A few days after school ended we headed to Arizona to see our friends the Shaw Family.
Getting to Arizona was a little crazy, as we flew in 2 groups to save money, Addie and Lawrence flew standby. It was a stressful 8 hrs but when all was said and done, we all arrived within a half hour of each other. We swam in the pool for a while and then headed over to our friends, Ben and Michelle's house for dinner. It so happened that some Portland friends were in Phoenix also, so all of us ate well, drank, talked, laughed. Twas a great first night of vacation.
Father's Day was awesome, we loaded up 8 friends in the Honda Pilot, first stop was a creek on the way to Sedona. We played in the water, fished for crawfish with bacon, and swung on a rope swing into the river. What an experience it was for us to play in the water and be refreshed but never cold. That night we headed to Sedona where Meg's dad lives. As we rounded the corner and saw the mountains surrounding Sedona, it took our breath away. And Meg's dad's house was right at the bottom. Amazing. We had fun, BBQed, laughed and laughed and laughed, and all slept on air mattresses slumber party style. It was a fantastic day. (Inside joke, it turns out that the plumbing in Sedona and Joseph are very similar)
The next morning after a yummy breakfast at the world famous Coffee Pot, we were off to the Grand Canyon.
It was beyond our expectations! Truly! As we came up to it, walking along the path, my breath caught in my throat and I felt tears in my eyes. It was bigger and more awesome than I expected and I was simply in awe.
We hiked around, the kids were not as impressed as we expected. People told us this might happen, but we were all, no not our kids, they are very in to science and they are sure to love it. They knew all about it, we'd checked out every book in the library. But they were looking for something more like the mountain in Sedona. The vastness made it hard for them to see or imagine. We took exactly one million pictures. The ones we've seen hundreds of times. The ones that do not do it justice. On the way out, the photo hating dads looped around out of the way, stopped, and unbuckled kids out of the third row just so I could get the picture I said I wanted earlier in the day of my family with the Grand Canyon National Park sign. People, these are the little big things that make me feel loved. I had already given up and wasn't planning to ask once we got the car loaded with children.
We drove back through Flagstaff and stopped their for dinner. OZ talked his way out of speeding ticket by accidentally passing on his military ID along with his driver's license. All five kids were sleeping. All five kids woke up. But no ticket, so we considered it a win, and it was almost time for dinner anyway.
We passed route 66 and Lawrence made Addie think we were in Radiator Springs. She pointed out Flo's, and Meg convinced them all to climb up on a sign. It was a high point for Addie for sure, so we were glad to have stopped.
The next day the boys went Golfing. Meg and I played with the kids in the pool and relaxed. We must have done other stuff, but I can't remember what two months later. We did marvel at how glad we were that we did all of our traveling at the beginning of the week. How great 4 kids did in the packed to the brim car, and how much our families loved each other. That night we jumped in the pool after golf and went to dinner at Oregano's. We walked home, and Ben showed Lily dates and other plants along the way. The kids were enamored. We loved walking in the dark and in the heat, full and tipsy. I honestly felt a little high on life, but the yummy frozen drinks at dinner didn't hurt I'm sure.
The following two days, OZ had to work. We went to the Hamilton Aquatic Center both days. The kids loved it and it was like $11 for our whole family to get in. There was something for everyone, easy enough for Taylor Poppy and big water slides for Lily (and me!).
Thursday Meg made us a big Salmon dinner and we enjoyed a relaxing evening at home, playing Catan.
Friday we walked to Tempe town lake and Bryson got in a fight with a Cactus. The kids had matching outfits so it made for some adorable group photos. We had a great dinner out in downtown Tempe and a nice stroll. Another evening of warmth and walking. The night ended with an evening swim which was on Lily's must do list
Saturday was going home day. Boo. We decided to go for an early morning hike up A mountain. We came home and jumped in the pool and headed to the airport. Lawrence and Addie were hoping for similar luck, getting bumped from their flight. But no luck, all was easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Honorable mentions: Playing Trains, Cheating at Catan, Being spotted by Mike's elk scope, My kids discovered their love for Gatorade,