Our Kids' Blog

Grand Canyon South Rim

September 27th, 2011 by Mommy


We visited the south rim for four days, so we had plenty of time to wander around and see the views. We were fortunate enough that we didn’t have to change rooms and could keep our nap schedules on each of the days. This trip was different because while the girls were more mobile they were less willing to cover as many hiking trails as we wanted. Also, Julia in the backpack is getting heavy and harder for us big people to cover as many miles. We did some hiking everyday while we were there, just not all 11 miles of the rim trail.


The girls enjoyed visiting the visitor center closest to our room. There were some interactive displays and books to read in the store. We seemed to make it there everyday at some point. We also rode the buses on the whole bus route to the delight of the girls. They enjoyed finding cool rocks and tried to have a rock collection at every location we stopped. We saw a lot of wildlife, some without having to go very far from our room. The girls played in quite a bit of dirt and climbed on rocks. Mama’s favorite thing that occurred was the girls missing views of the Grand Canyon and when regaining the view, they would exclaim with a lot of excitement, Julia especially, that they saw the Grand Canyon.


Julia learning the process for turning wool into yarn. Every time she had an opportunity to card the wool she would be over giving it a try.


Wildlife viewing is expected at the Grand Canyon. There isn’t much lush vegetation around the Grand Canyon, but they faithfully keep the grass around the hotels watered making for excellent grazing locations. We saw elk almost every night, deer one night, and one mountain goat. The only night we didn’t see any large game was the night Pat was with us. It was disappointing because we had told him all about the animals. Other animals we saw were the pests of the park: squirrels, chipmunks, and ravens. They told us that on the trails the squirrels have been known to chew holes in backpacks to get to food. The animal we went out for nightly hunts for were bats. The canyon walls are home to millions of holes perfect for bats. We walked along the rim looking for the bats and found them every night. The first time we saw them it was Julia who saw them first and kept repeating “bat, bat, bat” until we looked.


Maybe not the best photo of Julia, but the best photo of Julia signing her version of “I love you” in front of the Grand Canyon. This stroller got a lot of mileage on this trip offering relief to tired little girls.


Getting photos of the girls together is pretty hard. I thought this one was awesome, it captured a face we saw quite often from Julia when not happy with us. She is definitely a two year old.


A much sweeter face on Julia.


Catching Robby doing what he loves to do most at the Grand Canyon.


The girls were running around the two levels to the studio. They played in the dirt, inspected the rocks, and jumped off anytime a parent wasn’t looking.

It was such a treat for us to share part of our trip with our friend, Pat. It was a joy to see the excitement the girls had for him too. They have continued to talk and pray for Mr. Pat even once we got home. We feel fortunate to have been a part of his experiences of the canyon and enjoyed hearing his stories. We are thankful for his hiking experience and friendship with Robby especially on this hike. We had wanted to be cheering for him at the trailhead when he completed his hike out, but he was too fast and we didn’t make it in time.


Watching the sunset with Mr. Pat

We don’t think we will be back to the Grand Canyon for a while. We have visited three times in 10 years and want to explore and introduce other places to our girls. It is an amazing place to visit and marvel at. While we know the girls will not maintain long term memories from these trips, we hope the experiences of both the travel and destinations help inspire them to seek new experiences and to learn about the world, who is in it, and how beautiful it is.


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Grand Canyon North Rim

September 17th, 2011 by Mommy

Our first Grand Canyon stop was the North Rim. This is our first trip to this out of the way destination. It was quite out of the way too. Our first day there was filled with hiking preparations. Sandwich making, pack filling, quick rim visits, and getting settled for the night was our evening. The two different cabins that we stayed in at the North Rim were really nice. I was expecting them to be small and compact, but they were pretty spacious. The first one had a front porch with rocking chairs and the second one had two rooms with lots of sleeping options. The discovery was wonderful.


The guys started their hike early in the morning and the girls and Mama continued to sleep. We spent some time that morning repacking our bags so that the next 6 nights would only require one bag for the three of us. Then we ventured out for our day’s exploration. We hiked out to Bright Angel Point and checked out the canyon from the exposed point. It was amazing to see the canyon from this side. It felt like you were set into the canyon in a way the South Rim doesn’t offer. The hike was fun with the girls and while the morning was warm we did fine. Julia walked about half of it herself and was carried the other half. Emily kept going and never slowed us down. This hike paralleled the trail the guys hiked down in the morning. We wondered a lot about where they were and looked for them.



We walked back and had lunch at the lodge and did some additional exploring around the rim until naptime. After naps, we heard from another hiker who had seen Robby and Pat and informed us that they were hiking back out instead of continuing on their hike. They had assisted by carrying out the news and 10+ pounds of Robby’s pack contents. We met up with them and found out more information and got his belongings. Robby had started the hike with a headache and it had gotten worse combined with the heat coming earlier in the hike than they had planned and influenced their decision to hike back out.


We needed to fill some time before the guys hiked back out so we went to the Cookout Experience for dinner. This involved a train ride to a fun tent theater. There was a buffet to eat and singing entertainment. The girls had a blast. First there was a train ride and then after dinner they found two families worth of kids to run around and play with as dusk came in. The girls also loved having camp cups to drink their water from.



We we got back to the lodge we found out that the guys had beaten our hiking estimate and were already back at our cabin. We were very thankful that despite all the trouble that they were out safe and sound.

The next morning, Julia and Mama dropped Pat off at the trailhead where he was going to hike down to the next reserved campsite of their trip. The pre-dawn trip to the trailhead was beautiful. The sky was clear and it was our first opportunity to see a million stars and the milky way. Julia was a sweet companion and was a good girl including that she crawled back in bed when we got back and went to sleep.

Later that morning we checked out and drove out to Cape Royal and took in several of the canyon views. The girls took their naps in the car while we took in the views and then joined us for the last one which involved a hike. We watched storms across and in the canyon. It was fun to show the girls storms from a distance. We wondered if Pat was getting any relief from a rain storm, which we found out later he didn’t get enough to have it as a temperature relief. The rest of our day was spent driving the long drive to the South Rim through storms and dusk. We got settled in at the South Rim.


I love how Julia wouldn’t look at the camera earlier, but when given the chance to not to have to look she peeks back at Daddy. What a grin!

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Go West Little Family

September 7th, 2011 by Mommy


West we did go. When we were planning this trip we referred to it as our trip “Out West”. Emily might not understand that west is a direction, but she does know that it is a place to go and see. If you asked her where we were going she would tell you “west”. The other thing we discussed about driving west is that going west is like chasing the sun. She commented on that a lot and every evening of driving we would see the sun going down and ending that day’s chase.

Enough about the direction, where did we go? We drove from our home to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon for several days. To get there and back we stopped, visited, and enjoyed sights along the way.


  • Family time (never overrated)
  • Traveling with a friend for a while. Watching the girls relate with Mr. Pat was amazing.
  • Having a daily view of the Grand Canyon for a week.
  • Having all of our hikers return no-worse-for-wear out of the canyon.
  • Seeing quite a variety of wild animals.
  • Fun dinner at the Big Texan.
  • Sitting in four states at the same time.
  • Walking where ancient peoples once lived.
  • Watching little people explore nature.
  • Eating Mexican food and lovely sopapillas
  • Playing among huge sand dunes
  • Walking down the memory lane of childhood vacations for both Robby and Rachelle

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Sun Going Up or Sun Going Down

October 4th, 2009 by Mommy


We had an ongoing conversation with Emily about the sun and whether it is going up or down. I don’t think she has quite grasped the concept yet, but she will proclaim whether she thinks the sun is currently going up or down at any time in the day. We traveled a lot after dark and Robby photographed many sunrises and sunsets which seemed to also encourage the discussion. I think that Emily is heavily influenced in the thought that sun is going down from her need for a nap or bed. She would proclaim that the sun was going down around 1pm when it was time for her afternoon nap. It makes for a really funny conversation to have with her.

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High Chairs for Julia

October 3rd, 2009 by Mommy


Julia has grown up so much! On this trip Julia has graduated to loving restaurant high chairs. She has discovered the fun of interacting with other diners, waiters, and her family. She tries to grab for anything that is close by, waves her arms when given water out of a straw, enjoys trying table food, and enjoys dropping things on the floor even more. I really feel bad for the staff that has to clean up after Julia and what she drops on the floor. More than once we had other diners stop by and visit with us on their way out and compliment Julia and her easy going personality. We are grateful for this personality because it makes it possible for us to travel to such cool places.

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Dora goes to the Grand Canyon

October 2nd, 2009 by Mommy


We stopped at Watchtower to take in our first views of the Grand Canyon. I guess Emily thought that Dora needed to see it too because she brought her along. Emily enjoyed playing on the roof of the Watchtower store while we took in the views. She also walked up and down all the stairs to the top of the tower to look out the window. I hope all of the other people didn’t mind walking at a 2 year old pace up and down the stair.

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