Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AZ Trip; Raylan and Kiddo B-Day Celebration; Easter

Hey!  Hope everyone is doing okay.
We just got back from a trip to Arizona!
We left on Thursday.  Our flight was a little bit delayed, but things went relatively smoothly.

Our version of the kids behaving themselves at the airport.
Raylan ponders the inefficiencies of the modern
airline industry. 
We got to Phoenix in the mid afternoon.  Jean picked us up (thanks, Jean!).  We rented a vacation rental house for this trip which was just a few blocks from Amy's parents' place.  We checked in there before heading over to Jean and Greg's house.
The kids played in the back yard at the Davis house, running in the sprinkler and playing with outdoor toys.  Nathan and Scott were both there, and Raylan and Kiddo had a good time playing with them.
Jean and Greg made us a nice dinner.  It was a sort of Thai chicken dish with peanut sauce along with salad and rice.  Very good.
There's a two hour time difference between Arizona and Texas, so the kids partied out pretty early by Arizona standards.  We headed back to our place to crash before it got too late.

On Friday, we got up and went over to Jean and Greg's for breakfast.  Then we handed the kids off to Jean for a little bit and went to work out over at Blackstone, the country club where Amy's parents are members.  The workout facilities over there are really nice, and it's a great place to exercise.  The club, on the whole, is just a really nice place.
While we were going to the gym and getting cleaned up, the kids were learning to golf over at Carol and Jerry's house!

Poppy, this is fun, but I'm not sure I can knock the ball
through your window from here...
Carol and Jerry, Amy's grandparents, have replaced some of the grass in their backyard with a putting green since the last time we had been out there.  It's really cool.
So the kids had fun playing some golf.  And then Jean took them to a nearby park for a while as well.
Later, after naps and lunch, we took the kids and met up with Heidi, Nathan, Scott, and Joanna at the Blackstone pool.  Blackstone actually has two big adult pools and a kids' pool.  Once again, they're beautiful facilities.  Jean was with us and helped wrangle the kids.

Nathan, me, Raylan, Joanna, Amy, and Kiddo in the pool.
The kids had a blast.  Raylan loves to swim, and he loved playing with his cousins in the water.  As far as we know, this was Kiddo's first swimming experience, and she loved it.  She didn't seem afraid of the water at all, and even tried to do some swimming kicks that we think she learned by watching Raylan "practice" his swimming in the bathtub at our house.  Anyway, it was really fun.

Friday night we went to El Encanto Dos with Amy's parents and grandparents.  We sat outside, and it was really nice.  The food at El Encanto is great, and it was really fun to sit out on the porch and chat with everyone.  Jerry walked Raylan around the restaurant outside, and Raylan had a fun time wandering around with him.

Carol, Kiddo, and Jean.

After dinner we went back to Jean and Greg's for a bit, but then we went back to our rental house.
My parents came into town for this trip as well.  They didn't want to miss Raylan's birthday, and the Davis-Koffel-Sinex clan was kind enough to extend an invitation for them to join us.  So on Friday my parents flew into town.  They went and visited Frank and Suk Hi, who now live in Phoenix, and had dinner with them before linking up with us.  So after we all had dinner, we met up at the rental house so we could let them in and get them situated.

Saturday was Raylan's birthday.  We got up and ate breakfast with him and then took him over to Jean and Greg's.  We went to work out again.
After that we all went over to Matt and Heidi's house.  They threw a party for Raylan and Kiddo (who has a birthday coming up pretty soon).
The party was great!  There was a bounce house, a popcorn machine, a cake, hamburgers and hotdogs, a piñata, and pork ribs (which Matt smoked- I usually don't even eat pork, but I ate one of those ribs, and it was great).
The kids had a blast.  Raylan and Kiddo both played so hard that they really wore themselves out.


The bounce house had both a basketball court and a slide.
In the Austin real estate market it would have been
valued at at least $500k.
At one point, the bounce house, popcorn popper, and electric smoker managed to overload the circuit breaker.  Amy was inside the bounce house when it lost power, and although I didn't hear any crying from the kids as it slowly collapsed, I did hear Amy's howls of terror.  I'm pretty sure she was shoving children out of the way as she scrambled for the exit.  ;-)

The horror!
So Greg and Dad reset the circuit breaker moved around some extension cords, and we were back up and running about five minutes later.  Crisis averted!
The kids played inside and outside and in the bounce house and, generally, all over the place.

Scott gives Raylan a bracelet that he made for him.  Raylan kept that
bracelet with all the way back to Austin. 

Amy supervises the kids during lunch.  It's had to get kids to
 stop and eat when there's a bounce house 10 feet
away.

Here's Raylan trying to sort of listen as we beg him not to spit all over
the cake while blowing out candles.

So the party was awesome.  We had a great time.  
Eventually Kiddo started really crashing (excitement + Arizona time change + bounce house jumping = worn out toddler), so that was when we left.
But the party was great!  Thanks so much to the Davis and Sinex families for putting it together!  We really appreciate it, and thank you so much for giving Raylan and Kiddo such a wonderful birthday celebration!  He really loves his Arizona family.  Arizona is a special place to him.

On Saturday afternoon, after nap, we went to the pool again at Blackstone for a little bit.  Mom and Dad (i.e., Grandma and Papa) went with us this time, along with Jean and Greg.  It was a really nice way to relax and play with the kids.

Saturday evening we (including my parents) had dinner at Greg and Jean's house.  They made a really good chicken and cheese and bacon dish.  Greg also had a really nice bourbon (Woodford Reserve) that he was kind enough to share with me, so that was fun.
We had a really nice meal.  The kids ate before the adults, so we had a nice chance to all sit down together and have a grown-up meal.  Great food and conversation.  It was a very pleasant evening.

Sunday was Easter.  We got up and went to church at Lord of Life Lutheran over in Sun City.  Raylan and Kiddo were remarkably well behaved and made it through the entire service without having to go outside.  I was sort of amazed.  It was really nice to make it through the Easter service with all of us there.

Making it through a whole church service!  An Easter miracle!
After church Amy and I ran over to her grandparents' house for few minutes to visit with them and hang out.  It was good for Amy to get a little alone time with them.  Afterward we all went to brunch over at Blackstone.  It was a great event.  The food was amazing, we got to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and the view over the golf course, and there was both an Easter egg hunt and a petting zoo for the kids.

Raylan realizes that it's sort of hard to hide eggs on a golf course.


Raylan counts his Easter eggs while keeping
an eye out for that freaky bunny....
After brunch, the kids took naps for a bit.  Following that, Amy and I took Raylan and Kiddo to the pool with Jean and Greg.  We swam in the resort pool (which has frog fountains that fascinated Raylan), and it was really nice.  My parents skipped the pool and went to visit the Sinex family (my mom brought some Easter loot for the kids) and then to visit Jerry and Carol.  They said they had a good time visiting everyone.

Sunday evening we went over to Jean and Greg's for pizza and some hanging out time.  It was low-key, relaxed, and nice.


Raylan becomes hooked on the high-stakes sport of
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  Grandma is considerably
less invested.
On Monday we got up and had to get packed up again and straighten up the rental house.  We got Mom and Dad out the door to get to the airport, and then we checked out and went over to Jean and Greg's to hang out until it was time to leave.  We took Raylan and Kiddo on a walk on the Vistancia trails before leaving.
We were walking up to the waterfall at the front of the neighborhood when Raylan sort of pooped out.  I'm not sure if it was the sun or what (he walks similar distances at home when we go to the park in Austin),  but he was dragging a bit and tried to sit down a couple of times.

Anyway, we gotta work on his hiking legs a bit, I guess.

After, the kids got lunch, and we headed to the airport, and that was really the end of our trip.  My parents missed a flight and had a long day getting on a new flight, but our return trip was mostly unremarkable.  Ryan was good enough to pick us up at the airport in my car, so he gets the medal for outstanding brother/uncle/brother-in-law this month.

Our trip was really nice.  Thanks to Heidi and Matt for hosting such a nice party (with some Jean help), thanks to Jean and Greg for the great brunch, and thanks to all of the Davis, Coffel, and Sinex family for being such gracious hosts.  It's always great to go to Arizona and to feel so welcomed.

And the kids both had a blast.  Raylan will be bugging us to go back to Arizona for a long time to come, I am sure.  As far as he's concerned, it's the land of endless parties, treats, and kid-centered  fun.  

Thanks again.  I hope everyone has a great week!




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