Long post alert!!! We had quite an adventurous winter holiday this year over New Year’s! My mom graciously got us a trip to a rustic cabin in the mountains of Ruidoso, NM so the kids could see some snow, and man did she get her money’s worth! We saw a TON of snow and had an awesome trip. And a huge shout out to Scott’s mom and dad for keeping Ty Baby for us – it would have pretty much been a nightmare to have him with us! Actually I take that back. To say it would have been a nightmare is an understatement. Ty would have probably died in that cold. Single digits are no joke!
So it was Rex’s first airplane ride (and basically Landri’s first – she only took one trip at age 7 weeks), and the kids were pumped about the airplane! We left the house at 7:45am and let’s just summarize the next several hours by saying that multiple bad weather delays had us departing SA around 1:30pm. Entertaining a 1 something & 3 year old with the limited supplies of a diaper bag for that long was a new challenge. Thankfully the airport is a huge place to roam and run around. Rex enjoyed trying to stick his fingers in every single cell phone outlet in the place (there is one every four seats or so at every gate) and both the kids loved spotting airplanes and broadcasting it at the top of their lungs for all passengers to know. The plane ride itself went awesome – it was a smooth 90 minutes and both kids loved it and behaved like angels. Totally shocking. Rex was mesmerized by it all and sat in my lap, quickly falling asleep for a short nap once in the air.
The next adventure was landing in El Paso to learn that the two car seats we rented along with our suburban were nowhere to be found…sidebar: advice to all traveling parents: ALWAYS bring your own carseat(s) no matter how huge a pain in the @$$ it is. So yes, we were trapped at the airport. And what else to do but drive to Walmart and buy 2 car seats so we could get on the road (2.5 hour drive to Ruidoso)! Keep in mind that Ruidoso and surrounding areas had been pounded by a blizzard and we were losing daylight and “warmer” temps very quickly. Getting the kids’ car seats and installing them added probably another 2 hours to our total trip time, but we finally got on the road just before sunset. We thought we were doing great – it was “only” 38 degrees and zero snow/ice. Then at some point it instantly dropped into the low teens and we suddenly found ourselves in several feet of snow, thanking the good Lord for providing us with a 4 wheel drive suburban. The next 1.5 (?) hours were seriously the most stressful moments of my life. It was pitch black, middle of nowhere, deathly freezing cold, boatloads of snow, and we really didn’t know where we were going…additionally, there was very spotty cell service, crappy gps maps (we did miss a major turn at one point), and I just kept thinking we were going to get stranded and die somehow. For reals. I graduated with a guy who died on a mountain in the winter. Oh. And speaking of death. I forgot to mention the part where while I was at the El Paso Walmart frantically buying car seats, I found out our beloved dog Smoke Rider had passed away. My poor neighbor went to check on him after we left and found him gone. I am so sad I wasn’t there and he was alone. I keep trying to tell myself that he let go when the kids weren’t there. My father and brother in law were so sweet and came and got Smoke and buried him on the family ranch in Devine next to his dad Gus, another truly amazing dog. So, it really had been a tough, tough day.
But back to the drive from hell…major props to Scott, who had never driven in snow but did a phenomenal job. I have to admit I was super impressed, but not surprised; Scott is very good at keeping his cool in high pressure situations. We all really worried though when we saw all of the stores and restaurants in town had closed due to the weather…aren’t they supposed to be used to this??? Even Taco Bell was closed at like 7:30pm! Blasphemy! Anyways, we eventually made it and I have never felt such relief!! The cabin was gorgeous and so breathtaking – exactly the beautiful, classic log cabin in the snowy mountains that you picture in your head!
Landri was like a kid on Christmas the first morning, dying to get out in the snow, waking me up at 5 something! She and I went out super early (maybe 7 something?) and tested out our sledding skills and explored our new little hood. Rex slept in and joined us later with my mom and Scott. Sadly, little Rex hated the snow. As in really, really hated it. Screamed, yelled and was just plain mad every second he was outside. But after realizing that Rex had a 102.3 fever a few days later, we figured out that was probably a huge part in why he seemed to hate the snow and sledding. I was pretty sick too (sinus infection or something), so Scott took Rex and me to the doctor about two days into the trip. Turns out Rex had a double ear infection and once he got antibiotics in him, he was a new man (me too actually). Turns out that Rex LOVES the snow and he LOVES, LOVES sledding just like Landri does! My favorite was how he would say, “Ready, set, go!” before each ride. It was precious!He also would yell, “Hold on!!!” and “Weeeeeee!!!!” and on occasion, I swear he would yell “Let it go!!!” (yes, that’s a Frozen reference thrown out by the 1 year old boy, LOL). I wish Rex had felt well the first few days but at least he got better before we left and still had some really fun days! I have to admit though, that I’m a little afraid of how brave he might be on different “vehicles” (i.e. bikes, etc) now on steep hills after finding his love for sledding. Snow play did really wear Rex out. He fell asleep outside (in the snow at least three days). Here is the best pic.
I had really hoped to run while I was there (that’s how I enjoy exploring new places when I travel), and with the insane amount of snow, it made running really tough. Throw in my illness and the altitude that I’m not accustomed to, and it was next to impossible. One day though, I mustered all of my strength, courage and lung power and ran 5.5 miles of serious hills in full snow gear including my five pound giant snow boots. It was beautiful. Here’s a photo. I also had scouted out yoga studios and had every intention of practicing but again, the snow kept me from venturing out to drive in those conditions (and I didn’t think I could talk Scott into taking me). Besides, I figured that with being sick, this was just God’s way of forcing me to slow down and just give my body a rest. Somehow between shoveling snow and hauling the kids up and down the hills to sled, I managed to still get a bazillion steps everyday on my Fitbit.
One major trip highlight was sledding of course. We tried all combinations (L&R together, Landri & Mommy, Rex & Daddy, etc) and we tried different hills all over the place. We settled on our favorite route being down our front yard, hitting the street and going all the way down the street (downhill). Scott measured the total distance to be about 155 yards!!! It was a pretty sweet ride! I will post a couple of my favorite videos here:
- If there is any video that you take the time to watch in this post, it should be this one. Rex wipes out (watch until the very end to see him face plant into a snow bank). I know, you feel kinda bad laughing out loud as the toddler eats it!! But it’s hilarious!
- Although nothing like Rex’s wipeout (above), here’s Landri sledding and kind of flipping off at the end
- Rex falls back and lacks the core strength to sit back up and rides laying down (listen to him say “weeeee!!!!”)
- Hauling the kids on the sled
- Mommy and Rex sledding together
- Rex and Scott sledding (separately) and high five at end
Another highlight was feeding the local mule deer apples. Here’s a video (the doe kept taking Landri’s glove – it was pretty funny).
Also super cool – it actually snowed while we were there – and hard. Check out this video clip!!! Seriously a dream trip!
And of course we had to make a snowman (Frosty) on our last day when the snow finally became packable. He turned out really well and the kids loved him. Here they are telling us about him and here’s Rex saying “Frosty the Snow Man.”
Landri and I also built a real life ice castle just like Anna and Elsa in Frozen. And then we made seats in it with drink koozies. Here’s a video and some pics.
Besides snow play, sledding, deer watching etc, we ate S’mores, had a fire in the fireplace, watched bowl games and enjoyed Scott’s cooking daily. Landri and Mimi even made us cookies one day too! It was such a fun trip. I want to go back already!!! It’s funny to think that we were worried about having any snow to play in…it really was so awesome!!! Thank you so much, Mom! We love you and had the best time ever!!!