The snow has not been very kind to our area and the mountains are bare on the south slopes. Even without the snow, our local ice rink is the happening place. When I first thought about taking the kids, I was sure the skating session would end in tears or, at the very least, I would be haggard and stressed out from kids hanging on me. I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite was true. A sense of independence overcame the kids and off they went - on their own - skating and laughing! We have been back a few times and it is always so much fun!!
At the beginning of winter, the snow gods had made us think the winter would be a good one. After the first (and only) real snow, we loaded up the sleds and headed to the ski hill for a day of sledding. My kids had never really sledded on big, steep hills and it was so fun!
My mom hosted Thanksgiving and we had quite the feast! Our friend from Australia was gracious and interested in our American ways, so it was great to be spending it with him.
The day after Thanksgiving, we started a new tradition. We went up in the Jemez and collected our Festivus Tree. We haven't had a tree in a VERY long time as we have always put up the Festivus Pole. For those friends of ours who are worried about the loss of the LaeserInstitute Festivus Pole, please don't worry. Our Festivus Tree was traditional and, at the same time, very LaeserInstitute-ish. The event of cutting it down,dragging it home and decorating it made the kiddos (and me) very happy!
Two days before Christmas our beloved Death Monkey passed on. It was traumatic and awful. We knew she was feeling ill and we knew she was "sick" but taking her to the vet was not really an option (if you knew her, you know why). Her health rapidly declined over the last three days and she left us. Even though it was so sad, she went out growling. As weird as it sounds, it made me relieved that she was the Death Monkey until the very end. This is a picture of her cuddly in her bed. She didn't really like to cuddle with us, so we took the opportunity to photograph her "softer" side.
We had been wanting to get new cats since we moved into our new house. It is an older house with lots of room - aka room for rodents - and we needed some mousers. Portia did a good job, but we knew her hunting skills were declining. We also knew that bringing new cats into the house while she still lived here would be traumatic for her, so we didn't adopt while she was alive. After she passed, we went to the Espanola shelter and brought home two additions to the Institute. We adopted a male 6-month old kitten and a two year old mama kitty. We haven't officially settled on any names, but they both have several aliases. The kitten (white and tabby long hair) is Radagast, Groucho, Poncho Tonto and Mayhem. The mama kitty (gray short hair) is Macy, Marcy, Mama, Mamacita and Mama Kitty. Pokey, aka Mr Chompers, Yoko, and BooBoo, had a nervous breakdown when we brought them home, but has since adjusted - kind of. He is still sort of nervous around them, but realizes we love him as much as we always did. He is still top dog.