IKEA shelving! My project for the day! I bought these used and built them today. I love it! We aren’t going to use it as an entertainment center, just as storage shelves in the basement.
Yesterday was a beautiful day so we took a trip to Ruggles Mine. Everyone was pretty excited for the outing. We packed a picnic lunch and our rock collecting gear, we studied the rock guides, and we slathered on the sunscreen.
I “carried out” way more photos than rocks! Many of these are probably exactly the same as I took when we went to Ruggles Mine two years ago, but I’m not even going to look or link back to that post so they’ll all seem fresh and new. :)
After we got done mining we had another snack, then headed home. Along the way we passed a cool looking playground so we made a quick stop. The littles in our group still had plenty of energy to burn! After that stop we decided ice cream was in order. Sadly my camera broke at the playground so I didn’t get any pictures of the rest of our day. You’ll have to just imagine our delight at eating ice cream by the lake on a beautiful day!
We got home in time to unload, unpack, and order pizza for dinner! A good day was had by all! I love summer vacation!
This last vacation post will be quick one. The last full day we were there was a quiet one. We took it slow in the morning… maybe did something else that I’m forgetting at the moment… then went to Amy’s house for the afternoon. We swam and ate and had fun. Alan and Ian bonded over World Cup soccer while Amy and I discussed daycares and family planning. You know, the usual stuff. Lex discovered their X-Box Knect and played some fun racing games. We had pizza for dinner. It was a great final day in Arizona!
Monday finally arrived and with it came goodbyes and long flights.
Long flights on a plane that had seat back screens! Movies, TV, music, games, and more! Alan watched TV, the kids played games, and I did enrichment activities! Ha! I played Bejeweled and read magazines while my kids were glued to the screen! It was a great flight! :)
We made it safely home. Our flight arrived around 111:30pm. The kids and I waited for baggage (which went awesome and smooth this entire trip!) while Alan hiked to long-term parking to get our car. He’s a good man. Then we made a stop at McD’s for a late-night snack that we all regretted and headed home! It was very late when we finally rolled into our garage, but everyone was safe and happy. We are an awesome traveling family! We’d be a globe-trotting family if only it weren’t so darn expensive!
Up next… a vacation in Franklin! Blog post coming soon! :)
We decided to extend our vacation through the weekend so we could go to the Grand Canyon together as a family, once Alan’s training was complete. Every time we mentioned the trip to an Arizona local they said, “Oh, you have to go to Sedona too!” Well, ok. We left bright and early Saturday morning with the intent to drive the four hour drive to the Grand Canyon via Sedona (making it more like a five hour drive), stopping for lunch somewhere along the way.
Approaching Sedona. Sorry for all the car pictures. The AZ DOT said the road north of Sedona, leading to the Grand Canyon, was impassible, so we had planned to have lunch in Sedona then go back the way we came to the highway, then on to the Grand Canyon. My plan was to stop on the way back at a viewing area and take pictures, and let Eve out of the car to find the red rock she so desperately wanted. However, when we got to Sedona a chipper young girl at the information booth swore the road was open and the view was amazing, so after lunch we proceeded north. Sadly there were no more Sedona viewing areas from there and no more opportunities for red rock collection. I owe Eve another trip to Sedona!
After lunch we followed the information girl’s advice and headed north through Oak Creek Canyon. The roads were narrow and twisty, and the views were amazing!
Now, finally, off to the Grand Canyon!
The goal was to get to the Grand Canyon in the early afternoon, stay a few hours, have dinner there, then head home in the dark. We got there a little late, but otherwise did ok. I took a million pictures and it’s hard to pick the best ones….
Last summer Lex had a pretty bad reaction to a bee sting and this year he is really jumpy around any flying, buzzy thing. At one point we are standing on a ledge, overlooking the Grand Canyon, and a big bug buzzes right by. Lex immediately starts spazzing out and trying to run away. Alan and I of course freak out a bit, because he is jumping around and running on a ledge of the GRAND CANYON! I got him calmed down, away from the ledge and the flying thing, and tried with all my terrified momma-heart to explain to him taht a) it was NOT a bee and b) a bee sting is better than falling off of the ledge into the GRAND CANYON! He was not convinced and decided to play it a little safer and stay away from ledges and bugs, to the best of his ability. Poor kiddo… but also a very smart kiddo!
We lasted about two hours before everyone was tired and ready to go. Truthfully they were tired by the time we got there and Eve was in tears within the first 30 minutes. Family vacations, ya know. But we powered through and had a great time! We stopped for pizza on the way out, then hit the road for a short, 4hr trip back to the hotel! Eve conked right out, but Lex stayed awake for the whole trip and we all went to bed around midnight.
The second full day we were in Arizona started a touch later than the first day, but still pretty early. The kids and I did some exploring around our hotel while we waited for the pool to open. I had a phone interview that morning, so I wanted to stay close by until that was done. Our hotel was neat because all of the doors opened to the outside (motel-like) and it had a very irregular layout. It made for great exploring.
After our walk I let the kids swim while I had my interview. It seemed pretty perfect to me, but I didn’t get the job and therefore maybe not the best interview location. At one point I lost my train of thought completely when Eve went under and didn’t come back. Fortunately she did come back moments later and fortunately I was interviewing with people I knew, so it was easy to explain the temporary lose of attention.
When the interview was over and the kids were thoroughly soggy (ha! like that ever happens!) we went back to the hotel room for a lunch of peanut butter crackers, yogurt, and fruit, then packed up for a trip to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. This place is AMAZING! If we lived nearby I would totally have a membership! One of the many, many, many things I loved about it was that each area had a theme, and each area had a baby sub-area that fit with the same theme. Not that I needed it, but it was cool that you could bring big kids and little ones and everyone could have fun and still stick together. Anyway, so many cool things about this place!
I wish I had the panoramic feature that the iPhones have. This would have made a good panorama picture instead of taking it in three shots.
The museum even had some covered parking (completely full by the time we got there) which I think every thing in Arizona should have! They had solor panels on top and even had a few electric car charging stations. I almost parked there, but then remembered I was driving a rental not our Nissan Leaf. It was the last available spot under the awning and when we came out we found a huge pick-up truck parked there. The thing didn’t even fit in the space!
That evening we had dinner again with Amy and Ian at the Mexican restaurant in the hotel. Everyone was pretty tired so we turned in early… or at least vacation early, which of course is still later than regular non-vacation bedtime! We had to rest up for our long trip to the Grand Canyon the next day!
I am very late with blog posts about two great trips we took recently. Grab a cup of coffee and get comfy, this is going to be a long one…
In June, Alan’s company sent him to a training in Phoenix, AZ. He doesn’t love to travel, but I do, and with a stroke of genius (my mom might have inspired it) we decided that the kids and I would join him in Phoenix and we’d turn work into a vacation. He flew out ahead of us because we still had one day of school left, but we joined him on Wednesday. That gave him time to get settled and us time to finish school properly!
Our flight out of Manchester was delayed an hour, but Delta sent me a text that morning and everything went well. I was worried about our layover, but that was fine too. Plenty of time. In fact, we even had enough time to ride the train thing in the airport, just for fun. A train in an airport. Craziness! :)
We got back to our gate just as the skies turned greenish black and the thunder rolled in! Needless to say, there was a delay as we waited for the storm to pass. I was very grateful we hadn’t boarded yet! The storm rumbled and lightning flashed, we played Uno and got a snack, then the storm passed and we boarded. The delay was just long enough to be exciting, but not so long that it was annoying.
Once we took to the skies it was beautiful, as usual!
It was very late when we finally got to the hotel in Phoenix. Very late. But everyone did a great job of keeping it together. Thanks to the 3hr time difference the next morning started very early! The kids were awake shortly after 3am! Ugh. We snuggled in bed for a bit, but we were all up well before we should have been.
When Alan was ready for work we all walked to his office together. It was a short walk down the street. His training was in the tallest building in the area so it had a great view. The place was swanky, with comfy furniture, free food, TV and video games, and an upside down Christmas tree decorated for the 4th of July.
After we left Alan to work, the kids and I headed to a local mall that had an indoor aquarium. We met Amy and Andrew there. It was cool, but we went through quickly. The kids were given a scavenger hunt activity at the beginning so they powered through the whole museum trying to find the answers, leaving little time for me to read signs.
After the aquarium we were all feeling hungry so we went down the hall to the Rainforest Cafe. We sat near the monkeys. The kids loved it.
After lunch we had frozen yogurt, because why not, then headed back to the hotel for rest. Only one of us took a nap, the other two jumped on the bed like wild hooligans.
When Alan got back from work we headed to Amy and Ian’s house for dinner and more swimming. It’s good to start and end each day in the pool. That’s how you know you’re really on vacation! :)
Well, I made it through two days and this post is already long. I take a lot of pictures. Have you noticed? I have to go get the kiddos from camp now, so I’m going to write more in another post. Stay tuned.
So we finally did it! I think this cat decision has taken longer than the kid decision did! Today we did it! After camp the kids and I went to the Humane Society and picked out a kitty. Meet Daisy.
Eve is over the moon! Lex says he is excited too, but not quite as bouncy as Eve. The kitty is pretty is happy too. She started exploring right away, before we even intended. On the way home she clawed her way through the box we brought her home in, but luckily Eve held her clipboard over the hole to keep her in, but when we got home she hopped right out.
The directions said to put her in one room for the first few days to let her relax and settle in. We tried the bathroom, with the food and litter box, but she wasn’t happy there. Eve went in to read her a story and the kitty jumped up on the dryer and then jumped down behind it. Eve almost panicked. Fortunately I can move the washer out of the way (exposing all the dirtiness back there) and the kitty came out.
Eve really wanted Daisy to sleep with her tonight, but we agreed to let her roam around and settle where she is most comfortable. We left Eve’s door open a crack, just in case Daisy wanted to sleep with Eve. So far she seems most comfortable on the stairs. We might have to train her out of that though, as it isn’t really the safest location in the house!
So there you are. I have one super excited girl and one furry kitty in the house tonight. Life is good.
We went strawberry picking the other day. One of my favorite summer activities, which is funny because I remember hating it as a child. You have to squat the whole time, being careful not to step on berries in the tight rows, sore legs, and aching back. Maybe we stayed too long or I was just a whiny child. I don’t know. Now we go to this awesome place with beautiful views and wide rows. The kids plop down and
eat pick berries into their pint containers, occasionally dumping them into my big tray.
The picking goes pretty quickly so we’re usually done in a half hour or so. I have trouble leaving the field because I always see just one more red berry, but the kids dragged me away, eager to get to the petting zoo and the homemade cider donuts!
Of course we need to visit the petting zoo too! Lots of goats and birds and chickens this year. The bunnies were in cages, which made Eve sad. The pigs were pooping and therefore not fun to watch and the sheep was in hiding somewhere. The goats are always the funnest part anyway, in my opinion. :)
Today I made eleven jars of strawberry jam while the kids were in camp. Since I was heating up the house and had all the canning supplies out, I decided to make pickled beets as well. I had a bunch of them from our CSA and I don’t really like beets, so I decided to pickle them. I also made “beet chips” like kale chips with beet greens, on recommendation from our CSA farmer. They are way more work than they are worth, in my opinion. Tomorrow all the remaining greens from the CSA are going into a big sauté pan!