We decided a few weeks ago to use up some flyer miles and take a quick trip to AZ…….and visit my old hometown. My brother’s oldest kid is a senior in high school and we have been promising him for years that we’d come watch him play football. So, we packed everyone up (put Halloween costumes on hold……ack!!), and decided to fly to AZ with the kiddos. They had never been there and it had been 8 years since Steve and I had been there.
I didn’t bring my big camera…..so I have a bunch of grainy pictures that I took with my phone to share. But no biggee……grainy memories are still memories! :)
And if you check in on my Instagram now and then……you’ve already seen most of these. But, good grief, I love that Instagram thing. It’s super quick, I can keep up with old and new friends, and it’s just easy peasy. And, well, where else can I share what’s really happening in the crazy Johnston household?!! ;)
(So, almost all the pictures below are taken from Instagram. And ALL are taken with my cell phone.)
Anyway, from the time we told these monkeys about our trip, they were so giggly excited about the whole thing. They kept asking all morning last Wednesday, when we were going to leave…….and finally, we were all packed up and ready to go! :)
Everything was an adventure for these guys at the airport. The walking sidewalks, the conveyer belts carrying away their luggage, the security personnel who they thought were policemen, the loud announcements overhead, the dozens of mini stores with rows of candy and magazines, etc. They walked around with eyes wide open, trying to soak it all in.
And finally, it was our turn to load the plane.
However, they never announced for families to board first…..so by the time we got on the plane, all seats were full. Well, except for random single seats, scattered all throughout the plane. I asked the flight attendant at the back what we should do, since we were a family of 5 and one of us needed to at least sit with 2 kids. She looked around and said, “well, there are still plenty of single seats on the plane“. Uhhhhh……really? I asked her why this flight never asked for families with small children to board first……so that we could have avoided this. She said they haven’t pre-boarded families in years. Huh. Well. Hmmmm. So, I said, “well, shall I just find random strangers to babysit each of my 3 kids??” She laughed nervously and started looking around and noticed that there were 2 seats across the aisle from each other and offered that as an option. Oh, okay. Again……there are only 2 adults and 3 small kids. We needed 3 seats together and then 2 seats together……..at least. (I was just shocked she didn’t hop on the loud speaker and ask the other passengers if anyone was willing to shuffle around so that small children could sit with their parents. I have heard that announcement so many times in my years of flying.) Finally, a man stood up and offered his seat and there was an empty seat next to him. So, Chloe and I sat there…….and Elli sat across the aisle from us. Steve and Connor found a row several rows ahead, where another passenger offered their seat with an empty one next to it. Okay……whew. Bless those passengers hearts for noticing the situation and taking care of it. Because the flight attendant acted as if this was the first time she had ever seen a parent with small children ride on her flight. So weird.
But that sweet lady next to Elli was an angel. She chatted with her, asked her about school, talked to her about Halloween, etc. She helped Elli to feel completely comfortable and relaxed (because Elli about started to cry when she saw that she had to sit alone, without any time to prep her for it…..sweet girl!) And after some time of chatting, coloring, reading, etc…….she snuggled right in and closed those tired eyes for a while.
The kids LOVED everything about the plane…..and were sad when the flight ended. However, the next adventure was the hotel…..even though they have slept in one of those many times. But they love it because it’s like having a giant family sleep-over!
The next morning, while everyone was getting ready to see some friends while still in Phoenix (and before heading down south 3 hours, to where I grew up), a certain little someone got caught red-handed. And may or may not have had to sit in a little time-out. Can you see what the offense was, that caused the time-out?? (Yep, crayon.)
Don’t worry, she didn’t have to sit there long. And certainly cheered right up when we said she could watch some cartoons with Connor and Elli, while Steve and I finished getting ready.
While in Phoenix (and before heading to our football weekend further south), we stopped and visited these 2 sweet friends of mine, Nikki and Elisa. Oh these girls! We all went to high school together and were able to laugh about some crazy memories and meet each others’ kids, etc. Such a perfect afternoon with old friends! (And thanks Elisa, for letting me steal your picture from your Instagram account.) Thanks again for such a fun visit, you two!!
Then, we headed down to Sierra Vista, AZ (where I was born and didn’t leave until I went to college)…….and watched my nephew play in his Senior year Homecoming Football Game. (They won…..53-0…..you rocked that field Chandler!) Again, the memories were unreal while we were here. The people, the sounds, the band playing the old school fight song, the cheerleaders and their same cheers. It was crazy to be 32 years old, with my own 3 kids and husband, sitting up in the stands of my old high school. But truly……it was so much fun! :)
The next day, we watched my brother coach my 11 year old nephew’s city league football team, on their Saturday afternoon game. I’d have to say, my brother is a stinkin’ cool coach! And gets those boys all sorts of pumped up to play!)
And here is that little Eagles football kid himself. Sweet Brady, thanks for letting my kiddos hang on you after the game. You were one tough little dude out there. (And thanks for hanging out with us in the stands, cousin Bailey!)
The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and chatting with my brother and his family…….and getting caught up on our old town. The weather is still super warm in AZ, so we spent one evening roasting marshmallows over a fire in the backyard. But while doing so, their dog kept sneaking in “hugs” around my kids’ legs. Elli and Connor would find him wrapped around their legs and would shout, “Hey, look! Jax is hugging me again!!!” Uhhhh….that’s not quite what he was doing.
Before we headed out of town, and back up to Phoenix, we drove out to the area where my old house was. 15 minutes from town……..and on dirt roads. These 2 cross roads is right where our old house sat.
And here’s the old homestead. My parents sold it about 10 years ago, after owning it for, I don’t know……30 years or so. (My mom will probably call me and correct me about that after she reads this. HA!) It looks so different and everything seems either overgrown or dead. But so many memories revolve around this house. I just wish the current owners didn’t pull out my favorite tree. Ha!
My parents built this house in the 70’s and purchased 10 acres along with it. My dad was an engineer and my mom a teacher……but my dad loved to work the ground. So we had to work right alongside him. (They didn’t have 7 kids just for fun. They had one for each day of the week, to do the dishes. Ha!) But I learned a lot about raising Christmas trees, caring for fruit trees, laying concrete, removing shrubs, mowing lawns, taking care of goats, and on and on. And you know, I wouldn’t give up those years for anything.
One last stop before we headed out of town……my childhood best friends’ house. After the chores were done at my house, I came over here to play. Almost any free day I had. (Or she would come to my house!) We played in these fields, swam in her pool, climbed her windmill, rode her riding lawn mower down the dirt roads, built forts, formed clubs, argued about who would be the president of mentioned club, played beauty salon, harassed the neighborhood, etc. (Caryn……we need to have a reunion at this house before your parents sell it. Because mine is already gone!)
Visiting Sierra Vista was good for my heart. It was so nice to let my memories resurface…..and enjoy them!
And it was also so nice to see family again! (Thanks again Jordan and Lori!)
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Before flying home, we spent an evening with some old friends who we knew in undergrad, while living in Idaho. These friends now live in Phoenix and let us pal around with them with hardly any notice. It was so good to pick up where we left off, and laugh and laugh and LAUGH with them! Thanks Cori and Eric! You know we are going house hunting for you here in Colorado, so you better sell your Phoenix home ASAP! :)
(This picture was stolen from Cori’s Instagram account! Thanks lady!)
What was equally sweet, was that our kids ran around with each other, like they had been friends just as long! :)
(This pic was stolen from Cori’s Instagram too. I know, I know…..stealing in no bueno! ;) )
Sadly, our 6 days sped by way too quickly and it was time to head back home.
So glad we decided to take this last minute trip. Especially since we haven’t taken time off as a family in a LONG time. (Summer vacations? What are those??) This trip was so good for the soul!
(Just as an FYI…..I asked about pre-boarding on the way home and they said of course we could. And there were no problems. He said they must have forgotten to announce it and that the woman who told me they no longer did that must have been crazy. Huh? Weird.)
Thanks for reading along (if you made it down this far…ha!)
If you want to keep up with Instagram (like the photos above that I took from my Instagram account)……join on in!! Lots of fun is going on around there.
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Currently, I have 2 loads of laundry washed and another few more to go……..and sadly, a house to clean up after we left in a whirlwind. (Anyone else love to scrub their house before leaving on a trip so that you return to a calm house?? Yeah, me too. But that didn’t happen this time. Boo.)
But that will only take a few hours…..because I have more Halloween costumes to finish up and share. My kids’ real costumes will be shared at the start of next week. Can’t wait! :)
I do have a few other things to share this week (including a really fun giveaway). So check back tomorrow. And the next day! :)
Talk to you soon!