12.16.2014 95 °F
We flew into Phoenix and my girlfriend Sarah wins the award for picking us up and driving us an hour to go get a car. This girl is too nice and I cannot believe we kept her up that late! Thanks friend!
First thing in the morning we started our visiting tour with my Aunt KK and Uncle Randy and met their new dogs. The dogs would not pose for the pic.
Then we had lunch with my Granny and visited Eldon in the hospital. We had a delicious meal at the Vig and we were once again reminded how amazing customer service is at American restaurants. They gave us free guac just because no one immediately came over to take our order.
Granny and I had some bonding moments while she shared stories about her childhood and early adult life. She made me promise not to share the conversation that was going on in this picture but believe me it made me laugh so hard I cried!
To top off the day of visiting, our friends Sarah and Johnny threw us a party!!! It was sooooo generous of them to host this event and make food for everyone and welcome us into their fabulous home. When I say fabulous, I do not use it lightly. They have done the most amazing renovation job that I have ever seen in person. I love it. We had such a wonderful time at this party and I cannot thank them enough for hosting. It was really great to see all of our AZ friends in one spot and to visit and laugh and enjoy time together. I miss all of these friends so much and it is so great to have friends that even after 6 years of being away we still have so much fun together. Lots of funny picture shenanigans ahead!
The Phoenix restaurant and nightlife sure as changed since we left and there are so many more cool non chain restaurants and indoor/outdoor places to gather. One stop that Johnny and Sarah introduced us to was the yard. It has multiple restaurants, a bar, and lawn games all under a couple of roofs.
We also got to enjoy a lovely brunch with some equally lovely people!
And attend Erica's birthday party where we role played her Halloween costume. I absolutely loved that she had a bunch of beer growlers at her party and we got to try a little of each one. Still can't get enough of the USA beer culture. Too bad Germany has those purity laws that only allows 3 ingredients. It takes away all the fun!
We also got to spend some time with Pat and Maddy and their adorable new baby Cora.
And their original babies.
We feel so lucky to have such wonderful lifelong friends in AZ and every time we come to visit I feel so sad to leave and miss out on spending time with them.
We headed down to Tucson on Monday to catch up with my Dad and see all of the renovation work he has been doing in his new house. We ate a ton of good food and also checked out the new cool downtown scene in Tucson. Apparently, adding a street car makes a city become super hip. Good job Tucson city planners.
This was a bar where I got to sample some cocktails. A few things that I noticed about food on our trip back to America. 1. Apparently brussel sprouts are the new hip food. 2. Swanky coctails all have lavendar and gin in them and it is delicious. 3. Everyone is selling microbrews including gas stations. Here was one such place that emobodied all three American hip dining expectations.
We were also able to meet up with Quinn's former college track coach Shane and his wife Anna.
The next day we hit up the Desert Museum. I think this place has an ambiguous name. It is not really a museum but more of a desert experience. We watched a bird of prey show where they had hawks and owls swooping down right in front of us. We got to see multiple desert animals in their natural habitats (including a few hundred hummingbirds) and there were other fun static exhibits that explained about desert plants and life. I really enjoyed both the drive out there and exploring the park. I will let the pics tell the story here.
What I would look like with bat ears.
We had yet another Yokota reunion with our friends Heidi and Felix and their two little ones Isabelle and Christian....they keep multiplying over here! Isabelle dazzled us with her conversational skills. We really enjoyed catching up with them. Quinn hadn't gotten to see them in almost 4 years.
The next day we checked out Sabino canyon and took a little train into the canyon and walked back out. It is a beautiful spot with a ton of picture taking opportunities. I really had to reign Quinn in.
It was really tough to say bye to my dad. I miss you!
Back in Phoenix we got to celebrate Halloween with the cutest bee around, Lydia. Aren't we all so photogenic? This is not easy to do with a 2 year old!
Then we got to meet up with our AZ friends who now live in Chicago, Marc and Val! Thanks for timing your trip to coincide with ours. We went out to a fancy pants dinner in Scottsdale and had a great night out.
With a little planning we were able to coordinate the schedules of some busy ladies and had a little Phoenix Children's Hospital SLP reunion. It was so fun to catch up with these gals and have some speechie talk, meet/see their kiddies, and just enjoy some girl time. This group of coworkers and mentors will always be special to me!
This is a little out of order but we were able to see Eldon after he got out of the hospital and help him celebrate his 94th birthday. Eldon has been in our family for nearly 35 years and he has been around my whole life. He has always been very special to my grandmother and I have enjoyed many a dinner and laugh with him over the years. About one week after we got home from our USA trip, he passed away. I am so thankful that I got to see him before he passed and that I have many wonderful memories of him from over the years. As you can see in this picture he really loved my grandmother and he wanted to hold her hand the entire time we were there. Everytime he looked at her he had such a big smile on his face.