"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.


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