Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in AZ Part 3: Chad's Family

Somehow we managed to arrange a trip at the same time as Chad's sister Ann. She, her husband David, and her two adorable twin girls flew in from Dallas the same week we were there. Last we saw these two girls they were not even a year old. Now they are talking, running, crazy two year olds. They are so adorable. It was great to be around them for a few days.

We spent the days doing what Chad's family loves to do. Hanging around the house, playing games, and eating food. We got the kids out mini golfing, and laser tagging, and nerf gun fighting. But mostly we just loved the time to be together talking and catching up. It was a great few days.

                                           Group shot of all the grandkids with G and G
Group shout with GAC. We love Great Aunt Cathy. Wrestling with George, the oldest and the favorite cousin.

It was a great trip. Too short, but fun. Until next time you crazy AZ people!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in AZ side trip: The college Girls

Over the years, my closest friends from college have kept in touch. We started a scripture reading group Freshman year that ballooned into close to 17 people at one time. They were the rock that kept me grounded as I tried to find my bearings being away from home for the first time. A few of us were able to gather at the park and catch up for a few hours. It was wonderful to see them and meet a few of the kids I've heard about but never met in person. These ladies will always hold a special place in my heart.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas in AZ Part 2: Tucson

We had to make a trip to Tucson. We still own our house there and needed to check on it. We also wanted to see our friends there. They were our second family. Although our family was only two hours away (vs. six by plane now), they were the ones we relied on day to day. I miss those friends and relationships. We spent ten years building those friendships and it has been hard not to have them so near any longer.

My good good friend Laurel was kind enough to let us crash at her house. She got a party together at a ranch she frequents with her kids. It was so good to see our favorite people again.

Again no group picture. I'm pretty sure someone took one. I need to start begging for copies.

The next day at church we caused quite the uproar walking into our old ward just a few minutes before the meeting was to start. I felt like a bit of a celebrity :) Again, so great to see so many friends and neighbors. I wish we could have stayed a while longer.

But it was time to go back to Mesa to see Chad's family.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas in AZ Part 1: Luann's Family

 We went back to AZ for Christmas. It was a quick two week trip that we had to split three ways. Hectic, crazy, and not nearly long enough. We started out at Luann's parents, spent the weekend in Tucson, and then came back to the Phoenix area to see Chad's family.

It was great to get away from the cold. I didn't it suspect it to be so warm though! It was close to 80 when we flew in. Now I know why I never wore boots while in AZ. They're stifling!

In returning to AZ I found a new appreciation for it's wide open spaces. New England is very closed in. It's green, but with all those trees you can't see anything but the green.

The sky is so big and beautiful. And the mountains!  I've missed them.

We visited with Luann's family for a few days. We did some hiking, had a family gathering, took some family pictures. I have no pictures of any of us with family members. I need to do better about that in the future, especially since we'll only really be getting together every year or so.

We also drove out to see my brother and his brand new baby boy, Luann's nephew Austin. He's a cutie.

Then it was off to Tucson to see our adopted family down there.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Gingerbread Man

Our favorite Christmas tradition: Reading the Gingerbread Man with daddy. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas In Salem

Salem Massachusetts opens up some of it's historic homes for tours during Christmas. A local nursery decks them up in Christmas greens and people volunteer to lead tours through the houses.  I was able to be a tour guide at one of the houses. This particular house was fun because it had a ghost story. Apparently a former resident who died in the house had taken to haunting an upstairs room. The current residents said their dog had alerted them to it's presence. You can't be in Salem without hearing a good ghost story.

Afterwards I toured some other houses with my good friend Valerie. It was a very fun day and hope to do it again next year.

In front of the Custom house
USS Friendship off of Derby Wharf
This house has been used as a home for the elderly since the late 1800s. It was one of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tree Hunting

For Christmas this year we went to AZ. I really prefer not to travel for Christmas because I miss all my favorite Christmas traditions. Decorating the house, putting up the nativity, making goodies for neighbors, Messiah sing a longs...Even though we were gone for a week and a half, I couldn't go without a tree. Christmas just isn't the same without a tree in the house. I really love having a real tree. Getting the tree is a big part of the fun.

Do these kids ever stay still?