Well, when we made our brief trip down to Utah, we split up our time in Utah by driving down to Arizona for about 5 days. Ella managed to catch a wonderful flu-type bug for the first day of the drive [Thank you, Cole! Hehee....] ! And although I won't go into the details...I'll tell you that I'm looking for a good car-upholstery cleaning company... Ella was just wonderful to be in the car with for the rest of the trip (sense my sarcasm). "My belly hurts!" she exclaimed every 5 minutes! She seemed to feel perfectly better after a day or two...but the moaning didn't subside. By the way...I think I need to invent a lovely seatbelt pillow that wraps around the lap part of children's seat belts (You know...like they make for the shoulder straps?!). Life on road trips could be so much more pleasant! Don't let her beautiful smile in the picture fool you...she was miserable for most of the trip down and back from Arizona!
We stayed at a few nice resorts in Arizona, and managed to soak up some sun in the swimming pools. Arizona is a beautiful DRY place...and when it came down to it...we realized that although the winter temperatures are so pleasant...we really missed GREEN landscapes and FRESH WATER (rivers, lakes, oceans, etc)! There just seemed to be no escape from the burning sun! I suppose Arizona won't be our winter resting spot in future years...and so, the search goes on.
We made a day of going to the Phoenix Zoo, which left much to be desired, unfortunately. Perhaps it was just the heat, and the fact that none of the animals seemed to be visible in their zoo habitats! Also, Ella refused to sit in the stroller, and insisted on being carried (not by THIS pregnant woman...but poor daddy got to carry her...). The best part of the zoo had nothing to do with the animals...it was the water "sprinkler" play area for kids! Ella loved it, and yes, we let her go shirtless (I wrote topless first...but it seemed too obscene)!
While traveling south of Phoenix, we stopped in on the community of Rancho Sahuarita. We loved the planned family community, which neighbors Green Valley, a nice 55+ Community. We stopped in on a lucky October-Fest Day, and the whole neighborhood was enjoying outdoor activities at the neighborhood club. Ella got to join in at the little petting zoo, ride a mini train, jump in inflatable play-areas, play in the playground, and she could have even taken a pumpkin home with her (but we didn't want it sitting in the car for the next week)! Ella particularly liked petting the pig...
When we returned to Washington, it was just a few days before Halloween. On Halloween Day, just before leaving the house, we got Ella dressed up in her beautiful Chinese outfit (compliments of her Nana & Papa Saville, who lived in China briefly as she was in Alisa's womb)! We gave Ella her bag, and explained to her that she would hold out the bag, say "Trick of Treat," and that people would put candy in her bag. She lit up when she heard the word "CANDY!"
When we arrived at our church's "Trunk of Treat" activity, Ella immediately became silent, but managed to hold out her candy bag to scoop up lots of goodies! About 75% of the way through, she got up the guts to finally say "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you!" And of course, she avoided the "Scary" trunk, and didn't want to have anything to do with it! Lucky for us, she forgot about the candy the next day, and we secretly have been enjoying it for weeks! Gee...candy rots kid's teeth, you know! ;)
Other than these fun activities...life back in Washington has been mostly work, and not too much play! Nothing too exciting, with the exception of discovering that our storage was broken into as we were moving out of it. I guess we can be very grateful that they didn't get much that can't be replaced, or is very valuable...but we still turn to each other occasionally and say something like, "Hmm...have you seen the popcorn popper" "No..." "Well...I guess they got that, too..."
As for work...this is the time of year that we prepare all of our Holiday advertising for our business (physical mailers, and emails), and we have had the lovely adventure of changing web hosts for our website...which has been a worthwhile challenge!
The new baby is due to arrive in about 3 weeks, and Alisa's feeling rushed to get life organized again. Mainly, this means cleaning up the mess of business files, invoices, and receipts that have been building up since April, when we returned to Alaska this past Spring. In the summer we are just too busy to keep up with accounting, so the winter is spent playing catch-up!