Monday, March 17, 2014

R&R Part 1

We recently spent a month back in the United States visiting family.  During the course of our trip, we visited four states, five cities and flew on more than a dozen airplanes, as we first trekked across the ocean back from Turkey, then crisscrossed the country to see our loved ones. 

The flight from Turkey to the U.S. was rather exhausting because due to miscommunication from the airline staff, we missed our final connection and we were forced to stay overnight in a hotel.  Thankfully, the airline footed the bill once they realized they were to blame (and because I might have played the 6-months-pregnant-traveling-with-a-toddler-we-are-all-exhausted card, but mostly because they were to blame) and we were on a flight out the next morning.  Oh, and did I mention that same airline lost our luggage too?  They did.  Luckily, S and I had the foresight to pack an extra outfit for each of us in the carry-on, so at least we were able to change our clothes during our overnight stay.  

Once we arrived to our final destination (Portland, Oregon) we checked into the hotel, made mad dashes for the showers and quickly got to S's mom's house where we were to enjoy a much-anticipated family dinner. Despite the fact that we were all exhausted, jet lagged and without luggage, we had a great time. E played his little heart out, but he started to go a little insane toward the end of the night due to the jet lag, so we quickly got him home for a good night's rest.  To our surprise, we got a call from the airline a few hours later saying they had located our luggage and it would be delivered to our hotel the following morning.  Awesome.  So, our next three days in Portland were quite relaxing.  Mandatory trips to Chipotle and Target were the first key events on the agenda, and they did not disappoint. We then ate our way through excellent Thai restaurants, diners and more.  I vowed to eat my way across American before we even left Turkey, and I was not backing down.  I was a pregnant woman on a mission.  S, the foodie that he is, was definitely on board with the idea.

We also took E to the Portland Children's Museum, which, if you ever go to Portland is a must.  It was huge! And there was SO MUCH for kids to do.  Seriously, we were there for nearly 4 hours and we barely scratched the surface.  We will definitely be going back next time. We also spent a lot of time just hanging out with S's mom and letting E play and get spoiled by her.  They were in heaven.

Playing at the Children's Museum

Just a sampling of our food choices in Portland, plus a view of Mount Hood from our flight.

Next, we winged our way down to Las Vegas for a visit with S's dad and step mom.  E has been obsessed with castles and kings and dragons since last Christmas, so S thought it would be a good idea to book a room at the Excalibur Hotel on the strip.  From the second we pulled up, E was in awe.  "Are we staying in that castle?!" he asked with enthusiasm.  Hundreds (and no, I am not being sarcastic when I say hundreds) of questions followed, including things like, "Where are all the princesses?" "Is there a dragon?" "Where does he sleep?" "What is his name" "Can we go see him?" "Where is the King?" "Does he have a horse?" You get the idea. We tried to answer as best we could, and in an effort to cull his curiosity, we reserved tickets for the Tournament of Kings dinner on our first night.  It is very similar to what you would find at Medieval Times--jousting, horses, kings, knights, dragons--and despite the fact that it was super pricey (isn't everything in Vegas) it was so worth it. E had his eyes glued to the arena for more than an hour.  After it ended, he asked to stay and see it again.  We explained that we couldn't, the horses were going to take a nap after all, so then he asked to go back the next night.  Of course it was a one time only event (S and I couldn't bear to eat that food another night), but since our room had a view of the horses stables near the parking lot, he was appeased with just watching the horses do their daily exercises.  We only spent a couple days in Vegas, mostly just walking around, shopping, visiting with S's family and of course, eating.  We are not gambling people, so the flashing lights of the casinos were all but lost on us.  But we love Vegas and always enjoy our time there.

Posing in front of the castle; E trying to steal a basketball at NY, NY;
 playing darts and E posing with S's parents

After two and a half days of family time and relaxation, we were on our way to our next destination--Austin, Texas!  Stay tuned...

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