Tuzigoot National Monument and Sedona

I think we broke our internal clocks at Grand Canyon. Or maybe we passed through the Arizona vortex and that did it.

All I know is that 11:21 p.m. last night, when we rolled in from the day trip to Tuzigoot National Monument and Sedona, it occurred to me that we had been at least three hours late for life since our return from that amazingly large hole in the ground.

Children were asleep everywhere. No pajamas this time (because we were planning to be home in time for dinner). And even though it was the last time we’d see our friends this trip, there weren’t weepy goodbyes. When I asked Julianna if she wanted one more photo with Lily, she responded, “Nooo, I want sleep!”

Please let me give the short context that I have read Dr. Simon Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child at least twice through, and have bookmarked many charts on appropriate sleep times. This week I did not follow any of that advice.

On Wednesday, after Grand Canyon, a 2 p.m. planned swim date with early bedtime turned into at 5 p.m. playground cookout and sleepover (for J at least), with most of the kids getting to sleep around 10:30.

Theodore came to me around 9, crawled into my lap, and asked me to please put him to bed; he was asleep less than 5 minutes later.

The baby, Rosy, decided sleep was not needed at all. She stuck with that premise through our day trip yesterday, finally crashing around 9:30 last night (her mom is a Trooper!!)

So after that unplanned late night, we took an easy morning and left around 10 a.m. for Tuzigoot, ancient Pueblo ruins dating from around 900 years ago (before our country was this country, I told Elijah). It was remarkable!!

The children loved walking through the adobe structures, in and out of low doorways, up newly constructed staircases, around prickly cacti, and down winding trails.

They walked so fast! We reminisced about being like that—running, bolting, backtracking to do it again. But now, less agile perhaps, or just more introspective, we wanted to saunter: to take in the wonder of these creations, made of hands alive a millennia before ours.

Of course, as if there is no other way (Is there? I think not.) to see a National Monument, the children completed the Junior Ranger program.

Another badge, another Ranger performing another, but always new, Oath. The basics are the same, but the Rangers seem to be part of a pact to add a laugh, or at least a giggle, to the experience. As we moved from Tuzigoot to Sedona, hiking part of the Cathedral Rock trail, they kept reminding each other, “We promised NOT to high five a cactus!! Don’t forget, Rangers!”

Except for the ride back, and the subsequent stop for a quick fast food meal, Sedona was the end of the Arizona portion of our trip. We didn’t hurry through the red rocks. We stopped and made rock landmarks, climbed up and down empty creek beds, picked up sticks and rocks, dropping them in new homes as we spotted other more interesting shapes.

Julie started a playing music at the end, Van Morrison and Bob Marley—the perfect soundtrack for the moment as children dug in the red dirt, coating their arms with it and yelling out, “Oh no! I got a sunburn!” They repeated each other’s words, laughing each time as if it was the first.

The grown-ups? We just sat back as the sun set low, not even thinking about the time…our clocks were broken, but otherwise we felt really all right.

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