Weekly favorites – Spring Break edition

I realize I’ve been negligent in my lists of weekly favorites lately (Boy Bands certainly qualify, airplane rides and tornado warnings certainly do not) because we were on our spring break vacation to both Scottsdale and Sedona.  We had a really great time visiting relatives and friends (and, as I hope is the case with all of of your family vacations, a handful of teenager-y moody moments and silent treatments and snappy conversations and too much staring at screens…some of that even from the kids) so I’ve decided to make this list of favorites ‘vacation’ themed. 

1.  My favorite photo – 

First you need to hear the back story:

Thing 2 is afraid of bees.  Like run-around-screaming-hands-waving-wildly-overhead afraid (she’s also deathly afraid of butterflies and ladybugs. She prefers to hibernate May – August).  We took a hike literally up the side of a mountain when we were in Sedona (it was actually more of a mesa, but in my version of the story it is a mountain). At the top, the land was flat (sounds like a mesa…but remember, it was a mountain) and rocky and cactus-y and dotted in places with darling wildflowers….and bees.  

Thing 2 freaked out (the fact that she was already rattled by Husband telling her all the way up, “Walk faster. Tarantulas attack from behind” didn’t help matters). Husband had to gently remind her (in his not-so-gentle voice) not to run and flail about because she could easily run right off the side of the mountain – a fact she also wasn’t too crazy about.  Because we like to torture our kids (we’re fun that way), we forced her to the edge to take a cool photo.  Just as Husband snapped the photo, the 3 of us heard this great ZOOOOM behind us and, swear to god, felt a wind ruffle our hair. Thing 2 screams, “WHAT WAS THAT???” and flinches like she’s been electrocuted (our proximity to the edge of the cliff plus my death grip on her kept her from bolting). I’m all, “probably a GIGANTIC BEE WHO ONLY STINGS LITTLE GIRLS WHO ARE TERRIFIED OF HIM. Now STAND STILL SO WE CAN GET A PHOTO THAT SHOWS THE WORLD (or at least all my Facebook friends) WHAT A GREAT TIME WE ARE HAVING. AND SMILE, DAMMIT.” 

Here’s the photo:

And that ‘aint no bee.  

3 things I love about this photo:

1) The fact that Thing 1 and I 
looked at each other (after the photo was taken) and whispered (while trying very hard not to LOL), “that sure as hell did NOT sound like a bee” and sure enough…it was a freakin’ HUMMINGBIRD.
2)  How you can see Thing 2 visibly flinching toward me just as she hears it fly by.
3)  Her fearful yet forced smile (that’s my good girl who always listens to her mama).

2.  My favorite restaurant in Sedona
When many people go on vacation, eating out is a big part of what makes the trip enjoyable.  

Not for this family. 

With 2 girls who basically only eat white or cream colored food (but junk food in all colors of the rainbow), finding places that will nourish them is challenging (forget about finding places they’ll enjoy. We stopped caring about that long ago). Plus, Husband and I aren’t foodies. Wine-ies, yes, but that’s an easy enough problem to solve (we carry 2 corkscrews in our suitcases and get the good glasses from the hotel bar. Admit it, that just gave you a good idea, didn’t it?). So when we go on vacation, we like to splurge on rooms with great views and most nights will just grab food from a deli, pizza delivery, local gas station store (it’s been known to happen) and eat on our balcony or deck.  All it takes is cheese and crackers and wine and Dr. Pepper to make this family happy (and for those of you who have never enjoyed a dinner of beef jerky, pumpkin seeds and Pinot Noir while watching the sun set over the ocean from your beachfront balcony, you are missing out).  We’d rather spend the money on the better room with the prime view than at a fancy pants restaurant any day.

dress code obviously not required

Here we are on the deck of our cottage in Sedona, listening to the babbling creek, and enjoying a fine dinner of Cheddar Kettle Chips, salami, crackers, olives and champagne (I’d like to take credit for the fanciness of that – but we got it free from our resort because we may or may not have lied about it being my birthday that day).

3.  Top 2 things heard while on vacation

#1) before getting the pat-down in security at the MSP airport because something in my butt region triggered the alarm (no lie. On the screen there was a drawing of a person and 2 red boxes around the butt. They think it was the silver thread in my jeans. I think it was my bionic butt), the TSA (gloved hands held aloft as if she is about to perform surgery) says, 

“I’ll be doing your buttocks now.”

#2) On path to cactus garden at our hotel in Scottsdale, a middle-aged man stops 2 boys (who he does not know) and says,
“Hey, Boys. Wanna see a really big lizard?”

4.  A short trip down memory lane
Most of you readers who actually know me (and I believe that is all of you) know that we are originally from Arizona (for the 1-5 readers who do not know me personally, Husband and I met at ASU – Go Sundevils! – and lived there until summer ’96).

Since our drive to Sedona took us north anyway, I made asked Husband to take a smallish detour so we could travel via Memory Lane.

Stop #1: St. Barnabas-on-the-Desert Episcopal Church

Since it was on the way, I wanted to see the church where we got married, stop and take a photo of us standing in front of it.
Husband wanted to take a quick loop through the parking lot.

I won.

And here we are almost 19 years ago –

(Husband also told me that he wouldn’t have remembered the name of the church if his life was on the line.  Sentimental guy, it’s no wonder I married him).

Stop #2: Our first house

One of the things we like to do when we visit, if we have the time, is to drive out to the house we built right after we got married. It’s especially fun to show Thing 1 since that’s the first house she ever lived in.  We also like to embarrass her and creep by v-e-r-y slowly staring at the house with the window down and the camera held out. I don’t know why that embarrasses her, it’s not like we’re asking the kids in the yard if they’d like some candy (although I’d be lying if I said we haven’t thought about it).

We moved from this house to Indiana in August of 1996, but every time we’ve driven by in the past 16 years I feel like I’m sucked into a vortex back in time and like it was only a year ago that we were newly married and building it. I vividly remember all the stages of the construction (carving our initials into one of the wood studs in the bedroom…Husband laying the brick edging and grass in the yard…planting that palm tree) and how much I loved it. 

 I included this one so you could enjoy my high-waisted, pleated chambray shorts.
I point out to Thing 1 (every time she would add) the paths where I used to push her in her buggy, our good friends’ house across the street, the shopping center where we got pizza and mexican food and groceries (although this trip, now that she’s 16 and has seen it all about 8 times, my excited pointing-out-of-historical-family-landmarks sounded more like, “PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND LOOK AT THE GROCERY STORE WHERE I BOUGHT DIAPERS, DAMMIT!!”).

It was such an new, exciting time for us and anytime we drive by I get a little choked up by the flood of memories. Definitely a favorite, yet bitterweet, moment of the trip.

4.  This last one doesn’t have anything to do with my vacation, I realize, but when I’m here I always feel like I’m on one so I’m including it.

I’m writing this post sitting outside in 68 degree sunshine on the deck of our cabin (north central Minnesota),looking at the thawed (hooray!) lake, and listening to nothing but the breeze gently blowing and the birds happily singing their Spring songs. I was welcomed here a couple of hours ago by a mama and a baby deer standing in our driveway, looking surprised to see a visitor (this time of year they are used to having the place to themselves). Anyway, I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me to see the green grass and blue water of our lakeside retreat.  I absolutely abhor the winter weather in MN (have I mentioned that before??) and live for late spring and summer days at the lake, so right now….sitting out here, writing this… is hands down my favorite today.

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