2015 Recap ~ Christmas in July letter

IMG_0518I’m not sure my end-of-year recap letter will ever be the same.  I’m not drafting this in the final days of December 2015, nor the days creeping into January or February 2016… No, no, I’m not even THAT good.  It is currently July 7th, 2016.  Yes, I’m THAT bad.  At least I can use a cliche slogan on my letter as a “Christmas in July” recap… but who am I fooling?  Only myself…. The truth is, 2015 held such monstrous events that it’s taken me 6 months into 2016 to really sit down, reflect, and write about it. Or maybe I’m just a procrastinator…

2015 began with my last semester of Graduate school at NMSU.  Masters of Social Work was in it’s final lap and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Charlie and I decided it would be a good idea to attempt “Operation Reconnect” again in 2015, you can read about that here.

In January, my Dad headed the “mission control” Air Traffic Control team for the Two Eagles gas balloon flight which was aiming at breaking the world record for length and time traveled (and it DID!!).  The flight had many exciting twists and turns and the Albuquerque Balloon Museum was the control center of it all.  Gentry & Haven loved visiting grandpa in the midst of all the excitement. The crew and controllers even got invited to the Roundhouse in Santa Fe for a celebratory day with the Governor of NM in honor of “Two Eagles Day”.

We spent the last weekend of January with a trip to Angelfire to relax, ski, and watch the Superbowl with family and friends.  Everyone had a great time.  The icing on the cake was the extraordinary series of events that happened to a teacher that I had met while working for Child Protective Services in the months prior.  If you have no idea who Sonya Romero is, click here to read all about it.

In March, Charlie resumed his volunteer coaching career with i9Sports and coached both Haven’s soccer team (the 4 year olds) and Gentry’s baseball team (the 6 year olds).  Well, what really happened was that I signed up to coach Haven’s soccer team but then I chickened out and got stage fright and made him take over.  Poor thing.  He hates me but I think he enjoyed it, especially having never played soccer in his life.  Horay for YouTube videos!!  The children both really enjoyed their teams/season.

In April, we put Gentry in ballet, jazz, hip hop camp for Spring break at Keshet Dance studio.  He started out iffy but ended up loving it and wanting the whole ballet outfit (tights pointing shoes and all).  It was cute.  My birthday in April was clouded by Comprehensive Exams, a 72 hour research/writing “exam” for Grad school.   Needless to say, after that, the month was shot and I was struggling to crawl to the Grad school finish line.  I can’t remember anything redeeming for April after that point.

In May, Gentry was so excited to participate for his school in The Run For The Zoo.  Gentry really loved the training with his P.E. coach in the weeks leading up to the run and he left me and Haven in the dust once the race started.  So much for a 2K “fun run”, he’s super competitive (like someone else I know…).

Also in May, my youngest sister, Lindsey, graduated from Manzano highschool.  Congrats to her on all the hard work!  I had to upstage her graduation with my own graduation to make myself feel young & cool again.  Charlie & I and the kids, went to Las Cruces, NM for the main campus graduation from NMSU (he wanted to see the “real” college that my Albuquerque campus was tied to).  My twin sister, Yvonne, drove up to Las Cruces from Austin, Texas just for the graduation.  It was a surreal night “walking” with all my Las Cruces TV screen classmates/faculty.  We attended the Social Work hooding ceremony but ended up bailing on the huge Saturday graduation (the kids could only take so much waiting and boredom…. and quite frankly, me too).  The itch was adequately scratched.

My Mom came to Albuquerque from Guam for all of the families graduation ceremonies.  She always comes back for the summers but the rest of the year she works on grant programs for collaborative art projects with the National Parks in Guam.  We promptly took a little roadtrip to Phoenix to visit my brother Aaron and meet his new baby girl, Atlyss, who had arrived on Valentines Day in February.  She was so cute and the children had a great time with their cousins.  Upon our return, Charlie & I promptly rented a moving truck and finally moved into our “mountain chalet”.  It had been patiently waiting since last summer for me to graduate before we moved in.  It was also that weekend that I officially accepted a job offer and started paid employment with The Children, Youth, & Families Department (CYFD) working as an In-Home Services Practitioner.  It was an exciting and exhausting month to say the least.

In June, Charlies family from Houston, TX came to stay with us for a few days.  We had a great time visiting the Zoo/Biopark and the children got their fix of cousin , aunt/uncle, and grandma time.  They even rode the Tramway.

In July, we sent off my newly graduated little sister, Lindsey, to Guam with my Mom for a little post highschool soul searching time.  I think she enjoyed it but was back by Halloween.  Homesick. (teenagers. sheesh!)

In August, I passed the Licensing exam to get my official Social Work License as an LMSW.  It was such a hard exam so I was thrilled to pass (on my son’s lucky birthdate). Also, in August, Gentry & Haven started school at the elementary school in Tijeras, NM.  It was Haven’s first year of “real” school and she was so excited to start Kindergarten and be like her brother.  Gentry started 1st grade.  The school bus picked up the children at the top of our driveway, and it was the cutest little country thing ever. I love it.  An honorable mention for August, is that the kiddos had their birthday party in the Barn with a country/western theme and Gentry got a Red Ryder BB gun.  Hide your eyeballs, folks.

In October, the kids took advantage of the Pinon seed explosion and bagged up a bunch for friends and family (and sold a few bags too).  It was their first entrepreneurial experience. My sister Yvonne also came to visit in October and it was a great time.  The children love “auntie Von”.

In November, my Dads brothers and sister came to visit from as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.  It was awesome to hangout with all my aunts and uncles, it’s been years!!  The children loved it too.

I couldn’t mention winter months without mentioning how truly awesome the snow was this year [sarcasm].  I think Charlie had to pull my car out at least 13 times.  The novelty of getting to use his 4-wheel drive was definitely worn off by the time I lodged my car sideways into the ditch-bank across from the mailboxes in our neighborhood a mere 30 seconds after he had just pulled my car out of a snow bank in our driveway.  El nino had a beef with me this year, what can I say?  I’m also a really bad parker/driver apparently. Who knew?  (Now everyone in our neighborhood knows)

In early December, my brother Marcus and his girlfriend Jessica, welcomed their first child into this world, my super cute nephew Gavin.  It was exciting news but we didn’t get to meet him till later on.  Also, in December, Charlie, the kids and I flew to Texas to spend Christmas with Charlies family/brother in La Grange, TX.  The children had a blast playing with their cousins in the mud pond, on the 4-wheelers, etc.  They also got to visit with their big brother, Aaron, who spent an evening with us.  Much needed family time.

As we begin 2016, I look forward to chilling out this year.  Relaxing.  Smelling the roses.  Not having MAJOR plans. For. Anything.  Charlie continues to be blessed and fulfilled at his job and his many home projects keep him happy.  The children are doing wonderful, and they are both doing well in school, especially with reading, handwriting, and art.  They are really enjoying living in the mountains.  It’s like a getaway, everyday, if I say so myself.

We hope this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy going into 2016 (or for the rest of 2016).  Many blessings!

Love,

The Tomlins

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Adventures in trying to make some Christmas spending money ~ the dog

Being in Grad School and unable to get paid for working for the next two years, I decided to sign up on a national dog sitting service that matches people to watch other peoples dogs in their homes instead of having to take the dog to a nasty kennel.  Brilliant.  I’m an animal lover.  We have a mini-farm already.  It will be like having a fun sleepover for my own dogs.   So, I signed up on the site and reservations poured in.

Yesterday, the first dog was dropped off for a 10 day “vacation” with us.  For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him “Rover“.  He is a 70 pound German Shepperd, Leonberger mix. He is excellent with my children because he comes from a family with 2 small children too.  He does awesome with my two little dogs too, Milo & Kisa, because the owner says she takes him to the dog park regularly to socialize.  He sleeps in his crate inside at night and all goes well…. but it’s only the first night.

This morning I let Rover outside to do his business and after a few minutes I went out into the larger yard to lock the chickens up in their coop area (though they were already there, scared to death of Rover already) because Charlie had warned me that most dogs are “bird dogs” and like to chase/eat birds (aka: our chickens)….

Rover followed me out into the larger yard (the mini-farm side).  He & the goats sniffed each other a little and then Rover went about his business sniffing the rest of the yard.   I go to the barn to do the feeding rounds and Rover follows me, sniffs around more and all of a sudden, he starts chasing the goats….

After about five laps around the outside of the barn, Pecos gets smart and comes inside the barn with me, but the baby goat (Hondo jr.) is still running in circles around the barn being chased by Rover…. Finally Rover catches him right in front of the barn and he has Hondo Jr.’s entire rear neck area enclosed in his jaws, and Rover is trying to pull him down to the ground.  He hangs there for a while and won’t let his jaw grip budge…. and poor Hondo jr. is loudly crying in his sweet little goat cry/panic….

Meanwhile, I’m standing there in horror, having flashbacks of those super sad Saturday morning PBS animal shows when the Lions catch those poor baby deer (or whatever they are) and hold them until they’ve stopped twitching and then tear apart their lifeless bodies…. So I thought, ‘I may get torn to shreds here but I have to save my poor baby Hondo jr., I’ve been waiting my whole life to be in the middle of those PBS shows to save the poor underdog, slowest runner of the pack’ (it’s the social worker in me!!).

So I spring to action and pry Rover’s jaws/teeth apart with my hands and Hondo Jr. runs right into the barn and I follow, slamming the door to lock Rover out.  Both goats were shaking like a leaf, Pecos because he’d nearly witnessed the death of his BFF and Hondo jr because he almost met his maker in the jaws of a mother-approved house guest.  Ugh.  I feel so bad!!

So I definitely think Rover is some kind of wolf/lion mix LOL!  And I’m definitely learning some important lessons like, don’t create a potential farm animal massacre in your backyard just for some Christmas spending money.  Geez.  (I hate not being an independent woman & not bringing in a paycheck). T minus 9 days until his reservation is over… then I will have $162 to buy new farm animals and get some PTSD therapy…..  OMG!  Traumatic morning.

P.S.  My husband said “I told you so”…..

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Kids Kick Your Ass

Whether you’re old, young, gay, straight, single, or married, the options & possibilities to have children seem to be within everyone’s reach, now more than ever before.  Even so, the choice should not be taken lightly because plain and simple – kids kick your ass.

That may sound harsh & negative but it’s the truth.  Even well adjusted, patient, intelligent, educated, “successful” people STILL get their asses kicked by having kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I would cut off my right arm or stand in the path of a freight train for my kids but that still doesn’t negate the truth of the matter.  There is no amount of advice or preparation that can make the first few years of parenthood any easier to handle.

If it’s not the sleep deprivation that knocks you out in the first year, it will be the toddler years for the next few.  When I heard the old cutesy “terrible two’s” statement, it never really registered in my brain as being something real & tangible.  I was in denial….  MAJOR denial.  The terrible two’s (and the 3’s, & sometimes the 4’s) are a lesson in pure patience & love.  In no other relationship in your life would you reason with a person who was so…what’s the word I’m looking for… DELUSIONAL?  IRRATIONAL?  HORMONAL?  UNCOMPROMISING? … INSANE?

Normally, if I had someone in my life that was disrespectful, emotionally & physically abusive, or moody, I would wish that person well and take the first road out of crazy town.  If your boss assigned a coworker a job that she wasn’t thrilled about so she threw her cup of coffee in his face and started crying, I think she’d be getting the pink slip before the meeting even ended.  Or if you suggested your boyfriend take a bath and he screamed, slapped you across the face & told you that he hated you, I think he’d be single soon.  Or if you tried to take the phone from a friend at 2am so that she didn’t do any tipsy texting, and she threw herself on the ground in the middle of the street kicking and screaming, I think you’d flag the closest cab and say “peace out”.

Aside from maybe that last one, you would never have or maintain relationships with such crazy, irrational people.  Yet, with your own kids, you are forced to.  You have to try to reason with someone who has no reasoning ability… no logic… nor common sense.  You have to try to negotiate with someone who will not compromise.  You have to try to calm an irrational crazy person who would easily pass the test to be considered legally mentally insane.  But they’re not, they are “just in their terrible two’s” and they live in the same house with you, every single day for YEARS, and you have to take care of them.  It’s kind-of absurd to think about.

People always told me that having kids would change my life but I didn’t really *hear* them.  Before I had kids, I’d see parents out with their kids, they’d seem to be annoyed or frustrated and short with their children and I’d always feel bad for their kids.  I’d say to myself, ‘gosh, when I have kids, I’m going to be the best parent ever, I’m going to be energetic, I’m going to be engaging, I’m never going to sit them in front of the TV, I’m going to quit work & stay home with them, I’m going love & kiss them every chance I get, I’m never going to hurt their feelings or get mad at them.  I’m going to glow with appreciation for them at every second of the day”.  Let’s just say I was very naive & IDEALISTIC.  Now, when I’m out with my kids, we parents give each other understanding nods & smiles.  We KNOW.  We’re beat down, we’re tired, we’ve been cleaning up somebody else’s bodily fluids and dealing with crazy little people for YEARS!!!  We’re Parents. We have finally given in to our new roles, we couldn’t beat them, so we joined them.  We now play Baby Einstein music in our cars, Elmo movies on “date night” at home, and tote our kids around to watch them in the hilarious “hearding kittens” experience that is known as preschool soccer.

I have to say that God has a HUGE sense of humor to send me the gift of having children in my 30’s.  It has definitely been a learning curve.  It’s been a struggle at times to re-purpose my life and realize what is most important.  I’m only human.  It was hard to get my ass kicked… humbled… broken down.  I think this is almost like a near death experience, like those people who come back from a near tragic experience and then make the most out of every day of their life from that point on.  I think having toddlers is like that, you feel so far removed from your center sometimes.  They take, take, take, from you physically & emotionally that you get a sense of your life flashing before your eyes in a way.  What was once yours, a calm logical mind, a clean house, nice unbroken things, clean walls, minimal loads of laundry, a backseat free of mystery sticky stuff (I could go on & on), is threatened by this mini person.  And yet you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else in the world.  Ever.  It’s strange.

They had a dinner at my son’s preschool a few weeks ago for parents to have a “night off” of cooking dinner.  I looked around at all the other parent’s, and everyone seemed… well, broken down.  We were all eating dinner quietly, letting our kids run buck wild around room chasing each other.  We didn’t care because we were all in the same boat, happy to get a hot meal with other ass-kicked parents who didn’t give us evil eye for our out of control children & vice-versa.  In a restaurant, it would have been a different story, we would have been half way home already with our lukewarm meal in a doggie bag to eat home.

There is a point where you just let go and accept your new life of being unselfish, and loving how freeing it is.  Kids force you to be in the present moment, to smell the roses (or the poo rather).  It’s THE hardest, most unappreciated job in the world, but its the BEST, most fulfilling job at the same time (I’m not sure how that oxymoron statement could even exist but it does).  People always comment on how busy or active we seem “for having kids”.  I think that is what is great about parenthood, it puts life into perspective and makes you really savor every single moment (even the moments that you don’t really want to savor).  I think having kids makes me appreciate my life so much more.

Aren’t you gonna Frisk me?

Friday started off better than any other Friday this year.  My Mom is home from Guam for a month and she spent the night at our house.  I awoke with childlike excitement, hearing my Mom’s muffled voice in the kitchen.  I hurried out of bed to sneak up on her from behind with a big hug.  We laughed, teased the kids all through breakfast, while Charlie hurried out the door for work on his bicycle (he tries to be “green” on Fridays).

My Mom & I got lost in conversation and no surprise, I was LATE FOR WORK.  We finally got serious, stopped chatting, dressed the babies and I headed out the door for work.  I was lending my Mom my car for the day so that she could go up to her house in Tijeras & run errands.  I was going to use Charlies SUV.

As I loaded him into his car seat in the SUV, Gentry asked cautiously “You don’t know how to drive Daddy’s car, do you?”.  I chuckled a little bit and said “Of course I do, I’m a grown up, I can drive Daddy’s car just fine.  Don’t worry”.   And we sped off down the street headed to drop Haven off at the daycare.

Nearly a mile away I realized I had forgotten to grab Gentry’s lunch, so I made a u-turn on Wyoming and rushed back home.  A few minutes later, as I pull up into my driveway, Gentry says “Momma, Police lights”… and I say “Whaaaa?” and I look in my rear-view and sure enough, a cop with flashing lights is pulled up right behind me.

Startled, I quickly realize that I must have been speeding, so I open the car door & look back.  The cop is halfway to my door by this point and he looks frightened and yells at me to “Stay in the vehicle”…. I slam my door quickly and I can see the neighbors peering out their window…

The police officer approaches the window cautiously and I give him a great big smile and I say “I’m so sorry officer”.  At this point he kinda smiles back and looks relieved that I’m not some hardened criminal.

He says “I followed you with my lights on all the way from where you made that illegal u-turn.  The way you were zipping through the neighborhood, I though you were tying to flee.”  At this point I actually laugh out loud at the thought of me being in some high speed chase scene with the APD.

I said “Oh my gosh, you’ve been following me since I made that u-turn???” and I covered my mouth in disbelief.

He said “Yes, Maam, You wouldn’t pull over.  Did you not see me?”

I said “No Mr. Officer, I didn’t”.  Then he said “Well, you need to look in your mirrors more often”….  I decided not to tell him that I hadn’t adjusted Charlies mirrors to my height yet, so even if I had been looking in them I wouldn’t have seen a thing.

So he says “License, Registration, & Insurance Please”…

Before I start looking through Charlies glove-box, I roll down the back window and I say “Look Gentry, It’s a real live police officer.  Remember, you’ve been wanting to meet one in person, and now we finally got pulled over so you can see one up close & personal”  And I look at the Police Officer and say “He just LOVES police officers”.  I glance over my shoulder and both Haven & Gentry are completely ENTHRALLED with him, giving him big smiles and waves.

I start digging & digging for the paper work and CLEARLY the police officer realizes I’m a complete mess so he says “Look, I’m going to go run your license.  When you find your Insurance & Registration just hold it out the window so I know you found it.

After 5 minutes , I end up having to call Charlie because I cannot find the paperwork.  It’s in the visor, he says.  So I find it, I hang it out the window.  The cop finally comes back and says, “I’m just going to give you a warning.  Just so that my boss knows that I’m doing my job.  But you have to never ever do that again.  No more illegal u-turns and no more speeding.  And check your mirrors more often.”….

I say “Oh yes, yes sir.  Thank you so much Mr. Officer (I think they like when you call them Mr. Officer).  I was just running late for work, I was in a hurry, I had forgotten his lunch at home, and my Mom was distracting me and I stayed up late and I usually don’t do that” … etc. etc.

Needless to say, Gentry INSISTED on calling Daddy to let him know I “got in trouble”…. And I figured, heck why not.  Charlie already knew I got pulled over because I had to call him to find the paperwork.  So I dial the phone and hand it to Gentry, just a little curious as to what he’d say….

“Mommy almost got arrested, she made an illegal u-turn Daddy.  The policeman almost took her to jail”, Gentry said with excited enthusiasm only a 3 year old could have about such a description…..  I had to laugh to myself.  It was so cute hearing Gentry “tattle” on me.  After he hung up the phone with Charlie, Gentry kept repeating “You must not ever do that again Mommy”… I can only imagine what he told the teachers at school about me later.

Yes, I’m shameless for using my cute kids to get out of a ticket.  But heck in all honesty, it WAS the truth, Gentry is completely obsessed with meeting police officers right now.  I’m also sure that he probably took one look at me: hair a frizzy unbrushed mess, eyes bloodshot (from the long late catch up session with Mom the night before), wild toddlers in the backseat, and the fact that I was stupid enough to drive all the way into my driveway before I even noticed him.  He probably thought, gosh this lady could be one step from the ledge if I give her a ticket.  LOL! TGIF!

I hope God understands

This Easter Sunday was one to remember…. Or maybe better to forget.   It started out with Charlie & I getting to sleep in a little (and by “a little” I mean till 8:15am) due to the kids staying up later than usual the night before.  Charlie was feeling unusually tired due to getting a tetanus shot that Friday, so I happily took on breakfast duty and made a batch of chocolate chip pancakes with bananas & whipped cream on top. They were delicious if I do say so myself.

Shortly there after we all ventured outside to check on the mini goats.  We discovered they had gotten in the patio (AGAIN) and one of them still had “runny” poo instead of the usual pellets.  Frustrated, Charlie exclaimed that if he never had to clean up poo from the patio again it would be too soon.  So while Charlie cleaned up the poo, I watered the flower bed.  Then I sat on the couch swing with Gentry and relaxed.  In true Gentry fashion he couldn’t sit still for long and he started climbing up the swing and hanging from the built in shade awning above.  To keep him from falling on me, I told him to swing to the side of me instead of directly above me.  As I pushed his body to the left of mine & looked up, he let go and his head slammed directly into my face, specifically my nose.  We both immediately broke out into tears of pain.  Charlie & Haven ran over to comfort us but we both just held our faces & cried.

Things eventually calmed down and about 30 minutes later I had gone inside to google “cause of runny poop in dwarf goats”,  while holding an ice pack on my swollen red nose.  Just then I hear, Charlie talking to Gentry on the patio “You pooped in your pants? How did you poop in your pants?”… and as I hear Gentry start to describe why, I just burst out into uncrontrollable laughter and it hurt my face to laugh (which was in a full-on face headache by then but I just couldn’t stop laughing)…  Needless to say we never made it to church on Easter Sunday.  I hope God understands.

Al Capone meets Emeril Lagasse

Going to the private home of someone you’ve never met or heard of before.  Eating at a table full of strangers in an intimate living room crammed full of people.  This was what we decided to do for our 4th Wedding Anniversary.

My co-worker had described going to an “underground party” for Valentines Day with his wife.  He said that it was some secret speakeasy dinner club that friends of his had invited them to.  The dinner was held in an obscure building in the industrial part of town.  A classy decorated space, food to die for, and free flowing wine was all I needed to hear before I thought of doing the same thing to surprise my husband for our Anniversary.

I found Speakeasy Culinary Club by goggling it.  They said they were booked for their March  dinner but that they’d put me on the email list for future dinners.  Then a few days before their March dinner, they emailed me & said they had a cancellation.  I quickly jumped on the opening and said we’d be there.  She gave me the location of the dinner, a private home address, and a password to get in.

The night arrived and I kept it a secret all the way up until we were in the car and I was directing my husband where to drive.  I said, “So let me warn you, we are going to an event that is an anonymous underground party at someones house”.  He said “Someone’s house?  Who’s house?”, and that’s when I confessed “I have absolutely no idea.  It’s something a co-worker told me about, it’s supposed to be an amazing culinary experience, but we’re going to some random private residence, of whom I have absolutely no idea”.  I could see the panic on his face.  He laughed just to humor me but I could tell it was an unbelieving laugh, a searching for more information laugh.

Nervous, we both arrived at the dinner, we had to park a little ways away due to the street layout and we could see fancy, dressed up people all headed in the same direction.  We eyed each other up, not knowing what we were really getting ourselves into.   We were greeted at the door by a nice young lady who asked for our names and the password.  It felt kinda neat like we were in the movies or something.

We entered the front door and found the first free seats at a table by ourselves on the far wall of the room.  We felt awkward.  Everyone seemed just as awkward as we were though.   We got up and indulged in the cheeses & breads.  Then  the last couples arrived and filled our table.  They were a few older couples .  One a teacher at the Albuquerque Academy and her husband, and another a retired medical doctor and his wife.  Little did we know that by the end of the night we’d shut down the place with our new friends and prove to have had the most fun amongst all of the tables of strangers.   Go us.

The 5 course meal was an experience.  Everything was exquisite.  Prepared with perfection, presented with perfection.  It was like we were on an episode of Top Chef.  The flavors complimented each other and the next.  They even paired each course with an appropriate wine. The good company at our table was the icing on the cake.   It was truly a culinary experience to remember and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.  Perhaps for a special occasion next year.

Speakeasy Culinary Club Albuquerque, NM

Speakeasy Culinary Club Dinner Albuquerque, NM

Romancing the Slopes

My husband & I decided to have our date night for this month with the New Mexico Adventure Racing Club.  The club had organized a “Moonlight Snowshoe & Ski” event on a Saturday evening at the Sandia Crest Ski area.  The event was planned to begin just before sunset, to hike up the slopes on snowshoes (with ski’s or snowboards strapped on our back) and then ski down in the light of the full moon.

We had invited our friend Ian and his son to join us.  They had some trouble renting snowboards, so in our true fashion, we were running late.  We dropped our kids off at the baby sitters, and we all got up to the parking area about an hour late.  The Adventure Racing group was nowhere to be found, they were long gone headed up the mountain.  To cut some time off, we decided to drive up to a spot where we wouldn’t have such a long vertical climb to catch up with them.

We parked at a snowpacked service road that we could walk on that would take us straight to the top of the mountain without much of a hike.  We strapped our snowboards to our backpacks and set out in the moonlight.   20 minutes later we made it to the top of the mountain, we immediately saw some familiar faces from the Adventure Racing group getting their ski gear on.  The walk had warmed our bodies, we were hot & sweating.  We took a brief break on the deck of the restaurant to look at the city lights and to take photos.   Then we headed down the stairs to the top of the slopes to begin our moonlit adventure.

I strapped on my snowboard and tried to stand up on it.  The snow was crusty & I fell back on my butt.  Then it hit me: what was I thinking.  I hadn’t been on a snowboard in YEARS.  Since well BEFORE both of my kids were born, close to 5 years prior.  And even then, I was mediocre at best.  I was a much better skier, I had only picked up snowboarding after I blew out my knees playing soccer.  I had never gotten really good at snowboarding, certainly not good enough to try it in the dark with backward footing (my husband had accidentally rented me a “goofy” footed board).

I stood up again, and tried to glide on my heel edge of the board.  I maneuvered the board downhill to try to make a turn like I remembered how, I picked up too much speed, got scared, & fell back on my butt.  I did this again, and again, and again.  I was already exhausted and I had only gone 20 yards from the top of the slope.  Adrenaline & fear was running through my body.  I was breathing so hard & loud.  Charlie, Ian, & Ian’s son were all waiting for me, encouraging me.  I panicked inside.  What if it was going to take me all night to get down this mountain?

I remembered that I just had to swallow the fear of speed inbetween the turns, to remember that the speed would be brief before turning onto an edge.  I decided right there and then, that I HAD to do it.  That I wasn’t going to let the fear suffocate me & ruin this night, that I was going to get up and snowboard, to quit falling & quit being scared & timid in my actions.  I took a deep breath & focused all my energy in remembering how I had done it 5 years ago, pushing through the fear of speed and just going with it, following it through, being patient.  Then it happened, I was headed down the slope, gliding next to my husband, and the other few people who were taking it slow due to having cross-country ski’s on.

We all encouraged each other, laughed, joked, fell, rested, snapped photos, and it ended up being such an exhilarating experience.  We were gliding amongst the quiet night air, guided by the moonlight, the air was crisp, our bodies were warm & excited.  It was magical.

It took us around 45 minutes to get down the slopes, mostly because I was going slow but partly because we knew that that was our one & only run, there was no chairlift running to take us back up for another run.  We really savored and enjoyed the moment.  I really surprised myself for being able to pushing through my fears.  Charlie said he was impressed that I did so well after my fearful & stumbling start at the top.   I think with the love & support of someone beside you, you can do most anything.

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