31 January 2007

Family Visits

We've just said goodbye to Tim's mum and dad who visited from MN. Their trip was a gift from their children (Mike, Diane, Tim and Pat) for their 50th anniversary. It was like a mini-family reunion while they were here. We took a trip to Quartzsite, which during the summer has less than 5000 residents, but swells to upwards of 250,000 people in the winter months. We met Tam's dad Marvin and wife Carolyn as well as Tam's aunt Joyce (Marvin's older sister) and uncle Rollin. It was fun getting Joyce and Rollin and Joyce and Rollie together again, the first time since our wedding 23 years ago. It reminded us of the story of another aunt (Ruby, Marvin's oldest sister) of Tammy's who took photos of the four at the wedding day, but went home only to learn she had been taking photos all day without film in her camera!

We also managed to visit with with two of Tim's aunts and an uncle in Mesa. Shirlee (one of Dad's older sisters) and Mert winter in the area, while Marilynn (Dad's youngest sister) happened to be visiting the last couple of weeks. Unknown to us, Marilynn was also booked on the same return flight to MN, so we took them all to the airport.

I don't think they were too happy to leave AZ and the 70 degree F temperatures for the frosty environs of 9 below F temps of MN!

It was a wonderful visit for 5 days with mum and dad, and we're so glad they were here.

For more on some interesting facts and photos of Quartzsite, click on this link: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0101/feature6/

13 January 2007

A Trip Across the Border

It was a 3 hour trip each way, but we visited Nogales, Mexico with Jesus. Well, not Jesus actually, but Jesús Celaya. Jesús is associate director of Hispanic Ministries here at the church in Mesa, and was actually born and raised (until he was 11) on the Mexican side of the border before moving to the American side.

It was fascinating talking to Jesús about Hispanic culture and his groundlaying work for a new Hispanic church plant in Mesa--He's only been in this position at the church for three months. While we were in Nogales he pointed out the area where he lived (high up on a hill) and the Catholic church where he served as an altar boy.

I asked Jesús why it was so common for families to name their children after Jesus. He explained that families thought having a child in the family named Jesus offered some sort of spiritual protection. Often, it's the firstborn, but Jesús laughed and said he had no idea why it took his parents until the 9th child to do so!

We ate taquitos (little tacos; any word ending with 'ito' mean 'little' -- something Jesús taught us on the day) once we got there in a little hole-in-the-wall place. We wondered the shops and EVERY shopkeeper asked us to come in and take a look at their goods. And if we passed them and came by half-an-hour later they asked again! Some would say, "Come and buy some of our Mexican junk, please. It is a very good price."

Lunch was at the El Hacienda, similarly good and cheap. And it was on Jesús!

Would I go again? Well, I thought this might be a research trip to go again when my parents visit in a couple of weeks, but I don't think they would enjoy it--too much walking and too touristy--just knick knacks and such. Great to visit for a day, but even better to chat with Jesús, Nancy, Melissa on the journey there and back.

02 January 2007

Wonderful Family Times

We had a wonderful time in MN for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. First time everyone together in one place, ever! It was great being able to honor mum and dad. Thanks to Ray and Barb for giving us a place to lay our heads at night. Came home with a cooler full of venison--even if it was delayed by 36 hours before getting to our house in Mesa.

Alas, no snow, therefore no snomobiling. Similarly, in our visit to Lake Havasu City to see Marvin and Carolyn, no working ATV, so no four wheeling in the desert mountains this time around. Maybe next time.

Pictured, from left: Front row: Kathy, Diane (Marla sitting), Dad, Mom, Rollie (sitting), Tammy and Mia; Back Row: Jennifer, John, Mike, David, Harley, Andrew, Jessica, Tim, Alex, Pat, Carly.