Mom and I bravely took an out of state trip with the kids and no dads. It was a wise move in terms of visiting family because, duh, that needs to happen, but a real drag in that the kids had to travel with us. Some of you reading this will be like, “oh yeah, I remember driving my kids THREE HOURS for our out of the state vacation and boy will I never do that again!” However, the other camp reading this is from Alaska too and can shed a tear for the trauma that is naturally a part of any out of state venture. The three hour drive to Anchorage, the red-eye flight that gets you most of the way to where you’re going, the endless snacks, the double limo stroller, the sippy cups, baby carriers, Tylenol and Benadryl, headphones, snacks, ipads, chargers, extra diapers, change of clothes, more snacks and a whole host of other things to load on your person and drag through airports and onto planes. We drove, we airported, we planed, airported again, planed again and finally airported one last time before doing the rental car ordeal (I say ordeal, because it’s one of those things that is notoriously always complicated) before finally being on vacation. By this point, we were all tired, hot and full of weird food but no actual meals. I may or may not have changed my kids clothes in the lobby of the rental car place. We live on the wild side.
Once we got going it was golden. We hit up an outlet mall and did significantly less damage than we could have done if there were no kids in tow. A certain kid of mine was oozing with tired and it came out in some pretty ugly, noisy forms which landed her a timeout and a spank in the middle of the mall. Freshly equipped with an indoor voice, fingers out of her nose and new sunglasses, we ventured on.
*side note: I don’t know why anyone purposely lives in Phoenix. That place is so unbelievably HOT! It’s hot beyond what my imagination can concoct. My poor boy has never been hot in his life had to figure out what to do with it. He had a cup of water constantly either in his mouth or leaking all over him. (Can someone please make a perfect leak-free sippy cup!?)
We spent some great time with my nephews who are so much fun! Molli and Jack are 5 weeks apart and they hit it off right away. They played together better than we were expecting and Gavin had a hay day getting baby Sam. They may not specifically remember this visit forever, but I know I will. It is very important to me that my kids have a relationship with their cousins. I didn’t have that growing up, and to be honest, I didn’t think anything of it. My cousins never were a big part of my life so to see my kids playing with their cousins is extra sweet. I’m thankful that despite being so far apart, they love to see pictures/videos of each other and are a part of regular conversations.
We went to the park one day and as you might imagine, it was hot. Molli's face instantly turned red but it didn't stop her, she played hard! Who wouldn't want to run across a grassy field in on billion degree weather?
(unprompted hand holding! YES!)
(Gavin and Sammy had a very different trip to the park than the big kids)
Don’t be fooled, Phoenix is not the only hot part of Arizona. It’s all hot. So naturally, we set up a kiddie pool and let the kids play naked. They had a blast with that! At the end of the trip, we were back in Phoenix, watching the sea lions at the zoo and Jack suggested to Molli that they get naked and go swimming with them. What could be more fun than nakie toddlers playing in water with sea lions?!
Unfortunately, there was a glass wall arranged to spoil their fun. So the clothes stayed on and we left the sea lions to wander the zoo. Oh those poor animals. Phoenix is no place for penguins. The hyena was walking around, but pretty much every single other animal was pressed up against something in their enclosure seeking respite from the sun. Like I said, it was so hot. I filled and drank my 20oz water bottle every time we passed a water fountain but was sweating so much I literally only peed once all day. (You guys, people live there! My own brother lives there!).
(Do you see these otters? They are so hot, they're savoring the last bit of shade before it goes away entirely and they are subject to the sun's life sucking power!)
(Uncle Nate helping Molli feed a giraffe!)
We went swimming at the hotel, which was super fun! I need to get Molli into swimming lessons. The girl has no fear and would have jumped in without me if we had not seen her in time. Swimming lessons would at least allow her to know what the heck to do if she actually made it in the water solo!
We also got their pictures taken. Oye. I think the ages of our gang are the perfect storm for meltdown city. I left there exhausted from placing and replacing more or less uncooperative toddlers and chasing a crawler who couldn’t keep himself still for long enough for the baby to be placed somewhere in the frame. We had to be quite a spectacle… running around trying to herd everyone together enough while making ridiculous noises and shaking bells and rattles to get everyone to look up, occasionally at the same place. Heaven help us, it’s not for the faint of heart.
Speaking of the faint of heart, those individuals may as well just get comfortable and set up shop there in AZ because the trip home was no cakewalk. Again with the traveling paraphernalia, only this time there were only my two hands to hold, entertain, feed and do whatever other traveling/mommy tasks were needed. I cannot recount the whole trip home, but just know that it was a 12 hour journey from the airport to home and now that I’ve had a day to recover, I think I need a vacation.