Getting to the Grand Canyon

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I just want to get better

Unfortunately, during our stay at the Painted Desert, I developed a tooth ache that cause me great pain. And while I saw a dentist, he could help with the tooth that day. Instead, I got antibiotics and an appointment to see a dentist at the Grand Canyon. Turns out, I had a massive infection under one of my crowns. We made it to the Grand Canyon, but I felt horrible.

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snuggles

I spent the next few days in bed while the antibiotics did their job. I felt bad that we were so close to the Grand Canyon but hadn’t seen it yet. Fortunately, we have a flexible schedule and Damon was amazing with handling the kids.

By the time my dentist appointment rolled around, I felt a lot better. At this appointment, I learned that my crown is pretty much ka-poot and I need to get an implant. Fine by me if it means this pain will go away. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do that until I finished my antibiotics and the infection went away. At least I felt better and could finally explore the area.

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Mini-man in his happy place – in a comfy chair watching George and eating strawberries

We started immediately. The dentist was in Flagstaff, Arizona, and had a lot of Goodwill’s and grocery stores. Man, did we score! Books, toys, and some other accessories that we needed. Plus, we were able to stock up on food at Sam’s Club. A very satisfying outing.

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Both boys love their new train set

The next day was another accomplishing day – this time with paperwork. Since we’ve been sick for so long, we put off a lot of important paperwork, which we finally got done! Now we can enjoy the rest of our trip.

The next day brought snow!?! While I love seeing it snow, the whole point of leaving the northeast so fast was to avoid the snow and get someplace warmer. Often times, the weather limits how much exploring we can do.

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Kickin’ it on Route 66

Luckily, the weekend brought warmer weather (yay!). And boy did we take advantage. See what we did in Grand Canyon Adventures.

Driving Through the Desert

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On the road again

Our next leg from Albuquerque to Arizona looked to be a long drive. Since we were all still sick, we decided to divide the trip into two hour, two night stops. This way we could make some progress would wearing ourselves out.

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While beautiful – there was no cell service!!

Our first stop was Blue water lake State Park. This park is beautiful but lacks a few things this princess is used to having:

• No water hook-ups – makes cooking and going to the bathroom interesting
• No cell service!!! – I went through withdrawals
• Weak antenna service – 9 channels and three were PBS
• Far from anything – 20 minutes to the closest store

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Damon loved that trains went by every few minutes

After we arrived, we realized we needed a few things from the store. As we left, we learned that the park closed at 5p and if you weren’t inside, you couldn’t get in until the next day. That was one of the fastest store runs we’ve ever done!

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Blue Water Lake half froze over night – the white part is ice!

The next morning we explored the park. A major downfall for me is the parks high elevation -8000ft! I have sensitive lungs, which makes breathing difficult during usual elevation (think smoke allergy). Add in high elevation and it makes things even more interesting.

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A canyon a part of the campground

Despite my difficulties, we managed to see some of the parks beautiful scenery.

We then headed out to get some lunch, see some souvenir shops, and run to Walmart – which we just managed to finish before the park closed.

The evening started out disappointing as we couldn’t get the Superbowl game on – couldnt stream it, didn’t have the antenna channel, and couldn’t leave to go see it elsewhere. It turned around when Damon hooked up my computer to the TV so we could watch The Love Boat!!

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Beautiful terrain seen on route to the Painted Desert

The next day we hit the road – this time stopping to see the painted desert and the Petrified Forest.

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KOA near the Petrified Forest

These shorter runs are really nice – we get somewhere new without feeling like we’re sitting around all day. Plus, it gives the kids more time to stretch after the drive after being cooped up for so long.

The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

Finally feeling better, I was so excited to see the Painted Desert. Over the course of an afternoon, we saw the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and an old hotel from the 1920s! It was all very beautiful.

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Why can’t I get better!?!

Unfortunately, during the trip I noticed my jaw start to hurt. At first, I chucked it up to being pain from the cold. But over the next 24 hours, the pain got progressively worse. Not able to bear the pain, we made an emergency run to the local dentist. The good news was that he figured out the problem – an infection in my back crown, which needed to be redone. The bad news was he couldn’t see me for a week! Instead I got some antibiotics to help with the infection and a dentist I could see at the Grand Canyon.

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24 hours after starting the medication I felt horrible and my jaw was very swollen. However, we persevered and headed to our next stop – The Grand Canyon. I just hope that I feel better soon so I can enjoy it.

Seeing How the Painted Desert got it’s Name

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Pecos Bill was quite a cowboy

I grew up with a Disney-loving family, so I knew of the Painted Desert thanks to the legend of Pecos Bill.

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Mini-man loved the visitors center at the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest

We started at the Welcome Center, which gave a cute introduction to what existed in the park millions of years ago. Mini-man had a blast playing and looking around.

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Little-dude and Damon looking at some of the Petrified Wood

Around the back of the center was a collection of Petrified wood. We tried to get mini-man to go see it but it was too windy for him. So he and I stayed in the Welcome Center while Damon and little-dude saw the trees.

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Exploring some of the Petrified Forest

We drove to another part of the park to see more trees. Unfortunately, we made it a ways in when mini-man decided he wanted to go back to the car.

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Mini-man prefers to site-see from his car seart

At this point, we put Curious George on in the car and let mini-man watch and eat while we drove through the rest of the park.

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Luckily, there were lots of places to pull over and take pictures from the car.

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I love seeing Route 66!

My favorite stop was the route marker for Route 66!!

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This place was amazing! Wish you could still stay here

Our last stop was an awesome old hotel from the 1920’s that was built using petrified wood. The inside was gorgeous and offered a beautiful view of the painted desert.

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The poof of hair is mini-man

I am so glad we managed to see this park. It was beautiful and I love seeing all the history the park had to offer.

Thanksgiving in an RV

Dinner time

Since we are traveling to San Antonio in Thanksgiving Day, we decided to have our meal a day early.

Less space and less time than previous years

This year is a little different than past Thanksgivings – 1. I have two kids, including a baby 2. My kitchen is much smaller. With these things in mind, I tried to streamline our dinner as much as possible.

  • Turkey: found a 3lb Butterball, pre-seasoned and only takes three hours to cook!
  • Potatoes: found some wonderful instant mash potatoes. Not as good as fresh, but fast and easy to make and still taste.
  • Cranberry sauce: canned, of course!
  • Vegetable: Freah Asparagus
  • Bread: premade from the bakery
Little-dude loved it!

In total, I spent about an hour making dinner and the result was an delicious dinner.

Having fun making ornaments outside while dinner cooks

With the extra time, I was able to spend time doing arts and crafts with the kids. Nothing amazing was made but we had fun and mini-man discovered an affinity for glitter. 

Lesson learned: work smarter, not harder.

Texas Stop #2 – Day Trip to Waco

In front of the infamous silos

As a fan of home improvement shows, I was very curious about the town of Waco – is it really like it’s portrayed on television.

Very busy day

We parked at the well-known, very popular silos. The line for the bakery was around the block and all the way by our car! We walked around the area, which was filled with people, all lining up for food or merchandise. As I walked around I thought ‘Very pretty but way to overpriced”.

Baylor University

Since it was noon, we were hungry but didn’t want to wait in a long line for a $15 hot dog. Instead, we took a walk. Just one street over and you see the real Waco. Not the interior designer point of view, but a cute city with shops and restaurants, all supporting the local University.

Just one street over from the Silos

No joke, we walked 5 minutes away from the silos and found an old theater, called the Hippodrome. As we walked by we noticed a menu and discovered that there was a restaurant inside! 

The food was great!

To further our surprise, it was quiet, beautiful, and the food was amazing! The old Spanish architecture was contrasted with purple walls and Hippo artwork. Damon got the special, which was meatloaf, two sides, a drink and dessert, while I got the pulled pork tacos. It. Was. Amazing. And the best part – only $27!!! Please try this place when your in Waco, you’ll be glad you did. 

Dr. Pepper Museum

After lunch, we walk to the Dr. Pepper museum, honoring the drinks history in the town. Thanks to good ole Groupon, I got two tickets and two drinks for $14. Damon and I enjoyed learning about the history and mini-man had fun with the interactive session exhibits. 

Reality is better than fantasy

Important lesson here – tv doesn’t equal truth. Instead of overspending at a nicely cultivated but over crowded, stressful environment, we got to experience other parts of Waco which was way more fun and affordable. In truth, I like the reality over the fantasy. 

Texas Stop #1 – Avinger

I came into this stop less than enthusiastic. Another campground, on  a lake, with nothing to do nearby. 

Damon entertained the boys so I could rest

Added to the fact that I’ve had a lingering migraine for several days plus being forced inside many evenings due to more bugs, and I was starting to get antsy. 

Really fun playground

When we could get outside, we got to take the kids to the awesome playground that’s at the campground – which was covered in ants (mini-man is now covered in blisters from their bites). 

I love my boys

Then add in some other little things that were bugging me (no pun intended) and it resulted  in me being in a pretty bad mood.

I was walking to the restrooms when I saw the sunsetting. I ran to get my camera to take these shots. Damon followed and we got to experience this beauty together

A turning point for me was witnessing this gorgeous sunset on the water. It made me realize I was going through the motions the past few stops and was missing out on some amazing sites. One of the points of going on this adventure was to get out.

Nothing like a cozy fire at sunset

My second turning point came in our final night. It was perfect outside and we set up a cozy spot by the fire and view of the lake. This was why we did this – to be together, enjoying the great outdoors. 

Feeding little-dude while enjoying the great outdoors

This final night led me to one of my epiphanies (I get them once in a while – kinda like a clarity of vision). I wasn’t happy with myself. I didn’t feel like myself. With two kids, it’s very easy to push yourself to the bottom of your to-do list and I felt neglected. I felt like life was happening to me and I wanted control back.

Fun can be had outside

After talking with Damon, we outlined some goals to help reroute me to a better place. As I realized that final night, I can be a mom and enjoy myself. I’ve just got to learn to let the small things go. Who cares if everything isn’t perfect? It’s more important to be with each other.

Love being together (at least Damon and I do – I think mini-man could do without little-dude 😝)

Fingers crossed we’re on the road to happier times. Onward! 

My Old Kentucky Home

Our beautiful campsite

The next stop in our journey was in Bardsville, Kentucky – home of Stephen Foster. Our campsite was named after one of his songs – My Old Kentucky Home. A cute state park that’s been around since the 1700’s! 

Too cold for this girl!

No big adventure this time – it was too cold! We tried a couple times to take mini-man to a playground but he preferred to stay inside, where it was warm (just like his mama 😍).

Some family fun in the trailer

So for three days, we pulled out every toy in the car and trailer and just made a huge mess (something Damon didn’t like).

New games!!!

We even splurged and got some new toys for ourselves.

Time to go

It was nice to spend some time just enjoying each other and the trailer. Now onto Kenlake, Kentucky.

Pretty Pittsburgh – Part III

Phew! As you saw in Pretty Pittsburgh – Part I and Part II, we did a lot in two days, including visiting Carnegie Mellon and lots of shopping. Too much, it turns out, as we ended up exhausting ourselves and the kids. So we agreed to slow it down for a few days.

Part of being overwhelmed was the fact that the trailer was a mess – again. Tired of all the stuff everywhere, we started sorting each room, fixing, organizing, and purging as much as we could. After a few hours, we felt miles better. 

Partly to reward ourselves, partly because we’ve wanted one for a while, we decided to get a drone. We’ve researched them for a while and found one at Costco that had amazing reviews and folds up for easy storage! Damon was so excited, he started charging the battery in the car 😂

However, the kids we’re going stir crazy in the car, and we were looking at a long drive home thanks to traffic. Instead of sitting in traffic, we pulled over and visited Three Points Park, where the three rivers of Pittsburgh meet. It’s also home to the Pittsburgh Steelers (it’s refreshing to be back in a town that takes pride in it’s football team. It reminds me of San Diego, before the Chargers left.)

We’ve learned that anytime we decide to stop and rethink our next step, it’s always better. And this visit proved it. The park is beautiful and we had fun spending some time with the kids there 😍 (which is way better than sitting in the car with two stressed kids in traffic 😱).

The next day was spent with completing more projects and playing with the drone. As you can see, it takes some pretty cool video. 

So many things accomplished, and yet, there’s more! Check out our final part in Pretty Pittsburgh – Part IV.

Pretty Pittsburgh – Part I

When we break stuff, we do it well

Our journey to Pittsburgh got off to a rocky start. Our campsite at Fourmile Creek was very soft, which made it hard to hookup the trailer to the  car. So Damon only hooked up partway and moved us to the street to finish. But as we were about to leave, we forgot to raise our brand new electric jack and bent it. In fact, we bent it so far that we couldn’t remove it from the trailer. 

Pulled over for a break from driving. Nice to have your house with you to take break in

Fortunately, Damon was able to raise it enough so we could travel safely. A nice part of our Pittsburgh stop is we’re here for a week, so we have time to order a new jack, plus some other things, from Amazon and get them before we leave. (Gotta love Prime and free two-day shipping).

What a greeting!

Thanks to these mishaps, we arrived at Mountain Top Campground just before sunset, which turned out to be a blessing because we were greeted with this view and sunset 😍. 

Lots to do!

We had a long list of things to do in Pittsburgh, so we started the next day in full speed and didn’t stop for the whole week. Check out Pretty Pittsburgh – Part II to see what we did 😊

Be sure to follow all of our adventures on Facebook and Instagram

Serenity in Syracuse

Love this guy!

An important lesson we’ve learned along the way – no projects on short stays. Anytime we try, we end up overwhelmed and stressed.

Gorgeous stay at Tree Farm Campground in Vermont

This helped make our stay in Syracuse wonderful. After a fun week in Vermont, we got a lot accomplished, so we were able to just relax and enjoy Treasure Isle RV Resort, in upper state New York. 

Welcome to Syracuse

The site is family run and they are very friendly. The father-in-law escorted us to our site and helped Damon back into the site. 

Water front view

The site itself was in the water and very serene. We enjoyed relaxing outside and looking at the water. One HUGE downside was all the bugs! I’m means, lots of bugs. Spiders, flies, and some red bugs I don’t know of, we’re all over our trailer. If anyone has any tips on how to keep bugs out of the trailer, I’m all ears! 

We spent our only day at the site enjoying the newly built playground with the kids. By far this is the nicest playground we’ve encountered. Mini-man loved climbing and playing on it. Little-dude is a little young for the playground, so he hung out with me. 

Perfect evening for a fire

We finished our stay grilling hamburgers and enjoying the sunset. It was a great place to relax. 

Now onto Niagara Falls! I’m really excited to visit the famous falls 🤣