Earlier this month we took a trip to Phoenix for 9 days. I went to a photography conference for four days of the trip, and we spent the rest of our time exploring. The weather was absolutely perfect, around 79 and sunny every single day. We went on a lot of hikes at Usery Regional Park and Papago Park. Maren’s favorite part of the whole trip was swimming, and mine and Reed’s was the sunset hike we did on the last night of our trip.
Maren’s cousins, aunt, and uncle came to Phoenix too. Maren loved being able to play and explore with them.
We started this hike and thought we had plenty of time to get to a good spot to watch the sunset, and it ended up being way farther away than we thought. We finally got to a good spot after practically dragging the kids through the dirt to get there. We had a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains when we got there (background of these pictures)
We went down to Tucson for the day, and stopped at El Charro Cafe for lunch. I had the best enchiladas I’ve ever had and have been dreaming about them ever since. Afterwards we went on a short walk around the historic neighborhoods and saw beautiful homes, fun landscaping, and tiny lizards.
After lunch we drove to Saguaro National Park while the kids took a very short nap. The rest of the day wasn’t very fun. Maren was incredibly crabby the entire day and had so many tantrums. The scenery was gorgeous, but I was definitely a bit resentful that we couldn’t enjoy it as much because of her whining.
We had fun driving through the park on the windy and hilly roads. We stopped to give Maren food (she refused to eat her lunch at the restaurant of course) and the trunk was the only place we could put them without them running away or getting impaled by a cactus. I was very mad at this point but it ended up being a favorite part of the trip.
The temperature was perfect. The water temperature was not.
We ate at one of the best (or THE best) restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The Yard at Culinary Dropout in Tempe. It was AMAZING. Go there if you have the chance.
Our favorite part though was just casually walking through the desert and cactuses at sunset. It was so peaceful and beautiful, and the sunsets can’t be beat.
Maren wanted to have her picture taken. I was instructing her how to pose and this is how she interpreted everything: (those faces are all her though)
I stood on top of our rental car to get the shot above. I just couldn’t resist with that sunset, those mountains and those cactus silhouettes.
On our last night we took some family pictures in Usery. (a few i left a bit too bright, oops). But I love how they turned out.
The first picture on the left below is when I realized Sophia had had a blowout. As I was touching it with my hand. That girl and her blowouts.
Maren and her cousin Petra holding hands and hugging through the desert sunset <3
Look at how TALL that cactus is. Reed and Joel are over 6 feet tall for reference.
After our beautiful hike we went to Joel and Lana’s hotel and went swimming in the warmest pool I’ve ever been in. It was amazing. All the kids adored it. Sophia had a blast kicking around in her little floaty. Maren learned how to jump into the pool into daddy’s arms. Then she went to the hot tub by herself to chill. It was a great ending to the trip.
Traveling is always stressful with kids, but we had a relatively easy trip back home. The kids had fun playing in the airport together. The kids did better on the flight home than on the way there. But when we landed we had to go from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 at MSP. Novice mistake. Never again. It was a nightmare. It was freezing when we got to our car, and it was snowing. Our car’s tires are incredibly bare so we had to drive so slow almost all the way home. But we were so thankful to get home and sleep in our own beds.