Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break 2011

We had a busy week of travel to Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. We did a ton and had a great time!

I'm going to start out this post with the absolute best photo of the week:

This next one might be our Christmas card photo for this year:

We flew from Houston to Phoenix on Monday night...usually we take early morning flights, but because we used miles we had limited selection and ended up with a flight at 8:00 p.m. I have to say I loved it! I had the whole day to get things packed up, Bella to the kennel, house cleaned up, etc. I was a lot less stressed than I usually am the night before one of our 7:00 a.m. flights! Might do it this way more often.

There are times when I'm grateful for personal electronic devices. Waiting for a flight is one of them.

We stayed at a cool hotel in Phoenix, The Buttes Marriott. Part of it was built into the side of a hill. This was our view:

Surprise! On Tuesday, we were able to have lunch with Tom and Cindi!

After lunch, we went to a spring training baseball game...Texas Rangers vs. LA Dodgers. We figured there's only a few places you can see a spring training game, so we should do it while we're there. Let me just say was hot. Mid march and already 90 degrees.

Don't they look happy?

Lemonade and daddy's sunglasses makes it all better.

Funny story...when we checked into the marriott Monday night they had messed up our reservation. With the kids getting bigger it's harder for us all to fit in one hotel room so we had reserved two rooms and requested them connecting or at the least, next to each other. Well, they didn't even have two rooms on the same floor to give us. They told us to come back down the next morning and they'd get it set up how it should be. The next morning they offered us several options, one being the Presidential Suite. This was basically a huge living room area with several sofas, chairs, large dining table, etc. plus one bedroom with king bed and one bathroom. They were going to put roll away beds in the living room area for the kids. All this would have been fine except for the huge wall of windows that faced east that had no curtains or shades. The morning sun just blasted in. In addition, only one bathroom means longer lines for the shower. So, basically I turned that option down and we ended up with a Junior suite for the kids and a regular room for jim and I. Which was still better than any room the kids had stayed in up to that point. Well, Jim decided to tell the kids that they could have stayed in the Presidential Suite but mom said "no." Jackson was mad about that the rest of the stay! So, to commemmorate the story here's a photo of sad Jackson standing outside the doors of the Presidential Suite.

We were able to see my mom both nights we were in Phoenix. One night we went to Rawhide (faux) Western Town. They had gun fight shows, a stagecoach to ride, a mechanical bull, and a steakhouse to eat dinner. It was a little hokey but they kids enjoyed it.

The weather was so nice in Phoenix we spent one afternoon just hanging around the pool at the hotel.

On Thursday morning we left Phoenix early and headed toward the Grand Canyon. We stopped about halfway in Sedona and took an off road jeep tour on Tom and Cindi's recommendation. The kids loved it!

Some friends of ours from Kingwood were also "spring breaking" in the area so we met them for lunch. This was especially fun for Jensen since their daughter is one of her good friends.

After our day in Sedona we continued on up to the Grand Canyon and checked into our lodge in the park. That night we couldn't see or do much becuase we got there so late but we got up early the next morning for a scenic airplane flight over the canyon. This was really an awesome experience. I'm glad we did this first thing since it really gave you more of an idea of the scope of the canyon. Of course, 10 minutes into the flight Jensen was curled up in a ball fast asleep. $100 down the drain...

After our flight we decided to do a little hiking. I don't know if you know this, but there are no railings, or safety measures of any kind really, on the hiking trails down into the canyon. This was not good for me. Because have you met Jackson? Or Jordan? Or Jensen? So after a brief stint as a family hiking down the Bright Angel trail, which was still littered with ice in many places, and watching three people, one of whom was Jordan, slip and fall on the ice mere inches from the edge of certain death, the girls and I turned back and left the boys to their own devices.

Do you see how the sign says "icy trail, crampons recommended"? We didn't have crampons...whatever they are.

The girls and I decided to walk along the Rim Trail instead. This trail is about 7 miles in length and we walked about 3 miles of it. When we got tired (which was at about mile 1 for Jensen but Jordan and I kept pulling her along) we hopped on a shuttle bus back to our starting point. Jim and Jackson hiked down about 1 1/2 miles and then back up so I say we're even.

That night we tried to go view a famous grand canyon sunset but it was a little cloudy and sun was totally blocked out at the horizon. Oh well...maybe next time.

The next morning we realized we hadn't gotten any photos of the 5 of us together at the grand canyon so we headed out to find someone to take one for us.

After that we started on our drive to Vegas, baby!

We stayed at a new hotel called The Cosmopolitan. It was modern and very nice. I really liked it, but I think the kids would have preferred one of the theme hotels like new york, new york or Treasure Island.

The first night we saw The Blue Man Group. All three kids really liked it.

The next day we met another friend of ours from Kingwood for brunch at our hotel. the brunch buffet was awesome and we all stuffed ourselves...they had everything from typical brunch food to fried chicken to sushi...

After brunch we walked around the strip visiting some of the more kid-friendly attractions...the M&Ms store, the lion habitat at MGM Grand, the roller coaster at New York, New York with the last stop being the Stratosphere to ride some crazy contraption called X-Scream. At the top of a 107 story observation tower there is this ride where you get in the car and it basically dangles you over the side of the tower. Here's a photo from the web...I didn't take one.

The girls and I said "no thanks," but Jim and Jackson bought a ticket. We got up there and it was extremely windy and cold. At the last minute Jackson came to his senses and told Jim he changed his mind and didn't want to ride. So that was the end of that.

We made it back to our hotel and got ready to go to dinner and see David Copperfield. That show was pretty good and the kids particularly enjoyed when I was part of a group of audience members that he made disappear.

Here is the nightime view of the strip from our hotel room.

The next morning we had to be on the road early for our 5 hour drive back to phoenix to catch our flight home.

It was a great week!