Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Carnival

Rob didn't have to umpire today, and we didn't have any plans! He knew there was a little carnival in the parking lot at Arizona Mills mall, so we decided to check it out. Plus, Erin hadn't been to a mall in a while and has been wanting to go.

Erin was big enough to ride just about everything! And she was brave enough to ride a few by herself. (We told her that Dad or I could ride with her, but if she went by herself, she could go twice or ride another ride... she liked that)

Robbie was pretty patient while we waited for Erin to ride things. He got to go on several things, though. There were a couple of rides that he could go on with Erin and didn't need a parent. It was cute to watch both of them! I rode a couple of rides with both kids, and I learned that rides that spin in tight little circles (ala Disneyland teacups) have much more effect on me than they used to! No, I didn't get sick, but wow.

After all the rides, we went inside the mall for lunch. Pizza for the kids, Steak Escape for us. Then we walked all around... Rob was a good sport because he HATES walking around malls, especially on Saturdays when they're busy! Erin brought some money from her piggy bank and shopped tirelessly at Claire's. Robbie brought some quarters from his piggy bank and shopped at the gumball machines.

Outside The Rainforest Cafe are some animal sculptures - giraffes, elephants, monkeys. And the creepy alligator that periodically growls and lunges forward with his mouth agape. We all waited paitently for this to happen, and when it did, Robbie screamed in sheer terror and held on to Rob's neck for dear life! Sobbing. We had no idea it would scare him that much! Poor little thing, he was really terrified. It took a while for him to recover from that one.

Later in our shopping - much later - we walked by it again (not so close) and Rob sort of talked him through it. Robbie got to see that it wasn't going to get anyone and it wasn't going anywhere. He was OK, but a little indignant, and as we left he proclaimed, "Naughty alligator!"
We were tired when we got home. But we still didn't want to sit around the house. The kids got their scooters, and we walked down by the new high school, hoping to check out the football field. It was all fenced off, but we had a nice walk around the park and back.

After that, we went to Cold Stone for some ice cream! I was happy that they added mini marshmallows to their collection of stuff they'll mash into your ice cream. Or maybe I never noticed them before.

We had a good day! It was nice for us to spend a whole Saturday together.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lawn Mowing Shoes during our hike, the kids and I developed an aroma. One that deems us unfit to go back out in public for the day. Sitting around indoors would leave me sound asleep within minutes, with my children left to their own devices. Not good! So I decided to do some other smell-appropriate activities.

I donned my lawn-mowing shoes. I think I got these shoes in 1999... great shoes, but they've since been replaced by younger, more attractive shoes, and they've assumed the (important, mind you) role of the shoes I don't mind messing up.

As I was tying my shoes, I remembered an exchange I had with Erin one day last summer when I was getting ready to mow the lawn. It went something like this:

Erin: "You used to wear those shoes all the time when you were skinny."

Me (keeping a straight face): "Huh. Yeah, I guess I did."

Erin (reflecting): "It's been a long time since you wore those shoes."


Thunderbird Conservation Park

Another good day for a hike! Rob is umpiring all day at Victory Lane again, so the kids and I went up there to see him for lunch. This place is WAY on the north edge of town - 43rd Avenue & Pinnacle Peak.

We drive right through the Thunderbird Conservation Park on our way to the softball park, so I thought it would be a good day to explore something new. There are several trails that wander all over the Hedgpeth Hills. There really aren't any trees, so definitely not someplace I'd go in the summer! But still interesting.

The only trail map I could find wasn't great, so I'm not sure how long our hike was. My best guess after piecing together our route is about a mile or mile and a half up to the top and then back. So maybe just under three miles total. It took us a little over an hour, going at a 2-year-old's pace. The trails were pretty easy.

We saw some quail, a chipmunk, and of course lizards along the way. The chipmunk was our favorite, and I was happy to get a picture of him stretching like a cat before we inconvenienced him enough for him to run off.

At the top, the view is pretty good! Camelback Mountain (at a weird angle) is to Erin's right, and you can barely see downtown (blending in to South Mountain) to her left. We meant to bring Rob's binoculars, but oh well. We saw everything from the freeway on our way up, right?

On the way home, we stopped at Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. The kids got to use the gift certificates Grandma & Grandpa gave them for Valentine's Day!

I hope this awesome weather lasts...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mini Hikes

It was supposed to rain this afternoon, but I'm glad it didn't! We had stuff to do.

Rob was umpiring at Papago Park today. I haven't spent much time there at all, but it's a cool place; we'll be going back. The kids and I had a picnic by one of the ponds, and of course we fed the ducks.

Behind them in this picture, you can see "Hole in the Rock". Take a wild guess why they call it that. After lunch, we went to check out the hole. A very easy walk! The kids liked it. Oh, they're sitting in a cool chair carved into a palm tree stump, armrests included.

Here are a couple of pictures of them in the hole...

Once again, we ended up at ASU! Only today, it was to climb up Hayden Butte, aka "A" Mountain. It's paved most of the way up, so it's pretty easy. And Robbie liked looking at the light rail coming and going down below while we worked our way up. Here are the kids hanging out right on the A. Go Devils!

Then we followed the trail on up to the very top. This is a cool place to watch planes coming in to Sky Harbor; they go right over you and you can get a good look at their tummies. (We always ask Robbie what color the plane's tummy is - not sure why. We did it with Erin when she was little, and it kind of stuck.)

Here are the kids on the very top. The very highest rock we could find to sit on! Tempe Town Lake is to the left, and to the right you can see the seats in Sun Devil Stadium and the "bubble" football practice facility.

These are both pretty cool little in-town hikes! Perfect weather today, too. I suspect I'll have to clean the tub after their baths tonight... a clear sign of a good day!