My sisters and I (and my Mom) have been talking about doing a Sisters' Retreat for years. All the coolest families do it. Melissa suggested coming to Sunny Gilbert Arizona in January - wouldn't that be awesome? Allyn kind of got the ball rolling and made it all real by buying her plane ticket last summer. Ha! The rest of us got on board and we finally had our first (annual?) Lee Sisters' Retreat last weekend. Superbowl Weekend! In Phoenix! Where the Superbowl was! Woops.
First, Brian and I took the boys to lunch before we drove to the Provo airport and traded vehicles. I forgot to prepay for my parking, but otherwise it was a successful trial run at that tiny airport.
Katy and I arrived Wednesday late afternoon at different airports (we purposely tried to get our flights close to the same time to make it convenient for Melissa to pick us up, but we were at different airports, so it was more like The Amazing Race for her). Allyn and my Mom were already in Gilbert, so the five of us ate dinner at Melissa's and discovered we secretly had the rental house from Wednesday to Saturday instead of Thursday to Saturday. We shopped for goodies and headed to our rental house. This photo is us getting ready for the temple Thursday morning. I really love this picture. Katy is 39, I'm 41, and Allyn is 37 and we all look like girls. Fun.
We barely made it to the Gilbert Temple for the 11:30 session. I brought six sisters who needed their work done (the Herrmann sisters) and we got all but one of them done (because there were only five of us). I wondered if Agatha Herrmann was always left out during her life, too. :)
Katy, Me, Peggy, Allyn, and Melissa. We finally found a nice man to take our picture.
Together again! I loved handing my camera to Melissa, knowing she would get it right. The bad news is that she wasn't in this photo.
We ate at Smash Burger, shopped at Deseret Book (both in the shopping section Melissa referred to as "Things Mormons Like" near the temple). I think everyone but Melissa relaxed because Melissa had to make a run to the airport for Jennie and Claire (right? - I can't believe I'm already confused). I remember eating burritos at the house... talking and maybe napping? Hmmm. It probably goes without saying that we did a lot of talking. And napping. Claire brought Moira and Lori brought Macey. Girl babies! Good thing, because there were no boys allowed. (I'd rented a car early Thursday morning, by the way. If you were wondering how in the world all of us could go anywhere together.) I think Lori and Macey came later that night? What is wrong with me?!
Friday was my Mom's birthday! For some reason, she's always wanted to give each of us some money and let us go spend it on ourselves. So that's what she did! We went to a lovely shopping plaza and split up to spend our dough. I'm not sure what it says about me, but I had no problem finding stuff I wanted/needed and buying it. (I think it's because I wasn't looking for clothes.) I got an umbrella (of course it was raining HARD all day Friday), earrings, two books, nail polish and a Dr. Pepper. Winner!
Katy, Jen, Lori and Macey, Peggy, Allyn, Melissa, Moira and Claire.
Peggy, Jen, and Nicole
Claire and Melissa - love the coloring on these two ladies.
We came back to the house to show off our new stuff and sing Happy Birthday to Mom.
Great minds think alike. :)
Allyn and Macey taking a selfie.
Sweet Tooth Cupcakes and sassy ladies (Peggy and Lori).
You'll notice that Makenzie isn't in any photos. She had been in the airport most of the day, her flight getting delayed because of the rain in Phoenix. Melissa finally went to get Makenzie and we created a human tunnel for her to run through while we sang a cheer (thanks, Lori). Poor Bakenze! It was so nice to have everyone together at last. The rain let up for a moment and we headed to Joe's Farm Grill for dinner.
It's so fun that we have all the hair colors represented in our family now that Claire and Lori have joined us.
Friday night we had our much-anticipated Favorite Things game. Everyone brought something they like (under $5) to share with everyone. We also completed a questionnaire to help remind us that we're all very similar. Sometimes eerily. That was a fun activity - thanks, Katy! (For posterity: Mom's was a magnetic note pad, Jen had a silicone tube that peels garlic, I brought magnetic clips, Katy made scarves for everyone, Allyn gave out Lancome mascara and lipstick samples, Melissa's was stamped muslin bags with cute note cards, Makenzie's was Mary Kay mascara, Claire made chapstick holders to put on our key rings, and Lori had car air fresheners.)
Makenzie looking like Julie Andrews. Smallest one has to sit in the back with the luggage!
Saturday morning we had to take back my rental car and make several trips to Melissa's house to get all the stuff from the rental house to Melissa's. Whew! Most importantly we had to take a photo of all of us. And I had to steal some lemons and ruin my hair.
We should have our own show, I think. Left to right: Lori and Macey, Melissa, Allyn, Nicole, Katy, Makenzie, Claire and Moira, Peggy, and Jen. We didn't do the stripe thing on purpose until we noticed everyone was wearing stripes. That's my new umbrella. :)
Saturday was nice to just relax and talk and laugh at Melissa's house while her regular life was going on. Makenzie had to go (less than 24 hours!) and Lori and Macey left to visit with Lori's friend. We watched "Austenland" after eating really good pizza. Katy and I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning, so we tried to get to bed. Katy and I were ready to head out the door Sunday morning when we realized that Jeff and Melissa hadn't woken up. Ah! Jeff took me to the Mesa airport and I was plenty early. Why in the world would I need to be two hours early to that tiny airport? My seat mate was an 84 year old man from the same town I'm from. He is the grandpa to one of the members of the band, Imagine Dragons. He told me lots of stories. :) Just before we landed, my new friend asked for my phone number and I totally gave it to him! Tricky. (He said he's going to make me something in his wood shop.)
It was an amazing trip for me. I discovered I'm more of an introvert than I ever thought. If there are more than five people in a room, even if I love all of them, I go into observation mode and don't really contribute very much. I also learned that I'm related to the most amazing women in the world. I'm convinced of that. I'm so glad everyone made the huge effort to be there. It was worth it. :)