My Spring Break in Arizona

Last weekend I got to ditch the blustery gray early Idaho spring for a trip to sunny Arizona to visit my sista, Lauren, and her family!  The whole point was to meet and squeeze my newest niece, June.  Born on February 20th, she was just three weeks old.  Plus, it'd been four years since the last time I'd visited my sister's hometown.  A visit was waaaay overdue.

We actually didn't do too much.  And yet, it was fun and relaxing.  We just chilled and talked and laughed and made sure the kids were fed and entertained.  I think that's actually the best kind of catching up we could do!

I arrived on a Thursday afternoon in Phoenix.  Fortunately, my cousin Emily lives there and just happens to have a sister who lives in the neighboring town as my sister--you know, a whopping five miles away--and this said sister was two days overdue with baby #5.  So Emily picked me up from the airport and we made the trek to the Gila Valley together.  It was awesome to catch up with her!  I won't have the opportunity to meet her fiance until a few months after they're married, but I loved hearing every detail about him and their upcoming wedding.

On Friday morning, Lauren and I and the kids headed over to my cousin Rachel's house to visit her and her big belly.  She was doing awesome for a woman three days overdue!  We talked and let the kids play until nap time.  That's when Lauren went home with Jax and June and I stayed with Carter. Rachel, Emily, and I had lunch, watered the plants, went on a two mile walk (come on ouuuut, baby!) and took the kids to the park.  It was a really fun afternoon!  Little did we know, Rachel went into labor that evening just as I was leaving!        

Carter was upset that he didn't get to go into the store with his mom.  And she didn't get the text I sent to make sure to pick him up a special treat; it was the only way I could get him to stop wailing!  So naturally, we stopped at Walgreens and his awesome Aunt Jessie picked him up his very own bag of chips.  Haha.  You win some, you lose some.

^^Playing 'keep away' from the dogs.^^
^^Jax cracked me up.  The way he talked was just so stinkin' cute!  Still such a little guy.^^

Mmmm, squishy baby love!  June was nothing but a precious doll.  I made sure to get as much snuggling in as I possibly could.  Nothing on earth feels better than holding a soft peacefully sleeping ball of newness on your chest.  Amen.  And doesn't my sister look great?  Yes, definitely happy and such a natural at adjusting to three little ones.  Lauren, you're my hero!

Early Saturday afternoon, Lauren and I dropped in at the hospital to meet my cousin's newest addition (A GIRL!) who came swiftly the night before.  I happened to arrive just after Rachel's four children came to meet their littlest sister.  There couldn't have been any better timing for documenting their first encounter or their first family picture of seven! 

^^Hahaha.  I love how the kids were ever so gently all poking at the new baby.^^
^^Lucky you, Ruby!  There won't be any shoe sharing for a long time.^^
^^The Allen Family^^
^^Lots of love for brand new Lucy Jane, named after one of our pioneer ancestors.^^

Lauren made sure to introduce me to this most awesome hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant.  And Don taught me that a big burrito's proper name is a burro.  :)  Delicious no matter what size!

^^Jax has a fascination with the kitchen aid.  He helped me make some banana muffins.^^

Then my dad and Liz showed up from California!  It was a family reunion!!!  And they brought a truck load of presents.  It was like Christmas, except we were celebrating birthdays!  It was simply wonderful just to talk and enjoy everyone's company.  I love seeing my dad with a tiny baby curled up on his chest.  The juxtaposition of this big Navy Commander holding a helpless baby is just sweet.  We even dropped by Rachel's home for a couple of hours to see even more family (Hi Aunt Becky and Uncle Jeff!) who had driven in as well.  What a fun family filled weekend!  I wish I could've put time on pause and made it last even one day longer.

^^Second cousin BFF's^^

I LOVE you so much, Lauren!  Thank you for letting me come crash your home and routine for a few days.  I miss your face and our laughs and our music making so very much.  And somehow, your kids all have me wrapped around their little fingers.  I wish we didn't live so far apart.  Til next time, Sista!

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