Wintering in Arizona…

…well, because…this is where we live now!

So, I guess we will be Springing, Summering, and Falling here, too.

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Just wanted to give you people an update on our southwestern adventures thus far. Of course, there will be pictures so you don’t get bored with my writing.

Before I go any further, though…..I have to give a…BIG “SHOUT OUT” and express thanks to the many friends and family who visited us, prayed for us, and financially supported Andy during our time in Kansas. We couldn’t have done it without you. We continue to pray our good Heavenly Father’s great blessing on your lives. Thanks for joining us on that journey!

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I am also so grateful for my opportunity to work at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. I learned so much from around 30 brilliant, compassionate SLPs that I am privileged to also call friends. Best job ever!

Andy and I made so many sweet memories with our dear church friends who we like to call family. We look forward to several of them coming out to see us. For now, we will make do seeing you on Facebook and Instagram.

It has been over 9 months since I have blogged. What a loser.

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Really. Maybe I can do better this year. Let me give you my excuses. Beginning in August 2017, we spent all of our spare time prepping a house to sell, meeting with contractors/handymen, updating resumes, looking for an AZ house, packing, and moving. After moving to AZ in December, we have been trying to unpack and get settled.

I have my New York trip blog almost finished, and I have a few other ideas in the brain, so maybe you will come back and visit to read those in the coming months.

Here we go..

The Move
We headed out of the KC area on Friday evening, December 1 and made it to Tucson on Sunday, December 3. The contract for purchase of the house was signed on Monday, December 4 and the movers arrived on December 7 with our stuff. We still don’t know where that moving truck was from Nov 30 until December 7- maybe our furniture wanted to take a vacay. Only Gally, the driver, knows, and he ain’t telling. I drove to Phoenix for orientation on December 8. Our first Sunday with Common Ground was December 10, and I started my new job on December 12. Whew! We made it.

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Christmas
Because I am now working in a school system, I had a lovely 2 week break. We were able to enjoy some Christmas-y things while attempting to unpack. The community where we live has a parade, our our church has a float. Andy and I even had the chance to walk in the parade and hand out candy canes! What the what? Welcome to town, put on a hat, be in our parade! So fun!

Our new friends, David and Stephanie, took us to the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Evidently, a whole neighborhood puts on a show for the city every year. It was awesome. Lots of lights, hayride wagons, bus trolleys, pedal bikes, snow machines, music, kettle corn, steel drum bands, and 15,000 other people. The neighborhood is called Winterhaven all year long, by the way.

 

 

We had a low-key Christmas day. Although we missed being with our family, we enjoyed the ease of the day. We were able to FaceTime with both families, stay in our comfy clothes (we don’t stay in our jam-jams because we have to get up to walk the Maxster every morning), watch Christmas movies, enjoy canned cinnamon rolls and Crockpot (poor Jack Pearson) Creamy Italian Chicken (recipe courtesy of Amy Harris), and take naps. We did have to take our own Christmas family portrait this year- Mom and Dad have been so sweet to do that for us in the past. It was definitely the warmest Christmas Day either of us have ever had!

 

Max
Max is adjusting well. He has learned not to crouch over cacti to take care of business. One morning, he started sniffing around a cactus and I was not paying very close attention, and he came out with needles stuck to his paws, his face, and his ears. Bless.

Max loves the cool tile floors in the house, and you will most likely find him sprawled out somewhere on the tile most days.

Puppy had a bout of Old Dog Vestibular Disease a few weeks back. It is similar to vertigo, so he was having difficulty walking, was nauseated, and looked disoriented. It was scary, but his case was pretty textbook, and most symptoms resolved in 2 weeks’ time. He continues to have a slight head tilt, which just makes him look more inquisitive and cute.

The neighbor dog continues to peer over the fence and bark. Max jumps up on his hind legs to get at him. The poor tree/bush thing right next to the wall has been broken and battered a few times. Fortunately, the neighbors travel often and take Nosy with them.

We get lots of walking in because the weather is so beautiful and because we have so many walking trails, sidewalks, and parks. We should all be slimming up by summer. That is good because we heard it can be too hot to walk some days due to the extreme heat.

 

The Food

I must say, I miss espinaca! Most Mexican restaurants we have visited have no queso!! I love my liquid cheese. Where are you Austin Winnett and your Crockpot (poor Jack) full of deliciousness?? Here is that recipe, bee tee dubs:  Espinaca-KC Style

We are still exploring to find a favorite place. So far, the fajitas have been good at a few local joints.

School lunches have been fun! I have enjoyed street tacos, homemade taco soup with fresh cilantro, homemade salsa, and albondigas soup! Albondigas is a Mexican meatball soup, and it was fine. IMG_0564.jpg

 

The homemade tortillas are the best. Alejandro’s and Don Juan are two of the best local brands I have tried. We now have breakfast burritos pretty often at home. I also like to butter my tortillas and heat them in the skillet. One day, I added apple butter to the hot tortilla and made an apple butter quesadilla. What the what!

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eegee’s- This restauarant makes these frozen fruit slushy drinks. They are sweet but tasty. Each month, there is a new flavor to try. We have had Holiday Berry, Prickly Pear, Strawberry, and Pina Coloda. When you come see us, I will buy you one!

 

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Sonoran Hot Dogs- you take a hot dog, wrap it in bacon, add beans, cheese, guacamole, onions, mayo, and green salsa. It was interesting, but I didn’t love it. Then again, I don’t love hot dogs.

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I made this King Cake Braid.  It was tasty. No one at work knew anything about Mardi Gras or a King Cake.

 

 

I did see this interesting item up in the Costco in Tuscon after Christmas.

 

 

I made these M&M Bars again for Valentine’s Day. I think I will do it again around Easter and use pastel M&Ms.IMG_0585.jpg

 

We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast at the Baja Cafe- eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy. Andy ordered the Pecan Roll pancake, I ordered the Georgia Peach French toast, and because it was our first time, we scored a free Snickerdoodle pancake. We will definitely be back. Leftovers for days-literally.

 

 

Andy bought these and I balked. Then I tried them. They are just my new favorite cereal.

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The Sky
We have no street lights in our community to decrease Light Pollution. There are light codes to preserve the dark skies for the local observatories. So, as a result, our views of the night sky are incredible. We also have fabulous sunsets and sunrises. I am collecting them. Go God!

 

Nature
Wildlife is different here in the AZ. Max and I have encountered some roadrunners on our daily walk. They are a hoot to watch.

We have been warned about the javelina, and I am not sure I want to meet one yet.

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Summertime will bring rattlesnakes, scorpions, Sonoran desert toads, and spiders, oh my!

I think we can actually go to the Desert Museum and learn about safety with wildlife. Max can take a snake avoidance class. I don’t need a class to avoid those critters. Don’t even like to look at them in photos- so, no pictures here. I like these, instead.

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Our First Visitor

My aunt, Neecie, flew in to visit us in January, and we were so happy to have our first guest. She was able to explore some and get to take some pictures. I think she liked eegee’s because she had a few while she was here. Can’t wait for her to come back!

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San Xavier Mission
On our first trip here in August, we were able to see this beautiful structure up close. It was a hot day when we visited back in August. I took Neecie in January, and we got some great photos. The mission is on the San Xavier Indian Reservation, and free tours are available during the day. It is something to see. If you come, we will take you.

 

 

The Yard
When we built our first house, we lived on one acre of land, so we needed a riding lawn mower to cut the grass. I always went full speed on that thing to get the grass cutting over with asap. When we moved to AL, the yard was smaller, so we bought a push mower that lasted until Kansas. Andy sold it in November before we moved. Andy is a good yard boy. He always mows three times to get the criss-crossed, diagonal look, and he makes sure grass seed is spread naturally through clippings. He uses the edger and distributes fertilizer. “Cutting the grass” could take him a good 4 hours, which always drove me crazy when he did it on Saturday, and I had other plans. Fast forward to AZ, where we have only a little spot of green. Andy bought this bad boy.

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Grass cutting doesn’t take so long now. Here is a demonstration:

 

Grunting happens when you are short and you meet resistance on a large tuft of grass and you don’t have enough leverage to push hard. Anyway, you need to try it, you will like it. My other name is Tom Sawyer.

Español
I hear Spanish spoken everyday at school and whenever I am out shopping. After taking two years of Spanish in college, I only retained a few vocabulary words. Andy spent one summer in college on a Spanish immersion mission trip in Venezuela, so he knows more than I. Granny and Grandaddy spent 3 months of the year in Puerto Vallarta during their retirement years, so Grandaddy practiced daily and became proficient. Andy and I are challenged to keep the brains sharp with brushing up on our Spanish. Mexican Spanish may be a little different, but we are willing to learn!

 

The Lemons and the Mandarins
I love having fruit trees in the yard! After harvesting the lemons, I made this Lemonade and these Lemon Bars.  I also printed out this  Lemon Shrimp Pasta for the future. We also have a mandarin tree, but I don’t know what to do with them! I must go Pinteresting. We cut one open and tasted, but they were a little tart. They also looked a little funny.

IMG_0127Oranges are my preferred citrus, so this could be fun.

 

The Snowbirds
I have never had the pleasure to live in a place that was such a destination location. Evidently, thousands upon thousands of older adults and retirees head to the ‘Zona from October until April. The traffic increases, the lines at the pharmacy grow longer, and stores/restaurants are busier. You see car tags from all over the country here You learn to do your grocery shopping after dark and avoid Senior discount Wednesday at Fry’s and Safeway. Mostly, you see grey headed folks everywhere. That doesn’t bother me, though. They make me think of all my sweet grandparents, who I was blessed to know for many years. This past year, my last two living ones went to meet Jesus. Dorothy Smith, my dad’s stepmother, left us in September at the grand age of 97, and she was ready to go! Mom’s mother, Sarah Morris, moved on in November after nine decades and four years. I was her first grandchild, so we were pretty tight.

What hope we have in knowing Jesus and the promise of a reunion with those we love who also know Him! It just transforms the bitterness of death into a divine sweetness. I imagine those precious souls now unencumbered by aged bodies and minds. What lovely ladies to have in my ancestry.

I guess since BG and Sue are retired they could technically qualify as snowbirds if they came out here for a long visit, but I know they can move pretty quickly through Sam’s, Wal-mart, Target, and Superlo Foods. If they are in that age range, what am I? A rainbird? A flurrybird? Redbird? Frostbird. Grey hairs, shmay hairs.

The Memes
Boy, do I love a silly meme. Amanda, Halie, Alyssa, and Michelle don’t seem to mind when I send one their way, and I so appreciate a good laugh in the middle of the day. Here are some of my latest faves:

 

 

The Plans to Explore
Gosh, I never thought I would want to live in the desert. It is just a different kind of beautiful. Everyday, I see mountains. Most days, I see the sunrise over the mountains. I get to view the sky changing as the morning light and clouds paint a gorgeous picture. We have been told that we need to hop on over to San Diego; drive up to Sedona, Flagstaff, and Scottsdale; view the Grand Canyon ( I would be a first-timer); and even catch a show in Vegas.

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We are pumped about exploring this part of the country. Mexico is only about 30 minutes away, so international travel can happen in less than an hour. Won’t you come play with us?

Here are some of the local things we hope to check out soon:

Mount Lemmon

Titan Missile Museum

Desert Museum

Old Tucson

Pima Air and Space Museum

 

Future Blog Posts

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Well, I think that is all for now. We hope to stay connected with you! Let me know what you love to do in AZ. Let me know when you wanna come see us. The Murry B & B is taking reservations.

In the near future, I hope to share about my Besties trip to NYC from May of 2017, some final adventures in Kansas, what happens when BG and Sue come to town, and who might have a big birthday coming up soon.

Love y’all! Thanks for hanging in there. Keep coming back for the pictures!

xoxo

ksm

 


6 thoughts on “Wintering in Arizona…

  1. Such an awesome perspective! I love to hear about this dirt hole I grew up in in a beautiful new way! You guys are awesome and I’m so glad God has brought you guys here!

  2. Fun reading all about your experiences. Warning: My first day at Lakeside was 39 years ago and it began on Dec 3rd! My prayer was Lord help me make it at least 1 year!. My mistake was saying “at least” LOL. GREAT to see and hear how wonderful everything Is going. Enjoy and be happy.

  3. Awww, Kristi, your gift for sharing the fun and lovely and yummy and your sweet heart has not lessened! Arizona is a place I’d like to go so I might have to load up the Bob and come visiting one day soon! Hugs to you, Andy and Max!!

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