That’s the Wild West!

My now 5 year old overlooking Horseshoe Bend on his birthday

The title of this blog was given by my 5-year old. We spent our Thanksgiving vacation in Arizona/Utah, and he was adamant on calling it the Wild West. 

Road trip ready 🚗 💨
My baby sister lives in El Paso, and we did Thanksgiving there again. Read about our last trip there here, Road to El Paso. I don’t know why my family allows me to convince them to make additional trips along with the trip we’re already taking. I somehow persuaded them into going to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, my mom also requested that we swing by Four Corners as well. 

And so we journeyed to El Paso, it took roughly a day from Baton Rouge. We’ve made this trip enough that we have breaks mapped out, stopping in various towns along the way. 

So let’s talk about the drive from El Paso to Arizona, AMAZING. Where I’m from it’s rather flat and water everywhere, so to see the topography change was just mind blowing. Hmm, I hope I used topography in context. 

​​

Somewhere in New Mexico

Anywho, the drive up to Page was roughly 9 hours. I will say that it is totally dark on those highways at night! I had never felt closer to the stars, you can see EVERYTHING. 

It was about 11pm when we arrived to our hotel, so we were in for the night. For some reason, I was the first person awake the next morning. When I opened the curtains, I was so excited. I can’t describe my love of nature and geography, but just know I was ready to get the day going. ​

Good morning from Page, Arizona

Our first stop on this adventure was Antelope Canyon. Here is where my son excitedly said ” Oooooh mama that’s the Wild West”.  It was so freakin cute and hilarious 

Our tour through the canyon was with Ken’s Tours, and Sitting Buffalo was our guide. 

The tours were delayed due to the previous day being rained out. They had to ensure that everyone got to experience the canyon. 

Here’s where our trek began

While we were waiting to actually go down, Sitting Buffalo told us how the  Navajo were able to keep their land. My immediate reaction was to blurt out “Well isn’t that some bullshit. The US government has some shit with them”. I didn’t mean to cuss, but hey. 

Going down into the canyon was scary because it was so steep. I had to hold my 45lbs 2-year old, as I didn’t trust his coordination. Honestly I was freaking out over my oldest climbing by himself , but I couldn’t carry the both of them without all of us falling.

Once we were inside, it was amazing! I cannot find the words to describe the canyon, so I’ll simply post photos for your viewing pleasure. There was some minor climbing to do while down in the canyon, my baby boy was able to handle it alone. 

Captured my mom capturing the beauty
Amir doing some climbing

The crew
After we were done at Upper Antelope Canyon, we took a short drive over to Horseshoe Bend. It’s a walk from the parking area. Like prepare for you daily cardio type of walk, it’s on an incline. *You were warned* The walk is well worth the view!

There were a lot of people at the top, so I had to get in where I could to capture photos. I very badly wanted a pic sitting on the edge, but the shoes I had worn didn’t have the proper grip, and I was not ready to risk my life for a photo op. 

Again, I could list several adjectives to describe Horseshoe Bend, but I’ll just leave you with photos. The photos hardly do any justice to the beauty of this place.

My family enjoying the sunset

How can you not love this view?

The final piece of this vacation, was a stop over at the Four Corners monument. Here is where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. 

It’s really not much to see there, but it’s cool that you can be in four states at once. Thanks to the History Channel docu-series  How the States Got Their Shapes, I just had to visit. We made the best out of it.

We had a blast in this trip.

The Wild West was quite relaxing. I’m already planning another trip, specifically to Monument Valley. 

Thanks for reading!! 

For more, follow me on Twitter and Instagram

Advertisements

Road to El Paso

This year, I decided to do Thanksgiving in El Paso with my baby sister. Earlier this year we road tripped for the birth of my nephew. I had planned how and what I’d pack ahead of time, but my sister went into labor earlier than anyone expected. She also birthed my nephew before we even left our hometown. Disappointing, as she had been there when I had my boys, but babies come when they are ready.

Nonetheless, I wanted this trip to be properly planned, so that it’d go as smoothly as possible. Pinterest had a plethora of ways to pack and activities to bring, and they all seemed like great ideas. Nothing really seemed practical for me, so I did what I thought was best for us.

Everyone was given their own duffle bag. I packed fairly basically, standard jean/pants colors with a variety of shirts. I’ve previously tried the packing specific outfits for each day, didn’t work, as I generally dress according to my mood when I wake up. I didn’t pack essentials (toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc), I chose to buy them when we reached our destination. The most challenging part of packing this time, was making sure my boys wouldn’t bore easily and quickly. 

My boys are 4 and 1 and they’ll pick fights with each other when they get bored. We were facing an 18 hour drive and I definitely didn’t want them to fuss and fight. I kept the items packed for them very simple. My 4 year old had to have his handy dandy Leap Frog Leap Pad 2. Dad had just purchased him the Jake and the Neverland Pirates Mathematics game cartridge, this was a great time for him to start using it. He was also equipped with crayons, and handwriting pad, his Spanish language toy, and a composition notebook. 

  

For my baby boy I solely packed his Leap Frog My Own LeapTop. Both boys had their own book sacks, so no confusion would come over who had what, so I thought. 

  Waiting for Gigi to pull up.



We had a big breakfast, that consisted of oatmeal (actual oats cooked on the stovetop), scrambled eggs, and toast. As far as packing snacks, I kept it very simple. We had a few bags of chips and water, we stopped for lunch in Beaumont, TX. We drove until we reached Schulenburg Texas, where we stopped for a 2 hour nap. I don’t sleep much on road trips, so while everyone was sleeping I explored the store we stopped at. I hit the mother load! I hadn’t had Blue Bell ice cream in ages, and it’s still not available in Louisiana. 
  It was sooo good!



Nap time was over, time to get back on the road. Not before my oldest vomited in the backseat. Luckily to my being prepared, the backseat had been covered with towels, so any mess could quickly be cleaned. Also an extra set of clothing was in each of their book sacks. 
Back on the road. The rest of the trip went smoothly. I’m pretty sure that my preparedness for this trip helped it go smoothly. I was so hell bent on having everything  perfectly packed and being prepared, but ended up going with what works for us. I found that the key for road tripping with children is knowing what your children like and how long it’ll be before they get agitated. Lol, I forgot to mention we made it pass Whiskey Bay and had to go back to Baton Rouge because my mom forgot her bag with her shoes. 

So travel with children is possible, just be prepared for anything.
You can check out pics from my trip on my Instagram!!

Down in New Orleans 

  

 

As a mom, I try to expose my boys to as many great experiences as possible. We have been to countless museums, and many more are on the list. About two weeks ago, I was looking for museums in New Orleans to visit. I came across the Musée Conti Wax Museum, and thought “Hmm this seems interesting”. I am a Louisiana native, Baton Rouge born and raised, and never have I ever been to this particular museum; sad, I know. Before deciding we would go, I did a little research so I would not be totally ignorant to what the museum offers. I have a history degree, so I try stay on my A game when visiting museums. On their website was this , “NOTE: Musee Conti will officially close on January 31, 2016!“. The history buff in me was shocked. I thought “Oh no we have to go visit”. 

  

Saturday morning arrives, I get the kiddos dressed, and we head out. On the way there (about an hour drive), I gave my usual museum pep talk. We arrive in the Big Easy, park, and make our way to the museum. We walked in and instantly I was excited! That is until we began the tour.  The lighting in the museum was horrible and there was quite a sharp odor, but that did not bother me. What did bother me was the fact that the exhibits were exceedingly basic.  I expected the exhibits to give greater details of events of New Orleans history. I believe majority of us Louisianians learned everything the museum had to offer in our grade school Louisiana history class. I just felt as if though many more events in New Orleans history should have been displayed. I was able to explain what was taking place in each exhibit before I read the description that went along with. 

  

As we concluded the tour, I was disappointed. My 3 year old very openly expressed how he did not like the museum either; that I did not want to hear. Maybe I set the bar for his expectations of museums high at an early age. Deep down I believe that because there were no hands on exhibits, he was not too fond of the museum. I was disappointed because of the potential this hidden gem has to be an even greater jewel to the city. The history and culture of New Orleans is very rich, and enjoyed by everyone. 

  

I am not quite sure why the museum is closing, but I will assume funding is a major factor based upon how plain it was. Yes it is a small museum compared to most, but size does not matter. Presentation is how you capture your audience, at least that’s what I think.  Given the right amount of funding, I truly believe the museum would be AWESOME. Nonetheless, I hate to see something that has so much potential to be a significant asset to our state, and the city of New Orleans close. 

*Please do not let my disappointment in the museum deter you from checking it out yourselves.*

  

After a very short museum visit, I was left to answer the question “Well what next?” Since we were already in the French Quarter, it seemed like a good idea to just walk and see where we ended up. This was quite the task with one and three years old boys in tow, but very well worth it. 

I have walked the French Quarter several times in my lifetime, and on this day, I saw the beauty of it all. This stroll with my mom and my sons brought me back to when I visited Barcelona and Valencia (the Spanish reigned in Louisiana), and how much I loved both cities.  

 

Witnessing my children encountering total strangers and being excited about it made me smile.

 

  

In true Louisiana fashion, everyone was hospitable. What really made my heart smile were my boys genuine interest in what they saw. The “Ooooo mama, what’s that?” question was asked at least one hundred times. We even crossed paths with a random Secondline, and my children being who they are, broke out into laughter and dance. Simply walking and people watching was fulfillment enough for my expectations I had of the day. We truly walked aimlessly until the boys began to tire. 

The street performers, buildings, small shops,  people enjoying themselves as if no one was watching, I loved it all! 

  

New Orleans is an enjoyable city with so much fun to offer. A planned museum visit turned into so much more. I walked away from the day believing that sometimes our plans do not work out so we can stumble onto something greater. A simple promenade through the French Quarter, exposed my sons to sights my mother did not expose me and my sisters to until we were teens. I am cheerful that I did not let the museum experience propel me into loading up, and driving back home. I am a planner, so when things do not go according to plan I freak. Carpe Diem is something I am working on, and NOLA was a great city to begin. Thank you New Orleans for showing this Louisiana girl and company a good time! 

LAISSEZ BON TEMP ROULER

Follow me on Instagram and  Twitter