Monday, November 30, 2015

The man sweetly told me I was "Brave." Brave isn't always the word I'd use to describe myself.

For Thanksgiving this year my entire Kirkpatrick family decided to spend the holiday at my little brother's house! Since I had the whole week off and since hubby had a training in Southern California the week before Thanksgiving, I decided to go down the Saturday before the holiday. I drove by myself with three littles! I was particularly proud of myself because we left at 5am. You can see in the picture of my map that it was pitch black out! You can also see that at 5:13am, we still had 8 hours remaining (which really is 9 hours when you stop for lunch and bathroom breaks along the way).

When I arrived in the warm 85 degree Palm Springs, I met my husband (whom I had spent two weeks apart from - due to his traveling!), father-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law and they immediately offered to take the kids to the pool, so that I could shower and have some alone time! It was my first break in weeks. The kids were so excited to see everyone!!
While the boys were at the pool, Mr. Howard called and said I should go get a manicure and pedicure with my sister-in-law. You do NOT have to ask me twice!! It took a lot longer than we thought it was going to take, but I was thrilled. I would have been happy to stay there for an entire day! Haha. 

Mr. Howard's dad is in Palm Springs doing work, so we were able to spend time with him! We all met for a yummy breakfast at an old favorite Keedys. Connor is obsessed with his Uncle Colin!
I went to Palm Springs to visit my brother and sister-in-law last June, but Mr. Howard had to work. So he hadn't been back to our home city in several years! A few years ago, they rebuilt his high school right next to the old buildings, then knocked down the old buildings and built sport's fields. We hadn't been by to see the new school - so we had to check it out! The kids were very impressed (ha!) with their Daddy's Alma Mater. All the buildings are really beautiful, but it's bazaar because we don't recognize anything! 
After spending a day together, hubby had to fly back home to work. So Aiden and I headed to the airport to take him home! That night Aiden slept in the bed with me and Connor and Isabella slept together on my floor. I seriously could have photographed them every single day, because it was just too funny looking at their positions. P.S. sleeping children make my heart go pitter patter. 
On Monday, I took the kids to the Living Desert. It was fun for me, but the kids were not impressed. They were warm and tired and their "legs hurt" and they "didn't want to walk anymore" and they wanted to know when they could go home. Ha! Not one of my best ideas ever. But I enjoyed it! Plus, because we are members of our zoo in Sacramento, we got half off admission to the Living Desert! (P.S. ALWAYS ask zoos if they give discounts for members of another zoo!).
Despite the kids' lack of enthusiasm for the Living Desert, they were pretty impressed with that cactus above! In fact, they were pretty excited about ALL the cacti! Connor snapped this photo below of me, Aiden, and Isabella. 
There's a part in the Living Desert where you can go out into the desert and just walk around.  I snapped this gorgeous photo of Isabella. It's one of my favorites! I never appreciated the mountains growing up. To me, they were normal; I had never lived anywhere else. And then I moved away and I realized that not everyone has this in their backyard! I so appreciate the beauty of the mountains now!
The next day I had a much more intelligent idea to take them to the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert. We got there when it opened, stayed until lunch, and then came back in the afternoon for another three hours! We could have easily gone back again too. It was the best money I spent the whole time! I can't even type out all the exhibits they had, but my kids' favorites were the flying scarves (you could put colored scarves in their air machine and they'd fly up in the air), the pizza making restaurant, the science exhibit where they could do some electricity experiments, and the archaeology dig! Seriously. If you haven't gone to this museum, go!
On Tuesday, my sister-in-law's sister arrived from Texas, so the kids and I went to stay in the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs. The valet at the hotel saw me checking in alone and sweetly told me I was brave. He emphasized the brave part when he saw me carrying one twin on my hip, a bag on my other arm, a suitcase behind me, and two other kids trailing behind. Brave isn't always the word I'd use to describe myself. Hahah! I've never stayed in a hotel by myself with the kids, so it was definitely an adventure! But all-in-all it was pretty good. Checking in was kind of funny because I was only supposed to have two kids with me AND the reservation was under my husband's name. Thankfully the man checking me in agreed to check me in anyway (it may have had something to do with the fact that I had little people at my feet and it was 8pm!). Thank goodness! 
The next day, the kids and I went out to breakfast at the IHOP I used to go to as a kid (the one literally four minutes from my old house)! Then we met Becca's sister and kids at the house, while I let all the kids help me bake my Aunt's famous seven layer cookies! Aiden, Isabella, Connor, and Jake (my brother's nephew) all had a different job! I couldn't have made those cookies without them. ;-)
In between cookie baking, I basically hogged this sweet almost-one-year-old. Oh goodness gracious I had missed having a baby in my arms! I pretty much held her every second I could!
 And then, finally, it was time to pick up my husband from the airport again!! Hooray!!
I'll do a separate post on Thanksgiving day, but the day after we went to do family photos! My kids, and specifically Aiden in this photo below, clearly do not understand how cacti work. But someone pointed out to me, oh-so-correctly, that at least it attached to his shoe and not his leg! Yes!
After our family photos, my entire Kirkpatrick family went to my high school, where they were having an Alumni luncheon and Alumni Basketball game! Here we all were:
For a man who keeps telling me he's not ready for another baby, my husband sure did snuggle and love on her every single second he could. I'm telling you, it was kind of annoying how much we hogged her. 
My sister had a different one of the kids spend the night with her every single night, so that we only had two kids in the hotel. It was so very sweet of her and helped us out so much! Plus they were all excited to get some time with Aunt Katie and Andy alone.
The last day we were in Palm Springs we walked to Peabody's Cafe on Palm Canyon. Our house, growing up, was 2.5 minutes from Palm Canyon - so it's where I spent countless hours. We'd go to the starbucks on the street...my hair dresser was there...the bookstore we'd frequent was on that road...our family dinner's out were spent there. It's surreal to be a tourist in the town  you were born and raised in, but oh-so-much-fun too!
I have a million and one memories in Palm Springs. It's where I was born...and said my first words...it's where I became a sister and where my parents nurtured and supported me...it's where I had my first crush...my first valentine...and where I fell in love with my husband...it's where I played sports and found a passion for English...it was the home I ran to after my first year of college. It's even the place I went to visit right after Cole passed away. It doesn't matter how long I've been away or how infrequently I get to visit- I still consider it my home.
And just like that, it was time to go back to Northern California. The drive that should have taken us 9 hours took us almost 11 (because of Thanksgiving traffic) and about 6 of those hours were spent refereeing our fighting children in the back. Hubby and I snapped this when we still had five hours left. If we could have jumped ship, we would have!

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