New Mexico in July

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I better write about my trip to New Mexico before I start forgetting all the details!  Let’s see.  Thursday morning I got up and ran (um, side note, I’ve started a little fitness routine about six weeks ago.  Since it seems to be sticking around, check out my fitness blog Sweat if you’d like.) and then came home to shower. While I was putting away my running gear Annika came downstairs and asked where I’d been. When I told her I was outside running she looked at me very seriously and said “Mommy, I’m glad you’re staying healthy.” Kris and I have told her that exercise keeps her body healthy. Guess she’s retaining some of that. After a shower and some last minute packing I was ready to go. And that’s when the real nerves started. I wanted to go but then again I didn’t. And when Grandpa showed up at 8:30 to pick me up for the airport, I started to get sad. When it was time to leave both kids were crying on the couch and I was crying walking out the door. Ugh. I’m sure they were fine shortly after I left. After all, they had to get ready that morning to go to Nana and Papa’s for a few days. Kris had to work Thursday and Friday so Nana and Papa had kid duty.

Our flight to Dallas was fine. We met Krystle at the Dallas airport, had a quick bite to eat and then boarded our itty bitty plane together for the quick flight to Roswell. That little plane made me more nervous but it wasn’t too bad. After touching down and getting our rental car we headed to our hotel. After getting settled there we called Mathias. He was busy working on a paper. The night before graduation and he still had homework! Actually he had a mock trial the next day before graduation and students were going to be called to the witness stand based on their papers. He worked on that for a while before calling back out of hunger. We headed to campus to pick him up and when we saw him walking towards us Krystle parked the car and we all rushed out to see him. I grabbed him in a bear hug and started crying (again). I just missed him so much! Then Krystle hugged him too so basically we smothered him. Good times. After we let him go Dad got a hug in too. Then we piled back in the car and headed to a local bar/restaurant. I think Mathias had been there a “couple” times before as he knew all 4 of the beers the bar micro-brewed and he had a favorite on the menu – a 10 ounce burger. Yikes! Anyway, dinner was good but over too quick. We had to bring Mathias back to campus so he could finish his paper.

The next morning we were at campus by 6:15am for morning inspection. At 6:45am we were escorted inside the gates and to the Parade Deck. All the groups were already in formation and we had a bit of a hard time making out which one was Mathias! They were all in their uniforms with their hats down to their eyes! We found him though and started snapping a thousand pictures. Unfortunately even though we were able to take pictures during inspection (and later graduation) I can’t post any of them online. I have some other pictures from the weekend that I’ll work on posting but you’ll have to find me in real life to see the pictures of Mathias in his uniform! Inspection was cool though and Mathias looked great. His salute was awesome. After inspection we were able to talk with him for 10-15 minutes, meet some of his friends and just generally goof around (Krystle was taking pictures of everything, his badges, his uniform, everything). Then it was time for us to go so he could get ready for his mock trial. We headed back to the hotel, ate breakfast, lounged and then Krystle and I went swimming. Not being kids there was no splashing or jumping or playing. We got down to business and did laps! We’re not speedy nor graceful, but we did get 20 laps in the approximately 25 yard pool. Yay us! After showering we headed out to get some lunch and then with some time to spare before graduation we went on a driving tour of the little town we were in. I’m pretty sure by this time we’d seen more of the town than Mathias had in 12 weeks. By 1:45pm we were back at campus and this time Mathias was able to escort us inside to the auditorium. Once again Krystle and I became the paparazzi and took a bazillion pictures. I hope at least a few of them turned out. My camera doesn’t do so well with bad lighting and long distance. No flash was blurry and flash was too dark. Ah well. They encouraged us to move about the room to get good pictures so move Krystle and I did. Graduation was nice. They had a student give a speech and it was really good. Then one of the firearm instructors said a few words and then a director from Washington DC said some nice words too. It wasn’t too long and they were handing out diplomas and badges. We got some great pics of Mathias and his badge and one really great one of him handing his back, complete with sad puppy dog look. He’s such a trooper with his weird, goofy sisters. He doesn’t get his badge to keep until he finishes his Spanish training in mid September. After graduation we got to see his room on campus and the on campus convenience store/gift shop. I got a couple t-shirts for the kids. And then he escorted us back to our car. He had some chores to take care of and we wanted to change out of our dressy clothes. A couple hours later he called us and we picked him up for dinner. And then we stole him for the rest of the weekend! He stayed with us in our hotel room the rest of the time. It was awesome. Anyway, that night we went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant – the first time Mathias had been there. We ate with a friend of his and his friends mom and brother. They were really nice which is good because we ended up spending most of Saturday with them too! Anyway, (wow, sidetrack much?!) after dinner we just stayed in our hotel room chatting, laughing and relaxing. Saturday morning after breakfast we brought Mathias back to campus for a quick shower/clothes change and while he was doing that Krystle and I headed to the exercise room. By the time we were done and showered Mathias was back. We found Mathias’ friend and his family and headed to the nearby Carlsbad Caverns. We stopped for lunch in Carlsbad at a local Mexican restaurant. They brought the traditional chips and salsa to our table and we all started munching. And then we realized how hot the salsa was! There was much water consumed. When the waitress was taking our order and asking if we wanted mild, medium or hot I asked her what the salsa was. She said it was a medium to mild. Nobody got anything over medium that day! After lunch we drove to the cavern, paid our admission and started our 3 1/2 hour trek. Let me just say that I have never entered a cavern like this before. All the other caverns I’ve toured have been via elevator to the bottom. This one had that option (for a 1 1/2 hour tour) but we opted to go the “natural” route. The natural route ended up being a huge (and I mean huge!) hole in the ground with a zig-zagging path that you wound down. That was one big quad/calf muscle work out! We just kept going down, down, down and what was so amazing was that the ceiling never went down with us. The cavern just seemed to grow and grow. There were so many things to see down there too! It was actually really great. We laughed and joked the whole time. I even had to shush Krystle one time because she was laughing so loudly and hard that she was stumbling and barely breathing. Good times. We were wiped though when we were done. Our feet, legs, knees were so sore! We said good bye to Mathias’ friends and headed back to our hotel. There we pretty much lazed about all evening, grabbing pizza for dinner. Sunday morning came very quickly and it was already time to pack up! At 11am we left the hotel for good, drove around town some more showing Mathias some of the things we had found (he doesn’t have a car down there so he hasn’t explored much of the town) and then stopping for one last lunch together. We talked some more about his plans for the next couple months, his upcoming Spanish training and how fast he could be transferred north. :) And then it was time to bring him back to campus and for us to head to the airport. I kept it pretty much together until we all got out of the car back on campus. Then I just put my head in my hands and sobbed again. Mathias laughed at me. He is coming home this weekend and I will be seeing him then. I told him I just missed him so much. He smiled, said “I know” and gave me a hug. Then he laughed again and said “But I’ll see you in less than a week!” And I’ll see him again in mid September but it’s after that trip that I don’t know when I’ll see him again. Maybe Christmas. Maybe spring. Definitely next summer for Krystle’s wedding. This long distance thing just sucks. Anyway, we watched him walk away and then drove away ourselves. I have to say that Mathias seems really happy down there. Happy with his career choice. Happy to have his training done. Happy that he’s made some good friends. Excited to get started in El Paso. And it make me happy and content to see him that way.

The flight back to Dallas was uneventful. In Dallas we had one last meal together before Krystle headed back to Chicago for work and Dad and I headed home to Minneapolis. By this time I was just anxious to get back home. I missed Kris and the kids so much! I’d been calling at least twice a day and not once did the kids want to talk to me! They were having way too much fun to be bothered with me. That was both good and bad of course. I was happy they were having a good time but I wanted them to at least take a moment to talk to me! Oh well. When I got home the kids were asleep (it was almost midnight after all). I checked in on Jamesy and as soon as I opened his door he sat up and said “Mama? Mama?” I swooped him up, gave him a great big hug and kiss and cuddled him. He asked for some milk, I got some and then we snuggled in the rocking chair while he drank his milk. Heaven. When he was back in his bed I went to my room and found Annika in my bed. She had woken to go to the bathroom when I was with Jamesy. Kris had told her I was home so she was in bed waiting for me. I crawled in by her, snuggled up and asked her if she missed me. Her response was “Mommy, you know you’re not supposed to talk when people are trying to sleep.” Well, I guess that is that. A few minutes later I got up to change into my pajamas and when I crawled back in bed with her she snuggled in close, put her arms around me and told me she loved me. My baby girl did miss me!

Yesterday was Mommy spends time with the kids day. We went to the park, we played outside, we played inside, etc. It was a good day and I realized how much more patience I had with them the whole day. The whining, the not listening, the fighting didn’t affect me like it usually does. I guess the break did me good!

And I couldn’t believe how much the kids had grown in just the few days I had gone! Annika seemed taller and James must have started saying 10 new words, including “help” and a much clearer “milk”.

We also got to meet Bailey yesterday, Krystle and Pierce’s new puggle puppy. He sure is cute! We went and visited him again today. He’s tiny and completely adorable. The kids adore him too. Annika cried and cried today when we had to leave Bailey and come home. She was so worried that he was going to be lonely and cry. We went to check on him while Pierce was at work. That girl is so sweet.

Anyway, we’re back to the routine now. I guess that’s both good and bad. And since I had yesterday off it’s a short work week for me! Woo-hoo!