Ben and I have this goal to go somewhere warm each January or February for a quick trip whenever possible, and it often gives us an excuse to go visit friends or family. This year, we decided to visit his brother Paul and wife Becca (and their little boy Henry who is just a few weeks younger than Charlie) in Tucson, AZ. Southwest had a sale a few months ago, making it actually affordable to fly nonstop to Tucson from Chicago, and we wanted to sneak in one last trip where we would only have to pay for three tickets (before Charlie turns two on Friday!!).
It was cheapest to fly on Saturday and come back on Wednesday, so we flew in on Saturday afternoon. We raced to the airport to make our flight on time (which included parking at an outside parking lot near Midway and shuttling over to the airport), checking our three suitcases, two car seats, and hauling a million carry-ons... we did curbside checking and it was FREEZING. My fingers were shaking as I filled out an ID tag to put on the car seats. Ben took the kids inside to wait while I finished up with the bags and I was having a hard time not letting my teeth chatter. The curbside employees were wearing ski masks, it was that cold. BRRR. I am sitting here shivering just thinking about it.
After all of that, we made it to the gate, only to find that our flight was delayed because they had to de-ice the plane in Detroit before it would arrive here in Chicago. That's not a great way to start a trip! Once we were on the plane and in the air, the people in the seat behind us were NOT getting along. They didn't know each other. One was older, who looked like a grandpa. The second man was maybe our age or a little younger, had scraggly long brown hair and looked very weathered. They kept arguing and finally the old man called for the flight attendant, then accused the younger guy of being on drugs.
Ohhhh man. The flight attendant was trying to be very calm. The flight was completely full, so the old man didn't have the choice to switch seats, though there was a woman also sitting in their row, and a guy offered to switch seats with her so she wouldn't have to be next to the craziness. The younger guy and the old man were swearing and going at it... the old man kept saying the younger guy needed to be checked into a hospital. He WAS acting weird, that is for sure, but I don't know if he was on drugs or not. Of course Charlie kept standing up and looking back at them. Wonderful. Both kids were whiny and not so cooperative on the flight to Tucson, so we were all happy when we landed and could get off that plane!
We rented a little Kia, drove to Paul and Becca's place and then headed to dinner at a yummy sandwich place called Beyond Bread, which is just a few blocks from their house and in the same shopping area/parking lot as the Safeway where the shooting took place last week. It was Paul's birthday on the day of the shooting, and they ran some errands that morning, one of which was to the bank in that parking lot. It's scary to think that they were there at the scene that morning before everything happened. They came back home after the errands and soon began hearing sirens and helicopters and wondered what in the world was going on... and found out later about what had transpired. One of their neighbors was one of the six that were shot and killed - the old man who shielded his wife and saved her life, but he didn't make it. It's all so horrible. There were still news trucks in front of the Safeway grocery store when we went to dinner a week after the incident.
On to some pictures. Here are Charlie and Henry picking leaves off of the plants inside the restaurant (little stinkers!!). Now that's something we don't see very often here in Chicago - plants growing like that along the windows inside restaurants. They were really pretty and the food was delish. Mmmm mmm I love good bread.
Paul and Becca have church in the afternoon, so we went on a walk to a pretty area near their home so we could see some cactus up close.
The view of their street - they are in a spacious 2-bedroom duplex with room for two cars and a fenced-in rocky yard in the back.
Smiley Henry and Becca -
It was an adjustment to see so many desert plants and no grass.
Just lots and lots of rocks everywhere, with some dead grass on the fields farther away -
Super tall cactus -
Pretty cactus trunk -
I took a lot of pictures of cute Henry :)
Playing back at the house -
Eli loved Henry's big set of blocks and built towers and castles and train tracks, etc. every day. It was fun to see what he came up with each time and the creations were more elaborate by the last day.
Our boys badly needed haircuts, so Ben gave them a quick trim outside in the back yard. I set my laptop up inside so they could watch a show while getting haircuts.