Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Labor Day in PHO

Hey! Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend!
We had a nice one.  We flew out on Friday for Phoenix to go visit Amy's family, and we got back in town Tuesday night.
It was a nice trip!
We got to spend time and catch up with Amy's family, and Raylan got to spend time with them and hang out with his cousins.
On Friday morning my parents drove us to the airport (so thanks to them for getting up early to get us there).  Raylan was fairly good on the plane, although he was a little bit wiggly.
"C'mon, guys- be cool.  Just a few laps up and down the aisle.  I'll barely
touch the emergency exits."

When we got to Peoria on Friday (the area northwest of Phoenix where Amy's family lives), we hung out at the house and Raylan got to play with Nathan, one of his cousins.  This was good stuff for Raylan.  First of all, he and Nathan seemed to get along well as playmates.  Second, Jean and Greg's house is well-equipped for entertaining and caring for Amy's nephews and niece, so there were lots of new and exciting toys as well as a friendly dog (Molly) and an elusive cat (Lola).

"Don't pressure me, Nathan.  I can do this."
Friday afternoon we took Nathan and Raylan to the pool.  It was a lot of fun.  On Friday night we had some good chicken that Jean had made.  Also, she made a really good berry crumble sort of dessert.  Very good.

Carol and Jerry, Amy's grandparents, were kind enough to let us sleep over at their house in their king-sized bed while they slept over at Jean and Greg's house during our stay.  This made things very comfortable for king-sized Steanso, and, more importantly, normal-sized Amy, who tends to get a bit "crowded out" when sleeping in a smaller bed with me.  So thanks, Carol and Jerry!

On Saturday we got up and drove out to Anthem where they had a fun little train for kids as well as a very nice park, playground, and splash pad.
Raylan fell asleep in the car on the way out there and was delighted and amazed to slowly wake up and find himself boarding a train.

 Afterward he played on the playground a bit and splashed in the splash pad.

"This whole place is so magical!  I can't wait
to see what amazing flavors this water holds!"

Checkin' out the ducks and birds at the pond with Nana and Mom
Later we went back to the house. 

With a little help from Amy, Molly and Raylan work things out.

In the late afternoon Greg and I went to see Star Trek Beyond.  We both had fun going to see the movie, but we also both agreed, I think, that it probably wasn't the best Star Trek movie we had ever seen.  It was still mostly an action movie with a menacing bad guy, but not a lot of old-fashioned Star Trek mystery or alienness to it.  There were some good character-building, buddy moments with the cast, but the process of figuring out what alien races are up to and understanding the unknown has been largely overlooked in the new Trek movies, and where it does exist, it's really more a matter of figuring out the plans of the bad guys as opposed to understanding what how another entity is thinking.  I miss that part of Star Trek.
There was, however, a reference in the movie to the giant, green hand from "Who Mourns for Adonais?", a memorable episode from the original series, so when we got home, we dialed that up on Netflix and watched part of it.  Raylan was interested in the whole Star Trek thing, in general, and the giant, green hand, in particular.

"Thanks, Poppa.  This really clears up some things that I've
been wondering about."
Saturday night we went to Saigon Kitchen while Carol babysat Raylan.  I had a dish with garlic noodles and shrimp.  Very tasty.  It was a nice dinner out.
Saigon kitchen is one of our favorites when we go to Arizona.

On Sunday we got up and went to the pool with Matt, Heidi, Carol, Jerry, Matt, Nathan, and Joanna.

Big boys in the big pool!
"You're getting wet, Poppy!"
Amy-Jean time
I the early afternoon Jean and Amy did some sewing while I borrowed a car and ran to a nearby store to do a little quick shopping (I took advantage of a nearby store that carries tall clothes). 
In the afternoonwe watched the UT-Notre Dame season opener.  Jean made queso and delicious shrimp tacos, and Jerry and Carol came over. 
The game (which went into double overtime) was really, really fun.  There were still a few signs of the old UT weaknesses (e.g., a few defensive lapses and some costly and needless penalties), but, on the whole, the team looked much better than last year.  For starters, UT's new true freshman quarterback, Shane Buechele, displayed a confidence and poise that seemed pretty amazing in front of a capacity crowd on the opening game of the year (and against Notre Dame, no less!).  It's still early, but that kid really seems like he could be something special.  And Tyrone Swoopes seemed to get the job done running when he subbed in at QB!  The offensive line seemed much improved, and, for the most part, the receivers caught the ball.  I like the new hurry up style offense.
Anyway, it was a fun game.  Time will tell whether this victory against a young Notre Dame team is truly a signal of things to come, but at the very least, it was great to see UT show some determination and focus during a long, hard fought game. 
Hook 'em!!!
Beer helps the Longhorns win!

Bleeding orange in the Arizona desert

On Monday, Labor Day, we got up and went out for breakfast with Jean and Greg at The Haymaker.  It was good!  I ate some sort of fried chicken, potato, eggs benedict creation that was delicious and probably could have fed a family of four.

Nana shows Raylan how to order things on Amazon (not really)
Later Jean took us to the pool again to meet Heidi and Scott and Nathan.  I got to go down their large water slide with Scott a couple of times, and Raylan had fun swimming with Nathan and Scott.
In the later afternoon we had a cookout at Greg and Jean's house, and the whole family came over.  We played Quirkle with Scott, Heidi, and Matt, and Raylan ran around and played with his cousins.  Heidi made a buffalo chicken dip which was very good.

"In all honesty, Nana, I should probably be wearing this
helmet much more often..."
"Everything looks squared away back here, Dad."
"Not a fan of the paparazzi, Uncle Jason. 
Not a fan."
"What ya got, there, Scott, is a tower that needs knockin' over.
Lemme help ya..."
Ya know what gets four squirming
kids to sit still for a second?
Buffalo chicken dip.

It was a good evening.  Greg grilled some tasty chicken breasts and we had corn on the cob.

Tuesday Jean made us some breakfast and we left town.   Before we went we had one last get-together with the cousins and Raylan.  We tried for a more organized group picture with the kiddos, but this was as good as it got (it may not be perfect, but I think it's a pretty great photo):
Greg, Jean, Nathan, Joanna, Amy, Scott, Raylan, and me

And that was about it.  Greg was kind enough to drive us to the airport.  We had a great time.
Thanks to the Davis, Koffel, and Sinex families for hosting us!
As always, we really do appreciate the hospitality. 


The League said...

Great pics and write up!

Really fun to see Raylan living it up with the Arizona branch!

J.S. said...

Thanks! We had fun! The Davis-Koffel-Sinex clan are good hosts!