Monday, April 22, 2013

Mesa, AZ

I still have an unfinished Europe blog post  (and a few more to come after that) but I couldn't get myself to work on it right now, I was too excited about more recent happenings. so you'll have to wait a bit longer for those.


Ah man, it was so fun. Kristin's lacrosse game + Shannon and Natalie's high school spring break with Dad as chaperone (haha) + me deciding I was going to tag along with Alice + Jessica's ISU/ P.A. school spring break + lots of awesome relatives + Mesa, AZ sun and warmth and citrus



I'm so glad we were all able to go together! I haven't had a "spring break" vacation since my senior year of high school (2006) and it was so fun to get out of routine life for a while and spend time with loved ones without responsibility for a week. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my Aunt Carol (and Uncle Glade and cousin Mark for sharing their home) for taking over that responsibility for all of us and playing the perfect hostess. Delicious meals every day, clean and comfortable rooms, and housing 7 extra people for a week. She's phenomenal.

Our trip in photos:
(Lots and lots and lots of photos)

On the drive down to Mesa (about a 12 hr drive from Provo) we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam of Lake Powell to stretch our legs and take a break from the car. Alice thought it was pretty awesome, especially the huge "fridge" over the canyon!

Yeah, that "fridge"

I don't know much about dams, if this one is bigger than others for instance, but it is an amazing engineering accomplishment to see. It's so huge!!!! Thinking about the building process of something like this is pretty staggering. 

Before Kristin's lacrosse game started we had a nice walk down the greenbelt of the Salt River flowing through Phoenix. Lucky for us there was some sort of Polynesian canoe race/tournament going so we got to sit and spectate that for a while. The weather was Beautiful!! Mesa at it's finest, sunny and warm warm warm warm but not so hot to make you sweat.

Alice had lots of fun with her aunts.

Playing with rocks...

Running down hills (notice how Alice just lifted her little feet up as they ran down)...

Lounging in the sun.

And with Mama too, of course.

What's up, Shannon? 
I told her to be my photographer for a while so I could be in some of the pictures too. Guess she took that request a little liberally :)

The crew of fans at Kristin's lacrosse game. They dominated. Way to go BYU.
We had Carol, Glade, and Mark Soelberg, Matt and Monica Harmon adn their kiddies, Grandma and Grandpa Ray, and all us Viehwegs. 

Aunt Shannon entertained Alice outside on the tramp at the Soelbergs.
Alice is lucky to have aunts that love her so much. Thanks sissies for helping take car of the little one. Sometimes she gets bored of me :) 
(And sometimes pregnant mamas don'ot feel like jumping on the tramp!)

Sundy afternoon Grandma and Grandpa came over for a visit and dinner. Grandpa showed Mark and Shannon how to play Blongo Ball (is that what it's called?)

We played that and some other games outside. Jess and I were on teams for Blongo Ball and Bocce Ball. Bocce we were pretty dang good at, but niether of us could get those dumb golf balls to stick on the ladder! (Or even touch it, for that matter)

All week Alice had so much fun pushing around that little doll stroller. Every morning when she woke up the first thing she'd ask for is her stroller and her doll so could go outside and push them around the yard some more.

It was just the cutest thing to watch! Around and around the yard she went, sometimes if it got stuck she had to pick the stroller up and carry it. 
Grandma Ray made that doll years and years ago. Alice didn't mind at all that it was old and maybe a tiny bit scary looking. It was her little baby for the week.

Isn't she just the cutest?!?!?!?

On Monday, before Kristin had to fly back to Provo, we hiked up to the Wind Caves in the Usery Mountain Regional Park. It was beautiful. I've never hiked through such desert landscapes before, most of my hiking has been in Utah and Idaho where it's forested and mountainous and a little more green. Here there were all sorts of cactuses land desert plant life ining the trails and we climbed over red dirt and rocks up to somewhere in that mountain behind us. 

Desert Beauty.

Shannon, the yoga master.

We couldn't get our hands on a hiking backpack for Alice (poor planning on our part) so Alice took turns riding on everyone's shoulders. 

This was a small wind cave close to the stop where we stopped to rest. The shade and cool rock felt amazing.

Right next to it Alice found a little wind cave just her size!

Had to pose by a cactus :)

Shannon, the planking master

After the hike we cooled off and rehydrated with some delicious fruit smoothies! I can't remember the name of the place Jessica found us on her handy iphone app but it was Delicious!
Even Alice thought so.

A couple afternoons throughout the week were spent at Amber and Neil Moffet's beautiful pool. Alice loved it! Especially because she finally got to sport her new swimming suit.

Laying by the pool felt sooooo good. The water was still a teensy bit nippy (no heated pools in Mesa) but was pretty refreshing after the initial chill. But, as I said, the most enjoyable was laying out in the sun by the pool and getting some rays. Oh it was such beautiful weather. It's been so hard to come back to Provo and endure the chilly 40 degree spring. Alice and I are feeling a little cabin fever. Please let the warm weather almost be here!

Maybe I just need to move down to Mesa :)
The pool had a nice big shallow area with steps that Alice loved splashing and kicking around in. Thankfully for me she's never been a terribly adventurous little girl so I was able to lay back and relax without worrying she would dive into the water and need to be saved. Thanks Al, I don't mind your timidity one bit :)

Seriously, isn't she just the cutest!!

I had to document at least one of the beautiful and delicious meals Aunt Carol cooked for us. And this one was spur of the moment, all of a sudden she had to make dinner for 10 people in an hour! She served us delicious pasta and even more delicious vegetables from her garden. I'd never eaten beet greens before. I've always loved beets, and their greens taste just as delicious and healthy, minerally, and vitaminy.
Al was excited to eat!

We spent a couple hours one afternoon visiting Grandma and Grandpa Ray in their home. It's been so long since I've been there, walking through the house flooded my mind with past memories and feelings. So many good memories tied to that place. 

Alice got comfortable real quick playing with all their fun toys.

And of course we had to go out and pick some citrus!

She was a great little helper.

Lovely Grandma. Never too old to be beautiful. 
She is an incredible woman and has created an amazing legacy through her faith and family. So grateful for her and honored to be related to her.

Back inside Grandpa had to show off his superb Television set up. He never has to miss a game, even if that means putting three on at a time! But not to worry, he was sure to tell us that he has committed to letting Grandma have the TV Saturday nights for her Lawrence Welk show.

I also had to document the billion remots he has to keep track of. 

One of the nights we were there, Wednesday maybe, can't remember for sure, we attended the Mesa Temple Easter Pageant. It was lovely. Even Alice was entertained, almost the entire time. It was the perfect length with some good songs and dancing and, of course, a beautiful message. 

It's about to start! We're so excuted!

It was such a great trip! It was such a joy to be there with my Dad and sisters and to see the wonderful relatives we have down there. I'd do it again every year. In fact I kind of wish I was down there right now and away from this chilly, windy, Utah spring. Today I ate my last grapefruit picked fresh from the Soelberg's backyard. Very sad. Love you Mesa! Until next time.