Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring Break in Scottsdale

At the crack of dawn on the first Saturday of Spring Break, we headed for the airport, destined for Arizona.  
The boys are seasoned travelers who skip through the airport with a smile in anticipation of a little bit of time curled up in a chair with an electronic device.
After a short departure delay and a brief flight, we went from winter gear to pool gear and the kids were in the pool.
The condo pool was fantastic and we opted to laze around while we waited for our friends to arrive.
Even the most seasoned travelers need a little R&R now and then.  Kellan snuggled up on his Daddy for a cuddle and brief snooze.

It wasn't long before lunch was burned off and Oliver opted to nibble on a plate of edamame.  
Due to an eye injury a few weeks prior, Keith was banned from the pool so Mommy had to step in as the pool fun parent.  I'm not sure that I hold a candle to the fun that Keith brings to the party, but Oliver and I laughed our heads off trying.
I also found my beverage of choice with little Strawberry Basil concoction.  
As the afternoon rolled on, the Heinemans rolled in.  Oliver and Owen were very excited to see each other and eventually found some quiet time in the hammock to catch up.  After all, it had been 24 hours since they had seen each other at school.

Virgin Daiquiri's, a hammock, sunshine and a friend is all you really need when you're 8.
Kellan is an equal opportunity snuggler and curled right on up in Jennie's lap.
After a fun filled day at the pool, it was time to clean up and head out to dinner, shoes or no shoes.
The Drakes had arrived and we occupied the first of many tables for 12.
The boys were all giggles at the end of the table and it took some serious effort to throw down one photo with nice smiles.
Oliver, Evan, Owen, Chase
Then... the sillies busted lose again.
Mid-way down the table, Emerson and Kellan were perfectly happy chatting it up over a plate of chips and guac.
We were all so happy to be together, especially our littlest travelers.
Owen, Chase, Emerson, Oliver, Evan, Kellan.
On Sunday morning, we heard a bit of pitter pat from six little feet and found them enjoying the sunrise together on the patio.
When you're 6'9", it's tough to find a folding chair tall enough.  That is, until you go to the grocery store in Arizona where they sell tall folding chairs and tall bottles of wine.
We loved the back patio area of our condo and we spent a great deal of time out there.  Kellan and Emerson were often spotted chatting it up.
Kellan was usually the chattier of the two.  
Can you really get enough of little feet dangling over the edge?
The ducks were quite popular for the kids, even if they did send mixed messages of throwing bread crumbs as well as skipping rocks.
Oliver and Chase were ready to get this show on the road.
The kids may have been ready to roll but their parents weren't anxious to go anywhere.
Kellan is very curious about EVERYTHING!  He has questions and stories for everything, including things that you've never questioned or talked about before.  The cactus's were no exceptions, he was quite impressed with them.  So much so that his finger received a tiny poke during one exploratory examination.
Finally, we headed to the ball field for our first spring training game.  We even caught some of the players during batting practice.
As batting practice was finishing up a few of them even stopped for a quick photo op with the kiddos.
The Ham Fam takes on Spring Training!  The boys were geared up and ready to cheer on the Rockies.
The kids waited and waited for some autographs by the players.  It was hot and sunny but they were patient troopers.
Evan, Owen, Chase, Kellan, Oliver, Emerson
Oliver waited patiently for the players to come out.  This kid can curl up in any location.
Finally, the big moment.  Dustin Garneau is a catcher and he was awesome with the kids.  He took the time to give each and every kid a signature.
On the other hand, Nolan Arenado was very popular but completely blew off the kids.  He signed for one kid and that was it.  It was a disappointment but the kids recovered.

As if MLB wasn't enough fun, there was kids baseball too.  Kellan tried his hand at bat and he said this was his favorite part of the game.
Then along came Dinger!
Emerson, Owen, Evan, Kellan, Chase
It was hot as the sun blazed down and we had a cool pool calling our names, so we bailed on the game and headed back to the condo where Jennie and I cooled in the pool.
After cooling in the pool, Kellan and Emerson warmed up in the hot Arizona sun.

On Monday morning, Keith, Kristen and I hit the trail at sun up to climb Camelback Mountain.  I was SO excited about this part of the trip and it ended up being one of my favorite parts.
The trail was a bit steeper and more rugged than we were expecting but it felt great.
1,280 feet above Scottsdale, we looked out over the valley to appreciate the view from the very top of the mountain.

Kristen and I were excited to make it to the top.
Even Keith paused for a quick photo.
The hike down was steep and slick on the rocks so cameras were put in our pack in order to keep our hands free.  We'll just have to keep it in our memory until we ascend the mountain again.
Back home, it was time to crack open the wine and enjoy our awesome patio.
Dinner time quickly came and we headed out in search of an Uber.  There was nothing but love and fun for these four kiddos as we waited.
Grass Roots Kitchen was awesome and one of our favorite dinners.  The kids even loved it as they all dined on a racks of ribs and had enough leftovers to eat the next day.
The fun in the sun had a sneaky way of catching up with the kids and before we knew it, Oliver was resting upon his beverage cup.
Tuesday was upon us before we knew it and the Dad's tapped into their inner boy scout to have their very own palm tree boat competitions.
Brad and Keith whittled away at their boats while Eric set sail to his.

Keith tried a second version, that still wasn't enough to beat out the ultimate palm tree boat champion, Brad.
Word got out that Oliver was the lizard catcher and when this palm tree unveiled it's true colors as a lizard house, Oliver was on the prowl while the rest of the kids kept a safe distance.
What would vacation be without a swing on a hammock?
Finally!  Girl Time!!
Girl time is always a great opportunity for a toe shot.
Then... it was baseball time.  This time we had shady seats just behind home plate, which were perfect!
Oliver and Owen were quite content.
Kellan was thrilled to finally get a snow cone.
Even the big boys got some Icee treats of their own.

Then... we busted out the selfie stick.  Clearly, we have some practice to do, but we'll sure have fun doing it.

Eye Spy a photo bomber ;) 

To make the game complete, the boys manned the bases for their own game.

Before leaving, Kellan copped a feel of Dinger and we took a quick photo.  Don't ask.. I don't know the answer to what's going on and didn't even notice until much later in our vacation.
Heinemans and Hamiltons talk Dinger into a family photo.
On the way out of the stadium, some Rockies players treated our three boys to some true souvenirs, balls from their game.  What do we do with unique gifts and events?  We take photos!

We even bribe kids for a few serious photos in anticipation of promised silly photos.

We even take photos of people taking photos.

As if this wasn't enough fun for one night, we went to dinner.  We still have to eat, right?  Off to the Tortilla Factory we went.
The Heinemans were looking too adorable not to have a family photo taken.
My long time friend from childhood met us out for dinner.  It was SO great to see Tina.
On our way out to meet up with Uber, the sky was too amazing not to take photos.

I even roped in a few fun loving boys for some photos in Old Town Scottsdale.

The moon over our condo pond was amazing!

As the sun rose on Arizona Wednesday morning, the snow was pounding down on Colorado.  All of our flight were cancelled and our departure was delayed by several days.  After a frantic morning of trying to figure out Plan B, we all landed in the same resort hotel with a lazy river.  Suddenly, our vacation length was doubled.
The kids were often found in the lazy river.  Ok... so were the parents.

Wednesday started a tad stressful but ended on a high note with six adorable kiddos wrapped in pool towels after a day of lazing around on a river, flying down the water slide and soothing their tired bodies in the hot tub.
Thursday morning, we were planning to wake up looking out at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Instead, we were looking out at cabanas, pools and palm trees.
How quickly can two boys get in the lazy river... 0.2 seconds.
Even the funnest days need a bit of R&R sprinkled in.
R&R is always best with a fruity beverage.
Again, the kids were found floating down the river, complete with a parental chaperon.   The lazy river chaperone job was always a popular post.
Kellan and Emerson enjoyed a float on the double tube.
Before heading over to the Flow Rider, Kellan showed his Mama that he knows how to treat a lady right, with a bit of a foot rub.
The Flow Rider was quite popular and we had to sign the kids up a day in advance but the time had finally come for them to test their fate on the waves.

First up, Evan rocked it out!
Next up, Chase was so happy that he surely had smiling pains.
Emerson was a rockstar on the waves.
Our analytical Oliver took to the waves business style.

Another awesome pool day was in the books and somehow, the kids landed themselves with some killer wave rides and an otter pop.
Even the Mom's were loving life.
Jennie, Carrie, Kristen
All great days must come to an end, capped off with dinner.  Evan's night may have come to an end earlier than most.
Again, the Heinemans were looking quite dapper at the Ocean Club.
Kristen and Emerson were adorable.
Keith and Kellan.... well... Kellan wasn't about to let Evan be the only one to rest his eyes.
We know that Oliver has a refined taste for fine food at a young age.  When he heard that we were going out for Seafood, his first request was for oysters.  When his Daddy declined that request due to our proximity to the ocean, he went for his second choice of shrimp cocktail that was the size of his head.

Kellan was suddenly bright eyed and busy tailed when his calamari arrived.
He was SO excited that he requested this photo to show his affection for this fine squid.
Kellan was even feeling adventurous and tried a muscle.
Apparently, muscles actually give you muscles.
We enjoyed an amazing dinner, which was the perfect ending to our Spring Break with friends.  
Even if Kellan did have a miniature eyeball rest earlier in the evening, with a belly full of calamari he gave into the sleepiness.
On Friday, we sadly bid adieu to the Heinemans and Drakes.  We couldn't get a flight out until Saturday so we had another full day to enjoy sunny Scottsdale.  Keith had to work, so the boys and Mommy headed out on an adventure day.
First up, the boys wanted pancakes.  We went for Snooze, which was a HUGE wait.  When there is a wait, a Starbucks appetizer only seems appropriate.
Silly photos area always a great past time.
Finally, 75 minutes later, we were at our table.
The boys have learned to just go with the flow for Mommy's crazy photo ideas.
Breakfast is served!
Pineapple upside down pancakes for Kellan.
French Toast for Oliver
OMG French Toast for Mommy.
After an AMAZING breakfast that even the boys said was worth it, we strolled down to Cracker Jax for a bit of put-put golf.
Kellan got the first Hole in 1.
Mommy got the next Hole in 1.
Oliver brought up the rear with the final Hole in 1.

Then, Kellan had to show us up and have a second Hole in 1.

At the end of the round, Oliver took home the championship title but we all had fun competing for it.

The boys had their choice of bumper boats or go-kart races to complete the adventure day.
They LOVED their first ever ride on the bumper boats!
For our final night, we decided that it was only fitting that we conclude it at the pool.
We finally talked Keith into shutting down work for the week to enjoy our final hour at the pool together.
We even got one more float down the lazy river in.

As we headed out to dinner, we took a moment to enjoy the amazing view of the golf course from the lobby.
Walking to dinner, the boys made some new friends.  Hey, who cares if they are topiary bunnies.
Our resort had an amazing kids program and after missing s'mores earlier in the week, we promised the boys s'mores for dessert.  Roasting s'mores is very serious business, don't-cha know?
Oliver opted for regular marshmallow, milk chocolate and Arizona chip s'more.
Kellan went outside the box as he often does with strawberry marshmallow, cookies and cream chocolate and Arizona chips.

As the sunset on our final night in Arizona, the view again amazed me.
Saturday morning, it was finally time to head home.  The kids enjoyed their last breakfast by dining on the balcony.
Kellan was so happy about it that he wanted a photo with his blueberry muffin.
Before heading out, we went on another adventure walk.  With In-n-Out as our final destination, the boys were given a map to lead us there.
It was a bit over a mile, but we finally found lunch.
Life is always more fun with an In-N-Out vacation cap.
WOW!!  What an amazing vacation we had that completely exceeded our expectations.  This was our first Spring Break vacation, EVER!  Keith and I didn't grow up going on Spring Break vacation and it was never really in our sights to start.  That was, until Jennie Heineman talked us into it.  THANK YOU, Jennie for inspiring us to spend our spring in Arizona.  We LOVED IT!!!
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