being that this was our first christmas in albuquerque, we experienced some new traditions that we didn't have in oregon.
first of all, the best part of living in albuquerque ,and the main reason we moved here, is that we have family close by. mitch's sister lives just on the other side of the city and his grandma lives less than a mile away. plus, his parents drove back from their snow birding in arizona. not only do we have all of his family here, my parent's flew out from california to be with us! we LOVE having family with us during the holidays!
the week before the parents came, mona, mitch's sister, and wes, her husband, invited us to go experience the "river of lights". it's a botanical garden that they cover with lights for the christmas season. it was a cold night, so we bundled the girls up and headed out.
it was gorgeous and the girls loved it! here are some of the pictures that i got while there:
there is one section where you go "underground" and are smaller than an ant. the girls loved this section because everything was so big! here are some pictures of them exploring:
the girls riding on the back of an ant.
in the garden climbing on a potato with their cousin logan (she is 2 months younger than kale'a).
the girls got pretty cold, so we took them into the arboretum where it was warm and had some green hot chocolate, christmas goodies and watched a light display:
it was a very fun and successful christmas outing which i am sure will be a christmas tradition from now on!
once my parents arrived, my mom was determined to see a luminaries display. for those of you that are not familiar with what that is, it is a gorgeous display of candles in paper bags. here in albuquerque many families will put these luminaries out in place of, or in addition to the traditional christmas lights on their houses and along the sidewalks and walkways! it is really beautiful and like nothing i had ever seen before!
so, christmas eve we loaded up the car in search of a luminaries neighborhood. after a bit of driving and not exactly knowing where to go, we found a neighborhood that was covered in luminaries. it was very hard to get non-blurry photos because we were driving and it was hard to not get camera shake in a car full of people. plus i was hanging out of the car window trying to get the shots! but here are the best ones that i was able to get:
this is my best picture of what a luminary is (a paper sack with sand and a candle in the bottom):
there was also about 5 different hot air balloons at the park just next to the neighborhood. the balloons would be dark and then they would light up in a burst of flames to keep the balloons filled with hot air. it was truly beautiful:
thanks mom for insisting that we go see the luminaries! they really were breathtaking! although, the girls were not quite as impressed. kale'a kept asking, "where are the lights? when are we going to get out?" maybe next year she will appreciate it a bit more!
these are two albuquerque traditions that we will definitely continue while we are living here!