Growing up Arizonan, I remember celebrating February in school as Arizona’s birthday month! I love that we are the Valentine State. For a long time that was what I celebrated instead of Valentine’s Day, but now that I have a kid who shares that birthday, we have moved to celebrating Arizona throughout the month of February.
We all know Phoenix is a city that continues to grow at a stunning pace. The freeways seem to be more crowded each month, the housing market insane, and it seems more often than not that when people asked where I’m from and I say “here” they are stunned that I’m not one of the many “transplants” to our city.
I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my home state. I remember being so jealous of people growing up near a beach or “real mountains” and I was totally blind to the gorgeous desert landscapes and how cool it is that we have saguaros here. I didn’t understand how many amazing small businesses and wonderful restaurants we have here. I did not know how much I would miss the many days of sunshine or how the lack of that sunshine would change my mood for the years I lived back East. I didn’t know I’d be scurrying back to my home state as fast as possible after I was done studying elsewhere.
Now my kids are growing up Arizonan and I hope they recognize the gifts of being a Phoenician long before I did. We live in such a cool place and I want them to know that!
So here are a few ways we are celebrating Arizona’s birthday month:
- I am teaching my kids to love hiking and desert gardening so we will be taking at least two family hikes this month and will make it fun by seeing who can spot the most rabbits or lizards and picking our favorite cactus. (Bonus tip: It is a BLAST to have your kids pose like their favorite weirdly shaped cactus.)
- I am definitely showing my kids pictures of what the midwest looks like this time of year. Growing up Arizonan, and Phoenician specifically, my only impression of snow were in pretty Christmas movies, not in the reality of icicles hanging off your eyelashes. After we look at these pictures we will probably stop by a favorite ice cream shop or get frozen lemonade.
- We will make Arizona shaped cookies! There are cookie cutters easily available to order and my kids are obsessed with decorating cookies so this is an easy win.
Whether you grew up here or just became a resident recently, does your family do anything special to celebrate our Valentine state? We’d love to add to our tradition.
It really is a magical place! I’m so thankful for our time in Arizona!