Ballard Girls Road Trip: Day 3 (Riverview Park & Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant)

The day started out with some early morning swimming in the Garza's pool. (Think 7:00 am early.) 

We got everyone else up and ready to go and drove to Richard & Gloria's for an Easter egg hunt. Here's Gloria, explaining the rules to the girls: 

And then off they went: 

Sometimes you have to stop and eat some of your candy before the Easter egg hunt is over: 

Sometimes you need your mother to scratch your mosquito bites for you: 

And sometimes you do too good of a job of hiding the eggs, so you have to go help find them: 

I love that Richard and Gloria did this for the girls. . . and the girls loved it too! The trip to Arizona took the place of all Easter celebrations for my family and Rachel was elated that she still got some special treats. (I should note that Adam and Kaleigh never even asked about the absence of the Easter Bunny. I am still surprised by the way that worked out.)

After the girls ate way too much of their candy, we went to play at Riverview Park. It's a shame we didn't go in November when we had Adam with us because he would have been in heaven. 

The park was super crowded, so I dropped Leslie and the girls off while I went to go find a parking spot. I don't know how many times Kaleigh talked Leslie into taking her on this little zipline, but she absolutely loved it: 

Some of the girls were playing on this swingy things, so I told all of them to jump on for a picture. I took the picture and then they told me to push them. I guess I pushed a little too hard and Layla fell right off. Whoops. 

The park is huge and has all sorts of different features. If we would have known there was a splash pad, we would have had the girls in their swimming suits. 

Luckily, Kaleigh's swimming suit was in the car. And then, of course, she had absolutely no interest in getting wet. 

The girls without their swimming suits? Couldn't keep them out of the water: 

Max just hung out being cute: 

He had a pretty attentive audience: 

Rachel decided to go tackle the 50-foot climbing tower. I supervised, as instructed by the sign: 

Can you see her waving up at the top left? After I took this picture, the lady walking across on the right came and apologized for ruining my picture:

This is Rachel and Gretchen convincing Kaleigh that it's time to go:

They were anxious to get back to Grandma and Grandpa's condo for some real swimming. We walked back to the cars: 

Stopped for a picture: 

More walking. I could get used to seeing palm trees every day: 

Six cute girls ready to go swimming: 


Funny girls. . . 

Gloria got lots of snuggle time with Max: 

Gracie was awesome and let Kaleigh jump to her over and over again: 

There was some lounging (and laughing) in the hot tub: 

Rachel lazily circled around the pool on her scooter: 

And then we finally called it an afternoon. 

I drove back out to Gilbert to drop Kaleigh off with my cousins, and Rachel talked me into going out to Queen Creek to find the Waffle Love truck: 

And then we saw the line. Ummmm, nevermind. Sure wish we would have stopped the night before when we saw the truck in Gilbert with a line of less than five people. 

They settled for a picture, with the blinding sun shining right in their faces:  

So then we decided to go to Lulu's Tacos, which was one of the restaurants recommended by Slade and Carissa: 

I went to take a picture of this sign: 

And Rachel asked me to take a picture of this sign because her phone was out of batteries. She has thousands of pictures on her phone, and half of them are of odd things like this: 

Lulu's Tacos wasn't what I expected. 

But they do offer Quezadillas: 

And there were plenty of photo ops inside the restaurant while we waited for our food: 


The Quezadillas were good. And appeared to be made with real Mexican cheeses. The bean burrito was good too. I ordered a Burro . . . a gigantic burrito with potatoes. Not my favorite and made me feel like I was at Beto's. Next time I'll skip Lulu's and go to Joyride Tacos. But the girls were pleased as punch that I let them get Coke in glass bottles, so they thought our dinner was perfect. 

We drove back to Mesa as fast as we could, dropped Rachel and Lucy off at the Visitors' Center to get a key from Richard, talked to an older lady who tried to kick me out of the condo's parking lot, popped eight bags of microwave popcorn. Or maybe it was nine? Lots of popcorn. And then we went over to the Easter Pageant. As we walked over to the sea of chairs north of the Visitors' Center, some of the actors were walking right behind us. Rachel tried to inconspicuously take some selfies with them in the background, but they turned out blurry. She is funny. 

Look what was waiting for us: 

The people sitting in the row behind us were definitely disappointed. Richard was not the Elder Ballard they expected. 

The pageant doesn't start till 8:00 pm, so there was plenty of waiting: 

But not as much as the other people. . . the ones without special signs to reserve their seats. 

There were some actors walking around, making themselves available for pictures. The background almost looks fake. And poor Rachel, she must have been inside the Visitors' Center talking to Richard. . . she was the one who really wanted a picture. 

She did, however, take plenty of photos during the pageant. And at least fifteen videos. . . 

The Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant is the largest annual Easter pageant in the world. It is organized as a community Easter celebration for all religions, ages, and cultures. Admission is free and no donations are accepted. The 2014 performances went for ten days, and they also had performances in Spanish and sign language. There were 10,000 chairs set out for the pageant, and the night we attended, they were expecting 14,000 people. 

Here are some pictures that I wish I would have taken. . . but instead, I just stole them from other blogs. 

The sea of chairs: 


I can't remember how many actors they said were in the pageant. . . 350 or 450? A lot

I loved sitting next to Rachel during the pageant. (Getting a babysitter for Kaleigh was the best decision ever.) Rachel took advantage of my full attention and asked me all sorts of questions. After the depiction of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, she told me that she always just thought that was a story and that she never realized there was a meaning behind it until she saw it acted out. So I'd say that was worth the trip right there. 

Here are all of the girls, crowded around Elder and Sister Ballard in the Visitors' Center after the pageant. I love the expressions on their faces. Gloria is loving it and Richard looks like he might be slightly exhausted from listening to all of the chatter: 

I think that's okay to say? If we want to analyze the picture any more, I could point out that Responsible Rachel is carrying quite a load there. All throughout the trip, she was always the last one out of the car because she was busy packing up that backpack with everything she could possibly need. She has some serious preparedness skills and I don't know what I would do without her help.

1 comment:

Gloria said...

Great pictures. I was loving it for sure! Look at all the cute braided hair! Thanks again for coming all of you!