20 January 2011

Valley of the Sun, Pt. I

Are you ready for the full low-down? Well buckle up, 'cause I got days worth to share!

To set the scene, Pops and I spent some time before the holidays, trying to dream up the best Christmas gift we could think of. The grand idea? Traveling together as a family. Stuff is fun, but shared experiences seem to build and knit families together. Plus ... memories are so much more enjoyable to store than a pile of new toys.

God is gracious and so often provides avenues to realize our fanciful ideas. Through a generous offer of accommodations, enough airline miles for five (!!!) tickets, and a boss that demanded Pops take some extra time off due to a mega-stretch of overtime work ... our trip materialized.

The plan? Head to Arizona for some sun and specific experiences in honor of each of the children. For sweet Jane, it was a trip to the zoo.

Naturally, there were many animals to gaze upon. We flounced about in our sundresses and t-shirts in the 70 degree weather (while all the native Arizonans huddled about in their jeans and sweaters !) and flitted from one heat loving creature to the next. 

And then. The girls spotted the camels. Camels that you could ride.

 Oh, glory be!

 Peter preferred to experience the animals from a more observatory perspective.

We all stood and gawked at the oddly beautiful flamingos for quite some time. So quirky they are with their ridiculously long necks, toothpick legs to balance upon, and their serenely beautiful pink feathers.


And leave it to Pops, armed with a long stick and some Mac Gyver maneuverings, to snag a discarded feather for us girls.

The children loved the day ...

 ... and Pops and I were happy too.