Saturday, April 25, 2015

Arizona 2015

This month, we went on another family trip to Arizona.  We have gone every year since Sophie was born and this trip was the best yet.  The weather was perfect, Ryan's parents were there to participate in many of our activities and we even got to spend some time with Aunt Janae.

Our flight to Arizona went well.  We had an afternoon flight so I was concerned about Elise missing her nap but she was a trooper.  Both girls were.  By the time we got to Arizona, got our rental car, found our condo (which was a bit of a challenge, it was dark, we went to the wrong place, etc.) and settled in, it was late.  Lucky for us, Nana and Papa met us there with some groceries and dinner.  It was almost 10 pm before both girls fell asleep.

Our first day at the beach

The next day, after a bit of a sleep in, we headed to the pool around 10 am.  It was probably the chilliest day of the week so the girls weren't super excited about getting too wet.  They did get in the pool though, so that made Dad happy.  We went back to the condo for lunch, and then Elise went for a nap, the one and only nap she would take our entire trip (and no napping since we have been home either).  Sophie, Nana and I decided to head to Butterfly Wonderland for the afternoon.  Sophie had a great time.  She really enjoyed the 3D movie about butterflies.  She associates theatres with scary movies (the only theatre she has been in is at Calaway Park where they play short animated films, we went once and after an intense 3D roller coaster scene, she decided she wasn't quite ready for the theatre yet), so she kept turning to me to say, "Mom, this isn't even scary!" After the movie, we went into the atrium where we saw hundreds and hundreds of butterflies.  They were beautiful.  My budding photographer had a great time taking pictures of the many colourful butterflies.  One even landed on Nana's shirt, which is considered very good luck.  A great first afternoon in Arizona.

Sophie at Butterfly Wonderland

We went to the Creative Kid's Museum the following day.  This is the same children's museum we visited last year and Sophie continued to talk about for months afterwards.  She insisted we go back since she had had so much fun there the year before.  Again, the three levels of fun and interactive play kept the girls well entertained for hours.  We packed a lunch and stayed until around two.  We thought, for sure, after all that stimulation, Elise would fall asleep in the car on the way back, but she didn't.  So after a snack and some down time at the condo, we called Nana and Papa to meet us at the pool.  The girls were more comfortable with the water (and the temperature) and Sophie really enjoyed swimming with her dad.  She even made some friends at the pool.  We met a family with two girls, Ally, 4, and Malia, 5, who was also vacationing from Calgary.

Playing at the Creative Kid's Museum

Saturday, Ryan and Papa took the girls to the Riparian Preserve so that Nana and I could go shopping.  I can't remember the last time I went shopping sans kids.  I would say probably around 4 years ago.  It was awesome.  We planned to make one stop at a large department store, then head to a mall; however, we never made it past Kohl's.  I found some great stuff for me and the girls, even a t-shirt for Ryan and a swimsuit for Hunter.  All in all, a very successful shopping trip.  My credit card would agree with me as well.  Sounds like the girls had a lot of fun at the park that morning as well.  Who had more fun?  Hard to say...  Of course, after lunch and some quiet time at the condo, we made our way to the pool.

With each day, the weather got warmer, which made our pool trips more and more enjoyable.  Sophie was making some serious progress with swim lessons from her dad (who in his younger days was a lifeguard and swim instructor so he was back in his element and loving it).  She also spent some time playing with Ally and Malia in the pool.  While this was going on, I was busy chasing Elise.  Once in a while, she would stop and have a quick swim, but it didn't last long before she would jump out of the pool to explore her surroundings.  Next to the pool is a man made beach and park.  We would wander over there to check out what was going on.  There are also pathways that lead to behind the waterfall.  The landscape is so beautiful, they hold weddings there.  So while Ryan and Sophie swam up a storm, Elise and I did laps of the property.

Riparian Preserve

We went to Golfland on Sunday morning.  We started with a game of mini golf which may have been a bit too long and challenging for the girls.  It began well enough but after Elise threw a few golf balls into the pond, Ryan decided to take her to the play structure so Sophie and I could finish the game.  Sophie has a competitive nature (I have no idea where that comes from) so she refused to pick the ball up and take it through certain holes that were quite challenging.  Instead she would try again and again, to the point of frustration and even a few tears.  It got a little hard to watch, however, she did finish the 18 holes.  We didn't stay long afterwards, the play structure was in rough and dirty shape.  Plus, the splash pad they had mentioned on the website was a mere ducky slide that slid onto a very small pad.  Not sure if the pad sprayed water when you landed on it or not, but it wasn't worth the trouble of getting the girls into swimsuits to find out.  We went home for lunch and quiet time.  Later, Nana and Papa met us at the pool.

Mini golf at Golfland while Elise was still interested

Monday we went to the Phoenix Zoo with Nana and Papa.  Most of our time was spent at in the farm area, which is really geared towards young kids.  There was a petting zoo, where they handed out brushes for the goats, a fake cow the kids could try milking, tractors to sit on, an indoor play place (which we mostly enjoyed for its air conditioning), and a farm themed park.  We did wander through the zoo to see the famous zoo animals, lions, tigers, zebras, and some others of course.  There was also a splash pad that Elise enjoyed for a few minutes and a carousel that was a hit with both girls.  The day ended, of course, with a swim at the pool.  Then Papa, Nana and Aunt Janae came over with dinner from Nando's, a Mexican take out restaurant we have also enjoyed on previous trips. Yum!

Milking the cow at the Phoenix Zoo

Tuesday was our last day so we decided to take it easy before our long travel home.  We went to a local park that morning with Nana and Papa.  The girls played for a bit and then we headed to the pond nearby to watch the ducks.  After lunch, we went to the pool for a swim, then headed back to Nana, Papa and Aunt Janae's for our last dinner in Arizona.

Enjoying the pool

It was a great trip and we enjoyed sharing it with family.  It was so helpful having Nana and Papa around that we hope they will join us again next year.  To see more pics of our vacation, click here.

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