Vacation! Back long, long ago (like February or something), some of our super de duper friends, Nathan and Shelly, invited us to go on a trip to Phoenix with them to visit Nate’s old friend, Tim (Sidenote: we knew Tim from the Peters’ wedding, where Logan and Tim were both groomsmen). And so we said yes. We opted to give Evie a vacation too… so she quite literally got a vacation with the grandparents, who definitely made it so we had to win her back upon our arrival back. Ha! It was an odd feeling to be unrestricted by naps and bedtimes and looking over my shoulder to make sure my kiddie was still around and not touching breakable things. Freedom from responsibility was nice to experience again, even for a short while.

We left on June 10 for Wichita and took a 2.5 hour direct flight down to Phoenix through Allegiant. We arrived in Mesa that afternoon where Tim picked us up and we headed back to his house. Phoenix is two hours behind, so we were finding ourselves hungry and tired well before we “should” have been. Ah well, it’s vacation! To comment briefly on the weather… the whole time we were there it was around 100 degrees. To me, it seemed a lot like Kansas. It was just… well, hot. I can tell this go around with kid numero dos, the heat gets to me a lot quicker. Joyous.

Friday evening, we went to an upscale Chinese place called Flo’s… amazing. Of course I got the eggplant. I love Chinesey eggplant dishes! We were all so freaking full. Day one of being super grateful for Tim being a local to show us the best places to go! After dinner, we toured Tim’s workplace, Sandhills. He’s the manager of the branch in Phoenix, and lots of techie talk and big windy server rooms and wires and buttons and lights and backup tapes later, we had a pretty solid look at what he gets to do during his workweek. Good thing he’s the real deal engineer and not me.

Saturday, we headed to old town Scottsdale and went through a few Southwesty stores and shops (where I met my Native American friends below), and then ate at The Sugar Bowl. I don’t even remember what food I got, but the ice cream I got was super de duperly old fashioned and delightful. A fun local joint! We went to see Captain America: Civil War at the theater and then came home to taco salad and game night! I shouldn’t say game night. It was actually gaming night. There’s a difference if you weren’t aware of the distinction. So… the guys did some high quality reminiscing of their college days with some Steam games (Counter Strike, Team Fortress) while us girls had a long, relaxing poolside chat, just dipping our feet in. Another favorite part of the trip! After successfully drowning three bees in the water, we decided to call it an evening. Bees are better than scorpions I guess… Tim had warned us that we might see scorpions scuttling around and if we could just crunch them with some gumption we’d be just fine. Uh, yeah. Luckily, I personally didn’t encounter any, but Nate did get to try his foot at crunching one in the casita. Eww!

Sunday we visited a church called Desert Springs (it’s been awhile since I’ve visited a church where I knew nobody. It gave me some good perspective on how new folks feel when they try out a church: awkward) and grabbed a quick In-and-Out sandwich before heading on to our afternoon plans. While Shelly and I went to the mall to do some shopping (I found a maternity swimming suit! And I also bought a little Henley going home onesie for the little man), the guys went to the electronic heaven of the world, Fry’s. Glad they had a mall. Ha! We traveled back to Tim’s to make a lovely salmon dinner together. After dinner, we opted to go out to the desert. Well, really we went to the Botanical Gardens that was like a dessert. This was actually one of my favorite stops of the trip! It was super beautiful to see most all of desert life all in one place together. It was put together very creatively, it was hot, but the perfect time for an evening stroll.

Bright and early on Monday morning, we hit the road for the Grand Canyon, which was about three hours from Phoenix. Oh, my tailbone. It was on this trip that I began to discover that sitting for more than an hour anywhere makes my tailbone hurt like the dickens. These dang pregnancy thorns. We finally made it and ate a picnic lunch and headed for the rim trails. What a sight to see! I told Logan later that it’s hard for me to even wrap my brain around the vastness that the canyon truly is. It was difficult to register the handiwork of the Lord in such an enormously great place. We hiked a few miles on the rim (which was paved and felt a little ninny-like to me, although Nate had an bloody encounter with a yucca plant early on) and saw many different views of the canyon that first day. I was so stinkin’ beat by the end of the day, but I think mainly due to the long car ride! We stayed at the Grand Canyon Inn about thirty minutes out of the park that night… and sleep was necessary.

The next day, we started out early back into the park and decided to do one of the South Kaibab trails that went down into the canyon a few miles. I’m so glad we did! Not only did it feel like a “real hike” but I also really enjoyed seeing the canyon from within. We hiked down to the Ooh Ahh point, which was perfect for pregnant people. That sounds really lame. But actually it was a decent hike for all of us I think! This was also one of my favorite parts of the trip. We made the long trek home (with a few more rest stops for me to get a load off my feet… or off my buns), took showers, and then went out for our last evening on the town at Vito’s pizza. Again, another favorite of Tim’s and a great pick! When we arrived back to his place, after much debate, we watched Guardians of the Galaxy to top off our night. It was weird. But oh well!

Luckily, our flight on Wednesday wasn’t too early, so we were able to make waffles for breakfast, play a bit of Goldeneye (or the guys did at least), and pack up our stuff with plenty of time. Tim chauffeured us to the airport, as he did the entire trip. What a blessing he was to us, taking his vacation while we were there, letting us stay in his house (each couple had our own room and bathroom!), carting us around to wherever we fancied, and providing food and entertainment whenever necessary. Logan and I both agreed that without Tim, our trip would not have been even close to as enjoyable. So thankful.

We got back to our house at 9:15 on Wednesday (after driving through a bunch of fun stormy weather from Wichita) to be greeted by a sweet, smiley, nuzzley little lady who was beyond happy to see her mom and dad. Great ending to a fun trip! Grateful for friends who invite us along on their adventures, and moms and dads who spoil our little baby girl while we are away!

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