At the end of March, beginning of April, we were fortunate enough to take a family vacation to Arizona, with even a few days in Mexico. We ended up picking the perfect time of year to go, it was perfect weather; it was clear and sunny and warm, but not too warm so your skin felt like it was frying off as that area is typically known for.
Unlike out last trip to Arizona, this one was considerably less stressful and our schedule was pretty perfect. Of course it wasn't without hiccups.
Our flight left on Saturday night, direct from Billings to Mesa. We were flying on a much smaller airline and I assumed incorrectly that their rules would be the same as major airlines. For starters, you paid the baggage fee when you purchased the tickets. Then, of course, there was the extremely necessary weight limit. I swear it was 50-pounds. And I *swear* it was 45-pounds on the way there and 40-pounds on the way back. And I swear you had to check in half an hour before the flight was scheduled to leave, but it was 45-minutes and we got a stern talking-to from the ticket agent about the importance of being on time and how we were lucky to still be getting on the flight.
We breathed a sigh of relief as we stood in the empty security check-point line and handed over our identification at precisely the exact moment I realized we left the car seat in the car. Jacob, not a fan of traveling by anything other than a vehicle, immediately looked at me like, well, we can't go without that! Which I immediately thought too. But then at the same time we both shrugged and thought, well, we'll figure it out.
The flight was great (thanks $7.00 drinks!) and Zoey did fantastic. She was absolutely elated with flying and everything it entailed. She LOVED the airport if only because she literally waved and said hi to every person she came in contact with. Miss America, folks! She loved everything about the plane, asked tons of questions, and as we took off said, "WE'RE (B)LASTING OFF!!" And as we landed, "WE'RE LANDING!"
She loved using her Princess roll-y suitcase that Grandma Sally wheeled into the delivery room shortly after she was born.
And so it begins....we forfeited the window seat for the first plane ride that meant anything to her. The most difficulty came when she wanted to be on her knees looking out the window instead of sitting, buckled up.
We arrived in Phoenix around 8:30pm but still had a long drive to Tucson ahead of us. After briefly considering stealing one of the car seats piled up in the corner of baggage claim, we managed to "find" a "built-in car seat" in my parent's rig and Zoey was perfectly comfortable.
Once at my parent's house, we went to bed pretty late but thanks to Zoey we were up to see Mr. Sun come up. She must have been just uber-excited about the impeding vacation.
Glamour Girl, workin' it by the pool in a dazzling one piece, accessorizing with Floaties, daisy shades, and Swimming Elmo (who is complete with life vest).
Yeah, we were pretty ready for vacation ourselves. We needed sunglasses just to look at each other.
Grandpa showed off for Zoey by jumping in the pool. When he jokingly said, "help me, Zoey!" She said, "Do you need help, Grandpa? I'll get the rescue rope," and ran (no, not ran, because we know you're never supposed to run around a pool) to grab the life preserver. With Daddy's help, she threw it out into the pool and "rescued" Grandpa. And here we thought Go Diego Go was just irritating hogwash.
I told Grandma that we really didn't have any summer clothes since we grew out of last year's, and that was the best thing I could have ever asked of her. Going through what Grandma got, Zoey spotted this dress and exclaimed, "Ohh, I wanna wear that one!!"
Takin' Grandma's convertible for a spin. That's right, Grandma has a convertible (in the $20 car seat Grandpa Jeff managed to miraculously find. Sometimes craigslist aint all bad...).
Zoey pointing out the scenery (more specifically, asking what every, little thing was. That's ok; incessant questions is one of the things on the Is Your Child Gifted list.).
Going to dinner at North in Tucson. Oh, and the ladybug purse is mine. There's just something about looking at it that always makes me smile.
Queen of the Hams.
Catching the sunset on the way back to the condo.
After we spent a few days in Arizona, we packed up the car with our beach gear and made the 5-6-hour drive to Bahia Kino in Sonora, Mexico. Zoey was the most excited, having never actually been to a beach or knowing anything about it.
One of the many little towns we drove through/passed.
Virgin Mary shrines galore!
When you stop at lights, people bum-rush your car to either wash the windows for a few cents or sell you something they're carrying on a stick a la the carnival. I wish I had a picture of Jacob's face as this was happening, eye as big as saucers.
Another shrine built into the side of a mountain.
After several relatively unexciting hours, we were at the beach!
Zoey and I couldn't wait, so while everyone else unpacked the car, we grabbed out suits and made a run for it.
Our beach babe.
When she wasn't playing on the beach, she was coloring on the vast expanse of tile on the patio.
Right across the street from the potato place is where my dad went to get dental work done. Seriously.
We even spotted some jellyfish!
And Grandpa found a starfish that was struggling in the surf, so we studied it.
She clearly got very comfortable with the water.
Trying to determine which ones would be the right size. We decided it was best to go with Jumbo.
Never wanted to leave the beach.
Nothing racist about this at all. *snicker*
Moments after she was told we had to leave the pool.
For as inconvenient as I thought our trip there was, our flight back was considerably more so.
Our flight wasn't until 3pm Sunday afternoon so we were able to take our time getting all of our stuff together, and we had collected quite a bit. We drove up to Mesa with just enough time for lunch at your favorite neighborhood bar and grill, Applebee's, where, "I'm in a bit of a hurry, I have to get to the airport," apparently means, "please take absolutely as long as humanly possible."
We still got to the airport with enough time, just enough time, in fact, to open the car doors and hear, "...flight to Billings has been delayed." The flight coming in was going to be an hour late, then once we finally got on the plane, we sat for another hour while they tried to troubleshoot an electrical problem that wound up being complicated enough to warrant an entirely different airplane. Two hours later, we had finally started our two-hour flight.
We got in a little after nine, with still an hour-drive to Columbus to pick up our fur-babies who had been with the other Grandparents. Fortunately, Rachael did us a huge favor and loaded the dogs in her car and drove them down to our house. We were up way too late and completely unprepared for the coming week, but the trip was totally worth it.
So worth it that one of the reasons it has taken me so long to post about our vacation is because it has taken me this long to weed through and decide which of the 611 pictures to use.