In middle of all the July craziness, we made a trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico with my family. It was possibly the worst timing for a vacation ever, but once we got there it was great. The weather was so nice and it is beautiful there. Both kids even did fine in the car, which was shocking. We did a whole lot of relaxing while we were there. Each day started with a nice, long soak in the hot tub and coffee while we watched the deer pass by. The kids loved being able to run/crawl around on the decks without me constantly hovering over them (mostly Oliver…he still puts everything in his mouth), and I probably loved that just as much as they did. I think the kids only wore clothes for a few hours each day, and then they strip down to a diaper or wear oversized tshirts. It was exactly what a vacation should be…a break from life. I mean, it was still work for me (preparing meals, getting kids to bed, etc.), but just at a more relaxed pace. One afternoon, we drove into town and visited Inn of the Mountain Gods. They have a casino, which is why the boys wanted to go, but that lake and view made it totally worth the trip to me. We sat out and enjoyed the sunshine while the men did a little gambling. My brother has spent quite a bit of time in Ruidoso and wanted us to experience one of his favorite things there, which was watching the sunset from the top of a mountain. It sounded awesome, so we put the kids in the jammies, hopped in the car and headed up a super tall mountain (I wish I could remember the name of it.), and about halfway up I was almost regretting it. It was scary. I’m not a fan of being up really high, and we were really, really, really high. I just kept picturing us making a slightly wrong move in the minivan and plunging over the edge. A panic attack was so close to happening. And then when we FINALLY reached the top, we had to climb stairs built into the mountain to get to the actual top of it. I was hesitant, so I used Oliver as an excuse to stay down, but when everyone else was up there I talked myself into joining them. It was cold and I was super shaky (from fear mostly), but oh my goodness. It was beautiful. So, so pretty. I’ve probably never held onto my kids as tightly as I was up there, but I’m glad we experienced it together. We didn’t actually stay for the sunset because I was having major anxiety about driving down the mountain in the dark, so we left before I died. Still, it was amazing. We went to Flying J Ranch one night for dinner and exploring. It was awesome. Go there if you ever get a chance. Its adorable, the food is really good, the music/entertainment is super fun, and they have ponies to ride! It was the highlight of the trip for Rose. We stood in line twice for her to ride. The first time she got too scared and wouldn’t do it, so the second time Ryan didn’t give her a choice. He just plopped her up on the horse and walked away. I stayed right next to her for the whole ride, but she was so brave and did such a great job. Afterward she said, “I so proud of yourself, mommy.” I teared up, of course. She is not usually a brave kid, so this was a milestone, for sure.