Archive for the 'Travel – Santa Fe' Category

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A Day of Exploration

We had devoted a majority of Tuesday, August 7th, to exploring Bandelier National Monument. My hubby and I had been there three years ago, and we had really enjoyed it. We knew this exploration trip would be different, since we had kiddos with us, but we were still excited to go.


After a lovely breakfast, we headed out. Bandelier isn’t too far from Santa Fe, so it didn’t take us long to arrive at our destination. Once there, we got Claire strapped into her stroller and we were ready to roll!


Claire is ready to roll!




The weather was perfect. The skies were a crisp blue, and the few clouds that dotted the sky were so white. It wasn’t too hot, and with no humidity, it was quite pleasant. We explored some of the dwellings on the main level, and when we got to our first non-stroller-friendly spot, I offered to watch the girls while the others visited the cliff dwellings. Because I’d seen this section before, and since the girls were so happy in their strollers, we thought that was the best option.




While the boys did more exploring, Linda came back to check on us. We got the girls out of their strollers, and they had a blast playing in the sand. Claire loved it, but decided after a while that she liked having her hands clean, too.

Fun in the sand… All clean…



The boys joined us, and we made our way farther into the park. When we came to the next non-stroller-friendly part, Chris stayed with the girls, and Cameron and Linda joined Daddy, Claire and I on our trek to see Long House. Cameron and Chris had walky-talkies, so they were able to communicate with each other about what was happening on each end. As we made our way back, we met another group of people. The man said, “Oh, are you guys the people on the other end of the walky-talky?” We told he we were, and he thought that was a great idea. He asked if the girls were twins, and we told him they weren’t. (They are only two-weeks apart, and with their hats on they look very similar, it’s no wonder that was assumed…) When we got back to Chris, he told us that the girls had been just fine. Claire had greeted everyone as they came down the path and started to ascend the steps. “Hi! Hi! Hi!” she’d say. Such a polite little greeter.


Because Chris wanted to see Long House, my hubby went back up with him, and Cameron led the rest of us back toward the visitor center. We found a nice, big shade tree and waited for the guys to join us. Because she’d been such a good girl in the stroller, we let Claire run walk all the way back to the visitor center. Once again, we’d had a fabulous time exploring Bandelier.


Cliff Dwelling




Somehow, we’d totally lost track of time, and it was well after the typical lunch-time. Luckily, we’d eaten a late and large breakfast. We drove into Los Alamos and found a Subway restaurant. Purely by chance, we also found a free science museum. The Bradbury Science Museum had free admission, so we decided to check it out after lunch.


From what I saw of it, it looked really cool. Claire was quite a handful in the museum. She didn’t act out or make a lot of noise, but she was only happy “exploring” at top speed. I tried to hand her off three times to Daddy, but he was too engrossed in the displays to really understand what I needed. Claire was tugging on my arm to GO-GO-GO!, and I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I just decided to handle her myself. By the time we got to the TechLab Discovery Room, the prefect place if you’re four to six years older than Claire, there was just too much for her to “discover.” Rather than reach the point of meltdown, I scooped her up and took her outside. After a while, the rest of the crew joined us.


As we’re all piling into the car and getting everyone settled, my hubby says to me, “Wow. That was really cool! What did you think?”


“Yeah, I’m sure the museum was really cool. I’d like to see it sometime.” 😉


After I was able to relax for a bit in the car and have a Diet Coke, my mood improved. The views of the landscape on the way from Los Alamos back to Santa Fe were just magical. Overall, we had a successful day of exploration.

Following the rules

“Ma’am, you see, the thing about the baby-doll is this…” a polite, yet very concerned and very serious-looking Security Guard said to me as we entered the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. “We don’t want her throwing it at any of the artwork.”

“Is the baby-doll okay if I hold her like this?” I asked, as I tucked the baby-doll safely under my arm and patted her hard plastic head.

“Oh, of course. That would be fine.” Situation assessed. Threat neutralized.

The puppy, of course, posed no threat.

Don’t tell Puppy. It would only hurt his feelings.

Art Appreciation

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum 

We love the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  The first time we went there, we were visiting Santa Fe as a young childfree couple.  We weren’t restricted by the attention span of a toddler, and we spent a long time appreciating the artwork and letting it all soak in.  We fell in love with Georgia’s work.  We even purchased a print that now hangs in our dining room.  I hadn’t realized that her work was more than skulls and female anatomy-reminiscent florals, nor how powerful even those would be in person.

This trip was a bit different.  The family we’d traveled with to Santa Fe had never been there, and we were excited to go again.  Claire is obviously too young to truly appreciate the artwork on certain levels, but she liked seeing the pretty colors.  And, really, isn’t that where the appreciation begins?

I can’t wait to take her back when she’s a bit older, so that she can tell me what she sees when she gazes at the brilliant blue sky through the hole in a pelvis bone, or tell me what she thinks the white dot in Black Abstraction is.  I can’t wait to share with her an appreciation for the tangible products of creativity, whether it be at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum or elsewhere.

I can’t wait to see art with the freshness and naïveté that only exists in a child’s mind and have conversations that are fed by that energy.

A Constant Reminder of the Passage of Time

“Did we go to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum three years ago?”


“And that’s when we got Georgia*?”


“Didn’t we almost hit Georgia with the ladder when we were trying to install the ceiling fan?”

“Yes. And, you nearly had a heart-attack.”

“We were installing the ceiling fan for my 30th birthday. We did that the day before my 30th Birthday Party. Remember?”


“I’m 33 years old. I turned 30 in March of 2004, and we didn’t go to Santa Fe until June of that year.”


“So, we had to have gotten the print when we went to Santa Fe six years ago, but I don’t remember going to the museum on that trip. Do you?”

“We did? We had to have…I guess…”

“Keeping track of things like this will be so much easier now that we have a little walking and talking reference of the passage of time. She’s like a little living calendar.”

* “Georgia” is what we affectionately call the Georgia O’Keeffe print we purchased and had framed. “Pelvis IV” is the technical name.

Expecting Perfection

On the Tuesday morning of our trip to Santa Fe, the whole gang went to Guadalupe’s Café for breakfast.  This was a busy place, so we couldn’t get a table right away.  Once at the table, it took the wait staff a while to come take our orders. 

We’re all pretty well-versed in keeping children occupied, and I thought we were doing well.  This wasn’t a fancy restaurant, and it wasn’t a quiet ambiance.  It was bustling and relatively loud.  Both Claire and Mallory had waited too long, and there were a couple of outbursts, but nothing major and certainly nothing like what had happened the night before. 

Our food arrived, and everything had been going fine.  Claire made it quite clear toward the end of the meal that she was done with her food, and done with being strapped in her booster seat, and she was done with this restaurant.  She’d been relatively good for so long, and everyone else was finishing up.  Mallory had made it clear that she was finished as well, so Linda said she was taking her outside, and she’d wait for us.  Then, all the girls could walk back to the hotel and the boys could finish up and handle the check.

So, I put Claire in the stroller and disassembled the booster seat.  She had never had a fit in a restaurant before, even as a tiny baby.  She’d been this model child.  People had told me this wasn’t normal.  I was hoping our restaurant luck would last forever, but I knew that wasn’t possible.  I wanted to get out of there before she really threw a fit.  There was a lot of talking all around us, and I was so focused on getting things organized and getting out the door that I didn’t hear what happened next.

My hubby told us all later that the old woman at the table next to us, looked directly at him, gave him a disgusted eye-roll and said, “Thanks for ruining our breakfast.”

Excuse me?  I was devastated.  As hard as I tried, I could not shake that woman’s comment out of my head the entire day, and I hadn’t even heard it first-hand!  I’d gotten scrambled eggs, green chili sauce and Anasazi beans all over my Zen Master notes, so they were of no help to me.  Why would she say such a terrible thing?  It wasn’t like any of the kids were that bad.  We were at a breakfast place!  It was loud!  Claire had a few outbursts, but they certainly weren’t powerful enough ruin anybody’s anything, and if they were, it wasn’t Claire who had the issues.

That woman’s comments just made the tantrum from the night before come alive again.  Has my child reached the stage where I can’t control her?  Have I become one of those parents?  All day, I succeeded in fighting back the tears, but I could feel them stinging my eyeballs.  Crying would just give that horrid woman the exact reaction she wanted.  I’m bigger than this!  I’m not a bad mother!  My daughter is not a monster! 

I kept stewing all day.  What would I have said, had I actually heard her?  I’m really not a rude person in real life, but would my Momma Bear instincts have come out?  Would I have torn her to shreds with my Momma Bear Claws for threatening my daughter?  I’ll never know, but part of me hopes so.   

As the days passed, I’d wiped off my Zen Master notes, and was able to focus again on the important things.  Claire is a happy, healthy and normal toddler.  I’ve accepted the fact that she will have outbursts in public.    It’s not like we had her in an inappropriate situation or that we didn’t even try to make the situation better for those around us.  She’s almost two.  This is to be expected.  When looking at the trip as a whole, Claire was “good” about 90% of the time, and that’s excellent!  I’m trying my hardest to not expect perfection, and it’s too bad when others can’t do the same. 

My hubby is great at ignoring the ignorant, which is exactly what he did.  I, on the other hand, have been itching to say something to that sad and pathetic woman ever since.  What would have been a snappy retort?  Feel free to choose from the following list:

1.  You’re welcome!

2.  Asphinctersayswhat?

3.  She’s not even two and has no social graces.  What’s your excuse?

4.  Let me guess.  You haven’t pooped in four days either?

5.  It’s really a shame when raging menopause hormones rear their ugly heads, isn’t it?

6.  Who has the Scavenger Hunt List?  I found the crabby, old, wrinkly woman!

7.  I didn’t realize there was an Assisted Living Facility so close.  We’re so sorry to have bothered you on your daily outing.

8.  You think this is bad?  You should have been sitting next to the old hag at this table.

Another Mommy Badge

Prior to our trip to Santa Fe, Claire had never really thrown a true, really loud, knock-down drag-out fit, in public.  She’s 20-months old.  That’s a long time to go without that happening.  I knew we were due…I just didn’t know when, where, or how spectacular it would be.

My child certainly does not disappoint.  If you’re gonna go, go all out.  😉

One of the first really good fits was in the car on the way to Santa Fe.  All seven of us rode in the same vehicle, and we had plenty of space.  Claire is not used to riding with so many people, let alone having me sitting right next to her.  Thankfully, I was able to get her calmed down, and it didn’t happen too many times.  Still, it was shocking!  Who is this child?  Where did mine go??

I think the best, most colorful fit was at the Cowgirl Bar and Grill our second night in Santa Fe.  This is a really cool restaurant that has an outdoor play area for kids.  Linda and I had decided to take the kids to the play area and the guys would wait for the food.  Cameron and Mallory were having a ball playing on the slide.  Claire tried the slide a couple of times and loved it, but then threw a fit when she realized that the slide ended at the bottom and not back at the top.  She wanted to keep going down the slide, without taking time to go back up to the top.  Ya gotta love broken toddler logic. 

Of course, I’m only guessing as to what the real problem was, because the tantrum that ensued was amazing.  Thankfully, we were outside at the play area.  Thankfully, we were surrounded by parents who had children.  Odds are, this wasn’t the first full-blown tantrum they’d experienced.

I felt so inept.  I felt so inadequate.  I’ve never had to deal with this.  Those with kids would be chuckling right now…but I’m new at this game!  Linda, wise woman that she is, tried a couple of tactics with Claire, but it was too late.  This had to work itself out.

I could not reason with her, and she would not calm down, so I just let her flail about on the ground.  It was Astroturf, and I was tired of being pummeled by tiny fists and kicked by strong little feet.  I’ve always heard that when someone is having a seizure, you place them on the floor and make sure their head is turned to the side so they don’t swallow their tongue or choke on their own vomit.  That, seriously, is my only frame of reference, and this was as close to a seizure as I’ve ever been.  Not to belittle seizures, but you get the idea… 

My hubby came to tell us the food was ready, and I scooped up my screaming child from the ground.  When I started walking toward the seating area, she stopped screaming, but I was totally expecting another eruption of huge proportions, and I was prepared to go wait outside while they boxed up my food.  Instead, Claire took one look at the table and said, “Oh, Monkey Cheese!!  Oh, hi, Daddy!” and it was though the tantrum hadn’t even happened.

Linda says I’ve earned another Mommy Badge for my sash.  I put this one next to the Breastfeeding In Public badge and right under the Trip To The ER one.  I already have quite a few badges, but not as many as Linda.  I can only hope to have a sash as pretty as hers, one day.  Some of her badges look really cool.  😉

Trying not to be a big ol’ baby head

So, the files have started rolling in, and I’ve been assigned some priority files. (Priority files are files that are due sooner than normal files, because there’s been a rush placed on them.)

I’m sitting at my desk, day-dreaming about the wonderful time we had in Santa Fe, and the files keep popping into my inbox, jarring me back to reality. I can tell by the due-dates that they are Priority Files, and my blood pressure starts to rise.

“Aaaaaaaaargh! NO priority files!!” I scream out loud, mostly to myself and mostly to the cosmos. “I don’t want any Priority Files…especially on the first day back from vacation!!”

My hubby, who has decided to “work from home” today (*cough*), yells back from the kitchen, “Dude, don’t be a big ol’ baby head.”

“Baby head! Baby head!” Claire chimes in right behind him.

“I’m ready for my Santa Fe Margarita right about now. I’ll be in the pool. Just have it delivered to me there, thanks.”


We’re baaaaack!

We got back last night around 9:30 p.m. from our trip to Santa Fe!

I have so much to write, and of course, the onslaught of files has already started, and it’s not even 11am yet!

I’ll be writing more about the trip in detail, but it boils down to this: We had a fabulous time!! The reason we were later getting back was we took an hour lunch in Taos, and then found a really cool playground and the kids ran around and played for another hour. Both stops were greatly needed, and it helped them all nap in the car.

The kids did GREAT! Cameron, the four year old, was a rock-star the whole trip. Both Mallory and Claire did really well, too! (Better than can be expected from toddlers, that’s for sure!) The girls have different styles…Mallory is a slow boil that peaks in a fit, and Claire is a tick-tick-tick-BOOM kind of person. You know when Mallory is upset, and it doesn’t last long. You think Claire is fine until she all of a sudden bursts out in a scream and flailing mass of waving arms and kicking legs. Neither Daddy nor I have ever seen her have such fits. Thankfully, they were really short-lived, didn’t seem to bother the other family at all, and didn’t happen too much.

It’s always tricky traveling with another family, and you never know how it will go until you’re smack-dab in the middle of it. Thankfully, it went really well. We would love to join forces again in the future for other adventures.

Well, the files are calling my name, and I still need to sort through a full email inbox. I can’t wait to get all my thoughts and pictures organized. I love reliving great trips. Stay tuned for tales from our Santa Fe Adventure!

Edited to add: Check out the posts in the Santa Fe category!