Sunday, March 28, 2010

Silly Mountain - Round 2

Brandon & Maddie had already taken on Silly Mountain earlier in the week, but they were nice enough to do the same hike again so I could join them. We couldn't have asked for better weather!

Me & Maddie before we started our hike.
The hike was really enjoyable - it was not too long, but it was challenging enough to feel like a hike.

Brandon at the "summit".
The official marker at the top of Silly Mountain.
Maddie tried to pull it out of the rock for awhile and when it wouldn't come loose, she decided to kiss it. Don't ask me why- I have no idea.
Maddie & Daddy climbing around on the top of the mountain.
What a fun way to spend a beautiful, Sunday morning in Arizona.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Daddy/Daughter Hiking Date

I was sitting at work at my desk this morning and this picture popped up in my email!
Maddie and Brandon tested out her new backpack on Silly Mountain this morning! With Maddie safely in tow, canopy up, and Camel Bac water straw in her mouth, off they trekked to the summit!
Maddie is quite the outdoors-y kid. She is quite content gathering "fowers", rocks, & dirt all day. We are so lucky to live near lots of great hiking trails and the most beautiful weather you could ask for.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Life

Every child begins the world again.
Henry David Thoreau
Last Tuesday, March 16th at 5:16pm, my newest nephew Noah Benjamin Desatoff was born! My twinner Robin did so good - he is beautiful! He weighed 6 lbs 13 oz and measured 18.5 inches long. What a little peanut!

How fitting for this beautiful baby to join our family during the first week of spring! I absolutely LOVE spring time. The desert surprises me every year with the bursts of wildflowers and green mountains. We are taking full advantage of the perfect weather. We have designated Sunday mornings as family hike day. Last Sunday, we were still recuperating from our Flat Iron hike, but this week we couldn't wait to get out there again. We went to Gold Canyon to Silly Mountain.
It's called Silly Mountain, because it's rather silly to be categorized as a mountain! It's only 1/2 mile to the top with a 400 foot elevation gain. A stroll in the park compared to this beast from last weekend...
Just in case, you forgot, we were on top of that mountain a week ago. My quads just forgot and my calves have just about forgiven me.
Our little hiker had fun on this hike. It turned into more of a nature walk, because she was happier motoring around this path than cimbing the mountain.

Maddie takes her self-appointed job of collecting rocks very seriously.
One of her new words this week is flower. She had lots of fun finding flowers on our walk.
Maddie having a pensive moment in the wildflowers.
Her favorite part of the hike was the dirt pot filled with rocks that we found along the trail. What a treasure!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flat Iron Hike

Bennett & Gwynne came to visit last weekend & we all decided it would be fun to hike to the top of the Superstition Mountains behind our house - Laura & Bryant came too! Had I known what we were signing up for, Maddie & I would have spent the day getting pedicures or playing at the park. Brandon and I wanted to take Maddie so it would be a family experience. We had a child's hiking backpack, so off we went. Little did we know this very well may have been the most physically exhausting day of our lives. All in all, I am really happy we went and I feel very accomplished now as I see those mountains on my drive home. However, this experience will be a once in a lifetime thing for me. Flat Iron & I will never meet again.

Here is the view from the bottom looking up. We didn't know it at the time, but we were headed to that yellow circled peak. Yep. All the way up there.
Here we are headed up with those big Superstition Mountains looming in the distance. We started hiking about 9:30am.
Our trail guides, Bennett & Gwynne. These two were probably the only ones qualified enough to have any business on this hike. I'm pretty sure we slowed these seasoned hikers down, but they were so polite, they never complained.
Brandon & Maddie assessing the situation, maybe starting to realize how far and how long we would be hiking.
Pretty soon after the ascent started, the trail wasn't so flat anymore. It actually didn't look like a trail at all. We were hiking up a canyon/wash filled with huge boulders.
About 2/3 of the way up, there is a waterfall called Siphon Draw. We stopped there to eat lunch and give Maddie a break from the backpack. She had a fun time playing in the water & stretching her legs out.
We thought we were pretty close to our destination until an elderly hiker (who had passed us earlier & was on his way back down - so embarrassing that we were out-hiked by a senior citizen) pointed out where we were actually headed.
Yep, that peak way up there in the haze. At this point, Maddie decided she was bored & went to sleep in the hiking backpack. The rest of us carried on.

The last mile was extremely steep and required skills called:
BOULDERING - a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope
SCRAMBLING - a route where hands must be used in the ascent.

I did not know these terms until Saturday's hike, but I can tell you it is physical work. There are no pictures of this time of the hike because we were all trying to breathe and put one foot in front of the other.

And then, somehow, we made it to Flat Iron!
The views were incredible and well worth all the work to get up there.
This is the view looking back towards the parking lot. That circled area WAY out there was where we hiked in from. It was pretty daunting thinking about having to turn around and hike back down. At this point, I was wondering how much it would cost to have a helicopter come and air-lift us off the mountain.
Gwynne and I on the way down. Flat Iron summit is at the top left. It was incredible to look back at that peak and think we had just been standing up there. We were so happy to be alive!
We got back to the truck about 4 or 5pm and collapsed in our seats. We were sunburned, sore, exhausted, but most of all ... accomplished! There is great satisfaction in working so hard and finishing what you started.

Later that night, after we rested for a bit, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants, San Tan Flat. It's hard to describe because there is nothing else like it. It's a country themed outdoor restaurant with fire pits at each table. There is a live country band playing and you can dance under the stars. The food is great and it is so much fun.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jasmine's First Birthday & Maddie Meets the Snow!

Jasmine turned one this weeked!

Here's a fun picture of the birthday girl with her very own cake.

We got to spend lots of time with our wonderful family. We are so lucky to have so much family to see when we visit.
Here is a sweet picture of Maddie with her Great Grandparents Milloy. I love this picture!

The cousins spent a lot of time playing together. They laughed, said "hi" to each other over and over again, and chased each other all over Grandma Milloy's house. I love that these girls are only 5 months apart and are becoming such great friends. That's what cousins are for!

While we were home, it was freezing cold and raining. Just up the mountain, in Forest Falls, it snowed quite a bit. We took Maddie up to introduce her to snow on Sunday morning.

Here is Maddie before she fell in the snow:

And after she fell in the snow:

She recovered and crunched around in the snow for a bit.
Our trip didn't last too long because, since we weren't planning on going to the snow, we didn't pack any snow clothes. We still had lots of fun and the snow was just beautiful!

We just got home & we miss our family already! Happy birthday Jasmine! We loved watching you grow during your first year and can't wait to see what your second year brings!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vocabulary Practice

Bathtime is a great time to practice Maddie's words because she is happy ... and confined. Just prior to recording, she said "star" at least 20 times in a row. So, that explains why I am badgering her to say it just one more time on camera. In this video, you'll hear: "don't", "Darla", "bye-bye" with a wave, "star", ... and some Maddie toots. Enjoy!

Her "star" actually sounds more like "sitar" which (according to Google) is a plucked, stringed guitar used mainly in Hindu music. I had no idea how cultured my daughter is. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Little Bookworm

Maddie loves books. This makes me so happy because I love reading and I absolutely love the library - I am glad this love of reading has been passed onto Maddie.
She has a stack of 7 or 8 books that she could read all day. This week, her favorite is a book called No No, Yes Yes from Great Grandma Milloy. She loves to say "no no no no" along with us as we read her this book. I like to think she can actually read the words "no no" on the page and that she is an 18 month old genius. :)

Here is a video (that goes on too long) of Maddie reading another favorite book. I don't have any video editing software to cut the length of this video, but I figure the grandmas will still enjoy it. Even if it is almost 3 minutes long.

Maddie also loves to look through our wedding picture book and point out "Mama" & "Dada".

And one more video of Maddie "reading" our wedding picture book.