Calling Julie McCoy

March 20, 2016

One of the things I can be 100% sure of these days is change. Ooh, I hate change. Which means I need more of it. No worries there…

College boy’s spring break was a week earlier than my girls’ spring break (of course) this year. I didn’t really clue in to that being a huge bummer until the time actually arrived when he couldn’t go with us to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The first family trip without all five of us together. A big change for me.

I think God is using these kind of situations to show me that things will continue to change and that I just have to put on my big girl pants and deal with it. And that I’ll be ok. Maybe.

I guess I didn’t realize how much I was used to getting my way until I wasn’t getting my way. Not necessarily in a real selfish way, but in a “used to it” way. When all three kiddos were under the same roof, I had the ability to be the family cruise director. Now that one has jumped ship, I may as well throw my agenda overboard. And tighten my life preserver.

Wayne, the girls and I left the house at 5 am to hit the road to Santa Fe on Saturday. Jack set his alarm so he could get up and tell us goodbye and then fall back into bed. He was going back to college the next day since his spring break was over. He had just finished pledgeship with his fraternity and all he wanted for spring break was food and sleep. Not necessarily in that order.

I felt like I was abandoning him, even though he was going back to school the next day. Meanwhile, he was probably doing the happy dance on his bed that we were leaving — he was headed to my parents’ house for the night where there would be food spilling out the windows and undivided attention.

I cried my predictable cry as we drove off leaving him at home all snug in his bed. As I turned around to look at Caroline and Lizzie in the backseat, I smiled.

Then I cried harder.

My new normal. Two instead of three in the backseat. I want to be Julie McCoy from Love Boat again.

My husband is known as being the master of understatement (completely opposite of me), and told us our first hike in Santa Fe was going to be easy. Caroline is very sensitive to altitude change, so I was worried about her losing it over the mountain as we made our sheer ascent. Thankfully the only thing we about lost were my flaming hot hip sockets. It was all fun and games until the bitterness set in and we realized Wayne’s “easy” hike was a 2,000 ft elevation gain and 6 miles later.

We hit the ski slopes the next day. I was feeling a little snazzy with my purple neck gator on. Caroline looked at me and said, “Hey, you look like Buzz Lightyear!” What a buzz kill. That’s what I get for feeling snazzy.


Pre -3 wind chill

As we ascended the mountain the smiles quickly changed to tears when we got to the top.  In about 10 seconds, the pelting wind blown sleet and -3 degree wind chill caused us to lose all feeling in our fingers. The girls were crying as we were skiing down and I realized it was going to be either a really long day (or a really short one) unless we got them new gloves.

Wayne (code for Pack Mule) skied down to the base and bought us some new gloves. There are no screaming deals to be found in a ski resort shop. Oh well. We needed to have our girls come home with fingers more than we needed to send Caroline to college.

We headed into downtown Santa Fe after our skiing adventure and wound up at an oxygen bar. My only explanation is “when in Rome”.

Don’t ask me how, but I found myself on my back on a table with elderberry scented oxygen shooting up my nose and six lava type rocks on my stomach. Like a little girl, I peeked with one eye to see what was going on only to see the “oxygen lady” waving what looked to be rooster feathers all around me and shaking a long tube that sounded like it had Minute Rice in it. Not necessarily on my bucket list, but at least the inside of my nose smelled nice.


The smiles before the….

The next day we went mountain biking (which meant mountain body slamming for me) on a 10 mile “easy” trail. In order to preserve the quality of my marriage, I won’t make any more comments about our mountain bike excursion. Just remember that Wayne is the master of understatement and that I have a tendency to fall off of bikes. End of story.

We started our trip back home and made a small detour to Carlsbad, NM to see the Carlsbad Caverns. As my luck would have it, the elevators weren’t in operation, so we had to hike down 80 stories into the cavern. Which means 80 stories back up. Don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that I learned it was an almost 4 mile round trip hike. My lungs were burning just as bad as my hip sockets were burning on Wayne’s “easy” hike days before.

Whatever happened to vacations with a small umbrella in a fruity drink and SPF 20 slathered on?

We got home in one piece and had a great (bruising) trip. Realizing I can take a family vacation without my whole brood and actually have fun gives me hope. Slowly, but surely, my children will be experiencing new adventures on their own, without their dad and me.

Maybe I don’t need to be Julie McCoy after all.











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  • Cara Berkman April 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Hey Buzz Lightyear! I feel like I was with y’all on the trip…. I even took the bike paragraph and ended it with I’m guessing a major wipeout! Great memories!

  • Brenna Van Heel March 30, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Great story! I always love reading you and your family’s hilarious adventures! 🙂

  • Bethanne Martin March 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I love reading your blog! I can so relate to the biking too. Ask my husband about me and off road riding sometime 🙂