Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Allen family Road trip 2009: Part 1, Arizona

At the beginning of the summer I was giving my friend Jackie major grief for agreeing to a cross-country road trip with her four young children while she was pregnant with her fifth. I told her that after driving to Austin last summer I would think long and hard before embarking on a similar adventure in the car with my kids. She seemed very brave (even enthusiastic) about the whole thing. She and her family were to drive from Austin to San Diego then backtrack to Arizona to spend time with both sets of the kids grandparents. I wished her luck and told her I hoped she'd survive.

Little did I know that an idea for a trip was brewing in the mind of my father. It all started rather innocently as a discussion about the family condo in St.George, Utah that we have all been grossly neglecting. One thing lead to another and all of a sudden we found ourselves packing the car and making reservations. Our vacation destinations were Phoenix, Las Vegas, and St. George, with many pit stops along the way.

hiding out in the hotel hallway

found ya!

exploring hotel grounds

love these ducks

time with grandpa

now can we get in mom?

her princess obsession began much earlier than Abbie's


the love of Ruby's life

shall we dance?

Happy 4th of July

the story of my life

Bracken retrieving his runaway sister

two cute boys holding hands

power walking

we've finally seen a real cactus, like in cartoons (not like the little ones in Texas)

looking for fish

baking in the sun

mom, we can't see a thing

bathing beauty

last chance to wear this dress before passing it down to My-My (Mylie) for next year

The Arizona portion of our trip was so much fun that I wish I had done a better job of documenting all we did, unfortunately the summer was so crazy that there was just not enough time to blog about our adventures in a timely fashion. This was only the first leg of the trip but it proved to be a very eventful and fun time. I must admit that we spent most of our time just being together and relaxing poolside. The kids got some quality time with grandpa and we all got to enjoy the beautiful resort. With a zillion little kids and a huge pregnant belly it's always great to stay places that you don't have to leave to have fun. The hotel was amazing and the kids had a great time in all of the beautiful pools.

I had only been to Arizona one other time in my life and that was when I was 14 or 15 to visit my fun cousins Megan and Heather. It was great to become more familiar with the area and to get to visit with Megan and her sweet new baby---thanks for coming over to our hotel so we could catch up! It was also so fun to get to see the beautiful new home and baby of our great friends Rachel and J, and of course baby Chloe!!

Looking back at all of these pictures now I realize that the photos I should have taken would have been of us all crammed into the car like sardines. We drove over 3,000 miles on our trip and we were definitely worse for the wear. I will have to leave it up to your imagination to guess what a car filled with 4 children, 4 car seats, 2 adults (one hugely pregnant), 2 double strollers, beach towels, luggage, and snacks looked wasn't pretty. Each time we opened the door things would flow out of the car like a tidal wave. As our car would approach the entrance for check-in at our luxury hotels I would shoot evil looks at the bell men as they came to open the car doors for us, some of them took the hint and backed away while others were oblivious and were showered in Allen family paraphernalia---completely humiliating but truly the stuff family vacations are made of!


abbie said...

i loved all these pictures. ruby was especially funny hitting the trails for some exercise and i love how tate just looks mischievous no matter what he's doing. looks like a fun and, more importantly, memorable trip!

The Weeds said...

I had no idea you did this! You are such a trooper to do it at the end of your pregnancy! Looks like you had tons of fun. Love the pics. Of course all of your kids are darling, but Tate is looking so dang cute I can't stand it! Give them all kisses from us. Hope you are all doing well- with 5!

Lonna said...

WOW!! I have a hard time in the car for more than 45 minutes with the kids. I don't think that I would make it in a cross country trip, really. I am really impressed that not only did you make the trip, but you did all the fun stuff with the kids including throwing them around in the pool, what were you trying to put yourself into labor? You amaze me Brooke. I just don't know how you do it.

I love the festive 4th outfits, every one looks so cute, and I think that Abbie really is such a beauty in her skirted suit, I think that her long thick hair has something to do with making her look so grown up. Looks like lots of fun...even if it meant that you were spilling the contents crammed into the car each time you opened the doors. What else can you do when traveling in a family pack.

Jessie and Taylor Miller said...

So fun! Its crazy that Ruby looks so old now!!!Glad I could be a part of the trip!!

megan&steve said...

We were so happy to see you & visit at your hotel. Next time we should visit poolside, with a smoothie and not have it be a Sunday.

Heather and Dave said...

I think you documented the trip very nicely with all the photos. Your kids are too cute :) Loved all the outfits (the 4th especially) and that you have a pair of brunettes and then a pair of blondies...wonder what miss lexie will end up being?
I think my fav photos were the ones with you throwing Bracken in the pool. Was that DBL behind the lens?

Allie said...

Great pictures. Lots of really great pictures. I can see why you felt putting this post together was a daunting task.

Nancy said...

Desert Ridge is our favorite place to stay too! I love your cute family 4th of July outfits. Congratulations on making it through the first few weeks of a new baby. You have such cute kids. You must not get much time to sleep. Take care!

The Carlsons said...

Ok, I'm all caught up on your life. The pictures are great. Funny how two look like you and two look like Justin. Can't wait to see who little Lex looks like.

Miss you tons. should talk more often. I'll try to reach you again soon. I only have your cell number. Maybe I'll track down your home number and have better luck

Mer Swift said...

Fun pictures! I love all the kids dressed in red, white, and blue!

rachel said...

I loved your posts. I love that whole labor story. You crack me up, girl. How great and organized you are, so funny how we want things to work out and its like there is this other plot out there to get us. They looked so cute. I don't think your family can look bad.