Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fly Away Awning

Life in a travel trailer isn't always as peachy as it seems.  A few days ago Nick was working late.  The kids and I were inside.  I remember thinking it was odd when I heard the wind picking up.  We (and it seems most other RVers) are avid weather checkers.  A lot of our "stuff" is outside; outdoor carpet, bikes, bbq's/stoves, awnings extended, clothes on the line.  The weather had said the wind would be up to 5 mph.  Well, it was much stronger than 5 mph.  I heard a flapping noise, oh no the awning is extended.  I don't know how to bring in the awning, so I called Nick.  He told me he'd call me right back and give me instructions on how to bring the awning in.  The thing I know the awning flies up, something smashed on the roof and we were all screaming.

This is what it looked like when I went outside.

It could have been worse, much much worse.  My car was only feet from where the left pole landed.  The kids could have been outside.  I am one who can easily come up with the "worst case scenario", so I have many other "what if's" in my head.  Thankfully we are in an RV Park with awesome neighbors, who came to the rescue when we needed to remove the awning in the 25 mph winds.  And good thing we have RV insurance, so the awning will be replaced (eventually).

ETA: Upon installation of the new awning, I will be learning how to use it :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The 12 Project ~ Month 4

April 2010
Phoenix, AZ
- We started out the month celebrating Coda's sixth birthday.
- Nick and I both got new shoes.  Nick got these Keen's and I got these Vibram Five Fingers.  We are both wearing them all over and loving them.
- Then we had an awesome visit from Papa Bud & Grandma Betty Lou.  They came all the way from Texas to visit.
- Next up was a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
- We spent most of the Tuesday's and Thursday's at the park with other unschooling families.
- We took a hike to Hole in the Rock and then cooled off at a local splash pad.
- The children and I were invited to go to the Phoenix Zoo with Jen and her two cuties.  We all had a blast! We hope to meet up with them in California sometime this summer.  
-Each Sunday was spent worshiping at Hope Church.  If you are ever in the Phoenix area and want to check out an AWESOME group of JESUS freaks, who love to rock out and study the Word, then make your way to Hope Church.
- One Sunday after church we went to explore the Pioneer Living History Museum.  (Blog coming soon)
- All that, plus spending hours upon hours having so much fun at the Deserts Edge RV Park.  There is never a shortage of things to do around here; playing with new friends, swimming, basketball, biking, playing on the playground, searching for bunnies, bird nests and  lizards.

WOW!  We had a busy month.  May brings three birthdays and the end to our Phoenix adventure. 

Previous "The 12 Project" posts here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Since being in Phoenix we have hit up the Arizona Museum for Youth (which is actually is in Mesa) twice.  AMY is one of the many children's museums we can go to for free with our reciprocal membership from the Discovery Museum in Eureka, CA.

AMY is larger than our small home town museum we are use to, but not huge like some.  They had some awesome quotes and signs around that were definitely food for thought.  I loved the size, the staff, the exhibits and most of all I loved watching my children play.

The first time we went the children ran from exhibit to exhibit, room to room.  Some doing a craft, some cooking in the play kitchen, planting veggies in the garden, discovering and patterns, learning about baseball and playing baseball Wii and dancing in the black light room.  Everyone was flurrying about, trying not to miss out on anything, exploring every inch of the museum.

 It was a HOT Phoenix day and we needed something to do indoors.  So we headed to Mesa and I braved the museum by myself.  Our second trip to AMY proved to be quite a bit more relaxed.  The children knew where they were and what was around them.  We spent long periods of time in a few areas.

The children put on a magic show.  Did you know Aidan can make Dillon and Téadora disappear and reappear.  After the magic show they put on a little play for me.  They drew quite an audience.  There was was one staff member that wanted to bring them all home with her, they were THAT cute!

Jericho put on his own little show.

There was a new music exhibit, it was LOUD and Coda was able to self regulate - OH HOW FAR HE HAS COME!!

Not sure if we will make it back to AMY again before we leave Phoenix, but will surely check out other children's museums .

Photos from Phoenix, AZ here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hole in the Rock

At an unschooling park day another mom recommended that we hike to Hole in the Rock.  She said it was an easy hike that even Dillon (3 years old) could do.

One Saturday in April we decided to check it out.  Hole in the Rock is part of Papago Park which is in Phoenix and Tempe.  We entered from the Phoenix side and headed towards the big hole in the rock.  The kids were so excited.  From the ground, it looks like a long way up.

We began to make our way up the back side of the rock.  Coda was the leader and Dillon and I brought up the rear.  For being only 3, he keeps up so well.  He rarely wants to be picked up and doesn't think anything of doing EVERYTHING the bigger boys do.

We made plenty of stops along the way.  Lizards were running across the path and there were a few desert plants we had yet to see.  Our favorite was this ridicously thorny plant with beauitful bright orange flowers on top.

We made it to the top and walked down through the hole.  It was a beautiful clear day (like most days in Phoenix) and we had a great view.  Well, maybe I was the one who enjoyed the view, the kids were more into rock climbing.  

 After our hike, we ate a picnic lunch and then headed to a nearby town to cool off.  Many parks in the Phoenix area have "splash pads", basically a playground area with water.  This particular day we went to the Espee Park Spray Pad in Chandler, AZ.  The kids have a blast.  Splash pads are FAR less work on Mama then pools, the kids are safe, I can see them and there is no drowning that can occur - I like that.  Nick and I were actually able to sit in the sun, have a few moments of minimally interrupted conversation and watch the kids run and play. 


Photos from Phoenix, AZ here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Glow Stick Letters

We love glow sticks.  They are super cheap fun.  I usually have a stash of them hidden away.  The morning after one of our glow stick parties.  Coda came to me with four glow sticks and showed me all the letters he could make.  There was no prompting by me.  I did not tell him to make letters with glow sticks, nor which letters to make.  Téadora was super excited when Coda made a "t", because as we all know, the only reason he made the "t" was for her. :)  Had this been a year ago, we would have been sitting at the table doing our "school work", I would have been forcing Coda to print his letters and prove to me that he knew which letters were which.  Needless to say, I have no question in my mind that Coda recognize his letters and form them. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grand Canyon & Sedona

One weekend last month we took a mini-vacation to the Grand Canyon and Sedona.  We decided to leave our trailer at the RV park and packed up the van and hit the road.  Honestly, I was tired before we even left.  I didn't realize how much I LOVE having our clothes, beds and food with us at all times.  Packing for seven people, even if it was just for two days was a lot of work.

We headed out early in the morning and drove straight to the Grand Canyon.  We were all so excited to the Canyon in real life.  Nick is the only one that had been there before and it was when he was a child, so he didn't have much memory. 

When we arrived we made the decision to buy the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands year long pass for $80.  It would have been $25 for us to visit the Grand Canyon alone and we have some other National Parks and Monuments on our to see list, so we decided it would be a good investment.  

We first drove along Desert View Drive on the South Rim and stopped at a few look out points.

Here are some of our first views of the Canyon.  Truly majestic.

There was still some snow a little snow on the ground.

Out last stop on our driving tour was the Grandview Point.  Nick and I would have continued further, but the children were ready to get their Junior Ranger books from the Visitor Center.  This would be there first time with the Junior Ranger program and they were all very excited.  

We spent the next few hours walking around the rim (staying away from edges) and going to a Ranger talk on Condors.  As we walked we saw backpackers come up off the trails.  Aidan has a plan; we will all backpack for 10 days in the Grand Canyon the summer he turns 18.  He had it all figured out, Coda would be 16, Téadora 14, Dillon 13 and Jericho 11.  He told us that we would all be able to carry our own pack "at that age".  And then the best part came, he told us that the younger kids that weren't here yet would just have to walk because the BIG kids would be able to carry all the stuff.  Not sure how many more children we will have, but I LOVE that Aidan is as excited for more as we are.  

The colors of the canyon were just amazing, I could have stared all day.   

 We spent the night in one of the lodges just steps from the South Rim.  We arose early the next morning, not quite early enough to catch the sunrise, but early enough that was almost no one else around.  We warmed up with some coffee and hot chocolate and headed out on a hike (more like a walk) around the rim.

Aidan, Coda, Téadora and Dillon finished their required activites to become a Grand Canyon Junior Ranger.  We headed back to the Visitor Center so they could get their certificates and badges.  The Ranger was so sweet, Téadora & Dillon pretty much just scribbled in their books and she praised them for all their hard work.  

Jericho spent most of his time on my back, so at the last minute we decided we needed to document him actually being at the Grand Canyon.  

We left the Grand Canyon and decided to make a short stop in Sedona.  About 5 miles out of the park, Dillon threw up and then again about 20 miles later.  We stopped in Sedona to eat lunch, to see the "Red Rock" and the amazing Church we had heard so much about.  

Dillon seemed to be better during lunch, but right afterward he threw up again.  Looking back he had been pretty crabby the afternoon and evening before, starting a few hours after arriving to the Grand Canyon.  I just thought he was tired.  But with the sickness that continued for the next few days, it was obvious that he had altitude sickness.  

There is an RV Park right near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We hope that someday we will go back there, maybe backpacking for Aidan's 18th birthday.   But for now, a whole country is waiting to be explored. 

Photos from Grand Canyon & Sedona here.  
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