Over the country and through the desert, to Grandmother’s house we go! Well, went… it already feels like forever since we went out to Mesa, Arizona to visit with Ann and Dave. This trip began and ended with stressful days for us but while we were there it was glorious. Friday we woke up to our furnace not working and a cold house. We had a lot to do to finish up work and packing and get someone in to fix the heat all before we had to leave for the airport by 2pm. Somehow miraculously we got it all done and made it out. Here is Arlo staying warm that morning.
At the airport in Manchester Arlo met a buddy. They were so cute and chasing after each other.
Then we had a late and full flight with a squirmy Arlo all the way to Chicago, where we had to literally run to make our connection and although we made it… our bags, not so much. But on the upside it wasn’t a full flight and we got the back row all to ourselves and Arlo slept most of the next 4 hours on the middle seat.
It was a long day. We arrived at 11pm which really was 1am our time. And we were tired from dealing with all the events that started that day back at home at 6am. When we realized our bags didn’t make it it was like ugh… one more thing. And we needed to have formula and diapers and such for Arlo of course… luckily, the airline told us that they would reimburse us up to 50 dollars for any supplies we needed to get and that our bags should show up the next day. So, we headed to walmart to get some necessities and then home, but not before stopping at IN N’ OUT burger for a late night snack too! Even Arlo got to enjoy it, he was a total burger and fry thief!
Needless to say sleep was amazing that night. In the morning the day was already so much better. We awoke to breakfast being made and a beautiful sunny morning with a great view of the mountains from Ann & Dave’s lovely home.
They even have a lime and lemon tree in their backyard! The lemon tree had two lemons on it and we were told to pick them and we would make a pie! I was so thrilled to pick a lemon from a tree, hehe it’s the small things.
That day we decided to stay close to home so that Arlo could get some proper napping in. So our big activity was to go over to the local Swap Meet to look around. This place was huge, miles of the most random, beautiful, funny and interesting things.
Loved this guy on his scooter in front of the scooter rental place… haha
You know… the necessities.
We bought some souvenirs for the kiddos, a dream catcher for Arlo, and a couple of Native American made flutes for Colin and Izzy. Brian got an Ironwood Turtle. (Ironwood is a type of wood native to the Sonora Desert.) And I got a few pairs of funky new tights and a pair of amber earrings.
Arlo enjoyed crawling all around Grandma’s house and finding all of the places she doesn’t have Arlo-proofed.
That night, Arlo hung out with Grandma and Grandpa and Brian and I got to go to the movie theater near by and watch The Hobbit! We had a great little date night, we miss going to the movies and feel so out of the loop not knowing what is coming out or in theaters anymore since we don’t have cable either. The movie was awesome and the trailers were exciting for some of what is to come this spring! I hope we can get some more babysitters lined up.
The next day we went on a scenic drive into the mountains and up to Canyon Lake. We stopped at a few scenic places along the way. I was so excited to see the cactus until one attacked my shoe! Ouch! Arlo enjoyed our trip as did we, it was truly beautiful and enormous and inhabitable spaces so close to such a large city.
We took a little pit stop at this place on the way back.
Did you know that the inside skeleton of a saguaro cactus is actually wood like this… ? I didn’t. And that the iconic saguaro cactus only grows in the Sonora Desert?!
That night we enjoyed a lovely dinner with Ann and Dave and close family friends Bob and Diana who now live right down the street from them and with Brian’s Uncle Dale and Aunt Martha who live in San Diego and made the 7 hour drive over to see us for a couple days while we were there. We had the delicious lemon meringue pie for dessert and played cards after dinner.
The next day Monday, happened to be my 31st birthday. And what better way to spend it then viewing some great art! We all went to a really awesome southwestern art museum in the morning. It was actually a private collection of a man who owned a local grocery store chain there. Basha’s. Mr. Basha had many artist friends and was a big collector and has his collection in a beautiful jam packed gallery at their corporate headquarters. It was free to the public and you could take photos and everything. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful works it contained. These are just a few of the many many photos I took of things I really liked.
We then all went out to lunch at a local favorite place that Ann and Dave enjoyed and we could see why. The food was very yummy. After that we planned to head to downtown Mesa and check out the Contemporary Art Museum that was having a fun show on display called “Messing with the Masters”. However, we learned that the museum was closed on Mondays. But we did enjoy walking around the outside which had some pretty fun architecture and structures and design to it itself.
Then we hung out for a bit and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and the fact that there was green grass on the ground. Ahhh! Never been on green grass on my birthday before. I was in heaven.
That night, Diana so graciously watched Arlo and Martha, Dale, Ann and Dave, Brian and I all drove the 45 min into Phoenix for an amazing birthday dinner at the top of the Hyatt Hotel. The restaurant was called The Compass and it literally revolved one full revolution per hour so you could get a full circle view of the city. The food was of course 5 star amazing and and the ambiance and company was fantastic too. It was a very special birthday. Thank you to Ann and Dave and Dale and Martha for showing us such a good time.
The next day Ann had made reservations for Dale, Martha, Brian and I to go horseback riding down by Saguaro Lake while she watched Arlo in the morning and then her and Dave and Arlo would meet us down there for lunch before Dale and Martha had to make the drive back to San Diego. The horseback riding was so great! I have never done that before really and I was super excited. So was Brian, I think he had the biggest smile on his face the whole time that I have ever seen. He sooo wants to be a cowboy haha. However, I am not sure I am cowgirl material it turns out…
This is my horse for the day… Rock Star, she was a wild black stallion before she became a tour guide. And she was a rock star in the way that she didn’t want to follow the rules.
Here is Bri on his horse – Undelay.
At the beginning of our ride we actually had to cross a river!! I was so nervous. I didn’t take many photos while riding, my horse as I mentioned was a little bit stubborn. Didn’t want to go in the water, didn’t want to follow the group… And I was a little to timid to really be as aggressive with her as I should have been with kicking etc. So, our cowboy guide had to help me out from time to time and grab the rope of my horse and lead me along like I was on a little kid pony ride hahaha. Oh, me….
Brian’s horse kept trying to eat things along the way and he was constantly tugging on him to get back on track. When we stopped at a scenic spot for photos that our guide took of all of us, we learned that my horse and Brian’s didn’t get along, and as we were standing next to each other you could tell. haha
We went through one area that was called “The land of the Giants” because we got so close to such large Saguaro’s it was pretty awesome. We learned a lot about the desert and the area’s history from our guide and the scenery was amazing. It was a special memory from our trip for sure.
Lunch was good and we enjoyed having Arlo with us as it seemed we were away from him for a while between the night before and the morning. He had fun playing with Dadda’s sunglasses and making everyone smile of course.
The next day we took a ride over the little fake old western gold mining town setup that they have in the town near their house. It was a fun little outing. We even got to witness a real western shootout performance!
One of the performers was sitting outside one of the buildings and had this little scorpion on a string and was pulling it across the street. Of course he says over to me, watch your step, I look and scream and jump just like he was hoping for…. Oh, me again.. haha.
Not sure how he feels about being a cowboy…
This cute little church actually held Sunday services.
In the later afternoon we took a drive over to South Mountain where you can drive up the mountain road to an amazing view of Phoenix below. Little A man took a nap on the way over there. It’s so cute when he is tired and he plays with his eyelashes. My sweetie pie.
On our way back home we stopped at a yummy Italian restaurant for dinner. Then spent our last night in Arizona hanging out at Grandmas and going for one last dip in the hot tub in the back yard!
Ann and Dave live in an amazing Retirement Complex. The “neighborhood” contains 3,000 houses and is almost like a mini town in itself! They have cool activities and classes and all kinds of active living for 50+ people to do, golf courses, tennis. It was huge. The houses themselves were really nice too. The only thing that was strange was that there is no grass, rock lawns with cactus and shrubs. In the morning before we left we wanted to go and check out some of the Model Homes they have just to see the different styles and setups. It was fun to see the lovely decorated sample homes.
A damper was put over us the day we left as well though, we wouldn’t be arriving home until midnight and we received a call from the woman who came to check on our cat over the week saying that when she checked that morning that our house seemed very cold the thermostat read 45 degrees… so we worried about what to do all day about it, had her go back and leave the key we gave her and Brian called a friend of his to go over and start our pellet stoves for us so at least those could start warming the house a little until we returned. We would return to a cold house in the middle of the night and have to deal with getting someone to fix the furnace again. Ugh. This news made our leaving AZ even more bitter than sweet. We wished we could just stay in the nice weather and enjoy some more time away from our reality of life but alas it was time to go home.
The flights home were pretty uneventful and easy just long, the first one was full again to Chicago but the girl who sat with us was very nice and helped entertain Arlo and he just flirted with her right back most the time. She even held him for a little bit! He played with her necklace and was just having a ball. He was also able to take a little snooze too which was great. And then the second leg we got a whole row again and he slept well again.
It was good to be home when we finally arrived but we sure did have a great time in Arizona it flew by too quickly, and we already look forward to returning for another visit someday. THANK YOU so much for everything Ann & Dave.