Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Old Becomes New: AZ Trip

Brian normally goes to a couple conferences a year, but I normally don't get to go with him.  We have discovered much of the Northeast when we have picked him up after conferences in MA and ME, but I've never spent the whole week with him at a conference.  Until, the perfect opportunity came up.

Brian was able to present a talk at a conference (on microbial electrochemistry) at none other than our joint alma mater, Arizona State University!  So, I tagged along and turned this into a "babymoon" for us, where we had an intense amount of time together for a couple with a newborn.  It was definitely a great way to reconnect with each other in a place we love, and spoil our youngest with mama's undivided attention.

While I normally love our road trips, there was definitely something special to staying at the same hotel (and a nice one at that) for four straight days.  Without a car.  Being able to just enjoy life for a few days without having to cook or clean or pickup after two boys was pretty relaxing in itself.  Doing it in the hot weather of Arizona surrounded by so many of my favorite places made it amazing.  (Though, it was pretty exhausting for Brian, as conferences normally are.  I found it relaxing though.)

Things I forgot about AZ:
1.  It is seriously hot.  By dry heat, we mean that it's the heat that basically sucks all the moisture out of your eyes.  Like when you open an oven door, every time you step outside. I went through about 3 shirts the first day we were there because I was sweating so much.  It was over 100 when we arrived.

2.  There is almost no better sensation than the mist of cold water from a patio mister in aforementioned heat.

3.  I love dining al fresco!  I forgot how much of it AZ has.

But mostly, so many memories came flooding back as soon as we hit campus.  But for everything that was familiar to us, there was something brand new next door.  Lots of large construction projects that we watched for years are now completed: the West 6th skyscrapers, Biodesign Institute, and the light rail (metro) to name a few.  And when walking down Mill Ave we were shocked at how almost all the restaurants and businesses have turned over... only a few we knew (and luckily our favorites) were still in existence (Slices, Rula Bula, Chuckbox, and the Phoenician Cafe are still going, as well as Oreganos, Nellos, Los Olivos, and Four Peaks in other parts of town too).  The hardest decisions on this trip were what restaurants to eat at.  We did get to see a few friends, which was awesome and grounding to see that some things hadn't changed in Tempe (though lots of our friends and colleagues from our time in Arizona have also moved on out of the area).

While Brian was at the conference, I did things I can not normally do with three boys under my care:  like going in the hot tub at sunrise, eating meals at restaurants without play areas at a leisurely pace, visiting the Phoenix Art Museum (which actually had a lot of great things for an infant to look at), having long conversations with my husband, and just rediscovering Tempe and Phoenix on my own.  It gave me so much time to reflect on where I am in life, and where I've been.  I kept thinking how I first set foot in Arizona 12 years ago, and in another 12 years Theodore will be finding his place on a college campus.

Once the conference was over Brian and I had a little time left to head to Scottsdale and up to Sedona together, and I dragged him out of bed at 6am so we could hike A Mountain once more before we flew back East.

We rediscovered how hard it is to take photos with an infant, who can't even be propped up yet due to lack of head control.  But, here are a few of our favorite photos from this fantastic trip.

This used to be my favorite fountain...
but at least the donkey is the same.


Thomas's first National Monument:  Montezuma's Well.

Thomas made two trips up A Mountain.

Now we just can't wait to return with the rest of our boys.

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