Saturday Hikes

A few times this summer, I convinced myself to ignore the urge to sleep in on a Saturday and went for a hike. Each time I realized how amazing it was to watch the sunrise from the side of a mountain. How much cooler the air was at 6am at the peak of Camelback. And how nice it was to enjoy some peace and quiet without having to watch the clock.

This past weekend, I was treated to a truly breathtaking sunrise, vegetation that was greener than I’ve seen in months and a cool breeze with just a few sprinkles of rain.

I looked like a total tourist taking so many pictures, but I really couldn’t resist. At least I wasn’t hauled off the mountain by paramedics like a tourist so there’s that.

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Seriously, I couldn’t get over how green it was

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A view from the top

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Spring Has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

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Aaaaannnddd the after!!

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There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

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See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

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I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

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I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

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One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

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Rockin’ and Rollin’ 2016

When you live near the Rock and Roll Marathon route, you can either try to get around the marathon, run it, or find away to enjoy it! We chose the last option and joined our friends, the B Family, for their annual water station. They are literally on the route so they are blocked in – which is a great excuse to hand out water and turn it into a party.

We rode our bikes over to their house and realized that this was a well oiled machine. Tables with cups and a system for filling and then refilling the water jugs was in place. Not to mention a great spread of breakfast and bloody marys for the volunteers. It wasn’t long until the first few runners came by, then the big waves came. It was so neat seeing the various kinds of runners – everyone was working hard. The sweetest thing was that so many runners not only slowed down, but some stopped to take the water from the kids and thank them for being there to cheer and hydrate. It was so cute to see the excitement on the kids faces.

Cutest helpers ever

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The waiting

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Someone has to drink the champs and bloodies

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Working hard!

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Towards the end, the kids handed out little candies too. It was a very sought after position

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Congratulations to everyone that ran! And thank you to all the runners who took time to say thank you, you made a lot of little kids very happy!

Firehouse Fun

Our family was treated to a personal tour of a Mesa Fire Department Firehouse this weekend – and it was amazing! Mike, a friend and college of Peter’s, invited us over when he heard that Auggie was having a firefighter themed birthday. I think Auggie was equal parts excited and nervous.

Mike rolled out the red carpet showing us all around the firehouse, introducing us to the other firefighters and giving us the inside scoop on how it all functions. We then got to go check out the truck, including a quick ride around to the back of the station (headsets and all!) where the kids took turns with the fire hose.

Mike also showed us how much gear he has to put on – and in under 2 minutes. Holy moly, it’s a lot. I can’t imagine walking around with 45 pounds of hot, heavy gear on…let alone fight a fire!

Look at those smiles

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Here’s the thing, we were only one of two tours going on. If you think your kiddo would love to visit the fire house, give your local station a call. They will let you know the best days and times – they seem to really enjoy educating people – and kids- on how the fire station works and fire safety. In fact, when Mike was in his full gear, mask and all, he made a point of talking to each person in each of the tours. It was a good lesson for all the kids that that is what firefighters look like in an emergency and not to be afraid of them. It was a fun an educational way to spend a Sunday morning!

Alpenglow

Monsoon season is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the clouds, the dust storms, the rain, the thunder and lightening, I love it all. And while this season hasn’t been one for the records, we’ve had a few evenings that did not disappoint.

How spectacular are these clouds? No filter, no editing. Mostly because I don’t know how to do that, but really,they don’t need it!

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The Peacemaker

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook from one of our favorite bands, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. It was advertising a small show and tequila tasting at an awesome restaurant called Blanco Tacos and Tequila. I called Peter who quickly called and reserved our place for the pre fixe dinner, tequila tasting and show.

I wasn’t quite sure how it all was going to work, but it turned out awesome. We were sent to the downstairs private room where we were greeted with Snakeskin Boot margaritas. They had Roger’s Mexican Moonshine tequila and a chili liquor, garnished with a jalapeno. I’ve now decided I will only drink margs when they have some heat to them because it was fantastic. There were large tables only so we quickly had to make friends with a group of people who had space left at their table. Roger came out shortly after to greet everyone and began the story of why and how he branded his own tequila. With each part of the story, we were treated to the silver, reposado and anejo versions of Mexican Moonshine with a food paring. It was delicious! I am a big tequila fan so it was fun to drink the good stuff that is made for sipping, not shooting.

After that, dinner was served. And holy moly does Blanco know how to make good food. We started with shrimp ceviche and short rib street tacos that were to die for. That was quickly followed by chicken mole served over rice. And lastly, caramel and blackberry flan that was perfect. And aside from our table mates complaining about the texture, that there was corn in the mole and that they really “just can’t eat shrimp” before deciding not to eat at all, it was amazing. (side note – when we watched the two wives pick at their ceviche and shutter, we decided we couldn’t be friends and talked exclusively to each other. After the corn comment, we decided we made the right decision).

Then. Then! The show started. Roger came out with a guitar and a microphone to answer questions about his life, his music and his tequila. He then took requests and belted out some of his greatest songs. It was heavenly to be 10 feet from one of my favorite singers and get to just yell out “Tell Yer Mama!” and have him respond “that’s a great one!” and then sing it. I’m dying thinking about it.

And trying not to be super annoying, I didn’t snap any pictures (and the one I did get came out dark so I quit). BUT, after a lot of pleading with Peter, we hung out for 20 minutes after the hour long concert to try to get a picture with Roger. PW was pleasantly surprised when Roger strolled back out and happily chatted and snapped pictures with what was left of the crowd.

And then I did get a picture. And it was awesome.

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So many good times and sad times have been punctuated with Roger Clyne songs. Singing Banditos in the car with my sister, Ali, driving across town to high school in our sweet green Volvo sedan. Sadly sipping beer at 2am with Peter and our friends while Mekong played loudly, knowing that college graduation was imminent and our fun times were about to end as the real world lay before us. Singing to Americano on the last cross country drive home with Peter when we moved home from DC. Listening to every. single. RCPM song we owned when we remolded our old house as we painted the ceilings and walls. Trying to make it through the day after Mame died listening to Leave an Open Door. Watching my lovely friend, Stephanie, and her new husband dance their first dance to Green and Dumb. Just about every song holds a memory of a time in our lives, even the bitter memories are sweeter with time and put a smile on our faces.

So Roger, if you happen to read this – thank you! Thank you for the amazing music, for the fantastic story telling and for the delicious tequila. To many more years of great music and good drinks. Salud!

I got a chance to ask what his favorite song to play is – he said that it changes all the time, but his current favorite is Today Belongs to the Light. Watch and enjoy!

Aaaannnddd We’re Back!

This has been the longest break in Goon Room history! But for good reason…we’ve been busy. A quick recap of the last twoish months:

Kindergarten, here she comes

It was surreal to watch B walk down the church aisle and receive her preschool diploma. It made me think of all the graduations to come. We decided to give preschool one more year and wait until she was six for kindergarten. I wasn’t sure this was the right decision until now. Her ability and desire to spell words, sound them out and memorize them is leaps and bounds better than it was a year ago. Kindergarten will be a snap!

IMG_3322It’s wild to see how much these two have grown since the first day of school! And yes, wearing jammies to school was intentional.IMG_3358

We bought a house!

And sold a house! I always said I wanted the ugliest house on the prettiest street and then we could redo it the way we wanted. I didn’t think we had quite achieved that until we walked into the totally empty house the day we closed…our good friend and realtor looked at me and said “are you ok??” It hit me just then; we bought a big, old, slightly funky, tired, house. Suddenly our plan of moving in asap and remodeling next summer seemed so overwhelming. And change isn’t really my gig so getting the house and our lives back into working order with a new routine and process was a tall order. But I can happily report that a month later, we are loving the new neighborhood, the house and dreaming of the big plans for next summer.

Also, moving? Just sucks. It’s so much work trying to fit one house into another. And in 110 degree heat. On a budget. With kids. First world problem, I know, but when the first world problem is burying you, it’s a problem. In the thick of it, buying, moving and selling was daunting. But now that it’s done, I realize how incredibly lucky we were that it went so smooth. Thank goodness God didn’t think I was tough enough for more because I could barely handle the best case scenario.

SIX.

How quickly they go from getting teeth….

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To losing them!IMG_3311 (1)

Baylor turned 6! SIX. Holy moly. We celebrated a little later in June with her friends at the new house in the pool. We scrambled to get the yard cleaned up and party ready and we succeeded. The combination of pool and mostly dirt back yard resulted in a mini Woodstock, which I did not see coming. I always judge a party by the time people leave, the manner in which they leave and what is left behind. The majority of our friends were carrying exhausted, crying children out the door at 9pm and the next morning we started a pile of goggles, swim suits, towels, mostly left shoes and a smattering of other random items left behind. Translation? Total success. Peter said his favorite part was walking out of the kitchen to a couch, a hearth and the floor full of friends laughing hysterically. It was a good night.

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Thirty Three.

I do the math every time I tell someone how old I am. I just can’t quite get my head around that number. I am once again so grateful for a healthy 33 years – for a body that can carry kids, dogs, and whatever else needs to be transported – and I wish for 99 more years just like this one.

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Ten. TEN!

PW and I celebrated our TENTH wedding anniversary. It feels like another lifetime that we said I do after moves, dogs, kids, jobs, promotions, deaths, births…it’s been a busy 10 years. And I wouldn’t change a thing. There have been some  sad situations we’ve watched (and tried to support) our friends through in the last year that have made us even more grateful for a working marriage. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, more handsome husband, loving dad, or hard working spouse. I’m grateful every day for you, Peter Wand. Ok, so most days I’m grateful for you. No really, every day. And most of each day, too. See?? We laugh! That’s how I know we’re going to make it 100 more.

Someone asked me what the tenth year traditional gift is…I’m still not sure, but for us? It’s Pebble Sheen. As in the pool surface. Because for what that sh*t costs, we can’t afford gifts. But we’ll get to spend a lot of quality time in a real nice pool!

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Montana Time.

Before we found our new house, we booked our annual trip to Montana. And amazingly, the timing was pretty perfect. We moved, we settled, we threw some stuff in bags and headed north. Our friends the D Family joined us for the first five days for nonstop fun. White water rafting, rodeos, 4th of July festivities, hiking, laughter that makes your muscles ache, and memories for a life time. It’s the kind of trip that leaves you exhausted and rested all at the same time.

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And now we are home and anxiously awaiting the pool resurfacing (see tenth anniversary gifting) and the start of school. School uniforms, here we come!