Hello wonderful readers. I have to begin by apologizing for failing to post anything for 7 months. Life has been busy and beautiful and stressful (though I'm trying to eradicate all signs of this feeling). I'm not even sure where to begin.
February: Charles' birthday, Isabella was born, Arizona Renaissance Festival
Baby Isabella was born February 18, and the 15 month old G did not really know how to take it. Those first few months were INSANE as he dealt with jealousy and regression, and 3 adults could barely handle the colicky newborn.
At least I was able to have my weekends. :) We went to the Ren Fest up in Mesa which was incredibly fun. We brought some of our Japanese friends who had never heard of such a thing. We even lent them costumes. I, of course, sewed my own costume, and was very pleased. While there, we were able to see some great dancers, shows, and sword swallowers, and eat some delicious food. I really love Renaissance Festivals. I hope to get a gig dancing next year.
March: beginning to officially plan our wedding, hiking, still learning how to take care of a newborn and a toddler, trying on wedding dresses, etc.
March brought some decisions about our wedding. We finally decided what kind of ceremony we wanted, when we wanted it, how big we wanted it, and what kind of venue we wanted. It took a lot of consideration, but we finally decided on a smallish ceremony outdoors here in the beautiful desert September 19. We even managed to make our own really awesome Save the Dates. We used a photo I had taken of some cardinals in a mesquite tree. We got them printed at CVS, where the woman in the photo lab gave us a super awesome deal (and helped a lot too). Props to her, wherever she may be.
We also managed to save some time for hiking in Ventana Canyon which is just another of the beautiful areas in which to explore the Sonoran. We were able to identify tons of plants and flowers in our field guide.
When I started thinking about wedding dresses, I never imagined a traditional dress for myself. However, Em and Satomi insisted that I try some on, and I wanted to get ideas anyway, so they took me to David's Bridal. I tried on 5 or 6 dresses, my favorite of which had a $12,000 tag. Haha. It was a total Cinderella gown, and I wouldn't have worn it anyway. BUT, the experience was pretty funny, and I got some good ideas of what NOT to wear. (I ended up making my own dress, of course, and it is much more me than any store bought dress could ever be.)
April: tons and tons of hiking, a visit home to TN, more wedding planning, and more taking care of the kids, and a visit from the lovely Xta
One of my favorite hiking experiences happened one weekend in April. We wanted to explore Saguaro Park East because we were looking at renting a house right near there for the wedding (which we did and will be perfect). The Rincon Mountains are so different from the Catalinas or the Tucsons, and the feeling eminating from that place is very special. We had hiked a short way up the Douglas Springs trail, but we decided to go even farther. We heard of a backcountry campground a ways in, and wanted to check it out. We thought it was 3ish miles up the trail, so we set out around 7 in the morning planning on a 6 mile trip. We also knew there was supposed to be water at the top, so planned on refilling our camelbacks once there. Well, the hike was amazing, and as you topped the ridges, and went into the mountains, the landscape became more savannah, with rolling fields of tall grasses, amazing flowers, more trees, and still more breathtaking views. We were passing all the right mile markers, but when we made it 4 miles in, we saw the post informing us that the campground was still 2 miles away. No problem, we thought. Well, it wasn't an easy 2 miles, and by this point it is already noon, and we have been using water as if we could refill by now. We kept going and every one we passed would tell us it was just around the bend. Haha. When we finally got there, an hour or two later, there was no water at all. And now we had 6 miles to hike back to the trail head. Needless to say by the end of that hike all I could think about was water. I didn't even notice my surroundings for that last mile, I was just dreaming about water and ice and more water. It's amazing what the body will do when it has no water. We were zombies. So, that experience taught us some valuable lessons: we now tote more water than we think we need and never rely on filling up on the trail. Also, we bought trail maps for every area in Tucson in order to verify destinations before we begin. In spite of any mishaps, I loved that trip, and I felt great the next day.
We did a couple more hikes that month. We even got to hike around Radnor Lake when we went back to Nashville for a weekend. That was amazing- how green and lush and wet everything seemed compared to life here in the desert. I think I saw almost everyone I know in Nashville during that weekend. Charles did too. Since he lived in Tennessee for 8 years, he has just as many friends as I do there (even though I grew up there). It worked out great because he got to visit with his friends while I visited with mine. Tons of friends and lots of family stopped by my mom's house to say hi and share good food and drink, and it was a general good time all around. I really love the Tennessee landscape- it seems I took it for granted when I actually lived there. Now, having experienced so many varied climates and lands, I can appreciate them all with more understanding.
Later on in April, Xta and J came out from San Diego, which is always a riot. We went out dancing one night- a total trip. The next night, we camped in Catalina State Park, and even did a beautiful sunset hike- where I took the photo that later wound up as our wedding invitation.
May: Mt. Lemmon, Chicago, Atlanta, wedding dress, apartment hunting
The month of May means it's getting hotter and hotter in Tucson, so a weekend escape to Summerhaven- at the top of Mt. Lemmon is just what the doctor orders. We took our friends for a cookout at about 20 degrees cooler than Tucson (but only half an hour away). It was lovely. The views are incredible as well.
We also began apartment hunting because my lease was up where I was living. We looked at what seemed like every apartment complex in Tucson, and just a couple weeks before having to move found the perfect place. It's in the Catalina Foothills, has a huge balcony with a mountain view, vaulted ceilings, free electricity, and is wicked cheap!!! We are very happy here.
I traveled to Chicago for four days with work, and realize that kids in a big city is really really really difficult. G spent most of the time covering his ears because it was so loud, and they both woke up at every siren. Also, we spent lots of time carrying the stroller up and down stairs because it's not a very stroller friendly city. I think Chicago is cool, and I've been there before, but I'm just really not a city girl. I get sort of claustrophobic. Anyway, the trip had it's fun moments, and Em's family is super super super amazing, so I'm always glad to get to spend time with them. Needless to say, I was exhausted and actually got sick for a week after returning. Oh yeah, and this was right when the swine flu craze was all over the press, so we were freaks about the Lysol on the airplane.
I also finished sewing my wedding dress. It's more like a sundress, actually, and I'm very happy with it. I will not post pics until after September 19 ;)
Finally, my dearest friend Ashley flew me out to Atlanta for Memorial Day weekend. I got to see my lovely Xandra, and introduce these two dear ladies to one another. We went dancing, out for Indian food, got pedicures, went to the natural history museum, went to a puppet show, a puppet museum, made puppets, made food, and had a general amazing time.
I will continue June- the present in my next entry......