arizona attractions, crossroad baptist, date nights, family

A Desert Family Fall

My cousin, Laura, and her husband Chuck came for a short, but fun-filled visit last week.

Silas made sure Uncle “Tuck” knew that all cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, and motorcycles go “Vrroom! Beep! Beep!” Aunt “Wawa” was able to take some 2nd birthday pictures of Silas for us at Founders Park in Verrado.

Laura also took maternity/family photos for us. I can’t wait to see how they turned out! I’ll be sure to post some of the pics once I get them, but in the meantime, check out Laura’s blog here to see her gorgeous photography skills.

October is a great time of  year to visit Phoenix. We visited the red rocks near Papago Park, walked Tempe’s Mill Avenue District, and ate lunch with Stephen at My Big Fat Greek Express on Thursday. I think the Greek style lamb was a hit!

Stephen had some time off on Friday morning, so we walked along the lakes at Estrella Mountain Ranch. The guys  threw the football around while Laura and I enjoyed the view and the breeze.

That night was Crossroad’s annual Maze and Praise at Tolmachoff Farms, right in the heart of Glendale. The Maze and Praise is one of my favorite church activities of the year. We build a bonfire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, have a praise and testimony time, and go through the corn maze. Chuck and Laura navigated the corn maze while Stephen, Silas and I enjoyed the farm entertainment.

Bitty Boy had a blast on the slides. I wasn’t sure he was going to actually go down the tube slide in the dark, but all of the sudden, I saw him coming out head first! He was brave enough to pet the horses this year too. Last time we visited the farm, he was traumatized by the donkey. The barn bouncy house was a lot of fun, but the tractor train was his favorite.

Saturday morning, our gang took off for the Arizona State Fair. We were all craving fair food, so walking down the midway made us salivate like crazy! We stopped at the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety area. It couldn’t have been more fun for Silas! He got tons of kid freebies and a teddy bear, sat in the driver seat of a game warden dune buggy, saw the inside of a firetruck, and had his picture taken on a motorcycle.

We toured the Agriculture building where Silas visited the petting zoo. We also saw the zebus (a southeast Asian type of cow),llamas, sheep, and lots of species of pigeons. The farm tour had the typical “Old MacDonald” farm animals and a John Deere tractor.

Any visit to the fair requires eating some of the best-tasting (and most unhealthy) food. We treated ourselves to slow-roasted BBQ, twisted taters on a stick, a giant western sausage with jalapenos and cheese, and a red velvet funnel cake for dessert. Yum!

Then we saw the start of the All-Indian Rodeo. The first event started off with a jolt as the first bucking bronco ran wildly out of the gate straight toward the audience. His rider managed to stay on his back for the required time, but it was an exciting start! Next, we watched some of the calf roping before we left for the day. Fun times sharing the fair with family.

After our family photo shoot at sunset Saturday night, Stephen and I were given a date night, courtesy of Laura and Chuck. We decided to have dinner in Scottsdale at Sauce. A pizza place was sure to make Stephen happy! Over dinner, we actually had some time to discuss baby names. (This little boy is coming soon, and we had better pick a name before his arrival.) Then we wandered through the Fashion Square Mall, and finished our night with hot cider from Starbucks. We loved having a night to ourselves!

Because Hurricane Sandy is scheduled to hit land on the eastern shore of Maryland tomorrow morning, Chuck and Laura decided to head home early so they could avoid being stranded. They made it home safely, but traded the desert for a deluge. Although our time was cut short, we’re so glad they spent their vacation with us in Phoenix.

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