We returned from our annual Arizona trip a few days ago, and although I had a different post scheduled for today, my brain is admittedly still in vacation mode – to the point that I bumped the other post so I could selfishly look at these photos and be transported back. I’ve talked about my love for the southwest many times before, and how I find it especially magical in comparison to anywhere else. I’ve lived all over the country, but never in the southwest, so I guess there is a sort of mystery to it, made even more intense by its natural beauty. And really, if you take me out of a dreary midwest end-of-winter environment and plop me down in a sunshine drenched locale filled with giant saguaro cacti and, like, tangelo trees in the backyard (literally), I’m going to be happy no matter what.
Unlike most of our other trips, I ended up not using our DSLR camera (even though I brought it, and we used it for some outfit pictures – stay tuned) and just shot with my phone. So these aren’t professional quality images by any means, but they tell the story of the trip just fine. I genuinely enjoy taking and sharing photos from our travels with my “real” camera, I really do, yet as the years go on, I find myself less motivated to make the effort to perfectly capture moments and just experience them instead. Obviously having kids makes it infinitely harder to stop, pull out the camera and the right lens and get the perfect shot, but I really think it’s more about enjoying the moment than logistics. Regardless, I (clearly) still take plenty of pictures.
This was our very first vacation as a family of four, and although the preparation and airport portions were not without near mental breakdowns, things went relatively smoothly (including on the flights, thank the universe), and everyone had a wonderful time. Our main reason for the trip was to visit Robbie’s parents, who are awesome and spoiled the kids in the best of ways. The vacation was the perfect mix of kid-friendly and adult activities – everything from swimming and fountain play time and ice cream adventures and cake baking sessions and lots of park visits to a Mexican food date with just Robbie and me to a day trip up to Prescott and Jerome (coolest old mining town built into the side of a mountain) and shopping at my favorite spot. And even though we went there about three weeks earlier than we usually do, the weather was incredible and I spent every moment I was able to outside. I worked a half day and answered some emails throughout the trip and that was it – it was all about being present, and I loved it. We all loved it. Essley almost started crying on the flight back when she realized we were headed home (she was convinced it was just a flight for fun, and that we were landing back in Arizona). And it got me pumped for more family traveling in the near future.
Robbie and I are both such wanderers and although Essley has appeared to be a natural born traveler as well, I was worried about what it would be like with two. So far, so good. And we couldn’t have chosen a better place for our first family trip. Can’t wait to see you again next year, AZ.