Cruising on the Saguaro

It was a beautiful day, and we decided to go on a relaxing cruise ride on one of the nearby lakes in the area.

This trip was actually not impromptu, but brought about by a LivingSocial deal I got many months back. It was for a 90-minute narrated cruise ride on Saguaro Lake (about 30-40 minutes drive away). It’s by Desert Belle Cruises (www.desertbelle.com) and something we wanted to try a while back. The deal was great, $35 for four adults, which normally would have cost us $80, or $20 per adult. Miggz was free because he was under four years old.

Saguaro Lake’s views is different from Canyon Lake’s. On Saguaro the views are more nearby low-range mountains and desert landscapes with lots of desert flora (and fauna, if lucky). Here are some pictures from our trip…

Miggz being Miggz.

Miggz being Miggz.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Miggz and I.

Miggz and I…LOVE this pic of us!

IMG_9024

Can you spot Elephant Rock?

IMG_9038

Beautiful desert flora.

IMG_9046

Arizona’s desert landscape.

IMG_9057

Ripples on the lake.

IMG_9061

Lots of cacti abound.

IMG_9070

Did you know that Arizona is home to hundreds of species of birds in the winter time? Hence, the term “snow birds.” We found some of them while cruising on Saguaro Lake.

IMG_9075

Miggz and I.

IMG_9077

Miggz and Daddy.

IMG_9078

Me at 21 weeks pregnant.

IMG_9080

It was a gorgeous day in the 60’s.

IMG_9089

Miggz and I by the captain’s deck.

IMG_9094

Terrence and I overlooking the lake after the cruise.

All Photos by Terrence G. Photography | Copyright 2012 | All Rights Reserved

A Day at the Railroad Park

Yet another thing we love about living in Arizona is the abundance of parks with playgrounds in the area. Play areas for kids are planned into communities, and they are kept clean, landscaped, well-maintained, and well-lit in the evenings. You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your kids entertained!! There are plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors, run amuck and be free (which our little boy just LOVES!!!)

Two weeks ago we got invited to a kiddie birthday party that was held at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. This place is not your average park! We were pleasantly surprised to see some ACTUAL classic train cars on display right in the park! There were also train rides to be enjoyed, as well as a carousel and a model train museum! A museum!! While we deeply enjoyed the birthday party (there were LOTS of food!!), even Terrence and I were excited to just roam the park and RIDE the trains.

Miggz got to enjoy a train ride with his Lolo (his grandpa). While Terrence and I waited and waited for their train to pass us by the picnic ramada so we can take their pic, we decided to hop on a different ride called Scottsdale Live Steamers. It was a miniature train ran by–as the name suggests–a LIVE steam engine. Terrence and I had a blast! Too bad we couldn’t catch Miggz and Lolo in THEIR train…they passed the ramada while we were on our ride!

The best part…we will DEFINITELY be back! Rides for kids under three are free with a paying adult, and the tickets cost a dollar each–two tix per person, for a total of ONLY $2 per ride!! There is no admission fee to get in the park itself.

Besides the super large grassy areas in this park, there are playgrounds of course–which we didn’t even get to explore while we were there. We also didn’t get to go inside the actual exhibit train cars…it would have been nice to see what’s on the inside of those trains.

Surely this place merits more than a second visit!

Here are some photos from our day at the railroad park…

While we waited for Miggz and his Lolo, Terrence and I took some pics of this "Railroad Crossing" sign...

...then we got bored and decided to ride the Scottsdale Live Steamers.

I took many pics…too many to post! Here is a slideshow…all taken using my iPhone 4s and an HDR photo effects app. Most photos were from inside the Model Train Museum, and while Terrence and I rode the miniature train.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information about McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, go to therailroadpark.com.

Take your kids there! You’re sure to love it!! Across the park are some nice restaurants/shops too. It’ll make a great date–even for the grown-ups!

Living in Arizona: Canyon Lake

It’s late March.

The 90-degree weather is making its way to us early. We’re supposed to hit 90 today!! Check it out…

A day such as this makes me think of Canyon Lake…a picturesque escape just over half-an-hour away from us, where clear and cold lake water is surrounded by glorious mountains on all sides, where watersports and camping are nearby, and fishing and swimming are just steps away from picnic grounds.

A picnic trip to Canyon Lake…that sounds so good right now.

Here are some pics from our last visit to Canyon Lake, back in August of last year.

The drive to get there takes you through dizzying zig-zaggy mountains, but quite worth the trouble once you get there.

Bring some lunch–and a camera–you wouldn’t want to miss Canyon Lake’s gorgeous views.

Not to mention some poignant moments between father and son + mother and son, too!

Enjoying the Great Outdoors / Miguel’s First Camping Trip

Last weekend we got to enjoy a four-day camping trip with new friends from our church, Red Mountain Christian Center. It was the church’s Annual Family Campout, and I’ve been excited about going since the day camp details appeared in our weekly church service handout more than a month ago.

A few things almost prevented us from going.

We found out days into camp start that there would be no electricity, no running water (i.e., NO showers), and only vaulted toilets at camp. The non-adventurer in me nearly just called the whole thing off (how can we possibly survive without showering for four days???). If it weren’t for the convincing powers of our friend, Tom Walcott, and his wife Rebecca, we really would not have gone.

Contrary to what a few people might think of me at first glance, I LOVE going camping. I’ve enjoyed it almost every year while we still lived in Jersey. On some years it was with our family and fellow church members, on others it was purely with friends–a different experience than going with your youth group, but equally as (if not more) fun.

But I’ve been a spoiled camper all those years (I realize that now after being on this trip). Except for one year, we’ve always had flat grassy grounds to set-up our tent in. There was always electricity, so we always giddily brought an appropriately-sized electric fan (for the hot days) and/or space heater (for the cold nights) in our tent. We’ve always had decent shower and toilet facilities within walking distance (with outlets you can plug your hair dryers into). On one occasion, there was even a pool nearby that we could take a clean, refreshing dip in on a sweltery day at camp.

I couldn’t imagine not having all those facilities for four days.

Terrence’s excitement got me convinced most of all, and with just mere hours before camp, we were at our (thank God!) 24-hour Wal-Mart buying (or more like spending a little fortune on) last-minute camping gear (a spanking new propane-fueled lantern and a just-the-right-size camping chair for Miguel) and new necessities (a solar shower and large water containers) in addition to (a whole LOT of) camping food, including fixings for s’mores (which we didn’t even get to eat because of the fire restrictions for Coconino National Forest that took effect the day before we left for camp).

Despite the lack of campfire (because c’mon, what camping trip is complete WITHOUT a campfire???)…we made the most of the whole trip (toilet or no toilet–which by the way, we had two. But they were those non-flush, bottomless pit kinds. Let’s just say I tried to hold all pee and poop inside of me as long as I could…)

But you know WHO had the MOST FUN the whole time we were there?

This little guy…

…who looks not-so-little anymore (especially in this pic).

…who got to spend some quality time with his Uncle Tedi.

…who chilled in his little camping chair part of the time (but mostly rolled around in the earth and made little dirt mounds like it’s no one else’s business).

…who met the ultra-playful dog, Kimber.

…who went hiking with Mommey and Daddy,

…got quite tired from all the walking and the sun,

…and then rested on a tree trunk.

…who had nature as his backdrop for some outstanding photos.

…who tumbled on the air bed (and would have bounced off the walls if the tent had them).

…who stayed in this tent.

…who saw these trees through the tent windows by day, and a million-and-one twinkling bright stars in the deep black sky at night.

…who had long restful naps in the solace of fresh forest air (and somehow missed the loud coyote cries his parents and the rest of camp heard at night in the not-too-far distance).

…who made a new friend.

…who may be too young to remember that one weekend in late June, he had the ultimate time of his life with these people on his first ever camping trip.

And that’s why I’ve re-lived most of the weekend for him in this post =)

%d bloggers like this: