"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Our First Visitors

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This past week held a lot of firsts. Barbara and Skip (AKA Yaya and Grandpa Skip) became our very first official visitors from back east. The boys were extremely excited about them coming to stay, and they thoroughly enjoyed the week we all got to spend together. One of the nice things about having visitors so soon after we've moved here, is that it gave us a great excuse to visit some of the local scenery that we otherwise might not have gotten to for awhile.

On Monday, we drove the Apache Trail through the Tonto National Forest. The ride itself was through winding, steep, and at times hair-raising mountainous roads, and had some of the most beautiful views I think I've ever seen. It was awe-inspiring, and I just wanted to share it with all the people who'd said "Why would you want to leave a beautiful state like New Hampshire?" We stopped to enjoy to view (and shake off some of the carsickness) at Canyon Lake, and again at Apache Lake. The road brought us to Roosevelt Dam, and from there we went for a hike and tour of some long-ago inhabited cliff dwellings. It was a long first day, and we capped it off with pizza from our favorite place down the street.

Mike had to work on Tuesday, and the rest of us took a trip to Phoenix. We visited two custom motorcyle shops, one of which gave us a tour of the workshop. We also stopped at a shop that laser-cuts decorative metal and tile. The boys were pretty tired by that point, but Paxton enjoyed the cat that kept wandering in and out, and they were both fascinated by the machine that cut using a high-pressure stream of water. They all got to take home their names cut out of diamond steel as a souvenier.

On Wednesday, we all traveled down to Tuscon, another first for all of us. We stopped at the Casa Grande Ruins, where we explored the ruins and museum, had a picnic lunch, and let the boys stretch their legs. Everett had a good time running around like a little tourist, carrying a brochure the entire time. From there we drove the rest of the way to the Saguaro National Forest. We enjoyed a nice hike through the desert, and though we kept our eyes peeled for rattlesnakes and other native animals, found none. We did see lots of animal droppings though, as well as huge cactuses, and a beautiful mountain view. The big boys had no problem with the rocky trail, and Everett walked for part of it, and rode the backpack for the rest. A woman stopped me to ask if I didn't worry about the baby getting poked by a cactus. I didn't tell her that the only person who'd gotten stuck with a cactus - twice - was the family clutz (me) and that everyone else had managed to avoid them.

Thursday morning was a much needed morning of rest, and the boys enjoyed playing games and doing puzzles with Yaya and Grandpa Skip. The afternoon brought us to lunch and browsing at IKEA. Friday was the boys' choice, and they wanted to go to the zoo. One of the things I love most about the zoo is that you see something different every time. This time we saw rattlesnakes eating their breakfast of mice, and the bobcat being fed. We also threw bread to the ducks while we ate our picnic lunch, and watched while the boys enjoyed playing on the tractors in the children's area. It was a good day.

For Saturday, the last day of their stay, we went to visit with some old friends. For dinner, they took us to Rockin R Ranch where we went on a wagon ride, panned for gold, ate a traditional cowboy supper on tin plates, saw a wonderful country song and dance show, and capped it all off with a staged gun fight. It was a fun way to wrap up the week, and the boys had a blast. Even Everett was clapping and hollering for more during the show.

We all said our goodbyes on Saturday night since the plane was boarding at 6:30 AM on Sunday. We'd all had a great time, and enjoyed the visit. We also all agreed that it had gone by extremely quickly. We packed a lot into one visit! The only downfall? The boys were plum worn out from all the driving, late nights, and activity, so there were many meltdowns. Something Mike and I will definitely learn from for the next time. Still, a couple early nights and lazy mornings later, and they are good to go, and already asking about the next visit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Swing of Things

Mike has been back to work for a week now, and I'm actually surprised at how quickly we've all adjusted. Our days have been busy and happy.

Spencer decided several days ago that he wanted to practice his spelling some more, that maybe writing wouldn't frustrate him so much if he could spell better. Fully expecting a "no thanks," I asked him if he wanted me to print a spelling list for him to work on. He actually said yes, so I hopped online (God bless the person who invented the internet) and found one. I guessed on the grade, since grade level has never been an issue, but 3rd grade fit the bill just fine. It's been hanging around the living room all week, and both boys have been using it to quiz each other.

On Friday, our furniture came as promised, although we waited at home all day only for it to come at 5:30 in the evening. Our house looks more like a real house now, and it doesn't make it look too much smaller like I'd feared. It's been a real treat to watch tv on a couch like a civilized family.

This weekend was spent out and about, spending Christmas gift certificates, and preparing our house for our first overnight visitors. Sunday we spent four hours at the Toyota dealership, where the boys got an up-close and personal look at the car buying process. They were INCREDIBLY patient throughout the whole thing, even though it meant skipping lunch and dining on vending machine candy and chiclets. Mike bought a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, and it was good news for all us. For one thing, now we can go off-roading as a family (and my 4Runner can be spared the scratches), and we also have a vehicle again while Mike is at work. We're all itching to get back to some semblance of having a social life.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hanging Around

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Happy 2006.

We rang in the New Year just as we planned.. with fun food and movies. The past few days have been quiet and restful, spent almost exclusively at home. The boys were exhausted on New Years day... Spencer made it till midnight, and Everett and Paxton lasted till about 11:30. We've been playing lots of games both old new, including several rounds of Monopoly, Herd Your Horses, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, and Parcheezi. Paxton has been on another computer
kick, and he and I are both very thankful that I have a laptop on order. Spencer's fixation at the moment is still the Dukes of Hazard, and he is in the middle of watching the second season on DVD, an early birthday present. The boys have also been doing a lot of reading. Spencer has re-discovered his Boxcar Kids books, and both he and Paxton have been working their way through an Earth and Space book. Everett's choice for the past few nights has been Where is Baby's Belly Button, a very cute lift-the-flap book from Yaya and Grandpa Skip.

Yesterday we got a phone call we have been waiting for for weeks, telling us that our furniture is scheduled to be delivered on Friday. We were all very relieved to hear this, as we had had
nothing but the futon that we'd bought for the guest room. Now it can go in the room where it belongs, and we can finally set up our living room.

Our second phone call of interest came this morning. Mike was offered a temporary job at the local University. He starts at 9:00 tomorrow morning. The boys and I have mixed feelings about him going to work, but know of course that it is necessary. Mike is looking forward to it. He's spending today, his last day home for awhile, with the big boys. Right now they are out running errands, including a stop at the DMV to register the car. Not the most exciting of outings, but they never seem to care as long as they're with Dad.


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