for the last couple of weeks, we have had a sleepover lined up for elinor with "neena" and "booboo". the plan was simple: drop off elinor for 24 hours of fun while the parents enjoyed a dinner date night and a movie on friday followed by a leisurely (ahem, lazy) saturday morning at home. nothing special. just a few hours for us to turn off the parenting brains and engage as "just us".
as the grand occasion was approaching, ben brought up a splendid idea: how about a day trip to sedona? YES. a perfect plan. we would enjoy our friday night and then wake up early and pack the car with some snacks and such for a few hours out away from the usual. we love us some sedona around here. it is breathtaking and quaint. great food. milder weather. plenty of places to stroll and look. hiking and outdoorsiness. quirkiness and culture and art and all that good stuff. just a good energy. it is an ideal spot to rejuvenate for a bit. whether it is a weekend stay at a spa or a day of hiking, sedona feels good. one of our very first married valentine's days was spent at l'auberge and we still love returning there for some creekside lunch when we are in town. we have spent weeks there vacationing. we have attended weddings there. we have hiking MANY trails. we have eating some killer meals. we have done some amazing yoga. and every time we go, there is an instant relaxation effect. maybe it is that famed energy vortex or all the crystals...
but really though, for me, getting in the car and cranking some tunes for a couple of hours does remarkable things for stress reduction. the cares melt away as you drive. and once you hit that "welcome to sedona" sign, you are feeling fab.
and so...off to sedona! we armed ourselves with two big ol' cups of coffee and hit the road. we listened to happy roadtrippy music and chatted about life. we swapped favorite elinor stories. we shared our hopes and dreams for her - for us - for our new little one - for our family. we talked about our excitement for the arrival of our little man. we discussed our worries our concerns our plans. we talked goals and life and career strategy. we talked about our marriage. we talked about our history and our future. our mission and vision. all kinds of things. the good stuff. the deep stuff. the real stuff. it was so darn good. and then, we rolled into town, bright and early. we rolled the windows down to take in the cool air. 65 degrees!!!!! there aren't enough exclamation points, folks. oh my goodness, it was incredible. so perfect.
since ben's family was coming through on their way back from a weekend at the grand canyon, we coordinated our hiking with them and met them on the trail for a few hours. oak creek canyon. what else is there to say? it is lovely. a breeze. shaded by trees. wind moving through the trees. birds chirping. flowers blooming. the serenity of the creek. one of my favorite hikes.
the better part of the day was spent there. and it was just what i needed. fresh air and sunshine. a break from life. time to talk. making memories. and after the hike was over and our bellies were full from a much-needed and much-deserved and much-enjoyed lunch, we headed home. back to the valley of the sun. back to our crazy and wonderful little elinor - who had plenty of tales to share with mama and papa.
it was a good one. and if you are into nature-y stuff, here are a ton of pictures for you to enjoy.