Monday, April 29, 2013

Laser Tag Date Night!

Just sitting here wondering how I'm going to post about our laser tag date night without sounding like a zit-face dweeb...

it totally rocked!

(oops, was that out loud? This is never gonna work.)

Considering how much I plan to showboat in this post, I might as well just embrace the nerdy glory. Luckily we were able to convince some of our friends in the ward to warp into the future with us for an epic battle between red, blue, and yellow (oh dear, I'm even scaring myself now!). Danika had someone snap a picture with her phone while we were waiting to go in.

The regulars always try to get on the red team, so that was full by the time we got in there, and the yellow team always ends up with the leftovers, so we doubled up on laps so we could all fit in the blue team seating area. It was like high school all over again.

And now here's a riddle for you:

Where is Justin's head?

Here's some music for you while you're thinking: "One of these kids is doin' his own thing... can you tell which one?"

Red team, I know you think you're awesome, but that was before the old folks showed up on the scene! Red team may have had the number one player, but blue team won the game, and isn't that all that really matters?

Read 'em and weep, boys!

(I know you just barely finished gagging on my muscle picture in the Four Peaks post, but now I need you to pay special attention to lucky number Blue 7... yeah, that's me! Just barely off the podium... 4th kinda stinks, but out of 51 players, it seemed pretty good to me. I can't brag about my goofy golf game, so I have to claim my victories where I can.)

Little shout out to Blue 10 in second place! (Hi Russ!)

Second game, I made sure to get my lucky Blue 7 pack, and our team crushed the competition again! They didn't show the individual scores for that game, but that's okay by me because they listed the top players, and look who popped up in second place! This is where I really had to try to explain myself as to why I was so good at this game. I promise I don't go every weekend. All I have to do is use the same strategy I use in Zelda... just wail! And there it is... video games, Stacey? That's your explanation? Maybe you are a zit-face dweeb!

Here we are with our packs and guns. I wasn't trying to be the bright pink bomb in the front, but Russ went to the back at the last second, and by the time I ran up to be in the picture, it was the only spot left. My friends were smart enough to wear dark colors... nobody gave me the memo! See, I don't know all the insider tricks.

Afterward, we went out for ice cream and some good conversation. Oh, Justin's horse story... I had to try to stifle my laughing spasms until I got home where I laughed so hard I cried. It was therapy for the soul. What the heck... I'm still laughing!

So glad we had so many fun friends willing to come out and play with us, and can't wait for our next outing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ice Blocking at Freestone

Monday night, we decided on a joint Family Home Evening activity with Geoff and Kristen's family (Russ' brother) and went ice blocking at Freestone Park! We started around 7pm, so it was getting dark and my camera had a hard time capturing the action. Just know a blurry picture means speed!!

Kallie claimed one block as her own and didn't let anyone else use it because she was having so much fun.

Daredevil started the trend of going head first. Daredevil got injured in a soccer accident the next day and now has his arm in a sling.

Even Brandon got up the courage to go, and then he wanted to go over and over again... but only with Daddy.

Uncle Geoff called for one big race.

And they're off!

The second heat.

And then my camera battery died. Afterward, we headed to the car for cookies, brownies, and milk. What a super fun FHE!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Four Peaks: Check!

If you're the one person who regularly follows my blog (yeah, that's me), you know I've had hiking Four Peaks on my list for a looooong time! This spring, I've been checking things off my list like crazy... actually, they're just going back to the bottom of the list cuz I always want to do them again.

The road up to the trailhead is 20 miles of dirt, and there's nothing like my Metallica and Ozzy playlist to set the mood for off-roading. I was driving at first, but then I had to move over because Russ was excited to get to use his four-wheel drive! The part of the road in this picture was pretty tame, but we had twists, narrows, steep drop-offs, and streams to cross. Why did he get to do the fun parts? Oh well, I got to drive the whole way back.

I like to photograph nature, so I'll get my nature review out of the way before you get too bored with it. I was surprised by the pine and juniper trees that surrounded us on the first part of the trail. So beautiful! And of course I loved the wildflowers and took like a zillion pics of the purple ones because the color was so vibrant. "Um, Stacey, they're all the same!" Russ said. "To the untrained eye, perhaps." Haha!

There were thousands of butterflies, and I wished for a big monarch to pose on a big yellow flower for me. When I finally saw just the picture I wanted, the butterfly took off too quickly. Man, it was hard to get pictures of them, but then one landed and kindly spread its wings for me. I got very close, and it still didn't fly away. We saw lots of squirrels and lizards, too, but I didn't get any pictures.

Now you know I'm zany.

After my lichen photoshoot, I looked up to see the smirk on Russ' face that said, "You are a silly person! It's just lichen!" Yeah, but did you notice all the colors? Including the dark green one with black spots? (Yo, bottom left picture near the top right corner)

Sorry for that rude interruption. Now back to my nature review! Okay, this is the last one.

I actually handed the camera over to Russ several times to get pictures of me.

Russ at our shady lunch spot.

Yeah, I spent a few minutes in Paint Shop Pro trying to make him into Treedusa.

A little farther up the trail, there were more dead trees than live ones, and we saw evidence of a fire that apparently happened in the 90's. This is where the really annoying bee kept buzzing around right in front of my face. Shoo!

So, we were hoping we could make it look like he was wakeboarding on a very tiny Roosevelt Lake. Okay, I guess the lake was too tiny, but I still think the picture is awesome!

I noticed that I slouch in a lot of pictures, so I tried to sit up in this one. Do I look natural?!?! Hehe.

This next part of the trail was where it got serious. I didn't even believe Russ when he pointed to the scree chute and told me that was the way to the top. What?!?! That's impassible!! But upon closer inspection, it was just a bunch of rock climbing fun!

Here's where I zoom in and shamelessly boast about my buff arms. Thanks Jillian Michaels! I worked hard for those muscles, so I'm sorry but I have to make sure you notice. Don't worry, I photoshopped out the little bug that was on my arm so you wouldn't have to see it. Haha.

Russ has been working out with me, so he thought his knees were strong enough now for the hike. They were still feeling the pain, but he did really well.

Those rocks were ice cold, and the wind concentrated through the crevice to make us wish we hadn't left our long sleeves back in the car.

I refused to use the rope because ropes are for Boy Scouts and wimps!

Yeah, you thought I was behind Russ the whole time, right?

Luckily, there was one other guy with us at the summit so we could get this great picture of us at 7600 feet. We've heard you can see 1/4 of the state of Arizona from up there. It was just breathtaking.

Russ was enjoying his accomplishment.

And there I am in my happy place again. After I took the camera away from Russ, I did my Four Peaks happy dance. I told him I like to fantasize that it's my quirkiness that attracts him to me. He said he was glad I used the word fantasize because it meant I live partly in reality. I just said it for his benefit - I know the truth.

We spent quite a while up there, but eventually it was time for the precarious climb down.

I didn't touch that rope!

Self portrait, take four. That shadowy area of the peak is the scree chute that we climbed up.

(Joke about a log deleted. Make up your own.)

We were exhausted by the end, but it was totally worth it. The perfect day, the perfect place, and the perfect friend. I have to say Four Peaks was quite a bit easier than Flatiron, but still very rewarding. Me go again!

(Hehe. I snuck in another picture of those purple flowers.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Night at the Improv

Ben and Annalee invited us to join them at the Tempe Improv to see comedian Frank Caliendo on Friday night. This was opening night for the newly renovated theater, so everything was nice and new (and freezing because of an overly active air conditioner!). I always tease Russ that his eyes don't look like they're open in a lot of pictures, and this one was no different, so I told him I was going to superimpose some open eyes on him. I think he looks good. Haha!

There was a minimum purchase of 2 drinks per person, and when I told the waiter we were all non-alcoholic, their drink selection suddenly got super small. He talked us into the bottomless soft drink that fulfills our minimum drink requirement "and you get to keep the glass" for $13. Note to newbies: everybody gets to keep a glass, so don't be thinkin' you're special. Haha! I vowed to slam as many as I could, but since I'm not a soda drinker, that only ended up amounting to a drink and a half. Ladies and gentlemen, behold $64 worth of drinks (after tax and tip) at the Improv:

But luckily, they put on three funny comedians to make us laugh and forget all about the drink prices. I had never heard of Frank Caliendo before that night, but he does incredible impressions of famous people, including Donald Trump, Charles Barkley, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, etc. I haven't ever even seen John Madden, his most famous impression, but his bit about John Madden commentating on a Super Mario game was hilarious!!

Cheers to the Hunsakers for a fun night out! We always laugh and have a good time with them, even before the comedians start (Ben almost made me blow soda everywhere). And by the way, if I ever let you drink out of my Improv glass, you'll know you're a special friend to me.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Carnival, Date Night, and Such

Last weekend, we had the school's spring carnival and date night planned for the same night. Now I'm not saying it's a great idea to plan two outings on the same night, but it forced us to get to the spring carnival right when it opened, and now I'm convinced that's the way to go forever more! We actually parked in the parking lot, the lines were short, the light was good for pictures, and we were done in an hour.

Kallie's first stop was the face painter.

And Paige went for the balloon animals.

Of course, seeing Paige's balloon made Brandon want one. Darn clouds moved out of the way of the setting sun just before it was Brandon's turn, so my picture was orange.

Brandon didn't care about anything else after he met his balloon friend.

What is with Paige's obsession with mustaches? No rainbows for this little missy.

Kallie always loves to get cotton candy.

Okay, maybe there was one other thing he cared about.

Big sister swoops in, and it's all gone before you know it.

Nice to meet you!

Kallie was the only one interested in playing games.

My future golfer got a hole in one!

For date night, we went to eat at Valle Luna and then took our bicycles to ride at Papago Park. The gates close at 7pm, but we just rode right past them and had the place all to ourselves! I thought Hole in the Rock only existed in Utah, but I found out that night that there is one right here in Phoenix. It was our first stop... we rode up the trail as far as we could, then got our flashlights and walked the short distance up to... well, the hole in the rock, obviously. The shape of the surrounding rock formed a kind of funnel that concentrated the wind as we sat in the hole and looked out over Phoenix. It was a great view and peaceful quiet because we were the only ones around.

Next we decided to ride up to Hunt's tomb, and Chase field just happened to be having fireworks night. Yeah, that little blotch of light is a firework... pretty cool setting, I think, even if the fireworks were far away.

I've seen this tomb a bunch of times from the zoo ever since I was a kid, but I had never been up there. Again, we were the only people there, and there was a nice bench that we could sit on and once again enjoy the beautiful view.

Please disregard the zombie eyes. We only had a cell phone camera.

This weekend was the father and son outing, and I'm pretty sure nobody thought to take pictures. The girls wanted in on the fun, so we set the tent up in the living room, and they roasted mini marshmallows over Kallie's dream light. Paige caught me eating my marshmallows without holding them over the fire long enough to toast them... "You're just eating marshmallows," she said.