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Dec 8, 2009

Vacation

The last time I got a professional massage, my relaxation was so profound and complete that I did not want to move when it was over. I could hardly bring myself to disturb the peace and contentment I felt in that moment. I rested in the dim room and listened to the waterfall music as long as possible.

Eventually, I had to get up and return to real life. But a piece of my soul carried around the feeling of the massage, kind of like a child preserves a snowball in the freezer as a reminder of a fun snow day.

Today, I'm trying to remember the relaxation I found during my weekend in Mesa. Ah...it was glorious. I really didn't want it to end! The best part of my trip was being among friends -- those related to me and those kindred in spirit. Being in Mesa was so easy, so friendly, and so much fun! I haven't laughed so hard or so frequently in a long time.

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I intended, but I have lots of delightful memories! Here's a breakdown based on the people involved.

Eric came to visit within 10 minutes of my 11:30 p.m. arrival on Wednesday night. He is hilarious and so full of energy. He loved playing with Lexi. He introduced me to his cute girlfriend. He showed me his newly-renovated house. He performed an enthusiastic rap at his ward's talent show. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into his life for a few days.



My parents also got some cuddle time with the little pixie. They treated me to lunch at Serranos and dinner at Costa Vida. They let me nap. They fed the masses and hosted a game night because I was in town. They sent me home with Christmas and "just because" presents. I really enjoyed their company and generosity!



Holly shared her computer with me. She played with my baby. She sang (beautifully) at a choir concert that may be the only one of hers that I'll ever attend. She made me laugh a lot, especially when she stuck a fuzzy mustache on the face of our favorite missionary. She let me tag along/live vicariously as she tried on dresses for Winter Formal. {Note: final selection not pictured.}



Pictures of these two girls comprise 75% of those I took this weekend. Olivia (Livy) is two months older than Lexi, and I couldn't get enough of them together! Spending time with Angie, Livy's mom/my sis, was one of the very best parts of the weekend. She generously shared her copious crafting supplies and made me laugh (hard) at every turn. I sure wish we were neighbors!



Chloe (Livy's big sister) kept me entertained whenever I had a spare moment. She makes me look forward to the years ahead with my own little girl. I only saw Devlin once, and he was sad that I didn't bring my boys along. Maybe next time! I didn't get pictures of Devlin's sisters, Eve and Iris, but I sure enjoyed seeing them (and their fun parents), too!



Another highlight was a park lunch with friends from high school. Thanks to Facebook, we arranged a meeting and had a fabulous time! I'm so glad that after all the years since our good old days at Mesa High, we can still laugh together and enjoy each other's company. Thanks for coming, everyone -- we'll have to do this again! (Chad, did you make it all the way down here to see your picture? I'm pretty long-winded today.)



My time in Mesa was much too short. I could easily have stayed another week (or ten)! Because Colorado Springs was experiencing severe weather, I wondered if my return travels might be a little adventurous. They were!

When Lexi and I arrived at the departure gate in Phoenix, I learned that my flight was oversold. The attendant was looking for three people whose travel to Denver was flexible. Since I had a three-hour layover in Denver before continuing to Colorado Springs, I volunteered to give up my seat and take a later flight. I got a seat on a direct flight from Phoenix to the Springs instead (plus a $200 airline voucher), which was lovely!

The new flight meant a new airline and a new terminal, so Lexi and I took a walk and then a bus ride and then another walk. We set up camp and ate dinner before going through security. With an hour until flight time, we waited in the security line. I handed the security official my ticket, which I had received from the previous airline after the switch. She indicated that it wasn't a boarding pass, and I had to have a boarding pass. I was frustrated at my oversight, but got out of line, found a kiosk, and printed a boarding pass. Then I got back in line.

When it was my turn again, the official told me that Lexi wasn't listed as an infant passenger on my ticket. I hadn't noticed this, either. This time I had to go downstairs to the ticket counter and get a boarding pass for her. When I arrived at the ticket counter, someone was waiting for me. She apologized for the problem, handled it quickly, and even escorted me back upstairs (while pushing my stroller) and through the employee line at security. This time I got through.

Then there was an hour-long flight delay. It turned out better than anticipated, though. At one point there was talk of a three-hour delay or possibly a flight cancellation! Lexi and I finally made it to Colorado Springs at 10:00 -- exactly the time we would have arrived if we had connected through Denver on the original flights. It was a very long day, but I was $200 richer at the end of it, so I can't complain! And Lexi was a gem as we waited and traveled.



Now we have survived our first day back at home. The boys enjoyed a fun and relaxed weekend with Dad. They bought and decorated a Christmas tree, so the house feels festive. The current temperature is -10 degrees (with windchill) and today is a snow day. Mesa feels really far away!
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