Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Rest of Wednesday

Joseph met up with some old design friends for lunch so the big kids and I had a hotel room picnic (our Livvies was sleeping in the other room so we had to stay in.)

And then it was out to the pool! We opted for the deeper, smaller pool near our room so Bentley could dive down for his rockets.

Our room was right around the corner from the middle balcony in the picture.

Love my little sunbather

Downtown waiting for dinner at this highly coveted place:

After an hour waiting in line we were treated to some very good pizza. We are lucky we made it inside at all actually--that place is crazy busy, only open Tuesday-Saturday from 5:00 until 10:00 and the line to get in for dinner begins around 3:30 each day. What??! Joseph and I had been years ago but I am pretty sure it was before they got this popular. Tye and Stacey made heroic efforts to come join us but when it came time to eat, the place would only allow 4 more people inside before they were full and we'd have to wait at least an hour for a free table. My brother encouraged us to go in and eat while his little family would figure out something else for dinner. We were sad to miss out on more time with him but thought it was so gracious of him to encourage us to stay.

Love that restaurant! So sad it is such a fiasco to actually eat there though.

We dropped by Joseph's Aunt and Uncle's house after we ate.
Livs was completely enamored with Edie's cuddly animals (Edie is Joseph's college-aged cousin)

Back at the resort we went for a little walk and bought ice cream sandwiches to eat poolside before bed.

I love swimming pools all lit up at night,
although the picture doesn't quite capture the inviting ambiance.

Desert Botanical Gardens

At the entrance, a few leftover pieces from the Dale Chihuly exhibit

Bentley mapped out our visit and showed us where to go

From the butterfly exhibit.
Cares had a few butterflies land on her visor and shoulder--she must smell very sweet :)

testing out how butterflies see the world

the bright yellow trees behind us were some of my favorites that day--I am in love with that color

tiny Livs, her big daddy and huge saquaros

Bentley learning about all 4 deserts in North America which all overlap into Arizona. My kid was loving that kind of information.

voila--a double stroller!

A pic Joseph took of me with his phone
(I do spend a good deal of time behind that camera :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunshine Day

We woke up to a gorgeous blue sky on Tuesday. Hello Phoenix sun!

And who doesn't need a rockin' pair of sunny-g's on a day like that?

We were up early (as always with our little brood) and decided we still needed some Tia Rosa lunch. After a quick stop at Old Navy, we made the drive out to Mesa again and got there right when they opened (we were what you call eager beavers...) Rightly so--what a yummy lunch! I could eat those chips dipped in refried beans all day. And we sat in the sun while we ate. Delicious all around.

Then it was over to McCormick Railroad park in Scottsdale

Livs was happy to find a pine cone to hold

while Cares made up her own game of pine cone soccer. Simple pleasures.

Oh how pleased my babes were to just run and run and run!

My little railroad girl

and my boxcar children.
How cool were those books as a child? I used to daydream about finding my very own, hidden in the forest boxcar to use as a fort/playhouse whenever I wanted.

After a long swim (for Joe and the kids while Livs napped and I read) we spent the evening at the Biltmore. Or more so walking around the Biltmore on our way to Hillstone down the road (used to be Houston's but they have changed names and locations without changing the menu.) My kids were the only children in the restaurant and let me just say they behaved beautifully (might be because I warned them they had better or else...) Beans, Cares and I all shared a full slab of babyback ribs which were divine. But as Bentley aptly pointed out--Nanny's were still his favorite and I had to agree.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Matchless Match

I was too slow to post before Carrie today, but I wanted to write a special post for her on her birthday. Forgive me if you've already seen these pictures. I've tried to use pictures from my phone because Carrie doesn't often post them here.

On a blog post written for my mom, I wrote to thank her for being my matchmaker. She set me up on my first date with Carrie; who, as it turns out, is a matchless match. Here are my top 3 reasons Carrie is perfect for me.

1. Carrie is beautiful
Though I was immediately attracted to Carrie when I first met her, there was so much more that drew me in. Carrie has a natural confidence and joy about herself that is infectious. Her beauty is her ability to make others feel at ease and important. Her beauty is in creating and surrounding herself with beautiful things. And she has given me 3 beautiful children.

We like to laugh about her wrinkles in her forehead. I tease her that it's from her sun worship at Lake Powell. She insists it's because she is an expressive and attentive listener. The latter is probably true because I am a horrible listener and thus have no lines in my forehead.

2. Carrie is a nurturer
Carrie is a middle child. She works hard to keep the peace in the family, making sure everyone feels comfortable. That's where it all started anyway. Now she keeps the peace in our family, strengthening and teaching our children, my family and her friends in a way that builds them up and makes them happy to be in her life. She is thoughtful, and gives good advice. She is fiercely loyal to those she loves.

3. Carrie is righteous
Not only is she righteous in the 80s sense of the word, but she is genuinely a good person. She keeps us on track in our family and helps us make good choices. She is not self righteous… she is just the perfect amount of righteous. Her pure life and actions are a good example to everyone in our family.

Since she is turning 32, she gets 3 + 2. 2 Bonus reasons why carrie is my matchless match.

4. Carrie is a cheap date
This is true in two senses of the word. First, she'd be more than happy to go to Training Table or have a picnic for all of our dates.

But the real way I mean this is that she is easily entertained, or what my dad calls a "cheap date." After 11 years of marriage, I know exactly how to punch Carrie's buttons. Her funny buttons anyway. She's always laughed at my joking manner, but in the last few years I've been able to really get her going. And she's got such a hearty laugh that it's hard to pass up an opportunity to hear it.

5. Carrie is organized
This is a perfect balance for me. I've always been, how shall we say, spontaneous. I'm creative and I use that as an excuse to be crazy messy and unorganized. Carrie, on the other hand, is always taking on projects, rearranging, sorting through our stuff and helping me get rid of things that are old, useless, pointless or that fall out of her organization paradigm. I'm a much more organized person thanks to her, I even feel the desire to get organized once in a while.

Babe, you are the perfect match for me. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Rainy Monday

**Still posting on our trip...although today is quite gloomy as well. Boring, especially when it's my birthday. Didn't the weather get the memo that I totally adore sunshine??

We woke up to a cloudy, gray day on Monday and knowing rain was in the forecast, we planned all we could to stay indoors and eat good food. The perfect start was breakfast at La Grande Orange followed by a quick stop at our old townhouse in Arcadia.

It was so fun to see it again and remember all the good times we had in that home: having Ethan and Will run 3 doors down to greet me and come play, finding out I was pregnant for the very first time, playing games with Cec and Chad on Thursday evenings (and watching Friends in the background...was that the finale year?), hanging out at the pool 101 times, and bringing our beautiful baby boy home from the hospital to settle in as a family, all in that lovely little house.

As we drove away, the rain really started coming down but we hoped it might abate in a few hours. We drove to Fashion Square and while I roamed through Nordys, Joseph and the kids hung out at the great children's play place. Sadly, I didn't find anything to buy--even with a gift card snug in my wallet. It just wasn't one of those shopping days. Since the rain was still falling we opted for lunch out in Mesa at Tia Rosa even though it was a bit of a drive. When we arrived we discovered that they were closed. Arghhhh. My bad mood was growing. And then Joseph looked up the weather forecast for the next day and it showed more cloudy skies and cool temps. It was not welcome news and I got a little upset and may have let out a small rant.

While eating lunch downtown (after another long drive back from Mesa) the forecast suddenly said the next day would bring sunshine and temps in the 70s. And Bentley found a 20 dollar bill on the floor. My mood officially changed and we spent Bentley's money at Smeeks--a cute novelty shop right down the street from out lunch spot (Oregano's).

We had a lazy afternoon back at the hotel while Olivia napped and then we were off to north Scottsdale to meet up with our old friends, Erin and Paul.

It was really great to hang out with them and they made the yummiest dinner for us (always nice to eat a home cooked meal while traveling). I think I could sit and chat with Erin for hours on end which the kids actually allowed pretty well--even though they played at least 10 different games and made huge messes in the process. Erin and I danced together for 2 years at BYU and I even knew her during her courtship/engagement/marriage to Paul. It was fun to be a tiny part of their love story and have more friends join our group of "marrieds." Love those 2 and their darling family.

Memories from 2000 and 2001:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First Days in the Desert

I can hardly believe that an entire week has lapsed since I last blogged! Makes me miss the internet so very much when I don't have it at my beck and call (and the iPhone just does not do blogging any justice). Instead of "relaxing" on our laptops each night while the kids slept, Joseph and I watched season 1 of Modern Family on DVD and now we have many silly lines we keep quoting from it. Funny show.

Anyway, we are safely home and excited to document our adventures. We left town Friday in the late afternoon and drove to my parents St George house for a good night's sleep. We hit the road again around 9:30 the next morning and were down in Phoenix before dinner time. I was amazed at how good my kids were in the car--especially my toddler but it helped that we had tons of snacks and fun candy and entertaining prizes all packed up to keep everyone happy. When we arrived we unpacked, wandered around the resort, grabbed an early dinner at the poolside restaurant and went for an evening swim to get all our wiggles out before bed.

On Sunday, we attended sacrament meeting at our old ward in Arcadia and found many familiar faces even though we haven't been back for almost 7 years.

Outside our old ward building just before church started.
Love the classic Phoenix orange tree blossoming in the green grass.

After church we drove east to the lovely Mesa Temple. It was an overcast day but the air was so warm and filled with the fresh smell of blossoms. I loved seeing the bright, colorful flowers and felt so very ready for spring.

And then we spent the afternoon at my brother's house in Gilbert. He and Stacey made us a tasty lunch, the kids played endlessly with all of Mason's fun toys, and while Livs napped we watched Megamind. It was so refreshing to hang out at their home, spread out a little and enjoy good company (and a washer and dryer!)

We ate at Joe's Farm Grill for dinner before driving back to our hotel. It was the perfect place for our energetic kids who loved roaming the grass, finding rocks, and skipping and running all around outside. How we have missed playing outside these past winter months!

All ready for bed back at the hotel.
Livs climbed in with the kids each night for snuggles and prayers and loved being in the big kid bed so much. Luckily, she sweetly let us pop her into the pack-n-play for sleeping. And after a failed attempt at letting all 3 kids fall asleep in the same room (too many giggles at Livvies' jabbering and singing) the babe got to sleep in the bathroom each night.