Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My camera broke but that's ok. Sort of.

Between my camera breaking yesterday and looking through all the years pictures I'm getting a bit nostalgic for the recently past and all the events of my life.

There are so many things that I love about the holidays and December. Of course there are plenty of things I don't like too, but right now let's focus on the good. Like I said, there are so many things that I love about the holidays. It's a time of year when I force myself to look back on the year. I am mostly doing that because I am trying to find just the right photo of my kids. Of course one of the kids often has a silly smirk or is poking her brother and pinching his sister, but that's all in love right? But honestly, I stop for a little while and reflect of the year as a whole and realize just as the cold winter blues are starting to set in, just how blessed I am, and just how amazing our life is.

Of course there are the ups and downs and struggles, etc... but I like to take pictures. Probably too many pictures sometimes. But I was trained through grueling post-Thanksgiving photo taking sessions before the age of digital cameras when photos could be viewed, shared and instantly emailed to the person sitting next to you. The photo sessions involved all of us lined up. With the matriarch and patriarch in the middle. The youngest ones sitting closest to the oldest and the middle generations stuck on the edge. Mostly the then middle generation, was on the edge as they were the ones running back and forth to the cameras that are now thought to be from the middle ages. (Remember when you had to advance the camera's film manually to the next frame for the camera to work.) But ahh yes, the memories, even with out actually seeing the photos from the different Thanksgiving. Every year the pictures look the same. Altering the living room depending on which aunt hosted and sometimes a special showing by one of my mom's boyfriends or a cousin that lived across the country. We were all so close then generally. It was an anomally for one someone not to show. Now, I think of all my cousins and we cover every US time zone, and then include that Canadian one that comes before EST way out there in the Atlantic.

But I regress...

Christmas also forces me to look through all my photos from the year and see all the great things I have experienced with my kids. Trust me, there aren't smiles in all these pictures. Of course it's always more fun to take pictures when there is a happy crowd, but we have plenty of healthy fits documented on my digital memory. Some get erased, others are used for blackmail. That's what family is about right? Forgive, forget, or blackmail... oh I'm not sure.

But this year also leads me to be nostalgic of the Christmas's past and the traditions I had, the ones I am desperately trying to recreate for my kids, the ones I can't ignore, the ones I must have ignored because I just can't recall them (what happened in 1990, the slate is blank...) and the one I'm living right now. Of course when you pick up your life and move across the country to what might as well be another country one gets nostalgic for things not here. That happens.

Again, I regress.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am crazy, but I'm happy. I am struggling but I am living. I have the most amazing kids and fabulous husband. We are not perfect, but I love them and the life we are living. Day to day I may lose my mind, but on the whole, I wouldn't have it any other way.

And then of course we have all the moments in between that no camera is ever present. How is it I don't stop to take a picture of Tigo building his Legos. I'm not documenting the event that occurs as ritual every morning noon and night. Finished products sometimes, but Legos are such a work in progress we don't have finished products much. There is a lot of "look at what it is now" and "what do you think it needs more?"

There's not a camera at the school drop off in the morning where I kiss the kids good by and secretly want to hold them a few more minutes everyday even as I fight to tell them how important it is to be on time to school.

There's not a camera when I tuck them into bed at night or sit on the floor reading Harry Potter to them as they beg for one more chapter even though it's an hour past their bedtime.

And there is certainly not a camera when Azalea screams when she sees a cockroach, but I know it's a memory she will remember.

I guess there are the events and the traditions or just daily rituals and they are all wonderful and all sacred.

And I am so blessed to have it all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Drive slow. Wasted cows eating mushrooms may be found being beamed up by UFOs in the middle of the road in Northern New Mexico.

Crazy lady say what?

Multiple signs like this outside of Taos. Not just one graffitti-ed on. Rural New Mexicans have real concerns off two lane roads.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

96 degrees in the shade

Maybe it would have been, but I'm not sure there was any shade.

So was more than that on this day.

It's funny. I thought it would be a good a idea to go hiking in the desert on a 100 degree day. The kids thought it would be a better idea to go swimming at the pool.

We did both.

The kids were right.

I was wrong. It takes a lot for me to say that. A lot of evaporated sweat. My goodness it was hot! Even the dogs were too crazy hot. To be in the sun.

 There was supposed to be a creek on the hike. But like I said, it was 100 degrees in the open desert. There's no water to  be seen or heard of.

The dogs founds a little shade to collapse into, but by that time, we were ready to go swimming somewhere else.
 But it was kinda pretty.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"They just grow up so fast "

"I'm so proud of them, they do so well on their own."
"I've done all I can and now it's time for them to be free on their own"
"It's really amazing how much they've changed in such a short time"

No. I'm not talking about my little people that grew in my womb about to go to school. All of these words were uttered from the mouths of two of my little people.

For about two weeks Azalea started doing her own little science project sort of by accident. She of course would never say it was science. But we sure had a full on hands down life cycle learning experience here. And it was awesome.

After one of our afternoon Monsoon rains, Azalea and I went for a little walk. We only made it two houses down. There is a big puddle that collects in front of our neighbors yard. We are in an old neighborhood with a poor gutter/ sewer/ drainage system, so in many areas there are puddles that simply collect. And then usually evaporate a day or so later.

This particular puddle gets larger than the others though. And when you looked at it from afar it appears that there is rain gently dripping on it. Thing is, the skies are clear and the monsoon has past and there's no more rain, but the drops are still there.

So after further investigation there were literally thousands of tadpoles swimming around the puddle.
So we stopped and Azalea caught tadpoles and released them.

And then we left as it's in the blaring sun. And then came back later.

Hours and hours sitting watching my little lady get her clothes soaked in the puddle while she picks up the tiny little guys and then quickly puts them back because they can't yet breathe out of water.

So the next day we are sitting around. Neighbors come and visit with us. Some other kids pick some of their own tadpoles up. Some just stop to chat. Others just get to have their dogs loved on by Azalea.  We find out they are toads, not frogs.

Azalea collected a few (as in 25) and keeps them in a tub on our front porch. I won't let her bring them in the house (too messy). And I won't let her bring them in the back yard. I tell her it's because of the dogs, but really, if they cross over into the backyard there's a commitment to keep them. (as in forever).

So they stayed on our front porch.

Everyday, about 25 times a day, Azalea checks on the creatures, picks them up. Plays with them. Sees how they are growing. Scrapes some algae up to put in the water to make sure they have something to eat. (Just guessing that's what they want, they came from a street puddle after all.) Everytime we come or go from the house, she will stop to see them and check on them. See how they are getting bigger and growing.

Eventually they start to grow legs. LEGS! How creepy.

Or cool.
Mostly Cool.
But then as I'm putting the trash out the other night. I notice the little guys have jumped onto the rock and one of them is breathing. This means that the little critters are breathing air and not just their oxygen from the water.

This also means that if we don't get a "real" pond situation going these little hoppers aren't going to make it much longer on our porch.

Azalea also comes out and sees one of them floating in the water. He looks dead. She screams. But then we figure out that he's not dead. Only sleeping. (We nudge him and he moves).

Catch and Release.

It's time for our slimy friends to make their way over to the Biopark where we have caught other tadpoles before.  Azalea agrees. After all she is worried about the crawdads at the ditch eating them. Good point.

Tigo, Azalea and I drive our friends over to the pond at the botanical gardens.

With a proud little tear in her eye...."They just grow up so fast."

Then they swim over to a sheltered little area of the pond behind a rock.
"I did a good job raising them. But now it's time for them to go out on their own. I'm really proud of the toads they are becoming."

Does this make me a grandma to toads. Oh geeezzzzz.

Afternoon Delight

It's monsoon season here in Albuquerque. At least that's what everyone keeps telling me. Basically it occasionally rains here in the afternoon. As opposed to never raining ever, I suppose it could be noticable. But not really that much.

About a week ago after the rains I took the dogs over to the fields for a walk in the afternoon/evening. I guess folks around here don't know what to do when it rains, so everyone stayed away. It was kind of nice not seeing anyone else on the usually frequented open space. This was especially nice because I let the dogs off leash, which can be a major faux paus for half the population over there. The other half are advocates for free dogs off leash. Forget about the Democrat/Republican divide the on leash/ off leash controversy is the big debate in the north valley.

I usually, reluctantly, keep the dogs in tow on leash, even though they are very well behaved when given the chance to run free. But with no one around.....

I often feel more free when I see the dogs running free. Especially when there is no worry of others around. But running free with beautiful skys, golden fields and huge sunflowers.
Maybe just showing me what Pancho's dog field in the sky is like.
With of course some good mud to get messy in.