Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Isn't it about ... time?

Let's visually catch up with what our family has been up to these past couple months, starting with a camping trip to Bartlett Lake, to the north west of us. The lake is located in the Sonoran highlands, so it still gets blazing hot which is why we squeaked in a camping trip before the temperature reached the triple digits. Sleeping at night was delicious in the cool air, but it was uncomfortably hot in the mid-morning, a fore-bearing of things to come in our Phoenix summers.

Kids: a little bit scary, a lot bit cute.

Looking north from our campsite, which was right on the lake shore. All the beaches were covered with campers by the end of the day, which made us rethink our plans to revisit.

It's hard to beat the evening light in Arizona.


I drove up early with the boys to get a good camping spot and let the boys play for a while and within 10 minutes of us arriving James had biffed it and sliced his knee open on the granite gravel. Thankfully he was barely traumatized and within an hour he was back to his normal self. Thank heavens for first aid kids tucked into the camping bags!

Healing was accelerated by brotherly hugs.

Rupert's first campfire and the first s'mores for both of them. Both were instantaneous hits.

The next day we went on a hike around the lake and saw a REAL GILA MONSTER! They are so rare in the wild, and this one was just moseying across the parking lot. Arizona deserts are herp heaven.

A few weeks later, Josh turned the big ol' 30. I am so thankful that I get to be his wife, and that the boys get to have him as their dad. He really is the best kind of, and my favorite, human.

Josh is not a cake person, but he is definitely an apple pie person.

As a present I contacted a bunch of friends and family from Josh's past and had them remember some of their favorite things and stories about him. I had the best time reading through them and Josh had the best time reliving them. He is so loved by so many people, and now he has a physical representation of it.

On to the Fouth of July! Sparklers are always a hit with kids and adults alike.

This kid is so funky fresh.

This makes my tender heart so happy.

Up next is a fantastic camping trip we took up to the Mogollan Rim, where we almost got rained out by some of the most intense thunderstorms we've ever experienced. Unfortunately I didn't pack appropriate clothes for any of us (I have learned my lesson, and I will hearken back to this experience many times when friends are wondering why our family is dressed in seventeen different layers) so we spent a lot of time in the car and tents, but it was a fantastic trip nonetheless. One of my favorite Scottish adages is, "There's not such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing." I know this now.

Thankfully there was a lot of mud to play with.

Is this Arizona? Am I dreaming?

Delicious oatmeal eaten in the back of the Subie.

We visited the fish hatchery on our way down from the Rim and had a great time. These two are just happy to be doing something together. Sometimes they push each other's buttons repeatedly, but mostly they play endlessly. James lists Rupert as his best friend, and Josh and I show up on the list a few people down from that. I'm sure Rupert feels the same way about his big brother.

James turned four! He requested a red dragon breathing green fire, and this is the best we could muster.

The only way to have a party in July in Arizona is to have a pool party.

James can swim! After two rounds of lessons at the local pool he can swim about 15 feet unassisted. Everyone has a pool here so we wanted to make sure if he fell in, he could get to the side. He can! But on top of that he just really really likes to swim.

Lots of people that love this kid.

Those freckles! That book!

Very excited about some new LEGOs from the grandparents.

Monsoon season is upon us. We spend most nights eating dinner on our balcony so we can watch them rumble by. Also, Rupert eats the most wonderful stuff. He loves cabbage (both red and green), sprouts, any type of leafy green, with or without dressing, and raw onions and garlic. I'm not sure his olfactory senses have kicked in yet...

I made my first bundt cake!

Which was promptly devoured.

A trip to Butterfly Wonderland for Rupert's birthday.


Rupert is into anything that moves, whether lizard, butterfly, bird, ant, fish, you name it. His eyes are glued to the window in the car and he's yelling out animals (and cacti - he's also into those) every mile.

Enjoying some gifts from the grandparents.

New sassy face.

The night of his birthday a whopper of a storm came through and we went out to enjoy it before the rain got too intense. Here's Rupert's "thunder" face. 

Some things I love about Rupert: He is so tender hearted. He loves babies and is upset when he can't help a baby that's sad. He totes stuffed animals around the house and puts them down for naps. He is mischievous and clever. We just finished the rough part of potty training, which he handled really well. Unfortunately he has learned that if he tells me he needs to go potty he can run around the house disrobed from the waist down for a while, which is his favorite state of being. But he also listens really well, and with enough coaxing (and Lightning McQueen undies) he's decent again. He is rarely shy and gives hugs and high fives to friends. This list is growing daily.

Arizona has freckled me up real good.

 Did you make it? Are you still awake? Congratulations!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Salt River Adventure

We took a trip out to the Salt River to the northeast of us this weekend and it was a perfect morning. The drive is only about 45 minutes (shorter if you remember to buy a National Forest pass before getting to the parking lot) and it's an absolutely beautiful area. It's easy to forget that you're in Arizona playing down in the mud and bamboo. Since it's late spring here the desert is buzzing with bees and we had to leave our little oasis sooner than expected due to some aggressive flying fuzzy friends.

Sticks and mud. What else does a little boy need? Tadpoles perhaps? Yes, those were there too.

"Gick!" as Rupert likes to call them.

My three favorite boys on the planet.

See? Hardly even looks like arid Arizona.

Lots of sticks. Even more mud.

First foray into the water.

Looking east.

Pants are gone, and into the water he goes!

Pure joy.

"The river is alive...with the sound of splashing!"

Rupert was less thrilled about the running into the river thing. He preferred the bank and poking stuff with sticks.

We made it halfway!

A Desert Spiny Lizard.

And his lady friend.

It's hard to see, but both the boys were corning a little Common Side-Blotched lizard on the curb. That lizard had been cornered before (by the looks of his second-hand tail) and had learned his lesson, so he made a hasty exit about 2.1 seconds after this photo was taken.

In other news, Josh got a big promotion at work! He's doing really well at Mercer and they like him quite a bit. Phoenix has been very, very good to us. We have met the most wonderful people, Josh gets to work somewhere he enjoys, and on top of it all, we get to spend our weekends at beautiful places like this. We love you, American Southwest!