Texas to Arizona. Texas is FAR too big a state.
After a couple days in Texas we drove to visit my family in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. While I'd never want to live in the desert long term, Tucson really is "home" for me. I grew up in the same house I left for college. While most of my friends have moved, their parents are still around and not much has changed when I drive around our part of town. So it was really nice to bring Finley to my hometown and introduce him to so many people who knew me growing up. And it's especially nice to spend time with my parents and see them interact with their grandson. Boy is he one loved little guy!
From Arizona, we left for California where we spent the bulk of our trip. Our sister-in-law is due any day now with our little nephew who we can't wait to me. Their oldest son Carson, who is two, is best buds with Roscoe - so it was fun to see them interact (yet for some reason I failed to take any pictures of the two). My favorite moment was when Roscoe came over to sniff Carson as he opened some gifts - "No, no Roc-co, my present." When we'd go out and do something, leaving Roscoe back at the house, Carson would often ask "what Roc-co doing?" - always very concerned about what our pup was up to. That dog has it made. While in CA, we made sure to not only dip Finley's feet in the Pacific, but Roscoe's as well.
While in California I met up with a friend of mine for the first time. Abby lost her daughter Nia in 2009 and really reached out to me after losing Cale. We've become good friends and she was such a lifeline for me during my pregnancy with Finn so it was really wonderful to finally meet in person!
Meeting up with Abby was also really nice because I missed Cale a lot this Christmas, or at least thought about him more than I even realized I would. I think it's because 18 months would have been a fun age for all the excitement of the holidays. It would have been fun to watch him play with his cousin and to get as spoiled by Nana and Pop as Finn did. There's just so much I wanted for that little boy and each milestone is a reminder of that. But I'm ok with that. More than ok. I want to miss him. I want each milestone to remind me of what should have been because he deserves that continued love and acknowledgment. It's the least I can do for him.
But it was great to get to celebrate Finley's first Christmas, take him to see Santa, show him off, and just love on him this holiday season. I'm so, so grateful for that.
Overall it was a really great trip. Our return trip was the same, but with less time spent at each place. And finally, after 14 days, roughly 5,000 miles, and lots of pit stops, we made it back safely to home sweet home (which was a brisk 59 degrees upon arrival. Inside the house).