Tuesday, November 10, 2015

One-Armed Juggling

Alas,

You are reading our first family blog post since August. IT'S BEEN WILD IN THESE PARTS!

We are currently in the peak of our volunteer season, October through December, turning good deeds, where our talents allow: school enrichment activities, Cub Scouts and Santa's Helpers. Plus, we listed our house on the real estate market and began the huge task of down-sizing all of our personal belongings. Our goal is to move into a casa half of the size we currently reside in and travel more! Ponder this...donating or selling HALF of all your trinkets. It's kept us very busy but the simplicity of a new chapter has kept us energized. However, I could die happy if I never have to host a second yard sale as long as I live! UGH.
Cub Pack trip to Graves Farms

Cub Pack hayride
Our late summer and fall has been filled with activities, the epitome of one-arm juggling. We normally wedge in some downtime, but not this season. We have either been traveling or super busy and home very little. 
Ready for two parties plus trick or treating!
Eric laughing with and at my siblings over an oak barrel of Sarah..


At the end of my day (which probably started at 5:30 a.m.) I am grateful without a doubt, that we are healthy and have plenty of energy to keep up with it all. 


5K, Gavin took 2nd place in 18 and under!
Gavin playing in the vineyard.
Gavin is enjoying a very, very small class of six kids, and adapting to a new teacher, while continuing his straight A streak. His piano practice and drawing mature each week and we cannot believe he will be a tween in a few weeks. The little boy we knew, is gone, and the big kid is hard-working and empathetic. Eric continues to roll along at work. Too much to do, always, but making it work, nonetheless. My job continues to be very steady with regulars and new clients as my time allows. I thoroughly enjoy helping others feel better about who they are in this life. 
Becky, getting a back workout!


September found me out of state and slightly out of my mind. I traveled solo to Tennessee to get our new collie, Smokey. Of course, I had to see Nashville so I jammed in an incredible amount of fun, in under 24 hours, including the Grand Ole Opry, a lovely river run, lodging at the Grand Ole Opry Gaylord Resort, which I might add, has an amazing architecturally functional atrium. Then, Smokey and I had three long days, in the car.

New Collie Boy, Smokey
He was a gem, riding in the elevators, moving from one hotel to the next and sleeping in his crate for entire days while I traversed parts of five states. Special thanks to Nancy Lawrence of Windkist Collies for both our collie boys. Smokey and our mellow Bandit are complete opposites and get along perfectly.
My Sister  and my Dad helping us press and crush.


My Parents on their 60th anniversary!



I made it home for twelve days and then the whole fam-damily headed to Washington for a crazy, laughter-packed trip to my Brothers for a family reunion and celebration of my parents 60th wedding anniversary. We crammed in an anniversary party, birthday celebration and the bottling of more than 6000 bottles of wine (ourselves) along with a full day at the Pendleton Roundup. Sleep was not on the agenda, my Sister had posted in the kitchen, but we knew we could find that once we got HOME! My family is so much damn fun, we really don't need much entertainment!












Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Swinging Doors

Cave Stop in the Pecos
Leah and I in the Pecos Wilderness before 2 inches of RAIN and ample amounts of whiskey by the fire.
Yes, our doors have been "swinging" all summer long and we are lucky to have so much going on! A busy life, is a good life, provided you can enjoy it. Gavin has been in and out like a house-fly. He has flitted to three camps in 10 weeks and traveled internationally. I have also done some flitting, while juggling house projects, fostering of a dog, adoption of a new kitten, and of course, trail running and hiking like a fool! (Employment occurred in there somewhere as well!)


The weather in New Mexico has brought about unprecedented beauty, after 15 years of drought, and the geography around us has transformed into a place we barely recognize.
For weeks, I have climbed, ran and camped in what has felt like a juggle. Lush, damp, earthen sleeping and a few warm campfires. My kind of summer and so reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest days I spent in college.
Eric enjoying taking pictures of our regular storms
Gavin's Half Birthday Bash



Gavin as Secret Springs with Joe and Leah

While I found the wilderness, Eric and Gavin found Alberta and the thrills of Vasa Camp.

 Ironic, they seek a social bounty of family and the pace of an incredible private camp, while I head to the wilderness! Gavin spoke of little else after returning home and I am certain these special Swedish-Canadian memories will last his lifetime.
So grateful to family and Eric who make the trip happen and manage the Camp itself. (Try making 4000 Swedish meatballs!) Completely volunteer organized and managed, this 30-year tradition still occurs thanks to the Johnson Family. Needless to say, all of us had a blast, in our venue of choice. I got my quiet on and recharged my batteries and the Boys got their much needed time with Cousins. Prior to Gavin's annual trip to Canada, he was fortunate to be invited by Joe and Leah to spend a week at their home while he attended Camp Invention.


What can I say? They planned their whole week around him and selected special venues they new he would love. Apparently, Albuquerque has a singing road, secret springs and the best baseball team "imaginable." We did not hear from him the entire week and likely he would have stayed at their home in ABQ if allowed. Special thanks to the Cairns for pouring their time into him! As an aside, he learned an enormous amount about engineering at this Camp and yes, I would highly recommend it, if your kiddo is into engineering.


New  front door entrance
New exterior paint color and trim
In the midst of these swinging door adventures, we threw Gavin his half-birthday party at the local pool. The pool was rented for us exclusively and the kids had a blast. He will be ten in December. My how time does fly!

We are nearly done with major changes to our house, in
preparation for its listing. Here are two pictures of the exterior. The interior will be painted next week. Then, we are moving into a box, buying a steer and a few chickens and decreasing our overall footprint in this world. Too much crap, to much to maintain, to little time to smell the daisies. Company will have to sleep in the barn!
Cotton, new arrival.

Nellie, our brief foster
My Trail Partner, Bandit







Our regular evening guests and no we did not adopt or train this one!






Speaking of barns, we brought home a new kitten, Cotton, from the shelter, weighing in at a hefty 2lbs. Pictured here, he is a growing 4lbs and very affectionate. He and Nevin had a quick transition to brotherhood and are very happy to have one another in our absence. Bandit, has grown into a very well-behaved Boy. He received his Canine Good Citizenship Award in the Spring and is truly a joy to take everywhere! He loves to ride in my Bronco, hike, run and otherwise be in the wilderness. In other news, and during all the swinging door time, we fostered, trained and re-homed, Nellie, pictured above. A hound who had never been on a leash or in a crate, we had our work cut out for us.  Gavin poured time into her, along with our Trainer and due to her intelligence and eagerness to please, she was lovingly adopted only three weeks after she arrived. Bandit has been very lonely since Nellie's departure and we have plans in the works to get a second collie from our breeder in Tennessee! The number of animals in our home will officially exceed the number of humans!

Happy Trails,
Ness

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kindred Spirits


Post Horseback riding at Grindstone Lake
Visit to Bonito Falls

Geographically speaking, their friendship was unlikely. One arriving from Tuscon, the other from Ruidoso, fatefully arriving in Mexico last New Year's at the same exact time. Ah, the fun they had for a brief but adventurous week on the beach in San Carlos. When the trip ended, as all vacations do, Gavin tearfully asked "when will I see her again?' I replied, "the world is smaller than it appears and if you keep in touch with her, God will find a way." And He did.
8 Mile Trek Around and then UP Nogal Peak to 9800`
Recently, we hosted Reese and her Mom, Janet, to our home as they traversed in their Mini Bowling Green Cooper from Tuscon to Ruidoso along with their Car Club. We were thrilled they chose to stay at our casa, despite the menagerie of current animals, and we enjoyed every minute of our time together. Plus, they brought good luck as our Foster Dog, Nellie, was adopted just days after their departure!
We hit the racetrack, went horseback riding, bet and won on American Farrow as he ripped through the Belmont dirt, and enjoyed a full day of water and hiking before they had to return home. Ironically, we took them to the track, but they provided the education on horse selection and betting! Gavin and Reese spent their time at our house either on the trampoline or in the tent, where they slept peacefully, through multiple thunderstorms and torrential rain!

Until we meet again,
A

P.S.All these amazing images are courtesy of both the talent and patience of Janet and Eric, each whom believe a picture should tell a story. And they do!

Rocking a Pose

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Just a Sliver

Big Kid Easter Egg Hunt
I have concluded, life is made up of slivers. Carefully, carved fractions of a moment, when adhered together, make a permanent memory in my mind. I choose to basked in the slivers while all the other stuff of life happens. Maybe, this is my idea of happiness. Our 2015 Spring Break vacation to Texas was filled with such gems.

My Dad on the Magi Quest at Great Wolf Lodge
Little Kid Area at Lodge
My parents spent weeks planning for Gavin and his friend Charlee's arrival including the erection of a tent inside their home, homemade strawberry shortcake, hand- painted Easter Crate (yes, think a milk crate, painted with their names on it) and the icing on the cake, a serious backyard egg hunt put on by my Dad. Prize eggs were absconded and a variety of chocolate shaped animals were consumed. The milk crates/Easter baskets were filled with games to keep the boys busy while out in the country. Once they found where they were hidden (in a bath tub) we heard loud shrieks of joy. Definitely, a sliver or two. Following the holiday it was time to move
onto phase II of our trip, a three day stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. Let me tell you, it delivered.

Incredible venue for kids and adults alike. My Dad came with me and kept me company while the boys ran, swam and Magi-quested themselves around the clock. We found all we needed and did not even leave the building for THREE FULL DAYS. Great marketing and resources meant we did not have to drive anywhere. Several restaurants, bars and plenty of Staff created this really safe environment for older kiddos'. I hit several slides with the boys and screamed nearly all the way the first few rounds. The area we frequented had some INCREDIBLE water slides to traverse and the low occupancy time we chose was perfect because it meant short lines. What can I say? The food, the rooms (really roomy, clean and quiet), the staff and our boys made this a trip to remember. So many slivers...



Special thanks to my parents who always roll out the red carpet by taking the time, setting aside all else and creating an incredible visit for us! Love you both!
My Parents



Friday, January 23, 2015

Just Us Four!

Gavin aboard the Grover's Catamaran
Alas, celebrating New Year's in San Carlos, was a fabulous, stress-free way to spend the earliest days of our New Year; no cooking, no cleaning, no school or work. What more could you want? Well, we could have used some HEAT as the normal 80 degree temperatures were replaced by 60 degrees thanks to the Ole Collins Black-Cloud phenomena and a cold front courtesy of Canada. However, given our pioneering attitude, we found it only stopped us from one activity-swimming in the ocean!

Gavin preparing for his first ride
Ness-happy to be in a saddle again












We lounged around the lovely pool, with the beach as our boundary and our condo just steps away. Denny and Carla Grover took us sailing across the bay, lent us sea kayaks and helped us navigate to the best shrimp for freezer stock-up. Gavin really enjoyed sailing and I do believe, could manage a real voyage, without issue. He met a friend, who frequents the condo's, and spent most of his days with her on the beach, in the pool or at the nearby bird estuary. Her Mother is a wildlife biologist and told us more than one-hundred species visit the area. Eric and I really enjoyed the non-parenting time while they played and appreciate Gavin getting older and being so trustworthy.
Morning Dolphins
The beach was quiet, a side-benefit of the cooler weather, and Bandit and I ran the 3.5 mile stretch each day, accompanied by dolphins and huge pelicans. Each time a pelican hit the water for a fish you would have thought a small plane was crashing nearby. Amazing creatures and an apt way to workout off the margarita's, shrimp taco's and chips!


Our Ruidoso friends, and frequent San Carlos visitors,' developed a travel itinerary for us and having it on hand prevented us from several poor decisions while traveling and while on site. We had incredible food, live music to dance to and visited all the major sites they suggested. Surely, this made the entire trip even more enjoyable. The condo's were very secure and ours was quite large. The pup traveled like a champ, sleeping nearly the entire time. He practiced his mating gyrations on all the other dogs and a few poles so I have concluded his neutering is due. :) Our trip back over the border was long, and involved urinating among literally dozens of strangers, with zero foliage, while intermittently watching Harry Potter on the IPAD to kill the 3.5 hour wait time. Next time, we bring either a bladder bag or a diaper and we leave on a weekday!

After a nights rest with dear friends in Tuscon, my Jeep smelled like an ocean-dipped dogs ass and a cooler full of shrimp, thus making the return home, timely. We brought home a bounty of shells, countless memories and the intent to return to this peaceful village again.

Happy Belated New Year!