"Family Vacation" is an oxymoron. There is nothing relaxing about being on vacation with your family. I'm feeling a little more relaxed now that we are done with the first part of the airplane travel, rental car and hotel situation. If you don't already know what I'm talking about, just rent any of Chevy Chase's family vacation movies or "RV". I think family vacations are more like school field trips. Sometimes they are fun. Sometimes the kids in your charge are so annoying that you are sorry you signed up to chaperon. But it's always a learning experience.
For example, I learned never again to chaperon two field trips on the day before we leave to go on vacation. I also learned not to sign up for the trip to Mud Bay to view shore birds again. It was windy and cold. The kids weren't really very interested. I had to keep telling them to be quiet so I could hear what the biologist was saying, to stop throwing sand around and to keep their binoculars out of the sand. I also learned to say "No!" the next time 4 boys ask if they can bring a chunk of black clay the size of bowling balls back in my car. You know that low tide smell? Yeah...
So, here we are in Arizona. Maya is such a great little traveler. She's always up for a new adventure. She got on the airplane, buckled herself up and announced "I'm ready!" She repeated herself about 30 more times before the plane took off. She stayed awake for the 3.5 hour flight to Seattle, then fell asleep as the plane landed. She slept through the entire 2 hour layover when she was supposed to be running around and woke up just in time to board the next airplane. She stayed awake for that entire flight as well. We landed in Phoenix Wednesday night and crashed at a cheap hotel near the airport. The boys were so excited, we could hardly contain them.
Yesterday we drove north to pick up my mom at my Uncle Richard's house. We had lunch with Uncle Richard and Auntie Marie. Uncle Richard was one of my all time favorite uncles growing up. He was in the Air Force for 2o years, then the State Department for 20 years, so they have lived all over the world. I visited him when I was in college and they were in Delhi, India. He likes to tease me about sending my Christmas cards in June but I swear I've never sent them later than March. Auntie Marie is from Ireland. She is about 4'11" and says things like "What the hang?" After 53 years of marriage she still can't tell when Uncle Richard is joking. Of course, after Matt and I have been married 53 years, I'll still fall for his tricks, too.
After lunch and a quick dip in pool, the boys ran around trying to catch lizards while Matt and I bored the old folks with our stories. We found out that living in Alaska is not too different than Arizona. Other than the change in temperature and scenery, there are a lot of similarities. For example, our joggers have to watch out for moose and bears. Their joggers have to watch out for rattle snakes and havalinas, which are wild pigs. It's amazing how much wildlife there is around here. There are rabbits hopping around, birds flying around. Maybe if we are really lucky we'll get to see a Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner.
The boys didn't understand why we had to rent a minivan instead of this Corvette.
Maya poses for me in front of this pretty flower.
This picture is for Alana.
Sarah rushes out to meet us in her usual exuberant fashion.
Sarah attacks Chris at our table while taking our order.
It's mango smoothie time!
Then we drove north to Flagstaff. I love this drive because you can watch the landscape change from desert to pine forests within 2 hours. The temperature also dropped almost 30 degrees. I'm so glad we got to see Arizona is the spring time. Here in Flagstaff the birch trees all have brand new little spring green leaves. In Phoenix the cactus was in bloom. I've always wanted to see the desert in bloom. We will be spending most of our time in Flagstaff with a few side trips to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Arm chair travelers, stay tuned to see the Wises tearing up Arizona!