Jilly and I went to Albuquerque two weeks ago with my mom and step-dad. They took us down there to visit with my step-brother Joe, his wife Crystal and their two kids, Haylee (4) and Hayden (2). We hadn't seen them since Mom & Paul got married over two years ago! Hayden was only two months old at that time, and I was 5 months pregnant with Jilly, so big changes had happened since then. I was really excited to see them, as well as to experience New Mexico, as I had never been there.
Saturday morning was an early one, since our flight was at 8:30am. Steve had to work that morning, so he dropped Jilly and I off at Mom's around 5:30am. The trip to the airport was fairly uneventful, luckily. Once on the plane, Jilly fell asleep on Granny's lap and slept for over an hour! PRAISE BE! It was nice for all of us. After she woke up, she was pretty good the rest of the trip, except for when she peed all through her clothes and we had to change her entire outfit on the plane.
Can I just stop and put in a plug for grandparents right here? Having my mom and Paul with me the entire time was such a lifesaver! Granny would just take over the Jilly duty while we were in the airport and on the plane, so I could deal with all the gear type issues. If I was getting stressed or needed a few minutes to deal with something else, someone was there to take over for me. Really, the ratio of 3 adults to 1 toddler was perfect! It was really the best on the flights. If I had been by myself, it would have been a whole different can of worms there. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog.
We arrived in ABQ, collected bags, got the rental car and headed to the hotel. Turns out our room wasn't ready yet, so we dropped a couple of bags off and headed out to lunch. We were all starving, since it was like 1:30-2pm, and we'd been up since 4-something am. While we were eating lunch, Jilly peed through her skirt AGAIN. This time I didn't have any extra clothes, because we'd left that suitcase at the hotel. Luckily her shirt was long, so she was just kinda skanky for a little bit. After lunch, we got into our hotel room, unpacked, chilled for a little then went out to Joe & Crystal's.
Before we left town, we stop by Old Town and checked out the handmade jewelry vendors. We looked and looked through the gorgeous silver, turquoise and opal pieces. Mom ended up finding a gorgeous bracelet for herself and one for Jilly! It's a pretty silver one with sunbursts carved into it. We put it on her chubby little wrist and at first she hated it, but by the next day she didn't even notice it anymore and now wears it all the time. We made one more stop at a grocery store for some supplies, then finally got to Joe & Crystal's house.
As soon as we pulled up, the kids and dogs came running over to us. Hugs all around and they wanted to show us all their pets. Haylee right away took Jilly under her wing and brought her over to a tricycle. She helped Jilly get on and would push her around, since Jilly didn't get how to pedal (I don't even think her legs were quite long enough). And Jilly was totally cool with it!
This is Haylee's bunny, Bugs Bunny. Apparently, she is rather hard to get out of the cage, but Haylee got her all by herself! Jilly didn't quite understand how to pet the bunny, or was much interested in it but she still touched the bunny.
The kids all got on the swingset and swung together. We did have to be careful to time it so that they weren't all swinging the same direction together, otherwise the swingset might have tipped over. ;-)
We ate a barbeque dinner then hung out and played. Joe took Paul for a ride on his Rhino. A Rhino is like a 4 wheel drive golf cart, or a ATV built like a car. Joe took him back out onto the dirt bike track on the mesa across from their house. They were out there while it got dark, then Joe took me for a ride! It was a blast!! We'd climb up these big hills and come down, what seemed like a vertical slope. Because it was dark and we only had the headlights to see by, sometimes I could see where the track went back up, but not where it bottomed out. It was a bit like a really bumpy roller coaster. Way fun! By the time we got back, everyone was tired and ready for bed. Especially Mom and me, who hadn't gotten any kind of nap that day!
The next morning we woke up and got ready for the day. We ate breakfast at Flying Star. Soooooooo good. The breakfast food itself was scrumptious, but the absolute best part was before breakfast. At Flying Star, you order your food at the counter, get your drinks then go find a table and they bring your meal to you when it's ready. Jilly was restless and not digging the line, so Paul and I found a table outside while Mom got the drinks. When she came out, there was something I didn't expect on the tray- an eclair! She had been surprised by it too when it was placed on the tray, but realized Paul probably ordered it and she didn't hear. Sure enough, that's what happened. It was DIVINE! Seriously, I have never tasted an eclair like that. First off, it was huge!!! Like 6 inches long, 2-3 inches across and 1-2 inches tall. The pastry was crisp and flaky, yet soft inside. The custard was the creamiest and tastiest concoction. And the chocolate on top. Oh man! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was dark chocolate icing, so flavorful and utterly delicious. Needless to say, we polished that thing off in just a few minutes between the four of us (yes, Jilly loved it too). After breakfast, Mom asked if I wanted to see the LDS temple, because it was just a few minutes away from where we were. I was really excited, because I love seeing temples, plus it was Sunday morning so I wanted to have some spiritual experience that day.
It did not disappoint! The temple is beautiful! I walked all around it and marvelled at the detail of the building. It was neat because I got to explain some about temples to Paul, not just what goes on there, but the work that goes into a temple, how they're built, etc. I also realized it was Jilly's first trip to a temple. :-) Because it was Sunday, there was no one at the temple (this surprised Paul at first, he thought it would be crowded until we explained it to him). So we were alone to experience it all.
Here is the front of the temple. It's the side that faces away from the road, but it has the entrance.
This beautiful fountain is right out front. Jilly was completely fascinated by it. Mom and Paul watched her while I wandered for a few minutes and she really really wanted to get into the fountain and played. Mom had to restrict her to only splashing her hands in for a couple minutes.
The tilework in the fountain was amazing. Such vibrant colors and intricate mosaic. LOVED IT!
This is the side of the temple that faces the road, with the spire. You can see some of the gorgeous stained glass, as well as stonework, leading up to the Angel Moroni at the top.
And here is proof that we were there! Jilly, Mama and Grandpa sitting on the edge of the fountain!
We only had a few minutes at the temple, because we were meeting Joe & Co at Explora. Explora is a children's interactive science museum. Pretty much everything in there is an exhibit they can play with. It's great for kids Jilly's age up to 10 or 12 maybe. Lots of stuff to do. We were rushing to get over there by 11am, when it opened, so we could spend as much time as possible before someone (*cough* Jilly *cough*) needed a nap. Well, while we were driving there, I got a call from Crystal saying she had mixed up the time and it didn't open until 12! Oops! Oh well, I think we got there around 11:15-11:30am anyway.
Outside of Explora there were these two curved, tiled walls with windows in them. Some of the tiles had been decorated by kids. A couple sides were murals of New Mexico and other things. We played around that for awhile.
Jilly girl sitting in the window.
All three kiddos. Hayden, Jilly and Haylee.
Haylee climbed up in there by herself and it looked like such a pretty picture, I had to snap one.
And then she flashed me that gorgeous smile of hers! She gets that from her mama.
First stop once we were inside Explora was the bubbles. We decided to start at the end and work our way backwards, since everyone had come in at once, when it opened. The bubbles were a major hit, the kids didn't want to leave!
Here is what Jilly did for the most part. Yes, she even tried to eat them a time or two.
The next part was a musical area. This first one was really neat. It was a bench that made you feel sound. You would play a note and the bench would vibrate. Jilly loved playing the notes, and then I would make her sit back against the back while I played so she could feel the vibration and her eyes would get super big. She and Grandpa played together.
Here's Hayden putting together pipes and stoppers to change the flow of air, and thus, the pitch it was making.
These were giant bellows that Jilly loved pushing up and down.
Outside on the roof, they have giant sized Lincoln logs to build with. The kids LOVED this part. Jilly is bringing pieces over to Granny to help.
Granny did most of the building, with some help from Haylee, Crystal and me. But mostly did it herself.
Hayden helped demolish another house in order to harvest materials for ours.
And here is the finished product!
Haylee took Jilly inside, but made us promise not to let Jilly tear it down.
The elevator at Explora was really neat. It was this giant room, with pictures hung on the walls, and couches and chairs. I had to take pictures while we were in there. Funny story, when we got in the second time, we all sat down to relax during the ride, then after a couple minutes, Joe got up, walked across and hit the button. We hadn't selected the floor! HAHA! So we'd just been sitting there in the not-moving elevator. Hehehe.
Haylee and Jilly sharing a chair.
Crystal, Hayden and Granny lounging on the couch.
Joe, our fearless button-pusher.
There was a fountain at Explora that was fun to watch, but hard to capture on film. This was the best I could do!
After Explora, all the kiddos were tired and hungry. We decided to all go back to the hotel so my little one would actually sleep and we'd get lunch and let the other ones swim in the pool. Well, the pool ended up being closed, plus Crystal had forgotten their bathing suits. Bummer! Jilly got her nap and Paul got us all lunch from Applebee's, which was yummy. Hayden got a little nap in the car, but then they decided to head home and we'd meet up with them later. It gave us all the chance to snooze and/or rest. That evening we went out to their house again. This time Granny and Crystal took all three kiddos to the park while Joe, Paul and me stayed back at the house to play with the Rhino. ;-) It was nice for me to have some alone time, where I didn't have to worry about Jilly. We stayed out there for awhile, then came home to sleep again.
Monday was State Fair day! While we were getting ready, I found a way to keep Jilly busy. Give her a yogurt and let her feed herself breakfast, so I could get ready in peace! It worked, keeping her busy for quite a while. And she actually ate most of it too. Her hair was so crazy (from being in a ponytail the day before) I had to take a picture.
Hayden and Crystal ended up not coming because Hayden's allergies had flared up big time. He had an appointment with a doctor that day anyway, but between welts from mosquito bites and a intense rash, Crystal thought it was best to keep him home from the fair. So we met Joe and Haylee there after our breakfast at IHOP. The first thing we did was visit the McDonald's Farm. It was this kids area where they learn about agriculture. They get a basket and a list as they come in. They have to gather eggs, milk a cow, gather veggies, etc, then return it all at the end for a treat.
Jilly wanted to check out the tractor first.
Then she toddled off with her basket. She didn't quite get the whole gathering thing, but did like the popsicle at the end!
We also checked out the animals. Jilly loved watching the ducklings swim.
After that, Joe left to go meet Crystal and Hayden for the appointment, while Haylee stayed with us. We went to the Indian Village and checked out the jewelry vendors. Mom wanted to buy me a souvenir for the trip and I'd spent a lot of the trip looking and checking things out. I finally found this beautiful silver and opal bracelet made a Navajo jewelry maker. So pretty!
We rode a couple rides with Haylee, then got out of there. Jilly was tired and hot, and had soaked her pants, once again. We weren't sure what we were going to do, because our flight didn't leave until 7:00pm and we had to check out of the hotel, since they were sold out that night. Luckily, Crystal called and told us that Joe's mom has a vacation rental home nearby to the Fair and the airport that was vacant at the moment and she said we could crash there if we wanted. Praise be! It even had a playpen for Jilly to sleep in!! It was so nice to all take a break and get a nap. Jilly slept for two hours, before we had to go. Joe, Crystal and Hayden came and met up with us there. All too soon it was time to say good bye and head for the airport.
We left later than we'd been planning on and now didn't have time to stop for dinner. My mom was understandably cranky about this. Luckily, we got through Security fast and had time to grab a quick, but super yummy, dinner at a restaurant in the airport. We got on the plane easily, even got the 2nd row! Woot! Then the real fun started... I'd given Jilly Benadryl, hoping it would knock her out and she'd sleep. It had worked on the way down. Well, I didn't think it through all the way. On Saturday, she'd been ready for a nap already, the Benadryl just pushed her over the edge and let her sleep in our arms. This time, she wasn't tired already and the Benadryl just ended up making her cranky, not being enough to get her to sleep. Oh man. She FREAKED OUT!! I have never seen her throw a tantrum like this, ever!!! She started shrieking and screaming. It was awful. My mom took her into the back, hoping to calm her. After a while a flight attendant came up to me, saying that my mom needed fresh clothes for Jilly, because once again folks, she had peed through it all. (Just to explain this: that normally doesn't happen. But we kept shoving juice down her throat all weekend long, in an effort to keep her happy, or at least quiet, during whatever we were going. So there were a lot more fluids running through that little body than normal and we didn't take that into account with changing her as often as we should.) Anyway, Mom and I changed her diaper and got her into her jammies, hoping she wouldn't pee again, because I had no more clothes with me. Then I took a turn in the back. She didn't like that. At one point, I was getting overwhelmed and stressed, thinking about how much my daughter was driving the other passengers nuts, and started crying myself. Right at that point, I look up to see Granny coming to rescue us. Eventually, after an hour and a half, and a cup full of ice from a flight attendant, Jilly calmed down and was her happy self again. Just as we were landing, she fell asleep in my arms. She stayed asleep all through getting off the plane, putting her in the stroller, going to baggage claim, getting on the parking shuttle, only waking up for a moment when we put her into the car seat, then all the way back to Granny & Grandpa's, where Daddy picked us up. That was nice since it was late! We all got home, collapsed in bed and slept in the next morning.
So that was our trip to New Mexico. Major kudos to you if you actually read it all!! I know it was long.