We were so lucky to be able to take a trip back home to Arizona over Spring Break 2 weeks ago. Once it was official we let everyone know we were coming and wanted to see as many people as we could.. It seems like after we booked our trip everyone made it a big deal. Kiel’s dad made arrangements to come down from Oregon to spend time with his boys. We haven’t seen him in over 3 years and it was so nice to see him and spend time with him. And then of course my parents and grandparents had to join in the fun. It was an amazing… and exhausting week packed with as much as we could stand. Someday we’ll have a real vacation… (which includes relaxing on a beach somewhere) but this is exactly what we needed.
Our first day in Arizona was Sunday and we made sure we went to our homeward. I was anxious about going back to Arizona so quickly after leaving. I was nervous it was going to be to emotional for me. But I am so grateful we did when we did. That Sunday was their fast and testimony meeting due to the Gilbert Temple dedication. I took in a deep breath and stood to bare my testimony. I expressed my gratitude for the Neely Ward and how I am in debt to them and how much they have all taught me. I owe my strength to them. I know it’s because of them we were prepared for this move. The lesson in Relief Society was perfect as well. The R.S. president said she felt inspired to talk about “How we receive answers to prayers”. I know she doesn’t know but that lesson was for me. I had to come all the way to Arizona to hear that lesson. As we left I felt such love and support from our old friends but also a warm feeling that I can move on. This isn’t my home anymore… Alaska and the Soldotna ward is my home now. I felt such peace about that. That night we went out to Marc and Mikia’s house for dinner and everyone who could came and it was a nice way to start our week off.
Monday Bob (Kiel’s Dad) was in town so we took him around while the men were working… Our first stop. Breakfast at the Waffle House! We met up with Michelle and her kiddos and Mikia and her 2 boys.
After Breakfast we split up a little and we took Bob to go see Sean at his new job and then drive by the new Gilbert Temple! So gorgeous. I was sad that when we left they were almost done the temple and then seeing all my Gilbert Friends posting pictures on Facebook about the open house.. it just killed me not being apart of all that. but Later in the week Kiel and I were So honored and blessed to be able to do a session there with my parents and grandparents (Miller’s). It doesn’t happen very often to be in the temple with my family but when it happens it seems like it’s a glimpse of what's to come in the life after this one.
Monday night we had dinner with old friends from our homeward, the Butlers which was so nice to be able to relax and catch up on the latest gossip : ) and delicious food!!! Thank you Jamie and Eric…. miss that home cooked Mexican food : )
Tuesday morning Kiel and I took the kids to play with Theresa while we did sealings in the Mesa Temple.. then had lunch with some old friends and then later went out to play with the cousins. We took the kids to the park and made plans for that night. The kids loved having Grandpa Bob around and swinging them on the swings!
Marc, Bob and Kiel
That’s a Mark Miller pose if I’ve ever seen one….
That night we went out to dinner with Bob, Marc, Mikia and Michelle to Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill. It was so fun to be just adults and catch up.
Its all about the food: )
Wednesday, Theresa planned a picnic for everyone. The kids played in the pool for a little bit.. it wasn’t Hot Hot Hot yet but the kids didn’t seem to mind… Swimming is almost a year round sport in AZ. Connor and Chloe loved being back in the water! The picnic was nice… expect the part that Kiel broke a tooth and had to run to a dentist and missed the entire thing : ( but the next day we made an appointment with his cousin who is a dentist to have things fixed. But it was such a bummer that he was in pain.
I don’t have all these pictures but the next day (Thursday) we made the hour drive out to Surprise and met my parents and grandparents for lunch and that’s where Kiel’s cousin’s office is so while he was at the dentist we found a beautiful park. The kids played and ran around while we all caught up and Grandma and I sat around and gossiped! Love you Grandma! xoxo. And plus late the night Kiel and I went off and helped Courtney celebrate her Birthday with Alan and two other friends from Kiel’s old job over Sushi. It was a fun night… Kiel being on drugs…. ah… not so much.. but still it was great night.
Friday we had help with the Kids so Kiel and I, my parents and grandparents we able to go to the temple. Then we proved why In and Out was the best Burger joint in town. yummm… That night was the Spring Training baseball game… a Miller tradition. I think the 9 years Kiel and I lived there together we have gone to at least 4 spring training games with my parents in town… A fun tradition. We invited Kiel’s brothers and dad to the game. We sat out on the field and the kids had fun running around. it was great to socialize with everyone. Going to a night game was a perfect idea.. avoided that intense afternoon sunshine.
Saturday we did a little shopping and spent time with cousins again. Just getting in as much as we could on our last day. That night we invited everyone to dinner as a last hoorah. The kids loved being together as much as they could. They sure did miss each other. They all get along so well together. I almost feel guilty for moving for that one reason. It really is such a blessing when you have some family close by. You don’t appreciate it fully until it’s gone. But I think everyone had a good time.
Grandpa Bob with all his grandbabies after dinner and then Bob and 3/4 of his boys.. (Alan left a little early… boo)
After Dinner My parents took Curtis back to the hotel to get to bed while Kiel and I full filled our promise to Connor and Chloe. This carnival popped up at the mall across the street from our hotel and all week the kids saw the big Ferris wheel and asked if they could go. So our last night we met Theresa and Mark there and rode the Ferris wheel.
of course one ride is never enough…. Connor convinced me to ride this very tall swing ride… to my amazement he loved it!! Usually he’s our cautious boy.. but he was reassuring me at the very top as we are swinging over a freeway. Yes.. I was a little nervous…
The kids rode a couple more rides and then we said our goodbyes to Theresa and Mark and headed back to the hotel. Kiel and I had a combined 3 hours of sleep that night. We woke up at 3:30AM to get up and get on the road to the airport. We dropped off our rental SUV and started on our 3 flight… 8+hour journey back to Alaska!
Even though it was a long day the kids were great and we made it back safely.
Kiel and I were both ready to come home and get back to our routine. The kids.. probably not.. but they enjoyed their time. For sure. They were exhausted. Like I said it was such a blessing that we were able to go back to Arizona as quickly as we did. I loved living in Arizona and it will always be in my heart as one of my homes… I am so grateful we were able to see all the friends and family we wanted too. We are so blessed to have such supportive and loving family. Thank you to all the Wendelschafers for hosting us all week and spending all your free time with us. We miss you guys!! Thank you Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa Miller for making the trip to AZ. I knew you couldn’t resist yourselves : ) you missed us! I love spending time with you. My family always recharges me and helps me move forward. Love you guys so much! It was such a wonderful trip. The first day back in Alaska I went back to work and Kiel helped the kids adapt to being back home. It took us all a couple of days to catch up on our sleep. : ) But of course it was all worth it.. You always need a vacation from your vacation!