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7 Things We've Learned After 10 Years in Phoenix

7 Things We've Learned After 10 Years in Phoenix

This past Memorial Day weekend marked a pretty big milestone for us and we couldn't let it pass by without busting out a fantabulous blog post to mark the occasion right! As you are probably aware from the title (suspenseful, we know), May 31st marked our 10th anniversary of moving to the Valley of the Sun! Truth be told, it took us about 5 years to accept the fact that Phoenix was our new home (and if we're being honest, it took Megan more like 8 years). As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, we grew up in sunny San Diego. We spent our summer days at the beach, eating our fair share of California burritos, and spending our summer nights by the bonfire. To say we missed it would be a bit of an understatement. But God has a funny way of changing us as time makes its steady march into eternity, and after enough years here in Phoenix, we started to appreciate it a bit more. To be sure, there are still things we desperately miss about good ol' SD, but after 10 years, we are here to say officially that Phoenix is our home and we love it! 

10 years in one place is a good amount of time to learn a few things and get a good lay of the land, so to speak. Like a lot of people we meet in The Valley, we didn't grow up here, but after a decade, we'd like to think we've learned a thing or two about what makes Phoenix great. So without much further ado, we've compiled a list of quirks, nuances, and awesomeness you can only find in Phoenix!

1. Ok, ok. Let's get the big one out of the way first. It gets HOT here. Legit, fry an egg on the sidewalk, HOT. The first couple summers here, we have to admit, were pretty brutal. But c'mon people, its all about perspective! After 10 years we've just learned to make friends with someone who has a pool, or we just hibernate for about 4 months. If you really think about it, it's not that different from winter in a cold climate...except totally opposite. Instead of getting frostbite from going outside for too long, in Phoenix your face melts if you go outside for too long. "It's a dry heat," is not a big consolation either. As Megan used to say, "So is my oven, but I don't want to live in it." All that to say, the heat is bearable if you know how to handle it. Stay indoors. Drink lots of water. And find a pool. After the unbearable heat of the summer, the other 7-8 months of the year are really amazing!

2. Speaking of heat, trust us when we tell you to avoid using the "cold water" tap during the summer. When your water pipes are baking in the desert sun all day, that "cold water" coming out of the faucet tends to be on the toasty side. Here's a 10 year tip for you: during the summer turn down your hot water heater and use the "hot tap" for cold water! Seriously, we aren't making this up. (It also helps you save on those extra fun, summertime electricity bills!)

3. Monsoons are pretty awesome. Every year, right about the time the summer starts to get a little too hot, we are treated to some truly epic summer monsoon storms. They build throughout the day as the hot air from the desert rises and usually the storms unleash all their cooling rain and desert winds late in the afternoon or evening. They usually don't last long, but they are a great reprieve from the heat at just the right time! (Insider tip: they also provide some truly epic photography opportunities! Lightning and weather photos are some of James' favorites kinds to capture.)

4. We have other seasons. We know our first three points were about summer but there are three other pretty amazing seasons that make living here in The Valley pretty awesome. When everyone else is starting to bundle up for the winter, we all come out of hibernation and spend the whole winter having barbecues and wearing flip flops. Ok, maybe not the WHOLE Winter. It does get cold here for a few weeks in December and January, which is just about long enough for us to get our sweaters and fleece PJs out before we get sick of them and want our flip flops back. Spring provides some truly gorgeous desert blooms and a quick trip up to Sedona or Flagstaff in the Fall provides some truly breathtaking fall foliage if that's your thing (did we mention Phoenix is a pretty great place for photography?).

5. It's pretty easy to find your way around. We have to admit, for like the first 5 years we couldn't figure out why whenever someone was giving us directions they would say something like, "It's on the corner of Camelback and 44th street." For the first half-decade we usually responded with, "Ummmm....ok....can you just give us DIRECTIONS?" Once we figured out that Phoenix is a HUGE GRID, we felt like we could finally speak the language and sound like proper locals. So here it is in a nutshell...North/South roads are numbered. East/West roads have names. Streets are EAST of Central and Avenues are WEST of Central. The farther away from Central you are, the higher the number. Freeways are a different story for another time, but for the record, we will always refer to them as "The 101" or "The 17." Sorry folks, but that's just a little bit of California we aren't quite ready to give up yet.

6. There is so much to see and do. If you're willing to drive a bit and explore our state, Arizona is hard to beat for awe-inspiring scenery. The Grand Canyon? Check. Sedona's Red Rocks? Check? Horseshoe Bend? Check. Also let's not forget Vermillion Cliffs, Havasu Falls, Lower Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, The Hoover Dam, Tombstone, Saguaro Cactus, and way too many other natural wonders to name here. All that to say, if you want to road trip or enjoy vast open spaces, we have plenty of places for you to go out here!

7. Finally, and most importantly, places are really about people. We've had the honor of meeting some truly amazing people and friends in our ten years here and are so thankful that God brought us to Phoenix to meet them. We have watched our family grow from a newlywed couple to a family of five during the last decade. All three of our kids call Arizona home and are natives to this beautiful state. We hope to spend many more decades here watching our kids grow into productive, creative, well-rounded, humble adults and we are glad God chose this place to grow our family. San Diego will always hold a special place in our hearts, but Phoenix is the only place we call home.

Fri-yay! Weekly Recap #7!

Fri-yay! Weekly Recap #7!

It's Friday and it's officially the unofficial start of summer! The kids are getting out of school for the summer, Memorial Day is almost upon us, and we are looking forward to all the new adventures this summer is going to bring (ahem...San Diego trip...). But enough about what's coming up. It's time to recap another week!

This week was a momentous occasion because James decided (finally!) to hit the gym with Megan! He turned 34 years old a couple weeks back and apparently decided it was about time to get into shape (yes, we know round is a shape)! He hit the gym Monday morning and then again Tuesday afternoon and needless to say, he now FULLY understands Megan's pain and suffering over the last year while she went to the gym. He thoroughly apologizes for the complete lack of sympathy he gave Megan while she was living through such agony and torment. He's determined to stick with it though because, as he puts it, "After 34 years, it's about time to get rid of my baby fat!" 

Next up, Olivia has been taking ballet classes for the past 6 months and we are rapidly approaching her recital! You can be sure we will document, photograph, and blog like crazy the insane cuteness that is about to occur. In the meantime however, Olivia received her recital costume this week. She performed her "dress rehearsal" for us at the dance studio this past Thursday and the tears they were a'flowin'! We can only imagine how stinking cute the actual performance is going to be! Olivia loves her costume and loves dressing up so much that we've had to literally hide her recital outfit until the day of her recital, otherwise she would literally wear it ALL DAY and would probably want to sleep and bathe in it too.

Megan got an adult coloring book for Mother's Day and before you say to yourself, "Coloring book?! What are you in Kindergarten?!", just know that we may or may not have said that a few times before while walking the aisles of Costco and seeing the gigantic selection of "adult coloring books" they have for sale. We decided to take the plunge for Mother's Day and the kids and I got her a coloring book and some nice colored pencils. It turns out, she kind of LOVES it! She says it's relaxing and therapeutic and has colored like half her book so far. So for all the doubters out there, the adult coloring fad is the real deal! It forces you to slow down, detach from your devices for a little while, and quiet your mind...which is something we could all use every once in a while.

Finally, on a more somber note, this upcoming weekend is Memorial Day. For those who don't know we live in Phoenix, where this past week a Phoenix police officer was killed in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the fallen officer and all the other men and women in the armed forces, the firefighters, and the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to serve our country. The officer was laid to rest at a cemetery just down the street from our house and it was an honor to see the reverence our city has for those who serve us. We let the kids watch the service on TV and it was a great opportunity to teach them about sacrifice, bravery, duty, and honor. So take a moment this Memorial Day to say thanks to those who serve. They give their lives to serve our country, the least we can give them is our thanks.

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 

Landon is 6 Months old!

Landon is 6 Months old!

Oh my goodness... Sweet Landon is now a chunky, smiling, rolling-over flirt, and we can't believe it! We all know that our own kids grow too fast but when you see it in your friends kids its almost harder to believe! The last time we saw him was three months ago. He was so chunky and was looking quite dapper in his baby tuxedo! I'm happy to report that now he's not only well dressed, but knows how to flirt like an old pro as well. So much so, that he was quite successful at melting Megan's heart when we showed up to do his 6 month milestone session this past weekend! 

Since it's not too hot yet we decided to take advantage of the great weather and head out doors. We love that yummy warm light. It makes all our photos scream VIBRANT which is exactly what we want! It was so fun to watch all of Landon's new tricks and of course big brother Nolan wanted to show off too. Can we just say, we have no idea how their mom does anything because these boys are too sweet and such handsome! Nolan now knows all about my secret candy stash and I'm pretty sure he's now my best friend. He even asked me to come back to play the next day and reminded me to "bring candy to my house." Hello, adorable! 

Thank you Nolan and Landon for being the sweetest boys ever and making our job so much fun! If you haven't yet, check out how much Landon has grown since he was born and then at three months!  And make sure you come back in a few months and see how much bigger he gets!