White Sands National Park

When we moved from Arizona to Texas at the end of 2020, we made a stop at White Sands National Park. We had a great time sledding down the hills, ascending and descending various peaks, and collecting gypsum in nearly every seam of our clothes. White sands is a misnomer, the powdery substance covering the 115 square miles of the park is gypsum, a fine mineral that resembles sand. Believe me when I say I was vacuuming gypsum out of my car for over a year after this, and it’s still embedded in those shoes.

We were grateful to have an outdoor travel opportunity during our mandatory move amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was incredibly stressful traveling during a time when vaccines were still in development, and nobody was really sure how susceptible children were, and how risky the symptoms would become. Every trip into the public was rolling the dice. Who else is relieved the darkest days of the pandemic are behind us? We still have not had Covid, and with 3-4 vaccines each, we’re hopeful we will never get it.

I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in southern New Mexico or West Texas, and strongly suggest you also see Carlsbad Caverns!

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Pumpkins and Peccaries

Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo

Our last few Halloweens were frigid. It was traditionally 10 below with snow berms taller than the kids. This year, with our military lifestyle taking us to Arizona, I was so excited at the prospect of warm weather trick-or-treating with the kids, setting up Halloween decorations and carving pumpkins!Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo

I had a feeling we put our decorations too early, but we’re Halloween People, and I won’t apologize for my zeal. I did, however, make one big mistake.

I unintentionally put out a royal feast for the local wildlife.

Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo We recently had a great time picking pumpkins and produce at Apple Annie’s u-pick produce in Willcox, Arizona. Our delicata squash was delicious, and our Apple Butter jar emptied quickly. But the pumpkins didn’t last as long as I wish they had. Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Sunflowers | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Pumpkin Picking | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo Ardoin Family Photo | Yea Yea Pueblo Corn Pit | Yea Yea Pueblo

Five pumpkins went in the front yard; a few warty ones, and a few smooth, orange ones. I had plans to carve them the week before Halloween, but it didn’t occur to me in the slightest that they’d be eaten up well before then.

Six peccaries set up camp on our front yard this week. They wouldn’t run off when I tried to scare them away. They napped rebelliously on the lawn. They were little monsters with skinny faces and sharp teeth, unafraid of my spooky Halloween decorations, and content to destroy my Jack-O-Lantern dreams.

Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo They drove the dogs crazy, and just before our dinner get together with friends, Moose slipped through the gate and went after the javelinas. He chased them into a ravine, then up into the hills. We gave chase up the hill, but all I could see was Moose leaping above the knee-high grass, tail wagging, tongue swinging, and face filled with glee. I couldn’t see the javelinas, or their reactions to his attempt to turn strangers into friends.

Eventually Moose came to me, and after dragging him back into the house, we noticed blood dripping from his neck. He ended up with a puncture wound, and is currently on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. He’s also wearing the cone of shame. The hope is that he heals expediently, and doesn’t require surgery later. Pumpkins | Yea Yea Pueblo Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Javelinas Fort Huachuca | Yea Yea Pueblo Dogs and peccaries do not mix. And pumpkins are not for peccaries, although that rule is a hard one to enforce. Guess we’re going to have to settle for ceramic, plastic or inflatable jack-o-lanterns here in Arizona.

Sierra Vista Living

It’s almost September! Woah!

Time has really been hard to track lately. Sierra Vista has so much to offer, and the kids are just now old enough to jump into activities, so I’ve signed us up for practically everything.

I raced the Hummingbird Triathlon on August 19th, and did better than I thought I would. I hadn’t put in enough practice at the pool, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the swim portion of the race went. The distances were 800m swim, 13 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. It was fun, and I’m now tempted to sign up for the Lake Patagonia triathlon, but I still have other things on my agenda that are more pressing. And open water swims are a terrifying prospect to me right now, I just need to gain more experience.

Hummingbird Triathlon Sierra Vista AZ | Yea Yea Pueblo

We also bought a kayak! It’s a giant sit on top tandem that we can all fit on. We’ve only taken it out once in the two weeks that we’ve had it, but it will certainly get more use this fall.

Kayak | Yea Yea Pueblo  Apple Annie’s Orchard out in Willcox, AZ was a nice excursion. Peaches and apples now gracefully litter my countertops, waiting to be turned into crisps and snacks. Annie's Apple Orchard Willcox, AZ | Yea Yea Pueblo

While it was hot out, the generous scoops of ice cream atop our homemade apple pie slices provided a brief escape from the heat.

Annie's Apple Orchard Willcox, AZ | Yea Yea Pueblo

Annie's Apple Orchard Willcox, AZ | Yea Yea Pueblo

Annie's Apple Orchard Willcox AZ | Yea Yea Pueblo

Kids in the Kitchen | Yea Yea Pueblo

Margot started homeschool preschool this week, and has already enjoyed new forays into interesting subjects. Woody said he was sick and we decided to make him chicken noodle soup. We made the egg noodles from scratch. It was delicious, however the kids wouldn’t eat it, and spoiler alert: Woody wasn’t sick. Either way, we can mark that down as a Home-Economics lesson completed.

Kids in the Kitchen | Yea Yea Pueblo

I’m back into sewing. It’s been a love-hate relationship with the craft, but I think it’s mostly due to the machine I use. It’s got tension issues and I’m not sure if it’s worth servicing or just buying an upgraded machine. I’m still swimming in that conundrum, and my projects are piling up. But my new workspace is helping me stay organized, and it’s just so fun to sit at that I want to work on all the projects!

Craft Table Work Station Sewing Room | Yea Yea Pueblo

Previously, I said that I was not the Halloween-costume-making type, but I’ve had a change of heart (that seems to happen a lot, so take my sweeping proclamations with a grain of salt). I found some halloween costume patterns in my fabric stash and let Margot pick a view. She chose to be a Devil, so I’m like 1/8 done with that project (my machine eats everything, so I’m stuck).

I’m also trying to work on a mini quilt as my first foray into quilting.

My camera is getting a little dusty, but I try to pick it up once in a while when I see something worth documenting. Wildflowers are always worthy subjects and fortunately they’re growing across the street in the foothills.

Wildflowers | Yea Yea Pueblo

My kombucha has also been a continuous project for me. I’ve begun continuous brewing and I enjoy having a large glass or two of it daily. It’s such a fascinating process to watch my SCOBY grow and continue to ferment sweet tea into a bubbly, tangy, probiotic drink. Blueberry Ginger and Pineapple “booch” have definitely been my favorite second ferment flavors. I’m nerding out too much on booch, let’s move on.

I don’t have a lot of downtime outside of Marathon training (Tucson Marathon, Dec 9!) and my household/homeschool/parenting responsibilities. But I have a stack of books, and audiobooks, that I read and listen to piecemeal (I’m a chapter away from finishing In Cold Blood by Truman Capote) and I always seem to knock it out a book here and there. And I have a big crochet project that I’m chipping away at. If anyone knows how to keep 1 lb skeins from turning into a tangled mess halfway through their use, let me know. I’m at my wits end with these giant rats nests of yarn!

This summer has been such a period of growth for us as a family. Margot is developing so many new skill sets and interests, it’s a rewarding experience to oversee. Woody is growing like a weed, and I’ve suddenly got a million new interests on my to-do list (sculpting, cheese making, and so on).  We’ve strengthened friendships and found a church to call home. We are so happy to call Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca our home.

Lifestyle Photography | Yea Yea Pueblo