Aiden and Grandpa

Aiden and Grandpa
All tied up

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Golf, Watching our grandson Aiden and quick Christmas visits

I forgot to mention that I had the opportunity to get in a round of golf with our son, Chris, after we got to AZ. This is something we had not been able to do the last 2 years we were in the area for the winter. He's going to lineman school and has Fridays off so I made a tee time and he picked me up and off we went to Mountain Brook golf course. The fairways were pretty wide but it's built in a housing community so we still had to make sure our drives off the tee were straight. Something very difficult for me. I typically hit my one iron when in a tight fairway. Chris was hitting lights out. We had made a little wager but I regretted it as the round went on. He was hitting great drives and shots to the green then he was really on with his putts too. He ended up only 7 over par for the whole round...me, well I was a little more over than that. OK, a lot over that. Anyway it was a fun day and so happy to have the opportunity to play with my son.

Teeing it up

Boom....it's gone.

Father and Son

Well now it's time to let our daughter and SIL have some time to themselves. We had gotten a call a few months back from our daughter, Heather, with a request. She would be celebrating her 40th birthday in Oct this year and her and Paul, SIL, would be celebrating their 5th anniversary in Dec. She asked if we could travel back to IL in November and watch our 3 year old grandson for a week so they could go to Cabo San Lucas with friends and have some away time. We couldn't pass up that opportunity and said yes. Glenda and I flew back on Nov 3rd and landed in Peoria, IL. As luck would have it the flight was delayed 5 hours due to changing planes, pilots and some weather and maintenance issues. I called the rental company and asked the attendant to stay late. He said he would however neither of us knew it would be so late. We finally got to Peoria at 1:30 am a full  3 1/2 hours after the rental car desk was supposed to close. He stuck it out and I gave him a nice tip for his efforts. We decided to only drive to Bloomington./Normal instead of trying to make it all the way to the Chicago area. My brother opened his home to us for the night. The next morning we headed to Bartlett, IL where our daughter lives.

So great to finally be at their house. Aiden was happy to see us and immediately wanted to play. This was going to be an active week. We had ordered a few presents for Aiden and had them sent to their house. After dinner we opened the presents and had a very informal Christmas.

This year we mainly gave money but had some presents for Aiden to open. Paul and Heather had an early flight so we didn't stay up too late and we were still a little jet lagged. I got up early with Paul and Heather and drove them to the airport.

By the time I got back Aiden and Glenda were up and Aiden was having breakfast. It was Saturday so it was a nice relaxing day playing with Aiden. We decided to take him to McDonalds for lunch so he could play in the Playland area. I think we spent about 2 hours there. He definitely worked up a sweat. Once home we watched some shows on TV and later had dinner and time for bed. First day a success. Heather and Paul have two little dogs that are like family members. Their names and Zeus and Izzy. They came from the same mother and father but different litters. They don't really look like brother and sister. They really love to cuddle and they slept with us each night.

Izzy is black and Zeus is gray and black

We thought we would put some photos on Facebook so Heather and Paul could see how we were doing. Aiden was a big help in posing for the photos. We thought we would make them wonder if they had done the right thing in having grandpa and grandma watch Aiden.

This is how we dressed Aiden in the morning

We let Aiden play on the steps...oh, he fell

Then he played on this trampoline...he fell off.

Then he took charge and tied me up

After all the mishaps he decided we didn't know how to take care of him and thought he should get out while he could.

He loved being a part of the charade

Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday except for the McDonalds trip. Play with Aiden, watch some TV, Aiden played on his IPad and meals and time for bed. Day 2 in the books. We did get a call from our daughter in IN and they asked if they could visit for the day. They hadn't seen Aiden for a while and wanted to get together. We met them at Portillo's Restaurant for lunch and then back to Heather's to visit. We had a great time and so happy they made the trip. We will see them again once Paul and Heather get back from Mexico.

One thing we did have some trouble with is bed time. Aiden just can't wind down very quickly. He will find any excuse not to go to bed and once he is in bed he just won't go to sleep. Heather and Paul have been laying next to the bed in hopes he won't feel afraid. We tried the same routine and after few days we started to make some progress in him going to sleep without an issue. I guess that's just how 3 year olds react.

Now it's Monday and Aiden goes to Daycare(school). So not to mess up his routine, I took him to school at 8:30 am and then picked him up about 4:30 pm. If you have ever taken care of a 3 year old you know we were grateful for Daycare. The break during the day was very helpful. We did laundry and some shopping each day. I made daily stops at Starbucks for coffee and breakfast. We loved being at their home.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were carbon copies each day. We were so fortunate to have some wonderful weather during our stay. Aiden wanted to go with me when I walked the dogs so Glenda would go to and Aiden would ride his  trike. We had a fun time chasing after Aiden and enjoying the fall weather.


Friday we kept Aiden home from school since Mom and Dad would be coming home the next day and we would be leaving to drive to our daughter's home in IN to visit and have an abbreviated Christmas with the family there. Aiden and grandma decided to make some cookies for all the family.

Aiden was a big help

Candy Cane cookies are Glenda's specialty and everyone in the family loves them so Aiden helped.

On Saturday we got donuts for breakfast from Dunkin Donuts. I also got a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. IT ended up Aiden liked the sandwich better than the donut.



Around lunch time we took Aiden back to McDonalds so he play and get some energy out from the sugar in the donut.

We ended up staying for more than 2 hours and he still didn't want to leave.




Later that evening Mom and Dad made it home and Aiden was very happy to have them back. I know they had a wonderful time in Mexico but they also were happy to be home too.

We had so much fun taking care of Aiden over the week. He's such a smart, loving and caring little guy. We were reminded of how much energy kids have at the age and that it was somehow easier to handle a 3 year old when we were younger. Ha-ha. Wouldn't trade the opportunity for anything.

I was really feeling the love from everyone

Aiden selfie

We stayed one more night and left on Sunday morning for IN to see the grandkids there. We only had a couple of days there so we had our abbreviated Christmas with them and I took a few photos with my new selfie stick I got for Christmas. Unfortunately Jazmyne had to work a lot of the time we were there.

Grandpa and Caden

Grandma and Brooklyne and Ryleigh

Todd and me

Sommer and me

We played some Uno with the kids in the evenings and had some delicious meals. We always have a good time there. Our grandkids are growing up and we don't have as much time to spend with them as we have in the past so any opportunity is appreciated. Sommer had some wonderful professional photos taken of the family. We made sure to get a few. I love this one.

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Brooklyne, Todd, Mason, Ryleigh, Sommer, Caden and Jasmyne

After our quick trip to IN, we headed to B/N in IL to visit my dad. He's 91 now. He has a nice apartment in an assisted living center. We took a meal into him one day and had a great time catching up. We spent as much time as we could in the two days there before our flight back to AZ.

We won't be seeing family until the spring so we tried to make the most of our time each place we went. Our trip back was uneventful compared to leaving two weeks before. Our son, Chris, picked us up and it was over. We had anticipated this trip for so long and then it was over. Time flies when you're having fun.

Found this interesting quote that many times would apply to me. I need to work on this.


I've decided to have some fun while in AZ. What do you think? Good decision?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Settling in, Tattoo with friends and a hike

As I mentioned in my last post we had been working hard at getting the truck and rig cleaned up and ready for winter in AZ after our travels this last spring, summer and fall. Once we got that done we started to settle in at the park and spent an afternoon at one of the pools.



I also got started playing Pickleball and Glenda had a couple of line dancing classes. It was still early in the season and most folks hadn't arrived yet so I sent our Canadian friends, Ron and Patsy a photo of us at the pool. I got a text message back shortly after stating they would be heading down to AZ in a few days. So in the mean time we had made plans to meet Steve and Debbie from Down the Road. We had just left them a few weeks before in Durango, CO and had the time of our lives....biking, touring, geocaching, train ride, fall colors and of course eating some great food and drinking beer. You can read about our time there at this LINK.

Steve and Debbie love hiking as much as we do and they like to challenge themselves too. Well last winter they did a very challenging hike to the top of Flat Iron in the Superstition Mtn range just outside Apache Junction near our park.


Now for many years Debbie recites the words Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) once she has completed a difficult hike or activity. After an accomplishment like that they wanted to commemorate making it to the top so they decided to do that with a tattoo. They happened to find a great tattoo artist in Cave Creek and got tattoos with that quote. Debbie's was on her ankle and Steve's on the back of his right calf. Steve also got a cool pirate tattoo on his upper arm.(He loves pirates). They were so incredible and had such deep meaning to them. Seeing those tattoos got me thinking about one for myself. I had wanted to get one for many years but could never decide on what it would be or where on my body it should go. My son and two daughters all had them but, if I were ever to have something permanent like that, it had to be in the right place, have meaning to me and be done well. Not something I might regret.

I started my research and came across compass tattoos. I found several patterns and designs so I sent some to Steve and Debbie for their opinion. They loved them and wanted to get similar compass tattoos too. It's believed that getting a compass tattooed on yourself will protect you over rough waters, and you will return home safely. This is one of the most essential reasons why sailors, navy personnel, and fishermen get a compass inked onto themselves. Additionally the compass tattoo was thought to guide a person on their journey through life and is a vital tool that any traveler would need. Well of course I don't travel over rough seas however with all the travel we do as full time RV'ers I thought it would be appropriate to have one inked on my body. Now I have the tattoo idea, next, where to have it inked.

I thought of the back of the calf like Steve had for his first tattoo. Ok, that's where it will go.

Now it was time to make an appointment and meet Stave and Debbie so we could solidify our connection as travelers.

Steve and Debbie made the appointment with Leland. Leland worked at Goliath Tattoo in Cave Creek. It's a pretty new tattoo studio but Leland has been an artist for several years and does amazing work. That's the guy I wanted. We met them there and Debbie was already getting hers done. It was a perfect opportunity for me to see the process. Debbie got a compass with roses and a quote underneath "Gypsy Soul".

What a beautiful work of art.

I began to feel more at easy after seeing her go through that process.

Then it was Steve's turn. He was originally going to get his on the back of his other calf but after taking to Leland he went with the side of the calf. This way he could see it better. It also turned out fantastic. His was a compass with an eye in the middle. Very realistic.

Is that cool or what?

Then it was my turn. Leland is great at discussing the size, placement, highlighting and design. After talking to him and seeing the stencil we changed the size, the highlighting and the placement. We made it a little smaller with gray highlights and moved it to the side of my left calf. Leland said that most folks that get their first put them in places where they can't see them so we moved it. I'm extremely happy with the changes and the finished product. Here are a few photos as I went through it.
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Stencil on

Ready to go

No turning back now

I thought you said it wouldn't hurt

Finished product

It did sting some but overall it was not as painful as I thought it would be. Leland did exactly what I wanted and I couldn't be more happy. Special thanks to Steve and Debbie for the inspiration and helping me find the right person for the job.  It was getting late and we were all hungry so we found a Longhorn Steakhouse and had a wonderful meal. During our dinner conversation I found out there is a lot of after care needed to avoid infection. Steve and Debbie had put together a cool aftercare package of saran wrap, tape, gentle soap and lotion to keep the skin moist and clean as healing takes place. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. This is the experience I was looking for with my first tattoo.

We even found a geocache about 2/10 of a mile from the restaurant to top off our day. We parted ways with hugs and see you soons. We'll be seeing them again later this winter.

Finally Ron and Patsy made it to the park. We made a dinner that evening for them knowing they would be tired and ready for a home cooked meal. Once they got their home opened up and set up we planned a hike just outside the Lost Dutchman State Park. We parked at the Old Mining Camp Restaurant and hiked the Prospectors View and Treasure Loop trails. These are trails we've hiked before but never get tired of.

Superstition Mountains

Patsy and Glenda

Stragglers

What a view

We found our 100th geocache

As we made our way along the trail I got my phone out with the Geocaching app and found 3 caches along the trail with the final one being our 100th cache. A nice milestone to share with friends.

We would have liked to have Steve and Debbie with us too but we'll save the 200th one for them.

After our hike we had dinner at the Old Mining Camp restaurant and then headed home to prepare for our trip to IL and IN. We will be spending time taking care of our 3 year old grandson for a week while Mom and Dad go off to Cabo with friends to celebrate our daughters 40th birthday and their 5th wedding anniversary. Then visit the grandkids in Osceola, IN and on to Bloomington/Normal to see my brother and Dad. This should be interesting. I'll have that account next time. Wish us luck. Haha.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Cottonwood, Sedona and Arriving at Canyon Vistas

When we left Durango we moved on to Dead Horse Ranch SP in Cottonwood, AZ. We had heard so much about the Sedona, AZ area and we wanted to be in a more open natural environment. That lead us to a reservation at Dead Horse Ranch. The developed portion of Dead Horse Ranch State Park covers about 423 acres. The 3,300 foot elevation allows for the mild temperatures that are ideal for camping, mountain biking in the Coconino National Forest, hiking along the Verde River, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water. We only had 4 nights so we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and did some sightseeing. Our first day we just unwound from the excitement of Durango. We could certainly tell we were back in the desert landscape.

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I did some geocaching and we took a hike in the park. It was nice getting back to hiking and ready for our stay in Gold Canyon.



We then took a ride into Sedona and drove along 89A to the Midgley Bridge and the Wilson Mtn Trail. It was a great switchback tail with wonderful views.






Along the way I found 2 geocaches and had to hike up a very steep incline to get one only to find out I could have gotten there on a different trail. Oh well, nothing like a little excitement and heavy breathing. Ha-ha. We headed back to Sedona and had a nice lunch at the Open Range Grille and Tavern.

We didn't know what other things there were to do in Sedona so we found an information center. They gave us a map and some other information and told us about a Vacation/RV/Cabin Resort in the area and all we had to do was attend a 90 minute presentation and they would give us a free Jeep tour. We knew we weren't going to buy into one of those things but the Jeep tour would be worth it. NOT SO FAST....We got to the Resort...The salesperson was very nice and personable but the presentation went on and on and on until we had been there about 3HOURS. We got to the point where the free Jeep ride wasn't worth it. In addition the salesman's demeanor changed a lot when we told him NO THANKS. Should have expected that.

Well that took our whole afternoon and we didn't have much time for some food or checking out downtown Sedona before the Jeep ride. We got to the Outfitters and it turned out we were the only ones on the tour. That's cool. Guess the 3 hour presentation wasn't that bad. Ha-ha.  We took off through town and then onto a back road. The guide showed us Coffeepot Rock, Snail Rock, Coyote Rock and lots of other interesting sights including a sculpture and art shop.


Coffeepot Rock

Snail Rock

Coyote Rock in the middle




Aliens in Sedona

Interesting Sculpture

We had a fantastic time in the Cottonwood/Sedona area and plan to return in the future for some additional hiking and sightseeing. Too much to do in just a few days.

Then it was time to move on down the mountain to Gold Canyon and our winter destination at Canyon Vistas RV Resort.

We got the same site #319 on 9th street....we got backed in and set up and have been enjoying seeing our son, Chris, in Mesa and a few friends from last year. Of course we're here early so a lot of folks aren't here yet but everyday the numbers increase.

I've been working hard and finally got both the truck and rig washed and waxed and we are looking good. Just a little stiff and sore.

Camp Lowry


Ready for a fun winter in AZ. Most of the activities haven't started either but I did get in a morning of some Pickleball and we have been to the pool. Temps still hovering in the low 90's.

Got the place to ourselves

More to come

Waiting for Ron and Patsy to arrive on the 23rd and some artistic fun with our friends Steve and Debbie in Cave Creek. More on that next time. Thanks for following along.