Our kids’ last day of school was Tuesday, June 20th. My last day of school was June 22nd with a grand finale of directing my kindergarten class graduation. Once I got through that (huge sigh of relief – it went well!), it was time to scurry home and pack for our early morning flight to Phoenix the next morning.
Luckily, our National Catholic Engaged Encounter Convention weekend, was just on the tail-end of the ‘record breaking heat wave’ that shut down much of Phoenix. So, by the time we got there, it was only 115…not 120.
Our Convention was a held at a beautiful swimming-pool themed resort that was all orange-terracotta-y tucked into the hills above Phoenix. The kids hung out in the Convention childcare while Mike and I attended our meetings. The childcare was extra awesome on Saturday since they took all the kids to the pools for a few hours!
Saturday night of our Conventions are the highlight – a big ‘ol bumpin’ dance. Mike had left to go take the kids back to our room so they could watch tv and go to bed when the MC’s for the night asked for a volunteer from each table. Well, wouldn’t you know, I was volunteered by my table to be our table’s volunteer…I headed on to the stage in my dress and wedge sandals not knowing what would be required of these volunteers. I soon discovered that we would be in competition – basically a scavenger hunt and race followed by a quick-as-you-can snag one of the remaining chairs on the stage situation. I quickly tossed my wedge sandals to the table and put my game face on.
The things we had to retrieve were easy at first – a lipstick, a $20 bill, an ID, a man’s belt, etc. Then – when it’s down to me, one other woman and about 8 guys – we’re told we need to return with a square of toilet paper. Well, the nearest women’s room was FAR away, but the men’s was much closer. One of the guys from my table ran with me and – just as Mike returns to the lobby he sees his wife sprinting out of the men’s restroom with a streamer of toilet paper. He just shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and returned to his seat. No big deal. Nothing weird about that.
In the end, it came down to me and one other guy racing for the last chair. We had to return with something with the Engaged Encounter logo on it. As I ran to the table, Mike was trying to remove his nametag to hand to me. There was no time to waste. I grabbed the nametag around Mike’s neck and like a leash dragged it (AND HIM!) back to the stage where HE managed to slide onto the chair and the other competitor sat ON him. Technically, WE won because the other competitor dropped his EE logo/badge BEFORE sitting on Mike…but it didn’t really matter…The visual of me, holding Mike as if on a leash and another guy sitting ON him was enough to prove that…we’re all winners….? Or really weird. Anyway, it was a good time followed by many hours of salsa dancing!
After the Convention wrapped up on Sunday, we spent several hours taking the kids to the pools/slides. Super fun.
Monday morning, we got up early, checked out and drove up to the Grand Canyon. Having never seen it, we’d been ‘warned’ (to strong of a word) by many at the Convention, that the Grand Canyon is, in fact, SO grand, it’s nearly impossible to completely appreciate. And I have to admit that was the case for us. It’s like our wee brains can’t fully grasp just how massively GRAND this place is…it’s almost underwhelming because your expectations are so high…and grand. At least, that was the case for us. It was the tiniest bit of a let-down…BUT we’d been warned. I also couldn’t thoroughly enjoy it because – with the known-to-be-slightly-accident-prone Kayliana there – it was hard to relax next to all these massively sheer drop-offs and cliff walls. I refused to let us go anywhere close to any of the areas that didn’t have guardrails. And I was seriously disturbed and stressed out seeing people go closer and closer to the edges just for the goal of getting the possible selfie vantage point. Idiots. Honestly, it was with a sigh of relief that we left the lookouts and headed into the AC-infused visitor’s center.
That night we ate at a ‘historic’ diner on Route 66. (‘Historic’ apparently =’s overpriced and not awesome food). The little town offered a nightly ‘Western/Shoot-out’ show in the middle of main street right in front of the diner. We watched some of the locals provide some horrific and cheesy acting and storytelling and called it a night!
On Tuesday morning, we drove to Montezuma Castle National Monument. This was by far the highlight of our sightseeing. Basically, it was described to us as a five story luxury apartment building built about three stories off the ground into the limestone cliffs and only inhabited from 1100-1400. We tried to explain to the kids just how OLD this is. As in: when you see the amazing cathedrals of Europe…those weren’t done with construction yet when this place was already empty!
Last stop before the airport was Goldfield Ghost Town. In the middle of the desert, in the middle of a Tuesday when it’s 115 degrees, it was nearly literally a GHOST TOWN. We had to wait for the ma/pa team to come sell us tickets to then be our tour guide to then practically be the same people running the gift shop, the train ride and the ice cream scoopers in the ice cream parlor. Anyway, it was cheesy (and so freakin’ hot) but the kids enjoyed it – especially the ‘Mystery Shack’ where water ran UP hill, pool table balls wouldn’t roll straight and objects hung from the ceiling crooked, at 45 degree angles. Spoooooky.
From Goldfield, we returned to the airport and flew home. From that point on, the summer went like this: home for 1-2 weeks (to go back to work and in any off time, powerwash and paint the deck) and then the next event (Mike’s dad and stepmom visiting for the 4th of July). And then home for 1-2 weeks (paint the deck and prepare) for our week-long trip to Spokane/Mike’s 20th high school reunion and camping trip to Yellowstone…home for 1-2 weeks (finish painting the deck) and then sending the kids off to CYO camp…home for 1-2 weeks (finally enjoy the deck!) and then preparing for summer to be over and school to start back up! L
Pre-dance with my friend Rachael/race to victory!
After a day at the pools
The view from the hilltop above our hotel.
Dumb tourist was PETTING the 'lil guy. (We just took pics and avoided sharing snacks).
Don't mess with this jail guard!
With the "Town Wench." (Yes, that's what they called her).
Goldfield Ghost Town...pretty much a Ghost Town!