Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Babymoon in Scottsdale

A few weeks ago, I had this crazy idea to plan a "babymoon". 
noun: baby-moon
  1. 1.
    a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.
    "on the eve of my third trimester, we boarded a plane for a week-long babymoon among the quiet canals of Amsterdam"
Winter was still alive and well here in the Tundra and I looked up at Travis and said "Wouldn't it be nice to be someplace warm?"  and he took that ball and ran with it!  After narrowing down our criteria to "direct flights to warm climates within the confines of Travis' hectic business travel schedule," we settled on Arizona in April.  We'd never been to Arizona and we'd heard wonderful things about Scottsdale. 
 Because the resort was so lovely (like 'we will definitely be back!' lovely), I will go ahead and give them a free plug and tell you that we stayed at The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.  I must take a moment to commend my hubby because he knew how badly I wanted to stay there but it was sold out.  We were booked to stay at another resort and little did I know, Travis kept checking The Westin's website for availability.  Two days before we left, a villa opened up and he snagged it!
 There are lots of incredible resorts in Scottsdale but one thing sets The Westin Kierland apart: Sand!  Josie loves sand!  It's not an exaggeration to say that you could plop her down in a nice shady spot in the sand with a bucket and a shovel and girlfriend would still be delightfully scooping and dumping sand 8 hours later.
 And then there's Mother Hen who enjoyed taking her waterproof baby doll for a dip in the pool and in the lazy river.  She's never without at least one baby doll, and our Arizona vacation was no exception!
 Scottsdale has so many terrific shopping and dining options.
 Because we were fortunate enough to have YaYa and Papa meet us in Arizona, Travis and I were even able to enjoy some shopping and dining without our children in tow.  And friends, let me tell you, when you have two toddlers, going to the bathroom alone is a luxury.  Shopping and dining alone is pure bliss!
In the previous post, we told you about Merryn's terrifying encounter with the mall Easter Bunny.  Well, we just happened to be in Scottsdale over Easter and we just happened to have a brunch reservation where the Easter Bunny also happened to be enjoying his Easter brunch.  Strange coincidence, right?  Fortunately, we were able to warn Merryn in advance because that Easter Bunny snuck up on Merryn while she was calmly having an Easter Bunny painted on her left arm.  Folks, if you look up "stink eye" in the dictionary, you'll see this glare on Merryn's face...
...but Josie experienced no such hostility.  In fact, Josie warmly embraced the Easter Bunny like she was greeting an old friend...
 ...while Merryn looked on with venomous disdain!
 Oh but everyone has a price - even Merryn.  After being incentivized with a couple of plastic eggs filled with candy, Merryn reluctantly agreed to sit on the Easter Bunny's lap and give Mom the photo op she so desperately wanted.  Although instead of a cheesy grin, all Merryn offered up was - you guessed it - more stink eye:
* Special thanks to Mama Hop for sending these adorable matching Easter dresses for the girls!
Overall if you're seeking a vacation spot with lots of warmth and minimal humidity and plenty of dining and shopping options and beautiful resorts, I would definitely recommend Scottsdale, Arizona.
 And as for the components of the vacation that I would not recommend...
1.  A 3 hour flight with two toddlers
2.  Changing a number 2 diaper in an airplane lavatory.  Period.  That's not fun.  Take it from me: I've done it twice in my life.  Where is my souvenir tee shirt?!?!
3.  Changing a number 2 diaper in an airplane lavatory during a bout of turbulence that prompts the captain to turn on the "fasten seat belt" sign while said diaper changer is being knocked from wall to wall while trying to contain the nasty fecal situation.
4.  Doing the aforementioned things while 34 weeks pregnant.
5.  Doing the aforementioned things sober.
6.  Doing the aforementioned things while under the influence of extreme pregnancy hormones. 
7.  Confronting an unfamiliar 34 week pregnant and excessively hormonal woman who has just survived a 3 hour flight with 2 toddlers in the airport and asking her if she is expecting twins...and then following up her decline with an "Are you sure?!"  Oh.  No.  You.  Didn't. 
Thank you for your hospitality, Scottsdale.  We look forward to returning when my uterus is vacant, my children are 100% potty trained and able to entertain themselves during a 3 hour flight, and I am able to enjoy a refreshing alcoholic libation by the pool!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

What's wrong with this picture?  The Easter Bunny's lap is only 50% full.  The obvious vacancy answers to the name "Merryn" and Miss Merryn had a reaction to the Easter Bunny that was so aversive you would have thought it was Freddy Krueger in those denim overalls sitting on that bench.  So while Josie was happily schmoozing with her new furry white friend, Merryn was hiding behind the stroller, wailing and yelling "No!  No, I will NOT take a picture!  No!!!!"
As we head to Easter Brunch this morning, I've warned Merryn that there's a decent chance she'll encounter the Easter Bunny again.  And said bunny has been known to distribute chocolate so it may be in her best interest to be a little friendlier.  We've even been practicing her Easter Bunny smile.  Imagine the most artificial, frozen smile through clenched, terrified teeth.  If all goes accordingly, the second picture should be one for the baby book.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nacho Ordinary Email from Aunt Leanne

As mentioned in the previous post, we just enjoyed a really wonderful visit from Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne.  We had so many fun experiences while they were here but apparently one stuck out so prominently in Leanne's mind that it warranted a follow-up email acknowledgement upon her return home...
has babybe have I payeryou
for you
tavis and sister
sauce with mushroom
hot salsa
fry rice
fry sirhead
Leanne chesebuger head
That's right folks; you can travel to the ends of the earth, see the Seven Wonders, feast on decadent culinary indulgences in the finest dining establishments...but you haven't lived until you've had a heaping helping of Travis' grilled steak nachos on a Dixie paper plate.
And just in case you missed it, I got a little shout out, too.  Because I sautéed the onions and mushrooms - both of which offend Travis' gourmet palate immensely.  It was a team effort.  A life-changing team effort! 
You're welcome, Leanne.  We'll be sure to do it again when you return next month!  That is, if there's not a run on Tostitos after everyone reads your raving endorsement.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Hands on Deck: Preparing for Baby #3!

And the award for most neglected blog goes to...Confessions of the Chromosomally Enhanced!
We are so sorry.  It's not that we don't love the blog - we love it with ever fiber of our being.  It's just that third trimester fatigue, coupled with two energetic toddlers, on top of two weeks of solo parenting thanks to a husband's hectic business travel schedule, etc. etc. etc...means that any remaining "free time" (oh how this concept is lost on me), is usually spent in peaceful slumber.  That is, if "peaceful slumber" is defined as tossing and turning and getting up to pee every 10 minutes. 
Please accept this extra long blog post with tons of photos as a token of our sincere apology. 
Guess who graced us with a sensational visit last week: That's right - Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne!
 Aren't they the cutest?!  And I think we can see where Merryn gets her dimples!
Oh what fun we had!  The Divas were reunited and as always, it was apparent that neither time nor distance could impact their treasured bond.
 And we all know that grandmas are at their happiest when they've got armloads full of grand kids to love and spoil. 
 We were fortunate enough to get some nice Tundra-spring weather which we took full advantage of at our local parks.
 We also got right down to business nesting in preparation for the arrival of Baby #3 next month!  I asked Travis to bring up the bin full of infant stuff.  He emerged with FIVE bins full of infant stuff.  Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I am addicted to dressing up my little girls like doll babies.  This is my daughter, Merryn.  I anticipate she will need a similar 12-step program someday.  While Mama Hop was benevolently sorting and hanging infant clothes, Merryn stumbled upon some preemie diapers and quickly swiped them for her dolls.  Dolls, whom I might add, are subjected to hourly wardrobe changes.  Yes, it runs in the family.
But in all seriousness, I am SO grateful to Mama Hop for tackling this project for me.  Most days I am completely overwhelmed by the standard demands of caring for two toddlers and a household while fighting through pregnancy fatigue.  Finding the extra time and energy to do this with rambunctious tots underfoot was beginning to look like a pipe dream.  Thank goodness for grandmas who step in and save the day!  Now Baby Number 3 will be adorned in outfits properly hung in a closet; not haphazardly fished from a Rubbermaid bin.  Thank you, Mom!!!
 Meanwhile, Leanne got to cheer Josie on during physical therapy.  Until Josie's own personal transportation butler comes along, she's going to have to keep practicing getting into and out of the car independently.
 And as always, Mother Hen was right there making her baby doll practice climbing into the car seat.
 Merryn's doll has rigorous physical therapy sessions twice a week right alongside Josie.  Merryn is quite committed to ensuring that her doll conquers her gross motor goals.
 But just as we work hard, we play hard, too.  We set aside plenty of time for leisurely trips to the park.
 It's so nice to have an extra set of hands to help wrangle kids at the park.
 At one point I asked Aunt Leanne to keep an eye on Merryn.  Little did I know what an exhausting assignment that would be.  Aunt Leanne is about as athletically inclined as Miss Josie is, but she did her absolute best to trail our little hurricane and protect her from harm.
 It's a good thing Mama Hop was back at the condo preparing a hearty dinner for us after all that fresh air and exercise!  Look at her!  Doesn't she just need her own cooking show?!  Call us Food Network!  We promise delicious food and a hefty helping of humor!
 Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and so we were forced to say goodbye to Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne.  And as sad as it was to see them go, we are comforted by the fact that we'll see them again soon...
 ...very soon!  Next month, in fact!  And just in time for the World's Best Aunt to welcome one more niece into her loving arms.  What a lucky little girl to have these charming chicas eagerly awaiting her arrival!
Let's hope little lady #3 enjoys a good hug fest!
Aunt Leanne said the sweetest thing to me.  She was telling me all about her birthday plans (yes, it is completely typical for Leanne to start planning her birthday festivities months and months in advance) and she said the best gift she will receive this year is my baby.
As I reached to wipe the hormotional tears from my eyes, she amended it with "...and Tic Tacs and Starbucks cards.  I want six Starbucks cards."
And that, my friends, is the innocent candor that we've all come to expect from the one and only Aunt Leanne!  Oh Leanne!  Here's hoping while I'm wandering around in a post-partum sleep-deprived haze, you're toasting the good life with your favorite Frappuccino!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Josie's Birthday Weekend Extravaganza

Josie kicked off her birthday weekend with a visit from Travis' parents, YaYa and Papa!  They didn't want to miss a chance to see our newly minted 4 year-old's face light up when she witnessed the magnificent surprise we had in store for her...
 Enormous singing animals!!!! 
That's right, folks.  It only took a short drive across town to our local Chuck E Cheese to elicit this if-I'm-dreaming-please-don't-wake-me-up kind of excitement. 
 It was full-on Beatlemania!  Well, Beatlemania minus the screaming, crying, hair-pulling, and fainting. 
But the smiles were plentiful and the joy was abundant.  Josie even yelled out requests - requests which fell on unresponsive mechanical ears.  But Josie didn't mind.  She was delighted with the cheesy 80's tunes that I vaguely remember from my childhood excursions to Chuck E Cheese.
Dad managed to drag our little Birthday Diva away from the stage for a little while to play some games.  You know, because no one enjoys the intense thrill of a setting a personal skee ball record like a toddler. 

 Dad was clearly bored stiff but he played along and humored his girls because after all, it was Josie's birthday celebration. 
And what's a trip to Chuck E Cheese without indulging in a feast of their gourmet pizza and delectable salad bar?! 
 Ah but an hour and a half was about as much fun as this family could handle.  It was time to head home and open presents! 
 And what's a birthday celebration without a little cake?!  There's really no better reason to disregard your table manners and dig in, right ladies?!
But Josie's favorite part - hands down - garnered a reaction so epically gleeful that we repeated it three times.  Guess what it was... the singing!  I've never seen this child's eyes light up like when our little family began serenading her in unison to the classic "Happy Birthday to you". 
We all knew she was a music lover.  We sing to her all the time.  But this particular moment, where the whole world stopped and everyone in the room focused on Josie and united our voices in celebration...it was unforgettable!
 We had so much fun celebrating Josie's birthday weekend that we started planning the next birthday.  Guess who the next birthday girl will be...
 No, not Merryn!  It's this little girl in mama's belly!  Hard to believe we're less than 2 months away.  The countdown is on! 
Speaking of countdowns, on Tuesday, we kissed YaYa and Papa goodbye and excitedly talked about how we'd see them again very soon! 
And as if the countdowns to the new baby's arrival, and our reunion with YaYa and Papa don't provide enough to look forward to, we've got one more exciting countdown happening...
That's right!  Aunt Leanne will be gracing us with her presence in 4 short days.  We can't wait!!!