It was 7am on a Thursday morning and we were pulling out of the driveway, the Tahoe all packed up.
Baby in his car seat - check
Clothes and toiletries for 10 days - check, check
Tent and camping supplies - check, check
Destination: Arizona. First stop, Casa Grande for a family reunion. Every three years my family gathers to reconnect and this time my grandparents were hosting the event. 1040 miles, estimated to take 17 hours by car - without a baby. Let's just say, we made it in just under 21 hours - with a baby - without stopping for the night! Although, that was not the original plan. We had hotel reservations in three different cities between Frisco (where we live) and Casa Grande.
We made it to Las Cruces, New Mexico by dinner time and Asher was doing FABULOUS. So we decided to have dinner, stretch our legs, feed little man and dress him for bed. If he slept through to our destination, great. If he blew up, we had Plan B - hotel reservations between us and the finish line six hours away.
|Mr.Man smiling as we drove through El Paso, 45 minutes outside of Las Cruces.|
Here's the Reader's Digest version of the rest of the weekend...
Saturday - the whole family visited Rooster Cogburn's Ostrich Farm where I took a ride on the monster truck and Austin and Asher fed the animals and birds that were a part of the petting zoo. Picture a roadside stand, out in the middle of the desert. Behind the stand, acres of ostriches, deer and a pen full of Lorakeets (a small bird.) No air conditioning, no indoor bathrooms. Lots of dust, poop, cacti and heat but the kids had a blast feeding the animals.
|One bird isn't so bad...|
|Wait - maybe not so great?!|
|Oh, Gigi has FOUR!!??|
After the farm it was off to Canyon Lake for a ride on a Steamboat. A two hour drive to get there, then lunch, then two hours cruising on the lake. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.
Finally we headed back to towards home. Last stop: Rawhide, an old western-themed establishment where we were to have dinner. By the time we reached the restaurant our little trooper had had enough. We had been on the road since 8am and in and out of the heat all day. Mr.Man got sick...three times...the last time all over Gigi (my mom.) I felt terrible for both of them! And no one prepares you for the first time your little "throws up". Oh, you just hurt for them. Needless to say, Austin and I headed back to the hotel immediately to settle in the for the night. After his bath, Asher was chipper and rolling around on the bed but wasn't interested in dinner. He went down for the night like a little champ and slept solid.
Sunday was church (which Asher and I skipped to rest up), and lounging around.
Sunday night was the finale - dinner and dancing with the family. The Spanish flag was up for grabs and the three Alegria boys took it. The next reunion will be in Lake Tahoe. Side note: passing the flag means whoever accepts it coordinates the next reunion...a serious task, for sure.
|The grand finale dinner.|
Aside from our personal drama it was so great to see everyone. It's not often you get us all in one room. While attendance was less than in year's past it was a privilege to spend time with our loved ones. For those that weren't able to make it this year - you were missed but we look forward to seeing you soon.
Favorite memory of our time spent in Casa Grande: watching our family meet Asher for the first time and love on him so much. Such a gift.
A close second for favorite memory: the after party in the hallway on the fourth floor of the Holiday Inn. That's right folks, keepin' it classy.
|Photo compliments of the lovely Joy Alegria ;)|
Stay tuned for Part II of our adventure...