Monday, August 5, 2013

July 31 Petrified Forest & Painted Desert

We left my in laws house today after a 13 day stay. The break was nice, but I was ready to be back on the road. Our journeys end to Colorado is getting so close & all I want to do is hurry up & settle into our new home (wherever that will be) & start living the rest of our new life.

I didn’t realize how much crap we had brought into my in laws house. Having to pack up all our stuff & put it back in the trailer was quite the chore. I had to do all our laundry & put away in each bag that goes under the trailer couch (the 31 under storage bags are awesome) then pack up all the food as well as the mountain of toys (I was ready to leave them behind). We were on the road around noonish. Of course this time I won’t be relaxing as we drive. Since my in laws drove our Jeep from Illinois back to their house in Arizona, we decided to go ahead & drive it to Colorado now versus waiting until later. I want that extra set of wheels while hubby is out pounding the pavement looking for a job. I don’t want to be stuck in the trailer with all 3 kids waiting for him to get home. This way I can venture out with the kids & explore our new surroundings that will become our home. Anyway the drive wasn’t that bad in the long run, but I was a bit nervous as we turned the corner from my in laws house because the Jeep just died on me. I went to push on the gas pedal, but nothing happened. I had to pull over, put it in park & restart the ignition. It was fine after that, but just weird. I’m wondering if it was from sitting for a month or so. Seems fine now. I had Annika & Emry with me & Dalton was riding with hubby. I tried getting all 3 car seats in the jeep, but they wouldn’t fit safely so a seat had to be sacrificed. It was total peace & quiet…aaahhh so nice. Annika watched a movie with head phones on & Emry snoozed. Less than about 10 miles from our campground I smell something stinky & look out the window to see if we had passed a sulfur plant or something. I looked forward & notice some smoke coming from the trailer. That was the smell. I radioed to hubby & told him he was smoking. About the same time a guy driving next to hubby honked & pointed to the camper. He pulled over & sure enough a tire had shredded & was ready to blow. Yowzers! Thankfully there was a gas station on the other side of the freeway from where we pulled over so hubby change the tire while I got the kids fed & diapers changed. We had enough time to stop & see a couple dinosaur statues that were near the side of the road. We also saw a super fast lizard. Man he was amazingly fast. I’m sure he could have run on water; that’s how fast he was. We were back on the road & not soon enough since it was 97 degrees outside. Ugh! I don’t like the heat that’s for sure. We got to our campground & it’s a quirky place. It used to be a motel, but the motel closed & it was used as a chicken house. They simply put in some rv hook ups & called it a rv campground. They have lots of petrified wood for sale (we’ll be getting a couple small pieces as souvenirs) & that’s about it. Nothing fancy, but apparently the chickens are all gone. My in laws told us about this place since they had stayed here a couple times during their travels. Well no complaints for only $19 a night, which is all we need. We got set up then headed to the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert.

I remember as a young kid we all piled up in the back of my dad’s Ford truck (he put a camper on the back & rigged a fan back there to help keep us cool) & went to New Mexico & Arizona for summer vacation. I don’t remember it being hot, although I’m sure it was, but I do remember all 5 of us sitting in the back on a mattress & enjoying it. I remember we would knock & knock on the camper window, but dad couldn’t hear us because there was a gap from our window to the back of the truck window. I’m thinking he was ignoring us because how could he not see us in his rear view mirror? Hmmm. We saw the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, that HUGE meteor crater, some cliff dwellings & not sure what else. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old. The one thing that stands out in my mind from this trip soooo many years ago was watching my little sister (6 or 7 yrs old) run towards a building at the Petrified Forest & not seeing the small fence line (had she stayed on the sidewalk/path her injury wouldn’t have happened). It got her right on the ridge of her nose & she went flying backward onto her back. It was like a cartoon when the character gets hit & they’re airborn then *splat* onto their back. It knocked the wind out of her & I laughed soooo hard because it was funny to see. After almost 30 years that’s what I remember most. Yes she was in pain & it scared the crap out of her, but I couldn’t help it. She flipped back so fast. I thought of that as we were out seeing the sites & thought for sure karma would kick in & my 5 yr old daughter would get injured in a similar way. I warned her to stay on the path just in case. Thankfully no serious injuries occurred, except for Dalton not holding my hand & tripping over my foot. He scraped his knee a bit but was fine. We saw the biggest tree in the park “Old Faithful” as well as one that acted as a bridge, but was taken care of back in 1911 when they put pillars under it to keep it from collapsing. In 1917 the pillars were taken down & cement was put under it to reinforce it. It was getting really windy & in the distance you could see the dark clouds & sheets of rain coming down. Ahhh the familiar cloud that follows us on our trip across the country. I know it’s monsoon season, but still feels like the cloud is following us wherever we go. Thankfully no rain came upon us. We did notice a certain odor while we were there. It was stinky & we couldn’t figure out what it was or where it was coming from, but it was at every stop we made. Wait…hope it wasn’t us. I’ll have to ask my in-laws if they know since they were volunteer hosts there for several months.

We headed back to camp so I could make dinner. We were all hungry. Thankfully I had some left over potato dumplings & some brisket from the night before. Yummo fast dinner. Emry is a champ & ate almost a whole nectarine by herself. It was a big one too. She had a few bites of dumplings as well. Since it was kind of late I did the eenie meenie minie moe to see who would get a bath first & Dalton won. He did his usual screaming. I got him out & was trying to dry his feet when he lost his balance & he fell backward & hit his head on the side of the tub. Ooooh the guilt! I scooped him up & said sorry I don’t know how many times. He cried so much, but I do think it was also because he was over tired. I tried to calm him, but he wasn’t having it. He didn’t want to get dressed or put his diaper on. He was stomping his feet on the floor while he was butt naked. I quickly turned on the tv & put in the Cars movie. As soon as it started he stopped crying. It was like a switch. Whew! Thankfully his head was ok & I don’t think he has a concussion….or at least I hope not. My poor baby is going to be all head damaged before even getting into school. I’m gonna say no football for him. I think he’s met his limit on head bonks already.

July 18-31 Payson, AZ

To sum it up we spent 13 days being pretty lazy. We were house sitting while my in laws were stuck in a hotel room in Phoenix. My father in law had eye surgery & couldn’t come home due to the elevation so they were set put. I was thankful for the elbow room & ability to stretch out & relax…for the most part. I’m sure little miss Emry was so glad to have all kinds of crawling space. Since we were put down for a while I got back into cloth diapers for the kids. Yay! I did some cloth diapering while we traveled, but we didn’t always get a camp site with laundry facilities & I didn’t want the diapers sitting for longer than 3 days so we mostly did disposables, which made me cringe. I’m looking forward to getting into one spot for a while so I can do the cloth again & hang them outside in the sun to dry.

I was hoping to get caught up on all kinds of sleep, but that only happened the day after we arrived. I took Emry up to nap & I fell asleep with her for 4 hours! I almost felt guilty, but it was so needed. I only napped a couple more times during our stay, but should have done it every day now that I look back. Oh well.  Emry did nap on her Abu a couple times & Dalton napped with his grandpa, which was so cute. I kept meaning to get a photo, but kept forgetting. I hope someone got one. The kids did bring back their game of musical beds. I would put them to sleep in the loft bed & one by one they would come into the bed I was in with the baby. I’d let them fall back to sleep then sometimes if I had the energy I would take them back to their bed. There were some nights where I would let them fall asleep in my bed then I’d carry them to their bed. Dalton cried out several times in his sleep & he would walk around all confused. I would ask him questions, but he just walked in circles. I asked him once if he wanted water, but he said “no” then he proceeded to walk into my room & grab my water cup then walk out to the hallway to drink it then walked back into my room to put the cup back. I chalked it all up to a mild case of sleep walking. It was interesting to watch him, but frustrating at the same time because he was tired & I tried to help him fall back asleep, but he didn’t want to be in my bed or his bed so I had to wait it out with him until he decided. I’m just glad it wasn’t a night terror. I remember Annika had one of those when she was probably 3 & it scared me. She had this blank look in her eyes as she screamed uncontrollably. I couldn’t talk to her or hold her since it made it worse. I just sat there & waited it out. She finally fell back on her pillow & was fast asleep. That was her only episode & I’m so glad it was. Hopefully I don’t have that experience with Dalton. It made me feel totally helpless.

Another thing I didn’t do nearly enough was relax in the hot tub. I did that one day with the kids & we all know that’s not really relaxing. I think the only thing I did do a lot of was eating. Ugh! On our last evening Annika helped her Abu make potato dumplings. She got her hands in there & formed the potato balls. She sure loves to eat them, as we all do. Unfortunately all that eating came at a price. My underwear started to shrink. Blah! I had this big plan to exercise every day while I was there & I sucked at that. I went walking 2 days & that was it. I seriously need to get out of my funk & find some motivation. It’ll happen & hopefully before next March when I hit the next decade in age. Oi. I not only want to, but I need to be 40 & fabulous. I did do some tv time, which was needed on my part. I barely get any adult tv time these days (and I don’t mean adult as in dirty nasty, I mean as in non-cartoon). Since we didn’t have cable or satellite tv I started watching Drop Dead Diva on Netflix from season 1 & got to season 3. I’m so addicted & stayed up way too late on several occasions trying to watch as many episodes as I could. I have one more season to go on Netflix then I have to wait for the current season to be over so I can get caught up. I did jump on the band wagon when it came to Candy Crush. I saw & heard so many people talking about it so one night I downloaded the app & gave it a try. That game has a mind of its own & half the time I don’t know what’s going on. All I know is that I want to get 3 stars on each level. I wouldn’t say I lose sleep on that game, but I play it when I have a moment of boredom, which isn’t often.

 The kids loved spending time with their Abu & Grandpa. They were assigned chores (put peanuts out for the blue jay, feed the Tom cat, water their fairy gardens, & feed the fish in the pond). Of course every day I had to remind Annika & I got the usual “do I have to? I don’t feeeellll like it”. I would then remind her that if she can’t take care of the small things then how would she take care of the big things like a pony or miniature horse. That usually got her going.. So much happened in those 13 days, but of course I failed to document it & I’m sitting here staring at the ceiling wracking my brain to remember it all or at least part of it. I did take them to see Despicable Me part 2 & oh boy it was an experience. We haven’t been to the movies in a while for obvious reasons, but I braved it this day. I had all 3 of them with me & Dalton didn’t want to sit in his chair so he stood next to me & kind of squatted near my feet as well the whole movie. Emry decided to take a big dump & I couldn’t leave the kids in the theater alone & I didn’t want to take them all out & miss a portion of the movie, so I did what I had to. I changed her in my lap. But you see she’s kind of long so her head was hanging over my knees as I changed her. To keep all the blood from rushing to her head I leaned backward & lifted my legs up so my shins could support her head. Hey a workout & a diaper change at the same time. Yes I’m that good. I had to be sure to disinfect my hands real good because the hand I wiped her with is the same hand I grab popcorn with. Ewww I know, but I used several disinfectant wipes on my hands too.

My in laws live in a cul de sac across from the library & a big community park. There’s Frisbee golf, soccer, tennis, skate park, and a couple kiddie play ground areas. I took them one day (we should have gone more often) and they enjoyed it. Both Annika & Dalton are very sociable. Whenever they see other kids they are usually the first to say “hi” and ask to play with the other kids. I’m usually hesitant because I know how kids can be, but I sit back & watch what happens ready to encourage or comfort when needed. I was hoping they would wear themselves out, but I was the one constantly bending over picking up their horses as they threw them off the top of these big plastic climbing rocks. Eh I could use the workout. Thankfully no injuries occurred. Whew! On our walk back to the house we passed by a port a potty & it was stinky. Dalton got a whiff & started fanning his nose then stuck out his tongue & began to gag. It’s so funny watching him do that. On the last home stretch we spotted some bats flying overhead & in my opinion they were flying a bit too low. Rabies!!!

Since Annika is in her cowgirl phase I took her to a western wear store to get her some cowgirl get up. She got a red & white shirt & a belt. She has a hat already. They had the cutest pink blingy flip flops at 40% off so I got her a pair. She’s not the only one that likes them. Dalton likes wearing them too. He put them on one day to go outside & Annika kept yelling at him to take them off, but he kept walking then turned around with this sly look on his face then told her “no stop it” as he waved his hand at her. It was so funny. He cracks me up & yes I got a picture of him in his get up. We also found some boots for Dalton, but so far he hasn’t shown much interest in wearing them.  I haven’t gotten Annika any new boots since it’s so dang hot & I know she’ll wear them frequently (I don’t want her feet getting all sweaty). I figured we’d wait until we got to our new home & did the whole school shopping thing. I can already tell school shopping is going to be pricey, unless of course her school has a dress code/uniform, which I think would be great.

We did have our share of boo boos during our stay. Emry for one got to the stairs before I could put the gate up & she fell backward after climbing a couple. I hate it when they fall off stairs & now they have all done it. I just hope it’s the last time for all of them. After hearing about my friend’s untimely death from falling down her stairs, I worry about any of us falling. I vowed to not have stairs in our next & hopefully final home, but we have to have a basement so that’s ruled that out. Can I just put bubble wrap all around my kids to keep them safe?  Annika is the queen of band aids & has been for several years now. The smallest scratch & she wants a band aid. I’ve put my foot down & have told her if there’s no blood then there’s no band aid. Dalton is getting into the band aid stage now, but he’s not as bad as his sister. The day after any of his boo boos he shows it to me & says “boo boo all better” in the sweetest voice. Of course there was the one day when his daddy took the band aid off before giving him a bath & he screamed bloody murder the whole time. I finally figured out what was wrong with him & replaced the band aid. Tada! He crawled up & went to sleep. Sheesh.

Let’s see the kids did get crafty & made crowns one night. Annika also made a chain necklace. She drew some pictures for both her grandparents then rolled them up with ribbon & placed them on their bed so they could be surprised when they got home. She’s so thoughtful & she was so proud of herself. She does this jumping up & down thing when she’s excited & that’s just what she did. There was lots of coloring going on & I finally had to get Dalton his own coloring book because Annika didn’t want to share hers. Now that he has his own he doesn’t seem as interested. Go figure. They watched their share kidding when I say he probably watched the “Car-toons Mater Tales” 100 times. First it was Toy Story during our travels now Cars. I don’t see how they can watch the same show over & over & over again. I tried to encourage other movies, but he wasn’t having it.

Hubby did his fair share of chores. He took the carpet out of the trailer, which was nice.  That cuts down on some vacuuming & just icky dirt trapped inside. The only carpet left is the stuff under the couch, which isn’t really exposed & the stuff under the table, which is probably really gross but he steam cleaned it before we left so now it’s ready for more food droppings & stains. What I’d really like are some black out curtains to block out the morning sun. When the sun rises Dalton is like a rooster ready to wake everyone up, but since we are close to the end of our travels the curtains will wait until our next camping trip.

Oh we did venture down to Phoenix to visit with the in laws & help them break up the monotony of the hotel room. Man it was hotter than hot down there. The temp on our suv showed 106 & 108. I don’t know why anyone would want to live in that heat. We went to Butterfly Wonderland, which was a new exhibit. We saw a 3d movie that talked about the life of the butterfly & their migration. Dalton wasn’t interested in wearing the 3d glasses & Annika had them on then off then on then off again. I noticed Emry had decided to poop so after the movie I had to walk all the way around to the end to get back to the beginning to get to the bathroom. There had to be an easier way. There was also a small aquarium inside with sting rays, but no one wanted to touch them. We went inside the butterfly area & woah it was humid in there. It was beautiful seeing all the many butterflies. Dalton would squat to see them, but would jerk back if they looked to mobile. If one got near him he would kind of jump/run away & head towards an adult for safety. Annika would say “aaaww cute” but she too would get freaked out if they came near her. One landed on hubby’s head & one landed on Dalton’s sleeve, but he didn’t see it. I can only imagine how he would have reacted..hahahaha! We of course had to walk thru the gift shop to get out (they’re tricky like that) & Annika finally decided on these really neat fabric butterfly wings. We talked about how it would make a great Halloween costume. Dalton got a wind up caterpillar. Next stop, lunch at Red Robin. Of course along the way I spotted a What-A-Burger & gasped in awww, but hubby doesn’t understand my fascination with my hometown burger. Hey it’s better than his nasty White Castle. Gag. But the restaurant had been pre-picked so I sucked it up & drank lots of strawberry lemonades at RR. We decided to head back home since it was later in the afternoon & there wasn’t much to do in the area for kids. I was glad to get out of that scorching heat.

Every Saturday there’s a local farmer’s market there in Payson & they have pony rides. We went that first Saturday & Annika was loving it. Dalton went too, but daddy had to walk beside him & make sure he didn’t fall off. They were both so cute. I found some delicious tapenade. I’ve looked for so long for the right olive tapenade that doesn’t have capers & this one didn’t. Simply had green & black olives & roasted red peppers. Yummo. I almost ate the whole container in one day. The next Saturday I wanted to go back & stock up on olive tapenade for the remainder of our trip so it was just me & Annika. She did another pony ride & I talked to the owner about his miniature horses. Oops thought they were ponies. He said mini horses are better mannered & actually not that expensive to care for. Hmmm might have to look into that. Of course I don’t want to be stuck doing all the horse care & I’m afraid that would happen. I think we’ll start with a puppy first even though I’m not wanting a dog, but it’ll be a good alert to us if strangers approach & it’ll occupy the kids & teach them some responsibilities. Anyway back to the market. I also got some yummy peanut butter that’s honey flavored & natural. As we were leaving there was a guy who had cannolis. I love cannolis & get one every time I come across them, but this one was by far the best. I also got some yummo cranberry/orange bread & Italian olive oil bread along with some crazy good cookies.  Oh how I love farmers markets. I can’t wait to get our house so I can start my own garden. Got lots of plans brewing in my head.