Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation: The days we explored alternate means of transportation

Our last days in Arizona were spent riding various things. It doesn't get much better than riding things.

First, we drove out the middle of nowhere, and found the big sand dunes. Apparently they move around all the time (as is the nature of sand), so you have to hunt them down. 

It's like looking into a mirror. Twinner Cousins!
 Grandma took Grandpa for a spin. That woman is out of control.

See those little shrubs poking out of the ground? Well, those are actually tree tops. The tops of trees!

Photo from Auntie Julie :)

Jane was not a fan. At all.


 After the dunes, we headed over the canyon for swimming and suicide attempts. That's how we spell fun.

I mean, canyon + bridge =INTENSE ROPE SWING, obviously.

For scale purposes (shot of Cory taken by Auntie Julie):

Guess what? My mom went off the rope swing. I know. I KNOW. There is no stopping her.

Jesse and Tanya went for a leisurely canoe ride. I guess they wanted some time alone.

Yea, we crashed that party real fast. We needed a lift back down the river. 5 (Well, 6 if you count Tanya's baby bump) people in a 2 person canoe. That's how we do.

Finally, we went out to the ranch and rode the horses down Route 66. 

Truckers honked at us. We've still got it.

There's my Dad and his older brother, my Uncle Gayle. Just a couple of cowboys at heart. The grew up together, and they had the best adventures. It's so fun to hear them tell you their stories from working on the dairy, or branding cows together back in the day. 

 We rode down to the Jackrabbit trading post, tied up the horses, and went in for some ice cold lemonade, curtesy of Uncle Gayle. He's the best.

 While we were perusing the cactus jellies, the horses got spooked and broke free. You haven't lived until a shop keeper looks you dead in the eye and says "Umm...I think your horses are loose."

Umm...my ride just got loose??

Don't worry, we got them back.

And that's one way to get your kicks on Route 66. But I'm not sure that's quite what they had in mind.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vacation: The Lake and a Surprise

And we're back. Next up on our vacation was a day out boating with Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Tom at Lake Roosevelt. In Florida, lakes are surrounded by pine trees. In Arizona, lakes are surrounded by cacti. it was a little weird.

Sam got things started on the wake board. He hasn't been near water for two years (He just got back from his mission in Campinas, Brazil) and he popped right up outta the water like a prairie dog. He made it look SO easy. After he went out there the other boys gave it a shot, and things did not go so well. The bright side of it all is that Cory now has a very nice chiropractor. So, there's a win. 

The camera died before we got a picture of it, but after watching two strapping young men try and try and try without success, my mom decided that she wanted to give that wake boarding the ol' college try. And on her second try she almost had it! Grandmother of two (soon to be three). Almost wakeboarding. After a few tries, she decided it wasn't for her after all and she'd just water ski around the lake a few times. What a woman.

Unbeknownst to Tanya, while we partied on a lake all day, Kourtney and Jackie planned a baby shower for her with my Aunts back at Grandma's house. My role in the planning process was basically, make sure Tanya was surprised. I'll take that job any day. Play on a lake and sight see? All over it. 

We drove back from the Lake with Tanya and Jesse, and decided to make a pit stop at the the best preserved Meteor Crater on earth. Thus fulfilling Jesse's life long ambition (what will he live for now??) while simultaneously making sure we didn't get back too early and ruin the surprise, and well..getting to see a giant crater. Wins all around. The crater was pretty awesome. They have a little cut out of an 6 ft. tall man at the bottom of the crater, but we didn't see it until we looked through a telescope. That helped put things in perspective. That is one giant hole.
photo via
When we got back to Grandma's house (just in time, thanks to Jesse aka Speed Master General), Kourtney and Jackie had the cutest animal themed shower set up in Grandma's back yard. Surprise!

Grandma has the best party house. Her backyard is an oasis, complete with waterfalls. So magical.

Tanya is planning an animal themed baby room, so the theme was classy animals. Tres chic.

We didn't want the boys to miss out on the fun, so we made it a couple's shower. I don't think they boys really knew what to do with themselves, but Cory was impressed with the food selection. He is now a fan of showers. 

Grandma and Grandpa spent the night knockin' back a few cold ones (IBC people. IBC...).
Cory spent most of the time chatting it up with Grandma, while Jason sported a theme appropriate lepord print cowboy hat. Things got weird. 
They really were having a good time, but this was the only picture I have. Unfortunate timing. 
Grandpa is shaking is finger at me. And the words "I'm going to break that camera" might have been said...but he didn't mean it. Look at that playful little smile. He loves it.

 And so ended another blissful day of vacation. Oh vacation, I miss you so.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vacation: The 4th of July, Jo City Style

We're about halfway done with the vacation posts. Woo! Sorry if you're bored of them, and don't want to hear about it anymore, but I'm definitely not done writing about it. It was a really busy/awesome week and a half! 

Jo City, Arizona is a very small town.  It's where my Dad grew up, and most of his family still lives. It doesn't have any stop lights, but it does have my grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. And while you may not see it at first glance, or even at second glance, it's seriously one of the most fun places on earth. You gots to get creative, but its so worth it. We used to take long roadtrips from Texas every summer, and it was always the best two weeks of the entire summer. There is something to be said for small towns and big families, that's for sure.

We started the 4th of July right, with a fair in the park. There were all kind of booths, water games, balloon animals, and we didn't make it in time to witness it, but I'm told there was even a parade. All before 11:00 AM. That's how we do.

This is my sister Jackie's little girl, Jane. She was in LOVE with this ice cold kiddie pool. In. Love.  And she's got Grandma and Grandpa (and everyone else) exactly where she wants them with just a scrunch of her little button nose.
This is her "I am so stinkin' cute, how can you even stand it?" face.
Here is my Grandpa Hansen settling in to watch the fun with with Cousin Alicia and her adorable family. Seriously, her kids are so cute. And they say the darndest things.

Grandpa doesn't say a whole lot, but when he does it's also the darndest. He's quick on the draw, thats for sure. The bishop was running a dunking booth, and grandpa leans over and says, "Do you think he's trying to get some baptisms in?"

They finally got Jane to come out of the kiddie pool. This is her, "Can you believe these people will do anything I say? They totally love me." face. She is a lady of many faces. All of which are stinkin' cute. Even the angry face.

Grandpa decided Jefferson needed some real adventure, so they went off in search of some fun.

And they found a pony. Say what you will about Grandpa, but he always delivers. Jefferson rode it four times. By the time he was through, he was telling everyone "that's my little horse."

Look at that tongue! Hansen genes right there for sure. We come from a long line of tongue biters.

They also have an icecream making contest every year. Every fair should have an ice cream making contest. The boys cranked their little hearts out, but we started too late to have a chance of catching up. We didn't win any official prizes this year, but in the end everyone eats ice cream so really, everybody wins.

"Oh, let me help you with that. You're welcome"
 The kids got a little thirsty, so the helped themselves to the packing ice.
In case you were wondering, that was Jane's "You made all of that for me? Thanks a bunch, boys." face.
 My dad is always telling us about the crazy things they did when he was growing up in Jo City, and flattening things out on the railroad tracks was a favorite pass time of his back in the day. Jefferson loves trains, so this was right up his alley. After the fair they rounded up some pennies and friends, and went to catch a train.
 Trains are loud (that terrible squeaking, as Lacy would say), so the kids took precautions.

Jefferson's little facial expression and hands are cracking me up in this one. Doesn't is just say "Most excellent" to you?

After the train passes, you have to go hunt down your coins. They're delightfully smashed.

After our possibly illegal excursion, it was time for dinner in Aunt Cat's back yard. Aunt Cat and Uncle Derron live in the house my Nunna (great grandma) and Pumpa (great grandpa) built and raised their family in.  They fixed it up, and their house is so dreamy. It should be in a magazine, for real.

Jason and Jane were doing some BMX tricks for us before dinner. That girl loved it. She is so crazy.

Also, Jane made fast friend's with their little Scottie dog. She is all about some doggies.
Speaking of new animal friends, Cory was very impressed with my Uncle Derron's Record Breaking Elk. He's decided we need one of our very own. Maybe when we're out of this apartment... 

Also pictured is the corn Aunt Julie and I grilled. It was quite the experiment. Seeing us behind the grill definitely caused some anxiety in a few guests. Apparently, we don't inspire much confidence. But, things only caught on fire like, twice. So, it was fine. And it was delicious. So it all worked out.

We ended the night huddled under cardboard, blankets, and umbrellas as we watched the firework show in Holbrook. Rain?? In Arizona?? We were not prepared for that. Things got real in the huddle. We all swore a pact never to speak of it again, so that's all I'll say about that.