Friday, January 10, 2014


This was the start of our 2 week long adventure.

James, Ellie and I flew to AZ for my sister's graduation. Ellie did marvelous on the plane. It wasn't even 1/2 full (I would think that would be unheard of for a flight into PHX) so we got to take her car seat on the plane. Once I convinced James to stop playing with her, she fell right asleep and slept the entire way.

We first stayed a few days in Mesa. 
Last time I was in AZ was when Ellie was 6 months old. I was a little nervous to see how she would do sleeping this time around because she hasn't slept in a pack n' play since that trip. I thought sleeping in the same room as her might pose as a problem so I set her up in my sister's old room. Ellie had got into the habit of not sleeping through the night so I was expecting her to wake up. The first night was rough. I can't remember the exact details anymore but I do remember the bedroom being cold in the middle of the night so I knew I had to get a heater in there. Also, it was either the same night or another but James wanted to "help" and went to get her but she was used to being fed and put back down so when daddy goes in it's hard for her to fall back asleep. He brought her into our room and blah, bad idea. She takes up too much bed and I'm afraid to move and wake her and she wants to change positions 1000 times. It was not comfortable. Actually, I'm just remembering, she fell OFF the bed too! I remember James saying, "At least the carpet is plush" or something of the sort. After we got a space heater in that room and we agreed that I would be the one to go in there in the middle of the night things were fine.

While in Mesa, my mom, James, Ellie, me and my Grandparents went to see the lights at the Desert Botanical Gardens. This is an annual thing for my family to do.

James, Ellie, me, Pam and my Dad also met up with my other Grandparents in Casa Grande and had lunch. I miss being so close to them. My Grandma is such a hoot.

After lunch we drove back to Mesa. A friend and I took each other's family pictures. We just ran across the street to the park and up the hill to the desert. Wasn't our ideal location but we made it work.
Grace, Jeff and Camden
 Now, it gets confusing, but Ellie and Camden are "kinda step cousins."
Camden was born October 20th and Ellie was born December 6th. 
They are 6.5 weeks apart. 

Here is my dad with Ellie and Pam with Camden.

The next day James and I drove up to Flagstaff to spend extra time with my sister and meet up with Tania and her family. We were all going to meet up at Cassidy's apt first before heading to The North Pole Experience later that night. I had Cassidy make us all Chili for a quick dinner. I figured that would be an easy crock pot meal for her to make for so many of us. Funny story though, at least to me, we were driving to Flag and Cassidy text me, "This chili is out of control." I was DYING laughing. It took me a solid 5 min to tell James what Cassidy had just text me. I could not see I was tearing up so hard. This is my selfie to Cassidy.
I THINK I was laughing so hard because an "easy meal" to me was "out of control" for Cassidy. When I got into her apt, I started laughing all over again. Her crock pot was so tiny! She got it all to fit, but for real, it was out of control!

So Ellie didn't have a late enough nap and was totally needing another nap before we left for The North Pole Experience but with no time I was hoping she'd at least fall asleep for a 5min car drive to the hotel we were supposed to go to. Thankfully she did and continued sleeping as we got her out and slept on the trolley all the way until our destination.

The North Pole Experience was fun. Tania's two oldest, especially Sadie, were the perfect age for this. She loved every second of it. We all bought our tickets prior so when we got to the hotel that we were supposed to go to we checked in for the trolley and we took the Christmas Trolley to the North Pole. The elf, who is like "150 years old", has the kids sing songs to pass the time (10-15min) and then you go through a portal. He tells you what say, the magic phrase, and has you close your eyes (so you aren't blinded by the seizure inducing lights) and poof you're at the North Pole.
It was pretty crowded just on our trolley (our group that goes through the tour together). It felt like there were a high number of adults to kid ratio. I wasn't paying that much attention as we walked through, but basically first you enter Santa's retired toy shop and from there you go into the the new toy shop. Then you sit down with an elf and make a toy for "a little boy or girl who may not otherwise have a Christmas." Then you go into the sorting room and they throw toys down a ramp into the bins (the kids stand around the bins). Santa also makes an appearance here. Then the kids get to have a cookie and snowman soup. After kids started getting up from the table I had James sit Ellie down to get a cookie too. After the elf handed Ellie her cookie I could hear people say "look at that little baby with the cookie." Ha. After cookies they piled us into a classroom. I forgot what they were teaching though, ironically. It was probably something about being a good boy and girl. Then, you see Mrs. Claus and write letters to Santa. Following that, you get to see Santa's sled and then each family gets their individual time with Santa. We were first, score. And it was pretty nice. They don't rush you or anything and you can take as many pictures as you want and they throw them on a usb for you to take home. We all loaded back on the trolley, went through the portal, and we were back in Flagstaff safe and sound.
LOVE this picture. Ellie sure isn't a big fan of Santa this year.

So I ran through that pretty quick. I think from start to finish was around 2 hours long. It is definitely the perfect set-up for a 4 or 5 year old. Sadie kept saying she was going to go back next year. I did think it was a little expensive for us to go and not get the same benefit out of it only having Ellie. But being there with Tania and Cassidy and watching Sadie was definitely fun. 

Side note: in Flagstaff, Ellie did have to share a room with us and she did JUST fine with us only being a few feet away.

The following day we went shopping and had lunch at Olive Garden. Tania lives in a small town now and an Olive Garden is like a huge treat to her. Also, we totally unknowingly matched our babies in the same sweater! Too funny. Jane rocked a better bow though. Ellie 12.5 months, Jane almost 11 months.

I hate being so far from my bestie, but it is always fun to get together and see each other's kids. 

Then, Cassidy graduated! Yay! She graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and she was 1 of 2 Summa Cum Laude's to graduate. Pretty awesome.

Here is Cassidy and Kristina. They have been Best Friends since KINDERGARTEN! Crazy, right?
Her cap says, "My Parents Are Proud of my BS"

Ellie and I spent the majority of the graduation walking the halls. It was like baby central out there. Haha. I kept checking in though so we didn't miss her walking across the stage.

 It started snowing right after she graduated (you can see it coming down a little in the picture). It made us all flustered. It was cold and Ellie was screaming so we rushed through pictures and weren't able to get all the combinations she/we wanted.

Later, we went out to dinner all together. My dad, Pam, my mom, Grandparents, James, Ellie and I. Cassidy wanted money for graduation but I wanted to make it fun so I looked up ideas on line (Google: fun ways to give money) and James executed the idea I liked best. He taped all the ones together and cut a slit in the top of the box. Then on the bow it said "Pull Me" and out comes the money. Top right picture she is say, "You're so dumb." Haha.

 It continued snowing that night and we were moving her out of her apt that next morning (3rd floor). I, thankfully, have a baby so I got to stay indoors cleaning and throwing the random stuff left over into a box.

Oscar Mayer was parked at our Hotel.

Then we all drove back to Mesa and came across some thick fog.

We got back, unpacked the truck then that night my mom made a small Christmas dinner and we exchanged gifts.

The final day we hung out for a little bit and then flew back to ID. This time the plane was full but Ellie still did awesome. While at the airport, Ellie saw some people at our gate with their little dogs. James took her over to them. She loves doggies.

Woah long post!!
Next will be our trip to Utah.


  1. I love that James thought the carpet was plush enough to break Ellie's fall haha. It's a good thing kids are tough. You looked like you were busy and had a lot of fun! :) I'm sad I didn't get to see you, but hopefully next time it'll work out.

  2. Haha my favorite line of the whole thing "when I finally convinced James to stop playing with her" hahaha what and awesome dad. My boys hated the plane rides :( I'm SO GLAD she loved it and that you got to stay 2 weeks with your fam! How awesome!!

  3. yay for an arizona post! so funny hearing her fall out of the bed :) that polar express trip looked like so fun! like you said, i'll probably wait to do it until Max is a wee bit older too. And your family pictures look sober cute too, isn't it great finally being able to go OUTSIDE again when in arizona? glad you got to go back and visit!