Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Surprise Trip to Tucson

Paul's parents live in Tucson, Arizona, and were kind enough to host us for a visit a few weeks ago.  We did not tell the boys.  We woke them up at 5:30 and told them we were headed to Atlanta.  Boy were they surprised when we pulled in to the Roanoke airport.  Cort and Reid had never flown before.  Once we got to Atlanta, they eventually learned we were catching another flight.  People in the airport were so amused to hear them talking (loudly) about how they didn't know where we were going.  They sure were thrilled to find out we were headed to Tucson.  Here is our first picture there, taken in the backyard of my in-laws (is that a killer view they have or what?).
Because it was so hot there (the hottest day reached 113*), we tried to stay on Eastern time so we could get going early enough to beat the heat of the day.  Having gone to college in Texas and spent some time traveling out west, some part of my brain remembered the high, dry heat, and embraced it.  In a way it felt like coming home - I hadn't realized how much I'd missed the American southwest.

A typical day started with me waking up via internal alarm at 4:30 and heading out the door for a run.  Here's a picture Paul took of an amazing 9 mile run I did in the desert (Paul biked with me while I ran, for safety reasons).  We did not see a soul.  It was like we were completely alone.  We did see lots of jackrabbits, though.

Afterwards we would go change and clean up and grab breakfast.  Then out the door (usually by 7) for adventure.  The first day we took the boys hiking in Honeybee Canyon.
I felt so lucky to be there, looking at the desert terrain, walking through canyons.  I would breathe in the hot dry air and just sigh in overwhelming amazement.
In addition to jackrabbits, we saw javalina, a bobcat (their bobcats are SO much bigger than the ones we have in Virginia), cottontail rabbits, and heard the coyotes.  The birds are plentiful as well, and I'll be devoting an entire post to them.
The boys struggled a little more than the adults with the heat, but we kept them covered in sunscreen with hats and sunglasses for much of the trip.
From my perspective, it was hard to worry about the heat when I was surrounded by so much beauty.

What a wonderful way to start the day.  In the afternoons, the boys would cool off at the pool.  I think they would've been happy to just stay at the pool all day, every day.  I have more posts coming from our trip, so stay tuned!
Readers, have you ever had the opportunity to visit the American Southwest?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Father's Day Hike

Last month I saw where a new hiking trail had been formed not far from us, so we decided to give it a shot on Father's day.
 The trail had lots of white dashes painted on trees, but there were times when it wasn't quite clear which way to go, and we did end up doing one loop twice by accident.  There were so many berries teasing us - not quite ripe yet.

Our favorite part was an old cemetery, which is located just off the trail.  I later learned this is the Boone-Hardy cemetery.  It went from very primitive stones:

To slightly less primitive (most of the stones were from the 1800s, although there were a number with no markings):

To (in comparison) more ornately carved stones:

The fence was fallen in most parts, and we found the old gate propped against a tree.  In google, I found that the town is hoping to restore this cemetery as an area of historic interest.  I hope that will happen.  But it was an interesting place deep in the woods. 
The trail doesn't have a name yet, but perhaps if more people hike it, it will shape up and earn a name.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bluegrass and Brews

Last month we decided to take the boys to hear a friend's band play bluegrass music at a local brewery.  I had been to a flea market the day before and found a bunch of inexpensive games, so I brought them along to keep the boys busy.  I figured the more busy they were, the longer we would get to stay.
 One of the things I picked up at the flea market (for $1.50) was this stacking cups set.  It came with a mat and timer, as well as a dvd to show the sequence.  I spent the next three days refereeing fights between the three boys, who all wanted to use it at the same time.  They time themselves and started a wipe erase board with their personal records.  At the brewery, every kid in the place gravitated over to check out the stacking cups.  The boys were good about sharing with the other kids, and teaching them how to do the stacking sequence.

We also brought Blockus and Qbitz.  both of these are thinking games.  The boys were really content to do these activities and listen to bluegrass.  It was a successful evening, and I know next time I'll be bringing our bag of games! 

Readers, do you have a favorite board game?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bathroom Humor

Sometimes I can't help but find amusement when people get creative in public bathrooms.  In May we went to the Harry Potter festival in Roanoke.  This was the first year.  I was amused when I went to the bathroom in Ravenclaw.

Of course, no Hogwarts bathroom would be complete without Moaning Myrtle...

Then in June, we went to hear the band of a friend play at Chaos Mountain Brewery.  They displayed some bathroom humor as well:

How about you readers?  Have you seen anything funny in the bathroom lately?  Is that a loaded question?

Hope everyone had a great July 4th!