eating junk and asking strangers for food while in disguise, only comes once a YEAR! Before we had Gavin Halloween always involved an all night adult-only bash at my sisters house. Now we are just a bit more mellow but enjoying it just as much.

We hit the First Baptist Church-several thousand square feet of preschool-old school games, roasted corn, hot dogs and an endless supply of candy. As if this wasn't enough, it was FREEE! I love living in a small town.
After Gavin had burned off his initial sugar hit in the jump house, we met friends and went trick or treating in an older neighborhood. No hill, houses close together and inhabited by people we largely already 0730 the kids were coming off their second sugar hit and the runs from door to door became aimless meanderings.

We went as the Mystery Crew from Scooby Doo-Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo. My Mom made Gavin's costume from scratch-no pattern exists due to copyright (will plan to keep that one for Gavin's kids.) He was so warm and authentic. The kids loved our costumes and knew right away who we were...the adults were a little slow!
On other fronts we are super busy as our volunteering gets ratchet up for the holiday season; Eric is really busy with Santa's Helpers and I with a Scrip Fundraising program at Gavin's school. We both love volunteering and the kids in our community deserve it. Eric's crew will deliver food and gifts too more than 400 families 700-800 kids. Gavin's school is raising money for another Student-Aide and setting some aside for a building fund (we are using the lower elevation of a very large and generous church at present.) In addition, Eric's work is truly busy. Finally, construction and land development are picking up after two years of hanging on...

We are leaving for Mazatlan in a few days to spend an entire week at a resort where Carla and Doug have their boat docked. We can't wait to lay in the sun, see some sights and get out of the 20 degree nights in Ruidoso. Their is a childcare service, plenty of nightlife and lots to do so we can't wait; thanks to the Warren's for helping with the timeshare! More from me when we get back from Mexico!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spiders, Salamanders, Stalagmites and Singing Boys

September was full of all things slimy a boy could love. The brave salamander, pictured on the left, survived a terrorizing trip from a dirt fill lot, where he'd probably lived decades, managed to get into a dump truck, be hauled several miles and deposited on our neighbors new barn pad. Talk about a bad hair day! Of course, our neighbors, know Gavin would love to see a night-varmint and notified us immediately. Initially, Gavin was more interested in learning how to shell peanuts from Gordon, than handling the salamander. (Who would guess a kid could be so mesmerized by learning how to shuck a nut from a shell?) Did I mention, we do feed him.?Once he had about 1lb of peanuts, shelled and being digested, Gavin thought the salamander was the new cool thing. The salamander was anxious to get back in the dark earth where he was returned to forage a new millenia of local relatives.

The tarantula, on the other hand, was found near our KOA campsite while in Carlsbad touring the caverns. He was much bigger than the palm of my hand and quite shy. They are not poisonous, but up close, they aren't really soothing either; kinda like a date you brought home at night that subsequently began to depreciate by morning, if you get my drift; U_G_L_Y.

The Cavern's were totally amazing. Our second trip down, this time with the Boy. He hiked all the way to the bottom, 1.25 miles and loved using his headlamp to see the stalagmites and stalagtites. Eric and I were totally stunned when we watched over 500,000 bats gracefully exit the cave the night before. It was surreal and took nearly 2 hours. The Mexican bats travel hundreds of miles to the Pecos river, feed and fly back before dawn. The Ranger told us it was the "thickest" flight they had all summer due to thousands of other bats who were just visiting as they passed through, headed to Mexico for the winter. We really enjoyed this but found it tough to keep Gavin silent until they began their night flight~tough for a kid to be quiet but for a period of time-he did fairly well.

The KOA was fancy-smancy; pool, onsite BBQ prepared for you, private showers and super duper clean. Highly recommend you take a trip there in the fall; the weather was perfect.

Gavin just completed his first semester at school and did really well. Eric attended the parent-teacher conference and we agree that his teachers' are truly talented women. We are blessed to have both of them. Not unlike every school in the country, resources are very tight; people and cash. I have been volunteering in class and with fundraising and will continue to as I believe in the tremendous work they are doing; Gavin is learning so much but most importantly, his behavior and decision-making just keep improving.

Recently, fundraising commenced with the annual SBCA Gospel Sing. Gavin only sang one song, but he belted it! We thought he'd be shy, but obviously, we were mistaken!

Headsup; For those of you who would like a super easy way to help SBCA raise money, we are embarking on a new fundraising program and I will be the coordinator. You get to help us raise money and it won't cost you an extra dime! Stay tuned, I'll be knocking.

I had to post this picture of Gary; 110lbs lighter, taken in September in our yard, by none other than Eric. Gary is progressing and looking forward to registering for a driving school at Craig hospital in Denver. Professionals believe he can begin to embark upon this and other things in the upcoming year.

Other Important News;
Thank gosh the ballot to keep our Racetrack passed because work was down to a crawl. The measure gives Ruidoso time to come up with new ways to generate revenue before the five-year-term is complete. The ballot was divisive and the vote was very close. The next day, following the results, we were flooded with jobs. Goes to show us how much the economy was already being impacted. So, Eric is super busy again and working on some very interesting and exciting jobs.
I am busy with the MakH20Pak and with school. I have also been attending an informal girls-only breakfast club on Monday mornings~where I laugh my can off! The rest of the day is filled with the hilarity of these women and the stories we share. Still working out 5x per week and running is always a part of that...and my fall hiking has been glorious. I swear, our Fall this year has been impeccable for outdoor activities! Hugs to all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Run Forrest Run"

The blog title sums up our August in a nutshell.
We have been having fun and working like dogs all at once. (Eric's was surrounded by longhorns at a recent ranch survey! They thought he had food.)
We kicked off Gavin's school year, have had two vacations and hosted family on two weekends since our last post. I think old Tom Hanks had it right "Life is like a box of chocolates." One trip to Texas another to Cali. Next post will be all about Cali and the fun we had with the Jolly's, the Stephens' and other friends.

Pictures from our Warren family reunion tell quite a story! We had a wonderful time despite the heat. One day it was 112 degrees and the humidity was 28%. Thank gosh for Bec and Daves' pool as we were running out of sweat by 10 a.m. each day!
Between the pool and the beer we had alot of laughs. Whirlyball (pictured) was so much fun I nearly peed in my shorts! Getting the trailer in and out of Bec's driveway was quite a nightmare but accomplishable with the help of a small, sweaty army of Aunties and Uncles. Here are a few reunion tidbits;
1) Becky received her birthday gift bag, stuffed with one pair of underwear from each family member, rather than the traditional tissue paper; Carla's creativity at work. When we asked how she knew which were clean and dirty~their was deafening silence!

2) Gavin, Becky and Ryan found a Toy Chest mechanical arm machine in a local restaurant, and in an attempt to keep Gavin out of my hair, gleaned 3 of those impossible to reach stuffed animals per Gavin's request. He snatched them from Bec's hands and screamed gleefully through the entire restaurant "mom look at all the animal babies."
I think the seniors nearly killed over from fright. Thank the Lord we do not live there!
3) Watching Gavin stalk Becky in the late afteroon knowing he would get to lick the beaters from dessert-in-progress.
4) Getting flung and then nearly peeing my own pants during our Whirlyball game~I laughed so hard!
5) JFK Museum and The Bodies Exhibit~highly recommend both as we all conquered a number of museums while in Dallas one day.
In other news; Gavin is loving school (uniform pic above). His first report card indicated he has trouble keeping his hands to himself but has both fantastic concentration and handwriting skills.

The whole family completed a 5k run to raise money for low cost mammograms and we were pictured in the paper~Ruidoso Free Press.

I am consulting for Candice's new start-up MakInnovations and enjoying it immensely. I have been waiting to assist and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we build and prepare for the MakH20 product launch.
In addition, I have been ask to reside on the school's fundraising board where I think I will be kept busy! My hope is to help with fundraising and communications associated pending Board approval.
Eric is busier than ever with the biz, Rotary Directorship position, Santa's Helpers and the continuous estate Executor role. He is pretty exhausted most of the time but seems to enjoy all of it and still have plenty of energy for the 4 year old who screams when he gets home each night!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Discovering New Mexico

Eric is a native and I have been here (non-consecutively) for nearly fifteen years, but Gavin is causing us to discover New Mexico in new ways. Each journey amounts to some priceless family time, plenty of fresh air and total exhaustion! Okay, I forgot to mention the beer, steaks and smore's!

Our friends recommended a trip to the Gila Wilderness and The Catwalk within the Gila, telling us it was "God's Country." So, trusting their advice we loaded the pop-up and headed out for four days of adventure. Nope, they were not exaggerating.
The history of this area is alive and well. The first Wilderness area ever dedicated, amounting to nearly 800,000 acres, it is truly pristine. We saw large herds of elk, heard reintroduced wolves and saw very few people. (YEAH.)

Inside the Gila lives a lifetime experience of climbing the catwalk, as the miners did, in the late 1800's. The catwalk was originally wood, but was rebuilt by an early core of engineers group using steel. The miners seeking gold and silver, used the catwalk to get to the mine while the families used the water that rushed out of the process for household purposes. You can still see pieces of the mine, iron reinforcements and plenty of water! They were pretty good at using electricity to get what they wanted down the canyon. Needless to say, the five hour drive to a secluded and empty campground made for a killer family trip. If you like history click and read.

Another discovery or should we say rediscovery awaited us at White Sands National Monument where Grandma Chris and Cuz' Richard joined us. We had not been there in years' although Eric spent a great many days sledding down the powdery sand as a boy. The Monument is the only one of its kind in the U.S., appearing as snow, the gypsum sand is soft, cool and clean amounting to the huge development of dunes made perfect for sleds.

Animals have adapted creating white coyotes, white horny toads and gecko's that blend into their space. We have vowed to make the one hour drive a few more times this year to include the hot air balloon launch in the fall.

Other Tidbits:

Gavin graduated from his Mother's Day Out program and went out with a bang; ice cream party and presents for his buddies. He is now ready for the program we wanted to enroll him in last year; Sierra Blanca Christian Academy, five 1/2 days per week. A private, Christian school ages 3 to 7Th grade. We love the class ratio 1 teacher to 6 students, the fact that they aren't required to adhere to the Every Child Left Behind Bush legacy and that it Christian based. In addition, we believe the national public school system is an evolving educational crisis. No school is protected from the economic downturn but we feel this investment is worth any risk we foresee and parental involvement is very high.

On other fronts, we got all decked out to join my best bud, and Kennel Owner, Heidi, her husband and employees, at this years' annual Furr Ball. Her Kennel, Thundering Paws Pet Resort, always has a large table and provides a significant live auction item. All proceeds (which are in the thousands) go to operating costs of our local Humane Society and Shelter. The open patio amounted to an indoor/outdoor venue where we were able to dance under the stars and leave the kiddos with our babysitter! We were really rusty but sustained no injuries! Took me all week to figure out what to where, shave my legs, put some real make-up on and learn to walk in high heels again!

Eric was asked by a local radio station, KEDU, to give a business interview discussing D.T Collins Associates services and the surveying indusry in general. He sounded awesome and not a bit nervous. Tim would have been proud and we were grateful for the FREE advertising! (Thanks Mr. Estes for asking!) We need all the help we can get with this economy~still treading water!

We are off again with the 5th wheel this time as we join my family for 10 days of laughter and Warren chaos in Plano. We always laugh so hard, party and play we are worn out when it is over, but geez it is so worth it! Of course, I am the only one with a young child so after going to bed at 1 or 2 a.m. and getting up at 7 with Gavin, I become Queen of the Nap by day 2!