Monday, May 25, 2015

Amazing Jake's

Our next field trip was to Amazing Jake's with our good friends! We had the lunch buffet and then headed for the rides.

We only had two ride cards, but the laser packs were too big for the boys, so my friend and I wore the packs while our kids shot the guns... that was the plan anyway. In practice, the moms got so competitive that we took the guns from the kids and started firing away at each other. She started it!!

Our last activity was cosmic bowling. Such great form, don't you think?


I love his victory dance. You can see he is knocking a whopping two pins over!

I'm gonna miss this boy when school starts.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Seven Springs

All winter long, Brandon begged to go camping. He also begged to go swimming. I guess he's a summer kind of guy. Spring was busy, but we finally figured out a weekend we could go. I thought it would be warm after it hit 100 a couple of times, but that weekend definitely was not. We decided to stay low and go to a campground north of Cave Creek called Seven Springs. We got a late start, so I was kind of nervous, but we were relieved to find a campsite, even if it was really rocky. With the air as cold as it was, the first order of business was to start a campfire.

The night was really chilly, and we were just barely warm enough to sleep, but our bodies ached from the cold. Our tent poles broke as Russ was setting them up, so I'm really glad it didn't rain! Our tent was so ghetto.

Love camping breakfasts!

I'm not a very experience camper, so I forgot the syrup for the pancakes. The kids had the idea of melting marshmallows on top. Genius!

I think she was enjoying it.


We didn't really have any major plans, so we loafed around a bit.

And then we went exploring.

A little way from our campsite, we found a creek! There was mention of a creek in the campsite description, but we thought the dry wash right next to our campsite was it. Good thing we ventured out. The kids loved making leaf boats.

Afterward, we decided to try to drive to a place called Sheep's Bridge. First we had to drive like 20 miles up a dirt road. Then we realized we had to drive like 12 miles down an unmaintained dirt road. Russ thought we could do it, and we had already come all that way, so we decided to try. The first mile or so was a breeze, but that quickly changed. After a few miles of road that was so rough that we could only go about walking speed, we gave up and turned around because we realized it would take us another hour to go the last six miles. That made for a really long trip to a sheep's bridge. At least I got a picture to commemorate the moment we turned back. Maybe if we get some quads someday, we can come back and conquer.

As we made our way back down all those miles of dirt road, we caught a rock next to our rotor, and it made an awful screeching noise. The fire ranger stopped to help us take the tire off and get the rock out, and it was smooth sailing again. When we got close to home, we ran our car through a car wash, but there was so much dirt on it that it didn't get very clean. My dad would have kept that dirt on his truck like a badge of honor. He would have been proud.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Going Wild

Our second field trip was to Wildlife World Zoo, way across town. We've been to the Phoenix Zoo so much that I decided we needed to try something else, and the Wildlife World Zoo did not disappoint! Well, unless you count the crappy $6 plate of nachos. Sadly, there weren't any elephants, but at least there were giraffes.

Brandon has been wanting to go on a sky ride ever since we ran out of tickets before he could go on the one at the fair. He was so excited!

Rare albino gator... I remember seeing one at the aquarium in New Orleans when I was a teenager. One of many funky cool creatures we saw that day.

These guys are funky cool, and that includes the little dude in the front!

What up?

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to the aquarium side of the park. They let us touch starfish, lobsters, and sea urchins, and I just have to say... sea creatures are freaky!

So many great fish tanks.

See that spot in front of the penguin cage that would be perfect to stand in for a photo op? Yeah, somebody explain that to my four-year-old!! He was busy climbing up the three stairs and jumping back down. I guess they made the viewing area too fun.

I loved that it had both a zoo and an aquarium and rides... I will have to bring the rest of the family here someday.

Before I go, should I show some of the freaks? Okay. This guy was just waiting for an unsuspecting victim to walk by.

Hello Gemma, would you like a kiss?

The king of the freaks... the moray eel. I think they put on those funky lights just to make them more creepy. The only creature that might be even more disturbing is the king crab, but luckily they didn't have any of those.

God sure made some weird creatures. Hope you don't have nightmares now... especially you, Gems.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hall of Flame

After spring break, I started to panic when I thought about how few days I had left to spend one on one time with my little man while the other kids were at school. Instead of curling up in a ball and crying my eyes out like I wanted to do, I decided to do a field trip with him every Tuesday and Thursday from then until the end of the year. We started with the Hall of Flame fire museum.

Their collection of fire trucks is quite extensive, and too much for a boy his age to be interested in for very long. He was all about the truck you could actually climb on, though!

And when we got to the kids' area, he didn't want to leave.

To the rescue!

My cute little fire chief had a thing with sticking his tongue out for pictures that day. He can't be old enough for kindergarten, can he?

I let him stay and play for as long as I could, but soon it was time to get the girls from the bus stop.

He bragged about his field trip to his sisters, and that made me happy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Air Show

One day after Russ had just finished a really hard mid-term, we went to Chandler Airport Days so he could let his mind relax. It was close, and it was free. They were selling bi-plane rides, but Russ decided to save that for another day. It looked kinda fun.

I love it when he gets excited about exhibits... and I may or may not have asked him to point again so I could get a picture. Hey, at least he pointed the first time without prompting, so it's mostly authentic!

One of the coolest planes was a WWII B-17 bomber, signed by members of the crew, some of whom were in their 90's when they signed it!

They had a lot of old planes in very nice condition. You could tour some of the larger ones for a small fee, but we stuck to the free stuff.

All in all, a nice way to spend an afternoon as a family. We need to do the bi-plane ride next time, though.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

20 Minutes to Victory

I have a crazy cool friend named Liz. She convinced me to set up a hiking trip during the day with some of our other friends, and I was to be the guide. Some guide, I couldn't even find the trail head! As we headed up the winding road, we found a spot where the trail intersected it that had room for like three cars. Of course I passed it at first, so we had to do a death defying u-turn near a blind curve on a narrow two lane mountain road. Most people wanted out of the car, and no one trusted the guide who said we had like five feet when all we could see was a canyon in front of us. It wasn't about trust... it was about fear!

This picture before we set out. Black is the new black.

Since I didn't really know exactly where we were, I tried to figure it out as we went. The trail was steep at first, and then followed along the ridge line, so we had great views the whole time.

And while I wanted my traditional victory shots, Liz had a better idea in mind.

Everything went fine until we came to an unexpected parking area that totally threw off my navigation. Cell coverage was spotty, but I managed to get Russ to figure out where we were after a phone call to the ranger station only yielded an answering machine. We finally found the other parking lot, and that's when we realized we had to hike back UP to our car. Liz tried to hitch a ride with a couple of chubby girls who just told us it had taken them 45 minutes to get to the top. Right then it was on. Marisol started the timer, and we blasted up that hill in 20 minutes. Rock on!

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Time flies. Here it is Mother's Day, and I'm finally posting pictures from Easter. Don't worry, I only have about 12 posts worth of pictures still piled up.

This year, I decided not to worry too much about getting pictures of the morning hunt. They never turn out that great because kids are fast when hunting for eggs! When all the eggs and candy were found, we made our traditional Easter breakfast. I'm sure my kids will tell stories about these pancakes when they grow up. Kinda makes up for the lack of nutrition!

After church, we headed to my mom and dad's house for more egg hunting. And more candy. This is why I had to start 30 days without treats the next day. It can get to be too much! (By the way, that 30 days is over now, and between a party Friday, a baptism and a party Saturday, and Mother's Day today, I think I made up for all 30 days!)

I told you kids are fast when hunting... look at him go!

Checking out the spoils

And this one just because it's sweet. I love that the cousins love the play together so much.