Babes & Baby

There are some friends you may not talk to every day, but you know the minute you're together you'll be transported to your younger days and it will be like you were never apart.  That's these girls {and Sydney, who we missed!}

The catch to this girls' trip?  Camden got to tag along.  

Although we stayed up late snuggled on the bed laughing our heads off at Sandra Bullock and Ryan Renolds, and although we laid out under the sun on the sand and talked about dreams and disappointments, just like the old times in college… Camden would tug on my hand and remind me how far I've come and how much I've changed since then.

The life of a mom revolves differently.  But luckily the girls didn't mind the pace, and jumped right in on the fun.

Camden clearly had a great time going down the slide.

The security guards tracked down Brittany and told her the slide was only for children.  We laughed.

Milkshots became a nightly ritual, as did cookie eating.

Camden looked like quite the stud, walking between these beautiful ladies.

One day two weddings took place on the beach, within view of our balcony.  The energy was high and the music was loud.  Every time we stepped outside there was music, and Camden would break into dance without hesitation.  Whether we were headed to dinner or to the pool, any time was a good time to dance it out.

 Love these girls to pieces, and am so glad we got to do this quick trip to Rocky Point.  Everyone needs a little beach therapy now and then, both babes and babies.

Trick or Treating Hater

I had big dreams for Halloween.

We had the perfectly coordinated family costume that was easy for the adults, and adorable for Camden.  There was a little hiccup with costume size, so my awesome friend Bonnie taught me how to add some fabric.  Crisis averted.

Then Cam and I took an emergency trip to Mexico, and we missed a couple of Halloween parties.  So I made mummy hot dogs, bought dry ice for the cauldron, and invited a bunch of friends over to eat before going out to trick-or-treating together.  Crisis averted.

But, there was one crisis we couldn't solve.  Camden was a trick-or-treating hater.  And, as they say, haters gonna hate.

I chalk it up to his experience the night before Halloween.  We took him to my great-aunt's assisted living home for their special night of handing out candy from their apartment doorways.  Cute idea, right?  We got to see Aunt Joy, and we thought it would be perfect practice for Camden.  You know, so he could start to grasp the whole trick-or-treating gig.

I won't go into details {picture people confined to wheelchairs with oxygen tanks coaxing you into their apartment and trying to grab the bag you're holding} but the poor guy just didn't really understand the environment.  Didn't understand why he had to stand right up close to them and open a bag.  Lots of tears.

So Halloween night, after eating with our friends, we dragged him kicking and screaming to two houses and then tapped out.

Wise decision, it turned out.  He had way more fun gorging on chocolate and handing out candy than he ever would have had trick-or-treating.

He ditched the costume pretty quick, and I let him run around shirtless because it was warm and I knew sticky candy would soon be like an extra layer of skin.

We introduced him to Hocus Pocus, a Halloween classic, and snuggled in with some chocolate.

And every time the doorbell rang or there was a knock at the door, Camden jumped up from Roy's lap and zipped to the front door.  He carefully dropped one piece of candy per bag {I was behind him adding more} and saying, "Tay too."  {Thank you.}  It was very serious business.

Even though we occasionally got backed up with traffic because he was so meticulous and precise, he was a hit.  The kids loved him, and he enjoyed seeing all the costumes.

There will come Halloweens when he wants to stay out with his friends all night.  But this year, he wanted to stay in with Mom and Dad all night.  Hey, I'll take it.

Dear Tow Truck Driver

Dear Tow Truck Driver,

I'm sure most people you deal with in your line of work are… unpleasant.  Probably not your biggest fans.  Probably hate you, actually.  But tonight you made one little boy happier than you can possibly imagine.  In this house, you are the Santa Claus of all things that go vroom.

My Camden, like lots of little boys, is obsessed with trucks.  No matter how loud Sesame Street is blaring, he hears those rumbling motors and rushes to the window to watch them pass.  Mondays and Thursdays {trash and recycling} are his favorite days of the week, and we often sit in our driveway forever waiting to see if the garbage trucks will loop back down our street.  You'd think we were waiting for the Disney Electrical Parade or something.

Tonight after dinner Cam heard a truck, and he did his tippy-toe dash out the front door with me on his heels.  Right across the street, yellow lights flashing in the dark, was your tow truck picking up some poor soul's sedan.  

Camden sat down in the driveway and clasped his hands, eyes wide.  "Guck!  Honk honk!"  It's impossible not to smile at the wonder and amazement over such a simple thing.

Though it was too dark to see your features, I knew you noticed us sitting there.  Staring.  Eeeeh, not awkward at all, right?  Just keep working, we'll be staring at you.

After fifteen minutes of watching you do your job, I asked Camden if he was all done and we could go inside.  He shook his head hard, "NO!"  Translation: Mom, are you crazy?  Do you not realize this is a genuine, full-sized TRUCK we are dealing with?  And it has a CAR on top of it?  What's WRONG with you????  Have you no heart?

Okay, okay, so we sat there, and I watched the flashing yellow light illuminate Camden's enthralled face for another ten minutes.  Finally, you climbed up in the truck and put it into gear.  Camden immediately started waving and saying "Bye guck!"

As the truck rolled past our house, Camden's entire night was made when you beeped that horn.  He jumped up and down and yelled back, "Honk honk!"  Biggest smile of the day, right there.  

As soon as you were out of sight he signed with his hands and said, "Moe guck.  Moe guck.  Peas."  {More truck, please.}  As you can see, he greatly overestimates my telepathic capabilities.  

In fact, if I had any at all I would have used them let you know how much that honk honk meant to a mom.  Because when his day is made, mine is made.  Thanks for that.  

Mom of a boy

That Time Kenny Surprised Us All

Can you imagine it?  Twelve hours alone on the road with a restless toddler?  That's what Andrea was going to do with Cade, right on back up to Utah.  Brave, right?!  

But first she planned to visit her brother's family in Glendale for a couple days, then of course head down to Sahuarita to hang with us.

The morning she and Cade arrived at our door we were ready for a fun-filled weekend.  As the toddlers got reacquainted, Andrea asked me to help her get some things out of the car.  I barely reached the driveway when someone sprang out from behind a bush, arms outstretched like a flying squirrel.


For the briefest of horrible moments I thought Andrea had brought her brother down with her, and she'd forgotten to tell me he was fresh out of an insane asylum.

But it was KENNY!!!!!  Surprise!!!!

He had surprised Andrea by flying into Mesa {yay! No more driving alone!}, and then they both surprised me!  Naturally, we decided to all surprise Roy.  And that was a sweet reunion fit for a Nicholas Sparks novel.  Those guys just love each other--I've accepted it.  

Scanning through these pictures, I realize there's very little proof Kenny was actually here.  But he was.  We just ended up doing a lot of "girl's trips" and "dude's stuff."  {Yes, I used the word 'dude' to make it sound more manly.  It's a brotherly love, people.}

So while the boys went golfing, we took the kids to the Desert Museum.

It's basically a zoo that focuses on the flora and fauna of the Sonoran desert: bobcats, javelina, barrel cacti, scorpions, gila monsters, cholla, mountain lions, etc.  AKA- plants and animals that can kill you.

Kidding!  I mean, all those creatures were there and safely behind glass, but the desert has a lot of beautiful and harmless things living in it too.  Like tortoises, humming birds, jack rabbits, and elf owls.

I'm not an animal lover, but I remember going on a field trip here in third grade {or was it fourth?} and realizing what an amazing and unique place we live in.  So this museum holds a special place in my heart, and stoked my Arizona pride, which I was glad to share with these guys.

The mountain goat was a particularly interesting animal for these boys.  The guy must have been having a bad day, because he kept rushing down the cliffs and bashing his horns against the metal door.  Cade kept asking him to do it again, and by-golly if that goat wasn't obedient.

Cade really wanted to get up close and personal with the rattlesnakes.

And Camden… he wanted to get up close and personal with the glass.

This is me trying to catch the unprompted and spontaneous baby hand-holding, but I got caught and only captured the tail end of it.  Nothing is cuter than babies holding hands and leading each other around.

Petting the coyotes.

Cade's all, "This one doesn't look so good.  Have some water, buddy."

There was an aquarium, a newer addition to the museum that I'd never seen before.  I guess it was cool, but I wasn't buying the back-bends the museum was doing to try and relate it to the Sonoran desert.  Let's be honest, I don't need any fingers so count how many oceans I've seen down here.  0.

Maybe I've just been spoiled rotten by the aquatic life of Newport, where Roy is from.  I suppose we have the Colorado River, which does eventually run into the ocean. Oh wait no, that river runs dry now.  Well… good try Desert Museum.  

However, Camden did love this weird looking urchin because of an alphabet book we have at home.  He kept pressing his finger against the glass and squealing, "Ouch!"

Camden tripped on the path, Cade sat in a puddle, but at the end of the day the disasters were minimal and the experiences were memorable.  A great day at the Desert Museum.

The next morning our run was almost like a continuation of exploring the desert.  Andrea wanted a picture of her with a saguaro cactus.

Then we headed out to my parents house.  My cousin, Cody, was having a baby shower, so Roy and Kenny were in charge of entertaining the toddlers.  They took them to Agua Caliente Park {speaking of bodies of water drying up in the desert} during the party.  Then we spent the rest of the afternoon jumping on the trampoline, playing with the dog, and running around the yard.

That night we went to Trail Dust Town with my parents.  This place was built from a movie set of an unfinished Glenn Ford western that was abandoned in the 1950s.

Camden loved the vintage carousel.  I loved that it was from the 50s.

So there's this jail cell for people to pose in…

And every time I see this picture I laugh.  Sorry Cade, it was hilarious.  Look at your face!  Hahahaha!

No one knows why he was so terrified of the jail.  Or if he even knows what a jail is.

It's safe to say this adorable "choo choo" was a hit with the kids.  And the little old train conductor was so cute in his overalls and cap I couldn't stop smiling about it.  We went for a ride around the perimeter of Trail Dust Town, through some tunnels, and a spooky graveyard done up for Halloween.

Then we had dinner, and hurried out to catch the western stunt show.  I thought the kids would love the gun fights and jumping off the rooftops and such, plus it was a slap-stick comedy.  Perfect.  Or maybe perfect for 8-year-old boys.  Oops.  
At the first explosion of fire Cade lost it, poor guy.  It was loud and hot!  And then whenever the characters started throwing punches and shoving each other around, Camden would start to cry and I would have to reassure him that they were just playing pretend.
Mom fail.

Oh, there you are, Kenny!  Proof that you were there.  And proof that this is the cutest old man in history.  {I told Roy when we are old we are getting jobs at Trail Dust Town.}

Thanks for surprising us, Kenny.  We are blessed to have such incredible friends.