You guys, summer is treating us so well. We've had some good quality family time lately, and tonight seemed like the perfect night to reminisce on all of it, as Liesl and I are adjusting to not seeing much of the Mister again after his being home with us fulltime for a couple weeks. They were two of the very best weeks, with the first being a staycation here in El Paso, and the second a trip to New Mexico with Chris's parents and our Independence Day celebrations back home.
I'm going to try to make this post mostly photos with a some captions here and there because I have a TON to share and it will take me years to finish if I go into too much detail. So hopefully the pictures will be worth a thousand words! I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos; it seems it's time to upgrade my phone!
This girl is always picking desert wildflowers at the playground.
We visited the historic Segundo Barrio for the first time to sample an El Paso institution, Bowie Bakery. We picked an assortment of breakfast goodies and brought them to the Fort Bliss Parade Field for a picnic before Liesl's gymnastics class nearby. If Liesl's facial expressions don't communicate it enough, our breakfast was SO delicious, and we are officially hooked. We also found a location on the west side of town (that serves fresh tamales) last week, so we're definitely going to be regular customers of both locations now.
After fueling up on sugar, Liesl thoroughly enjoyed the fresh grass on the newly re-landscaped parade field. Can you tell this desert kid doesn't get to play in grass very often?
We were so glad Papa Bear got to join us for gymnastics for the first time ever! Liesl was proud to show off her skills.
Chris sat out toddler yoga to work on his truck, but Liesl and I didn't miss it because her class at Surya Yoga is one of the highlights of our week. Her instructor and I got a kick out of her Shavasana-ing hard after her "practice." She made herself super comfortable on top of ALL the bolsters.
Speaking of getting a kick out of things this kid does, Chris and I really enjoyed this makeover Pink Elephant received while Liesl was playing in her room one morning. On that note, we've also been laughing at her requests for us to sing her bedtime songs "backwards" and "sideways." Anybody who has any tips on how to do that, please let me know.
ALAMOGORDO, SANTA FE, & ALBUQUERQUE:
We stopped in Alamogordo on the way to Santa Fe in order to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History. It was a really neat experience, especially for Chris, as he is a bit of a "space buff" and loves learning about all things outer space.
The museum was four stories tall and there were walls of windows on each floor. Needless to say, the views were pretty incredible.
This is the actual moon that hung behind Walter Cronkite during the moon landing broadcast!
Chris was pretty great at landing a space shuttle in this simulation booth, even with a rogue Liesl providing plenty of distraction. Missed calling maybe?
Beam us up!
My people on the moon! Chris couldn't resist putting on the astronaut gear after we dressed Liesl in her spacesuit.
Seriously, missed calling!
I can never resist a good yucca picture! I wish I'd gotten more photos in Santa Fe because I LOVED it there. Everything was in walking distance, our hotel was gorgeous, and the southwestern charm all around was just incredible. We hope we can make it back there soon for a long trip.
Liesl showing off her cat "Fe" that we bought from a street vendor. With all the beautiful home furnishings, clothing, artwork, and jewelry, it was hard not to buy something from every vendor and shop we passed.
Chris's parents kindly watched Liesl so we could make it out for a date night in Santa Fe. We of course didn't remember to take a photo, but Chris did snap this one of me while we played pool toward the end of the night. We started our evening at La Plazuela for dinner and it was SO GOOD. The food was unbelievable and the ambiance was even better.
We visited the zoo and aquarium at the ABQ BioPark and they were both really impressive! Birdie loved the aquarium most, but she also really enjoyed the flamingoes and the big cats.
Tiny deer species are always the highlight of a zoo trip for me. Sorry I couldn't snap a great photo - this one was about the size of a small/medium dog. I don't know what it is about their teeny hooves that gets to me so, but man I love them! There is an even smaller species here at our El Paso Zoo that I have to go say hello to every time we visit.
Sweet Liesl Bird, always in the "I want to make a break for it" stance...
With GranMary and GranDaddy!
Liesl and I could have hung out in front of the shark & big fish tanks for hours.
After a yummy Italian dinner with the family at ABQ's St. Clair Bistro on our last night in New Mexico
4TH OF JULY:
One of the highlights of Army life is celebrating Independence Day on a military installation. In our experience, each post does a great job making sure that patriotism and respect for veterans remain at the center while still throwing a really fun party. We were glad Chris's parents got to enjoy it with us this year.
We just like really love our dogs, okay?
This plastic rake from her Chick-fil-a kids' meal provided a solid hour of entertainment.
What's more American than a little girl in her Radio Flyer?
My favorite part of every Army July 4th celebration, the cannon salute for each state! It's hard to hear, but this was North Carolina's salute.
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS HIKING DATE
Before Chris's parents left to travel back to South Carolina, we squeezed in one more date to hike at the state park down the street. I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone to do a little "intense hiking" (with a lot of encouragement from Chris), and even though I was scared at the time, I was really proud of myself in the end.
The rockface we climbed from the bottom
It's bittersweet sharing all of these photos with you because I'm sad our 24/7 family time is over for a while. What an amazing time it's been, though! I'm so thankful for this long stretch together, for this beautiful part of the country we're lucky to call home during this season of our lives, for parents who are willing to treat us to wonderful vacations, and for the fact that summer is nowhere near over.