Grand Canyon

I had never seen the Grand Canyon before. I had seen pictures, I understood conceptually that it’s big. But seeing it in person is … well, it made me speechless. Sometimes the colors of the canyon walls made me think they were a painted back drop because they were just too perfect. Like that movie where the kid gets out of the tour bus in Egypt, runs up to the pyramids and one of them deflates. Maybe the backdrop would fall down and we’d all see the suburbs back there. But alas, it is rock and canyon walls for as far as the eye can see.

We had the good fortune to ride the shuttle to the west end and then then next morning drive out through the east entrance aka Desert View. It was as spectacular and glorious as you would expect. And not stifling hot as I expected.

(taken at Pima Point)

(taken at Bright Angel trail head)

Santa Fe: The Awkward Family Photo Edition

All I want is a picture of my family with everyone facing the same direction and appearing normal. Is that too much to ask?

Vacation Through the Other Kid’s Eyes

Like Elliot, Audrey also took pictures (although not as many) during our road trip. Here’s what mattered to her.

Azaleas

… gracious, I’ll have the finest yard in Alabama.  Those Bellingraths’ll look plain puny when I get started!

Said Miss Maudie to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird (it’s the One Denver One Book book and while I don’t actually live in Denver, I like to pretend to be an urban hipster).

I loved this line, so much so that I read it to Peter when I got home. I got a Southern reference without having to google it! Go me. The Bellingraths were a prominent family in Mobile for many decades, including the time that To Kill a Mockingbird takes place.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home was the creation of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bellingrath.  The Gardens first opened to the public in 1932 while a national garden club meeting was taking place in Mobile.  Mr. Bellingrath placed an ad in the Mobile paper, announcing that anyone who would like to see the spring garden could do so free of charge.  After an overwhelming response, the couple decided to keep the gardens open year-round, beginning in 1934.

We’ve visited Bellingrath Gardens a few times. It is so beautiful. Good for Miss Maudie thinking she could rival the local socialite!

For years I tried to have azaleas in my yard.  Each year I dutifully purchased mountain azaleas, supposedly bred for this climate. They died. It is too cold or too dry or too sunny or some combination therein on the plains for azaleas to thrive. My mother-in-law has an abundance of azaleas in her yard in Alabama. She largely finds them a nuisance. They grow everywhere, even where you don’t want them – and once you have them somewhere, I hope you like them there. They’re like our Russian Sage. I guess we all covet what we cannot have. I cannot have a lush green, bloom-filled garden without an extensive irrigation system. And she cannot have Russian Sage or cactus.

I was reading in a coffee shop on Friday and was stopped on my way out by someone asking what I thought of the book, he had just finished it. I gushed about the imagery. Now that I’ve spent time in LA I can visual the live oaks (I was married under one), I know what a kudzu covered front porch looks like and I know what those summer days, where the air doesn’t move, feel like.

This afternoon I might should make myself some sweet tea, don a wide-brimmed hat and read.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Cuatro

On our drive back we took a detour through Taos, most specifically Taos Pueblo. It’s amazing to think about these buildings existing in this area 1000 years ago. We don’t think of America being that old.

Overall, I would call the vacation a success. Of course, there were meltdowns and limited patience (from all parties). But really? Four kids and two adults and everyone came home with souvenirs.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Tres

More museums. Some shopping. And the sun came out. Thank dog for the sun, 25 degrees is not commonly referred to as “sight seeing with children” weather.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Dos

Ah, sweet sleep. Everyone was in bed by 9:40 last night. What a difference a solid night of sleep makes.

Well, it’s an improvement – but not life altering.

Anyway.

We went to the Museum of International Folk Art and made Wayang Kulits. The five public museums in Santa Fe have an amazing bargain: children under 16 are free and you can purchase a pass to visit all the musuems within 5 days for $20.

This afternoon after a lunch with some of the most expensive guacamole known to man, we went to Palace of the Governors. It’s the oldest continuously occupied public building in America. There is a chapel inside with some uncountable number of crucifxes. Some on the wall. Some larger than life. Of course, Elliot wanted to know who the guy on the “T” was. I had to explain that it’s Jesus knowing full well that the next question is “who is Jesus?” So, in the end, there’s this guy nailed to the T and some people think he was important. The end.

Not really ready to explain that Daddy is an Atheist and Mommy is agnostic and Jesus was just a guy. Also not sure that the inside of a chapel is the proper venue.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Uno

We rolled into Santa Fe a little before 1am. Some portion of the kids had slept some portion of the drive. All the kids struggled getting settled into their sleeping arrangements. But finally, somewhere around 2:30 there was sweet silence. And then at 7am they were awake! and ready! and hungry! and are we there yet?

I have to be honest, this morning was rough. Not enough caffeine. While we’re looking for a) a parking spot b) coffee and c) something to do all I can think is “hey, that building is latte colored …. mmmmm  latte.”

—–

Fully caffeinated we headed our for adventure. Our first stop was a bus tour. It was really pretty and really interesting and really cold. Did you know Santa Fe is 7,000 ft above sea level? It was 40 degrees today. Not really all that comfortable in an open bus. We did however get to see much of the town and stop in a few places.

Santa Fe is known for its art, there are sculptures everywhere. Here are a few that I snapped today. And a picture of the kids so we can remind them that we had fun. Damnit.

Spontaneous

I have a list of things to do. Literally. I made a list. A list of things to pack. A list of places to map. A list of things to do before I pack (laundry). A list of people to call (down to one: the hotel).

Amy & I have lost our minds.

We’re taking our four (count them: 1, 2, 3, 4) kids to Santa Fe for a little road-trip. Without back-up parents. I repeat, there are no dads on this trip. Just two moms and four kids in one car for six hours.

And folks? This is as spontaneous as I get. Amy asked me last Friday if we wanted to go to Santa Fe this week. And here we are T minus 1380 minutes and I’m blogging.

Blogging!

Hey, at least I have my priorities.

Weekend Getaway

Since school was closed on Monday to reflect on the birth of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, we took the three day weekend opportunity and headed to the mountains.

I do not like to drive in the snow.

I do not like to drive in the snow when visibility is < 10 feet.

Luckily that was only a little bit of the trip up. We went to Glenwood Springs to sit in the mineral filled, spring heated, outdoor pool.

We stayed in the very old, very beautiful Hotel Colorado.

The Hotel Colorado is supposedly the birthplace of the Teddy Bear. The hotel’s lobby was huge and inviting, it was the sort of lobby that guests are supposed to lounge in. We played a lot of Uno there.

On Monday, Peter drove back to Denver to go to work. The kids and I took the train home, ending at Denver’s Union Station.

I remembered to bring all sorts of things … but not a charged battery for my camera. I bought disposable but haven’t had them developed yet. Maybe there’s a good picture our two in there. Other than that glitch it was a glorious weekend. We just hung out together. No doing chores, no running errands. The kids were great on the train, they even took a nap!

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