We had such a great time visiting my aunt and uncle and enjoying the Arizona sunshine. My one regret is that we didn't have enough time to meet up with a couple of other friends and fellow BLMs I know who are in the area, or my cousin Casey and his family. We'll just have to go back for another trip!
Here's a quick recap, with a few pics.
I ordered these dresses before we left, knowing that my rainbow-loving rainbow babies would be into them. I did not realize quite how NEON colored they were, but it made them easy to spot on the playground. The girls really love wearing matching clothes right now, so even though Coco has plenty of hand-me-downs, I can't resist getting them a few matching things each season.
Trivia of no interest to anyone but me: Coco's feet are ahead of Zuzu's feet schedule. So while she's wearing the same clothes that Zuzu wore at the same age, she's outgrown the shoes. Zuzu's feet were too small for these cute white sandals (Striderite, size 6.5) until after she turned three, and even then they were very roomy. I was pleasantly surprised that we had these little-worn sandals that were a perfect fit for Coco-puff.
My aunt had this poster made for Zuzu's first visit to Arizona (oh, my heart!).
She looks a little different standing under it now.
And she surprised us with a matching one for Coco!
The first full day that we were there, we went to the park and let the girls splash in the pool and generally just took it easy. That night, we went to dinner at Ajo Al's. When I was a kid and we'd stay with my grandparents in Mesa for a week each spring break, my aunt Peggy would pick me up and we'd go out to dinner, just the two of us, at Ajo Al's (she did the same with my brother). One of my favorite memories probably from the time I was in fifth grade or so is driving in her Camaro to the restaurant, eating a cheese crisp for dinner, getting fried ice cream for dessert, and then going back to her house and watching Romancing the Stone. If we didn't get fried ice cream, she'd make chocolate waffles back at her house (a secret family recipe that is so delicious). Anyway, the girls wore adorable coordinating dresses to dinner, and agreed to pose for a picture in Peggy's front yard.
Coco ended up getting a grease stain on her dress that I'm still working on, but that's because she ate three slices of cheese crisp. Zuzu decided she doesn't like cheese (WHOSE CHILD ARE YOU?) so she ate plain tortilla. Eye roll. Here's a picture of Coco enjoying her cheese crisp and Aunt Peggy enjoying a chip:
We met up with friends from Kansas City and went to a spring training game. The weather was lovely but the sun was so hot. I was glad I packed the girls swim suits because the rash guards meant less surface area to get sunburned. We brought a couple of golf umbrellas, but when the afternoon sun is high, shade is scarce.
Mia's due date was two weeks before Eliza's, and I did a lot of wandering around the ballpark with the girls, so people assumed all three of them were mine. This picture makes my heart itch for so many reasons.
The girls were good sports about spending time in sports bars on the trip. Between the World Baseball Classic and March Madness basketball, there were a lot of sports to watch on TV.
We did a little shopping one day in Old Town Scottsdale. Zuzu choseher souvenir bag of "gemstones," which kept her remarkably entertained. She ate a hotdog bun for lunch, and then an old man who was having lunch at the next table asked David if he could treat our girls to ice cream. Zuzu isn't much for sweet treats, but she licked the strawberry ice cream and when it fell off the cone onto the floor, she happily ate the plain cone.
Meanwhile, Coco was not messing around and did a very good job of eating her cookies & cream ice cream cone before it melted. We're so proud. (In the background behind her in the black hat you can see the guy who bought their treats.)
I wanted a family picture, but we are all squinting into the sun and Coco was beyond ready for nap.
I'd promised a splash pad, so we sought one out and went to Scottsdale Quarters (I think that's what it's called). It's a pretty upscale shopping area (Lululemon and Free People overlook the splash pad) and that part would have been way more fun if I'd been there without kids. I managed to browse in Gap for a few minutes, and if I'd wanted a wool sweater, they were having some great sales!
This picture of the girls cracks me up because it's such a representation of their demeanor at the splash pad and really in general. Zuzu is ALL IN, completely soaked in the first moments of arrival, jumping up and down in the fountain. Coco is much more cautious, taking it all in, observing her sister, and refraining from getting her hair wet. I just love them both.
Peggy's pool isn't heated, so she really uses it just in the summer months. But a little thing like 70 degree water is not going to prevent Zuzu from swimming. She jumped in every morning and every afternoon, splashing around, jumping, and swimming, until she was so cold that her body was shivering violently. Then we'd wrap her up in a big towel and carry her inside for a warm shower. Coco put her feet in, but on one of our last days, she decided she was brave enough to jump in, if Aunt Peggy would get in the pool and catch her (Mama refused because I'm the meanest--that water was FREEZING!). They had a great time, though it wasn't long before all three of them were ready for warm showers.
Every spring break should involve plenty of popsicle eating on the patio. These matching dresses were $5 each at Wal-Mart. The girls love that they have pockets, and I love that I'm not worried about a drippy popsicle.
One of the highlights of the trip was having my friend Brandy and her husband and kids come by Peggy's house for chocolate waffles. The kids played wildly and it was so much fun to see them together. It had been a long time since Zuzu and Ben had been in the same place, and the last time I saw Brandy in person, Claire and Coco weren't here yet!
It was five days of fun and sun and no real schedule (we didn't even try to keep the kids on central time, and Coco skipped a nap for the first time in her entire life), we were both sad and ready to get home and back to the familiar routine.
Truth be told, I was actually ready for ANOTHER vacation, this one without my children, because of that old truth that vacationing with kids is actually just parenting them somewhere else, only with less sleep and more junk food. NOT EASY.
As I mentioned before, poor Zuzu got sick on the way to the airport (and barfed again mid-flight), so the trip ended a bit dramatically, but even thought I had to go back to work feeling a bit more crazed than relaxed after a week in the sunshine, I'm glad we went. Traveling with kids always means a few more battles and the internal debate about whether to just chill (so what if she only eats grapes and plai tortillas, it's vacation!) or be consistent about enforcing naps and schedules. David and I pretty much opt for Vacation Mode when possible, but toddlers need consistency and naps. So it's still true that a vacation with kids is just parenting in anew place with less sleep. But still worth it!