Oct 18, 2014

Madera Canyon

scoping out the creek below
I can't believe a month has gone by already since I took these pictures! I kept meaning to do a blog entry and time somehow slipped through my fingers. Actually, I don't know why I'm surprised. Most of my "spare" time has been spent one of 4 ways:
1-cleaning up the tornado that ripped through our house from storm fronts L&V (how they can make such a huge mess in such little time is quite the mystery)
2-doing homework.
3-zoning out on a movie with Jeff instead of doing the other billion things I need to do, because this is our rare time together and I'm too tired to move
4-passing out from exhaustion
hiking in the Santa Ritas

love seeing them exploring together
Anyway, I woke up one morning antsy as ever to get out of the house and do something. I get like this often but usually a trip to the library or park or store calms this. However, this morning was different. It was the first day where I noticed it wasn't scorching hot in the morning. So the girls scarfed down breakfast, I got them swiftly dressed, threw together a lunch and drinks and rushed out the door. We were headed out on an adventure!

silly Lilly

                                                      Madera Canyon used to be one of our favorite hiking spots, B.C. (before children). It's not too far away, the elevation at the trailheads is already so high above desert that you don't really feel like you're near/in the Sonoran Desert. The canyon is filled with trees which provide lots of shade. And though we aren't birding experts, the canyon is teeming with birds from all over and is a very popular destination for bird watchers. The trails that we have hiked on were fairly moderate, had steep downgrades on one side and honestly, aren't friendly for us meandering around with a 3 and 1.5 year old. So, we just haven't gone back in a while, except for a scenic drive with out of town visitors. But I knew there were lower elevation areas of the canyon I would be able to take the kids to. I just needed to explore to find it since we haven't done anything in that area.

Lilly took this photo :)

climbing up the path

We parked and started the hike towards the Amphitheater area. Both girls walked and explored for a while until we had to walk through some overgrowth that seemed to weird Violet out a little. I could understand, as some of it was brushing her face. So I picked her up and then decided it was just time to put her in the hiking pack. I'm glad I did when I did, because the trail slowly narrowed and climbed higher and got rockier. I even doubted Lilly's ability and mentioned "let's head back down" a few times but she was resilient and wanted to keep blazing forward, climbing over boulders that stood in our path. Then she started holding herself. Great! Time to pee in the great outdoors. She did not like that idea! It wasn't until we had turned around, heading back down the trail that I reminded her that all animals pee outside and that her day would be very unpleasant if she peed her pants, as I didn't bring any changes of clothes. It was a little difficult holding a 3.5year old in a seated position off the ground so she didn't pee all over her pants and shoes, while having a 1.5 year old strapped to my back!

    Water was flowing in Madera Creek so we followed a small trail along it where I found a nice place to lay down the pack and let the girls wade in the water. It was a little deeper than ankle (on me) in most places, nice and cool, clear and the girls loved it! They threw rocks, splashed, played with sticks, and of course, they ended up getting completely soaked. So after a while, we exited the water and sat on the ground and ate our lunch. I'm pretty sure if I didn't have the food, I wouldn't have been able to entice them out of the water. Then we headed back to the car where I had to strip them to undies and they drove home like that. Guess I'll bring a change of clothes next time;)

Oct 10, 2014

Apples Galore!

Take a deep breath! Aaaaahhh can't you just smell the cool, crisp air, pies baking in the oven, cider simmering on the stove, soup in the crock pot. Can you hear the rustling of fallen leaves as they scrape along the ground and crunch under feet. You can? Well, lucky you! Because I'm in Tucson and we don't get that here. Though, it has dropped to sweater donning temp in the wee hours of the morning. But by midday it is still in the 90s.  But that doesn't stop us from enjoying the slight reprieve from the heat and anticipating much cooler weather that's right around the corner.

We have been visiting Apple Annie's Orchard in Willcox every year since before the kids were even born. It's become a tradition to head to the farm, enjoy the cooler temps that Willcox offers, pick a lot of fruit, drive home and then I spend the day cleaning, chopping,freezing whatever deliciousness we brought home.

This year, because of schedules, I went with the kids by myself. I was a little disheartened, but didn't want to skip the trip just because Jeff couldn't go. So I loaded the kids up &we   took the hour& half drive to the orchard. I'm so happy that 99% of the time my girls are amazing in the car. We chat, we sing, they laugh& giggle, and sometimes they fall asleep. They are amazing road trip partners:)

"This is a beauty" she kept saying:)
After a couple hours of picking, and running around and kicking dirt and attempting to eat rotten apples that had fallen to the ground, we paid for the apples. Then, we sat down and shared homemade apple raspberry pie with a giant scoop of cinnamon ice cream. After we loaded our bounty of apples into the car, we sat in the back with the door up and shared lunch before heading home. Thanks to the girls, our freezer is now loaded with sliced apples and we've been eating fresh ones everyday. Plus, all the varieties of apples have made great models for my watercolor class:)