March 30, 2013

spring comes no matter where you are

honey bee in the tree blossoms
After a strange and tumultuous winter, it is good to know that spring comes. No matter where you are. It may come sooner or later, or in different ways, but it comes.

We're starting to feel more settled here. Doesn't feel like we're still moving in anymore. Yet as spring approached, I was feeling a bit sad that I would miss the neighbor's flowering cherry tree that had grown very large and overhung the fence of our backyard. Its lovely pink blossoms were a cheery sight every spring. Moving into a house in winter (which we've done twice now) means you have no idea what the yard will look like other times of the year, so it is an adventure in itself! Especially when you're not even familiar with what grows in the area. Imagine my delight when one day I looked outside and realized the two little mystery trees (one in the front yard, one in the back) were starting to blossom! A few days later they were in full spring glory and buzzing with honey bees.

spring in our Arizona backyard
Get out and enjoy the signs of spring, wherever you are! Wishing everyone a blessed Easter!

March 16, 2013

this week...

part of the DaVinci exhibit
This week was spring break for my boys. Was nice to have a break from the school schedule. We would also be recovering from the time change, but thankfully here in Arizona we don't observe daylight savings! Wow, such a relief. Always took me weeks to adjust (I told you I don't do change well!).

This week found us:

walking a small portion of a trail at Watson Lake (beautiful, see below)

browsing in art galleries and shops in old downtown Prescott (lots of great stuff!)

seeing lots of birds in our yard; small winter birds like juncos, plus doves and quail (they finally figured out we don't have dogs like the previous owners and must have told all their friends!)

enjoying warm sunny weather

discovering that basic horse riding patterns (figure 8, serpentine, small circles at every corner, etc.) can keep boys busy riding bikes in the driveway

venturing into the big city of Phoenix for the first time (didn't get lost! love the abundant palms and eucalyptus trees!)

marveling at all the brilliance from one mind in the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit at the Arizona Science Center

Watson Lake (the other main lake in the Granite Dells)

my boys and I (this is where I sat to take the picture above this one)

March 11, 2013

our favorite places to go in the Pacific Northwest

at Silver Falls
Leaving the Pacific Northwest meant leaving behind not only our house and people we miss, but also going far from some places we loved to visit.

Favorite Places in the Pacific Northwest:

The Pacific Ocean/Oregon Coast at various locations: Fort Stevens, Seaside & Cannon Beach, from Lincoln City down to Newport, and Cape Arago

Mt. St. Helens (the south side via Woodland/Cougar, Ape Caves and Lava Canyon)

Silver Falls near Silverton, Oregon (so many beautiful falls and we never saw them all!)

Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon

Sunriver & Bend (love the canoeing, horse riding, and great bike trails during summer at Sunriver; wanted to take the kids there once they were good with their bikes, plus there is the High Desert Museum, lava cast forest, and lava river tube cave in the Bend area)

OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) in Portland

Oregon Zoo in Portland

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (home of the amazing Spruce Goose and a totally cool SR71 Blackbird)

Fort Stevens, north Oregon Coast, South Jetty

I have to remind myself we are in a new area with new possibilities, and we are looking forward to them! Of course there are smaller local attractions in our immediate area also, but these are the biggies we are excited to be closer to now. Also, every year there are huge bead/gem sales in Tucson, maybe now it's a bit more realistic to think I'll go someday! (ooooh, that could be dangerous!)

Places we look forward to visiting when we can:

Sedona (I've always wanted to go there!)

Grand Canyon

San Diego: SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo (we went when the kids were small, but they don't remember much and would love to go again!) also want to visit other museums in Balboa Park

Los Angeles area: Disneyland, Universal Studios, LegoLand, Medieval Times, La Brea Tar Pits, Santa Monica, Queen Mary (I have been to some of these, but the kids never have)

If anyone has suggestions of other great family-friendly Arizona or Southern California destinations (that don't involve camping), let me know!

maple tree in Oregon (love all that green!)

March 8, 2013

today's view

Just yesterday I was outside in a t-shirt, and I spotted a little lizard sunning himself on a rock. This morning it was raining (just to make sure I don't miss Oregon too much), and now it is snowing. It seems we started spring break with snow last year, too. This year I am glad it didn't start until later in the day, as there was a special American Heritage program at my boys' school that my mom and I were able to experience before their (planned) early dismissal. I got to watch my younger son act as one of Daniel Boone's sons and as a Cherokee Indian, and my older son sing patriotic songs in choir. And just in the time it took me to prepare this post, the snow has turned everything white. Love it! 

our backyard (yes we have gravel instead of lawn)

March 1, 2013

snow in the desert

dusting of snow on the Granite Dells
Prescott, Arizona sits at around 5300 ft elevation (give or take, depending on what part of town you're in). So it is considered "high desert", and gets snow multiple times during the winter. That seems to be most of the winter precipitation (plants here have to survive a cold, dry winter). The great thing is, it doesn't last so long that you get sick of it. Pretty soon, it's back to your regularly-scheduled Arizona sunshine.

My boys think it is so funny that it has snowed more times in the first two months we've been here than it ever did in a whole winter where we used to live in Oregon in the Willamette Valley. (Eastern Oregon, on the other hand, gets plenty of snow, but they've never seen that.) Just goes to show that latitude isn't everything!

Enjoying the biggest of the recent snows:

our backyard (someone years ago must have known I'd need some evergreen
trees to feel at home! most yards in this neighborhood do not have so many)
the snow wasn't wet enough for building snowmen, but they had fun anyway!

this snow couldn't pack into very hard snowballs (safer that way!)