What you need to know about moving to Arizona | East Valley Photographer

What you need to know about moving to Arizona | Gilbert Photographer

It’s officially been one month since moving to Arizona. 😲 In some ways it definitely feels like its been that long, in others it feels like it was yesterday. When we first got here and everything was feeling especially strange and new I posted on Instagram withe some of my thoughts. They included my new phobia of scorpions, my surprise that the heat isn’t as bad as I imagined, my daughters jealousy of her baby aunt that I occasionally take care of, and the crucial daily habit of putting on sunscreen. While all of that is still true, now that we’ve been here a bit longer I’d love to bring you along as I really unpack how we’re doing after one month of Arizona life.

(Pictures from our trip to the Phoenix Zoo)

PhoenizArizonaZoo-MovingtoArizona PhoenizArizonaZoo-MovingtoArizona

The Heat

Just in case no one has told you, it gets hot in Arizona. In July and August it gets especially hot which makes it the best time ever to move here. Just kidding. But honestly it hasn’t been THAT bad. Yes, it’s hot. But as my husband constantly points out to people who question his desire to live in Arizona “In Utah you stay inside all winter, in Arizona you stay inside all summer. Pick your poison.” This is usually when I point out that there are even weeks of the summer in Utah I don’t feel much like going outside because its in the high 90’s.

But, there are some things you have to do differently or at least pay more attention to because of the heat.

Car Seats

Cars heat up fast and car seats even fast and hotter it seems. I nearly cried one day because Emi nearly had a melt down when I went to put her in the car because she didn’t like how hot an experience that had been lately. If you’re going out, and will be out for much of the day, take along some ice packs to sit in baby’s car seat when she’s not. It will help keep the straps and buckles cool so its not a traumatic experience when they have to get back in. Our current method is a recycled milk jug filled with water and frozen.


Find some shade. Even if you have to walk the length of the parking lot, park under that tree. Its the difference of 20 degrees I swear! I’m sure those sun reflector things you put up in your windshield work pretty good too but we don’t have one of those yet. Maybe I should look into that.

Shopping Coolers aren’t optional

As previously mentioned, your car will reach oven temperatures during the 20 minutes you are inside the store shopping. If you want those Popsicle to survive the 10 minute drive home you better pack some ice. My mother-in-law was just using those reusable shopping bags with ice packs from the freezer and it actually worked pretty well. But when we saw the shopping coolers in Costco we just couldn’t say no. We are now on the look out for a 2nd one because apparently we buy a lot that can’t withstand oven temperatures when we need to stop at a couple stores.


Do you have a fur-baby like us? Don’t forget that the heat your hiding from inside, they probably want to be hiding from it too. This has been especially hard on Rego because she LOVES being outside and running. Winters in Utah killed her because, well snow, and cold isn’t much fun to be out in either. So besides a glorious few weeks of Spring she’s been cooped up a lot this year. Dogs can overheat, get dehydrated, and burn their paws on asphalt so hot you can cook an egg on it (by the way, make sure you always wear shoes outside!). When planning ways to beat the heat, don’t forget to protect your fur-baby from it too. Short bathroom trips out in the yard and lots of water with ice in it for Rego.

PhoenizArizonaZoo-MovingtoArizonaBuy a kiddie pool

There are pools and splash pads EVERYWHERE here but honestly, it’s so hot the thought of having to lug all our pool things across a parking lot makes me want to cry. I would be a sweaty, hot mess in 2 seconds flat. Our solution? A $15 kiddie pool from walmart. It’s one of those blue, hard plastic ones and perfect for swimming in the shade of the tree in the front yard. It’s super convenient because I don’t have to go anywhere, pack any bags, and if I forget anything all I have to do is run inside really quick while another adult keeps and eye on Emi. Unless you’ve got a pool in your backyard or kids too old for a kiddie pool to be any fun, I can’t recommend this option enough!

By the way, these are also awesome for dogs to love water, unfortunately mine does not but I imagine others would love to lounge in their very own kiddie pool all day.

Be a morning person

When my Mother-in-law told me we would be getting a zoo membership I was a bit skeptical. Wouldn’t it be impossible to even use it until October because of the heat? Well. We’ve been to the zoo and we didn’t melt. How? We went at 6 AM. The zoo here opens at 7 but members can get in at 6. In July, that’s the only time  you could possibly go without getting heat stroke. We were home by 10.

If you’re a runner, 5 AM is probably the only time you can run without killing yourself. And honestly its really best to do anything and everything before the heat really sets in at noon.

Okay, enough about heat

Wow, I wrote a list about all the things on my mind and didn’t realize until I started categorizing them how many of them had to do with beating the heat and staying cool. 🤣 Apparently that’s pretty much the only thing you need to know about moving to Arizona; how to survive the heat. The only other things I can think of is we run ceiling fan’s all the time and I feel like I do WAAAY more laundry because if you’re outside for more than 10 minutes you sweat so much you want to change the moment you get home. Matt, who usually did the laundry when we lived in Utah, just laughs and tells me I’m crazy and only think that because I never did the laundry. He could be right, but still… so sweaty!

My father-in-law tells me that our bodies will adapt and pretty soon 60 degree weather will feel freezing and the 110 we’re experiencing now won’t phase us nearly as much. I only kinda believe him.


The Wildlife


I’ve already ranted about scorpions but let me just do it again. Seriously, they’re terrifying! They’re like spiders in that they can crawl up walls and on the ceiling and like bees in that they sting you… except they don’t die when they sting you so really, what motivation do they have not to? When we talking about moving here and scorpions came up Matt told me he’d never even seen one near his home. That comforted me for the time being, and then we got here. I quickly found out that there had been two spotted inside my in-laws home and guys, I had nightmares! I didn’t move my feet without searching first for scorpions and was constantly scanning the ceiling for any trace.

We also had a ton of crickets in the house, which are what scorpions love to eat so that doesn’t help. Plus, while crickets aren’t going to “hurt me” they are quite unpleasant to have around and super hard to catch/kill because of the whole jumping thing.

Thankfully scorpions are something you can spray for and the same chemicals also kill the crickets. We got the house sprayed about a week after we got here and hallelujah! No more crickets and I still haven’t seen a scorpion… unless you count the dead one Matt showed me caught in the glue trap in the garage (it was dead).

Hoping I’ll just never see one.

All the other stuff

For such a desolate place there sure is a lot of wildlife. Jack rabbits are EVERYWHERE! Like EVERYWHERE! They’re all over Matt’s school campus and the local park. It’s actually kinda fun because Emi loves to see them and point them out wherever we go.

Me and Matt went mini golfing the other night at a park called Splish Splash and halfway through our back 9 there were suddenly toads everywhere! Some were super little and some were HUGE, like 3 inches long huge! Toads are actually pretty cool and if I was younger I probably would have tried to catch one, but I was still scared one was going to jump into me or I would accidentally step on one, that’d be gross!


Physical Therapy School

This doesn’t have much to do with living in Arizona but its been a big part of our move so I have to mention it. Matt started physical therapy school about 10 days after we got here and while its been hard, it hasn’t been as bad as my anxiety led me to believe. Sure, days are long, Matt is gone from 7am to 7pm and I miss him a lot. But, when he’s home he is 100% focused on me and Emi and he can actually take some pretty good breaks on the weekends. Many of his classmates aren’t this lucky and stress themselves out working endlessly so I’m grateful that he recognizes the need to rest and recreate.

He hasn’t had any big tests yet so maybe the worst is yet to be, but I think we can do this.


Living with in-laws

Have you caught on yet that we live with Matt’s dad and step-mom? We made this decision for several reasons; they live just 5 minutes from Matt’s school, I’m not working and we didn’t want to go into debt just to pay rent, and they had a surprise baby 6 months ago and need someone to watch her while they both work. It sounded like a win win for everyone.

But we were nervous. I think that is natural and normal and I’ll probably do a whole post about how we prepared for it, set expectations, and how it’s working out. But honestly, I love it! There are challenges but I think families are meant to be done this way. It’s SOOOO nice to have 2 extra adults around to help with kids, meal planning and prep, and cleaning! Plus, since Matt is gone 12 hours a day, I think I would get lonely if it was just me and Emi.


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