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


Fairbanks in Summer

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Raspberry picking, fireweed harvesting, Fourth of July hiking & location scouting. This summer is rounding out quite well, but I have a feeling it’s going to run short this year.

All the more reason to take advantage while it’s here.

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Granite Tors Trail

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea PuebloGranite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

Oh, I certainly wish I had the stamina I had when I was in my early twenties. There’s something about carrying and delivering two children, and then once again carrying them on a mountain that really wipes a mother out. Younger, unattached hikers could probably accomplish the 15 mile round trip hike to the Granite Tors in a day, but we Ardoin’s, toting two small children, cannot. We did make it eight miles, though! Hooray!

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

Our first day camping, we took the short 2 mile loop at the Granite Tors trailhead, just to scope out the scenery. A wildfire cleaned out the clutter of the forest back in 2009, leaving a charred landscape in its wake. New growth has taken over. Bright green buds burst out of the black spruce like fireworks; their neon needles contrasting sharply with the burnt trunks at their center. The brush underfoot looked as though nothing had happened. It was springy and marshy with snow melt, and saturated in color — not scarred like the tall trees above.    Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

Truthfully, I cannot remember a time when my shoulders were that sore. I had Woods in a front carry in the ergo, and Isaac had Margot in the REI structured hiking carrier. Both of us had day packs in addition to the kid weight. After an afternoon of my shoulders being pulled in two opposing directions, and a steep climb up toward the Tors, I was completely wiped. The tors are large granite protrusions popular with climbers. They’re unfortunately just a few miles too far for the burdened day hiker.

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

The trail starts out as a leisurely stroll along the Chena River. It splinters off into a boardwalk trail that steers you over to the fork where you can either elect to take the shorter two mile loop, or carry onward to the long trek to the Tors. The boardwalk ends abruptly when the foothills meet the valley. Then a quick ascent along a trail that runs through a birch forest. On the right in the distance, a large beaver dam (not pictured) created its own pond. The occupants where nowhere to be seen.

The slow lumbering mosquitos of early summer were slow to get us, unless we stopped. Sally was unable to keep them off of her, unfortunately. Her furry hide twitched and flinched the entire time.

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

Once the elevation plateaued, we entered a more exposed terrain, with lower brush and more of the charred remains from a wildfire past. The sun barred down on us, but the cool temperatures kept us from roasting in the high-noon light.

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

At this elevation we were able to see a great distance in every direction. The lush green hills, with their tiny freckles of unmelted snow, seemed to roll on forever. We found a clearing where we could eat our packed lunches in peace. Margot fed her crust to Sally, who was just as hungry as the rest of us.

Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

We made it to a back country campsite with sweeping views of the Tors (still a few miles away). Although the daylight hours stretch long into the night, our kids’ happy dispositions do not. Opting to head back to the camper to clean and rest up before bed, we headed back down the mountain at a much quicker pace.

On our descent, Margot sang songs about quesadillas to keep the bears away, and Woods slept soundly against my chest. We all had an incredible night’s sleep.


095A3012Granite Tors - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo