Sunday, April 14, 2013

Goober #1

Little J's level of silliness has been increasing exponentially lately. His new favorite thing is hiding around the house and trying to scare us (he's only succeeded once). The giggling usually gives him away. He also likes to put everything on his head and call it a hat, including shoes, newspapers, bowls, books, buckets etc.

He's also recently started making "yummy" noises when he eats. If he's eating something he thinks is especially delicious (like chicken) he'll take a bite and then go "MMMM!! MNOMNOMNOM!" Case and point:

He was also getting a kick out of drinking water out of the cap of an old chapstick. I don't know what it is about kids and tiny things, but he sure thought it was hilarious.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Grand Adventure

These past few days have been wonderful. Epic, even. Big J's sister and her husband flew into town and we all went up to the Grand Canyon together. None of us had been.

I was pretty excited. Excited is putting it mildly, actually. After studying geology in university, and never having been to the Grand Canyon, this was like a pilgrimage for me. And while I didn't bring any rock hammers or hydrochloric acid to leave on a stone alter, I did feel extremely humbled after seeing it.

But first, let's start with some of Little J's shenanigans.

Yes, one of the shoes is on backwards. He's a goober, ok?
And NOW we're on to the Grand Canyon. We drove up to Flagstaff Friday afternoon and had dinner at a fantastic delicious mouth-watering gastronomically astonishing Thai restaurant called Pato. We then made the quick drive up to the Grand Canyon village and checked in at our hotel.

Mather Point. Our first interaction with the Canyon.

To say that the Canyon is beautiful is an understatement. In fact, I don't think there are adequate words to describe its majesty. I found myself a bit misty-eyed looking at its vastness, and trying to comprehend the age and scope of it. I know, I know, I'm waxing a bit poetic, but seriously, it's awe-inspiring.

See? Proof that we were there! Also,  I'm pregnant, if you can't tell. Shhhh!
Don't go getting all excited yet! We're finding out the gender in 9 days, and
THEN you can get excited.
We decided to hike down into the Canyon on the Kaibab trail, and I'm so glad we did. Even just going down a 1000 feet into it helps you understand its scale better. Plus, so many people go to the Grand Canyon and don't ever go into it. It was almost a relief to hike into it, because from the rim, it doesn't look real. Well, it is definitely very real, and very steep. I had Little J on my back on the way down, which was fine, but thankfully, our brother-in-law carried him the way back up, because, as you can see, it was a bit of a grind.

Hiking down just 1,120 feet into the Canyon, we spanned ~5
million years. WHOA!

Apparently Little J didn't find it that fascinating and instead took a nap.
We went back up to the rim and walked a bit along it until we found a bus back to the visitor's center. It was a bit breezy, and Little J was acting like a sloth baby the whole walk, which was fine by me. He was cold and needed mama-snuggles, and I happily obliged.

I swear there's a toddler in there somewhere.
We had some lunch and the kid had a blast playing with a granite cougar. I think he rubbed off several millimeters from the ears he was petting them so much.

He wishes he had one at home.
After lunch we headed out to the Tusayan Ruins to check them out. They were indeed amazing. We also went out there to see a friend of mine, Maci who works as a ranger in the park. Getting to catch up with her was wonderful, and she even let me wear her ranger hat. I can't tell you how much I want one of those. 

She told us that the tribes in the area consider the Canyon sacred (obviously) and that the ruins were from people who came to visit the Canyon, and not make a living there. Farming is near impossible with the tough climate and lack of soil, so they must have come to be close to the Canyon. I can totally see why they wanted to do that. It's an incredibly spiritual place to this day, and I can't imagine how it must have been before all the cars and busses sidewalks and tourists.

Our last long look at the Canyon was at a viewpoint not far from the ruins.
From every angle it looks so different and with the clouds and sunshine
rolling across it, it almost changes by the minute.
After saying goodbye to Maci we headed back to Flagstaff, enjoyed another delicious dinner and checked into another hotel.

All the wildflowers along I-17 are blooming, and it was GORGEOUS! Yellows,
reds, oranges, blues! It was like driving through a paint aisle at a craft store.
We took the scenic route home and drove through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona and it was the best choice I've made, probably ever. I don't have any pictures of the drive because I was too busy rubber-necking the entire time.
Only serious literature for this kid.
Little J did great the entire time. Despite not taking any serious naps, he was cheerful and energetic, and was great at entertaining himself in the car, as you can see. I think he was just happy to be outside for an ENTIRE day.

I need to go back again. Just spending a day there is not nearly enough. The Louvre has nothing on this place. I would love to go down to the bottom and look up. The draw is almost magnetic, and maybe in the next couple years, we'll have a chance to really plumb the depths of this magnificent place.