The entire reason as to why we are in Arizona opened this last weekend. The photo above is from the Arizona Opera program, a photo from when Brian was in Barber in 2008. This is Brian's 7th Barber in 4 years and he sang the crap out of Almaviva. Opera Today said this of his performance: Tall, good-looking Brian Stucki is a wonderful new coloratura tenor who can sing the most graceful lines of Almaviva’s music in correct style. A good actor, he has all the essentials for comedic timing.
I was able to attend thanks to some great childcare help (we love all Naones!) and it was a very fun show.
Brian now has the week off and we are hanging out back in Tucson.
We are in Phoenix for the week, as Arizona Opera performs in both Tucson and Phoenix. We are so lucky because some friend in our church at home offered their house for us to stay in so we could avoid a hotel for the week. We do fine in a hotel for maybe 1-2 days, but it is hard with kids and Brian needs to get good sleep when he is working. So we are very nicely set-up, and we have a fenced yard for the kids. We have also been able to see some old friends and family. Our whole time in Arizona has been very fun with many things to keep us busy.
We had some fun yesterday with a beach ball on a string. I love traveling with blow up beach balls, not much room to pack but a lot of options for fun.
I had not thought Jane would be tall enough, but she did just fine.
We are grateful too because our Tucson apartment has a little patio where the kids love to play. With the nicer weather, I wonder how I kept my kids happy through the cold weather (but as long as it is at least in the 30's, we play outside.) I really have outside kids. Jane enjoys taking her stroller and baby outside and then in again, over and over.
The one more thing: alphabet cookies. It has been great hearing from friends about their favorite TJ items so we do not miss anything.
Jane usually looks like this in the morning: crusty yogurt face and no clothes. She recently had three days worth of jammies in her crib since she takes them off as soon as she is awake. She loves to take any clothes off.
Recent Colin antics in our apartment's furniture. This is not an old Colin trick,, just more tricky as he has gotten so big.
Here is Colin in our Mexico City apartment and in our Winston Salem apartment in 2007. Funny kid.
We made it to the top and back of Sabino Canyon, 8 miles round trip, with 5 kids (two four year olds and 3 1 year olds!) It was a beautiful day, mild weather with a lovely breeze for our trip down the canyon. I loved seeing all the water up the canyon, since we spend so much time jogging along rivers that do not exist in this season. The kids were great and it was fun to chat with Juliet (my former roommate from our last year of undergraduate but a friend Brian and I met our freshman year). She has a large double stroller that accommodated the twins and the 4 year olds (sitting on the front). It was quite a sight to behold. I am quite proud of us all for still getting out and doing things, even with 5 kids between us all.
The four year olds enjoyed the wild flowers.
Brian got these great photos while I was trying to keep Jane from throwing herself from a cliff. I love that we are here to see desert flowers!
I picked up one of the local free papers the other day and read about the big Tucson Pie Party (pieparty.org). We quickly felt we should attend, especially since they had used some of Sue Anne's pie graphics and linked to Pie of the Month Club. Brian was not sure if his schedule would allow him time. Lucky for us he had a bonus day off today, allowing him to make a pie, enter a contest, and win!
1st place for the fruit category! It actually was a little sad because that meant we did not get to eat any of the pie, as they were selling the whole pie as part of the fundraiser. We did win dinner for 2 at a local restaurant, which is awesome. Brian was a little embarrassed because he typically makes much more beautiful pies when he is in his own kitchen, but the pie baking goodness showed through!
Brian's disclaimer: Seriously, this is the ugliest pie I've made in years. The stupid little tinfoil pie plate did not accommodate my recipe very well nor did it have a good edge to support my fluted pastry and things got a bit sloppy. Should have scaled it back a bit. When I pulled it out of the oven I thought, oh well, this will never win any awards. Isn't that how it goes?
Colin was VERY excited about winning a ribbon. He was sad we did not win anything with the raffle though.
Colin lost interest in posing with the ribbon.
I know she is out of focus, but I love Jane's concentration and look of "don't bother me."
It was a very clever fundraiser. There were over 200 pies entered in the contests, then after the judging, they invite people to come and sample all the pies, $3 for one slice and $5 for two. They were also actioning off fancy aprons. It was funny too, the organizer of the pie party is Arizona Opera's light board operator. It is a small opera and pie world.
We feel like Tucson old timers now, going up Sabino Canyon, going to U of A's Spring Fling, and now not just attending but winning the local pie contest.
We have had lots of haphazard adventures, most of which have involved long jogs trying to find more and more playgrounds. We are staying right by a great series of paths that follow the Rilito River. We found a playground going East so we thought we could find one going West too. We finally found one nearly 3 miles from our apartment, which meant about a six mile jog in the mid-day Arizona sun. (We were prepared with water, snacks, sunscreen, and happy kids so we were lucky.) There was a Spring Fling carnival just a few blocks from our apartment and sadly, I forgot the camera. It would have been a great evening for photos since there was such pretty light in the late evening. We also headed up Sabino Canyon for a quick trip since Brian had to get to a rehearsal. Brian had wanted to find a real Taco Time cactus. The photo above is pretty good, no?
We can't wait to get back up here with a little more time, since we only could only go a couple miles. The landscape is beautiful, but we do not love all the signs warning of mountain lions. Colin especially had a lot of questions about mountain lions. He recently told me "I have so many questions in my body." We then discussed how his brain works and that is where the questions come from. Our friend pointed out that all of his questions are most likely spilling out of his brain into his bloodstream as there are SO many questions!
Jane was in danger of taking an early nap (which ruins her normal nap and makes for a very grumpy girl later in the day). To keep her awake she took a Daddy ride in the mei tai, and had a great time.
Colin fell asleep in the stroller, and slept for close to 3 hours. He had to catch up from a lot of late nights. I also think he is hitting another growth spurt since he is a bottomless food pit these days.
Brian had Friday night off so we wandered around Downtown Tucson. We went to the Good Will store and bought some new used sun hats, and headed to DQ. Colin loved the Star Kiss. I guess we did not clean his face very well because it was still stained red the next morning from the top of the Star Kiss. Colin also changes into his swim suit shirt and shorts most days. (He will start in different clothes but as soon as he sees his swim wear he quickly changes.)
Jane was all business with Daddy's Blizzard.
We are enjoying our early summer.
We recently made a new Blurb book of our kids' extreme travels, and Blurb offered a widget to share our book. Our Internet has been a little funny, will it work? I thought Blurb said my whole book would be on-line, but it seems to just be a few pages. Oh well.
This is the view pretty much outside the door of our apartment in Tucson. As we do not have Trader Joe's in Utah, we love the chance to take advantage of all the goodies they have to offer while we are traveling. I was talking to an old friend the other day. When she asked how our apartment was and I told her we are next door to a Trader Joe's she simply said, "say no more!" I think it was Brian's brother who recently went to Trader Joe's for the first time and was underwhelmed. Just for you Brandon, here are a few of the good things from Trader Joe's that have made their way into our temporary home's pantry, and our hearts. I really, really love Trader Joe's!
We love the Righteous Rounds, and even though they are cookies, they are a great little size and have some added secret vegetable concentrates, etc. Brian wanted the almonds that are covered in chocolate with sea salt the other day but tragically they were out and we had to do with the cocoa almonds. We love all their chocolate.
The Cilantro dressing is very nice. We like it even more than the Cafe Rio stuff since it is more tangy and less like ranch dressing. Not from Trader Joe's, but Colin got some Maraschino Cherries in his Easter basket. He loves his cherries.
The mini ice cream treats are the perfect size for kids and a yummy little treat.
Colin chose a watermelon as his Trader Joe's treat the other day. It is a great store for kids because there are little kid shopping carts and the kids get a treat when they put the cart away. They had a fun egg hunt the day before Easter throughout the store.
Wonderful cheeses! Great Maple Syrup!
We fell in love with the frozen Chicken Enchiladas from a Detroit Trader Joe's about 4 years ago. They are very, very great. We also love a lot of the frozen Indian food, the fresh naan bread, the goat cheese pizza, the hummus, awesome yogurts (we're going through the Greek yogurt options), our list really goes on and on and on! We hope to eat less packaged foods (really hard to do on the road) but at least we can read and understand the ingredients listed in the Trader Joe's foods. Anyway, I'm a little obsessed and since it is next door, there have been several days when we have been there more than once in a day.
Trader Joe's also has lovely flowers. Last week we had the daffodils and this week it is irises. Brian bought me irises the week we got engaged at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
We went out for some sushi tonight, to celebrate the eve of Brian's first day off. I realized I had not had sushi since the really overpriced place we went in Warsaw. Colin got an awesome kids meal on this cool red school lunch tray. Both kids were given little umbrellas to play with, and there was edamame for us as soon as we sat down. It was a dream come true.
In classic one year old style, Jane tried to put her umbrella in Mommy's eye and then put it in her own. Brilliant.