Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting Back in the Scheme of Things

Well, as of now, we three Cunninghams have gotten back into the summer scheme. Seth is back to work, Mandy is back to babysitting, and I am back to.... lounging around the house. Speaking of the house, it has been decided that we are not moving due to sad state of the house market. So, we have a couple more years in this one. Not that I'll complain. I love this house, as it is the one I have lived in the longest and remember the most. And then, we get to continue to feed our fat birds and to scare off those stupid squirrels on our bird feeder.

Last week was busy somewhat for us. On Wednesday, Mandy had a babysitting opportunity, and I got to go with her. We went with Bethany Abraham, her two cute girls, her sister and nephew to a nearby pool. There was a nice water slide, a lazy river, and some interesting thing where you have to cross a narrow part of the pool using slippery things that look like giant lily pads and some rope above your head. Mandy tried this one the most, and I fell down my first time. Mandy and I switched off on watching after Avalyn, who hates getting water in her face. She liked jumping in and out of the wading pool. Mandy and I had lunch with Bethany and her sister then settled down to watching the three kids for the afternoon while the moms went to go to do some shopping. Clayton refused to nap, and Kiera wasn't tired, so we let them just play. Clayton loved the toys and made the playroom a disaster area. At one point, he was carrying a wooden frying pan and holding it above Kiera's head. I thought he was going to drop it on her, but he never did. Mandy had the privilege of getting hit with it a few times. I had my camera with me, and Kiera always smiled for me when I took her picture. Avalyn then woke up from her nap, and we had the three. It wasn't too hard. Later that day, I got to change Kiera's diaper and put a clean outfit on her (not an easy task, may I add).

On Thursday, we girls spent the day cleaning the house. We had some old friends of ours, the Bauers, over for burgers since they were in town. It is amazing to see how Breanne (who was Mandy's childhood bud until they moved) and Brendan had grown over the past several years. It was a nice evening filled with conversation and enjoying the food. We were up until after midnight before the Bauers left.

On Friday, Dad took the day off because he was tired from the night before. We Cunninghams cleaned the house and were pushed to start reading more. Dad and I went to the library, and I picked up a couple of books to read. Mom was busymaking food for a family at church. No kidding, every week for the past month, someone has given birth. So, Mom's been busy preparing food for various families. So, we enjoyed Chinese pork and fried rice for supper. Mandy had her friends Anna and Kristen over to spend the night in Kristen's tent. Mandy was up late, as usual, at least until 3 AM.

On Saturday, Dad went to go help a friend bottle some beer. I went to keep Avalyn and Kiera company but learned they were off with their mom. So I just sat and read. Later that afternoon, we went to Grandma Linda's house for dinner. Every month, we try to have a family gathering of some sort. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs this time. It was fun because Uncle Jason brought the new family puppy Tucker. He was a soft and adorable puppy. All the kids had fun playing with him. It was close to nine when we left Grandma's house. We came home and prepared for bed but did not go to bed until eleven PM.

And so, that is what has happened so far since we came back from Arizona. Mandy is getting excited about school and keeps asking to go school shopping. Mom is busy getting ready for being the science teacher at Geneva this year and also for Geneva at Home, a once-a- week program for homeschoolers under sixth grade. And so, summer is drawing to a close. That means college is rapidly approaching.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Second Week

Now here begins the second week. Scroll down if you haven't read the first week. Sorry for taking so long, but it takes a while to download all these pictures.
Anyway, we woke up in Sunday to cinnamon rolls and fruit for breakfast. It was odd not to be in church as we usually are. Mandy received a call from Dad, who asked why she had called Bethany during church. Mandy denied that she had done it, and Bethany later asked her the same question. After lunch, we drove to Fossil Creek. The ride was unforgettable. It was the longest, bumpiest, and dustiest ride I have ever been on. The road was narrow, winding, and bumpy since it was not paved. There were no guard rails on the side, so we drove along the side of a cliff. The creek was beautiful and unexpected. It was clear and bluish green in color as well as icy cold. We kids played in the water, and Mandy had to ask Seth to carry her so she would not get carried away by the current. It was getting cloudy, so we drove back to the cabin. We began playing rummikub when it started raining. Then, lightning flashed less than fifty feet from the house, and the thunder cracked. Grandma looked like she was about to have a heart attack, and Seth's game pieces were all over the floor. It scared us so bad, and our hearts were pounding for a long time. We later learned that the lightning had destroyed a neighbor's shed.

On Monday, after Grandpa Tom came back from his doctor's appointment, we drove up to Clarkdale to visit two places: the mining town of Jerome and the ruins of Tuzikoot (unsure if I spelled that right). We first ate lunch at Jerome at the Haunted Hamburger than went shopping. Mandy got a gift for Bethany, Seth got a sign for Dad, I got butterfly earrings, and we all bought Mom more hairclips, since her favorite one came from Jerome and she needed more. The sky had been sunny but now was dark and threatening rain. We drove down to Tuzikoot. The ruins were cool, and the views were beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer there, but the rain was coming quickly. After leaving the ruins, we drove down to Phoenix to have dinner with Grandpa Tom's family. We stayed for two hours because we had to leave early the next morning.

On Tuesday, we got up early and ate breakfast before driving up to Williams. We boarded the train there for the two- hour drive to the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the canyon around noon and spent some time admiring the view and taking pictures. It was good to see it again after ten years, especially when you can take your own pictures and remember things that happened there. After snacking for lunch, we hung around the area since it was beginning to rain and thunder again. We picked up a few things, including a head scarf for me and a cap for Grandpa. That afternoon, we boarded the train and drove back. I forgot to mention our stewardess Jodi. She was lively and talkative and played games with us. The marshall from the Wild West show came to our car and gave a nearby boy a hard time, making us laugh and get glared at by the marshal. Late that afternoon, we arrived back in Williams. We drove to the restaurant The Sizzler, a good place. The only downpart was finding a bug in my food, but we got refunded for that meal.

On Wednesday, our original plan had been to go to Sedona and see the formations there. However, we were all tired from our long driving the day before and decided to relax that day. We had Pizza Factory for lunch, and then Grandma took us kids bowling. She gave us good tips on how to do better, and Seth did the best out of us kids. After bowling, we went to Fireside for smoothies. Mandy and I had decided to make dinner that night, so we spent some time trying to figure out what to make. We settled on poppy seed chicken and went to the grocery store for supplies. We spent a few hours making the meal, which everyone enjoyed.

On Thurday, we woke up and eat quickly so we could leave for one last sightseeing trip: The Petrified Forest. A few years ago, my family had wanted to go there but did not have the time to do so. We arrived at the forest and watched a quick video on the park's history. It was interesting to see how the trees became rock, who used to live in the park, and how the park was founded. We were severely warned not to pick up any pieces of petrified wood under pain of arrest and fines. Afterwards, we toured the park. The rocks were beautiful and smooth. The day was hot, and we had to carry around water. We saw rocks with ancient Indian pictures, a couple of annoying and croaking ravens, some beautiful landscapes, and the Painted Desert, which is made of red rock. Seth saw the Indian ruins, but the rest of us were too hot and tired to go see them. After our tour, we left the park to go get some lunch. We drove a little on Route 66 and saw some of the old shops, motels, and gas stations along it. When we got back to the cabin, we kids started getting our packing ready and organzing what went where. Mandy's suitcase was stuffed, and mine quickly started looking the same. We went to a local restaurant for dinner. That night, Mandy and I talked before bed about going home.

On Friday, we had breakfast of French toast with bananas, strawberries, and whipped cream, a delicious alternative to the usual syrup and butter. We drove to Phoenix, where Grandma had a doctor's appointment. We kept ourselves occupied by playing Mexican Train. After lunch, we ran some errands since we still had time before we had to go to the airport. We went to Petsmart, where we got supplies for JD, who would be arriving on Saturday. There were adorable kittens there. We wanted to take them home, but we decided that Dad would not like it. After a few more stores, we drove to the airport. We tearfully said good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa outside of security. We passed through it easily with no problems. We waited around for a couple of hours, waiting to board our plane. Our plane arrived late, so we boarded later than usual. We took off after a while due to airport "traffic jam." The trip seemed longer, and I was tired. We finally arrived in Atlanta at one thirty Saturday morning. We met Mom and Dad then went to go get our luggage. We did not get home until after three. We gave the gifts and then went to bed.

All in all, a fantastic trip. It was amazing to see all the ruins, the beautiful country, and old towns. We learned about the Indians, the mines, and more. It was amazing. The country is beautiful, especially watching thunderstorms over the plains far away. And now, a big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for making this trip possible. Hugs and kisses to the both of you!

The First Week

Well, we Cunningham kids have safely returned from a two- week vacation to Arizona. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the sightseeing, and just visiting with Grandma Gail and Grandpa Tom. There is too much to say, so it will require two posts: one for the first week and another for the second week.

Well, we drove to the airport late Monday afternoon and arrived two hours before our flight was supposed to leave. Shortly after arrival, we learned that our flight had been bumped from seven thirty to eight twenty or so. After getting through security with no problem, except I did not scan my laptop properly the first time. We ate some supper at the terminal and lounged around, waiting for boarding to begin. We did not board until around eight thirty, which was an impatient wait. We kissed Mom and Dad good-bye then boarded. What happened next had no good reason. The plane did not depart until nine thirty, which made the wait even more boring. There were some kids on the plane near our seats who would not be quiet with all their whining, complaining, and crying. Finally, the plane took off. It was exciting for us, since two of us had not flown before and one had not for ten years. We read, slept a little, and watched a movie during the trip. We had a little turbulance during the trip, but it was cool to see lightning from above, not beneath. Around ten fifteen, Phoenix time, we landed at Sky Harbor Airport. We met our grandparents then went to go find our baggage, which took some time. We drove to a nearby hotel for the night, since it was too late to drive up to Pine.

The next morning, we woke up still feeling tired due to the time change. We thought we had lost the new red phone, but it was soon found, much to our relief. We ate breakfast then began the two- hour drive up to Pine, in the mountains of northern Arizona. For the first hour, we saw cacti, and it looked like a desert. However, that changed when it became rockier and we saw trees. We finally arrived at the cute little cabin near the little town of Pine (which Grandma said that if you blink you could miss it, which is true). We got settled in and had lunch. After lunch, we went to go visit Grandma and Grandpa's future puppy JD. He was the biggest, fattest, cutest ball of fur. Then, we girls went to town to get ready for supper. We ate outside, even though it was in the 90's, but it didn't feel like it at all. That night, we discussed our plans for the next week and a half.

On Wednesday morning, Seth accompanied Grandpa Tom to a tractor breakfast, where some tractor-loving guys gather once a week for breakfast. Later, some of them would come by and try to work on Grandpa's John Deere tractor. We girls went to a little place for breakfast then went antique shopping. We enjoyed it very much. The stores were nice, clean, organized, and professional, not junky at all. They seemed to go on forever, and there was so much to see. That afternoon, we played a long, long game of Mexican Train. Grandma beat us all by a long shot. We had juicy steaks and baked potatoes for dinner, which was delicious.

On Thursday, we woke up around seven and ate breakfast. We drove to Kohls Ranch to go horseback riding for a couple of hours. It was a bit scary at first since none of us really knew how to ride a horse. However, that faded away soon. The first hour was fun. Most of our horses stopped to relieve themselves in the middle of the trail, which made us laugh. The trail was narrow in some parts, and it was creepy to ride so close to the edge of a steep slope. After the first hour, it started getting scary. We were getting sore and were looking for the end of the trail. Our horses got hungry and decided to stop by the edge of the steep slope to eat. Two of them actually wandered off the trail, which scared the two riders. After the ride, we were sore. The men went to Fireside, a local coffee shop, for a break, and we girls went to get ourselves pampered at the spa. Afterwards, we went to the Pizza Factory for a late lunch. It was good pizza. We went home and decided to go to bed early since we had to get up early the next day. That night, Grandma and I saw a skunk while sitting outside.

On Friday, we woke up around six thirty and got on the road to Tombstone, which is on the other side of Arizona, far to the south, almost in Mexico. We mistook the time of the route since we took the longer, scenic route instead of going through Phoenix. Arizona is a place of contrasts. It can be beautiful and mountainous, a desert with cactus, or an African savannah. We drove through Salt River Canyon, which was beautiful. When we stopped in Winkelman for gas, it was over a hundred degrees outside. Talk about hot winds. We went to Biosphere 2 and got to see how it works. We were plagued by little ants that kept climbing all over our feet, but we were forbidden to kill them. The further south we drove, dark clouds kept getting bigger and bigger. We rented a hotel in Tombstone, and the storm was no more than a couple miles away. We could see the rain falling in the distance, and it was beautiful. We drove into the old cowboy town to look for a saloon to eat in. The wind picked up, and then it started to rain. After dinner, the rain had stopped. The adults went to bed, and we kids watched some TV before going to sleep ourselves.

On Saturday, we woke up and got our things together. We ate breakfast in Tombstone then toured the shops. Mandy got a green hat, and Seth got his cowboy hat. We took a tour around the town in a covered wagon and learned about its history. We also visited Boot Hill, where the cowboys from the infamous shootout with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were buried. We then began the long drive back up to Pine, this time taking the shorter route through Phoenix. We saw dust devils in the distance and passed by the place where Dad got his cowboy hat a few years ago. When we got home, no one was really hungry for supper. We went to bed tired. And that was the end of the first week away from home.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Well, it is almost here! We three Cunningham kids will be flying out tonight. We're really excited. But, before we leave, last-minute business must be taken care of. Seth must mow two lawns today before leaving. Mandy is babysitting Avalyn Abraham again and is spending a little time with her best bud Bethany before they are parted for two weeks. I cleaned out my camera and still have chores to do. Mandy, as usual, has already finished her packing. I don't think Seth has even started packing yet. I'm just about done, but I'm still organzing what I will carry with me to my seat and what will stay in baggage.

Here's the plan for us. Dad is taking a half- day off today and is coming home between noon and one o'clock. We'll continue our preparations until about four, when we will drive downtown. We'll eat dinner along the way then go to the airport. I'll have the camera for a few good- bye pictures. We'll go through security (thankfully Dad and Mom will be able to accompany us up to the gate) then board our plane. It will be Seth and Mandy's first time flying, so it will be a treat for them. There was some concern yesterday that we three wouldn't be able to sit together, but that was resolved this morning. Seth and Mandy are still debating over who gets the window seat. We should arrive in Arizona possibly around nine or so, Pacific time. Then, we'll drive into the mountains. We kids will have fun seeing the sights and such for two weeks. Next Saturday, which is July 20th or 21st, we shall be returning in the wee hours of the morning: about one o'clock.

I will be keeping a small journal of the trip. So, expect many posts when me and my sibs return. So, until then!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Trip to the Dentist and Clothes shopping

To prepare for the trip to Arizona next week, Mandy and I needed to go shopping for shorts since neither of us have any. So, we went to Goodwill first. Now, usually, Mandy finds things and I never can. Recently, that seems to have been switched around. I found two pairs of denim shorts there, and we needed to go to Kohls, my favorite clothes store since it has cute clothes that fit me. However, we had somewhere else to go before we went out: the dreaded bi-annual trip to the dentist.

Mandy was firm in not wanting to go. When we left the house, she lingered inside and shut the door. Mom didn't fall for it and asked Mandy to come out. We arrived at the office on time, but the wait was terribly long. Mom had to wait fifteen, twenty minutes before she was called in. Mandy and I were expecting to go in shortly after her, but no. We had to wait another twenty minutes, listening to the radio and staring around the office. By that time, Mom was done. She explained to us impatient girls that our appointments were at three forty- five, not three. Then, five minutes, I was called in. It was the usual: scraping the teeth and gums and then brushing/ polishing them. The usual, "where are you going to college? Where did you go to high school?" I was warned to floss my teeth, like I am every time I go in. The dentist was another reminder to Mom that Mandy is going to need braces. We got a referral, so soon we'll go in and see what damage needs to be corrected.

Today, we went to Kohls to find shorts. Mandy found a pair, and I found an adorable dress. Then, we went to Wal- Mart, where Mandy found two more pairs. We are now ready for this trip, clothes- wise. Tonight, we're having guests over. The Price boys from church are coming over to watch "Equilibrium" with us. It has been a tradition every month or so to get together and watch a sci- fi movie. Tonight, there will be pizza and possibly a game. Tomorrow will be busy with a few events as well.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Fourth of July

After spending two nights away from us, Miss Social Bug returned to us Wednesday morning as we drove up to Jefferson. We did what we did a few years ago: rent a clubhouse for a few hours, hang out, and grill lunch. This time, we celebrated Uncle Jason's father-in-law's birthday, so there were more unfamiliar faces. All the in-state Cunningham clan was there, including a few out-0f-towners.

Lunch was delicious with the usual grill food, lots of fruit, chips, and plenty of desserts to choose from. The Cunningham clan stuck together pretty much while the Pass clan stuck together. There were several conversations among the adults, especially between Dad and Great- aunt Lor Cunningham, who usually find something to talk about during family gatherings. The kids ran around the playground or around the baseball fields, doing one of the either. The kids loved the merry-go-round. They loved it so much that they started looking dizzy after riding it over a hundred times. Mandy looked like she was about to pass out, and Cousin Rivers looked like she was about to lose her lunch. Thankfully, nothing bad happened. The boys played baseball, and the girls and a few adults joined them later on. Mandy and Seth were wearing sandals on the field and had red, dusty feet and legs when we left. About three o'clock, we left for home and watched "Dr. Zhivago" for three long hours. It is accurate in its portrayal of the Bolsheviks and reminded me of "1984."

Well, I'll add pics soon. I haven't downloaded them yet, and I'm slow at placing my pics on the computer.