I had some qualms about our trip. I figured that, once we got there, anyway, the kids would be fine.
I was worried about JC. He hates the sun. Loathes it. Would be nocturnal if I’d let him, if only because there’s no sun out at night.
And I was dragging him to Scottsdale. As the flight attendant said when we touched down, “Welcome to the Valley of the Sun.”
Here was another pleasant surprise–he liked it. He kept saying, “Wow, it’s really beautiful here.” His ability to appreciate the alien beauty of the desert landscape despite his issues with the provider of warmth and light was a surprise for both of us.
Last year, my folks got Silas a book about desert animals (Desert Night, Desert Day by Anthony D. Fredericks). What I hadn’t realized was that he memorized it. As we were driving away from the airport, I heard him shout, “Look, there’s a prickly pear! That’s what javelinas eat.” Petra asked him if he saw coyotes, and he said, “No, we won’t see coyotes now. They’re nocturnal.” He kept asking if we were in “the real desert.” It was…quite real.
One afternoon, we went and had lunch at a lake in the desert. I guess I had known that there must be lakes in the desert, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it. I was as surprised as Silas was when we came around a bend and saw a pretty substantial lake there.
We visited an old gold mining town. I think the kids might like that better when they’re bigger, or if we went on a weekend when they would have pony rides (Petra was quite disappointed that she kept seeing horses at a distance, but couldn’t go pet them).
Right before we left, a friend gave us a box of her kids’ old dress up clothes. It had a bunch of hats. The kids each picked a hat to bring to the desert–on their own, I should note, not my idea. It was good that they did, but we got some strange looks.
The kids don’t get to spend much time with my brother, and they were thrilled to have his attention for a few days. They climbed all over him.
He brought them belated birthday presents, and Petra insisted on carrying her “birthday girl” bag all over the place.
We had a great time just hanging out at my dad’s place with him. He took some photos at the wedding, so he rented a high-end camera and took some amazing pictures of the kids with it, too.
Besides hanging out at my dad’s place, we explored the many gorgeous playgrounds of the Scottsdale/Phoenix/Fountain Hills area.
I got what may have been my favorite picture of the whole trip at one of these playgrounds. While the kids played, JC was reading in the shade. A group of mom-aerobics people, pushing their jogging strollers, came and set up to do their crunches all around him…as if he wasn’t there. I would have gotten up and moved elsewhere, but that’s not the kind of person JC is. More power to him.
We also hit up a butterfly garden, which the kids enjoyed, but I think they were pretty worn out by that point. After all, it was right after the wedding (next post!).