Monday, August 27, 2012

1st Grade!

 Aaron's First Day of 1st Grade

 Aaron's teacher is a wonderful Christian lady and has known Scott's family for decades.

We have a first grader – wow!  Aaron had his very first day of first grade today.  He did great - there were no tears this year from him or me!  He really enjoyed having his own desk to sit at (as opposed to table groups from last year), and I think he will thrive with the busier learning schedule that comes with first grade.  In fact, he has already deemed first grade better than kindergarten.  His biggest concern was that his “best friend” from Kinder was not in the same class as him and that this BFF would not “want to be best friends anymore and not play on the playground with him.”  The very first thing he told me was that this friend DID play with and that “maybe they could be friends still even if they are not in the same class.”  We look forward to a great year!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Black Bear, Black Bear What Do You See?

I see a group of tasty Texans taking pictures of me.  Driving into our cabin subdivision, we saw a brown/ shaggy bear up in the woods!  What a treat!  The kids even spotted him before he ran off so we were glad to have seen him since we were certain to not see another.  We thought it might be a grizzly until we learned black bears can also be brown. We then got to the cabin, unloaded and later the girls all went for a walk.  My mom &sister walked ahead of me & the little toddler girls.  Story goes that they walked around a corner and Kasey said “There a bear!” and my mom in true form calmly said, “Sure enough.” They turned back and yelled down to me.   I spotted the big bear then since it had turned its direction a bit towards me & the little girls. I did everything you aren’t supposed to do and scooped up the girls and ran yelling “get in cabin!” “get in the cabin!”  To my defense, this bear was probably no more than 60 yards away – he wasn’t too interested in us, but if he decided to run, he had us beat.   Once safely inside the cabin, the picture taking session began!  There ended up being two BIG bears inspecting all the neighboring cabins that night.
The next morning we were greeted by this bear walking behind the cabin. Poor Aaron was still asleep in his bunk bed when we barged in to get a closer look through his bedroom window.  This bear looked right at us – totally knew we were there! 

 Good morning!
That afternoon my mom volunteered to stay with the napping little girls so we could take the big kids tubing and my dad could fly fish.  Little did she know what she was in for!  She was upstairs when she heard a noise on the deck – after a second look she saw the brown/shaggy bear on the front deck!  Mind you, the front door was cracked open with just the screened door closed (Oh me, oh my!  I still go through “what if “scenarios thinking about that!!)  Mom ran down and closed the door.  By then the bear had climbed on top of the kid’s table!  He then swung over the deck railing and hung there posing for a picture my mom could never find the camera to take. We’ll give her some grace for being just a tad frazzled (the camera was right in front of her and she couldn’t find it).     This bear sighting ended all relaxed visits on the deck and exploring around the cabin.  And turns out the thump noise that first alerted my mom was really the bear chewing up the crumbs in Leah’s car seat we haphazardly had left out on the deck!

 Bear paw print on table!
 Note:  Do not leave crumb-filled car seat on deck in bear country.  Bet yet, clean out the car seat every once in a while (oops!!).
Claw marks from the bear hanging off the deck railing!

And we thought for sure we were done seeing bears, but we had several more sightings the rest of the trip all around the cabin.  All the books and resident Red River neighbors we talked to claim that what we experienced just doesn’t happen.  “You never see bears during the daytime, they will leave you alone, scared of noises, etc.”  Not the case this time – we suspect someone there before us left food or trash out that the bears were coming back & looking for.  It was fun for us tourists to see!  It was a certainly strange feeling to have “spotters” while going outside or scanning the woods for bears before letting the kids in/out of the car.  We will certainly never be too relaxed in the woods ever again!

Goodbye Mountains

 It was a sad thing to leave the mountains – we had such a fun trip! First order of business this day (after loading up car with a cautious eye open for bears!) was family pics in front of Wheeler Peak. Next we headed into town for souvenir shopping while the kids played on another playground. Then it was time to say goodbye to Red River.   Fortunately the drive out was scenic for a bit so we got to make a stop and enjoy nature a bit longer.  
 Aaron insisted on a family pic in front of this tree.

Best pic of Caleb we have all trip is him with his feather sucker - very proud & excited!

 Stop along the way along a mountain river. Our car then became loaded up with one last pine cone collecting spree!

Aaron was excited to be back in Texas and posed for pics.  Leah had opinions about the car ride by this point – her favorite “chants” were the following ranked according to frequency:  1)  “Out!!!!  Out!!!! Mommy Out!!!!”  2) “By myselfs!!!!” – she said this phrase often, we joked about her always saying a plural “myself” – guess she has multiple personalities which is probably a true statement for all two-year-olds.  3)  “iTouch! Daddy iTouch!!!”  - she definitely wanted to play with the same toys everyone else got to!

We were greeted in Texas by a rare treat – a horned toad!  It was by my sister’s house in Amarillo.  With all the wildlife we saw all trip long, Aaron deemed this the most important since they are endangered.  He was thrilled to get to observe on in the wild.
We had a wonderful trip and are so very thankful & blessed!  What an awesome Creator we serve!

Red River Day 5

Day 5 marked our 2nd and final full day in the mountains.  It started with a morning drive over to the fish hatchery about 18 miles away – we saw beautiful scenery again and kept our eyes open for big horn sheep.  The kids loved feeding the HUGE rainbow trout at the hatchery.  We spent a good hour fishing the stock pond near there.  Still no luck catching fish but it was fun to explore.  

 This was the biggest rainbow trout any of us at had ever seen!

   Caleb looked like such a big boy fishing and casting all by himself!

That afternoon Scott stayed with the baby girls during nap so the girls could take the big kids horse back riding.  Caleb ended up no wanting to go so it was just Alayna & Aaron.  This was another first for Aaron and one we again were happy to see him branch out and try.   We rode double so ended up with the biggest horse there named Rupus. I was glad Aaron had a helmet on once I saw how much taller we were than the other horses – in fact, I wished I had a helmet.  These horses had opinions of their own and you really had to work with them.   In fact, one horse even took several nips at Aaron’s camo-pants  - Aaron said “Better not wear green pants next time!” We nicknamed our horse Rupus Tooter because he was quite gassy!  Aaron & Alayna got a huge kick out of this and it was especially funny that Kasey & Alayna suffered “the blow” riding directly behind us!  The views were wonderful on the hour long ride – we saw lots of chipmunks and those much loved pine trees.   I was feeling my age on this horse also and continued to feel my age for a couple days after getting off that huge horse!

Later that afternoon we went back into town to catch a 50 year-old gun fight show in front of ones of the local shops.  The show was not a hit with the grown-ups but the kids enjoyed it – I was surprise that all 5 were just fine with the loud gun shots.  Go figure!

Red River - Day 4

 Our 4th day of travels marked our first full day in Red River, NM.  We woke up to very chilly weather (even had to turn the heat on!) and crystal clear blue mountain skies!  It was nice to have morning snuggles under warm blankets in August.

We headed into town to the kids’ fishing pond – a stocked pond just for kids and seniors.  The weather was great and Caleb in true form fished his little heart out.  He never caught anything but our little fisherman still was quite sad to have to leave after more than hour. 

One fun thing is that they stocked the tank while we were there – nothing like seeing hundreds of trout being thrown into a small pond – no wonder Caleb didn’t want to leave!
 Relaxing at the cabin!

That afternoon we took the big kids to mountain tubing.  At first, Aaron did not want to slide and was content to just watch the little ones go down the smaller slope.  Turn out he was upset about not being old enough to go up the chair lift slide which had a age 7 requirement.  Well, we went and told the truth to the ticket booth about his age (6 ¾) and they made him a honorary seven-year-old for the day!  Talk about a fun deal for Aaron!  We were so happy to see him branch out and try something we were not sure he would not – he can be very timid and likes safety.  He loved the chair lift.  For our first 2 rides down the slide he opted to ride tandem with me.  Let me just say that this slide was very fast (in parts) and very bumpy.  I was feeling my age for sure.  Totally worth it to hear Aaron laughing all the way down.  By our final slide, Aaron suggested we race down side by side!  Turns out I weigh more than Aaron so I went WAY fast and my tube started spinning and spinning on the way down!  YUCK!  Scott has video which I am very happy he does not know how to upload & share.  It consists of me screaming and yelling “Oh no! Oh no!”  He finds it rather amusing.  Aaron had a blast tubing and said it was the highlight of his day! 

Caleb & Alayna baby slide was actually quite fast and they would spin them super fast!  They had a blast!
Above is another fun thing that day - the kids got to take a jeep ride courtesy of one fo Kasey's old friends that lived in the area.  We even found a beaver pond!

That evening we found a great park to explore – it had a great play ground, trails and creek to explore and TONS of chipmunks!  The chipmunks were a huge hit with all of the kids, so much so that Aaron’s souvenir choice was a stuffed toy chipmunk!

 We all loved the aspen trees!

 The boys both found walking sticks and used them everywhere - I was shocked they let us leave them in Red River!
 Aaron & Caleb blending in with the all the rocks! This was great park that we were sure to visit again before leaving town!