WARNING: IMAGE OVERLOAD. (with twice as many going up on my personal facebook page)
One thing my wife and her family has brought to my life- travel :) Prior to marriage, I barely traveled outside of the midwest. Slowly, I’ve been getting out more, and this past weekend had the opportunity to head over to Arizona- a great escape from the blizzard in Illinois. Nithya’s sister lives out in Arizona, so we went to visit them as we only get to see them a couple times a year. We also brought our nephew along as well, which was a very interesting experience as I don’t normally travel with a 4 year old. It went surprisingly well, however, I am still in no hurry to have children :)
Our travel plans were delayed for a bit when our flight get shifted between 3 different gates on opposite ends of the airport. About a 2 hour delay, causing a slight irritation from many, but we all survived. (Had to remind myself that we are being carried in midair across the United States in a couple hours…that’s a crazy thought!)
The next morning I slept in a bit, while the wife went to our niece’s ballet class in the morning. I sent her with the 5D and 24-70, and with a couple instructions she was on her way- she’s starting to get better than me with the gear!
Afterward, we packed everyone in the van and headed out to beautiful Sedona. I wasn’t sure what to expect with 3 kids under the age of 10 on a 2 hour drive (the most I’ve done was 2 kids in about an hour and a half), but they were extremely well behaved.
The skies were BEAUTIFUL when we finally touched down in Sedona!
After checking the map, we set off for a “moderate difficulty” hike to Devil’s Bridge, which was just under a mile both ways. What we forgot to take into account was that it was about another mile hike to get to the start of the trail. Would the kids last?
This isn’t a good sign for a hike with kids…
We started out with a great pace, and the kids were really excited to start hiking, and were off leading the way!
Slowly…the legs started getting tired…
And then they needed a bit of help. A mile hike feels a lot harder when you have some 30 lbs on your back :)
We finally got to the start of the trail, where the boys checked the map to see whether it was worth it to join the rest of the way. They decided it wasn’t worth it, so they stayed at the landing with my brother-in-law, while we carried on.
Photo courtesy of my sister-in-law.
Seriously, this place is beautiful.
Photo courtesy of a self-timer. :)
After the the hike, we went to Picazzo’s for some pizza- gotta love the mindset:
On Sunday morning, we headed off to church at Cornerstone in Chandler, AZ. It’s a much different style than my home church, but definitely a great experience.
They had a shortened service that day as they were doing a serve-a-thon…5 different serving opportunities that the congregation could take part it. Even on a rainy Sunday, people went out to do landscaping in the community and other local services. The option we chose since we had the kids with us as well was packing meals for Haiti Relief. It was amazing to see a community of all shapes and sizes getting out and using their hands to get the message out. I was able to get a few frames while serving as a runner during our shift for packing meals for Haiti.
In our 1 hour shift, we packed almost 50k bags of food! The first shift did about 60k, and there were 2 more shifts after us- every little bit counts!
After serving, we headed out to lunch at Kona Grill. The kids were able to keep themselves entertained with some Etch-a-sketches…I wish I had one too.
I always get yelled about being a “boring” eater…is sushi ‘un-boring’ enough?!?! (For the record, I got a burger for my meal, but it was an extremely large one…12 ounces)
We ended the afternoon with a trip to the park- this was definitely something that we won’t be able to do in Chicago for about another month or so. It was fun to be active too! I haven’t shot a basketball in almost a year now, so it felt good to just shoot around. I need to get back on the courts again.
All in all, it was a great first trip to Arizona, and I’m looking forward to more trips in the future! Like I said, more photos will be up on my personal facebook page so be sure to check those out as well!