Monday, June 30, 2014

Camping at Big Lake

This past weekend we headed to Northeast Arizona for camping at Big Lake.  My friend Leah invited us to camp with some of her family.  We typically camp up north near the Kaibab area or somewhere along Lake Powell so it was fun going somewhere new. We enjoyed escaping the 100 plus heat.  Big Lake is 9,000 feet above sea level so the temperatures are much cooler. It was in the 70's during the day and in the 40's at night... Perfect for camping.

First sight of Big Lake...  Beautiful!


We were not that far from the forest fires outside of Show Low.  Unfortunately there were fire restrictions because of the drought so no campfire for us.  It was really the only bad part about this trip.  We made the best of it though.


We frequented this camp road which lead us to some very nice restroom facilities.  With the little ones, it was so nice having a restroom near our campsite.


We were told that a bear was seen in camp the day before we arrived.  We saw tons of wildlife and we heard Coyotes howling very close to our camp one night.


It was cozy having our campsite nestled amongst the pines...


I didn't get many photos of our camp, but I did snap this one on the first night...


We arrived late on Friday, set up our tent and ate dinner.  On Saturday we had breakfast and headed to Big Lake so the guys could do some fishing.


Gemma and Aiyana playing in the rocks by the lake...


Our dirty camp children were having so much fun...


Silly girls...



Oh how I love wild flowers...



Leah and I took the girls out for a ride on their Uncle Brian's fishing boat.


Leah drove the boat like a boss...


Don't judge us... We were camping!


After our boat ride... We sat on the shore to relax and take in the view.  Clara and Seyla looked like little vampires enjoying a bag of cherries. Their mouth and teeth were blood red ha, ha.


Dana and Johnny took the little ones out for a ride.


We had a great time and I look forward to camping in another beautiful area of Arizona on our next camping trip.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tempe Dance West | 5th Annual Dance Recital

 Tempe Dance West had there 5th Annual Dance Recital on Sunday.   The girls both did so good.  I am super proud of them.

Aiyana and her bestie, Makenzie.


Clara and her bestie, Seyla. 
I give up on forcing this girl to smile ha, ha.  She has this amazing sense of humor, but smiling on demand is not her forte.


Some of Tempe Dance West's younger dancers...


Clara and Seyla enjoying the rehearsal...


Alicia (Aiyana's dance instructor) showing the girls where to stand during rehearsal...


"King of New York" 
(Aiyana's tap dance)





Aiyana mid cart-wheel...




Clara with an old dance friend, Mylah.  They were waiting, backstage, for the show to get started.


"Five Foot Two" 
(Clara's tap dance)





Alicia walking the girls to the other side of the stage...


"Up" 
(Aiyana's ballet dance)







The dance videos were taken during rehearsal so this was the first time they practiced on stage. Some kids were not in full costume and some were not present. 

"King of New York"

Aiyana is the fourth from the left at the beginning of the dance.  She is the first one to do a cartwheel, on the left side, in the middle of the dance.  At the end, she is on the right side of the stage.


"Five Foot Two"

Clara is the third one from the right...


"Up"

Aiyana is in the front and on the left side in the beginning of the dance.  She's the third from the left in the middle of the dance.  At the end, she runs off on the right side of the stage. There were a few hiccups during rehearsal, but the girls performed flawlessly for their actual performance.  Again, this is rehearsal...


After the show...



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chicago | Summer 2014

After the wedding, we had brunch with the new bride and groom and the family then headed to the city for a few days.  We stayed at the Congress Hotel downtown.

Aiyana climbed on top of the register to look at the view of the city from our hotel room....


The Congress Hotel is pretty old.  I love the ornate details on old buildings.  Here's a picture looking down the stairs from the 10th floor.


We attempted a walk down to the lake on Sunday evening, but it was so cold that we never made it.  We got distracted by some of the cities artistic structures on the way.


I love how Chicago is decorated in all sorts of colorful plants and flowers in the summer.



Believe it or not, as much as I've been to Chicago, I've never been to The Bean.  

So we went...



We ran into my mom and Tom who were also staying at the Congress Hotel.  My mom took this picture if us...






After The Bean we took a long route to the lake...




The clouds hung as low as the buildings...



We made it to the lake, but Aiyana wanted to stop for a rest in the grass.  She was noticing everyone else lying in the grass and wanted to test it out herself.  I don't think my children really know what soft grass feels like.  The grass in Phoenix is hard.  She enjoyed it...


Buckingham Fountain (fish eye view)


Monday was the warmest day we had in Chicago so the kids enjoyed the water at Millennium Park.




On Tuesday we checked out of our hotel and headed to the Field Museum.  It was a cold rainy day in Chicago so it was good to be indoors.

Clara testing out a bird wing simulator...







Inside a Pawnee Lodge replica...



We went "underground" and saw the bugs that live in the soil...