Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July weekend

We headed out of the valley and up to Flagstaff for the holiday weekend.
Out of the heat, ready for some small town festivities and lots of family time.

We rented a house a little over a mile from the historic downtown.  Our first morning, we walked down for breakfast and explored the area.  William had his first chocolate milk and pecan roll...I think we've created a monster.  

After naps back at the house, we headed out for a late lunch/early dinner at a local brewery.  William was beyond thrilled that we were up close and personal with Route 66 and the trains going by every 15 minutes.  The kids were so well behaved, they earned popsicles while Mom and Dad sampled the local beers.

{4th of July}
On Friday, we were up and out the door early to secure spots at the local 4th of July parade.  It was such a fun event - Flagstaff appears to be a close knit community and it seemed every local business, politician, and service provider had a float.  

Lily and William were thrilled with hot chocolate while Ryan and I sampled the 'favorite' local coffee.  Then we tucked in and waited patiently…a little foot racing, games of tag, and meeting new friends ensued.

Lily met a sweet new friend, who invited her to sit on her wagon…curbside, up close to all the floats and therefore in prime range to gather candy.  How could our girl say no?  William chose to hang out a few steps back with Mom and Dad instead.  His favorite float was the Firetrucks, of course.  "Weee-ooo Weee-ooo Weee-ooo, Fire Tuck!!!"  Repeat ten times.  

Almost immediately after the parade ended, the rain came (it's monsoon season so the clouds tend to roll in mid to late afternoon).  Our family headed back to the house for a rest, then did 'poppers' on our front sidewalk.  That was the extend of the fireworks for us…between the rain and being up early, we decided ordering a pizza and crashing for the evening was the best idea for kids and parents alike.  

After packing up the house and eating breakfast at a local joint, we drove to Snowbowl to play around a bit.  It was upper 60s in town, but mid 50s at the base of the ski resort.  Felt so good, especially knowing we'd be back in the Phoenix heat by the end of the day.  It truly is amazing that we can drive two and a half hours and have more than a 30+ degree swing in temperature. 

After leaving Snowbowl and Flagstaff, we drove Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona.  If you ever visit the area, this is an absolute must.  It's a 25 mile windy road down the mountains following Oak Creak…the views are out of this world and you end up in Sedona, red rock country.  It was also one of the most peaceful parts of the trip…radio silence from the back seat!!
We had a quick lunch with an amazing view, and seriously considering booking a hotel to spend the night.  There is something about Sedona…we felt so relaxed, peaceful, and content, and never wanted to leave!  However, we decided the kids were ready to be home and headed off to Phoenix.  We would end up regretting that decision shortly...

{This is how a photo session normally goes!}

Less than one hour from home, I-17 came to a complete stand still.  And stayed that way for almost three hours.  A horrible, fatal accident a few miles ahead closed both lanes (it's a fairly dangerous drive with lots of up and down mountains, winding roads etc).  We missed the traffic diversion by a matter of minutes, and we were literally the last car in our lane waiting for the highway to open back up.  

However, the kids had a blast running up and down the highway, playing football and making new friends.  Time passed fairly quickly, and we kept saying how lucky we were to have a full tank of gas, lots of water and snacks.  And of course, safe and together.  Always a good reminder to appreciate what you have and be happy in the moment.

{not a bad view!}

A successful family vacation!  Though sometimes stressful traveling with children, we love being together, getting our kids outside of their everyday bubble, and exposing them (and ourselves!) to different cities and ways to live.  We are already considering our next trip!  :)

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