I like it so much I might have a canvas made for my photos-of-my-travels collection.
After the rodeo and that awesome Mexican hotdog, my sister R and I headed back up to Gilbert to my older brother's house for one more night. We went out together for a nice family dinner, then enjoyed an evening of chatting and general cozy togetherness. Tuesday morning I took R to meet a friend for breakfast, after which I took her to the airport so she could fly home to Tennessee. It was such a treat that 7 out of 8 sibs were together briefly again this weekend.
After the airport I got on the road to Anthem, AZ and visited my sister-in-law again (the mom of the recently baptized O). We had a pleasant lunch and I got to see one of my nephews again because he was home sick. Can I just insert here that I am truly blessed with 4 sisters-in-law who are just the most fantastic people? They have edified our family so very much. How I love them all.
I left Anthem and wended my way to Flagstaff, up the center of Arizona to 7000 feet elevation. It's always a learning experience to watch the land gradually change as I drive farther from the center of the earth and a little closer to the sky. Saguaros and desert grasses give way to scrub and high plains, then little by little the pines appear, first small and shrub-like, then growing taller and straighter, until the forests and mountains of the high country surround me fully. It's beautiful to see this cross-section of ecosystems unfold before my eyes.
A sweet afternoon visit with my nearly ninety-one year old grandmother was the perfect way to end the gorgeous drive. She is undergoing cancer treatments for lymphoma, so she's weak and fragile, but still cheerful and lucid. We snuggled on the couch and looked at photos from Europe and California and she asked me about every little thing, as Grandmas do. My auntie came home from work and we got some Chinese take-out and had a little dinner together. It was good to see them both.
From there it was on to my youngest brother's house to visit with him and his family. What fun I had being snuggled by little ones and regaled with stories and all of that. My sister-in-law has skills in homemaking and motherhood that are really inspiring. She had beautiful details all over her home. Seeing her creativity made me want to freshen up my own little Burrow a bit. Here are the hilarious attempts to get a self-portrait with the two youngest, ages 3 and 1.5:
Finally I got some help and snagged at least one with little C. She was my little sweetie and spent a lot of time curved perfectly into my lap during my brief visit. I'll always remember that. How I hated to leave all these little ones scattered all over Arizona.
It's hard to see scale in this photo, but if you count the broken lane lines till the visibility goes away, it was actually only about 3 car lengths. The roads were pretty good though, and there were only a couple of miles of twisty mountain downhills that prompted a little white-knuckled gripping of my steering wheel. Eventually I drove out of the storm, stopped back in Anthem, just north of PHX, where it was sleeting, then back into it incarnated as an ice storm just inside the main PHX valley, then out again and by the time I got to the airport, it was rain and gorgeous, changing skies and this was my final view of AZ:
California, here I come!