And we begin again! To a bright new future and here is hoping that this year brings new adventures and lot of little happy things that make life worthwhile.
Thayne has wanted me to make a 'figgy pudding' because of the mention of it in the famous Christmas song. I was finally able to have enough time to whip  a reasonable resemblance of one and it was so tasty. I used dried figs, orange juice and glazed it with a fig jam. I will probably make this again but it was so dense and rich it may be just a once a year thing.
So here is to trying new things and creating a life that we love in the year of 2018!


Christmas Town 2017

Santa, Rides, Shows and fun times! We played and played and basically shut down the park. Nana and Rose came too but we only saw them at dinner time and I don't have any pictures of them. They were out riding their scooters all around the park and having the time of their lives. We took the train around to the back of the park and worked our way forward. It made the experience feel brand new. It took forever to get to see Santa and when we came out the park had closed and we were the second to last car in the upper parking lot. It was quite cold this year compared to last. We love this tradition and it is so fun to play as a family.



Preparation is the key to Thanksgiving! I spent the last couple of days cooking and packing up again so we could head down to Williamsburg for our annual Thanksgiving trip. Nana Linda and her best friend Rose are joining us this year. We have purchased tickets for Christmas Town and are excited to spend some time visiting and having fun with them.

So remember that the van broke down on our trip to Arizona. Well apparently that waterpump was not the only thing wrong. Michael found it was leaking again so we took it to a shop and we are all crammed in the Lincoln to drive down the road. Ahh family togetherness! Good thing we all love each other.
Here we are! This year I definitely felt a little more pressure to have our hotel dinner be really nice since we had guest. We took over part of the hotel dining room and made it into our family area. There was ham and turkey this year. I made these diving pecan pie bars and pumpkin pie. Mashed potatoes and stuffing was the favorite sides. Most thing I can cook ahead but some had to be done there. We used the microwaves in both hotel rooms to put it all together. Everyone enjoyed the food and the company. I even had printed off some word search games and that was a lot of fun to figure out after dinner as we let our food digest. Missing our two kids in AZ a lot! Wishing we weren't 2400 miles apart.
Tomorrow is off to have fun and Busch Gardens in Christmas Town. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful. This year we have had so many blessings and I am so grateful for this amazing life that God has given us!


Evelyn's 2nd Birthday

 Two years passes so fast. Gratitude and sadness. I am so grateful that we are able to be here for her birthday and sadness knowing that they live so far away and this visit will be so very short. Lydia and Chaiya made this pinata for Evelyn and she wanted to be the only one allowed to hit it. There were many family members and friends to wish her a happy day.

Thanks to Grandpa, Evie could get close enough to blow them out but not too close. Chaiya made a special no-carb cheesecake that was pretty tasty.

 Seriously, how many toys does one little girl need? The benefit of being the only grandchild on every side is that she will never miss out on anything she wants. We gifted her a simple xylophone and some wooden puzzles.

 Thayne has been wanting to go to Peter Piper Pizza since we got here. He has memories that it was some kind of amazing place. So we all headed there for dinner. We treated Evie to a ice cream as her night time birthday treat. Being Grandparents is the best. Happy Birthday to our sweet Evelyn. We are so happy you were born into our family!


Arizona - Day 7 & 8

 Oh Arizona! Your sunrises and sunsets are so good for my heart. I love this big beautiful sky. Chaiya and Dylan have 2 1/2 acres out in the back of Prescott Valley. The views of Mingus Mountain and Granite Mountain on the other side are amazing. We are so happy for them that they have this little place.

It is really all about that grandbaby! Evelyn is just so much fun and she wasn't shy about connecting with any of us. I was worried it might take her a little while to warm up to us since we haven't seen her in so very long. She started loving on us right away. Thayne is such a good uncle. He was giving her shoulder rides and just playing with her. Evie even 'helped' Lydia do seminary one morning.

The boys being boys. They had fun wrestling each other and just being brothers again. WE MISS Quayde A LOT!

Best Cheese Enchilada that I have had in years! spent a few hours with my beloved friend Dana here at Olivas. She and I became friends right before we moved to Maryland and have stayed in contact through mail and phone calls. We love getting together to eat and share our lives. Dana owns the Prescott Animal Hospital, she's Jewish and her boys go to a fancy prep school. On the outside it looks as if we have not anything in common but some people are just soul friends. 


Epic Road Trip Day 6 - AZ finally

Due to the water pump incident yesterday our plans had to be altered and we just had to drive and drive to make it to our family. No more playing cause we are focused on getting to our family now.
Ahh the wild, wild west and the brown dirt and rocks! The kids were excited when we stopped and there were rocks to climb! Maliea was being extra cautious.Oh I miss big rocks.

If you would have told me years ago that I would have been taking pictures of barbed wire and chemisa I would have laughed at you. Now these classic things of the great wide west are images I cherish.

This little sweetheart is our wonderful reason we are Grandparents! She is full of spunk and her mother's daughter. Oh she loves her grandpa so very much! We love her laugh and the way she says, "goats". Arizona we have arrived and we are so very happy to be here!


Epic Road Trip Day 5 (breakdown)

39 degrees. 8 miles from Vega, Texas which is in the middle of nowhere literally. Waterpump gave up the ghost. This was a testament to how well Heavenly Father always takes care of us. We pulled off the side of the road when it all went down. There was nothing out there. Thankful for cell phones! Michael called around for a service station and parts and literally we were in the middle of nothingness. So we started to risk the drive back to a little town called Vega. Then woo hoo on the side of the road was two hardworking men from India who have a little shop.

They had this tiny room and a small shop. They were willing to drop everything to help us even though they usually only work on Semi Trucks. The shop was cold and we drug out the blankets and devices to keep us warm and busy.

These people were so willing to help. They had to drive Michael back to Vega to pick up the parts for the van. We were blessed that the part was actually available. These sweet people live out there in an RV and fix diesel trucks for a living. There is nothing else anywhere out there!

Thayne found a friend. He spent over two hours just playing with their dog. Running around in the cold and playing fetch with Ranger. There was tug of war and a stolen glove and lots of fun for those two. The boy needs a dog in his life!

It took a bit over three hours. Michael was frustrated because he couldn't help just get into it and fix it. We didn't have tools. I am not sure they totally knew what they were doing but they were hard workers and didn't pause once in the cold weather. These people were such a blessing to us. They could have charged us anything they wanted. We were kind of desperate.

This dog, Ranger, was Thayne's best friend and made the time pass so much quicker. Our kids are such troopers. Not one time did they complain about being cold or hungry or anything!  So $375 later we were back on our way chugging down the road. Off to find some food and a little better view.