Epic Summer Road Trip – Phoenix & The Petrified Forest

We got up early on Sunday and left Tucson, headed toward Phoenix. It was totally backtracking, but we had some friends in that area that we really wanted to see and the timing worked out well. We actually didn’t take any pictures… not sure how that happened. But we spent a good part of the day with our friends the Nortons. We went to church with them and then ate lunch together at their house while the kids played. And then when it was time to leave, it started POURING rain. The only photo we have from the day is one Richie took on Natalie’s iPhone… it will have to do!

After we left, the rain stopped a bit and we had an hour or so to kill before our friends Jason and Anna would be home from the airport. So, we decided to go to Ikea. We had never been and wanted to see what all the fuss was about! We wandered around the store and of course we ended up buying some stuff. Everything in the store is so modern looking and sleek and bright and colorful… definitely our kind of place!

When we finished at Ikea, we met our friends for a late dinner at La Grande Orange. The kids were exhausted, but they loved the Wikki Sticks that came out to the table instead of crayons. They played with them, we ate, we chatted, and then we headed to our friends’ house. The kids watched a little bit of Olympics and then went to bed.

The next day, we were off early… we had to drive from Phoenix to Santa Fe in one day. We had a bit of rough driving day, with five grumpy people in the car. It was HOT outside and there was not much to do at all. We did manage to salvage the day, however when we stopped at the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. We had been there once before (on our Route 66 road trip). I didn’t get to walk through the petrified forest with them on that trip because Lia was asleep. Everybody was awake this time, so we all walked the trail together. We chose the long one.

It’s an enjoyable hike and the kids loved looking at all the petrified wood and climbing on it. There was a storm coming and we kept willing the clouds to open up and pour on us. All we got was a few raindrops here and there. There were some awful flying insects that kept biting my legs and chasing me. Josh thought it was incredibly funny watching me run and swat at the “invisible” insects. I can assure you it wasn’t funny!

We finished up our hike, loaded in the car, and finished our drive to Santa Fe.

kids playingfamily road trip driving in the desertfamily visiting the painted desert in arizonafamily vacation petrified forest arizonakids climbing on petrified wood

Epic Summer Road Trip – Tucson

Tucson was fun. We woke up Saturday morning and headed downtown for breakfast at The B Line. Our friends said the pancakes were amazing, so we didn’t really have much choice. They were crepe pancakes with pecan maple butter and everyone seemed to love them… all the plates were clean when we left! I had an egg bagel sandwich that was tasty as well.

After breakfast, we explored downtown a bit and then headed out to check out the San Xavier Mission. It’s gorgeous and they’re in the middle of restoring it right now. I wasn’t sure how long the mission would hold the kids’ attention, but they seemed to enjoy exploring it for the 30 minutes or so that we were there. They especially enjoyed the museum section that loops in a circle. It wasn’t long before they were running circles around the place. Luckily there were not a lot of people there and no one seemed to mind.

It started getting pretty hot out, so we decided to head back for lunch. We made a pit stop at Target for supplies and then enjoyed a quiet lunch at our friends’ loft. The kids were overjoyed to be watching the Olympics, so we let them rest and watch TV for a couple of hours.

And then we went roller skating. The kids have never been roller skating, so it was interesting to say the least. Within the first five minutes of getting our skates on, Lia fell a couple times, got mad, and took her skates off, AND Max fell a couple times, started crying, and took his skates off. I was not a happy camper and figured this would end disastrously, but Josh kept saying it was good for them. (Turns out he was right, but it was still trying in the moment.)

Ava was a champ on roller skates. She was determined to skate alone and pulled herself down the training rail over and over again. And every time she fell, she would get right back up and keep going. Max and Lia…. well, we had probably 10 meltdowns between the two, each time, me consoling them, then begging them to put their skates back on.

Josh finally rented some contraption that looks like an old lady’s walker on wheels. Max and Lia took turns using it, with either Josh or I holding on and helping them push. Ava tried it once, but she did way better without it. Max actually tried to skate with it, but Lia just liked to hold on and let me push her. Thanks to the skate training thing, all the kids ended up having a great time. They even said they want to go again!

kids sleeping eating and playingthe b line restaurant crepe pancakes tucson arizonasan xavier missionkids playing at the loftskate country family roller skating in tucsonkids roller skating with helpfamily roller skating in tucson arizona



Epic Summer Road Trip – Driving to Tucson

There are some days when you’re traveling that are just rough… especially when you’re road tripping. Friday was one of them. We woke up in the morning and celebrated Lia’s fourth birthday. It’s hard to believe our baby is four years old. She was excited to wear the birthday hat and open her presents. We spent a little bit of time playing with the bubble gun with Uncle Kerry and then headed out.

We were trying to make it from Vegas to Tucson in one day. It’s a LONG drive. Anytime we try to drive for a long long time in one day, it usually ends (or begins) disastrously. So we decided to stop at the Hoover Dam on our way out of Nevada. Kerry and Cesalee followed us out there as we thought we might have an enjoyable time. By the time we got there, it was HOT. Wait… that’s an understatement. It was MELTING HOT. We walked up the bridge overlooking the dam and the kids were red in the face and crying before we even got up there. (sidenote: turns out kids overheat FIVE times faster than adults… Google it.)

So, it was a short trip to the Hoover Dam. And it was a LONG drive to Tucson. It was SO hot, we pretty much didn’t get out of the car, though we did pull off the highway to check out Santa Claus, Arizona. As we drove from Phoenix toward Tucson, Josh saw a sign for the Casa Grande Ruins. Thinking maybe we could end the day on a high note, we took a thirty minute detour, racing sunset to try to get there. We beat the sun, but it didn’t matter. Apparently the park closes at 5 pm (boo!). Since we couldn’t get in, we just took some pictures by the cacti out front and Josh saw a roadrunner (the rest of us missed it sadly).

We eventually made it to Tucson and had mini cupcakes to celebrate Lia’s birthday even though it was SUPER late and right before bedtime. The kids LOVED watching the Olympics as they wound down for bed.

birthday girl opening presentskids playing with bubble gunfamily trip to the hoover dam road triproad trip with kids playing in the carcasa grande ruins arizonakids with cactuses in the desert