People. I’m coming back to life. I just made an iMovie! Us Johannes (and Joy) folk went up to Flagstaff for the 3-day weekend and had a grand ol’ time. But to be a little serious and sentimental here .. it was more than that. It was everything. It was like time stood still. I didn’t post on social media. I just soaked in every minute I could with my boys and only took my phone out to video when I remembered or had it nearby. Or asked my Dad to run the video button! There was a lot of built up anticipation for this trip, mostly on Jace’s part to see the snow and play in it. And play in it he did! We could barely get the kid to come inside. What a joy it was to see him put on all the gear and go trekking through the snow. Building snowmen and snow forts and throwing snow balls. We went all out. And the cottage I rented didn’t disappoint. The most perfect layer of snow surrounded the cottage and even beyond the fence of the property. I guess I don’t really know who had more fun, Jace or Tacoma. They were like two peas in a pod. Walker and Callen were a little skeptical of the snow. They ventured out occasionally, and rallied at the snow park. I felt like a kid again myself, out there crunching in the snow in my borrowed snow boots. Rolling huge balls of snow into a snowman body (I forgot how much work it is!) .. packing little snowballs and hitting my son over the head with them. I even made him cry. Not a proud Mom moment, I admit. But come on!? It’s called a snowball FIGHT for a reason! I felt bad, sure. But he got over it and demanded a rematch the next day. That boy has to toughen up! Our AirBnB was located right down the road from the Deer Farm. A little place full of baby deer starving for attention and $4 cups of food. We kissed a camel, fed the deer, talked to a porcupine, and admired the llamas and wallabys. Walker even got an unexpected KISS from a reindeer, causing him to fall back on his buttocks! Aside from playing in the snow non stop, playing scrabble with my Mom, hot chocolate in the morning, watching Top Gun after the boys went to bed, we didn’t do much else. The wood burning stove was marvelous … the sleeping arrangements quite tight .. the wild Elk galloping in the fields .. the sound of the train .. pretty spot on perfect if you ask me. And then, by the end of the weekend, 2 out of the 3 boys were sick, ha. Pretty typical of a trip up north, I’d say?! We are definitely going to have to make this snow trip an annual thing with the boys. More downtime, and more slower days, please! And don’t hate me. I’m a sucker for these face in the hole pictures every where I go, lol!
After our morning at Bearizona and afternoon naps, we decided to find a pumpkin patch, and my Google search and review stalking did not disappoint. I found Viola’s Flower Garden. A local nursery turned pumpkin patch. It was from something out of a movie. Ridiculously picture perfect in every way and decorated to a T. Beautiful pumpkins of every variety, games for the kids, a straw maze and even a pumpkin painting station. Every little nook and cranny was carefully crafted for the holiday, and there were fabulous photo ops everywhere we turned. We especially liked the sleeping skeletons in the casket. Walker made sure to shhh us as to not wake them. The colors were the perfect shade of Fall all around us and we found a few pumpkins to take home. Mine was $26 (omg!), but worth it for the little Hocus Pocus feels we got from strolling through the garden. Loved all the charm throughout. And loved the smiles and delight my boys got out of it.
On our second day up in Flagstaff, we took the boys to Bearizona. Really, there’s not much to say .. you stay in your car, very Jurassic Park style, and look out your windows at all the bears. And reindeer. And coyotes. And bison. It’s fairly short-lived. Thankfully there’s a small zoo-like park you can walk through after, with a petting zoo, more bears of course. and even a jaguar! Our favorite part, aside from all the sleepy bears, was the birds of prey show. Mr. Walker was getting pretty sweaty, so by the end of the excursion he was walking around shirtless, ready for a nap. It was a nice activity for the boys, but next time, I want to try the Deer Farm!
For the first part of our Fall break this year, I found the cutest AirBnB in the Flagstaff area. It was called the “bunkhouse”, just a turn away from the old Route 66. Sometimes you just need to get out of town for a weekend. We had such a nice time with our boys. The boys explored the grounds, spooked the cows behind us, kicked their soccer ball and at night we played flashlight tag and made smores by the fire. The weather was perfect, and across the street was even a little park. The boys helped me pick wildflowers, we made waffles for breakfast, grilled chicken and ate on the picnic table outside. The boys shared a bunk bed (their favorite thing in the world) and Callen snuggled in our room. The bunkhouse had a great southwest charm and it was the perfect size rental to contain our wild beasts! Even Hocus Pocus was playing on cable one of the nights. It truly felt like Fall and I’m thankful for all the laughs and scuffs and snuggles by the fire. Even Jace and Walker were extra cuddly with each other! Just melts my heart. I enjoy seeing the excitement on their faces in a new place. Continue Reading
This past weekend we got away from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix and went up to Flagstaff, mainly to get up to The Polar Express in Williams (part of the Grand Canyon Railway). And what a magical weekend it was. Just as I had hoped. On getting there a day early, we hit up a couple breweries, including Mother Road (it helps that I’m a bonafide DD for Roberto), played in the snow up at Snow Bowl, boarded the train late Sunday night and finished the weekend at Rock Springs Cafe for some apple crumble and coconut cream pie. Which btw, everytime I go to Rock Springs it makes me want to run home and watch Waitress (it’s one of my favorites:)). I can’t express enough how AMAZING The Polar Express was! Even though it was like we were stepping into Christmas on crack, it was just what we needed to kick off the holiday season. There was no way we were leaving without the Christmas cheer ingrained in us that night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jace’s face more happy. I think I will remember his smiles and giggles and singing for the rest of my life. It was fun cozying up in jackets and beanies for once, and just relaxing at the hotel we stayed at. We even took a nap and watched It’s A Wonderful Life (Rob’s favorite Christmas movie of all time). Hope you all get to do something festive like this in your parts!