The Pioneer Museum of Flagstaff, AZ


When we found out Margot’s first day of school was August 1st, we scrambled to scrape together a family vacation at the last minute. We like to keep our plans loose, avoiding reservations and expectations in order to flow with the weather, and our moods while traveling. It’s an art form, really.

Our plan was to take the pop-up camper out for almost a week; staying at Apache Lake near Phoenix, and camping and hiking in Sedona. Well, Apache Lake was sweltering. I went for a run at the Burnt Corral campground where we stayed at a shoreside site and the temperature held steady at 104 at 7pm. I got zero sleep that night, and felt like I was suffocating in 97 degree weather at midnight. The kids were fine, and Isaac seemed okay, but I definitely was going to have a bad time camping in weather like that; and if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I think that’s how the saying goes.


So north we traveled, hoping that the weather would cool the further we went toward Flagstaff. Sedona was still above 100, so we traveled onward to Flagstaff.


Camping at the county fairgrounds was wonderful. Quiet, cheap, centrally located. We had at least two activities a day that we achieved; visiting the Arboretum, a Mansion, trails in the mountains, kayaking at Lake Mary and — my favorite — checking out the Pioneer Museum!

095A4665095A4675The Pioneer Barn, separate from the main building, contains loads of artifacts of yesteryear – I especially enjoyed spotting a large floor loom. It was warped with a project on it. I wish I were able to identify all the features of various looms on the spot. I need to crack open a few more books and click around a few more websites before I can do that.095A4681095A4671095A4669095A4610

I’m still neck deep in Pioneer culture right now. As some of you may know, I tend to latch onto a topic and immerse myself in it for a year or so until my interests are swayed into another direction. We’re reading the Little House on the Prairie series and chipping away at lessons in the Playful Pioneers curriculum at the moment, so this museum was exactly the type of place we had to visit.


A lumber train staged in the front of the museum was open for us to trot through. From there we followed the foot path to a historic cabin.  I love imagining how life would have been in the late 1800s. We went to the museum after a trail run, and I wasn’t feeling as hygienically civilized as I would like to be, so I think I had a pretty good idea of how it felt to live intimately with the seasons and the elements. That is certainly part of the joy to camping; reconnecting with nature and learning to appreciate the modern conveniences we all have. And resetting the internal clock to coincide with the natural circadian rhythm — totally necessary!


I will tell you the best part of the Pioneer Museum, by far. Their Children’s Room, full of wooden toys, period costumes, school desks and books. 095A4619

We had to loop around to the Children’s room twice so the kids could continue to play with the Jacob’s ladders, hobby horses and oversized dollhouse. Engaging children in museum settings is difficult, so I commend the Historical Society of Arizona on curating such a magnetic place for kids to explore. 095A4591095A4586095A4582095A4575


Among the many activities we did in Flagstaff, the Pioneer Museum was top of the list for me; although it was tough choice between trail running, s’mores making, and kayaking. I will definitely revisit this place, and I doubt I’ll have trouble dragging my family along again.


Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloWhat an exciting week we’ve had.

It’s been at least 17 years since I’ve been to Las Vegas, and though I’m over 21 this time — pregnancy limited my activities in the same way they did back in the late 90s. No drinking, and well — no gambling, but mainly because shopping was more fun. The Vegas nightlife wasn’t entirely lost on us, though. Isaac and I made our way out to the Mirage to see the Cirque Du Soleil show Love. I’ve been a die-hard Beatles fan since the last time I was in Vegas and this performance showcased tracks from every period of the Beatles discography. It was positively sensational! I would go again and again if price and location were no obstacle.

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloI’m surprised I didn’t have the cops called on me while waddling my maternity body down the Fremont Street Experience with a virgin Margarita in hand. Fortunately, my teenage step-sister was in stride, with the same drink in hand. It must have appeared less incriminating to see a pregnant woman and a juvenile boozing in Las Vegas. I swear, contrary to appearance, they were alcohol-free!

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloMargot was fascinated by the lights on Fremont. She probably thought she had arrived in some cartoon land, which may have been confirmed for her when a homeless-looking Elmo showed up for a photo-op. These street performers and impersonators were everywhere; their tip jars overflowed while happy tourists cheered them on.

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloWhile in Las Vegas, we had a gender scan to find out whether or not our newest addition would be a boy or a girl. We were happy to discover that our baby will be bundled in blue this September. It’s a boy! We shopped extensively at the outlet malls, and strip malls for our baby boy, coming home with an additional suitcase full of baby boy clothes and toys. The excitement of a second child is finally setting in, and after returning home, the nesting process has officially begun. Margot has no idea what’s going on, except that there are toys in the closet that I won’t let her have.

Outside of the Las Vegas city limits, Red Rock Canyon National Park beckoned — we toured the park briefly, letting Margot see the landscape, and check out a few desert tortoises at the welcome center. Military families get a free membership to all of the National Parks. Those military discounts always put a spring in our step.

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloMargot wasn’t used to all the sunshine yet. She was slathered in sunscreen, tucked under a sun hat, and hiding behind toddler sunglasses almost the entire time we were outdoors. I suppose some of that may have been the first-time-parent syndrome kicking in.

She’s walking a lot more these days, although she prefers to hang onto our hands above her head while she walks — she lacks the confidence to venture out on her own most of the time. She’s getting better at it every day.

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloRed Rock Canyon | Yea Yea PuebloRed Rock Canyon | Yea Yea PuebloRed Rock Canyon | Yea Yea PuebloOn this trip, all of Margot’s grandparents agreed that she is one adventurous eater. Here at home, she eats anything we eat, from feta and salad, to lentils and curry. She really only rejects broccoli and meat — even then, it’s only on occasion. She ate her weight in berries, cheese sticks, and yogurt on this vacation; she even indulged in Southwest Salad, Chinese food and Cajun while we were sojourning. I hope her openness to different foods doesn’t end anytime soon.

Margot also swam for the first time on this trip. It was nerve-wracking for me, probably because I’m a chronic worrier. She fared well, but preferred dry land overall.

She’ll miss all the attention and additional playmates she had while visiting family in Las Vegas and Oklahoma City. Peek-a-boo with her aunt Kelli, and chase with grandma Mimi solicited baby giggles that could end a war. We’ll try to keep her occupied half as much as her family in the lower-48 did, but they are a tough act to follow.

Las Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloLas Vegas, Nevada | Yea Yea PuebloI’ll post photos from Margot’s Zoo visit in Oklahoma City soon — there are even a few I took while we fed goats on a farm near her Great Uncle Sam’s house.

Babies on vacation — that’s some pretty adorable exploration.

Fairbanks’ Newest Cheechakos

This post is coming to you from Fairbanks, AK where we are the newest Cheechakos (or Canadian/Alaskan newcomers)! Our travels through Canada went off without a hitch, but I sure did miss reliable cell service and wi-fi.

Watson Sign Forest, Yukon Territory, Canada via Yea Yea Pueblo

We were your typical tourists: camera and baby clumsily in hand, an overweight dog on a retractable leash, and a dirty Subaru with out-of-state plates.  The back seat became our diaper change-station, the front seat, our refrigerator. We lived in that car for up to 14 hours a day. Margot was patient, even when I wouldn’t let her crawl on the floor of at least two off-putting hotels. She was content to roll around in her pack ‘n play or hang out in the slightly cleaner beds for a energy-burning nightcap.

Watson Sign Forest, Yukon Territory, Canada via Yea Yea Pueblo

Yukon Territory via Yea Yea PuebloWatson Sign Forest, Yukon Territory, Canada via Yea Yea Pueblo

The Watson Lake Sign Forest was a fun tourist destination. We weaved up and down the aisles, looking for artifacts from our respective hometowns. Isaac was a little more successful than I was, oddly enough.

Then there was the beautiful Whitehorse, YT; a beautiful Canadian city with friendly locals and great food. We strolled along the river front, poked around in gift shops and ate BBQ Salmon at the famous Klondike Rib and Salmon BBQ on their very last weekend of the season. Many northern businesses shut down for the winter months, presumably because of the lower number of travelers passing through. And little did we know, the Yukon Territory, with an area the size of Germany, Austria and Switzerland combined, only has a population of about 36K, most of which (26K) live in the Whitehorse metro area. My high school was bigger than nearly all of their towns. Mind-boggling!

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