Isn't it amazing? Before this last year, I had no memory of any of my Grandma's family, but I have now met two of the Muckey siblings! I met Aunt Mary, my Grandma's oldest sister, in November when my family traveled to Iowa, and I have now met her youngest brother in Arizona!
Uncle Tom and Aunt Nancy are welcoming people. I loved spending the day with them. We swapped stories and shared about some of the things God has done in our lives. We laughed a lot, cried a little, and smiled almost all day! Uncle Tom's twinkling eyes and big smile are just a few of the things I learned to love about him from our day together. Above all, he is a storyteller. I have a better understanding of my grandmother and her siblings, their parents, and the experiences they went through now because of the memories Uncle Tom shared with us. What a day to remember!
Aunt Nancy prepared two wonderful meals for us (including sandwiches on homemade bread) and made us so comfortable in her home. Spending the day with both of them was a delight. I feel so blessed we had this opportunity!
We left their home as the sun was going down and headed south toward Phoenix. We made a quick restroom stop where my main accomplishment was buying a small bag of candies. I returned to the car to find Zachary had accomplished a good deal more!
We used Priceline.com throughout our trip to find good rates on our hotels. To get the best rates (and maintain flexibility in our travels), we would wait until the day we needed the hotel before booking our room. With Priceline's name your own price option, we did not choose our hotel (just the star level we wanted and region), so we were never completely sure what kind of place we would end up in. Well, up until then, we had selected three star hotels, but Zachary decided to bid low on a four star instead and see if we could get one as a special treat. In the time it took me to buy a bag of Skittles, Zachary had a four star hotel reserved for us at a very good price! We found out later we paid about a fourth of what a room like ours usually goes for.
We drove to Scottsdale, Arizona to stay at The Saguaro. We were treated like very special guests, and it was sort of fun -- if not a little nerve wracking as we did not want to incur any additional costs unknowingly. Our room was beautiful and had local magazines and gadgets to look at (including an old Kodak camera Zachary enjoyed playing with), but almost everything could be bought, and we were there to sleep, not buy. The balcony gave us a beautiful view of the pool area complete with lemon trees and bright yellow canopies.
The playful environment was exciting, but I am glad we weren't there to use the spa. We could have more than tripled the price of our stay in just an hour! I know talking about the money means we were out of our league, but it was fun to enjoy the resort without breaking our budget.
Oh, I can't forget to mention our "kid in a candy store" response at seeing the saguaros for the first time. It was after dark as we drove south toward Scottsdale and our hotel. Zachary saw one first. It was a tall silhouette against the dark sky. Then there was another and another! We were almost jumping out of our seats with excitement and could barely wait to see them under the full light of day. I think each of us felt a greater rush at seeing our first saguaro cactus than our first view of the Grand Canyon! I mean, what did we expect? We were driving to a hotel name The Saguaro. Still, we were awed. We didn't get any pictures that night, but we took plenty the next day!