Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Arizona Hiking: The Superstition Mountains...

Are friend in Arizona kept suggesting that Ken and I check out the Superstition Mountains.  On our final day in Phoenix, we did just that.  It was kind of a last minute decision and I was already dressed for the day in normal clothes.  Since we decided we were going to hike, there was a wardrobe change in the car, a small car to be exact.

After a quick change, we set off to hike Siphon Draw Trail.  Boy, was it hot out.  It was a little later in the day than our other hikes and we were completely in the sun. I know, the sun in Arizona, how maddening!

Ready for our final hike of the trip!

The Superstition Mountains

One of the things I liked about our hikes in Arizona this time was that they were all completely different scenery.

We were originally going to hike about 7 miles or so, but decided to cut it short.  We turned around about 2.5 miles up since we still needed to leave time for a brewery stop and In-N-Out.  You know, priorities.

My happy hiker

Heading back down the trail.

Our beloved cactus

I think he enjoyed his Arizona hiking!

Our quick hike in the Superstition Mountains was a great introduction to this area.  We of course wish we would of had more time, but this just gives us a reason to come back to check it out again.

Hiking is not complete without a little beer tasting!

While we are quite fond of the Rocky Mountains and the Alps, we also love the desert.  There is just something about it that we really enjoy.  I know we will be back to Arizona again soon, but up next is a wonderful trip to the Alps!  We cannot wait for more hiking in Europe!

Thanks for the Arizona Adventure Ken!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Arizona Hiking: Devil's Bridge....

Do you know one of my favorite places to travel to?  Sedona, AZ.  I absolutely love it.  Ken and I have visited this area a few times and always have so much.  On our November trip to Arizona, I knew we would allot one day to make the drive to this beautiful area.

We knew that we wanted to do a hike and a hike that we have both wanted to do was Devil's Bridge.  We knew that this was a pretty popular hike and that the trail would most likely be pretty busy.  We also took a different trail head to begin with since we were in a car and did not have a SUV to drive down a difficult road for the main trail head.  This was fine with us, because it gave us a round trip hike of about five miles instead of the normal two miles.  We are overachievers after all!

Sedona, you are so beautiful!

Ready to hike!

A hike is not complete without Ken's pose!

Overall, the hike to Devil's Bridge is pretty easy.  The final section before you reach the bridge is a lot of stairs that can be a long stretch for little legs.  Coming down the stairs was more difficult for me and Ken had to lend me a hand.

Beautiful scenery all around

Devil's Bridge

Ken on the Devil's Bridge

Ken and me on the bridge.  I was not freaked out walking out there, but walking back was a different story.

Beautiful scenery on the way back

Squinty eyes in Sedona!

After the hike, we stopped for pizza and drinks.  We could not drive to Sedona without stopping at Page Springs, our favorite winery in Sedona.  

Enjoying wine, the creek, and the company!  I cannot get enough of Page Springs!

Our day in Sedona did not disappoint!  It was full of beautiful scenery and weather and two of our favorite things:  hiking and wine.  You cannot go wrong with either!

Two happy hikers at Devil's Bridge

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas 2015...

Our Christmas this year was similar to years past, only a little different.  Instead of going to dinner with friends on Christmas Eve, Ken's parents went to dinner with us!  They drove in from St. Louis to spend Christmas with us and our hooligans.

Our Christmas traditions are quite simple:  Christmas Eve dinner, drinks with friends after, pumpkin cinnamon rolls Christmas morning, hooligans opening presents, and then a trip to the dog park followed by board games.  We managed all of our favorite traditions again this year.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at McCormick & Schmicks this year.  I, of course, had to have the chocolate sack for dessert.  With Ken's assistance, I was able to polish it off.  I forgot just how big it was!  Needless to say, I have not had dessert since and probably won't for quite a while!
The four of us after a delicious dinner!

After dinner, we came home and our neighbors came over for cocktails.  One of our favorite things to do is catch up with them and the kids to hear how everything is going.  

The hooligans all HAD to snuggle with their Granma.  

On Christmas morning we always light the fire and drink coffee while everyone opens presents.  I swear the hooligans know they have stuff in their stockings from Santa.

Kya is always so excited about the snacks that she receives!

Theo's favorite are the Christmas bows!

Angel and Theo are checking our their loot.  

Angel was really into owning Christmas this year.  She rolled all over her and Theo's stockings and may have claimed Kya's as well.

Nothing says boss quite like taking over your husky sister's stocking.

Me and my girls!

Theodore owned Christmas this year!

After coffee, presents, and cinnamon rolls, we made our way to the dog park for a little fun.  

Kya says that the dog park is her favorite Christmas tradition!

It was definitely the warmest Christmas I ever remember.  While I enjoyed the warm temperatures, I really would have preferred a white Christmas. Maybe next year.  All in all, we had a wonderful Christmas and I of course cannot wait for the next one!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Shenanigans...

I absolutely love the month of December.  I guess more specifically, I love everything that surrounds Christmas.  This year I told Ken that I wanted to to something Christmasy every day.  We succeeded, even if it was as small as drinking cocoa by the fire or walking to Starbucks for a Christmas latte.

Here is a peek into our December.

We enjoyed a cranberry old fashion courtesy of Southern Living.  They were a little strong for my taste, but Ken really enjoyed them. 

We went to Overland Park Luminary Walk with Brian and Jill.  

Ken and Mike went to Florida for a golf trip.  They had a ton of fun.

We had many of cocktails with wonderful friends!

Kya liked to hang out by the fireplace and keep tabs on the stockings.  You know, just in case Santa arrived early.

Theodore thought it was extra important to hang out underneath the Christmas tree.  I would often find him and Angel both.  I have to say, they like to lay under it but fortunately, they do not mess with it at all.

I spent the first week of December studying like a mad woman while drinking lots of cocoa.  The studying paid off and I earned my 4.0. :)

I had a wonderful evening with some of my favorite ladies from White House Black Market.  These ladies make me laugh so much!  They love to tease me since I am the only blonde.  

Kya and I spent a lot of time by the fire in are jammies.

One of my favorite things to do is load Angel up in the car and take her to look at Christmas lights.  She is one of those odd cats that loves to go bye-bye in the car.  She usually gets so excited that by the end of the night she is sound asleep in my lap!

Jill, Avery, and I had a girls day shopping and dining around the Plaza.  That Avery is a mess, but I sure do love her!  She loves spending time with her fun Aunt Keri, especially when Aunt Keri lets her play in her make-up.

Kya did a little Christmas shopping for her siblings.  She may have even lifted her leg and peed on an aisle inside Petco.  Oops.

We also managed a fun hike since Ken has been off work for Christmas vacation.  

I will admit, I am not looking forward to taking down my Christmas decorations, but alas, the season is winding down.  I can always sneak a Christmas song or two in between now and November and no one has to know!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Arizona Hiking: The White Tank Mountains...

Just before Thanksgiving, Ken and I went on a little vacation to Arizona.  We have had a stressful few months and both needed to get away.  What better thing to do than to escape to sunshine and hiking?

We stayed in Surprise so that we could see a friend of ours.  The White Tank Mountains happen to be right next door, so we set out for a little exploring.

We took off with the intention to do a 7 mile hike on the Mesquite Trail.  Yes, that was our intention, but someone left the map in the car.  That someone might have blonde hair, be 4'10, and answer to the name Keri.  Oops.  Not to worry, we made it out just fine.  No one was hurt and we lived to tell about it.  We had plenty of water and dum dums.

Ready for a full morning of hiking!

We started off our hike in the shade, slowly making our way up hill.  One of my favorite things about hiking in the dessert is getting to see all of the cacti. I love me a good cactus.  Our favorite cactus happens to be the Sonoran cactus, which we saw at every turn on this hike.

I heart cacti

Ken hearts the desert

We made it to a fork in the trail and Ken wanted to go to the right, which meant we got onto a different trail to take us back to the car.  There was some discussion about the map being left in the car, but ultimately, the person that left the map in the car had also memorized the trail distances.  We carried on and I told Ken we would end up hiking 12 miles.  Not exactly the 7 mile hike we had planned on but tomato - tomat-o.  

One thing that we were not counting on was the fact that we would be scaling rocks and taking super huge steps.  The funniest part was when we came across some hikers going the opposite direction and they commented on the lack of assistance that Ken was providing me.  Ken and I both laughed about it and he told the guy that I was fine on my own and only get irritated when he helps.  This is only partly true.  They were some big steps!

Me celebrating that I did not break an ankle or leg coming down the steep stuff.

It was super steep!

My cute hiking partner.  For once his hand is on his hip and he is still smiling.  

Obviously we had to get a picture with our beloved cacti.  No way around that one!

Finally after what seemed like forever scaling boulders, we made it to the flat section and then were soon approaching the car.  After a 12 mile hike, we made our way for burgers and beers.  It was a successful day.

A pair of happy hikers