Vacation 2016

We have just returned from our family vacation. Every year we get together with my husbands side of the family and spend a week together. This year we all met up in Arizona. We (my little tribe) had a week before the meet up to travel up there. So we made a huuuge trip of it We went to lots of National Parks, several state parks, and some fun local places. Taking my kids hiking in the beautiful, rocky, mountanious parks was incredible. We took them to Carlsbad Caverns, and walked the great room and got to do what I have waited for…we saw the bat flight. It was incredible. Such a neat thing to stop. I’ve never seen so many bats before!  Sorry, no pictures, so recording or photography of the bats allowed!

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We stopped in Roswell, NM…because, it’s what you do when you travel through NM. Then we drove through the Petrified Forest. We were able to do some hiking, but the weather was crappy. So we did find a spot where touching was allowed and took some pictures with the kids.

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Then Kaibab National forest, and too the Grand Canyon! It was sooo crowded! But we did walk the kids down to the edge and let them look into the canyon. It was something I’d always wanted to do. When we first got there, it was raining and we watched the fog raise from the canyon while we ate.  The only thing I didn’t enjoy was at the North Rim, there is ONE bathroom. Y’all….five people hiking and a huuuuuuge crowd of other people really require more than one potty. Just saying. We drove through the forest twice and never saw the buffalo they said were there..sigh. It was amazing and beautiful. 13872896_10154506904154756_334726694258987757_n13901344_10154506399964756_5845092899338813893_n13907159_10154506399959756_1267147954446600254_n

We headed off to Valley of Fire after this. This park is GORGEOUS! If you have never been…make a trip. Seriously. You won’t regret it. We took the kids way up on the rocks. They enjoy climbing. There was no rain, so the rocks were good to scramble on. They did really well and had so much fun. I love watching them be brave and go up there and feel like they can touch the sky. We spent an entire day there…hiking, climbing, finding the same visitors from our Grand Canyon trip. It was a blast. 13880404_10154509419184756_2982796328024694990_n13892065_10154509418234756_1364179991460202485_n13895354_10154509417624756_8908482893227434929_n13925080_10154509419274756_9029578526643724297_n

( a note on the pic below, I posted it on my IG. We found this in the park, however the Valley of Fire Park service request that people do NOT do this in the park!)

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The next stop is actually my favorite place on the entire planet. We went back to Red Rock Canyon. My husband took me here a little over a year ago. I love it here. My soul just feels at rest here. I took the kids to stand on my favorite place in the park. It was incredible. I took a moment to just reflect and be there. It was really hot. Which makes for really hot rocks, which are hard to scramble on. But we got a fair amount in. My oldest saw a desert fox…lucky. We hiked until we just couldn’t, then we went through the rest of the scenic drive.  I loved it. And to share it with my kids was incredible. 13892090_10154512333039756_1464041062462689689_n

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We also went to the Shelby museum, the boys LOOOVED it. My son was over the moon to see all those fancy cars. We finally headed to the house where we were staying with our family. It was super to see everyone again. We went hiking at some of the local parks, Pinnacle Peak, and Camelback Mountain. That was a tough hike, rated extremely difficult. We took six kids, three adults up. Made it just shy of the top when a few kids ran out of water. Still worth it. We went to a Ghost town ( GoldField) , rode the train and had ice cream. It was a really neat stop. We got to see a working gold mine shaft.  Went to a local train museum, twice, and rode the train twice. WHOOHOO. And then…Out of Africa. The whole family got together and caravaned down there.  We got to hold a GIANT snake. Reticulated python. She was so pretty! All of my kiddos got to hold or pet her. We saw tigers play in the water, lions hanging out on top of their houses, a bear (my son is a bear cub, so that was a big deal for him) .

So that is the bulk of our trip…. It was a great time.  The kids took all the Jr. Rangers programs at the parks. They enjoyed that very much. I am so proud of them for getting it done.  I hope that you enjoyed reading about our trip. I seriously encourage you to plan a trip to your local parks on your next trip.

Easter

Easter has come and gone. We were pretty busy. Up at 5, at church by 7, working at 8. The makeup came out really great. Phil came to help me when he got off of work. It was most appreciated. I needed a second set of hands! We had basic face makeup to do, lots of eyebrows to fill, and several bruised, bloody and beaten faces to create. All in all it turned out really well. The play was fantastic, what i could see of it. Being back stage was a very different experience for me. I have never done it before, and wasn’t sure what to expect.I couldn’t hear anything. At all. Which made the last part of my job a little difficult, but we got it done on time. But I really enjoyed working backstage. It was really neat to see my work going on stage and contributing to what we were putting out there.

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Barabbas, me, and Jesus. 

Afterwards, we changed, packed up the kids and went for a hike. It was a nice day out so we went for it. The park was pretty full by the lake, but the trails were pretty empty. We are trying to take any opportunity to hike and prepare the kids for vacation.  And we enjoy it. It’s family time for us. The kids were thrilled because the nature center was open, and they got to look at the animals in the tanks.  We hiked a short trail, and then half of a longer one. It was a little wet, and the trails in this park are pretty rooty. But they did great, they usually do. IMG_20160327_131353333

I’m not sure….but this is us.

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The deadfall, my kids favorite thing they saw on this hike. 

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We have taught the kids to hike in a single file line, usually hubby is in the front and I am in the back. They are all used to carrying their own bags and water bottles. I keep a packing list in each bag, and they have to check it before we go hiking. This time I did, because we decided the night before while the kids were sleeping that we would go. But generally, they are learning to be in charge of their own gear. Our next hike we will be adding their camelbaks into their packs so they get used to the added weight.

When we finished our hike, we drove down to see the lake and then headed home. Hubby stopped and got us some burgers. Cause he is awesome. It was a fantastic day. I can’t wait to go hiking again 🙂