"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 4: 6-9

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mommy goes to Arizona!!

My amazing best friend of 16 years, Erica, and her family moved to Arizona almost 3 years ago. They have visited Florida several times since their move, and it was my turn to take a trip out West and see the beautiful place they call home! My wonderful husband, whom I now call "Super Dad", took off work to be with the boys, which made it SO much easier to leave for 6 whole days! I wasn't so sure how I would handle sitting still for the 4 1/2 hour plane flight, but it was heavenly! Here is the beautiful mountain view flying into Phoenix.
Erica picked me up from the airport and we were SO glad to see each other! When putting away my bags, I noticed that my bed had goodies on it! Erica made me a "desert survival kit" complete with chapstick, lotion, things to keep me from getting dry, and also a sweet gift to show how proud she is of me for my half marathon training. Love her! 
There was also a sweet "Welcome Aunt Jill" sign from Benson! 
We had a nice evening with Scott and Benson too, then headed off to bed for our fun the next day. The time change was not my friend when I woke up at 3:30am (6:30am Florida time) and couldn't go back to sleep! Good thing my sweet buddy Benson is an early riser - we got up early and started our fun day! 
Seeing Arizona in the daylight was breathtaking! The mountains are gorgeous and I was taken back by all of the sand, lack of grass, cactus, and the common color of every building being cream, beige, brown, white, or a mixture of all of those! :) 
We got a relaxing pedicure, and then ate lunch at this AMAZING Mexican place called Blanco. It was unbelievable! Erica was definitely a pro when it came to picking the restaurants. Everywhere I ate was SO good!  
We watched them make homemade guacamole, fresh chips, and the best burrito I have ever had! I even took a picture of it and texted it to Matt - he was definitely jealous! We had a nice girly lunch chatting away! 
We picked up Benson from his fun kids place he was playing at and headed to the gym they are members at for some fun in the pool. Benson is a little fishy! He is such a good swimmer, and knows how to have some fun in the water! We had a relaxing and fun afternoon. 
After the pool, we met up with Erica's mom and got a tour of their new place. It was so good to visit with her parents, and I was able to a few times while I was there. They moved to Arizona about 2 years ago, and I have missed them dearly! Erica's parents are like 2nd parents to me, I just love them (and their dog John John too!) 
To say Erica went above and beyond to make me feel at home and spoiled would be an understatement of the century! Erica had every single thing that I love (sweet tea, cookies, mexican dip and chips, chicken and tuna salad, celery with peanut butter) and even introduced me to a new obsession she made me for breakfast every morning, a chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie! She surprised me with my favorite way to drink iced tea one night, sugar on the rim and mint. Such a thoughtful thing to think of and do! 
The next day after a fun morning shopping and eating at another wonderful restaurant (all we did was eat and  drink coffee!!) Erica took me to Old Town Scottsdale. It was such a cute town. 
Sugar Bowl is a landmark in Old Town Scottsdale, and we went there to give their famous ice cream a try.  
They passed the test! We had a float and a sundae, and my favorite, vanilla coke. All very good and Benson had fun playing in the arcade that was right next to our table. 
We did a little shopping and I picked up some souvenirs for the boys.  
Benson wasn't so sure what to think when I asked him to stand next to this statue, haha! 
By the time we finished shopping, we were all extremely hot and thirsty. Starbucks was close by (we had a radar for them) and Benson needed a little rest! Such a trooper! 
Erica's sweet parents watched Benson one afternoon/evening and Erica and I hit the town for MORE shopping and dinner! 
We went to a huge mall, I think it had 4 different levels, and we stopped at Caketini, a yummy cupcake and coffee shop. 
After finding some great bargains at the mall, we ate dinner at a nice restaurant and called it a day! The next morning I got to visit Scott and Erica's church. The preacher was so good, and their programming is excellent. I was so glad to be able to visit their church while I was there! 
After church Erica drove us out to Fountain Hills. The scenery was beautiful! Fountain Hills has a fountain that goes off in the middle of the town on the hour, it's a sight to see! We stopped for lunch and then raced (literally speeding down the hills) in order to see the fountain before the time was up! It was really neat. 
You can see the fountain way off in the distance in this picture... 
Our last night of my visit would not be complete without MORE shopping and food, haha! This time we shopped at an outdoor mall. It was so nice!  
Erica and I love fall and always buy each other the fall collection of soap at bath & body works. We were excited that this year we were together when the fall line came out and we bought our soaps together!  
Good thing I brought 2 suitcases with all of this shopping! 
We had dinner at a wonderful restaurant called North and enjoyed our final girls night out together. 
 We had to have something sweet to end our fun night, so we went to Menchie's, a make your own frozen yogurt place.
 Yum, yum!
The 6 days I was in Arizona was truly spectacular! It was fun to shop, eat, do girly things with my best friend, but it was the little things that meant the most to me. The time spent with my sweet Benson Boo was just wonderful. He is the funniest little kid and so much fun to be around. He was my little buddy the whole time.
And the time spent over coffee just talking about life with my best friend in our pj's was something I will treasure forever. I'm truly blessed by my friendship with Erica and am so thankful that we have still remained SO close even with the distance. She is a true sister to me and I am blessed to do life with her! Thank you Er for showing me the GREATEST time and for going above and beyond to make me feel so special and loved!
Now...did my husband miss me?! :) I was expecting him to be at the curb at the airport to quickly pick me up at the baggage claim instead of parking. After walking through security, there he was, all dressed up, at the back of the crowd with a red rose. Definitely couldn't have been more sweeter! Thank you honey for being the amazing man that you are and allowing me to go away for this much needed trip! You are the best!

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