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Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finding some Fun

What do you do after you book 10 days in the campground at Glacier National Park for summer 2012?

You buy a travel trailer of course!

Check out our cute little trailer here:


We already have a book for a Captian's Log, but we are taking name suggestions for our new any ideas?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Stranded on a corner in Winslow, Arizona"

Wood or stone?Both! Once wood, now Stone - welcome to the Petrified Forest

After telling me that he didn't think there was any way he could take off from work and school for Spring Break, I was completely ELATED when Trevor came home early last week and announced that he could take a long weekend and we could go camping and biking in the Petrified Forest.

The reasons this was awesome?
1 - I've spent maybe a total of 24 waking hours with Trevor over the last TWO weeks. Blah. I never see him these days - Ivie has seen him even less since he is often home after she is in bed.
2 - We love camping. I ESPECIALLY love camping food actually :)
3 - It was the Petrified Forest - A National Park, which marks one more NP on our life-long list of destinations.

Trevor and I have a life-long goal of visiting all the National Parks. There are 58 in total - we have been (counting the Petrified Forest) to ten together so far. Individually, we have been to more, but the goal rule is that we have to hit them all up together.This trip was FABULOUS and FUNNY in so many ways. I also had lots of deep and philosophical-ish thoughts on this trip, resulting in many things that I'd like to blog about. However, to do so in a single post would net an entry far too long for even my most dedicated readers. I am hoping to blog about some of these things individually over the next week. Here is the preview topic list:
  1. Why I believe in National Parks
  2. I am a chameleon, but I think I'm okay with it
  3. Why I love road trips
  4. Route 66
  5. Life changes in a hurry

BUT - before we can delve into any deep thoughts on such subjects, you have to first understand the random hilarity of the trip.

Thursday - we threw all our stuff in the car and took off. I love road trips with Trevor for too many reasons to count. We just always have a great time. We get to really visit and talk, like deep conversations about culture, politics, religion etc. It is the sort of conversations that initially drew us together back YEARS ago. When we were dating we would talk and talk and talk all the time. These last few years our conversations all too often revolve around who is going to be home when to tend the baby or pick up dog poop.

But on road trips, we get to really talk. Another thing we do each camping vacation is read a book aloud together. This trip we read A Wrinkle in Time. I'd read it before, but it had been years. Trev had never read it. We highly recommend this quick little classic. Lovely.

Anywho - Thursday night we drove across the desert to Arizona. My favorite moment on this ride was when I asked Ivie if she wanted me to hang a blanket in her window so the sun wouldn't shine in her eyes. In all seriousness she replied, "No Mommy. I watch animals." the desert there are no animals to watch. This, however, didn't deter her, and every fifteen minute or so she'd yell some variation of "Mommy! where cows?" Daddy! Horses? Where animals?" Ironically, only after she fell asleep did we FINALLY see a fox dart across the road.

She is a champion traveler

And so is Rips - who thinks the best way to drive is with her nose under Trev's arm

We pulled into McHood State Park campground (a free campground in Arizona) really late. So we decided to just shove all our stuff out of the car, lay all the seats down and blow up our air mattress. Conveniently, I bought us a new air mattress this year on a Black Friday sale. HOWEVER, I failed to realize that I bought a TALL air mattress. Meaning that when we blew the thing up it was three feet tall in our car. We had to army crawl in on top of it, and sleep with our noses inches from the ceiling. WAY FUNNY!

Friday - We woke up, and rode bikes around McHood lake and creek. In another day camp area we found this awesome old retro playground, which Ivie loved. After a few hours of riding we loaded up and headed to the Petrified Forest - an hour away.

PF is amazing. Really an incredible place. Petrified Wood is hardly uncommon, it is found in every state in the country, but this national park has the largest deposit anywhere, and some of the prettiest crystallized wood around. We hiked several trails on Friday and took in the beautiful rock-tree formations. Some of these trees are 200 feet in length. One of my favorite moments was when Ivie crested the top of a little hill and, with her hands on her hips, looked out over the valley full of dark, long petrified wood below, shook her head and said with disgust, "Mommy, all these poops out there." She had a point, petrified logs do kinda resemble...well... :)

***As a side note - PF is the MOST dog-friendly national park we have been to thus far. Ripsi could come on all the trails with us, and we all loved that!

These are some of my favorite pictures from this day:

Ivie totally ZONKED in her pack

Friday Night -So, you can only camp in PF if you backpack in two miles from the main trails. We weren't quite up for this, so our camping plans were up in the air for Friday night. We knew we could always go back to McHood...but then I noticed that outside of PF one of the gift shops said that overnight parking/camping was allowed.

AND they had giant plywood tipis you could use. Trev was skeptical, but I said, how many times in a lifetime can you sleep in a giant plywood tipi? So the inside was a little cob-webby and dirty, but I totally made us do it. We put our tent ground cover out on the dirt floor and blew up our air mattress. Trev still rolls his eyes about staying there, but I thought it was pretty rad.

Inside the tipi

Saturday - The wind was whipping this day. It was so intense in fact, that it kind of quashed our extensive biking plans. So we did a little more hiking

Saw some amazing petroglyphs - Ivie loved peeking through the binoculars

and also drove to the North end of the park to take in some of the incredible views of the Painted Desert.

We also spent some time at the old Route 66 site in the park, and checked out this rusted-out classic.

By this time, the wind picked up a lot. We drove back to McHood, but by the time we got there, decided that the wind was whipping so much that we would be hard-pressed to keep a fire going to cook dinner on. We decided to drive ten minutes into Winslow (YEs - just like the Eagles song) to get something to eat.

At one time Winslow was a booming route 66 stop - today it is virtually a ghost town. Our eating options were: Pizza hut, Dennys, a coffee shop, the Subway in the Walmart, and a restaurant inside the Quality Inn. Trev is anti-pizza hut and really into the hotel we went. While we were eating it started to snow outside. Some quick internet searches and the newsbreak on the TV informed us that a HUGE snowstorm was blowing in.

After some discussion, we decided to spend the night in the hotel and leave early Sunday morning.

Sunday Morning- We woke up to a MAD house in the Winslow hotel. The storm had dumped 2 feet of snow throughout Arizona and all the major highways and freeways were closed. There were people everywhere. I think Winslow's population tripled in the space of a few hours. The hotel manager kindly told us that we had until 11:00 to decide if we wanted our room another night, and that there were no plans to open the road until Monday. We waited until five to eleven, then booked the room again. It was a good choice. At this time there were people camping in the lobby. Along with having only four restaurants, Winslow has only a handful of hotels and motels as well.

Since we were snowed in, we hung out, relaxed a bit. Watched LOTS of netflicks on the I-Pad, and then we went to Wal-Mart and bought cheap swimsuits for Ivie and I. We spent lots of time swimming and ordered in pizza.

Above- Vegging' Out

Below - Swimming

All the while, we were laughing about getting snowed into Arizona. When the road was reopened and we were able to leave early the next morning, we couldn't believe the massive amounts of snow! In fact, we sat on the freeway for three hours behind an accident cleanup. During this long sitting we did see a band of pigs wandering along the road, much to Ivie's delight.

Reading a book with Dad while we sit on the road

All in all - this was definitely a trip of memories. It was such a funny get-away in so many ways. We loved every second of it. Ivie loved it too. She is way into rocks right now (my house is full of them) and she loves the color purple. We let her get this purple rock at a gift shop and it is currently among her most prized possessions. She calls it "my purple" (which totally reminds us of Golim's "My Precious") and LOVES it. Now that we are home she put it in a special bag and sleeps with it in her bed. A sweet park ranger also gave her an honorary Junior Ranger badge (usually kids have to do lots of activities to get one) she thought it was pretty sweet to have the badge pinned on her shirt as well.

We definitely would recommend a visit to the Petrified Forest, and I'd even recommend the plywood tipis. Just remember, the weather can be a bit unpredictable in March, even in Arizona :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to the gym...

Yes - you just read that title correctly...I joined a GYM! And the funny thing is, I quite like it.

Remember this post? Yeah, the one where I lament exercising?

Well - I have the most darling friend who does NOT lament exercising, who actually loves it. Michelle had been talking for weeks about a new program she was considering doing, Jamie Eason's Fit Live, and she needed a buddy.

Around the same time she was talking about it, I happened to read a really lovely post by a dear old Ririe High friend. In it, she talks about a "baby bucket list."

The last nine months haven't gone exactly like I hoped in some respects. Trevor and I have always been told we'd have a really difficult time conceiving a child. When we found out we were expecting Ivie it was a really happy surprise. And I guess it made me sort of think that all those old warnings were a thing of the past. We would like to have another child. However, I'm not sure that is in the cards right now. While I do feel very strongly that there is another baby for us some day, I'm not sure when that day will be.

So in the mean time, I decided to stop obsessing about having or not having another baby and knock off some things on my baby bucket list - the list of things you want to do, but haven't done because you might be having another baby.

High on that list is get my body back.

While my basement zumba sessions have put me back in my pre-baby weight range. I still couldn't help but notice that all my pre-baby clothes still didn't fit the way they should. It finally occurred to me that this probably has something to do more with the fact that my stomach expanded to more than double its size and now I am left with lots of loose and flabby muscles.

The answer is toning.

Which brings us back to Michelle and the LiveFit program. This is actually a body-building program designed to whip muscles into shape.

I've been doing it for three weeks. Three weeks of soreness. Three weeks of dumbells and leg presses and arnold lifts. It's pretty intense...and surprisingly pretty fun.

So - five days a week you can find me at the Desert Palms gym lifting weights and doing all kinds of crazy crunches. And here is hoping that in 9 more weeks I am a little more lean and fit for swim suit season.