Christmas in Phoenix (Dec. 24 - 26, 2012)

Monday, December 24, 2012
An ill Kristy isn't a fun Kristy, so I was shocked that Adam let me sleep until 9am today. Kris told him he had too...since I'm feeling under the weather. He was a good boy even with it being our Christmas Day.

I got a new awesome hat from Terri. I'm showing it off below. I'm looking quite the picture of health, right?

Terri made excellent pigs in a blanket and we all settled down for some good old fashioned present opening. Laughs and awesome gifts were exchanged after an exhaustingly entertaining scavenger hunt was complete.

Terri has gotten really crafty. Check out these awesome stocking stuffers she made...

Kris got his spice racks.

Wayland got a present he already owned...oops.

Wayland got Terri some gorgeous new jewelry.

Adam got a tablet. He was a happy camper!

Brothers playing tablet games.

Me wearing my new duds. I love me some footed pajamas!

Terri looking pretty in front of the tree.

Not pictured...Terri got her main line removed. Woo hoo!

We had a good family day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Terri, Wayland, and Adam were nice enough to spend part of Christmas Day by taking us to Houston Intercontinental Airport.

After some packing, a rousing game of hearts (I was victorious), and yummy leftovers, we headed to IAH.

After arriving in Phoenix, we easily picked up our silver Ford Focus SEL for our trip. We were quite hungry, so we headed straight to Chompie's Jewish Deli in Scottsdale. Chompie's was featured on Man vs. Food, so I knew it would be right up Kris's alley. We both got the Original Jewish Sliders meal (as featured on the show) that came on some buttery, soft challah bread with latkes, cheese, and gravy. Our meal had three...the food challenge is 12.

After Chompie's we went to see the lit Frank Lloyd Wright Spire. Because it was Christmas night, nobody else was around in an area we imagine would have otherwise been hopping. It was nice to get to photograph at our leisure.

The last photostop of the evening was to the Phoenix Capitol Building. We've seen some impressive capital buildings, so we found this one to be lackluster. Strange too...since the awesome Frank Lloyd Wright spire was supposed to have been made for the capital building. Regardless, it wasn't without it's own charm. Not everything needs to be opulent.

We checked into our fantastically nice executive king suite at the Hilton Phoenix Airport. Free breakfast and appetizers daily for only $42 a night! Score!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Our free breakfast buffet would normally cost $15 per person, but it only cost us gratuity. Awesome! The hotel was really nice too. We got a great balcony with a cool view...

Our major stop of the day was the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM).

This excellent museum (that opened in 2012) has an innovative audio tour system included in the ticket price that recognizes whenever you approach a new section and automatically plays the audio track to go with that section. Pretty snazzy.

The upper level separated displays based on geography.

Every type of music imaginable is represented in this remarkable display with some of the craziest instruments I've ever seen.

There were eclectic instruments, tribal instruments, expected instruments, and variations of instruments I'd never seen before.

Handmade basic instruments and some requiring massive effort and craftsmanship to build.

They even had a Survivor wing!

Regardless of your taste in music, this museum keeps you intrigued. It's entrancing and entertaining.

Seriously! They even had an ugly stick!

The ground floor had an artist gallery featuring some instruments, video concert footage, photos, performance outfits, and other special items linked to well-known musicians.

There was also an experience gallery with instruments you are encouraged to touch and play. This also had the coolest automated band machine. You put in a token and it played the piano, cymbals, drums, horn, and more automatically using prepunched paper. I think it was called the Nickelodeon Music Machine.

Kris and I easily burned four hours there. We likely would have spent even longer if we hadn't been so hungry. (We weren't aching to spend $9 for an insubstantial sandwich in their cafe.)

Even Skitler had fun.

We happily wound up at the Butterfield's Pancake House and Restaurant for lunch. I had hearty cheesy chicken pasta soup with a side of hash browns. Kris got a crazy spanish omelet with green chiles. Both were very tasty and service was very fast.

We headed into Old Town Scottsdale for a jaunt. This is a western town. It was fun to look at all of the kitschy western and Native American style shops. We stopped for a few postcards (of course), and at a place I'd read about called Sugar Bowl.

Sugar Bowl is a great little ice cream parlor and restaurant featured for years in the Family Circus comic strip.

Kris and I couldn't have ordered differently. He got the Gosh Awful Gooey Banana Split with banana, coffee ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and toppings. I got the Golden Nugget Sparkling Ice Capade made with vanilla ice cream, orange sherbert, and Sprite. I want to try to make it at home. YUM!

After wrapping up at Old Town, Kris hugged a cactus.

Then we headed toward the Phoenix to hit up the Hole in the Rock at the Papagoda Park.

The park is located next to the zoo, so it's a bustling area, but it was a gorgeous day. We took a leisurely hike up to the rock and enjoyed photographing some the local landscaping.

I captured a kid showing off for his young niece and nephew by climbing up the rock. His name was Juan. He seemed to be an idolized uncle (tio).

I also caught a couple on a random (and likely dangerous) section of rock making out.

After the hike, we wanted to stock up on car snacks and drinks for the trip since we brought the cooler. We tried to go to the local Walmart, but wound up at a go cart racing track. Next, Kris chose the local grocery store, Ranch Market, but it wound up being an Asian market. Funny, but not what we were looking for exactly. We should have realized there was trouble when the stop sign was in Chinese. Regardless, Kris got some great photos out of it.

Loving the pun!

We finally made it to a Target before retiring to the hotel for the evening.

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