Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Break.....from which we now need a break!

A play by play of our Spring Break trip. Click on any photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure.

Day 1....Saturday, March 15...Julia, Catha and Will arrived in Phoenix and were met by Kim, Chuck and Jordan at the airport.

Arriving in Phoenix...weather's great, wish you were here.

We took the cat to his new apartment and checked into the Embassy Suites Hotel. Here's Tinman (aka Fiesta, Charlie, Buddy, Cat) going to his new home. This cat has traveled more miles in a car than any other cat in history. He knows how to row with the flow.

Manager's Reception (aka Happy Hour) at Embassy Suites Hotel...our home for a few days.

Dinner at The Tortilla Factory in Scottsdale...yummy and colorful beverages out on the patio.

Day 2....Sunday, March 16...The group toured Jordan's offices, then Chuck and Kim went to a Spring Training game between the Oakland A's and the Texas Rangers.

Cubicle, Sweet Cubicle...

After the tour, Jordan, Julia, Catha and Will did a little shopping and ate lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen in Biltmore Square in Phoenix...this is a very ritzy, high end shopping area. Let's just say, we did a lot of window shopping.

After lunch, we drove around the mountains and ended up at Camelback Mountain. While Will and Jordan did a mini-hike around,Catha hugged a cactus.

Word up...do not use a cactus for a stool!

Will and Jordan at the bottom of the mountain...they're going to miss each other alot.

Day 3....Monday, March 17...MOVE-IN DAY. Chuck took Kim to an Indian Reservation/Casino so he could win enough money to pay for the trip. Let's just say he won enough to pay for a taxi back to us. Jordan had to work, so the rest of us held down the fort at her new apartment while her furniture and belongings were delivered.

Jordan's things arrived safely....now comes the fun part.

"Excuse me? Where's MY food?"

Where did all this stuff come from?

At noon, Jordan met up with us in Old Town Scottsdale and we had lunch at Arcadia Farms, an adorable restaurant where the scenery was beautiful, the food was delicious and the birds were dropping $%&* on our heads. Jordan went back to work with a souvenier from the birds on her shoulder.

Outdoor eating at it's best. Beautiful weather and a little shower of bird poop for free.

Will got a little surprise in his hair! Not too happy about that.

Some St. Patrick's Day celebrants in Old Town Scottsdale...

Back to Jordan's apartment in the evening....
"Thank you very much for all your help, now would you please all leave?"

Day 4....Tuesday, March 18...We got on the road early and headed to The Grand Canyon.

The drive there...who knew Arizona had more than just deserts?

A stop at Montezuma's Castle....an Indian dwelling built into the side of a mountain sometime between 1200 and 1400 AD...the equivalent of a 3 story apartment. Unbelievable when you stop and really think about it. This was built way before Home Depot and Lowe's were on every corner. They used ladders(made with sticks and ropes)to get in and out but it is no longer considered safe.

We ate lunch at the Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff....on the old Route 66.

This one's for you Cameron....your very own trading post. We're almost to the Grand Canyon at this point.

Turquoise is everywhere! We pulled over here to do a little last minute shopping before getting into the park. Even the babies spend their day selling the wares. How cute is this? I wonder if they make a papoose big enough for a teenage boy. Soon we will enter The Grand Canyon....and I would have loved to have been able to tie him up in one of these. Watching him close to the edge was tough to watch.

We saw this coyote as we entered the park.

This is our hotel, El Tovar, right on the South Rim of the canyon. It was built around 1915 as a Harvey House...a place for the train travelers to stay and eat.

The Colorado River running through the canyon...one day Chuck wants to hike down there and see it up close. I have given my family permission to put me on a mule and get me down there, when I am 90 or in a diaper....whichever comes first.

Will trying to take it all in.

An evening view of our hotel at the edge of the canyon.

We took hundreds of pictures and really there is nothing like seeing it for yourself. You just cannot capture it. This huge hole could make one feel very small and insignificant...yet feel God's presence at the same time.

Why I was more than ready to leave...look on the very edge, right before the 2000 foot drop. Uh,huh...that would be Will Hackney. You know, THE Will Hackney who jumped out of a moving car just last May. THE Will Hackney who may not have any "impulse control."

Day 5....Wednesday, March 19...After a good breakfast (Kim's favorite meal) at El Tovar, we left the Grand Canyon and took the most scenic drive south to Sedona. In the 2 hour drive, we left canyons and desert, approached snow covered mountains and pine trees, then arrived to a destination of red canyons and a beautiful rolling creek.

Breakfast at El Tovar...

Not sure if Chuck liked his breakfast....

Leaving El Tovar for Sedona...

Check out this scenery....snow and pine trees!

I am in love with this creek. We saw lots of campers on the banks. I could easily be talked into camping here. Really. No, I mean it.

L'Auberge de Sedona...the cabins on Oak Creek where we stayed.

I'll be back here someday soon.

Day 6....Thursday, March 20...Julia and Catha stayed in Sedona for a relaxing day of shopping and enjoying the scenery. Kim, Chuck and Will drove to Jerome to see a ghost town.

Jerome....a ghost town? Apparently. It was an old gold mining town that was heavily populated at one time. Then the bust and everyone left town. In the 1970's it had a rebirth and is a cute little town full of shops and restaurants built on the side of a mountain. Oh, and a few old ruins are still around for ghost hunters like Chuck.

When the guys got back around 3:00, we headed back to Phoenix. We took Jordan and her friend Brandon out to eat at Bada Boom, Pasta Room for some great Italian food.(what a great name for an Italian restaurant)

Day 7....Friday, March 21
...Departed Phoenix for Houston. We had the best time and look forward to many more visits to Arizona. The rest of our Spring Break was filled with doing laundry, grocery shopping and working in the yard. We had to go back to work on Monday to get some rest.

As they say....A good time was had by all.

Just another comment or two. Will is taking Photography as an elective and he is getting very good....and certainly seems to have "an eye." Here are a few of my favorites.

An abandoned truck in Jerome...

A close-up of a horse...

A black & white of El Tovar in the Grand Canyon.

Pigeons on a building ledge...in Scottsdale.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Spring Break and Hoppy Easter!

We leave for our Spring Break trip to Phoenix on Saturday. By the time we get back, it will be Easter weekend. The yellow dust/pollen is gently covering everything in site.....new life is just around the corner.

Another night at the rodeo....

We were fortunate/unfortunate enough to get a second invitation to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I say fortunate because we received an invitation twice in one year and both were great musical guests...Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. I say unfortunate because no matter what you do, you aren't getting home until after midnight. As I was standing in the long line to get on the Metro back to our Park and Ride, I thought about how old I am getting. There was a time that I hung around places 'til the lights went back on...long after "the last call." And then go out to breakfast before heading home for a long 2 hours of sleep before the alarm rang. But now, if I am asked to stay up late on a school night (past 9:00 pm), it hurts really bad the next day. So bad that I can't think of anything really worth it. Anyway, we went, we saw, we ate, we watched, we sang along, then we walked forever to get back to the bus. For those of you who haven't been to a rodeo lately, this is what a rodeo looks like in 2008.....in a very large sports arena.

The Birthing Center at the Livestock Show was my favorite. No matter how bad your day may have been, you can't stay in a bad mood when you see a site like this. Either you smile because it's so sweet, or you smile because it's not you being sucked on by a dozen hungry babies.

There's one looking for food in all the wrong places.....

And my last bit of rodeo news. I think I have had my very last funnel cake. We shared one again on Tuesday night.....and I have finally been grossed out by too much grease and powdered sugar. When I would bite into it, the grease was like liquid. I kept taking another bite thinking it would get better...but, nope.
I never thought it would happen, but I am actually over funnel cakes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The RoDeO....

We went to the rodeo on Monday night....and a good time was had by all. We rode the metro up there and it was smooth sailing. We stepped up to the very short line at the ticket window, bought our bus tickets and got on the bus. Getting home was a different story.... an hour wait in freezing, cold wind at midnight....dreading how tired I would be the next day. Here we are on the bus....

Jordan and her good friend, Jenna

Will and his friend, Sarah who is behind the seat.

Cameron....who drove in for the evening from A&M to see us...I mean, see Tim McGraw.

We all got something to eat, then Cameron and I stayed behind to walk through the Livestock Show while the others headed over to the Rodeo. We saw baby pigs being born (the mama sow's birthing end was strategically placed away from the crowd), baby goats and huge Brahma bulls. Cameron even got to walk with a cow for a few short steps.

Jenna and Jordan having fun being 22!

The headliner for the evening was Tim McGraw. He put on a wonderful show. Thank goodness for the big screens as he was just a speck on the dirt from our seats.

And finally, we braved the cold wind to get the traditional funnel cake before leaving the RoDeO, 2008.

Our Texas Angels......