Roadtrip!  We had decided that since we would be in Arizona we would go to the Grand Canyon-it’s on my bucket list and Kelly has never seen it before either.   We weren’t sure what the weather was going to be like and if it was snowing, we could even be snowed out of it, but Arizona continued to have unseasonably warm weather (on our behalf!), so we headed out to make the 5 hour drive with a few stops on the way.

This was a rest area-pretty nice, huh!

Marian got a little freaked out by the sign . . .

We stopped at Montezuma Castle , not a castle but really like a literal “high rise” apartment building from 600 years ago, the history had me captivated all week.

As we approached Flagstaff (a town both Kelly & I decided we could live in!), we found snow:)

And, then the Grand Canyon.  I must say, I really can’t describe it, it’s so massive and the pictures are so limited that I really can barely picture it in my mind anymore.  Because, we felt like the kids were too young and we didn’t really have the time, our only agenda was to “see” it, and really we only saw a small portion of it.  We plan to experience it in the future so we just walked around the Rim Trail, the kids actually weren’t that amazed-I think it’s just overwhelming.  There was some stupid guy walking out far onto a ledge and I just kept thinking I didn’t want my kids to see a man fall into the Grand Canyon so I’m rushing them past.   Of course, then I ask myself “How many people die here?”, which apparently is a common question as I learned from typing “how many people die” and it pulls up the rest.  In case you’re curious . . . Grand Canyon Deaths (not as many as you’d think!)

I was glad for the railings:)

And, we decided to walk down the Bright Angel Trail, which is what the mules take down.  I kept thinking of Alice from the Brady Bunch and how nervous she was, let me tell you, that ledge was pretty high up already, I can’t imagine liking being another 5 feet off the ground!  I was a nervous wreck-not for myself but for the kids!  You know how careless 5/6 year old boys can be-they were completely comfortable, not me.  We went a little ways, until I couldn’t take it anymore-and it was starting to get dark anyway.

And, while it was scary, I definitely want to trek down to the bottom someday with the kids, perhaps when they are a little less careless (will that ever happen?)

We headed back to Flagstaff, booked a hotel on-line while eating dinner at 8pm (because that’s just the way we roll)

And, called it a night (and a very successful day!).  Day 4 in the books:)


It was a pretty low key day today, we went for a walk around their neighborhood in the morning.  I just can’t get over how bright the sun is-seriously, it was 9:00 am and I was squinting so bad!

We decided that a lot of the plants looked like fruit (aka the pineapple tree)

Kelly & Dad went to Dad’s weekly golf outing so I took the kids to a nice park.  It always amazes me how quickly kids can make friends.  “Do you like to play?, Me too, Let’s be friends”.  It seems like it’s that simple.  After semi-complaining about boredom, Marian found a girl to play with, and they exchanged addresses (and she has already gotten a letter from her-how cute!).  I was looking all over for Ezra to tell him I found a soccer game going on the other side of the play equipment, when I was about to panic, I found him drooling on the side-line waiting for some sort of wave to join them;)  It didn’t take long.

Then, Ezra found a group of boys playing football-he was one of the smallest, it was cracking me up, they we going to a huddle and calling plays.  Ezra scored 2 touchdowns and was completely in his glory!

Tobin came and sat with me and watched for awhile.  The first game broke up, and soon another started.  Tobin wanted to join but I told him I thought maybe it might be too rough and then corrected myself to say, maybe he was too young, but Ezra called him over and he wanted to play.  After a bit, Tobin came back to get a drink and said “it’s ok Mommy, it’s not too rough for me”.  He even scored a touchdown that I somehow missed.  I wished I had met the kid in the black “24” jersey-I think he might be famous someday and what a great leader he was, gathering the team and including everyone.  Not sure if this sort of thing happens a lot here but this is what I dream off for kids, nothing organized, just kids playing without adults interfering with their fun:)

And, some “down” time with Grandma . . .

Sorry for the “copyright”s, I put them on my business pictures and forgot to turn it off when I loaded these and didn’t feel like reloading!


We started out day 2 with Mom treating me to a pedicure:)

And, Marian’s first manicure.  She said it was fine but “I kept wondering when he was going to paint my nails”;)

Then, we headed to the White Tank Mountains for a hike

We saw lots of cacti (many varieties), it’s funny how these mountains look like giant dirt piles from a distance but then have a lot of life on them once you get close.  We took pictures of each variety so Grandma could show tell us what each one was.  And, we learned a lot of interesting facts about the saguaro cactus.  Did you know that it is very slow growing, after 10 years, it’s likely to be less than 2 inches tall and it takes 50-70 years for it to grow one arm!  We’re pretending to be a saguaro cactus:)

There were petroglyths on this hike as well, I found myself very fascinating all week with the ancient history of these areas

The peak of where we climbed, there is a little pool of water behind the kids. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name. Yes, that description is from the park website.  So, behind the kids is sometimes a waterfall but not on our trip.

It was a fun, first hike but they were a bit whiny and we had to motivate them with the promise of ice cream at the end.   We traveled 2.7 miles in 1 hour 40 minutes thanks to our “runkeeper” app, next time we’ll bring more water!


We certainly started the New Year off right-we flew to Arizona for a week to visit my parents.  The weather was amazing, we teased the kids that they were going to forget what clouds looked like.  And, not sure why but the sun in Phoenix is VERY bright, almost hard to look at!  Anyway, we had a beautiful week, high 70’s (the normal is mid-sixties).

It was Ezra & Tobin’s first trip on a plane, they did great-not really scared at all.

Marian was a little nervous on take-off but fine after that.  They all thought it was a bit boring and way too much “waiting”.

My parents whisked Kelly & I off to the golf course as soon as we got there, to get a quick 9 in before it got dark.

Their house was just perfect for all of us, and they have an orange tree in their backyard!  I ate at least one every day-they were amazingly good!  More on those later:)

The Chronicles of Narnia

We have been struggling to find level appropriate books for Marian, she loves to read but her reading level is higher than her interest level.  After talking to her teacher at conferences, we have been researching and asking a lot of people about book suggestions.  I have been trying to get her to read the Narnia series for a long time but she thinks they will be too scary.  So, I decided I would just read them to all the kids (maybe that would get her interested).  I found the set in Ezra’s Scholastic order for only $20 so bought it for Christmas.  I started reading the prequel The Magician’s Nephew  soon after Christmas and got through the first 3 chapters when Marian says “Mommy, do you think I could read ahead a chapter?”, “Sure, if you want to” I said, she finished the book the next day, then the next book 2 days later, then the 3rd while we were on vacation and now she is on Prince Caspian.  Mission accomplished, and I LOVE them, and so does Ezra, they are a bit too long for Tobin but he sits with me for a lot of it.  It’s all I can do to not read ahead without them:)


Recent Posts


Ezra Kids Mari Tobin