Our Feisty Fisks

Raising the female population of Indiana one child at a time

Web www.avafisk.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 26, 2008


About the time we went on vacation Ava had an explosion of new words coming out of her mouth. They are as follows.

"Wa-dur": (noun) Used to describe any liquid in her sippy cup. Her use of this word may imply that she wants her cup that is out of reach. It also may mean that her cup is empty and she wants more. Occasionally she uses this word in an, as yet, undetermined way.

“Howie”: (exclamation) Prior to vacation Ava would say "Owie" when she hurt herself, as you would expect. However, during vacation she altered her technique by putting an "H" on the front of it. And we don't even watch that much Deal or No Deal, Mr. Mandel.

“Hop-ee” or "Hell pee": (verb) Primarily used as a request for assistance. Usually used in occasion with "tuck" ("stuck" in English). She once used this word when I picked her up from nursery after church even though she clearly had a good time. It may occasionally mean "pick me up". Lately it has changed from "Hop-ee" to "Hell pee". Here's hoping she doesn't have a urinary tract infection.

Consider yourself educated. I expect everyone to make these your words of the day and use them in a sentence at least once.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ridin' the Rails

We stayed at a hotel in Flagstaff after seeing the Grand Canyon. The next day we headed back through Oak Creek Canyon to our next destination. The first time through we had saw a sign for Slide Rock National Park. I had read online about this being a good family destination so I wanted to check it out.

Slide Rock is a really neat place. There are natural waterslides made by the water flowing over shallow, slippery rock planes. None of us had our bathing suits, which was a good thing because the water was COLD! Ava and I did put our feet in the water though. At first she wasn't sure she wanted to and would hold her feet up as I lowered her toward the water. After the first toe dip she was hooked. It was all we could do to keep her from slipping on the algae-covered rocks or jumping into water that went over her head. The water was so cold it made the bones of my feet hurt, but she acted like it was 80 degree water.We didn't stay too long because Ava was so headstrong about swimming and we were getting worn out holding her back.

We continued on our way through Sedona to the town of Clarkdale, where we were going to pick up a train to ride through Verde Canyon (they sure do have a lot of canyons in Arizona). The start of the train ride wasn't too picturesque as we went by an old copper mine. The mine would pour molten slag out onto the ground when they were done extracting the copper from the ore. The result of many years of this was 40 acres of slag 40 feet deep. THAT'S A LOT OF SLAG! The railroad workers informed us that the plan was to process the slag to extract more of the minerals out of it with more modern methods.

The views got a lot better after getting past the copper mine. We passed by several ancient Native American caves whose roofs were stained with soot from fires. After 20 minutes or so we entered the canyon and the views were amazing. The red rocks stood out against the blue skies and green brush. How convenient that the human eyes detects combinations of these three colors. The ride was a four-hour round trip with a stop in the town (more literally, house) of Perkinsville to turn around. Close to Perkinsville there was a tunnel that we went through that curved its way through the mountain. Because of the curve you couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel until you were nearly there. Parts of the tunnel had only 6 inches of clearance between the train cars and the walls. "Keep all body parts you want to go home with in the train cars." Check.

We drove to the house of our friends, Denny & Sara, after we got back to Clarkdale. The following day Doni, Ava, and I went to the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix. On the way there we drove directly past Luke Air Force Base. Fighter jets were mere yards above us as they approached the runway. I would have pulled over to watch them land, but there were signs warning us in a not so subtle way that that might not be such a good idea. The zoo ended up being a nice, smaller zoo. They still had a lot of the animals people go to the zoo to see (rhino, lion, tigers, giraffes, and ducks) and we were able to get fairly close to them.

The next day we went to a factory tour of Cerreta Candy Company. It wasn't as good as the tour that we had gone on in Columbus last year, but we did get some free samples out of it. Their retail store had all kinds of candy, like you would expect, but they also had barbecue sauce (huh?) and popcorn. Their popcorn was pre-popped and in massive three-pound bags that looked like overstuffed 2 ft x 3 ft pillows. I wondered if the airline would let me take my "pillow" on the plane.

Next, we drove to Fountain Park in Fountain Hills to see the.... fountain. The fountain was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest fountain in the world. It can shoot water 562 feet in the air. If you look at this picture close up, you can see how small it makes the large houses in the back ground look. We bought Subway sandwiches and had a picnic on the shore of the fountain's lake. Ava had a great time feeding the bread remaining from her sandwich to the ducks. She would get a little more distance to her throws if she didn't throw the bread like a frisbee, but she's still learning.

Denny & Sara had the great idea that we should swap baby-sitting nights, so Doni and I were able to go to dinner and a movie. We had a good time staying with Denny, Sara, and their two daughters Trinity and Sadie. They moved out to Phoenix over a year ago, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

In our last few days in Arizona we drove back to Tucson to see Seth lead worship during one of his last services at that church. Soon we were back on our way home. It was a great vacation and was even better to see old friends, but it is always good to come home.


  • At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Cori said…

    So jealous about your vacation! Paul and I are actually looking at Flagstaff as a possible place to live.
    Cute sunglasses Ava!

  • At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Allison said…

    I just noticed Ava's sunglasses... they're upside-down!


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

On The Road Again

After visiting our friends in Tucson for a couple of days we went out on our own to see what we could see of the big AZ. Unfortunately this meant about 5 hours of driving one day, 6 the next, and 3 1/2 the next. All in all, we ended up putting more than 2000 miles on our Ford Mustang before the end of our 10 day trip.

The portable DVD player was a godsend. We had bought it with this trip in mind. I thought we would get its best value on the plane, but that thing worked wonders on our long car rides. We watched episode after episode of Backyardigans until the notes of the theme song were etched into the wrinkles of my brain. But it was worth it. Ava wasn't screaming. She wasn't flailing. There were only a couple of times that she tried to get out of her 5-point safety harness.

She took some good naps in the car too. For the past few weeks she's been covering her head with her blanket when she sleeps during the day. We'd give her her blanket, she'd realize that a nap might not be such a bad idea, she'd throw it over her head, and she'd be out for a couple of hours. Heaven... I'm in heaven.... Next thing you know, we're there.

On our way to the Grand Canyon we drove through the Red Rock Scenic Byway. It looked like someone with a huge finger pushed up massive sections of earth from underground. It just occurred to me that I don't know why the rocks are red. Maybe they have high iron content and it is all rusted. Rusty Rock Scenic Byway doesn't have the same ring to it though.

After Rusty Rock we drove through Sedona. Sedona is the kind of place that seems artsy-fartsy and touristy. I don't mind touristy, but I'm not so much into artsy-fartsy. Also, Sedona seems to be Mecca for psychics and purveyors of similar voodoo. One building we drove past had a big banner up advertising their "Psychic Convention". Too bad we missed that.

To avoid backtracking, we needed to drive on a winding road through Oak Creek Canyon towards Flagstaff. This canyon had some views that rivaled those of the Rusty Rock Byway. The drive reminded me of when Doni and I drove up a volcano (Haleakala) when we were in Maui on our honeymoon. There were sections of switchback after switchback. Thankfully, this time Doni wasn't sick while we were making 180 degree turn after 180 degree turn. After climbing several thousand feet they had a lookout point where you could see everywhere you had just driven. We stopped and Doni bought a bracelet from the Native Americans hawking their goods.

Doing all this driving, I had a lot of time to think. I kept thinking that there's probably a road that goes straight towards the Grand Canyon. I bet there is some poor Joe Schmo' that wasn't paying attention and drove right off the edge. I didn't want to be that poor Joe.

A couple of hours later we got to the Grand Canyon, or as I like to call it, The World's Biggest Hole in the Ground. The National Park Service was kind enough to sell us a 7 day pass to the park for the short time that we would be there. I half expect them to let out a sinister laugh every time they make 90% of the people who will only be there for the day buy a 7 day pass. It was busier than I expected considering not many people willingly choose to visit Arizona in the summer. Apparently we're not the only gluttons for solar punishment. After finding a parking spot we went to check it out.

There were some small sections that had railings with chain link fence below to hold young-in's in. I was pretty surprised that most of the edge didn't have any railing whatsoever. This is Grand Canyon National Park. Shouldn't my $25 entrance fee pay for a few more railings? Of course, Ava wanted to walk around on her own amidst such splendor and nearby danger. I don't think so Ava Av'. We stopped by a small museum/gift shop that was perched right alongside the edge of the canyon. They had large windows facing the canyon so Ava could get down and get as close as she wanted from the safety of indoors.

I heard that 7-8 people fall off the edge and die every year. There was a book in the gift shop called Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon that chronicles these deaths. Doni were afraid that we were on the verge of seeing one. A guy wearing sandals got near the edge and squatted down to get a picture. I don't know how you're going to get a different perspective by squatting when you're taking a picture of something so massive, but he was the one taking the picture. Anyway, in the act of squatting his left foot began to slip and he leaned forward. We held our breath in reverence for this gentleman's presumed last, and possibly most spectacular, accident. Thankfully he was able to find firm ground with his foot. He didn't even end up dropping his camera or touching the ground with his hands. If I was in his situation, I would have gone to ground. I'd be holding on to anything and everything so tight you'd have to peel me off of that rock. He just adjusted his foot and laughed as his wife made a joke about him falling off the edge. I considered that my exercise for the day because my heart rate was surely at or above its target range.


  • At 1:40 PM, Blogger The Tappan Family said…

    Beautiful pictures! Whenever the subject of the Grand Canyon comes up in our family, my mom recalls a time several years ago when Uncle Gene played a joke on her and jumped off the edge (I think he was about 18). He landed on a ledge a few feet below, but of course my mom had no idea!


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Let's Go! Get your Tucson!

We had a great couple of days with our friends Seth & Kindra (and their little boy Brandt). They moved out to Tucson from Indianapolis a few months ago and, through a series of events, were looking at possibly moving elsewhere. I won't go into why, but they seemed a lot more comfortable with their situation than I might have been. I'm convinced that their faith has kept them strong during this time.

Seth & Kindra were a part of the small group at our church before moving out to the Wild Wild West (only 70 miles from Tombstone, AZ). We occasionally have game nights with our small group and they always seemed to be the "game" type of people. We had a good time playing Euchre and Hoopla. Maybe too good of a time. If you walked by the window of their house, you probably would have suspected we were drinking we were having such a good time. Who needs alcohol to have fun, right?

One morning Doni, Ava, and I drove up Mount Lemmon outside of Tucson. Tucson's elevation is about 2000 ft and Mt. Lemmon's is about 9000. Seeing how the high for the day was going to be, oh, about 104 degrees, I was hoping it would be a little cooler up top. We found our way to the start of the road to the top. There was a sign that said "Risk of Fire" with an arrow pointing to "High". Apparently it is someone's job to keep that sign up to date. I want that job. Let's just think about this. It's Arizona. It's so hot plants just wish they could spontaneously combust to end the pain. Allegedly there is a monsoon season in Arizona, but I'm not buying it. Even if there is, ten months out of the year that sign is going to read "High" or "Grab the Fire Extinguisher". Do you think that job pays well?

I learned that there are a lot of bikers in Tucson. We're not talking the burly, Harley-Davidson type. We're talking the spandex, put-your-foam-helmet-on type. Even if I was an environmentalist, it takes a lot of conviction to bike in 100 degree plus weather. Not only that, but there were people biking up Mt. Lemmon. I tip my hat to these people. At the bottom of the road to Mt. Lemmon you have 7000 ft to pedal straight up in addition to all the pedaling you'll be doing horizontally. Their quadriceps must be like Redwoods.

We got to the top of Mt. Lemmon and there was a little town called Summerhaven. Seth had told us about a pie shop at the top of the mountain. Apparently these pies are to normal pies what a filet mignon is to a round steak. I had to try this pie. As we pulled into Summerhaven there was a place on our left called "Mount Lemmon Cafe" with a sign in the window that said "Pies". Unfortunately there was another sign on the door that said "Closed". In the words of Donkey: "You cut me deep, Shrek. You cut me real deep just now." The sight of two guys exiting the door with bowls of pie in their hands brought a ray of hope to my weary heart. I ignored the sign and walked in the door. It turns out they weren't "officially" open yet. They wouldn't be able to run the cash register for another 45 minutes until the owner came in to open. However, if I had perfect change I could pay that way. Being early in our vacation, all I had were a bunch of twenties and a couple ones in my wallet. They must be really proud of their pies too, because they charged $7 a slice. I walked back to the car dejected. When I told Doni what happened we decided we should just buy three slices and take some back for our friends. I walked back in the store with a smile on my face and walked out with slices of Strawberry-Rhubarb, Red Raspberry, and Blackberry pie. To say they were good is an understatement.


  • At 11:46 AM, Blogger Kin said…

    I can't wait to read your other posts about the trip! We LOVED having you guys here.....sucked to see you leave. Also would've just been nice to ACTUALLY SEE you leave (stupid Starbucks). Anywho- can't wait to read what other wacky things you have to say about this horrible stupid state that we call Arizona :)


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome To The AZ

Well, its been forever and a day since I posted last. Where have we been? Nice of you to ask. We recently got back from a vacation in the great state of Arizona. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I didn't want to put anything on the blog about us not being home. Kind of like how you're not supposed to leave a message on your answering machine like, "We're gone for the next two weeks, so feel free to rob our house." Anywho, let's get this vacation blogging started.

Getting There
We flew out on a Saturday afternoon, so we had that morning to finish packing and get things tidy around the house in case we had any showings. We were going to be gone for 10 days and you could fit a lot of showings in in that time. Go figure, we got a call late that morning that we were going to have a showing the next day. Don't leave the lights on!

We got to the airport a couple of hours before our flight was scheduled to take off. I had had a bright idea that we shouldn't let Ava nap at all on Saturday before getting on the plane. My theory was that she would sleep on the plane and make the flight that much easier. This is why theories aren't facts... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Since we were going to be on the plane during dinnertime in our time zone, we went to an airport restaurant called Dick Clark's American Bandstand. Two quirky things happened there. First, we found out that they don't serve shakes even though they are pictured on the menu. Secondly, a traveler was using a toolbox as his carry-on. Crazy things happen at American Bandstand.

We had bought an umbrella stroller for the trip. (Note: I had no clue they were called an "umbrella stroller". I always thought they were called a "cheap stroller".) Rather than be pushed around in it, Ava went up and down the terminal pushing around the empty stroller. As you might expect, she wasn't the best driver, but she wouldn't accept any help steering. I had my hand slapped a couple times.

Traveling with a kid is at least 5-6 times harder than two adults traveling by themselves. We had: 2 checked bags, a diaper bag, a car seat, a stroller, my carry-on, Doni's purse, and a portable DVD player in a travel case. We boarded with our arm loads of gear and found our seats. I buckled in Ava's car seat into the airplane seat (like the airline's website recommended) and we got settled. A friendly flight attendant came up to us as the rest of the passengers were boarding and said that we would have to move because a car seat can't be in the row in front of the emergency exit row. Um, ok. He found some people that would switch with us a few rows up so we grabbed our stuff and Ava, moved her car seat, and situated ourselves in our new locale. We think the flight attendant was afraid that I was going to go off on him because he kept being overly nice the rest of the flight. I didn't think I was giving him that impression, but it did get us some nice service.

I expected Ava to freak out during take off. Instead, she acted like nothing was happening. The rest of the flight wasn't so uneventful. She watched some Backyardigans episodes until the DVD player's battery ran out. Doni was sitting next to Ava (who had the window) so she had the lead role in calming and soothing. She ended up having her work cut out for her as Ava, being tired since she didn't have a nap, needed quite a bit of calming and soothing. Who's idea was that? Oh yeah... Let's not talk about that.

Four hours after taking off we landed in Phoenix. We got our bags and make our way to the rental counter. We had a reservation for a compact car. As it was a Saturday night they happened to be all out of compacts. We ended up getting a Ford Mustang for the compact price. Cha-ching!

Ava slept most of the 2 1/2 hour drive to our friends' house in Tucson. By the time we got there it was already past 1 o'clock in the morning in our home time zone, so we went to bed after chatting with them for a little while. It's great to see good friends that you haven't seen in a few months, but there's a lot to be said about going to bed when jet-lagged.


  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger The Tappan Family said…

    We had a similarly brilliant idea when we flew to FL last spring. We kept Lucas awake so he would sleep on the plane. Yup! He cried all the way there. Good times.


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