Friday, December 26, 2008

The Rest of the Story

"If you get out on these roads today, know that you're taking your life in your own hands." This morning's warning from Alan, that snow plowing brother-in-law of ours. Turns out I was somewhat prophetical in returning my ski gear yesterday. While Alan was up early to plow and rescue all those Kia-driving Texans, we experienced the white-out from the warmth of the cabin. We took a couple of hours to get out and play for awhile - snowmobiling and snow-scooting and sledding and shoveling. I don't know what was more fun - watching Esther's first real snow experience, or howling with laughter at Jamie and Mom's attempt to sled together.
It's interesting to watch life happen here in Eagle Nest, regardless of weather conditions. We had a visit from Joe on Christmas eve. 60ish, never-been-married with no family to speak of, this kind and rugged and unpolished man arrived around 9pm with a Christmas offering of organic nuts in a ziplock.
The fire department tones sound periodically from Charles' desk, interrupting dinner or a card game or a movie or conversations or whatever happens to be going on. The dispatcher's calm yet alarming voice fills the living room with a description of the seven-year-old boy struggling to breathe, or the house fire in town, and Charles does what he can as Chaplain to support these three area fire departments.
Today Cameron (Corbin's sister) got a call from some friends-of-a-friend who needed a place to stay. They are now snuggled in Cameron and Alan's back bedroom for a few nights, hunkered in along with Cam's (darling!) friend, Corrina, from New Zealand, who has been here a couple of months. Cameron is preparing her home for "Christmas" tomorrow with Alan's family - now she gets to add this other couple to the mix, a couple she's never met before this afternoon. This is after she went yesterday - Christmas day - to clean a neighbor's home because rats got in while the family is out of town. Not pretty.
So in the midst of our playing and eating and celebrating, it's always eye-opening to me that Charles and Jamie and Cameron and Alan don't stop. Even a snowy Christmas doesn't give break to extending help or friendship or a warm cup of coffee or even beds to strangers.

A few photos from our snowy play... grateful for this time of rest and family.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Diary of a wimpy skiier

What fun to spend Christmas day on the slopes. I think what I love most about skiing is the proximity it allows to nature - to be IN the snow, in the trees, rounding a curve to breathtaking views of the white-blanketed valley below and Sangre de Cristo mountains beyond. Breezing past skeletal, once-glorious aspens juxtaposed with full evergreens stretching to heaven, branches weighty with dollops of melted marshmallow-like globs of fallen snow.
I especially love skiing on sunny days. Days where sunglasses are as essential as ski boots, with warm enough temps that render me indecisive about whether or not to wear a scarf. Days where the blinding, glittery snow reflects radiant sunshine in every direction. All of this with powdery snow from a recent storm. My perfect ski day.
Today was not one of those days. Overcast and gray and cold(!), we skied through the snowstorm that readied tomorrow's powder. I told Corbin on our second run, trying to sound optimistic, "We are not dressed properly for this!" I'm not sure what proper attire would have been, but I'm guessing heated glove liners, full face masks and a Bunsen burner in my ski pants.
We were ruddy & red-faced from the howling wind & snow pellets. At any given moment the landscape looked like a flurry of thick powdered sugar - lumps & all - shaken from the sky with a huge power blower blasting a perfectly horizontal wind.
I keep forgetting that when we ski, Corbin and the boys take every possible lift, getting in every run before the mountain's dreaded 4:00 closing. Branson & Hudson do this for adventure's sake. Corbin is further motivated by the money we spent on today's rentals and lift tickets. And while I know I should be propelled to make the most of our ski time as well, my tingling finger tips & numb toes scream otherwise and instead beckon me to the mountain cafe, where I can spend even more money on a steaming cup of coffee.
Coming down the last run, with about 10% visibility through the whirling wind and snow, Corbin called out "Hey, no neck!" as he whizzed past his frozen, nearly petrified wife. Bran and Hud's giggles echoed behind me. I have no idea how long my shoulders had been hunched up to my head, as if tightening every muscle in my body would will the blustery snowstorm away. All I kept thinking was, "Just get to the hot tub. Just get to the hot tub."
I promptly returned my rented skis and boots and poles by 4:30 today. I felt kinda bad when Hudson leaned out the car window and called to me as I walked into the ski shop, "Mom, puh-leese ski with us tomorrow. Don't you want to spend time with me?"
And then I felt even more kinda bad when Corbin told me we couldn't get a refund for my rental (already paid for tomorrow). But then a few minutes later when our 4-wheel drive truck was stuck in three-foot drifts of snow, waiting to be towed (helpful here to have a brother-in-law who runs a snow plow business in the area), I looked at my phone and saw that the high tomorrow is 27 degrees, and the low a big fat zero. WITH snowstorms.
At that point, I didn't feel even kinda bad.
I anticipate enjoying a steaming cup of coffee tomorrow morning, watching the ski runs through Mama and Papa's big picture windows.
More power to you, boys!

**The photos above are from around the lodge - just a glimpse of the snow. I didn't take one picture on the mountain - even with my camera in my pocket, no photo was worth un-gloving my hand to snap a pic!**

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Not me, but Hudson.
That's right.
In this month's (Dec) Highlights magazine, Hudson's drawing is published in Our Own Pages.
How cool is that?!
He's excited, but smug. Has hardly said a word. Even with the magazine prominently displayed in our foyer, even with a school friend calling and asking for his autograph, even with a subscription base of two million...
even with a PROUD mommy & daddy...

Check out this press release. Way to go Hud!
Fort Worth Child Published in National Magazine
1st Grader Hudson Wilson to appear in Highlights magazine

November 24, 2008 (Columbus, OH) – The December 2008 issue of Highlights for Children has published a drawing titled “The Prince” in its “Your Own Pages” section by 6-year old Hudson Wilson of Fort Worth, a 1st grade student at Tanglewood Elementary. Hudson, the child of Corbin and T.J. Wilson, enjoys baseball, drawing, cooking, art projects, board games, animals, football and reading. He hopes to be an artist and veterinarian when he grows up.

Each year, Highlights readers send the magazine more than thirty-five thousand submissions. The magazine selects work by boys and girls of all ages and from many different places in the world. By showcasing a representative sample of all the work, Highlights hopes to foster children’s creativity.

So next time you're flipping through Highlights in your physician's or dentist's office, be sure to look for our little artist!

**A huge thanks for Aunt Kay for our annual Highlights subscription - and to my blogging friends for letting me indulge in a little parental pride**

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Georgia Thanksgiving

How many Jameses does it take to change a liglhtbulb? No idea. But I do know that it takes about 12 to get a gallon of milk from WalMart in rural north Georgia.

I always say being with my brothers is like a holiday, and so this past week was double the fun - a week with my brothers and their families AND celebrating one of my favorite holidays of the year. We're becoming quite a crowd. In addition to our four kiddos, we’ve got three little cousins and one on the way... Bogan from Tulsa and then Marshall and Ashlyn from Alpharetta, and the newest little one from Georgia due in April.

A few highlights...
- Meeting SWEET Ashlyn for the first time - "baby Ash-a-lyn" as Basden says
- Rock City - it really is amazing! (and the Starbucks across from the entrance doesn't hurt)
- Crystal's burgers & onion rings, Corbin's homemade chex mix, Julie's breakfast casseroles and baked cinnamon apples, Daboo's taco bar, cowboy rolls, cream cheese mashed potatoes, and Amy's AH-mazing home-home-made pumpkin pies (she makes it look so easy...ha!)
- SkipBo - the interaction between Mom and Amy is way more fun than the game itself
- Chris the Barista - nothing beats a yummy latte in a cozy cabin with the rain beating on the roof
- Kung Fu Panda and Daboo's new popcorn machine
- Essie chasing Marshall around the couch with a pink Barbie hairdryer
- Cappy's hike with Bogan, Bran, Hud, Basden and Essie - who we found out is not comfortable in two feet of leaves
- Monsters in the dark during the hayride - the kind of monsters who bear gifts of glow-in-the-dark bracelets after attempting to scare the tuna salad out of everyone
- Bogan's watchful eye and sideways glances... doesn't miss a thing
- Marshall's continual grin
- the five pounds Corbin and I BOTH gained...

What a handsome crew!
Chris & Crystal... and baby James due in April
Trey & the women... we're just missing HIS woman!!
Bogan flanked by Essie & Basden - he politely puts up with Essie's antics.
Aunt Julie, Ashlyn & Essie
Julie and Luke make everything more fun
Trey and DARLING Marshall
Those big boys are getting bigger all the time

Look who's responsible for all this!
Thanks, Mom & Dad for the cabin, and to everyone for the memories. Already looking forward to the next time!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Check out my post on Morning Coffee today. My friend Renee has been kind to include me in her devotionals each month. Enjoy!