We are not the first 'Gronseths' to make it to Arizona, but we are the first from our immediate family.
Dan - I do most of the blogging, photos, artwork you'll see. Came from Wisconsin to Arizona in 1986 after a bicycle trip to the lower 48 states. I've been a park ranger since the end of 1988.
Karen (Bleeker) - Karen came from South Dakota to Arizona in 1989. She has been a teacher and a teacher trainer. We met here in Arizona and were married in 1990.
Erik - Erik came along in 1996. He is pretty smart and likes math, reading, playing the Wii and watching Saturday morning cartoons.
Jakob - Jakob was born in 1999, the last of the 'old millenium' Gronseths - at least amongst our immediate family. Jakob loves people and can seldom stand to be alone for any length of time.
The rainy entrance to the Phoenix Zoo was a bit deserted on an evening when it is normally jam-packed. Wed is 1/2 off with a coupon from SRP.
Didn't bring my tripod, so many of the shots were blurry.
The big ball of lights over the water changes color
one column at a time.
The 'new' dancing trees section had a nice display for the in-between times rather than leave it dark until the next showing.
The rain went from a light drizzle to a bit more regular rain.
Here's Jake & Karen, Sue inbetween them, Dave behind them and the rest of the kids and Gramma somehwere behind them yet. At least it was warm enough. The rain isn't as unpleasant as the bitter cold nights. IT did come down heavy for a short spell. We are glad the Feenstras come from Michigan and can handle a little rain.
Erik thought it pretty funny to have a dragon setting 'fires' in the rain.
Kind of a low-key birthday for Erik, yet we celebrated on three different days.
I don't know if you can tell on this shot, but he has red and green braces for Christmas.
I think Jake was more excited to have presents opened than Erik, but Thursday night was the only night we could have just the family together.
A very happy face for the one thing he really wanted - a DSI XL
Instead of a big party, he wanted a few buddies from school over for games.
His choice of cake was cheesecake.
Blowing out the candles...
After cake they retired to separate computers (thanks to Uncle Scott for giving us these!! No more fighting over computers)
And Saturday, Karen and the boys went to Gramma's and she took them out to Red Robbin for lunch. Right next door is Krispy Kreme Donuts, and they give a free dozen to anyone on their birthday, so they had to stop there.
Arizona's Centennial is aproaching, and one custom bike builder made a one-of-a-kind bike he gave to the State. The State is raffling off the bike for $5 a ticket. Of course, that means it has to make the rounds at major events and such. Puebloe Grande Indian Market was last weekend and I not only took pictures of the bike....
Nice looking bike.
State flag imagery etched into the gas tank.
Side plates are 15 pounds of solid copper!!
Oil reserve has 8 pounds of copper.
Most of the rest of the copper is annodized, but still a sharp looking chopper.
I got to help get it off the platform and into the trailer! Had to wear gloves, even.
Leather seat looks like wood.
The bike is valued at $100 thousand and someone may win on a $5 ticket. Of course someone may win having bought a thousand tickets, too.
Karen and the boys have made Islands their place of choice to eat for many Tuesdays and it is closing its doors today. They decided to make one last trek there to say goodbye to their waitress, the manager and everyone else they've met over there.
Erik outside by the sign.
Erik and Jake with their waitress, Selena. She almost looks like one of the family, doesn't she?
Thanks for all the good food and wonderful people, Islands! Too bad that this profitable restaurant wasn't profitable enough for Corporate to keep open. Now the nearest Islands is something like 15 miles away. Looks like Karen and the boys will be looking for a new Tuesday spot. I know they will miss Selena, Devin, Chrissy, Brittany, Amber, and, of course, Fred.
I went with Jake's class to the AZ State Capitol building which was built before Arizona became a state.
If we had waited until after the tour, we would have had full sunlight instead of mixed shadows. Obviously, the sun was bright, maybe too bright. Behind the kids is the House building, and behind me was the Senate building. Behind the original capitol is the current capitol.
Atop the capitol building is not only a statue, it is a large weather vane. A wind of about 7 mph or more will move it. The dome is made of copper, I think our guide said something along the line of 1 million plus pennies would be needed to cover it.
Jake and two of his best friends, Cameron and Rachel.
Petrified wood logs are placed outside.
The State Seal in tile. Well, very nearly so. There are some small mistakes.
We learned about the USS Arizona, which was built starting in 1912, and sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Longer than two football fields, it took 9 minutes to sink (with nearly or just over 1000 men aboard) and 4 or 5 days to burn. 900+ died
A piece of the ship. Much of it remains as a memorial where it was sunk. The larger pieces sticking out of the water, the guns and anything else worth salvaging were removed shortly after it was sunk.
The impressive silver service from the ship had been removed prior to it heading to Hawaii.
We went into the Senate buidling, but weren't allowed to have cameras on in there.