Saturday, November 30

Sabino Canyon

We recruited a whole bunch of the Tucson family to come out and burn some Thanksgiving calories off with a hike in my favorite local canyon. To spare the kids a bit, we rode the tram up to the top and then walked the 3+ miles back.
The canyon always delivers on good views.  
 The kids were also quite pleased with all the opportunities for mucking.
Happy, smiling cousins.
 We even managed to spot a road runner! Well, truthfully, Tim and Matilda thought they saw one and ran off to verify their hunch. Lucky for me, Tim always tries to document his wildlife viewing with a photo. It is almost as good as seeing one myself.
 Family hiking group: documented.
 Don't forget about all the good rock throwing and stick whacking opportunies.  A perfect day!

Friday, November 29

Old West Fun in Tombstone

Until today, we had never taken the kids down to soak up all the gun battle and saloon history in Tombstone.
The kids both list the gun fight as their favorite part of the day. One of the actors was the same as when Tim and I saw the show 16 years ago! 

Visiting the gallows. The song "The Long Black Veil" is a favorite of Matilda's, so she was interested to see some real gallows.
Soon after we took this picture at the Boot Hill Cemetery, the sun started a beautiful sunset. We watched it turn the sky many orange and pink shades, with mountains silhouetted in the distance. A perfect desert vista to wrap up the day.

Thursday, November 28

New Baby & Holiday Time

We went down to my Grandma Mary's house this morning to visit a bit and pick ripe tangelos from the tree. 
Our timing was perfect, because we arrived just in time for some of her famous cheese snack bread to come out of the oven. The kids were happy to sample a piece (or three) to make sure it was up to standards for the Thanksgiving meal. Even Matilda, the self professed cheese hater, could not resist it.
Once we moved the family party over to cousin Will's house for the formal eating portion of the day, it was all about holding the new baby. Our newest cousin, Charlotte, was passed around like a hot potato!

Matilda was content to stroke her soft hair and cuddle for a long time. She told me that she wants a baby sister, but I said she will have to make do with frequent visits to Adlai's soon to be born sibling. 
Tim facilitated a big game of Monopoly, which is no small feat with two four year olds. The kids had a good time buying up real estate and Matilda got to flex a lot of math muscle playing the banker.
I hope everyone had a nice relaxing holiday with not too much stress over gravy or dishes or Black Friday sales.

Happy Thanksgiving

Gussied up kids, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

 This boy sure does like to laugh.

Wednesday, November 27

Quickie Bits

(The laptop isn't cooperating so just a fast check in from my phone tonight.....)

I would like to add bobcat to my Christmas list I think. They always look so soft and cuddly!
Matilda was super into the beautiful minerals at the desert museum today. She would have happily spent hours combing through the quarry dump area they had set up, looking for pretty rocks! She also had a total melt down in the gift shop when I told her she could choose one of the polished mineral stones home. She was paralyzed with indecision and broke down in tears, poor thing. Decisions are hard. 
Something gives me the feeling this deer was expected more than a friendly hello from us.
The barn owl greeting us at the main entrance was a fun welcome. 
AZ has cheap gas!! 
Aunt Lori put Porter to work and he was super serious about his job!

Tuesday, November 26

San Xavier Mission

I had not been to the Mission in Tucson for many years and decided that today I should take the kids to see it and verify whether the fry bread could hold up to my childhood memory of it. (Spoiler: It did not.) The building itself was beautiful and the kids enjoyed the novelty of it all.
Since Tim is not with us, Matilda has been stepping up to fill his photo-documenting-shoes. Porter is very compliant and insists on just one crazy face picture per "say cheese" face he will pose for.

Porter found the rows and rows of candles really fascinating and wanted to know the name of the saint on every one.

The place was full of beautiful angles and shadows that would be fun to photograph with a bit more time. Porter was exploring at a rapid pace so we glossed over some of the details.
This side chapel was completely filled with lit candles. The small space was so toasty warm and Matilda never wanted to leave! It also smelled really lovely with a warm wax scent; not perfume-y at all, just like the scent of another childhood memory trapped in my mind from Grandma Margie's house
After all the exploring, the fry bread was a major hit with the kids. The strong, cool breeze only made a warm, sweet treat all the more satisfying.
It was delicious, not quite everything my 10 year-old-self had made it out to be, but yummy just the same.

Monday, November 25

Road Tripping Day

The kids were so pumped for their car ride to see family that they climbed into position and started reading well before I had the car packed. 
We made slow progress thanks to a huge tractor trailer wreck. It ended up adding almost 2 extra hours to our drive, but the kids were troopers. We stopped for long before the CA-AZ border and got crowned.
Always happy for an excuse to visit the giant dinos!
Porter passed some hours charging up.
 At a rest stop the kids were planning to go run and burn some energy up until they saw this sign!
One more fast food meal and a video pacified everyone to endure the last hour.
Stay tuned for tales of Tucson, turkey, and possibly Tombstone.

Sunday, November 24

More Fitness Fun

The trail race folks that set up my 1/2 marathon yesterday also organized a Sunday morning 10K trail run. There was even a discounted option to run both; a completely crazy idea if you ask me. My body felt better at 7 a.m. today than it does now, but it was in no shape to run up another hill. Lucky for us, Sarah and Gaurav decided to run the 10K so we got custody of their cuties for the morning. Matilda and Porter were both asleep still for the early drop off and were thrilled to wake up to an instant party. 
 After several rounds of play and dress up everyone settled in for a huge helping of pancakes.
Rafi did a lot of cooking in the kids kitchen, too. It is so fun to have a 1 year old around and remember what a fantastically fun age it is. Or maybe it is just that Rafi is totally awesome.
In other fitness related news, Porter got a new hand-me-down bike on Friday. His first hand-me-down pedal bike was so small for him that he was starting to look like a circus bear on it. We were holding out for a certain December occasion to upgrade, but a mom friend noticed his little bike and offered up their own recently outgrown bike. 
The amazing part is how he is so much faster on this bike. I didn't think it was possible. I guess it is all physics, right, the large wheel rotation moves the bike faster I think, but man it is astounding. Tim came back totally winded from their first ride up a few blocks and back. He said he was at a flat out run to keep up with him. I think it's good news for faster laps around the reservoir!

Saturday, November 23

I'm a Trail Half Marathon Finisher!!

Holy cow! I surprised myself on this one.
The weather came through and it was an absolutely beautiful day. The rain yesterday cleared out the air and you could see amazing views, from snow capped mountains on one side all the way to the ocean and islands beyond in the other direction. Not to mention downtown and our beloved Observatory. 
The amazing views helped marginally to distract me from the hard work my body was doing! The hills were really brutal, but walking breaks for the really steep sections and the camaraderie of everyone on the trail made it all manageable. I figured a few more seconds on my time were not going to make any difference, so a fellow runner and I traded photo taking duties in front of the Hollywood sign. 
Even with rubbery tired out legs, I somehow always find a little something to kick in for the last hundreds yards to the finish line.   
It was so fun for me to have the kids at the finish line for high fives.
  They rushed right over for big congratulatory hugs and in my weakened state they almost took me down with their enthusiasm - such sweet, proud kids.

I took this wobbly video as I was walking up over one of the peaks and came upon a troop of Boy Scouts playing trumpets. It shows a little of the great views up there in a surreal musical moment.