Wednesday, May 28, 2014

tumbling and running

This backyard. Oh how we love it. Especially the little tumbler. Many of our evenings are spent out here. Mostly because we have so many weeds. And snails. Oh my goodness the snails! But we love this backyard. It's turned into a magical little place for us, where the gardener can tend to his plants (and weeds) and the babies can run out all the remaining wiggles of the day.

Monday, May 26, 2014

graduation what?

I'm fairly certain that it was just a month or two ago that Annabelle started preschool. It seems like just yesterday I was using my grown up eyes to march her in to class. It seems like just yesterday I was willing her to be brave, to play, to share and have fun, and to learn.

And then this happened.

No idea. The older my babies get, the quicker time shuffles by. I swear it.

Her graduation was a darling event. We've been so pleased with her experience in preschool and are so grateful for her teacher (Miss Sam) and everything she did for Annabelle. Our hopes for Annabelle in preschool were that she would find confidence (and bravery) and learn to socialize. But she learned so much more. She learned about careers and cultures and giant vocabulary words, and her reading level has skyrocketed. She learned to share and sacrifice. She learned how to be a friend. She learned that mommy always comes back, and that in the mean time, she can have fun. She learned to love learning. She learned to trust her gut. She learned to be independent. 

I'm not totally sure that every child needs preschool. In fact, I'm sure they don't. But we've been delighted with her experience and wouldn't trade it for anything. I sincerely hope (and even pray) that my girls will continue to be blessed with teachers like Miss Sam, who care about each individual child and have that unique brand of patience that comes with teaching children. 

On to kindergarten. Which I'm not really ready to talk about. I'm not quite that brave yet. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

one last pit stop

On our way home from the Grand Canyon (via our St. George stopping point), we stopped at Kolob Canyons, the northwest section of Zion National Park. (Tip: It's not Zion's. It's also not Zy-ON. It's Zy-un. Like lion.) Anyhow - in Kolob Canyons, there's a five mile hike called Taylor Pond. Of course, we didn't do the whole hike, but we thought we'd do a little with the girls. It turned out to be the perfect little stop. The girls played in the stream, and we sat and enjoyed the beautiful Zion walls towering above us. We took about a million photos, saw some frogs and lizards, threw rocks, and ended with a rousing joust (Lou vs. the world).

When one leaves the tripod in the car, improvise.

Photo by Annabelle.


Photo by Annabelle.

Photo courtesy of rock tripod.

About ten minutes after we got back in the car, the girls fell asleep. And did not wake up until we got home. That's like 3.5 hours! It was basically the best drive in the history of ever and the perfect end to our little trip.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

back to the grand

So back to the Grand Canyon. Before we left, Jess had researched additional landmarks around the Grand Canyon. And boy are we glad he did. Because as I mentioned, having Lou near the rim of the Grand Canyon is basically a bad idea. 

To any of you considering taking children: there are many fenced off locations at the rim, and you shouldn't let me scare you away. The Yavapai Museum of Geology is actually located literally on the rim, and it's enclosed so you could always camp out there and safely view the Grand Canyon from their wall of windows. That said, there are many areas that are not at all blocked off or enclosed. And some of the fences are gappy. If a child wanted to (Lou), they could slide right under (or over).

And here's the thing: Lou can't help but find danger or illness or anything that involves abandoning sanity. And she's clutzy. She trips over really thick air all the time. So we were not at all encouraged to tempt fate. Instead we headed to Wupatki National Monument. Let me just:

Oh, my archaeologist heart just can't get enough of this. 

So Wupatki National Monument is home to Pueblo ruins dating back to 1100. As in the year. The largest pueblo (at the site of the visitor's center, pictured above from the front and back) has over 100 rooms, and housed just as many people. In its hey day, it is believed that thousands of smaller pueblos were surrounding it. There are a handful remaining today. They. Blow. My. Mind. 

I could've spent all day here. No lie. Some of the ruins you can walk around; some you can actually go in. Of course, you're asked to leave everything as you find it and treat the ruins with respect. But I did love that we could actually wander in and through these beautiful structures. And just one question - the doors. Why so short? 

I climbed to the top of a pueblo that the park service has deemed The Citadel (for it's shape and location, pictured below). It's at the top of a mesa and you can see for miles around. On the informational sign, I read that they guess that this was likely used as a defense structure, so they could see enemies. But then again, no one really knows. For all we know, they just liked the view. I loved that sentiment. :)

By the time we got to the main (giant) pueblo, Annabelle and Lou were tired and it was pretty warm outside. Of course, I wasn't about to miss out, so we took them to look from afar, snapped a photo (below), and Jess and I took turns hanging in the little visitor's center with them. They have a great little hands-on exhibit, and they were seriously entertained forever.

So all of this to say, if you do make a trip to the Grand Canyon - kids or not - I highly recommend Wupatki. It's extraordinary and so beautiful. Cue another photo dump.

P.S. Did anyone notice that Annabelle's wearing her wedding shoes? Honestly, we just have issues with apparel and vacations. She had her "tie shoes." But apparently her feet grew since she last wore them and they pinched her toes. Somehow she left the house wearing her fancy shoes. So sure. Why not hike in fancy shoes with bows?  To her credit, she did not complain one bit about tromping around in those fancy little things. And when we got home, I took a Bleach Pen to those suckers, and they're almost as good as new.


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