Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day... it's just another day.

Hello! I know, it's been awhile since I've written here although I've written lots of posts in my head, I just can't ever find the time to type it out. So, as I sit here on Mother's Day, my child napping because she wouldn't feed herself at lunch and I'm feeling a bit woe is me, I decided I write my thoughts on today... and the majority of holidays as a single mom.

Let me be honest. Today is Mother's Day... but it's really just another day. I got up, quietly getting ready for church so AR could sleep in, fed the dog, waiting til the last minute to wake her up so we could still get to church on time. She wakes up, gets ready fairly easily but on the way to church, her bowl of dry Raisin Bran tips over and spills all over the backseat. I don't say a word but tears fill the car. I tell her it's not a big deal, we'll vacuum them out after church and we're going to lunch right after so it's fine. Tears stop, we get to church where we meet my mom and immediately, she runs to her. My mom asks if she's told me Happy Mother's Day to which AR mumbles it to me without even looking at me. We go to church, head to lunch and then after lunch, we head home and I tell her she needs to lay down thus ensuing more tears. Now, I'm sitting in the middle of my pitch black living room, reading Facebook posts, and trying not to cry because to me, a single mom, Mother's Day is just another day. There's no breakfast in bed, no homemade card or gift, and barely even a verbal Happy Mother's Day. The same goes for Christmas, Valentine's Day, my birthday, etc... they're all just another day because there's no one to help her or emphasize the importance of the days. For Christmas, I'll buy something for myself and give it to my mom to let AR wrap and give to me. For my birthday, I let her order me a cookie cake and we celebrated with that. I do the best I can, I'm trying as hard as I can but geesh, some days, I feel so incredibly alone. Shoutout to her teacher for the amazing afternoon on Friday that made up for the emptiness of today, I truly appreciate that. AR was so excited about the Mom's Day in her class on Friday and it was a great afternoon but today is still hard.

Six years ago today was my due date. I never expected life to be what it is six years later but it is what it is. I have a beautiful, sweet daughter, who may not realize today is supposed to be special for me, but she is my greatest blessing. So, instead of sitting here moping and feeling bad for making her take a nap, I'm going to go lie down beside her and get a few extra snuggles .

Monday, July 3, 2017

Welcome to Arizona, the land of dry heat

Welcome to Arizona, the land of dry heat and cacti. For the record, dry heat is STILL hot!!! If I'm sweating, it doesn't matter if the heat is dry, cold, wet, or whatever, it's H-O-T! While we were in Phoenix for vacay, temperatures were pushing 115-120 degrees! AR and I, who normally ride our bikes and walk around our neighborhood almost every night were both struggling to get to QT for a drink but no worries, once we had an ice cold beverage, the walk back was much easier.

image

So what did we do in those high temperatures? Well, we swam... a lot!!! We only had to get a hotel for two nights then we stayed the other three nights at my friend's condo. I found a great deal on Groupon for two night's stay including breakfast, pool, AND two water park passes for less than $150. So our lodging for the trip was a steal!
image

Saturday we spent the majority of the day swimming then hit up old Scottsdale for dinner. We had burgers at David's Hamburgers. We snapped this picture and sent it to Nanny to say we were having dinner with granddad since his name is David.
image

Then we found this delicious old ice cream parlor called the Sugar Bowl. Look at her eyes, we were both pretty stoked to eat this! They also had an arcade so we spent some time playing in there and winning some trinkety prizes.
image

Sunday we got up and swam at the hotel with a friend of ours then went to lunch at Portillo's. In the afternoon, we hit up Big Surf Water Park. They had TONS of rides that were perfect for AR so we had a blast there!
image

If she did this water slide once, she did it about 50 times!
image

Oh, I forgot to mention that the hotel ran a shuttle from the airport to the hotel AND to the water park, too! This was us waiting for the shuttle to pick us up.
image

Monday we went to the Grand Canyon. Then Tuesday, we visited the Kimpton Palomar Hotel. It was a real swanky hotel with a rooftop pool. So long as you ordered something from the bar, you could swim for free! AR and I enjoyed these delicious nachos.
image

And we also split a Shirley Temple!
image

The afternoon was still hot so we went to see Captain Underpants and had the whole theater to ourselves!
image

After the movies, we headed over to Chase Field to catch our Red Birds playing the Diamondbacks. They had a sign making station and AR definitely had the most eclectic sign showing her support for Dback, Brave, and Card players.
image

We got a stamp in her MLB passport book, a certificate for her first game, and as an added bonus, we found Hazelbaker cards! She was precious as she held the card to her chest and said how much she missed him.
image

After a few innings, AR and I decided to explore the stadium. We found the Kids Club on the top level. It was awesome!!! It's free to join and the kids get something almost every visit. They have a huge playground that AR loved running around and playing on.
image

We moved down to the main level and hung out in the outfield for half an inning with Tommy Pham.
image

Baxter the Bobcat, the Diamondbacks mascot (why it's not a snake, I don't know???), visits the Den during the 4th inning so the kids can see him and get pictures.
image

They had real live batting practice for the kids too! AR hit off the tee at the first game then wanted real pitches for the next two times. She loved this area!
image

We found the pool in the outfield!!!
image

Wednesday was headed to OdySea which was a nice, indoor activity. It's hard to capture all the animals in pictures but I got some really great videos.
image

They had stringrays that you could pet... AR preferred to look and not touch, I don't blame her.
image

This was the second time we saw this shark... the first time was in the bathroom when we were washing our hands!
image

For some reason, I don't see swimming with the sharks in her future.
image

They had an awesome penguin exhibit.
image

And then, of course, we found CUPCAKES!!! We visited 21 Cakes.
image

AR got white cake with chocolate frosting and I got an Oreo one. We both agreed the Oreo one was AMAZING!!!
image

Then we headed back to the condo where we both took LONG naps!!! It was a two hour time difference, which I didn't think was a big deal, but we were up EARLY every day!!!
image

After our nap, we headed back to Chase Field. We ate dinner at the restaurant beside it then played Connect 4 and Cornhole before the gates opened. Funny how just six months ago, AR did NOT understand Connect 4 at all and now she finally gets it!
image

This time, we headed down to the Cards dugout during their batting practice, in our Diamondbacks shirts mind you. She yelled at Greg Garcia (#35) to see if he missed his former teammate Hazelbaker. He nodded that he did and AR told him she did too.
image

Mike Matheny stopped and signed her ball for her as did the bullpen catcher, Teran. She was pretty stoked about that!
image

I'm not going to lie, Chase Field has ruined me. Sitting inside, in the AC, watching baseball... I never want to sweat through another outdoor game again.
image

AR was supporting #hazelbakerthecupcakemaker the whole time we were there!
image

Game #2 and she got this sweet Dbacks shirt.
image

Thursday was a day game so we woke up, packed, and headed down to the stadium for our last game at Chase Field.
image

AR got Mike Mayers autographed and when she asked him what his batting song was, he laughed and said he wished he got to bat. He went on to pitch later in the game that day.
image

Game #3 and she got this sweet Dbacks sleeve. She wore it from the moment she got it until we crawled in our own bed back at home in Missouri that night.
image

Once again, showing #hazelbakerthecupcakemaker some love!
image

After the game, we ran up to the TGI Friday's that's in the stadium and woofed down some fries and chicken. Then we caught a Lyft to the airport and boarded our plane home.
image

It was the first vacation with just the two of us and it was awesome!!! We stayed busy, played hard, and still got some R&R then it was back to reality. I'm ready for our next adventure and I know my Mini Me is always game for a little road trip fun. Stay tuned to see where we take our next adventure to!!!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Grand Canyon

AR and I had the experience of a lifetime this past Monday. We got to visit the Grand Canyon and we got to see it by helicopter! It was a check off both of our bucket lists and one that we'll never forget. When we first decided to take our summer vacation to Phoenix, I knew I wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. It was about three hours away but I figured when would we ever be close enough again so we had to make the trip. I researched and researched and researched some more trying to find the most affordable yet best way to view the Canyon. After hours of research, I decided on a Detours of the West tour and it was the best decision! Everything from booking to pick up to the tour and dropoff was easy peasy. This was definitely the BEST option!

First stop was at the Red Rocks in Sedona. We stopped to get a scenic view of the red mountains first.
image

We had a great group of people on our tour, mainly all couples, one guy from New Zealand visiting the States for the first time (luckily he was wearing a bright orange shirt so we always kept in in view!), two sets of parents with their adult kids then AR and me. I'll be honest, I was worried that AR would be bored but she was an all-star! She loved looking out the window, I let her take pictures and we didn't even get the tablet out until the last three hours of the trip (we started at 6AM and didn't get back until 8PM!). Two of the couples complimented her on how well behaved she was as the exited the tour bus and I was so proud of her and couldn't agree more.
image

We stopped at some stores in Sedona for about 30 minutes. We took in some more views then AR and I were off to find some postcards, it was the ultimate scavenger hunt but we found them!!! Here's AR posing with the Snoopy Rock in the background.
image

I snapped this picture on a whim and it might be one of my all time favorite pictures of her now, doesn't she look so grown up?
image

Waiting on the last few people to get back to the bus, I couldn't resist snapping this... love those bright colors!
image

She was "freezing" on the bus so she hijacked my jacket!
image

About two hours later, we got to our next stop. I hadn't told her what we were doing so she was super surprised when she saw the helicopters and found out we got to ride in one! She was also excited because a girl on our helicopter looked like a mermaid from Mako Mermaids...
image

This is us right after takeoff!
image

OMG! This girl LOVED the headset and monopolized the air space. Our pilot, Sean, would tell us some facts about the Grand Canyon. When he finished, she'd say, "Thanks, Sean, that was interesting!" She even complimented him on his music selection. I was also very proud of her for asking questions like how deep the river was and where the other helicopters went. I love to see her being confident and not worrying about what other people think.
image

Holding her Mama's hand as we takeover, I'll forever cherish little moments like these.
image

And now the wonder and awe that is the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River!
image

Even from above, it is impossible to capture the massiveness of this place!
image

All smiles from both of us!
image

AR and I shared photography duty and we both captured some stunning shots.
image

After the chopper ride, we got to see the Grand Canyon by land.
image

Looking to see how far down it is... it's amazing to me that there weren't more guardrails or safety precautions but I guess everyone knows to respect the Canyon and it's greatness.
image

AR with the Duck Rock behind her... it took me awhile to figure this one out but I finally saw it!
image

I love being able to share experiences like these with my girl. She's an amazing travel companion and we both learn so much from each other.
Oh, we also loved that the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix although the altitude and dryness really messed with our sinuses. 
image

So don't quote me on all this but I think this is the Little Colorado River. It has calcium in the water so the reflection from the sun makes it this pretty blue color.
image

We even got to walk below the South Rim! I think our guide said maybe like 20% of people that visit the Grand Canyon do this so we're in the minority here. 
image

This was our guide Mr. Mark. AR asked him to be in this picture with her. To me, it looks like they are photoshopped in the picture but they're not, that's nature's real beauty right there! Shoutout to Mark for showing us some amazing sights! With our tour, we also got a delicious lunch which for AR and I was enough for both lunch and dinner.
image

This girl is so brave and fearless! #lovemyAR
image

Photo by AR, love her point of view!
image

Seriously... best...kid...EVER!
image

The colors are just so beautiful, it's hard to capture it all in photos!
image

I think AR took this one and it's one of my faves, we also love all the blue!
image

We got in a few jumping pictures, too!
image

I even got in on it too... not sure if I'm more impressed with the height I got or AR for capturing this picture in motion...
image

Oh and of course we can't go anywhere without cartwheels!
image

Then on the way home, we saw the sun setting through a wild fire. Pretty awesome pic!
And that, my friends, was the trip of a lifetime!!!