(warning, this is a lengthy recap of a trip that I never want to forget:)
Back in January, the weekend of the 23rd-25th, I got to be with 3 of my 4 sisters in Phoenix, AZ.
I had been wanting to visit my sister, Christina, ever since she moved out there 4 years ago. But it was just never feasible with pregnancy, babies, toddlers, nursing, missionary life, traveling, etc, etc. Then my littlest sis, Maureen, moved out there this summer when she landed a nursing job at the children's hospital. So ever since then, I began thinking in the Fall that once Casey and Owen were doing better, this trip had to finally happen!
Turned out my sister, Colleen, in Canada, who is preggo with #4 had the same idea of wanting to visit the single ladies, and we said we would try to go the same weekend, I told her the one I was aiming for.... but we knew there were no guarantees we could make that happen, with the craziness of life, our husbands work schedules, and price of flights, we said we would try but knowing we would each just have to do what was best.
There was loads of excitement when I booked mine, then she booked hers within days of each other, for the same weekend!!! She arrived Thursday night and I got in Friday morning. She then left Sunday morning and I left Sunday night, so we pretty much got the same amount of time there. I'm totally still basking in the joy of this trip. It did my heart so much good to spend quality time like that with my best friends. We missed our oldest sister a ton, (she has 4 month old twins - children #6 and #7 - and so couldn't come), but we facetimed with her on Saturday night which was a blast.
Whenever I travel alone, which um, I've only done like 4 times since I've been married, (and one of those times I was only pregnant with Hailey), I feel like I'm traveling so light!! And it is so nice to get to listen to music, read a magazine, or dose off while flying. It was a little crazy because my flight was at 7:30am, and we live over an hour away from the airport, sooooo, I set my alarm for 3:30am. My goal was the leave at 4am, because I was leaving my car at the Doubletree hotel and taking their shuttle. Luke even set an extra alarm for me on his phone. Well, I didn't hear either of them. I mean, I hadn't gotten to bed till midnight. I was doing all sorts of stuff, like make muffins, leaving notes with instuctions for Luke (what to feed to boys, how to do all their supplements, probiotics and Owen's bottles. It's all so complicated.
Anyway, his guardian angel woke him up because at 4am, he was poking me and telling me what time it was. I got changed, brushed my teeth and dashed out the door. Thankfully the roads were deserted at that hour and I made it to the hotel no problem. However, I missed the 5:30am shuttle by a minute. The driver wouldn't wait for me, he even asked me what time my flight was and said I would be fine waiting for the next shuttle at 6am. Um, ok.......so I sat for the next half hour in the hotel lobby. But all's well that ends well, right? I made my flight with time to kill at the gate. No sweat.
I had a non stop flight so I got in to AZ at 10:30am, (45min early! Go Southwest! :) When the girls picked me up, (after I grabbed a much needed Starbucks in the terminal), we headed over to see the hospital my sister, Maureen, works at. We met a bunch of her co-workers and the whole time I was self-conscious of my appearance. I got 3 hours of sleep! I just got off a plane! I was basically wearing comfy work out clothes! Not that it really mattered at all. It was so awesome to see where she works. I love being able to envision her there, now that I have seen it. Which is pretty much how I feel about the entire trip.
Then we went and had the most lovely picnic by a river. Everything about the chicken salad with lettuce, the carrot sticks and hummus, strawberries and chips....oh! And my sisters!!! :) It was perfect.
And it was so warm!! We had incredible 75 degree days while we were there.
Before heading to my sister Christina's apartment, we stopped by her office so we could see where she works. It was almost surreal getting to see her office. We did a mock interview of her since she interviews so many different people for content on the lifeteen blog, it was funny.
When we got to Christina's place, we all crashed. Or maybe I just declared it was nap time. Either way, I had the worst headache and I knew it was from lack of sleep. Man, that nap felt good.
That night we celebrated Christina's birthday by going with her friends to "Escape the Room". If you have one near you I seriously encourage you to get a group together and check it out. We were trying to rob a bank and escape, all in 60 minutes. So.much.fun. Then we went and got dessert and drinks and this super fun and classy bar/restaurant.
Saturday morning we hiked Camelback! Colleen and I had NOOOO idea the degree of difficulty of this thing, only that Christina and Maureen thought we could handle it. Wow, I think that was the biggest compliment to Colleen and I. And she was 4 months pregnant! I mean, ok, it was no 14ner like in CO, (which I never did, but I hear they are hard) but this is the desert, it was majorly rocky and at multiple points we were seriously scaling rocks on all fours with sharp drops on both sides. I think my pregnant sister's husband would have died if he saw what she was doing! But we kept her in the middle and stopped for short rests a few times, drank lots of water and snacked on protein packed granola bars. We had an amazing time. AZ took my breath away. I loved it way more than I thought I would.
Afterwards we were starving for lunch and went to this hipster place called Chop Shop and got some delicious wraps. Then it was back to Christina's apartment for showers and downtime. That evening we went to vigil mass and hit up the Trader Joe's on the way home.
With the food we bought, we made a wonderful easy meal of tacos with chips and guacamole. Right as we were finishing up eating our sister who couldn't join us for the weekend called in to facetime! We squished on the couch and loved catching up with her and getting to feel like she was there too.
Sunday morning Colleen left early to go back to Canada, and so around mid morning Christina, Maureen and I went out for coffee in Agritopia. It is a subdivision that backs up to a plot of common gardening space. It is pretty big and I once saw something like this in a documentary. It completely intrigues me! Anyway, there are three resturaunts - the coffee shop, a hamburger place, and I forget the third...that are all right next to the big garden where they get all their produce, herbs, some fruit from. There is also a farm stand nearby too. It was so cool. The pictures I took don't really do it any justice. I loved it.
Maureen then had to go sleep because she was working the night shift that night, so Christina and I headed to the mall for a quick little shopping trip. I got new black leggings, my other ones had gotten a tear on rocks hiking the day before, and she bought some sweet cowgirl boots.
We had a light lunch back at her place and then just talked. Just savoring our last hour and a half together. It was so sad saying bye to her. I don't get to see her that much because of the distance, she wasn't able to come home for Christmas this year, and it's always hard when you don't know when is the next time that you will see each other.
My direct flight home Sunday evening went fine, I landed in Baltimore at 12:30am, and then needed to get my checked bag, catch the shuttle to go to the hotel, get my car and drive home. Phew, I got home at 3am. On the drive home, I surprisingly wasn't that sleepy, I just kept music on loud that I didn't particularly like, and it annoyed me enough to keep me awake, haha. I was just thankful I made it home. We were forcasted to get snow and ice that night but I made it home, literally pulling in our driveway, just as it was starting. Thank you Jesus. Luke and I had agreed if necessary I just would have stayed the night at the Doubletree, but I really just wanted to get home.
Luke and the kids had a great weekend too, he really is amazing. I am just so thankful I was able to go on this trip. After all the stress of this past year, I so needed it. I have been emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. The Arizona sun and my sisters was exactly, exactly, what this lady needed.