Tag Archives: travel

Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass- part 2

Click here to read part 1.

Later in the afternoon we picked up the older boys from the Adventure Club where they had been enjoying cookies and playing Wii. As they began to pitch their I-duwanna-leave fits I reminded them about the water slide and we were rolling.

Bummer about the slide: There is no lifeguard at the top. It is a great slide and my kids (and I) had a blast on it but the many kids in line to use the slide were left to their own judgement on an appropriate length of time between riders so I saw my kid shoot out the bottom once only to have a rather large tween girl land right on top of him. Once my kids decided to go down together, stand in the middle of the slide and wrestle we were done with that activity.

Dried off and hungry we prepared for our Ko’Sin evening dining experience. The restaurant was a bit fancier than I had anticipated and very beautiful. While we waited, Jack noticed this “nest” hanging from the ceiling. The highlight of this restaurant is definitely the kids menu. Kids items were prices just as reasonably as you would find them anywhere else and came with a bowl of fruit, followed by their entree and then dessert. Wow!

The adult menu is priced in the $20-30 dollar range, quite steep for me. Allen had the Pan Seared Marinated Pork Porterhouse Spiked with Mole ($28) while I ordered the Oven Roasted Game Hen ($28). My culinary trained husband called both dishes “crazy yummy and unique”. We shared bites and ooohed and awwwed but I will admit to being jealous of Jack’s burger at the same time. Jack ordered the cheeseburger ($5.25) off the kids menu which included everything you see here. Wow. I was glad we didn’t order an appetizer. The other boys got macaroni and cheese ($4.25), their standard.

I will hand them this, Ko’Sin knows how to treat a kid. After their plates were cleared the were each served a bowl of chocolate mousse covered in cookie crumbles and garnished with a couple of gummy worms. You guessed it: worms in the mud. Now, that’s what I’m talking about. Allen and I shared a piece of the most beautiful Big Fat Chocolate Cake I’ve ever seen which we didn’t even come close to finishing. We were happy campers!

After dinner, we retired to our room and woke up on Father’s Day to go to church with my family in Ahwatukee, quite conveniently located just down the street from the resort.

Bottom line: We had a great time last year at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa’s LEGO Mini-Build but this year they outdid themselves. We would definitely do it again and have recommended the package to our friends and family. Thanks Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa for the weekend and by Ko’Sin restaurant.


Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass

We were lucky enough to spend another weekend at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa this year for their LEGO Mini-Build family package and I wouldn’t have thought it possible but this year was even better! For one, we spent an extra night at the hotel this year giving us extra time to swim and enjoy the resort. Secondly, Stephanie Heckathorne (the brains behind the LEGO Mini-Build family package) and the LEGO team threw in some extra games and activities at the actual LEGO build which made it an even better experience for the kids.

We arrived at the resort Friday night, unloaded our things and headed straight down the the pools we grew so fond of during our stay last year. Then we turned in early with visions of multi-colored LEGO bricks dancing in our heads.

I knew better than to worry about breakfast Saturday morning. The snack spread at the Mini-Build included fruit, granola bars, cookies, chips and breakfast bars… a little something for everyone in my posse.

I even let my kids go for the sugary drinks that early in the morning. Hey, what is vacation good for if you can’t throw your every day dietary guidelines and restrictions out the window?

When things got rolling each boy sat down with his own commemorative LEGO barbecue grill kit with one brick engraved with the place and date. Why a barbecue grill? Why, in honor of Father’s Day of course!

Once finished with their barbecue grills, the kids participated in the LEGO free-build on the floor (out of which came some phenomenal LEGO sculptures) or in races to see who could build the most LEGO men in a given time period. My William had no trouble keeping up with the big boys and Chris wasn’t much behind him! As a bonus, each of my kids went home with a super-cute green LEGO tractor which they put together in our room later.

Since the older boys were headed to the Adventure Club after the Mini-Build, Allen and I took Jack on a boat ride down the river. Last year the boats shuttled folks to and from the old casino, now you can ride out to Rawhide and we even picked a group of out-of-towners up from the golf course.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about our adventures at the pool, the kids’ first trip down a water slide and our review of the Ko’Sin restaurant at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

And be sure to check out last year’s trip here!

Starr Pass Winter Wonderland- Part 1

Who wants to go ice skating? I prepped my kids all week for this weekend’s adventures in Tucson, ice skating being the foreseeable highlight of the trip. Eat your dinner if you want to go ice skating, I encouraged. Clean up your toys, do your homework… worked like a charm. I can be pretty dumb sometimes.

We set out for Tucson with a car full of wired kids, winter clothes (for sledding) and a big bag of my super-bran muffins. The trip down was smooth (I’m always surprised how short it is) and we wound through the Tucson Mountain Park keeping an eye out for a sign or a turn-off until we crested a hill and BAM! There it was, spanning the horizon. The magnificent JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort nestles into the mountain ridge like it belongs there. Our excitement ratcheted up about three degrees when we caught sight of it.

We parked ($20 w/ valet, $10 w/o- and parking is in Timbuktu) checked in, changed clothes and went straight for the synthetic ice. The kids and I stood rail side watching the skaters circle, spin and laugh and my kids’ faces almost split with grins in anticipation of their impending ice skating joy. Allen ran around to the skate rental booth to find that this group had just entered the ice and would be on the “ice” for another 25 minutes before we’d have a chance.

Sweet anticipation

The kids ran up and down the sidewalk swirling and twirling, arms stretched out like the skaters’ until the line began to form at the booth. We stood still until the first group was called off the ice and the line started moving. On my turn, I asked the girl who helped me if my two-and-a-half-year-old could skate. “The skates only go down to a child size 10,” she replied. His size. Perfect. So I paid $7 each for my six-year-old and I – the younger two were free- and filled out liability forms in case of a tragic accident. A few families had breezed passed us in line having signed up earlier (why couldn’t I do that, now?) and had their skates before we reached the skate line where we stood for another 10 minutes. Tedious, but it would be so worth it. Three little heads bobbed around me. The boys watched the demonstration skaters glide across the ice during skating intermission telling me all the things they would do once they were out there before finally we got to the counter.

Tragedy at Starr Pass

“They don’t have their sizes,” my husband whispered. “What?” I just asked the girl in front and she said they go down to a children’s size 10.”

“I’m telling you, I just heard them say they don’t have anything smaller than a size two to those people.” My heart plummeted.

“You don’t have any skates these kids’ sizes?” I asked the girls, patting my boys’ heads.

With their best “sorry faces” they confirmed my worst fear. I looked down to see that William’s glowing smile had already cracked into the most hideous contortion of grief he could possibly be capable of. Tears were brimming over his eyelids and spilling down his face and his nose was glowing red. “But I want to go ice skating,” he sobbed.

With a nod at the girls and choking back my own hysteria, we pulled the boys aside behind some bushes and let them get the initial shock of disappointment out of their systems. We explained that it was okay. There were other things to look forward to and that Santa was coming in a helicopter very soon so they better not cry and pout. Plus we would have hot chocolate in our room later and go sledding the next day.

We walked around to find a place to wait for Santa but the patio was packed.  Elves and hotel employees periodically stopped the boys to ask if they were excited to see Santa and were met with the blank stares of three shell-shocked, deeply disappointed youngsters. So, we pulled up a bit of sidewalk and tuned in to listen to the Tucson Boys Chorus.

Here is William recovering.

Looking up

Eventually, a light appeared in the sky accompanied by the chop-chop-chop of helicopter blades. “He’s coming!” We were alerted by a voice over the loudspeaker.

To be continuted…

P.S. It gets better!

Another Tucson adventure

Have I mentioned that I love Tucson? I don’t know what it is. There’s plenty of desert where I come from but there”s something about the blend of history, architecture, colors, atmosphere, and desert that makes me feel like I’m on a fantastical adventure whenever I’m there.

So when JW Marriott’s Starr Pass Resort invited us to come down and check out their Winter Wonderland, complete with Santa landing in a helicopter, outdoor ice skating, sledding and storytime with Mrs. Claus, it felt kinda’ like we’d won the Christmastime lottery.

So, we’re packing. Al’s changing the oil in the car, I’m gathering our least permeable clothes and wishing we’d been working on winter wardrobes for the kids and later this afternoon we will head out on yet another awesome Tucson adventure. I will report back soon. Wish us luck!

We got away

I spent my second, ever, night away from the kids that didn’t involve me being hospitalized from some reason. It was awesome. A couple of tears slipped by as I passed off my baby to his aunt but the flood (which I fully expected) never came.me-pilot

Day 1

If you’ve never been to the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, go! I never cared a day in my life about airplanes of any kind but this is an experience. Plane after plane, (filling hanger after hanger)  illustrates the history of aviation, tells stories of great lives,  inspired minds and, gruesome wars; consequently exposing the price of  freedom. I was overwhelmed.

Night 1

We wandered up and down Fourth Ave., a U of A haunt, taking in the sights and sla-indita1ounds. One woman had all but the crown of her head shaved, her remaining locks were worn in dreads and tied in a knot at the top of her head. One troup of shabby musicians who only played music when people walked by asked my husband, “Could you spare a dollar since your girlfriend’s cute?” Unusually well-mannered vagrants wove in and out of the crowd. One related to us that he thought that the passing trolley– which continually runs up and down the street– wasn’t the one he was used to seeing.

We landed at a semi-shabby, very funky, Mexican-Indian restaurant, La Indita. Should you wind up there, I highly recommend the Picadillas. The mole was okay, we were divded on the salsa, (I loved it!) but agreed that the Picadillas were fantastic. And you can’t beat the ambience.jefferson-hunt

Day 2

We did a downtown walking tour I found online and were startled to come upon a beautiful statue depicting my husband’s ancestor, Jefferson Hunt. Captain of the Mormon Battalion, Hunt and his companion are shown trading with a Mexican merchant during the Mexican-American war.

Downtown Tucson is chock-full of history, color, and culture. I couldn’t get enough of it but eventually, my legs gave out and I gave up. We swung by the San Xavier del Bac mission “on our way” out of town; just about the time that my biological mothering instinct kicked in and auto-piloted me  home to my baby. On the edge of my seat the last hour of our drive, I envisioned my baby thrashing around, screaming, exhausted,  and motherless. Sadly, my vision was accurate.san-xavier-del-bac

It took a while, once we showed up, to convince him that I really was me and I really was back. Poor, sad tiny-guy.

If we weren’t sore enough from all the waking, we went ahead and took the kids to the zoo on Monday. Ouch.  On the up-side, it feels like we really had a vacation.

I’m not a big fan of leaving my kids but I’m still floating on residual cloud nine. This trip, I believe, is just what I needed to get me through my next few dishes of reality hash.