Our Pet Dinosaur and other assorted photos

Fiona found her pet dinosaur. Several in fact. You can see in the gallery below photos of Fiona riding a dinosaur and walking another. They vary in size from very tiny (Fiona can hold the head of one in her hand) to HUGE!

We decided not to drive the main interstate between Colorado and Albuquerque and went the back roads through Taos instead, the home of Kit Carson. We also drove along the Rio Grande.

We’re enjoying our stay in New Mexico other than the smoke we’re getting from the fires in Arizona. Hopefully it will clear in a few days and we can continue to enjoy this gorgeous weather.

Adventurous Mishaps Traveling from Arizona to New Mexico to Colorado

We left at 7:30 am Saturday to start the long drive from Arizona to Albuquerque New Mexico. We had gotten everything packed the night before and felt great about getting started. During the two weeks we’d been in Mesa house sitting, we’d never had any problems with the garage door opening and closing. But sure enough, when we went to leave that morning we couldn’t get it to close electronically. After several attempts Joel manually closed it and we made sure it locked. (Since then the home owners say it works just fine!)

Our first goal was to find a Starbucks and get our morning tea. Though we know there are half a dozen Starbucks in the area we were in, we just couldn’t seem to find one. We finally gave up because we wanted to hit the road.

Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona

The Nomad Canfields

Last Saturday we took Fiona to visit the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. We found a coupon online for $2 off each adult admission. Once we got there we found out that for an additional $3.50 each we could also go into the seasonal butterfly exhibit.

nomad canfields
The Nomad Canfields

Meet Other Traveling Families

Today we met other traveling families. I connected with these families on Twitter and found out they were in the Phoenix Arizona area at the same time as us. So we arranged to meet up at The Riparian Institute in Mesa for lunch today. Let me introduce you.

The Boyink family started traveling the same month as us, September 2010. We’re all getting ready to post our 6-month blog posts. You can read all about their family and travels at their blog. Joel especially enjoyed chatting with Mike about Mike’s book, Building an ExpressionEngine 2 Site.

Day-to-Day Life House Sitting in Arizona

We’re settling in at our house sitting gig here in Mesa. We both feel at ‘home’ here. It’s helpful that we’re house sitting for close friends and have stayed with them extensively in the past. So we know where everything is, how to use the washer and dryer, when to put out the trash for pickup on garbage day and what they expect when they return home April 1st.

We’re settling in to our day-to-day routine – making fresh bread each day, getting Fiona working on school work again (she had fun painting today), staying on top of client work and marketing our business online.

Fiona painting works of art
Fiona painting works of art

We’re looking forward to this Friday when

Monday’s Trip from Arizona to California

It’s taken me a few days to catch up and get this post written about our trip this past Monday.

Joel and I both woke up at 4 am but decided to try to get some more rest before our alarm went off at 5:45 am. Quick showers, cup of tea, check email, finish packing the van and we were on the road at 7:30 am. Today is the long 13-hour drive from Mesa Arizona to Roseville California.

Our first stop was at the Burnt Well rest area to use the facilities and a quick leg stretch. It was also the first school lesson of the day – learning more about Arizona cacti.

It was interesting to see a bit later snow on the mountains as we came into California.

For lunch we met Susie Speck Mayor at Fab Hot Dog, a hot dog place in Los Angeles she and her husband own and operate. Joel met Susie on Triiibes. Susie treated us all to our choice of hot dog and Fiona had her first YooHoo.

So we’re here in Roseville now and in two weeks our daughter Rachelle gets married.

Coming Back Home – Where is Home?

Yesterday I read a post at another traveler’s blog discussing where home is. Being a nomad means we have no home in the traditional sense of the word. Our last home was a rental in Roseville California. Now when asked where is home, I answer, here – where we are right now.

Right now, today, home is in Mesa Arizona. Home is where ever my husband and daughter are at. Monday home will be in Roseville California through March 20th. So some may think I’m going back home. Yet California doesn’t feel like home anymore.

When we return to Mesa Arizona on March 21st, it will feel like I’m coming back home. At least for a while. Until we go ‘home’ to Rice Lake Wisconsin where Joel’s mom lives. Joel was born in Wisconsin so he’ll be going home in yet another sense.

Home here in Arizona for the past 7 weeks has been great. Our hosts and friends, the Wilson’s, have made us feel right at home. We all pitch in together to shop, cook, and clean. We enjoy watching movies together at the end of the day. Joel and Terry, both musicians and bass players, loved participating in FAWM during February and creating new songs.

Fiona right now is making peanut butter cookies with Virgie. She loves both Terry and Virgie and they have made her feel very special while we’ve been here.

We’re very grateful to the Wilsons for hosting us these past 7 weeks. We’re happy they want us to come back to house sit in March while they’re on vacation. It will be nice to have a place to ourselves for a couple of weeks in a place where we feel comfortable and AT HOME!

Adjustments in a Drier Climate

We’ve been in Arizona for six weeks now and Fiona seems to be having a challenge adjusting to the drier climate. I checked one day last week and the humidity in our old home town of Roseville California was 80% whereas here in Mesa it was 18%. That’s a huge difference! You should see what happens to our hair when we brush it – talk about static electricity!

My skin has been much drier and sometimes when at night as I’m trying to drift off to sleep my back itches like crazy due to the dryness. I’ve been trying to drink a lot more water and have used more hand lotion than I usually do.

However this last week Fiona broke out in strange small bumps all over – sort of like goose bumps. Her nose started itching like crazy, she has purple bags under her eyes and today her face started itching like crazy and developed red blotches and her skin is obviously very dry. I know what chicken pox, measles, and other rashes look like and this was completely different.

So I did some research online and found that she seems to be having some sort of reaction, sort of an allergic reaction, to this climate. So I started thinking about how to treat allergies with an antihistamine and knew I’d rather try something natural than an over-the-counter medication. And since I’ve used essential oils for years, I wondered if one of the oils I already had would be useful.

I found that Lavender is a natural antihistamine and I happen to have some Lavender essential oil. I sometimes put a drop or two of lavender in a bath and I plan to do that later for Fiona. In the meantime I got out the bottle of lavender and told her I thought it would help. Usually she doesn’t like the smell of the lavender oil; it’s too strong she says. This time I held the open bottle up to her nose and she inhaled deeply and said it smelled good. That’s a sure sign that her body needed it.

I rubbed some lavender oil into some lotion and rubbed it on her. Since it can be taken orally as well, I put a couple of drops in her apple juice and she gulped that down. In no time at all she said she didn’t itch anymore.

Since we’ll be back in Arizona for another two to three weeks at the end of March, I’d better keep the lavender on hand.

Have you ever suffered ill effects from a drier climate? I’d love to hear your stories and how you adjusted!

Ducks in the Pond Behind the Library in Mesa

Yesterday we took Fiona to the library again. She had to return those 20 books so she could get 20 more.

Behind the library here in Mesa is a pond with ducks. Nearby is a park and even a small observatory. We’ll have to go back to see about that observatory.

Enjoy the pictures of Fiona!

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona

Today our hosts, Terry and Virgie Wilson, took us to see the Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona. Since Fiona is home schooled, it was a field trip for her as well. We had a lot of fun climbing up to the hole in the rock and back down.

After we ate our picnic lunch, we fed the birds in the pond. Then Virgie and Fiona did some exploring while Joel and I had a chance to relax and enjoy the perfect weather today. It was sunshine and 76 degrees with a nice breeze!

Enjoy our pictures!