Sunday, November 19, 2017

Arizona Trip!

So we just got back from a trip to Arizona to visit Amy's family.
We had a really nice visit.
We flew to Arizona on Thursday, getting there relatively early in the day.  We hung out at Jean and Greg's place, mostly, although we spent the night at Carol and Jerry's house.
We went out to dinner at Casa Rio with Jean and Greg, and met up with Heidi, Matt, Joanna, Scott, and Nathan.
We had a nice dinner and got some frozen yogurt afterward.

Raylan and Nathan play with toys and with Amy while Molly
bounces from person to person seeking affection

Raylan on the electric-powered four wheeler
On Friday we went with Jean, Nathan, and Scott to the Children's Museum of Phoenix.  It was a really cool place.  The main lobby of the building has a sort of three story tall playscape that they call a "climber".  The whole thing is enclosed so the kids can't fall out of it, but it involves all kinds of walkways and climbing sections.  Raylan loved it, and Scott was a big help in sort of guiding him through it since neither Amy or I could really fit through all of the narrow walkways and tunnels, especially with a bunch of other little kids running around on it.

The Climber!

Drop down maze cage in the Climber.  Rylan is trying to keep up
with Scott

Scott shows Raylan how to work one of the ball puzzles in
The Grand Ballroom

Raylan, having dropped his ball into the chute, watches it traverse the room
through a sort of Rube Goldberg machine before ending up in a bucket

Raylan keepin' it clean at the car wash!
We had a really good time at the Children's Museum.  We've been to children's museums in Phoenix, Portland, and Austin (yeah, I'm calling The Thinkery a children's museum), and I think the Phoenix one was the best.
Friday afternoon I borrowed Greg's bike and took a ride around Vistancia.  I was mostly riding in neighborhoods, but I managed to get in almost 13 miles.  It's always fun to go riding out in Phoenix.  It's such a different looking place than Austin.
Friday night we had a really good Italian dinner at Jean and Greg's house.  Everyone was there:  Jerry, Carol, Matt, Heidi, Scott, Nathan, and Joanna.  The food was tasty, the company was good, and Raylan had a blast playing with his cousins.  The kids all got flashlights, and they spent time in the dark bedrooms of the house and in the darker parts of the backyard playing hide-and-go-seek as well as a particularly weird game of Raylan's invention in which everyone tries to look for the Pale Green Pants from the Doctor Seuss story, "What Was I Scared Of?"  I've never seen Raylan actually find the Pale Green Pants, but he assures me that he has found them before.  Scott wins best cousin of the year award for participating in that hunt.
Anyway, it was a nice evening.  Jean made pizookie, and it was great.
We all slept hard that night.

On Saturday I got up and exercised on Jean and Greg's elliptical.  We had some plans, but Raylan managed to stumble his way onto a cholla cactus while on a walk, soooooo... by the time we got the spines out of his leg (a process which did not look fun), he needed a little down time to recover.  He bounced back pretty quickly, though.  Raylan hates to miss a party.

Raylan chills out and watches some cartoons with Nana
after his de-spining

Getting his groove back,  Raylan takes part in a bongo party with Poppa Greg.
Turns out that Raylan really loves playing bongos with Poppa Greg.

Raylan works on cutting wooden vegetables with a wooden knife.
"Like Mommy does."

Greg and I went out to the Peoria Artisan Brewery and Gastropub on Saturday afternoon.  I had a really fun time.  We each had a flight of beers, so we got to try their stuff.  The beers were good!  (They had a couple of good IPAs as well as one that I think was a vanilla rum porter which was really tasty).  Anyway, it was fun to sit outside in the beautiful weather, have a few beers, and just have a nice, relaxing chance to talk.
Saturday night Amy and I went out to eat with Matt and Heidi at El Encanto while Raylan stayed with Jean and Carol.  We had a nice dinner.  It was good to get a chance to catch up without having to chase or corral kids.  Thanks to Matt and Heidi for coming out!

On Sunday we got up and exercised.
Raylan helped Jean do laundry.

Even after he got back to Austin, Raylan continued to proudly tell me
about how he did the laundry with Nana.

We met up with Matt and Heidi and the cousins at the park.  (By Sunday morning Raylan was repeatedly asking where the cousins were).  They had a really fun time playing with each other, and it was a really nice way to wrap up the trip.

Nathan and Amy

Raylan chasing Scott

Raylan, Nathan, and Scott

Even once we got back to Austin, Raylan was still talking about how he
and Scott climbed the green ladder.

Hey, we managed to get a picture where you can see the faces
 of all three kids at the same time.  Success!!!

After that, we piled in the car and rolled out for the airport.  It was a good visit!
We had a nice time, and it was good to see everyone.  We talk about the Arizona family quite a bit when we're here in Austin, and it's great to watch Raylan form stronger connections with them.
As always, a big thanks to all of the Arizona family for all of the hospitality!

Hope to see you guys again soon!

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