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

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Family, the Grand Canyon, and tarantulas

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Mom and Dad arrived safely back in New Hampshire this morning, after a wonderful, whirlwind week here in AZ.

Mike ended up getting the entire week off, so it was a happy - and welcome - vacation for all of us. They came late last Saturday night, and Sunday was a day of hanging out, catching up, and taking them on their first-ever trip to IKEA. We browsed for an hour, and I believe it was the first time that none of the boys had a meltdown by the time we headed out to the car.

On Monday, they headed up to Camp Verde to see (and stay at) their new house. We took them out to show them our first fix-up house on the way. The deal has since ended up falling through, but that's another story for another blog.

Tuesday was the 4th, and we headed up north to join Mom & Dad. Their house is completed, but empty, so we sat on camp chairs and stretched out on the new carpet. We played pool in the clubhouse, and board games in their living room. The view from their house is beautiful, and we were able to watch fireworks right from their driveway. We could see them going up and everything. The boys really enjoyed it, and Paxton liked the fact that because they were so far away, they weren't very loud at all.

On Wednesday, we all drove up to the Grand Canyon. It was a first for us McGrails, and we were not disappointed! The view was amazing, and we stopped at several look-out points before hiking a short way down the Bright Angel trail. It was quite a feat with 5 young kids (2 of them under age 3) but they did great!! Everett pointed out the mule poop every few steps, Paxton took pictures of a hawk we saw on one of the cliffs, and Spencer was having so much fun that he wanted to keep going after we decided we'd better head back. I can't wait to go again when the boys are older, and we can hike all the way down and camp out and everything. The ride back to Mom and Dad's took forever since we made about 92 bathroom breaks, but it was well worth it.

On Thursday we enjoyed a lazy morning and an awesome afternoon rain storm before heading home. We took the scenic route home and it was incredible! It was literally like we were driving through different countries... my favorite being the rolling green hills that made feel like we were going throught the Swiss Alps. I took pictures out the window like a tourist. Mike nearly gave me a heart attack when he suddenly gasped and slammed on the brakes. The emergency? He saw a tarantula crossing the road. We turned around and went back, and all piled out of the car, camera in hand. We watched it cross the road and go onto the shoulder. It stopped to let us look for awhile, then went on its way. It was actually quite beautiful up close, and very graceful when it moved. A couple more side-of-the-road potty stops, and dinner at Burger King, and we were home.

Friday morning, our bug guy came bright - VERY bright - and early in the morning. He's going to be coming more frequently since it is summer, and we have now seen three scorpions in the house. We were supposed to be going to our home inspection in the afternoon, but as I said above, it was a no-go. We did meet with a contractor though, so it wasn't a total bust. He was a great guy, very professional, and formerly homeschooled :) I'm sure we'll be using him on future projects.

Mom and Dad came back down here yesterday afternoon, and we were able to spend a few more hours together before we saw them off. It was a GREAT week! Now we just pray that their house in NH sells quickly, and that the next time they come, it's for good. And today we're resting, hanging out together, and still trying to figure out the best way to spend Mike's last day before he has to go back to work.


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