Jerome's Ghost Town

There's something extra special about the far-away grandparents--the ones only seen in 3D once or twice a year.  A little extra hype, a little extra excitement.  When Roy's parents made plans to journey to Arizona and meet Hallie we began the countdown right away.  For weeks Camden ran out of his bedroom in the morning asking, "Are Grandma and Grandpa coming today?"

When the day finally came we not only got Grandma and Grandpa, but Aunt Kelsey surprised us!  That was pretty awesome.  Soon after they arrived they were on the floor with the grandkids and giving me the warm fuzzies.

We'd had our field trip with the grandparents planned ever since we first visited Jerome's "ghost town" in July with Kirsten.  It was impossible not to think about Dennis when seeing all the old cars and trailers.

This ghost town is literally a junk yard.  Some white-bearded old man in Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots lets you wander around his property, weaving through piles and piles of rusted-out treasure.  Here and there are a few structures from the original settlement in Jerome that were abandoned when the copper mines became exhausted.  Mr. Wrangler man seems to have made a few, um, modifications.

Side note: why are all of Camden's clothes so small three days after I get them?

This picture was taken about two seconds before a wipeout.  Next to a sign that said, "Beware of rattlesnakes."

Oh and there's a petting zoo!  Okay no let's be fair... there's a donkey and a couple of stinky goats.  That I didn't touch.

Camden still talks about this ghost town a lot.  "Old" has been an interesting concept for him.  Time breaks things down, makes them rust, makes them stop working properly.  It's been hard to explain, but he knows that he likes things on wheels whether they work or not.  Another side note: I love baby-wearing dads.  Most especially this one.

I know I'm being a bit sarcastic about the whole thing, but we really did find this pace fascinating.  If not a little stinky and weird and... possessing a creepy mannequin.

Here is one of the entrances to one of the closed mines.  I recognized the little skull and crossbones sign from another ghost town we explored down near Sahuarita.  Is it a sign of inferior intelligence if that sign makes me want to crawl in there ever more?

My favorites were the old trikes and ride-on toy tractors from (probably) the 1950s.  The huge old cash registers were great too.  Dennis was a wealth of knowledge when talking about anything with a motor.  I wonder if American Pickers has been to this crazy place.

The schoolhouse!  

We visited the Jerome museum while we were out there.  It's incredible the town used to have a population over 100,000 and now it's in the 400s.  Haha!  But I can see what has drawn those 400-some-odd people to Jerome.  It's definitely filled with history, and I've never seen a place quite like it. All of the houses are built into the steep cliff, with a narrow road barely qualified for two lanes winding down to the base.

From the museum the main thing we took away was the fact that Jerome has burned down a lot.

All of this history talk put Hallie to sleep.

Grandpa, Grandma, and Kelsey were gone again in the blink of an eye!  It went much too quickly.  We love them and can't wait to see them again!

Since Hallie didn't make it to most of the pictures, here she is smiling so big she couldn't keep her pacifier in her mouth.  

I love it when that happens.

Summer Lovin'

Five days.  That's what we have left before fall is "officially" upon us.  Even though Hobby Lobby has had Christmas decor out since August, this family has been squeezing every last drop out of this sweet, life-changing summer.  And I have to say, I think this summer went out with a pretty fabulous bang, thanks to our second Lake Powell trip.  Powell post to coming later.

For now I thought I would just post a billion iPhone pics to summarize and wrap up this super swell sunny season.  This one here depicts most of our days.  Pajamas, bed head, and muffins.  Yup.

Lots of naps, lots of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and yet never enough snuggles.

But we did get out on occasion.  The park, the grocery store, Peter Piper Pizza, the dentist, the pool... {I die}

{Cam's hands, lol!  That's how I feel about a stranger flossing my teeth too.}

Hallie is four months old now.  We still can't decide what she's doing with her eyes, but I think we've ruled out blue for sure.  They are staying doe-eyed dark, but I'm guessing they will be hazel like her daddy and brother.

At her checkup she was in the 66th percentile for weight at the 79th percentile for height.  Hallie is smiley as they come, enjoys grabbing her toes, and has a pacifier addiction.  She loves when Mama sings to her and is most easily calmed by her daddy talking to her.  But no one can get her attention like Camden.

The funniest thing about Hallie is her love/hate relationship with toys.  Of course once she gets ahold of a toy it goes straight to her mouth.  As she's checking it out with her tongue she starts a kind of babble.  After a minute it becomes louder, more urgent.  And soon she is screaming in frustration, like she wants the whole toy in her mouth and is ticked it won't fit.  I tend to keep toys out of reach so she doesn't get all worked up.

But really, this girl is an angel.  Toys are just about the only thing that can get her upset.  She's very happy, very easygoing, and so curious and interested in everyone.

Real mama moment here: Camden spent a bit more time in front of the TV this summer than I would have liked.  But figuring out how to take care of these two on such different schedules just worked out that way.  I admit, the TV bought me some extra time with the baby, and I'm not mad about it.

But now that I'm a total pro at two {scoff} we are trying to cut back on TV time.  When Cam asks for Mickey or Jake and the Neverland Pirates I say, "If you play with toys for ten minutes, then I'll put a show on for you."

Hours later he's still playing with his legos or cars or something and has completely forgotten about the show.  Score!  Let's do the childhood unplugged thing!

{Drawing enough "mailboxes" for the whole neighborhood.}

Sometimes his play gets a bit too creative.  I remember wishing I'd shaved my legs more recently as I was ripping all these stickers off later.

Also my cousin got this little outfit from London for us.  I'm going to cry when she grows out of it.

This has been the summer of slow, which has been nice.  But I've also been trying to get a bit faster for an upcoming Ragnar relay race.  Getting back into shape this time has been much harder, and finding time to run without kids is a serious challenge.  Even daunting.

I feel best when I'm able to get up at 5am, feed Hallie, put her back to sleep and go out for an early jaunt through the neighborhood.  Consistency is non-existent with that girl, unfortunately.  I hope I don't die at the Ragnar!

At first Camden was very uninterested in Hallie.  However, as the summer has progressed and she's gotten a little more interactive, Cam has started falling in love with her.  I love walking in on him talking to her {in his high-pitch voice reserved only for her} or seeing him randomly hold her hand in the car.

Today he told me, "I protect Hallie from lions, tigers, and bears.  All of the mean animals I fight so that Hallie is safe."

Swimming lessons with his best buddy was a summer highlight.  He learned so much and got much more comfortable in the water.  However, he didn't "graduate" because he didn't dunk his head under the water enough times or something like that.  There's always next year, pal.

But I have a feeling Hallie won't be sleeping through your lessons in the stroller next year.

Oh, why not have a little flashback to Hallie's blessing day?  Here she is with her cousin, Jaxon.  Friends in the making.

My computer is in the technology hospital.  When the old man is healthy again I'll have pictures from Grandma and Grandpa's visit, Lake Powell, and other such summer goodness.  But this little overview is definitely good to have on record.

So until next time... here's a couple more explosive smiles to brighten your day.

The three of us together every day is more happiness than I ever imagined.  Don't get me wrong, there are trials too.  {For example, right after I took this pic, Camden kicked the phone out of my hand and it hit Hallie on the forehead!}  But really, there's nowhere I'd rather be.