A Gazillion Ducks + a Playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

There’s this public park near our cabin in Pinetop that we love to visit – we bring a bread basket to feed the ducks and hang out by the lake. This time though, we got down to the lake and we were surrounded by BEES! You guys, bees are the one insect that I can’t stand. Like, I’m terrified of them. They were everywhere.

We ended up moving to the dock to feed the ducks, but they followed us (it’s like they knew I hated them). We ended up feeding these ducks faster than you could say, “beeeeees, run!” and then spent the remainder of this lazy, hazy day on the playground.

It’s over 100 degrees in Phoenix so as I sit here and look at all our photos from our weekend up north, I’m making myself jealous. If only a 33 week pregnant girl could squeeeeze back into a car for the 3.5 hour road trip, I would be there every single weekend.

Party in the USA!

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fourh of july pinetop

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fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

Where do I even start? We had the best Fourth of July in Pinetop surrounded by family & friends. My in-laws hosted a party in the pines with live music, barbecue, too-much dessert, fire pits and all the drinks you could want. My parents and best friends were in town as well, so together, we gathered around and enjoyed this remarkable holiday as one big family.

pinetop fourth of july

pinetop fourth of july

4th of july

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Pinetop collage

4th of july

fourth of july party

It was all fun and games until Colton woke up from nap and realized everyone was at his cabin. It took him about 45 minutes to be okay with the notion that these people were here to stay. Once he warmed up, and let go of my leg, we were all happy campers again.

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I can’t put my finger on it, but I love this photo so much. Thank you, Teri, for snapping it! My husband is pushing two kids on a swing and entertaining two others. And if you look reeeeally closely on the tree (front and center) you’ll see a squirrel wearing a helmet.

Thank you to my father-in-law for hosting such a memorable weekend and 4th of July party at the cabin. A lot of work goes into these things (especially when it rains and you have to move everything into the garage last-minute) and I am truly grateful!

We hope you had a wonderful time celebrating America’s birthday too!

 

The White Mountains and Us

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona

pinetop arizona
Ryan had the great idea last weekend to retreat to our cabin in the White Mountains for a little R&R. After 11 weeks of morning sickness, I needed the fresh air. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work since we’re in the middle of potty training Colton, but he was a champ! Only one accident.

In fact, they were freakishly well-behaved. On the way home, Ryan and I looked at it each other in awe. Only minutes earlier Kelsey said, “Mom, I think I’m going to take a nap.” Colton followed suit and Ryan and I got 1.5 hours of uninterrupted time to chat. Who could ask for more?

We skipped rocks on the lake, spent hours on swings, rolled down hills, took morning walks, roasted s’mores and just relaxed. Surprisingly, I have never felt better. It was like morning sickness knew I was on vacation and decided to stay home instead. I’m already counting the days until we can go back.

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful home away from home in the woods.

A Scenic Hike for 5

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

My father-in-law convinced us all to take a scenic hike through the White Mountains while on vacation last weekend. I’m so glad that he did! It was gorgeous. I was able to chat with my father-in-law, sister-in-law, her boyfriend and my husband without interruption. The only interruption came when Lauren and I thought there was a snake around every turn, “It’s just a cricket Ryan would tell us.” Riiiiiight. Crickets hiss and rattle, eh? (don’t tell him, but he was probably right, and we were probably just paranoid.)

hiking

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

You know a hike is legit when you sport a fanny pack for your water. Notice the hats? The minute he puts a ASU hat on, I have to cancel him out by wearing a UofA hat, naturally.  Hey, they say opposites attract.

PInetop Arizona HikePinetop Arizona Day Hike

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There was this dog named, Billy, who was hiking with his owners. It was the cutest thing to watch him jump into the creek and then run up the hill to catch up with the rest of us. Billy made me miss our pooch, Logan. He would have loved it up here.

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

Rob knew everything about this area. We joked that we had our own personal tour guide along for the ride. We were sure lucky to have him too … because I’m pretty sure without his guidance we would have taken a few wrong turns and ended up in the woods with snakes … ahem, lots of crickets around.

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

Pinetop Arizona Day Hike

many hats of a mom

And that is my husband frolicking in the forest. In this moment, my husband was dancing around when he came upon an empty water bottle that some other hiker left behind. It was empty. It was crushed. And it was a bit gross. Ryan immediately picked it up and said, “It’s a good thing I found this. We need to keep the forest clean,” and then stuffed that nasty water bottle into his little fanny pack and kept on hiking. Yep, just call him Park Ranger Cross.

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pinetop

pinetop

pinetop

And then … my father-in-law says “Anyone want to go to Green’s Peak?” It’s just a quick 30 minute drive and its beautiful, I am told. Sure. No big deal, right? Well, he failed to mention that we would be taking a giant incline up the steepest mountain ever in our Jeep. Did I mention I am terrified of heights?

I nearly peed my pants on the drive up, but we made it. And it was beautiful. There were cows along the way, lots of pretty clouds and great views to take it. Oh, and on the way back to the cabin, Rob treated us to funnel cake from a local Indian stand near the casino. The day was perfect, in my opinion.

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greens peak

greens peak

greens peak

funnel cake

Little Bear Lake with our Littles

I was never a nature lover until I met Ryan. In fact, I still can’t stay outdoors too long or I start feeling dirty and the bugs around me start to really get on my nerves. But I know how to savor the moment and soak in the sight of mother nature, she sure does a beautiful job.

When we had the choice to go left for “Little Bear Lake” or right for “Big Bear Lake” we decided to go left. It was only fitting as we wanted to spend the afternoon lakeside with our two littles. We found the perfect spot and camped out for a few. Note: You have to buy a $10 permit to do this, you can do it at the gas station just before the turnoff.

little bear lake

little bear lake

Little Bear Lakelittle bear lake little bear lake The kids saw this squirrel and it was too funny because Kelsey was so quiet and whispered, “hi little buddy” while Colton decided to jump up and scream and run toward the little fella.

little bear lake little bear lake litte bear lake little bear lake I told Ryan that besides the bubble machine in the way, this looked like a Toyota car commercial. Speaking of, the bubble machine was a hit. It totally got the kids to stay in one spot and not immediately jump into the lake. As enticing as it was for Colton to do that.

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Good Morning, Pinetop

We’ve spent the last 7 days in Pinetop – Lakeside, Arizona. We have a family cabin up here and it’s been so amazing to get out of the city and in to the countryside. Our cabin backs up to the national forest so every morning we woke up to the sounds of crows, elk, critters or Colton crying for me.

The first morning Colton was getting acclimated to the change, as most kids do on vacation, and he woke up at 5am. Eek. That’s too early for us. But we were really grateful for it because that meant we got to walk around the cabin and watch the sunrise through the Aspen and Pine trees.

I also got to watch Colton explore the outdoors. He would pick up pinecones, leaves, sticks and poke his finger at flowers all the while looking up to make sure I saw what he saw. It was the best way to wake up. I’m almost going on three months free of caffeine so watching him explore while hearing the wind through the trees and feeling the warmth of the morning sun was a great replacement for my usual chai latte.

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Making Memories on the Mountain

Every day is special with two little kids in tow. But, the holidays … those are amplified. We get to make new traditions and memories with every year. This year, we decided to go find our own Christmas tree. So, away we went to the mountain to play in the snow and find the perfect tree to call our own.

family

family