Sunday, December 20, 2015

Disney (October 2015)

What a special fall break!  The Saylor women have been planning Lily's surprise for almost a to Disneyland we went for three glorious nights!  

~my travel companion was so excited to have her own suitcase and confidently navigated the airport "on her own".  Wow, she reminds me of someone...

~Lily long ago decided she wanted to be Maleficent for Halloween and was thrilled to find a part of her costume in Downtown Disney, which we explored upon our arrival.  We then spent the afternoon swimming while waiting for our room to be ready. 

~ We stayed at a disney resort and therefore had early access to the park.  Alarms went off at 5am, and we were showered, fed, caffeinated and first in line for the 7am entry to the park.  

~Character sightings were a huge deal.  Of course Lily's favorites were the princesses during Ariel's Grotto at lunch, though Auntie M and I enjoyed our "buzzed with Buzz" photo op.

~Lily's favorite rides were Cars Land, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.  Which made this mom so proud...our girl isn't know to be overly brave or adventurous but she gave most rides a chance and grew more confident and brave as the days went on.  By the end, she would have ridden any and every rollercoaster!  (Though when she begged to do the Star Wars ride again...Auntie and I both said "no way!" as we were both a little motion sick.  Somehow Nanny opted out of this one...she read the reviews and "offered" to stand in line for beignets instead).    

~Speaking of, the best part of traveling with Auntie M and Nanny = we don't miss a meal!  While I had a detailed list of rides and exactly how we should go about navigating the park, Auntie had an equally detailed list of how to ensure we didn't miss all the best foods at Disney.  We were the perfect combination! (The spicy corndog was amazing...we may or may not have gone back for a second one after putting Lily and Nanny to bed!)

~It was a weekend that we will all remember for a long time.  Huge thanks to Nanny and Auntie for making it so very special for Lily!  

~While the girls were in California, the boys flew to Kansas and had a weekend of fun too.  Thanks Papa Kurt and Casey for helping William experience his first KSU football game (though apparently he is really bad luck!).    

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Grand Canyon

It was an experience of a lifetime.  My girlfriend Laurie turned 40 this year, and her dream was to hike Rim to Rim.  I was the lucky recipient of a last minute invitation to join the fun with Laurie and our good friend Heather.  I absolutely couldn't resist saying yes to an already planned trip and am beyond thankful to my amazing husband who immediately agreed.  Bucket list item checked off!!

We drove to the south rim Saturday, September 26th, caught the 4 hour shuttle to the north rim and spent the night at the Grand Canyon Lodge.  This was extra special for me, as my grandmother Mema used to take the train from Topeka in the summers throughout college to work at the Lodge as a server/singer/actress/etc.  There is a special family story about my grandfather Bobby taking the train to meet her there and escort her home after her father died. It's a place I've always wanted to visit and I was beyond thrilled to see in person.  The views from the north rim are out of this world, and even more amazing than the more popular south rim.  Definitely worth the long drive.

Sunday morning, we awoke at 4:30am, ate a quick breakfast in our cabin and took a short van ride to the start of the North Kahibab trail.  We had a little (!?!) mishap seven miles into our journey and spent over three hours at Cottonwood campground.  But after regrouping and continuing our adventure, we made it through Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon (14 miles in), and back up the South Rim on Bright Angel trail (9.5 miles) for a total of 23.5 miles.  

Due to our delay, we were hours behind schedule.  But sometimes things work out as they are supposed to.  What made our adventure even more was the same night as the lunar eclipse.    I have never experienced such darkness as when the moon disappeared...we would turn off our headlamps during breaks and could not see our hands in front of our faces.  But once the full moon was uncovered, it appeared as though there was a spot light on both the south and the north rim.  There are no words for this once in a lifetime, magnificent event.  

View from the South Rim while waiting for the shuttle
Heather and I look into the canyon and asked "what did we get ourselves in to?"

sunset over the north rim.
the peak in the very far, middle left is Humphrey's Peak (Snowbowl ski resort in Flagstaff) 

lindsay, laurie, heather

5am start.  sunrise in the Grand Canyon is beyond words

Thank you Laurie for including me on this adventure.  Trip of a lifetime!