Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Woa! -Ish!"

Along the previously mentioned carpe diem lines, we decided to take a weekend jaunt to San Diego.  It's maybe 6 hours away.  So we thought, why not?  After work on Thursday, we got on the road.  We stopped for the night in El Centro, CA.  Michael worked from the hotel room for a few hours in the morning while Laila and I enjoyed some shopping.  Around lunch time we got back on the road.  Laila enjoyed the ride by napping and by the time she woke up, we were pulling up to our hotel.
We stayed at the Marriott Marquis right on the harbor.  We had a balcony with a beautiful view.

We started exploring the city with a sweet little ride on the surrey.  It was SUPER fun! We rode up and down the water's edge seeing the harbor, the Gas Lamp District, the huge Navy ships and of course, the iconic statue...

We walked around Sea Port Village enjoying the weather, the water and the shopping!  For dinner we enjoyed a fun little restaurant in the Gas Lamp District topped off with dessert at Ghiradelli's! YUMMY! It was the perfect evening.

The next morning was started with a swim for these two...

Then it was off to Sea World.  Our lovely Adelaide loved pointing and squealing "-ish! -ish!" (Fish, fish) everywhere we went.  We went on a few rides with her.  Ate some lunch.  Walked throught the various aquariums and exhibits and went to the Shamu, dolphin, and pet shows.  Laila was enthralled in every show, but during Shamu she would say, "Woa! -ish!"  It was so fun to have this experience with her.  She's just too cute!

Later that evening, we got back on the road to head home.  Short, but sweet weekend.  It really was so perfect.  However, lest anyone think our trip is too idealic, I did survive a rip roaring case of food poisoning the whole drive home.  I'm not going to give details about that, but it was less that glamorous that's for sure.  But I did have a wonderful husband doing anything he possibly could to make me feel better.  He really is amazing- working, organizing, and planning everything so we could have the best weekend retreat!  I'll tell ya, we are very lucky girls in our house!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Carpe Diem

Michael's new position has had him traveling about once a month since he started in May.  Normally, this would be something that might not be too ideal, but we have realized that we are at a time in our lives that we might not ever be again.  Since I'm not teaching this year, we don't have a school/work schedule to work around and Laila is under 2 (she can still fly free) so we can actually tag along on these business trips at a relatively decent price.  Now that we are aware of this rare phenomenon, we have definitely seized the day and are enjoying the opportunity we have to travel together!
About a week after Michael's family left, we all took off for New Jersey.  I had some flight points that I could use so we decided that Adelaide and I would fly separately. Yep.  5 hour non-stop flight with a toddler by myself.  Fortunately we flew Southwest so I was able to get on and sit in an empty row.  I sat on the aisle and put Laila in the middle seat (even though she's a lap child) as I stowed all our gear.  I had one girl who wanted to sit in the window seat until she saw Laila.  Then she said, "Oh No.  She's cute, but no."  Wow.  Alright then.   Fortunately for us, we had a darling British girl sit by us and although the flight was almost full, we got to have the empty middle seat too.  And true to character, Adelaide was a doll.  She gave high fives, giggled, put her pretzels on her drink straw, watched movies and took a nap.  Definitely a win for us.

Michael had meetings in Morristown at the start of the week so we decided to enjoy NYC on the weekend.  Our good friends, the Hardys, currently live in the city so they graciously agreed to be our tour guides!  It was such a blast to see them and finally meet their little man. Getting around the city is definitely a lot more relaxing when you have people who know what they're doing- what trains to get on, when to get off or transfer, etc.  They took us to the beautiful High Line Park.  Basically it's a high train track turned into a park. We enjoyed lunch at Shake Shack.  Due to some cold, wet babies we took a tour of Marcus' office and warmed up a bit.

Afterwards, we were FINALLY able to get Laila to put on her coat and soon after, she was asleep.  We walked around a fun thrift/antique sale.  I have a tinge of buyer's remorse because we couldn't figure out a way to get a beautiful, Chinese wood carved screen home with us.  *sigh* But what a wonderful day with the Hardy's!

The next morning, we went back into the city to see the Sept 11 memorial.  It is a powerful way to literally represent the giant holes those twin towers left in the beautiful, Manhattan sky line.

We also enjoyed walking around the city a little more and eating some yummy goodies!

We purchased this treasure:

Best $5 we have ever spent.  She calls it her 'roar' and it actually helps keep our poor AZ born child warm. We had fun on our short, little jaunt into NYC.

^Laila LOVED the "choo choos."

The next couple of days were spent in Morristown, NJ as Michael had meetings.  It's definitely a beautiful, New England-esque area.  Laila and I enjoyed hanging out at the hotel, swimming, playing in the leaves and I got my HGTV fix!  Not too shabby! When Michael was done with work we would get some dinner, walk through some fun furniture stores and one night we went bowling.

 We are grateful that we could go and that we got to see the beautiful fall foliage.

We love our little girl and loved being able to be together on a fun adventure!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Party of 12

That's the number of people we had sleeping in our house for a few days!  Last week was Fall Break so we had most of the Shields family here for the week.  We love visitors and we love being able to spend time with family! We had Michael's Grandpa Baldwin and Grandma Barbara staying in our guest room, Christi & Bryce with Brycen and Cian staying in our spare room, Michael's mom and dad in Laila's room on an air mattress, Laila and her crib in the master room and Dallin on our couch.  It was a full house and we loved it.

Saturday we had most of our guests arriving at varied times.  Sunday we all took up a whole row at church.  Enjoyed visiting the nearby duck pond, ate a nice pot roast for dinner, and hung out together.  Michael's brother, Joshua, came up from Tucson for dinner.  Wish his wife, Laura, could have come too.  But she was busy saving lives at work.

Monday we all went to a nearby farm to see the pumpkins, enjoy a train/tractor ride, ride the bouncy horsies, enjoy the jumpy jump & slides, see the animals and get lost in the corn maze.  The farm has so many fun things to do and the weather was not quite Fall weather, but it still felt nice.

Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, Dallin and Bryce had to fly back home and Michael's grandparents headed out.  So our numbers went down, but there was still a lot fun to be had.  Tuesday morning (before Bryce left and before all the babies and most adults were awake) we went to the Mesa temple to do some work.  WAY rough to wake up at that time, but wonderful to be in the temple!  Tuesday evening, the remaining 8 drove down to Tucson for visits and pizza with Joshua and Laura.
Our nephew, Brycen, rode down with us in our small car and he did not know what to do with all the dance parties we were having, but he soon got the hang of it.  On Wednesday, Michael and his dad started working on some projects around the house.  Stay tuned for those projects.  The rest of us enjoyed being outside and biking to the park.

Wednesday night we all donated three canned foods so that we could get into the state fair.  Love the lights. Love the rides. Love seeing how many foods can be deep fried. Love the people watching.  Love it all.

 ^This goat made me miss my Gertie Goat

Thursday was another delightful day because it was Michael's dad birthday and we started our day at the Train Park in Scottsdale.

On Friday everyone was leaving us.  So we took headed out on one last adventure and took a hike that's right by our house.  Arizona definitely is a different kind of beautiful. We are glad we got to share it with Michael's family for a few days!