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Family Life

Randolph AFB Fire Department Field Trip

I asked if they ever do tours at the station for kids, and they invited me to come by the next morning, to crash an elementary school’s tour that was already scheduled.

So in the morning, the kids grabbed their hats and excitedly hopped into their car seats to head to the station.

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San Antonio Natural Parenting (SANP) Family Night Out

The first “crunchy” gathering I’ve gone to here was the San Antonio Natural Parenting groups’ Family Night Out. We had a delicious dinner at Big’z Burger Joint, which has really yummy gluten free buns and lots of toppings to choose from. There’s a giant fenced-in artificial lawn, where the kids all ran around and played with playground balls.

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Last leg to Randolph AFB (Air Force Base)

Partway through our drive, I asked Siri on the iPhone if there was a Starbucks nearby, and she told me that there was one in about 10 miles. I walky-talkied to the Guy that I thought it would be a good time/place to stop, and he wanted coffee too so he agreed. It was the prettiest Starbucks I think I’ve ever seen, in Kerrville, Texas, right on a lake. I ran in and got coffee, and asked the baristas if they knew of a park nearby. They sent us to one right on the other side of the dam, on the Guadalupe River.

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Caverns of Sonora, Texas

Some of the rooms are really echoey, and I would tell Joseph, “Why don’t you try out your voice?” He responded by making a loud sharp, “AH!!!” and then giggling, repeating a few times. Sometimes he tried for an echo in a non-echoey place and seemed irritated that his voice wasn’t rebounding.

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Fort Stockton, TX to Ozona Park to Sonora, TX

We wanted to have a picnic at the windmill, but since that was a no go, we kept driving. After a while, we needed a restroom and gas stop, so we pulled off in Ozona, Texas. I asked if there was a playground or picnic area nearby, and a nice lady from the Chamber of Commerce, who happened to be in the convenience store shopping, directed me to a wonderful park.

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Roswell, NM to Fort Stockton, TX

Driving through Arizona and New Mexico, we mostly saw the cloudless skies we’ve become accustomed to in Lemoore, California. The climate is so dry, there’s just no moisture to make clouds at all, most days. But as soon as we hit Texas, all of a sudden, gorgeous clouds appeared. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I saw them again. Hello there, old friends.

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Roswell, NM – UFO Museum

So I could have spent all day at the UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. I thought it would be really really cheesy, but it is just a huge collection of newspaper clippings, letters, affidavits, photographs, medical records, and more. I could have read all day long.

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Meteor Crater – Winslow, Arizona

We headed to Winslow, just a short drive from Flagstaff, to see the Meteor Crater – the world’s best-preserved meteorite crater.

The largest chunk of the meteorite is there, and you can touch it, which is pretty cool. No glass cases! Just super awesome space rock.

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Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I took way too many pictures here, but the Grand Canyon is just so gorgeous. I won’t give you a history or a geographical explanation. That’s what books and Google are for. But the canyon is beautiful. And the expanse of purely natural land, sculpted by nothing more than water, is awe inspiring.

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Bearizona – Williams, AZ Things to Do With Kids

After the driving part, we got out to walk around the more-zoo-like walk-through area with smaller animals. Peacocks roamed freely, while other animals had their own habitats. Trendy chalkbaord signs instructed us to look up into the trees for some animals who like to climb. The raccoons sleeping in the branches were the cutest!

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Good Riddance, Riverside Hotel & Casino

We went to a local park in Bullhead, Arizona and had a lovely picnic. The kids played and expended some energy before we hopped in the car to start our day’s journey at about 11:30, way later than we had planned.

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More Driving, Barstow, Laughlin

We arrived at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nevada for our overnight stay. The room is fine, and the scenery is beautiful, but it’s reminding me that casinos are probably the saddest places in the world.

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NAWS China Lake, CA

Once we arrived on base, and checked into the temporary family lodging, I made steak, salad, and vegetables for us all. We thought we would take advantage of having a kitchen while we could.

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Packing Day

I explained to her that the house was just the outside part that held our home. We borrowed it, and now someone else is going to have a turn.

But out home is coming with us. That’s our family, the memories we have made, the adventures we will have, and yes, our belongings too.

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It’s not goodbye; it’s see you later.

You know that friend you can spend all day with and never get exhausted (introverts will know what I mean)? The one you don’t worry about putting on a non-banana-smeared shirt for if she’s coming over? The one whose house you can stop by without calling first, to drop off something she left at your house, or something from the market you think she’d like?

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Hidden Valley Park – Hanford, CA

I took the kids to some of our neighborhood playgrounds in our last few days in Lemoore, but I wanted to take them to a Big Park in town before we left California.

I decided on Hidden Valley Park because they have a really nice playground area, but also a pond full of ducks and geese, with shaded areas where families can relax together.

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Hanford, CA China Alley Photos

What I love about Hanford’s China Alley, for photos, is the rich colors and different textures which line the street. Nothing falsely aged or weathered. Just real 125-year-plus buildings.

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12 Simple Tips for Fauxtographing Your Children

Fauxtographer is a term generally used as an insult by the threatened-photographer crowd. But my friends and I use it jokingly, to convey the idea that although we are not pro photographers, and we know we’re not, we try to take the best pictures we can and strive to learn new things each time we pull out our cameras. And you can too.

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Superior Dairy in Hanford, CA – Things to Do with Kids

On the day we moved to Hanford, California, my husband and I stopped by the city office to do something… I guess probably something utilities-related.

We didn’t have any kids yet, and although I was pregnant with Anneliese, I didn’t know I was at that point. An old man stopped us in the Civic Center Park and started chatting with us. When he found out we were new to the area, he told us in no uncertain terms that we needed to pay a visit to Superior Dairy, the local ice cream shop.

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One (Free) Gift Every Mom Should Give Her Kids

The couch seats become exciting loft beds. Books become more special when shared in “privacy” with a sibling or enjoyed alone. Everyday snacks are transformed into feasts prepared by the toddlers in their own house, castle, hideaway, ship, cabin, fort.

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