Sunday, May 31, 2009

Arizona to California

Yesterday we headed out from Arizona, to California. We landed in Jamul, which is fairly close to San Diego. We have no internet or cell phone service here so blogging and other online fun will be limited.

So far we love what we see!

Living the life in California.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cattle Catcher Practice

I've been a lazy blogger lately, so I apologize that I am doing all of my catching up today while it is raining outside. We have just had so much fun here that I want to be sure to capture it before we leave and I forget some of it.

Some of you will remember the damage done to our truck due to things that go bump in the night and how Nathan decided to fix that damage in Texas. For those that don't-in short, we have a lovely cattle catcher on the front of our truck. As if a F-350 dually isn't eye catching enough on its own, we now have more evidence of manly manliness in the form of a vehicle. I've actually gotten used to it. That or I just ignore it, in the same way I ignore the stares of people (except in Texas) who can only imagine why I drive this vehicle when there are so many other choices. I still find it to be a tad bit of an impractical addition to the truck though.

Until now. We now have an opportunity to pretend that we need this piece of gear on our truck. Because the road leading into Thousand Trails here has cattle roaming across it. We first encountered them the other day while I was chatting with my travel buddy on the phone. I interrupted myself to let her know there was a bull next to our truck. Since I had the phone in hand, I could not snap a picture though.

Yesterday was my chance:You'd have thought I never saw such creatures as I squealed something along the lines of "Cow, cow, cow, cow". They were less excited about me than I was them:
Truth be told, they seemed downright annoyed that we were driving on their road:Even the babies (awwwwww) seemed to be annoyed by our being in their area. This would have been really interesting if we were pulling the RV and this happened. We pull out tomorrow so I'll have to let you know if we get to weave around them with our house behind us.Just a little fun fact, I had no idea until we got here that Arizona is a big dairy state. I've been paying around $2.00 for a gallon of milk. Contrast that to almost $5.00 a gallon that we were paying in Florida when we left 10 months ago. I've been thrilled with that price, although sadly, ice cream has not followed suit. If ice cream were that cheap, I'd have to find an excuse to stay here even longer.

Living the life in Arizona!

More Sedona Arizona

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Red Rock State Park~Sedona, AZ

Today we visited Red Rock State Park in Sedona. To say this park was beautiful seems like such a huge understatement. Mikaylah was excited until she realized the park was outside at which point she asked me: Why do we always have to go outside? She keeps me laughing all day long!

We started out by hitting the welcome center. We liked the welcome center. It had neat stuff to learn more about the park and the rock formations. And there was some mountain lion information there which thrilled the cutie pie because in her pretend world she is a lion.

Then we went over the the theater to watch a movie. I'm not mentioning any names, but someone kept talking, so me and that someone went back over to the welcome center. That's ok though because we were able to do our Junior Ranger Buddy book there.When Nathan was finished with the movie, we went down on the path to look around.
It was an abundance of breathtaking views everywhere we looked!
All of the sudden I spotted something in the trees. This was Mikaylah's reaction:Not one, not two...but three of these beauties:And they were tame enough to let us get pretty close to them.Then we hiked down to Oak Creek. And I do mean hiked in the most generous sense of the word, given I had a skirt and flip flops on. No, I don't normally go to state parks dressed like this but I knew Princess I'm Too Tired to Walk would curtail any heavy duty hiking so I figured I was safe to do so today. And I'm so grateful to her that for once I look semi-feminine in my pictures!At some point it started to rain, so I headed back to the truck and princess and Uncle Nathan hiked even further until she ran out of her powers and could no longer be a lion. And everyone knows that lions can walk faster and further than little girls so they were doomed from that point on. Everyone also knows that lions love big trees.I have way too many pictures to share of this fabulous place so when I upload them all, I'll add the link in case someone wants to see more.
Living the life in gorgeous Arizona.

Video from Red Rock State Park

Some video clips:

Of the deer:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hotel Me-Maw

My niece Mikaylah has been our source of entertainment this week while staying with us. She says the funniest things. Today she heard me discussing a hotel that I will be staying in while in California. She asked if she could see it and I explained that it would be too far away.

She asked if it were "Hotel Me-Maw" because she knew where that hotel was. It took me a minute but then I realized she meant my MIL's house where they stayed for a visit in November. I laughed and told her no, that wasn't the hotel but I knew that hotel and liked to stay there too.

She sat for a few minutes watching Dora and then said to herself more than anyone...there is lots and lots and lots of food at Hotel Me-Maw.
I so adore this child and her sister!

Living the life in Arizona.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Family Fun

Today we hung out at TT's and had some family fun. We swapped Mikaylah for Austin the other day when we met up for the zoo so we've been enjoying her sweetness. She makes everything so much fun. She is a really comical kid so we laugh at her all day long. She really loved the pool and made a friend while down there.
If you recall, she thinks Nathan is the most funner. Today she told me that I am awesome because I am the most cleaner. I can live with that.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day and for those that this day is about, we thank you deeply for your sacrifices.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Spin My Hair Right Round

One of the really great things about kids is when they sing songs, the words don't really matter:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Phoenix Zoo

Today we headed down to Phoenix to combine more family fun and a Zoo day. Here is Nathan with his brother, Chris. Auburn is running with Mikaylah.This is such a neat zoo complete with a Swiss Family Robinson style treehouse that sits over a stream. We rode the train together and one of the first things we saw were some bighorn sheep on the rocks outside of the zoo. The petting area was really neat. We learned some interesting things there. Number one was the "zebu" that the Veggietales sing about is a real animal. Number two is Austin is afraid of goats. Since he is afraid of them, they chase him. It's funnier than you'd even imagine to see this live. I wish I'd have had my video camera for it.Mikaylah and Abbigail are used to the goats, so they aren't scared at all. The animal whisperer is never afraid of animals, so she was good to go. Austin decided that the tractor was more his speed.Even though it wasn't a long visit here, we could tell this is a zoo that we'd love. The scenery surrounding the zoo is just as great: Living the life in Arizona!

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Arizona

More pictures of Arizona:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Video from the Grand Canyon

And for Gabe and Olivia:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuzigoot National Monument

Today we took a very short drive over to Clarksdale to see the Tuzigoot National Monument. The lady working inside the museum part was so sweet. She gave me a bookmark that had a picture of the monument on it. Made my day! Tuzigoot is an ancient pueblo or village built by the Sinagua people.The pueblo consisted of 110 rooms, including second and third story rooms.It was quite cool in this room so I was impressed with their design.
They also used the rooftops for living space and as a place to view their surroundings.The first buildings were built around A.D. 1000. The people left the area around 1400.
When we passed this area, I read the sign that said each room housed one family. I said something along the lines of "Can you imagine having your whole family in this space?" and then realized that it was about the exact same size as our RV. We had a good laugh at that.I'm so glad we made the trip over here as it was so fascinating to me to see this. We are going to dig into the people that built this and learn more about them.

I'm happy to report it is so much cooler today! The cloudy skies were sort of gloomy, but to be outside walking around to see this; it was a nice reprieve from the blistering sunshine.

Living the life in Arizona!

The Rainbow Connection

While we were out today, we noticed this rainbow. We could only see one end because the sky was full of clouds.As we headed back to Thousand Trails, we noticed the other end was there waiting for us. Just beautiful!
We played pickle ball and I was able to see this in the background which made for some very pretty scenery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Getting Hot in Here

I know that I should expect it to be hot. We are in Arizona after all. I didn't expect it to be this hot, this time of the year though. And forget the whole dry heat thing. Hot is hot. Yes, I am not sticky like you tend to constantly be in South Florida. But really, if you are miserable from the heat, I'm not sure it makes that much difference.

We had our air on all day long today and it still only managed to cool it down to 85 in our RV. We finally escaped to go and hide out in the library praying that it might be 80 or below. I don't mean to complain and sound pathetic given my SIL tells me it is 59 in Virginia. But I really hope it cools down maybe 5 degrees or so in the next few days.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grand Canyon National Park~South Rim

Yesterday we all loaded up and drove north to visit the south side of the Grand Canyon. We have been able to see so many incredible things so far in our journey that we are sometimes aware that we are sharing stories and saying over and over again how incredible the things we did see are. We all agreed though that today was just beyond the normal incredible things we are able to experience. There are just no words for how vast and how amazing the Grand Canyon is. Go and see it yourself to be amazed.As an added bonus, and this was a really big bonus, we were able to see elk up close and personal. More than once. Just awesome beyond words to experience that!What a neat thing to share this memory with family members, making it even more precious.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grand Canyon National Park

We spent the day at the Grand Canyon and I'm too tired to crop pictures or blog much about it just yet. Before I head off to bed, here are Mikaylah's thoughts on it:

When we first arrived, I must have had a mighty grip on her hand because she asked me why I was squeezing her hand so hard. I apologized and explained that it was a long ways down and I just wanted to be sure she was safe. She sighed and then said, "I will NEVER be able to fall in there with YOU here!" Now she is really going to think I'm old. I won't even let her fall into the Grand Canyon. She is right, Nathan is always more funner than me. Oh, I just love that kid! She kept me laughing the whole day long.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Montezuma Castle National Monument~Camp Verde, Arizona

Today's field trip was to Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde. First, the kids all did the Ranger Program activities to earn their badges.Then we walked the very short distance to see the castle. This castle is a five story cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua Indians. The name “Sinagua” comes from the two Spanish words “sin” and “agua”, and means “without water”. The Ancestral Puebloan culture that lived and farmed in the Flagstaff area hundreds of years ago was named the “Sinagua” by archeologists because of the absence of water in that area. When archeologists began studying the culture that had lived here in the Verde Valley they realized that the people here were also members of the Sinagua culture.
Gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival in an unforgiving desert landscape. The construction of Montezuma Castle began around 900 years ago and was abandoned about 600 years ago.What an incredible thing to view this piece of history in this way! We then had the pleasure of hogging our nieces all to ourselves for the rest of the day. They are both such dolls and we are really loving our time with them.

Nathan to Mikaylah as she leaves my side and scoots up next to him on the bench: Oh, you are coming to sit next to me?
Mikaylah: Yes, because you are always more funner.

Mikaylah to me: Are you old?
Me: Yeah, kind of old. Why, do I seem old?
Mikaylah: Yes

Guess that is why Nathan is more funner. LOL

Abigail while sitting and eating ice cream with me: So, what is your hypothesis about when the other people will get back from the movies?

Oh, they crack me up. Little ones bring me such joy and these two are no exception to that rule.

Living the apparently old life in Arizona!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slide Rock State Park~Sedona, Arizona

I admit that I've been slow in my warming up to Arizona. Something about lots of dust everywhere made it hard for me to feel overly excited about being here. Little by little I have liked it more and more. Today it completely won my heart over though.We spent the day at Slide Rock Park in Sedona and it was one of the coolest things we've seen so far. This historic site was originally the Pendley estate which was a 43 acre apple farm. Frank Pendley established a unique irrigation system that is still in use today.

As interesting as the history is, what made this place really cool is its natural water chute. Nature is just downright showing off at this place. Not only is it gorgeous but it provides a exciting experince.Imagine sliding on top of slippery (slimy) rocks, propelled by a rush of water like you would a water slide except the water is all natural meaning it's freezing. If you notice, every single one of our faces has the same expression because when you hit the water and are immersed in it, it takes your breath away for a second.After we put ourselves through that torturous fun, we went down to a deeper part (read even colder) where Chris, Aubs and Austin bravely jumped in. Katie and I were not going to be outdone so we went down the slide with Austin and rode it all the way down as far as we could go. Our entire bodies were numb and our feet were tingling by the time we got out. It was a blast!We came back to TT, enjoyed a dinner of fajitas and then we introduced Chris to pickle ball. I'm happy to report he picked up the game very quicly and held his own against us. We then headed over to the lodge for ping pong and pool. It was a long day, full of good times togther.

Living the life in Arizona!