Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Saturdays

We try to make the most out of Saturdays in the spring. Yesterday was a lot of fun. Well, for the kids and I, anyway... Rob did yardwork and then umpired.

We took the train to Tempe for the Aloha Festival. My plan was to stop downtown and get a sandwich at Blimpie to eat at the festival. I really like Blimpie, but there's not one close to us. But the one downtown was gone! Not closed, but flat-out gone. Hmmph. So we got back on the train with no lunch plans. Island food sounded really good, but festival food was not in the budget!
Waiting for the train...
But it was a gorgeous day, so we didn't go to the festival right away. We walked down Mill Avenue and did a little window shopping and people watching along the way. We ended up eating at Jack-in-the-Box, which is good, but I was still disappointed about missing out on the Blimpie sandwich.

We enjoyed the walk back to the festival - a good amount of tourists, college kids, honest-to-goodness hippies selling painted cardboard & playing guitar, a guy on a skateboard being pulled by a dog... glimpses of Sun Devil Stadium... it was nice. THEN I spotted it! There is a Jimmy John's on Mill Avenue. This was a sandwich shop I absoluetely loved in Urbana, IL while I was on my mission. There weren't any in Arizona... but now - yay!! Too bad we had just eaten lunch. But I'll be going there soon!

My dad rode the train to the festival & met us there. We arrived about the same time, and we got to see our friend Oliver and some of his group do a drum/dance demonstration. Oliver was one of my brother Keith's companions on his mission, and he came to live with us for a little while when I was about 14. It was nice to see him again.

Dad, Oliver, Robbie & me... Robbie wasn't sure about Oliver...
Erin wanted her picture taken with some dancers, and these girls were nice enough to oblige. They were really good!

The festival was BUSY. They estimated about 100,000 people there on Saturday! But there was a lot to see and do, and it was neat. We wandered under the Mill Avenue bridge for some shade, and we fed a couple of ducks.

The best $5 I've spent in a while was on a spectacular Hawaiian shave ice that we all shared. It's worth going to the festival just for that. We stuck around to watch Tausala, which is a Samoan dance group that Oliver and his wife direct. Of course there was a fire knife dancer - Robbie was pretty impressed with that! (might have to keep an eye on him when we go camping)

And one of their last numbers was specifically dedicated to the tsunami relief effort in Samoa. They invited people to come up and leave donations, and it was amazing how many people flooded the stage! It was very cool. Dad gave Erin some money to donate, and she was pretty happy to make her way up there.
We walked to the train stop together and got on trains going opposite directions. The kids waved "bye" to their grandpa for about five minutes solid.

We weren't quite ready to go home, though. When we got to downtown, I asked the kids if they wanted to get out and walk around. So we did. Here they are in front of the Hyatt, which has my favorite elevator. It's a fast one, and it's glass, so you can see out across the valley. There's a revolving restaurant on top that I've eaten at a couple of times, and it's just kind of a fun thing to wander into a hotel and ride the elevator.

The kids liked looking straight up at the Chase building, which is the tallest one downtown.

We ended up walking a little over two miles before getting back on the train to go to the car. Robbie really likes the tunnel on I-10 that takes you underneath 7th Avenue to 7th Street, so he gets a kick out of being on top of the tunnel. Poor things thought they'd be able to see the cars underneath us if they looked through the storm grates.

Here's Robbie at Margaret T. Hance park, on top of the tunnel. I was glad to get a real smile out of him, even if the reason behind it is sketchy. Ask me about if sometime if you must know.

We also got to check out a dead pigeon. Erin informed me that the ants had already eaten its eyeball. Just thought I'd share!

I wonder what we'll do next Saturday?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tres Rios Festival 2010

We went to the Tres Rios Festival again this year. It's always pretty interesting & the kids have a great time! It's usually held in the river bottom near Phoenix Int'l Raceway, but right now the river is too full from all the rain we've had, so they moved the festival to Estrella Regional Park.

There was plenty to do! We saw lots of animals... a ground squirrel, hawks, owls, falcons, hummingbirds, rattlesnakes, a chinchilla, a burro, and some fish.

Robbie loved the ground squirrel!
Feeding the burro...

The fishing booth was a lot of fun. People were there to bait the kids' hooks and take them out of the fish afterward. They also let the kids touch the fish before throwing them back. Here are the kids with one of the fish Erin caught.

The archery booth was cool. The guy who helped us was really nice, and the kids absolutely loved shooting the arrows! I thought it would be too complicated for them, but they did a really good job.
We also enjoyed watching the police helicopter land and take off a couple of times while they were trying to rescue someone who got his truck stuck on the other side of the river. (The rains always bring out the hillbillies who think their trucks are invincible) The helicopter was pretty much landing in the parking lot of the festival, so we got a pretty good view.

Of course, we came home with plenty of loot, too. Canvas bags, pencils, flashlights, pens, coloring books, squishy balls, beach balls, frisbees, even pizza cutters!
It was a good day. I love spring!