Saturday, March 1, 2014


I write to you from cold, wintry Nebraska where we're about to get snow and freezing cold temperatures. I miss Arizona's sun and heat already.  Summary of our trip? Well, we survived! And when I say we survived, I say that for my next "relaxing" vacation, I may leave out two little ones of the itinerary! Brave yourself for a lengthy, lengthy post! :)

When we booked this trip we had no idea of the madness that the next couple of months were going to be. We were worried we'd have to cancel the trip due to our new schedule but we were so glad that we were able to still do it.  I was so excited for our nice relaxing vacation to the desert. But I forgot about vacationing with young children, it's no vacation at all.

Thursday (aka the day before we left) Layla was super, crazy crabby. Not all that different from the way she's been lately but it was crabbiness with a side of snot city so I brought her in to the doctor to be sure it wasn't anything before we left. She had an ear infection. The doctor said that we could fly but that it'd probably be miserable. Wonderful. Like I wasn't nervous enough already.

We arrived at the airport Friday around 11. The United line was UBER long with only 1 lady working it. Stressful moment #1.  We made it through thinking there was a chance we'd miss our flight so we ran to security. Got through security with only a few issues (Layla screaming because her baby doll had to go through the machine and just screaming because screaming is fun) and made it to our gate just in time. Whew!  

And then we find out that our flight to Denver is delayed. Ok, no problem! We just ate some snacks, watched planes land, and ran off some extra energy.  2 and a half hours later we are finally on the plane. It's naptime by this point and both kids ran around so I'm thinking we've got this! They're going to be exhausted!  After sitting on the plane for 40 minutes and still not moving things got real interesting. Luckily we were right next to a little girl about 15 months old and her mom. Layla and her (the 15 month old, not the mom) took turns screaming. I'm sure the passengers were delighted with us. But at least we were near someone who understood!  After over an hour of just sitting at the gate on the plane we finally take off. And Layla passes out instantly. Thank goodness!! But then of course Brady has to pee (sitting in the window seat) and the only way to the bathroom is past me (sitting in the aisle seat with snoozing Layla). So of course she wakes up. She's entertained for about 30 minutes and then gets super antsy. Luckily our flight was only an hour and a half.  But then they announce that most people are going to miss their connections.  We land and are told that we need to run to our gate because they're holding the plane for us.  No time to get food, no time for bathroom breaks, nothing, just run to the plane.  We make it just in time, find our seats (in the very back of the plane) and try our best to keep the children entertained. We had some issues with popping ears and some "get me off this plane" but we finally landed in Phoenix.

 We changed into shorts, Layla had a giant poop, got our luggage, and then we realize Brady's beloved Teddy is missing. He's on the stinkin plane. You have got to be kidding me.  Luckily with some help from the United crew, we got Teddy back.  It was a close, close call. I don't even want to think about what our trip would have been like without Teddy. After that ordeal we headed outside to wait for our shuttle bus.

What's this? Oh just waiting for our shuttle bus for over an hour. With no dinner since we ran to our last plane and everything at the Phoenix airport was closed. OVER IT. At least it was nice out!  

Finally the shuttle bus came and I think he felt bad for us so he drove us to In-N-Out Burger. What a guy!  Yep that's us with small kids just outside Arizona State campus in a fast food joint late on a Saturday night. Completely normal. Not pictured is the blow-up naked woman doll on the back of a van that I had to explain to Brady. I can cross that one off the bucket list now.

After that we got to the hotel, got a great night of sleep, picked up our rental car, and drove down to Tucson.

We had some delicious lunch, changed into our swimsuits, and we jumped right in the pool!

Fun with family, sunshine, and relaxation.

Thumbs up to that! :)

Brian's grandparents seriously spoiled us with some AMAZING meals. Seriously. 

This was pork tenderloin with twice baked potatoes. My mouth is watering just thinking about i!

And then we watched Grandpa "use fire" to make the creme brulee.

Brady and Grandma had fun looking at a planet book together. It warmed my heart that they got to spend time with their great grandparents.

The second day we were there they took us the Pima Air and Space Museum and it was so interesting!

The kids loved all of the planes

Thumbs up!

Pilot Brady with his co-pilot Layla. Terrifying.

Then we took a tour of the aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. This is the final resting place for many old Air Force planes. Brian took a picture from the bus of an old plane from Offutt similar to the one he flies.

So many planes!

Checking all of the planes outside

After "naps" and I say "naps" because they mainly consisted of children either crying, screaming, or talking loudly to each other, Layla and Brady enjoyed some fun in the backyard.

And Brady and Daddy played airplanes.

Layla enjoyed a quick read. Man, vacations are tough.

We also took a walk through their neighborhood. Loved the mountain views on our walk!

The next day we checked out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Where my children rode "pigs".

We checked out snakes

and Layla's favorite, the froggies.

The views were pretty spectacular. 

Brady and I at the museum

Layla spent a majority of her time announcing her presence via screams.


"Layla, look! I'm a turtle!"

"Wait! Am I a boy turtle or a girl turtle?"

After the museum we caught a rare moment of them getting along. It was short lived.

And we found a playground!

The next day we took a hike near Grandma and Grandpa's church. 

Cactus, everywhere!

We saw some really neat petroglyphs.  

Brady enjoyed all of the rocks.

As did Layla.

So pretty there!

Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa and head back up to Phoenix.  They seriously were the best hosts ever. We were wined and dined and they showed us the best sights of Tucson.  They were so patient with the kids (who were a little crazy) and were so sweet to us.  Can't thank them enough!

We couldn't check in to the hotel quite yet so we decided to go see some sights in Phoenix. First up, a train museum. Because what trip is complete without some trains?

Train ride!

Choo choo!

And more trains.

Brady was seriously in heaven.

After that we decided to go check out Camelback Mountain and hiked on Echo Canyon Trails.

We had read online that the trail was pretty advanced but we decided to try it out anyway since we were close to there.

Brady LOVES to hike.

Layla, not so much. Well she likes to hike but she likes to go at her own pace.

And take LOTS of snack breaks.

So we let Brady and Brian go ahead. They took the camera.

And I'm glad we didn't go with. Because that was the trail further up the mountain. I'm a little spooked of heights and I would have been petrified being up there with the kids!

Brady cracks me up with his hands on his hips. Guess I take too many pictures like that, haha!

Brady and Brian on the mountain.

This was them up on one of the rocks.

So high up! Made me nervous!

This was their "oh I missed you so much hug" after being apart 30 minutes.

The sun setting on Phoenix.

And because I'm a genius I booked us a 5:40am flight on the way home. We got back to our hotel and I knew we needed to get the kids in bed PRONTO.  They had other plans. Brady got really sick and felt feverish. He started coughing and telling me he didn't feel good. Because of course.  I gave him some medicine and he finally settled down and went to bed. Layla on the other hand decided it was time to party and stayed up until midnight.  Boy, that 3:30am alarm sure came quickly. We had to wake both kids up, drag them to the airport shuttle (both screaming, Brady saying he needed to go to the doctor), and we lugged ourself into the airport, through security, and to our gate. Luckily the plane was on time, we took off, and Layla passed out instantly. And then Brady of course had to pee again, waking her up. Sigh. But we made it to Houston.

And then we trekked over to the USO. Layla, as you can tell, had a horrible time there. After about an hour we walked back to our gate, and got on the next plane.

They moved people around so that we basically had no one around us. Had the flight attendants been warned about the Ross family?  Both kids were exhausted, whiny, and a little restless.

I hear ya Teddy, it may only be 10 am, but you get that drink. Lord knows we've all earned it.

And of course with 10 minutes left in the flight Brady passes out. Ignore my face. That's my "I got 3 hours of sleep and I am over this trip" face.

And Layla passed out too.  There was a medical emergency on the plane so we had to sit tight for awhile while they got her off the plane. I felt horrible for the lady but didn't mind waiting since we were on the ground and our children were quiet.  

But we're home! We made it! It's freezing but we made it!!  Yes it was stressful but we're so glad we went  down to Tucson to see Brian's grandparents. We don't get to see them nearly enough and it was great to spend a couple of days with them. I'm sure that's probably more than you wanted to know about our trip, but hey, there it is!  Next time, vacation without children! :)


Jen said...

I'm so glad you got to see family! :)

Samantha {Moody Mama} said...

Yay for an overall good trip! I'm exhausted for you after reading though ;)

Becky Dougherty said...

I sounds like the visit itself was so much better than all th traveling to and from! At least you got some sun and got to wear shorts! :)

Jenn said...

1. Jealous that you're wearing shorts (although my legs have no business seeing the light of day right now- maybe I'm part vampire?)
2. I can sympathize and empathize with the whining and screaming. OH I CAN EMPHATHIZE. Bless you, girl.
3. I'm so glad you got to see family! Y'all know how to cram a lot of activities into a short amount of time.
4. Reading about the flights (oh and the ill-timed potty breaks!) made me twitch a little bit. I think I've got a little flights-with-children PTSD. I hope you had a very healthy glass of wine once you got back home. Lord knows you deserve it.
5. I think that's all I've got! What a trip! Can't wait to read about your childless vacation (aka the REAL vacation). I wanna take one too!! :)

Jamie said...

Seeing all those sunnshiny, warm weather pics is making me very jealous.

Shannon said...

I feel like I could comment about 100000 different things. It seems the travel (both directions) was not ideal (thank goodness you got Teddy back), but the trip itself looked FUN!

I so wish I could dress for warmer weather. So jealous.

Janelle Vannice said...

It sounds like you had a pretty fun trip! I hate flying as it is (as we've discussed), so I can't even imagine trying to fly with kids! That's one of my worst fears for the future, haha.

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