liAs I mentioned before, we spent our Christmas this past year in Arizona and California visiting my family. And, as promised, I have pictures to show you! So, without further ado…
We flew out to Arizona the day before Christmas Eve. It’s always a little bittersweet going back to see my family. I lived in Flagstaff for so long, it really was the only home I had ever known before moving to Arkansas. It’s strange to go back to the same town, same street, same house, same family, same cozy smell that was my life day in and day out for the better part of twelve years. It seems like everything should have just gone on as it always has. But that’s not the way life works.
There are new buildings and new neighbors. Businesses have changed hands and families have moved away. Even my parents house changes (thanks to my parent’s updating a lot). And everything, though so familiar, is not the same as it always was. One of my sisters, now married and living far away with her husband and two daughters in North Dakota, was not there. It’s not us four sisters talking about boys, quarreling and making up, or being silly together anymore. And somehow, though every thing in Flagstaff is so dear to my heart and I love going back, it’s not home anymore. That term is reserved for our snug house nestled in the hills of Arkansas.
It reminds me of Little Women, a story we always related to growing up as four girls. Beth laments the fact that someday everyone will grow up and move away, with lives of their own. Little Amy says, “We all will grow up someday…we might as well know what we want.” Yes, we all grow up.
But anyways, I digress. When we arrived in Flagstaff, my mom, grandma, and two of my sisters were awaiting us with a warm supper and gifts galore. It’s still strange not all being together for Christmas.
While opening presents, we had the wonderful opportunity of sharing with my parents the news about our little “bun in the oven”. I wrote them all letters (a family tradition), and snuck into each of them a little hint about a baby. Thinking that my very brainy parents would get it right away, I made the hints pretty subtle. Well, they didn’t get it right away…but they did eventually. Thankfully, we caught the whole charade on video! (Which I will share later).
The next morning we loaded up and headed out to southern California. Andy had not made this somewhat boring drive before, but thankfully the long wait in a car full of too many girls was worth it. Sunny California was just that…sunny and warm, and with the smog at a minimum. We made it to my grandparents home about mid-afternoon.
Being with my grandparents (after much too long of a time apart), and especially being in their home, brought with it a flood of memories. Everything was the same as it always had been. I could almost have pulled out the office supplies, doctor toys, and instruments, and have thought that no time had passed at all. I was still a child, with nary a care in the world. It’s wonderful to be able to feel that way, with so many fond memories.
That night we ate dinner at , long a favorite of my family. Yes, we did eat Mexican food for dinner. Can you tell where we’re from?
My wonderful grandparents…
Then it was time to hit the hay because the next day, Christmas Day, was DISNEYLAND! Have I mentioned this was a very unconventional Christmas? We did read the Christmas story, by the way, and everything was all about celebrating the gift of our family. It was so nice!
My dear husband had never been so fortunate as to go to the “Happiest Place on Earth”. He had no worries, though…my family had enough excitement for him. Maybe we overwhelmed him? 😉
I had to sit out on a few of my favorite rides, because of the little one growing inside of me. Let me tell you though, I didn’t mind a bit. It was so worth it thinking about the reason why I couldn’t go on the rides.
This next picture comes with a story. We decided to go on the classic Jungle Cruise, whose lines are particularly narrow and cramped . Well, there was this couple behind us that smelled absolutely terrible. I don’t know if it was some kind of strange perfume, but it was awful…and incredibly pervasive. Everyone around us was holding their nose too. Unfortunately, this same couple got on the same boat as us. It was terrible. And so, this picture…
Trying to not have bad faces from the smell…
Everything was still decorated for Christmas…it was beautiful.
As you’ll notice, Andy shaved his beard off the next morning. Hence the bearded/beardless pictures. (We had two-day passes to Disneyland and California Adventure.)
Did I mention that the weather was absolutely wonderful? Sunny and a high of 70. Yes ma’am! Just thinking about that on this particularly blustery Arkansas day makes me warm inside!
Everyone else had the same idea as us, I guess…there were over 70,000 people there on Christmas Day!
We spent a full day in Arizona, just hanging around (and seeing Mission Impossible 4!). And then it was back to Arkansas, one of my sisters in tow. Overall, it was such a wonderful Christmas. I only wish Natasha, Andrew, and the girls could have been there too! I’m dreaming of the day when all the “cousins” will be together.
For now, I have a cute Mickey Mouse and Lady & the Tramp sitting on our guestroom bed…waiting for the arrival of baby. After all, it was there first Disneyland trip! 🙂