Couldn't resist posting a picture of Bridget with Mom's dog Mona. They have two dogs and the kids LOVED them both so much! Money (the other dog) wasn't quite sure about Bridget and her animal-lovin' ways, but Mona was sweet enough to let Bridget carry her around and sit in her lap for snuggles.
The following picture was taken the day after Sam's birthday. My mom had blown up a whole bunch of helium balloons to create a festive atmosphere for the party. The next day the balloons were droopy, so Mom filled a few new ones for the kids to play with. Eventually the inevitable happened and one of the balloons slipped up into the sky. Instead of that being a sad occasion, Bridget hollered out, "That balloon is going up to see Jesus!" They enjoyed watching the balloons rise up out of sight. My mom had just a little helium left in her tank, so she filled a few more balloons and attached them to what was left of the giant bunch and we all sat outside and watched them float away. Sounds kind of silly, but it was quite entertaining! :)
The day following the zoo excursion we needed something low-key. The kids were getting pretty wiped out from all the fun by then.
My mom suggested going shopping, so we headed out to one of the MANY local malls in her area. We didn't think much about time and just headed out, only to arrive at the mall at 9:45. And we all know most malls don't open until 10! Luckily there is a Super Target right nearby so we went over there to check out the dollar bins near the front. I don't get much time at Target since we live so far from one now, so I was pretty excited!
Well, Bridget had other plans. She wanted a snack, or to push the basket into innocent passers-by, or NOT to sit in the basket, or anything but being in that store. She started screaming (throwing a tantrum), so I made sure my mom could watch the boys, clamped my hand over her mouth and headed outside with her to let her get it out of her system. It went on long enough that I had to text my mom and ask her for the keys to the car so we wouldn't continue to disturb everyone in the entire shopping center. It was rough.
My mom and the boys continued shopping a while, picking out new socks for the entire family and a few fun gardening projects, as well as set of dog bowls that the kids could personalize for my mom's dogs. They had a great time while I soaked up the sun, sitting on the curb outside the car where Bridget was buckled in her car seat screaming still.
She eventually calmed down and we headed back over to the mall. We had fun walking around and playing in the children's climbing area (and we even found a LEGO store...awesome!). After a while we were walking along on the second story and Henry shouted, "A train!!! Guys, come see, there was a TRAIN!"
We found our way downstairs and wandered along in the direction Henry had seen the train. We finally came to the 'train depot' which was a little sign posted beside a seating area of the mall. A cute old man stepped out of the engine in his conductor hat and overalls and asked if we'd like to take a ride. Of course we said yes.
We chose the caboose as it seemed to be the most roomy car and we all loaded up for our ride. He drove us down to the other end of the mall and back for what I think he told us was a seven minute ride. The kids enjoyed the ride, especially when they could get someone to wave at them. It was a fun surprise to find a train at the mall and a great treat to ride it!
After the mall Mom treated us to lunch at "The Crazy Chicken" (okay, maybe it was called Pollo Loco but I prefer my version!) which was really good. We went home and let the kids get naps and then headed to the park. The neighborhood my mom lives in has wonderful parks, and a lot of 'em. Very cool. The kids also did the painting project my mom had found at Target. They really enjoyed decorating food bowls for the dogs, and they turned out pretty cute.
The next morning we had to get up EARLY to get to the airport on time. The kids had already said goodbye to the dogs, but my mom brought them out to say one last goodbye.
The flights home were mostly uneventful. The first flight is the longer one and all three kids did wonderfully. The second flight is only about 40 minutes and Bridget screamed through 25 minutes of that one. It wasn't my favorite. But we survived and she eventually fell asleep, about 10 minutes before we landed.
We had such a fun time in Arizona! Many thanks to my mom and Jim for hosting us and providing us with such a relaxing and enjoyable time. We love you guys so much and are ever grateful for you!