Friday, October 29, 2010


This vacation was all about milestones.  It was our first family vacation.  It was the first time travelling without baby things like strollers and pull ups and pack n plays.  Sam has been riding his bike for a while now, but this trip offered him his first time riding through trails...mountain bike riding "like daddy does."   This stroller free living offered us the opportunity to conquer this bluff in Sedona. 

We started at the white arrow and hiked and climbed our way up the switchbacks and rocks to the black arrow.  It was about three miles round trip and the kids loved it.  It was like a giant, orange, dirty jungle gym.  The weather was perfect.  Big thunder clouds over head kept us cool.  No one asked to be carried, no one complained and I did not hear one bit of whining.  It was just a fun family adventure.
Keith and the kids checking out the views from the top.

A view of the bluff from the next trail we attempted.
(Attempted being the key word here.  We discovered were a little over confident after the first hike.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hiking and Biking in Flagstaff

Every day in Flagstaff we went on a hike or a bike ride or both.  It really is a beautiful area.  There are lots of kid friendly hikes and perfect beginner bike trails.  My girlfriend loaned us a tandem bike attachment for Elise so we were all able to ride together on the trails.  There are pictures of the bikes in action at the bottom of the post.  I don't know how I ended up in a family of early risers...but these three were up every morning by 6 - 6:15.  I was the lazy bum staying in bed until 7ish.  Not totally what I thought would be the schedule on vacation but I have to admit it made for long, enjoyable days.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Isn't Flagstaff the city where Aunt Edna gets dropped off in Vacation?  Or was it Phoenix?  I think it was Flagstaff.  Anyway...that is my only frame of reference to Northern Arizona.  I never thought of it as a vacation spot.  Keith's parents generously gave us a week of their timeshare for us to use at any of their locations.  We picked Flagstaff because it was close enough to drive to and we wouldn't have to spend the money on airfare.  We figured we could easily visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona as well.  To be honest, I had low expectations.  I knew there was a space observatory there so we had that too if we needed something to keep us busy.

After driving seven hours through the desert we started our approach to Flagstaff.  About 10-20 miles from town, the landscape changed suddenly.  As soon as we hit about 5000 feet up, pine trees popped up around us.  Closer to town and we started to notice yellow patches in the mountains.  The Aspen trees were changing.  I was happy we did not miss the fall show of color.
We went to dinner that first night downtown.  Right next door to the restaurant was a theater.  Above the theater was a sign.  A sign that said Colin Hay was playing there that night.  We like Colin Hay.  It didn't look too crazy so we asked if there were tickets still available and if kids were allowed in the show.  We were surprised that they said yes to both questions.  Since we were in vacation mode we decided we'd be a little crazy and go for it.  Colin Hay put on a great show.  The last time we saw him perform was at The Belly Up and he didn't talk that much.  This time he was like a stand up comedian between songs.  And there were a lot of F-bombs and references to weed.  Lucky for us, his Scottish accent was so thick that Sam asked what language he was speaking.  He couldn't understand anything he said.  That relieved me because I was starting to doubt my parental judgement.  I was picturing Sam going back to 1st grade telling everyone he went to his first F%$#ing concert in F*$%ing Flagstaff.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our day at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is completely overwhelming.  Someday we will go back when the kids are older and can handle going down into the canyon.  It must be a totally different experience.    
This trip we stuck with the rim trail and enjoyed the fantastic views.

The trail proved too long for some of us.

When we first arrived we picked up booklets from the rangers with assignments for the kids to complete to earn a Junior Ranger badge.


One of the games the kids had to complete was a Grand Canyon Bingo where you check off all the things you see at the canyon.  I was amazed at how many animals we were able to check off.

We saw a deer,

a bull elk,

and a Condor!

This was a big deal as there are not many of these guys left.  I don't think the rangers believed us when we told them we saw one.  But look, if you zoom in on this picture you can see his pink head.

We also saw a squirrel, thanks to this future Darwin Award winner.  There are signs everywhere in several languages warning about feeding the animals...

The kids were sworn in and earned their badges. They were proud! Sam said his favorite part of the day was seeing the man feed the squirrel and Elise said her favorite part of the day was seeing the elf. (Elk)   

Friday, October 22, 2010

A quick glance

We are having so much fun on our vacation. Now we are off for a bike ride and then hiking in a cave.  The adventure continues!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Exit 161

We are on our first official family vacation this week.  We have been on trips before, visits with friends and family up north...but never just the four of us, in one place, for 6 days.  We started yesterday by piling in the van with four bikes, four people and our bags stuffed in the spaces in between.  While driving North on I15, I called my sister.  I knew they were heading to Disneyland soon but I wasn't sure when exactly they were leaving.  Turns out, they were heading South on I15.  So, 45 minutes later, we pulled off somewhere between Victorville and Barstow and gave hugs and hellos to our cousins!  We couldn't have coordinated better if we tried.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Nolan, Elise + Ella

This is not the greatest picture on many levels but I have to use it because it is the only one I have with my potential future son-in-law and I need to share this story before I forget.  Elise has made several new friends this year at preschool.  Her little bff is the girl in this picture, Ella.  The boy she tells me she will marry, is Nolan.  I am not sure how the conversation started but during a drive in the swagger wagon, I heard Sam and Elise talking about the future spouses.  Elise told Sam she was going to marry Nolan.  This was the first I heard her talk about him like that.  I wasn't even aware that she gave Nolan any attention at all. Elise told me of a conversation she had with Nolan at school...

Elise:  Nolan, I am going to marry you.
Nolan: I know.

I gave Nolan's Mom the heads up and she did not seem surprised.  Turns out, he has had several proposals already since many of his neighbors are four year old girls.  Looks like Elise may have some competition.

After hearing me tell the story a few times, I think Elise grew tired and announced to me that she was no longer going to marry Nolan.  I supported her and encouraged her to wait until she was thirty before deciding her marital fate.

Leaving preschool several days later, we crossed paths with Nolan on the way to our car.  Elise smiled and shouted, "Bye, Nolan!"  He smiled back and said goodbye.  They did this several times.  I finally got Elise in the car and she seriously had a dreamy smile and look upon her face.  I said, "You are going to marry Nolan, aren't you?"

"Yes I am.  Mommy?  Do you think he will bring me red roses?"

I'd like to say that she got the red roses thing because she sees daddy do that for me all the time...but no.  I suspect that Sam has been planting ideas in her head.  Either way...I think it is adorable but I'd like for her to slow down a bit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A good book

Sam and I just finished reading this book.  I remember the movie from when I was young.  (Yes, I watched some age appropriate shows from time to time.) But I don't ever remember reading the actual book.  Sam was a little hesitant for me to read an actual chapter book without any pictures to look at.
He decided he would give it a chance and two chapters in, he was hooked.
 Sam will often stop me when I read a word he is unsure of and will ask me what it means.  Just like Wilbur does with Charlotte now that I think of it.  Anyway, I read the word adore and Sam quickly asked for the definition, I obliged and we moved on.  When I finished reading for the night I asked Sam if he was enjoying the book and if he wanted to continue the next night.  "Oh, yes! Mommy, I adore this book."

I adored the book too.  So much so I looked up E.B. White to see what else he may have to offer.  I found out he wrote Stuart Little as well.  Looks like that may be our next chapter book.  E.B. White wrote adult books too and he was an essayist. I came across this quote from him about being an essayist that I thought applied to this blogging/facebook world of ours.  
"The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest."
I guess the difference between an Essayist and a blogger is that you actually had to be articulate to be an Essayist.  
Here's to the non-discriminatory nature of blogs!

Maybe not so dreadful

On Friday, I thought lice were dreadful.  Now I feel silly about it since hearing about the shooting at my friend's elementary school in Carlsbad.  I can't imagine the fear those kids and parents had during those frightening moments.  To think that two little girls now have gunshot wounds because of some random act of violence.  I know how sensitive my six year old is and I can't imagine having to discuss with him about the bad man who came to school.  My friend's 5 year old son had to hide in a bathroom for over an hour with other students and teachers.  The teachers were brave and distracted the kids by playing games and telling them it was a long drill when I am sure they, themselves were scared out of their minds.  I think my Friday lice report was not so dreadful.  Perspective.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I knew this day would come and I have been dreading it.

My head immediately started to itch and I felt like this...

I went into a panic and went straight to the pharmacy to buy some lice killer.  I wasn't sure what to look for but I was not going to mess around.  Somehow, I made it through my entire childhood without ever meeting these little pests.  I don't remember my siblings ever getting them either.  I am hoping that maybe we are genetically pre-dispositioned to repel the little suckers.  I checked Sam's head and while I thought he looked free and clear I still was not sure.  Then I checked the internet for some hints as to what I needed to watch out for.


I am so grossed out right now.
Wish us luck!
If I find anything I will be sure to post a close up photo.
I'll consider it my favor to anyone who reads this so you will know what to look for.
It's what I do.

I am still itchy.