Monday, September 24, 2012

Our latest adventure - Arizona!

I will likely do an entire post on Les Miserable in the near future, if only for myself, but for now I'll just say that I started reading it about a year ago, and once I finished reading Fantine's story I had to see the show in real life. I've seen pretty much every film adaptation of Les Mis, I know the music, and I saw a high school performance if it years ago, but I'd never actually seen it seen it. My sister-in-law (my oldest brother's wife) purchased a whole bunch of tickets to see it in Arizona (she bought a lot so she could sell them to friends at a discount... and to strangers for more, haha) and I decided it was high time we went to Arizona. They were kind enough to let us stay at their home for nearly a week and to give us the really great, expensive tickets (12 rows from the stage in the center!) even though we could only afford the cheap balcony tickets. Thank you, again! I'm pretty sure it made a huge difference. It was incredible. 
We loved Arizona, (we were in Tempe) and it was so nice to finally get there, after having family live there for so many years. I loved getting to know my two adorable and hilarious nieces and my funny, hard working nephew... more on that later. Unfortunately, since Kimball's got a lot on his plate right now, he had to spend much of our time there working on his thesis. We missed him a lot at the Phoenix Zoo! I was so impressed with this place. You can walk through this little jungly path where squirrel monkeys are just hanging out all around you (as pictured below), and instead of monkey cages, they put a bunch of their monkeys on little islands in this lake. Apparently they're afraid of water? It much more fun to see them this way. We even got to pet sting rays. That was a first for me. They're surprisingly soft! They almost feel slimy, but not. It was cooler than I thought. Also those skinny little deer-like creatures were much cooler than it looks in this photo. They stand on their hind legs to reach leaves in tall trees. They usually rest the front legs against the tree, but we caught a couple of them just standing with their little arms dangling. One even took a few steps like that. It was like seeing a Far Side Gallery come to life. So bizarre. 

We spent a good amount of time just hanging out at the house, laying by the pool, swimming, and playing. It was beautiful there. I loved all the flowers growing right by the pool. Okay, I have to explain the picture of little nephew, Soren. He's really into chores. Seriously, he was always putting stuff away, and helping out. It was so funny to watch such a little boy be so grown up and helpful. This is a picture of him taking out his bag of dirty diapers. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of him putting the milk and juice back in the fridge after breakfast, trying so hard to clean the pool (with those 20-foot poles!) after watching mama do it, or pushing a stool over to the cereal cupboard so he could climb up and put the cereal away. So funny. Kimball actually spent a lot of time hanging out with Laela, who's turning 9 tomorrow! Happy Birthday, Laela! They both love math and programming, so they had a lot to talk about. She's a smart cookie. I spent more time with Ivy. Ivy's 6, and she's more into playing, like her aunt Bethany. She says some of the funniest things. My favorite line was, "Did you know that President Obama eats and owns pigeons?" Yeah, not sure where that came from. The picture of Ivy is of a much-too-messy toy. You get to dye Barbie's hair! It doesn't turn out nearly as good as it looks on the box. 

We did get out a little bit and see some things. We had great pizza, went on a fun walk down Mill street, where we poked around a really cool-looking abandoned flour mill, had fantastic cookie ice cream sandwiches - you choose the ice cream and the cookies to go with it! Oh my, amazing. I had Dulce de Leche ice cream with a macadamia white chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate salted caramel cookie. It was okay, I guess. 

I'm not as good at taking pictures as I once was, but we also spent Sunday evening with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, the Brays and my awesome cousin Jerilyn, who I wish we could've spent more time with. Those big family get-togethers are the best. It's always lots of good food and lots of laughter. Oh boy, it was such a good meal... We wee also lucky enough to get to watch Laela and Ivy practice for their primary presentation during church. It was going to be held the Sunday after we left, so we snuck in and watched. They sang "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" and it was so good. They're little performers. 

After all of Kimball's hard work, we decided that Monday, our last day, would be our big adventure together. We'd get out and do something extra fun, like rent a boat and eat lunch in the middle of a lake, or go explore museums, shops, and local cuisine. But, we also wanted to start the day off right. We would work out first thing, swim for a bit to cool down, and then get ready for our adventure. We started our workout with a short run, which was cut even shorted when I tripped (I think on my own shoelace, which was tied, but it's just too long). Since it was 100F, I was carrying a water bottle and was unable to catch myself. Oh man. I can't even describe how annoying it was. My elbow and hip were so scraped up. My hands, wrists, and knees were also bruised, swollen, and cut up. Somehow I even managed to bruise the top of my knuckle on my index finger. I can't figure that one out... seems impossible to hit the top and bottom of your hand at once, but I did it. I was in so much pain, and cleaning those cutes was torture. Poor Kimball swam alone, while I cried in the bathroom slowly pulling tiny rocks out of my flesh. It was horrible. I had such a headache, and I couldn't move my arm. All of the muscles in my arm, upper back, chest, and neck were strained, and even my thigh muscle. I wish I could watch it all in slow-mothion, because it seems like every part of me just got crushed. I landed hard. I really wasn't up to doing anything. I ended up reading all day, and Kimball worked and took a nap. So sad. Sorry for the gross descriptions and pictures, but I promise I had it worse. :) 

The only good thing about the injuries was that whenever little Soren saw my bandaged elbow, he'd get this concerned, sad look on his face, and just stare at it and point with a little bent finger, and then he'd sort of groan the word, "ow." Hilarious, every time. 

It's a good thing we had such a fun vacation up until that point. Did I mention the food? Chrissy, my sis-in-law, made some incredible tikka masala, and Mexican food. Those recipes are going into our rotation!

Thank you Olsens (you guys were seriously fantastic hosts!) and thank you AZ! We loved it! I miss the hot weather already! And I'm slowly recovering from that ridiculous, and humiliating fall... sleeping is still painful and frustrating, but I don't need fresh bandages every few hours anymore! I feel like these bruises will never go away. 

*Side note: our bodies are amazing. Really, they do incredible things. The healing process is mind-blowing to me. Maybe it's old news. I've just never been injured before, really. 

Did I mention yet how incredible Le Miserable was? I sort of glossed over that, but really, highlight of the trip for sure. I cried through the entire thing. I'm dying to see the movie now but I can't see it until I see The Hobbit, which comes out the same day (December 14th). I'm just a little bit more excited about The Hobbit. What a great year for movies!

1 comment:

  1. That is so nice that you were able to have a getaway! And, anyone who reads all of Les Mis definitely deserves to go see it, see it! Well done you!