Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Break Adventures

Spring break, and we ain't got nuttin' to do! Emergency! Okay kids, we need a plan. Grab the coupon book and figure out what we're going to do to entertain ourselves for the next two weeks. We can't just sit around the house doing nothing! School's out!

Plan A: Butterfly Wonderland. We looked hard for an emerging butterfly in the chrysalis gallery. No luck.



We weren't allowed to touch the butterflies, but they could land on us all they wanted... and they did! Paige, what a cute bow!









After the butterfly atrium, we visited the small aquarium.



The kids loved letting the rays come up and touch their hands in the petting pool!



My cute little aquanauts.



The next day, we planned to go to the zoo. Brandon said he wanted to see a meerkat, but when he found out the Phoenix Zoo doesn't have any, he didn't even want to go! How weird is that? I asked the girls what they wanted for lunch, and they both said noodles, so it was off to Noodles & Co for lunch.



It was a nice day for the zoo.



We took a lot of selfies.







That bird was loud!



In preparation for our backpacking trip in Aravaipa Canyon, the boys and I got new hiking boots, and we decided it would be wise to test them out on Silly Mountain before our big hike. Turns out we really didn't need to because we ended up wearing our water shoes most of the day because of all the stream crossings. Oh well!



Okay, I had been dreaming of hiking Aravaipa Canyon since 10th grade when I did a report on it for biology class! One of the obstacles to visiting Aravaipa is you need to get a permit in advance, so with Grand Canyon on my calendar for this year, I was really motivated to make it happen. Finally, my dream was coming true! You don't even know how excited I was in this picture.



Our first stream crossing. At this point, we naively thought we might be able to keep our feet dry. Notice our nice new, dry hiking shoes.



I was really missing my big camera on that trip, but when you have to carry everything on your back, you don't carry anything extra.



Me in heaven, with my water shoes on.



Knowing my guys were out there because I wanted to be out there made me love them even more.



Selfie! These are the things you have to do when you're the only one taking pictures.



Okay, that ended abruptly. There's more to that story: how 12 map miles was actually 18 foot miles, how we almost missed the car, how my dad couldn't find my car for like three hours. I better come back and tell the whole story!

Anyway, when we got back home, there were still several days left of break. What to do? The kids all voted for Legoland, so I texted my sister and asked if she wanted to go on a last minute trip. Surprisingly, she was in! So, we packed up the kids and took off for California the next day. We stayed in a pretty nice hotel near the main street in Encinitas, so it was close to a local taco shop.



Cousin fun!



Legoland! They were so excited to go on the cars.





I may have been a bad example and given her this idea.



Girls all around him.



The kids loved meeting characters from the Lego Movie.



Paige really wanted to see Wyld Style, but when it came time, she was a little shy.





Time for some more rides on the dragon.



I love this photo! This boy loves roller coasters and laughs the whole way. How different I was at his age (and really, until I was a teenager).

The kids waited until the end of the day when it was a little chilly to go on this boat ride. Surprisingly, when they were done, they wanted to go again!





One more ride on the coaster. My niece started out crying about the coasters, but by the end she was begging us to go again and again. They look like they are having a blast!



The next day, we walked over to Moonlight Beach. I don't know why, but the kids love the beach and could stay there all day. It started out cold, but soon the sun burned through the clouds.









We got home Saturday night and had a day of rest on Sunday, but there was still no school on Monday. What to do? My friend invited us to go to the AZ Science Center with her, but then she bailed on us. Oh well, we went anyway! We had free passes, so all that was left was to pay for parking.



Brandon just loved all things electricity.







This distortion made him look like the villain from Incredibles. Creepy!



And then, back to school.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Same City, New Adventures...

It was Valentine's Day weekend, it was President's Day weekend, but mostly it was a three day weekend! Russ's aunt and uncle were in San Diego, so the Johnstons threw a family shindig, and we decided to join them. Sadly, I took a grand total of zero pictures at the luncheon. Later that night, we headed to the Motocross competition at Petco Park with our good friends. Can you tell it was men's choice? I had never been, but I can definitely say I saw a lot of flannel.





Selfie!



The kids collected as many of these from the stadium cup holders as they possibly could, and then they used them as fake money at their store the next day.



There was a lot of seat switching. We weren't able to reserve 9 tickets together, so we had to alternate between the groups of 4 and 5 seats we had together. Luckily, they were only two rows apart...



(Did you spot the flannel?)



...which made it easier to hand the snacks back and forth!!



This is the look of satisfaction.



The next day, we had lunch with cousins. And some craziness.



And some hugs.



Monday, we took a hike to Potato Chip Rock on Mt. Woodson.



It was a really interesting hike because of the huge boulders.



Luckily I had a willing model to showcase the really cool parts of the trail.



I thought this boulder looked like a curio cabinet because there were little rocks inside the holes. Since no one gave it an official name, we didn't have to stand in line for an hour to get a picture with it.



Alas, Potato Chip Rock does have an official name, and everyone who hikes up there wants a picture. We didn't want to wait in line, so I took a picture of the boys on another rock that I like to call Potato Rock, and I photoshopped them onto Potato Chip Rock. Tada!!