It all started when I called a family meeting to discuss our road trip to Arizona. Presley was the only one who took notes. Since then, he's been promoted from middle child to favorite child. How cute are his check boxes!!
There was so much to see, so little time. I was seeking a road trip adventure with uncivilized wake up times where back to back activities left no room for downtime. I wanted to take the new car off-roading and go hiking through the wilderness along side majestic mountain backdrops. Arizona was definitely going to be different than our usual beach bumming, resort living vacay.
Prior to our 506 miles destination, we cleaned out the pantry.
Packed up our crap, kids, neck pillows...and headed east!
Four hours later.
We stopped for burgers in Kingman.
The Heart of Historic Route 66.
Kitschy visitor center.
Second stop on our tour was the quirky town of Seligman.
Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In was on the top of my bucket list of things to see/eat/do on I-40/Route 66.
We popped in for milk shakes and ice cream. Truman had a root beer freeze. I can't say NO on vacation.
I knew the kids would dig this place and appreciate the towns resemblance to Radiator Springs.
David checked into work.
Moving ahead to Historic Williams where the boys experienced a little adventure in the sky at Route 66 Zipline.
It's a little pricey but so worth it to hear David squeal the whole way.
Here's his close up moment.
Our first dinner in Flagstaff was in downtown at Root Public House.
I think we all agreed it was the best meal we had of the whole trip.
The drive down from Flagstaff to Sedona was heavenly and scary at times.
The Coconino National Forest is abundant!
A little fresh air never hurt nobody.
(Fascinating family photo #2)
Bathroom break #59. David was surprised by how clean it was.
Arizona law. Thanks for the reminder.
Sedona, you had me at red.
Trek to Devil's Bridge.
1.5 miles down, 0.8 miles to go.
Taking it all in. He looks so tiny.
We made it!!
Living in the moment.
(Fascinating family photo #3)
I gave the kids a downtime pass while we drove through Red Rock State Park even though they were begging and pleading to do another hike.
David's thinking we should leave the kids in the car and make a run for it. Tempting. Cathedral Rock sure looks pretty.
Wild, wild, west.
Boy on the train.
We took the Railway train to the Grand Canyon!
It was so fun!!!
Took me 43 years to get here.
(Fascinating family photo #4)
Trails are narrow and intimidating.
I played with some filters and liked how blue the sky came out.
(Fascinating family photo #5)
You need this after the long haul.
I forgot to mention something funny happened on the way up to the Grand Canyon...
This happened right after a young millennial photographer told David, "Put your elbow up and lean in like you love em."
It was hysterical. Buying the keepsake magnet was worth remembering how he told David how to pose in the picture.
(Fascinating family photo #6)
My car has excellent traction control for off-roading.
The cure for claustrophobia is down under.
Icicles inside the Lava River Cave!!
It was hard to get a clear picture once we were deep inside. It's pitch black with only light coming from our flash lights.
One last picture before Presley and I went potty in the forest.
Wisdom for the ride home: Open-mindedness is switching up your side game and giving Onion Rings some love. Traveling helps keep life in perspective.
The next morning I returned to my responsibilities.
The time away does help bring back a fresh mindset to my everyday life. There's a sense of enthusiasm to my daily upkeep of living that would normally put me in a rut.
I'm reminded to be there and be present. Notice the magic moments within the mundane moments.
I asked Truman if he'd wish he was back in Arizona or happy to be home. He said he was happy to be home, to be sleeping in his soft, cozy bed. I realized I've created a home that my kids always want to come home to.
Now that's the sweetest ending to our vacation any mom could ask for.