Monday, March 28, 2016

Summer in February - Mesa, AZ - Part 2

If you missed Part 1 - Check it out HERE.

By the time we got to Melissa's house on Saturday, we were pretty beat from traveling all day. Melissa gave us the tour around her house and we unloaded the car. Eventually we had some dinner and started settling down for the night. 

Like usual, the kids were up bright and early Sunday morning. Melissa's church didn't start until one, so we went on a nice long walk around her neighborhood. She lives in a nice development that has a park on every corner. We walked for about an hour, going to all of the different parks. By the end, the kids suddenly became incapable of walking. It was too hot. They were too tired. Their legs wouldn't work. Melissa and I took turns carry them for a bit, but they were too heavy to carry very far.

You could tell it was one of the first times being out in the sun in a while. I got quite a nice tan line on my leg just from the time we were out on our walk. We bathed and got ready for church. One thing that I found interesting to see was the church had tinted doors and windows. It makes sense and I understand why, but it was something I had never considered and it was kind of different to see. 

Unfortunately Melissa had to work all week, but we were prepared to simply spend some time outside and enjoy the amazing weather. We set up Melissa's pool and spent a couple of hours out in the water. Later in the day, Melissa's dog Izzy jumped up on the pool and her claws ended up popping the pool. I put some tape over it and it was still functional and usable, but Melissa insisted on getting a new one. She went 1000% above and beyond making sure we were comfortable and had anything and everything we could possibly need or want. I had to start banning her from the store because she was incapable of walking into a store and not buying something new for the kids. 

There were many differences between Melissa's house and ours, but one of the biggest one's was getting used to living with a dog. We haven't spent a ton of time around any kind of pet and it was especially evident of Blake. One evening we were having pizza for dinner, and Blake decided to finish her pizza on Melissa's office chair. She was just sitting there enjoying her pizza when Izzy came and snatched the entire piece right out of her hand. You would have guessed that the world had ended, Blake was so devastated. Part of me felt bad because Blake was so sad about it, but mostly I just found it really hilarous and I was trying really hard not to laugh. We got Blake another piece of pizza, and soon she was happy---ish. 

Izzy was happy to stand by Blake and wait for her to make that mistake again. And Blake quickly learned to keep her food out of reach if she didn't want Izzy to steal it. No more just leaving food out wherever to finish later. I'm sure Izzy enjoyed our stay - I noticed the kids sneaking food to her often throughout the week. Hopefully she wasn't given anything that would cause harm. 
Austin didn't have any problem adjusting to being at a new place. She took a lot of naps outside in the shade or inside on the couch while we were outside playing. Her naps weren't as long as usual and she was often disturbed by the other two crazy kids, so sometimes towards the evenings she was a little bit grumpy. 

After a few days, I was feeling extremely bad for Melissa and her roommate. Blake hardly ever naps at home, and when she does it can make the night extra difficult. A vicious cycle started during the week that I couldn't quite break. After spending so much time outside in the sun and playing hard, Blake would fall asleep in the afternoon. And she would wake up extremely grumpy and distressed. Remember how I also said that Austin had some evenings where she was upset also? More than once, Melissa walked in from work to both girls in full meltdown mode. And there I was just sitting on her couch doing nothing (except focusing on not ripping all of my hair out). There were times where one or both of them were literally screaming for an hour or two. Sorry Melissa!!! I'm sure by the end of the week it was nice to have a little bit of quiet.

Melissa would leave each morning around 7am and get back sometime between 5-6pm. We pretty much spent every day out her backyard taking advantage of the warm weather and the pool. The weather was nearly perfect, if not slightly on the warmer side. But I was not complaining, and neither were the kids.

Melissa has a pretty large doggie-door built into her house for Izzy to get in and out. Her back sliding door is fairly large and Blake couldn't reach the handle to open it. For the entire week, Blake accessed the backyard through the doggie-door. She spent a lot of time going in and out, constantly changing her clothes.  She would swim for a little bit, then disappear inside and come back out fully dressed. Then shortly later, suddenly she'd be back outside in her swimsuit. Then after she was done, she'd go find a completely new outfit. There was a day that she wore nearly every outfit that we had brought, all within the space of a few hours. 


Most of the time, Austin and I just chilled at the side of the pool, her in the shade and me laying out trying to get a tan.  

I found a Seagull book not too far from Melissa's house and picked up a few new books for the week. There are very few things I'd rather be doing than laying out by the pool reading a good book. I was basically in heaven. And the best part of it all??? It's February! Got to love taking a little break from winter and enjoying a week of summer.
One of the days, I finally decided it was time for Austin to go swimming for the first time. When I initially put her in the floatie, she wasn't super impressed. 

Once I held her for a bit and got her used to the water, she was perfectly content to sit back in the water. In fact, I'd say she really liked it.

She found her hands and enjoyed sucking on them as well. Austin also loved to just sit in my lap in the water. I'm super thrilled that she loves the water so much because I'm pretty sure we will be living at the splash pad and the pool all summer. It's good to know that she is up for that.
One of the nights, Melissa took us out to dinner and we got a really yummy hamburger and custard blizzard type thing. As usual, Austin seemed to be more interested in just eating her fingers.
On our way home, we stopped by the Gilbert temple. It was already late so we didn't stay long.

Melissa was able to get off work early one of the days and we went to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. There was a small train that you could ride. There were shops to go into, a museum, and a huge playgroud.

Part of one of the museums was being able to go into a real train that was exactly how it used to be. It was actually really cool to imagine what it might have been like to travel back in the day in those railroad cars. There was also a building dedicated to model trains. There were hundreds of tracks set up with all sorts of elaborate scenery designs. Most of the creators/builders were old guys. There was a moment when they came to talk to us and were gushing over Austin. Can't say that I blame them! And with the way Will's obsession is going, it wouldn't surprise me if Will is one of those old men one day.
Not only did they have a huge playground, but there was another area that was an old western theme.

The kids had a really good time at the train park and were sad when we told them it was time to go. I was really impressed with the park and all that it had to offer. And as a mom with a kid obsessed with trains, it was something I really appreciated and wish there were more of.
A couple of new chairs were delivered to Melissa's house while we were there and we got to be the first ones to try them out. I think Austin approved. 

I honestly cannot express enough how much Melissa did for us during the week. She thought of everything. We didn't have any extra room in the car for all of the baby things one might want, but Melissa had it covered. She had a little jumper that Austin got to try out. Initially she wasn't too fond of it, but by the end of the week she would sit in it for a good period of time.
I think Melissa really got to experience a little bit of what our life is really like. Or at least perhaps a little bit of what Lance's life is like. Seeing someone for a few days over the holidays is quite different than spending an entire week with them. We weren't able to fool Melissa into believing we were cool and collected. She knows the truth now. She probably saw an entirely new side of me, and I'm sure it scared the crap out of her. 
The week went by super fast and suddenly it was time to go pick up Lance from the airport. Melissa volunteered to watch the kids while Lance and I went out on a date. We forgot it was a Friday night and found that most places had over an hour wait. Worried about leaving Austin for too long, we found a random place that wasn't quite as busy, though I don't remember the name now. 

We started packing our things that night so that we would be ready for the drive home the next day. Saturday morning, we woke up early, said goodbye to Melissa, and began our trek home. The ride home was relatively  uneventful, thank goodness. We stopped at the same McDonald's in Kingman for lunch, and then we stopped in Cedar City for a couple of hours to take a break and visit with my family. We considered staying the night and finishing the drive the next morning, but we were feeling good and chose to head home that night.

It was a really good trip for us. It was perfect timing and just what we needed. Getting out of our house, away from everything, and enjoying some warmer weather. The kids talked about Melissa's house for weeks. In fact, they are still talking about Arizona all of the time. Will keeps asking when it's going to be warm like Arizona, cause it's the hottest place on the earth! They have nothing but really fond memories of the trip. Giant thanks to Melissa for everything she did and for letting us come crash at her place for a week. Again, I apologize for all the craziness. We love you, Melissa!

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