Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Balloon Festival & Stuff

The last week has been extremely busy and stressful. All the excitement started here last Tuesday. I was sitting on the couch watching tv and I got up to go to the bano. I get to the bano and look in the mirror and guess what is on my back? A freakin bark scorpion! I hit the thing to the ground and yelled for Natalie to get a shoe. I had to search the entire house afterwards and only found one in the back yard. I cut that thing in half with a wrecking bar and it was still crawling. I think we found a new superhero movie? I think the one that got in the house hitch hiked in a fruit box from Costco that I brought home the night before. Anyways that was the creepy experience of the year.
So Friday is when all the craziness started. I took my first of three Microsoft test to update my MCSA to Server 2012. I passed it so I scheduled the next test for today. That gave me just a few days to study and on top of that I worked a 16 hour day Sunday. They needed someone to do patching Sunday morning so I volunteered so everyone else could have the weekend off and negotiated a half day in return for today. I normally work Sunday but I normally start at 6am. This Sunday I worked 1AM-5PM. It was crazy busy, stressful, and it just wore me out. Didn't help that something set off the neck pain that was getting better so the last few days have been hell. I have to walk every night to stretch it all out.
So back to Saturday Natalie reminded me about the balloon festival in Cave Creek. I wanted to go but I didn't. I spent half my day study for today's test and I had to get up at 1AM for the long commute to my desk so I could work from home. But I needed to spend some time with the family so I went. When we got close to the festival I was starting to regret it. Traffic was a pain, we had to park 15 minutes away, and it was going to be a late night. But once we got in we had a good time. I have to say I've done skydiving but there is no way in hell you could get me in one of those balloons without a parachute.
The fire from the balloons kept scaring Zach. We got a couple pictures but they don't really capture the fear in this kid. There was a huge blow up slide there that Adri wanted to go on. Natalie wanted her to go on the smaller one but the line was frustrating me. So I took her over to the big slide which had an even longer line. We get to the front of the line and find out you need tickets to get on the slide. I figured as much but Natalie thought she saw something that said the rides were included. Well we happened to be in line with some nice people and they insisted Adri take their ticket. So Natalie thought Adri was going to chicken out at the top. In reality Adri gets to the top, sees a kid that is scared and slowly getting in position, and she just jumps in front of him and right onto the slide. Next thing we know the kid has her dress over her head. It was a pretty funny site.
Well now all the craziness of the week is over. Today I took my second of three test done and passed it. One more to go but I need to read another book before I attempt that one.
So here is the update on the kids. Zach is walking like a mad man but he switches between walking and crawling. I don't remember Adri doing that. Zach is starting to talk a little. He mumbles Mama, Papa, walk, up, down, doggy (his doggy pillow), etc. Zach is still clingy with his mom but he's doing a lot better with me these days. A couple days ago I asked Adri if she remembers our house in Florida. We moved over two and a half years ago. Well she said she remembers and it has dolphins in the pool. This kid's memory is amazing. She was not even two and a half when we left the house.
Zach has a new doctor. I told Natalie she needs to find a new doctor when the doctor said that Zach had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin when it was clearly an amoxicillin rash. There's a big difference and I'm pretty sure I had the same thing as a kid yet I'm fine with amoxicillin now. Anyways before that I already questioned this doctor and when she said this I told her that doctor isn't qualified to work on a gerbil. I went online and found this doctor had one star ratings and everyone was saying she misdiagnoses their kids. Ya think? So Zach got a new doctor and at the same time they got rid of this doctor from that practice. So the new doctor says my kid is not a midget, he's in 70th percentile for height and he's a solid kid.

I found these ice cream bars at Costco. They have mango, coconut, and strawberry and are labeled Mexico. They are so good. Zach loves them. But then again, Zach loves all food.

 When we arrived at the balloon festival I got this picture. Adri is a good big sister, when she isn't terrorizing her brother, and she loves him a lot. Always holding his hand while he sleeps.

See the burn mark? I swear I saw duct tape on one of these balloons to cover the burn.

 This one said experimental on it. They also setup one that looks like a bee at the end of the festival.

 He's scared but at least he has his lollipop. Of course when I took it away there were tears.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Daisy Mountain Rain Hike

This morning I decided to hike in the rain. I have been wanting to get back up Daisy Mountain for the last couple days but was lacking the motivation. Last night I was working until midnight but that didn't stop me from getting up at 4:20 this morning for a rainy hike.
It's been a really weird year. Last year at this time it was already 105 degrees. This year we had a very mild winter but now the cooler weather has kicked in. Last Friday we were at the park at night and got rained out. Yesterday it rained again and all into the late morning today. The record low for this morning is 50 and I'm pretty sure we broke that because this morning at 8am weather.com reported 50 degrees, what means it probably got even colder and it had to have been at least 45 or lower at the peak. Normal rainfall for May is just .14 inches. This year already at least an inch. So how's that for all that GoreBull warming talk that is going to make the earth boil over and be dry?
I hit the trail at 5am and their was already light. A couple minutes into my hike I could hear the toads doing their calls. I was going to try to see how fast I could get up the peak but after hearing the toads I got distracted. I was looking everywhere for these toads following their calls, hoping to be one of the very few people to see these things, but I couldn't find them. So back to the trail where the caliche was so thick it was like walking in freshly poured concrete.
I got to the second peak in 1 hour 40 minutes this morning. I was struggling with the inclines because my right hip was irritating me today. When I started up from the first summit the peak was clear. By the time I was midway from the summit to the peak I was racing against the incoming clouds to get to the top. Once I reached the top the clouds were coming in fast. It was a really cool sight. I stayed up for a few minutes to enjoy it all before I decided I'm too cold and headed down.
Heading down I got really confused. I started seeing burned up Saguaros but there was no sign of fire anywhere else. Finally I started looking harder and could see that there was a grass fire that moved all up the north side of the peak, did a U-turn and came back down the same side. I could see that is how it burned because the underside of the bushes were only burned on one side. Every time in the past I have seen a fire everything has been scorched black. This fire was really unique. The fire looks like it got the grass, started on the bushes but couldn't destroy them, blacked the cactus but couldn't burn them either, and left a weird trail. I'm not surprised that the cactuses didn't burn down to the ground since they are all spongy and full of water but the fact that the bushes were so resilient and still green had me really confused.
So my whole way back I was looking at what burned. It looks like the fire went all the way to where I park! It burned hundreds of acres over a path a few miles long but it was only really obvious in just a few places. It looks like it actually went up to the backyards where I park and in between the houses where the trail starts. A big fire yet I was unaware of it and only live a couple miles away and can't find any news reports of it. I do know that it had to have been in the last week since I was up there two weeks ago and it likely happened after last week's rain which is why the bushes survived.
Around 5:15-5:20 this morning.  
A couple minutes later.
Just above the first summit

From the peak with the flag.

Really cool site watching the clouds come in from way up here.
This is the where the fire was. You can see the burned Saguaro. It went straight through this entire area yet it left very little evidence. You can see the bottom of the bushes are black.
The one spot that really got scorched.

At the place I call the non grassy knoll. This is where all the geniuses shoot (complete sarcasm there). It started clearing out right before I got back to my car.
Video of the clouds moving in from the peak.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


For Zach the day has finally come. Two days short of 15 months he finally started walking. Zach is overly cautious, he gets that from me. I was way behind my sister with everything. Riding a bike, roller skating, riding roller coasters, etc....

Natalie has been pushing Zach to walk a lot lately but he just hasn't been interested. Last night I got him to take a single step. This morning a single step again. Then I took a video of him doing his squats, getting ready to walk. This afternoon I put the video on the tv and after watching the video I guess Zach was feeling inspired. He decided it was time to take off on his own two feet.

The video we showed Zach before he decided to walk
Zach walking

Friday, May 8, 2015

The End Is Near

The last couple months we have been trying to enjoy the outdoors all we can before the end of the good weather and the start of hell season. We had a really mild winter here, several degrees above normal and hardly any freezes. Of course I predicted with a mild/warm winter we would have a cooler summer. Until last week it looked like I would be wrong. It was 100 degrees in the valley the last week of April and they were predicting a much cooler than normal May. Everyone though it was crazy but here we are on May 8th with a high in the mid sixties instead of the 90s. Anyways so even if we have a mild winter it's still 100+ days over a 100 degrees and it's gonna suck so we're enjoying the weather while we can.
A couple months ago we took the kids to a train park in Scottsdale. They have model trains, an old presidential train from before Air Force One (I forgot who all rode in it but I know that FDR did), and they have a mini train for rides across the park. It was a good way to burn a couple hours.
Shortly after that we discovered Cave Creek. I have put a couple post on that one but not our last trip. On our last trip we were going to do a four mile hike with the kids. But when we got there it was pushing 90 degrees, there's no shade, and I just wasn't feeling it. So instead we decided to look for the Michelin Man Saguaro. We had tried to find it on two previous trips but got bad directions. It's less than a half mile from the start of the Slate Trail and this time we found it. It's a really cool cactus. There are only five like this in the world and they are all around gold mines. They think the chemicals in the run off water makes the cactus mutate.
A couple weeks ago we went to CA for my dad's 55 birthday. I don't have any pictures from that trip except the one below with Zach wearing an army helmet. It was a short but fun trip. They just opened a new Mr. Taco by my dad's house so we ate there 4 times in five days. It was so good. I got to go to Bass Pro with my dad and Zach. I was a little miserable all weekend though because I didn't bring a sweater. It was nearly 100 here that week and we got there and it was cold all weekend.
A couple days after we got back Natalie's aunt and uncle came into town. We got to take a short trip up to Sedona and Natalie got to hike up Daisy Mountain with her uncle one morning. I had already made the trip up that peak they morning before they got in so I wasn't up for another trip. I did the 7 miles in just under 3 hours which would have been even shorter if not for the encounter I made with a rattlesnake. I was down the mountain and heading towards the car when I heard the snake rattling. I looked down in a creek bed and saw him moving away from me. I decided I wanted to get some pictures and instead of moving straight down the creek I went around thinking it would be easier. Thing is when I got down to the area where the snake was I didn't know exactly where it was. So I crossed back over the creek only 4-5 feet away from the snake not knowing it was there. It was only when I turned around I could see him on the other side of the bush from where I just came from. I took some pictures and a video, got him good and mad, and sent him on his way.
Other than that nothing much new going on here. Zach is still not walking. It's not that he can't, it's just that he's scared and lazy. He is starting to pick up a few words. Mama, Papa, Up, Walk, and then he just grunts and screams for everything else.


One afternoon I was watching Zach and he was giving me hell at lunch time. Mid way through his lunch this happened.

@ Cave Creek 
Michelin Man Saguaro
Latitude 33.82936
Longitude -111.99535

 Zach loves his mangoes.
Eating like a boss.
Natalie got Zach this circus tent. The kid loves to hide in it.
I bought a bin from Walmart and before I could put anything in it Adri decided she would make it her home.
When we got to CA I found the toy rifle and helmet we bought at the Patton museum. So after bath time we took some pictures of Zach.
 Kids playing in the water. 

My rattlesnake encounter. I crossed this dried up creek bed just to the left of this bush this snake was next to.

I was thinking of purchasing this house.

We stopped at Black Canyon on the way back to see the giant Saguaros.

 Zach fell asleep eating his food the other night. This was after waking him up two times. I guess it would have been that much funnier if I got the whole thing. We had to wake him up because I was afraid he was gonna choke on his food.