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!


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.


Epic Road Trip - Day 4

Today all we did was drive and drive. Trying to catch up a little bit on our journey so we can make it to Arizona about when we are supposed to. The van is pretty tricked out right now. There is a 24" TV, a blue-ray dvd player and a full game system all hooked up. Riding in the back is like being in a really nice theater.

Last night's movie was Mary Poppins. It is one of our favorites and it helps the time pass quickly. We also started watching Fiddler on the Roof but didn't finish as we stopped for the night to sleep in Clarksville, Arkansas.

Lydia is still required to attend her Seminary class each day. So her instructor gave us the home study manual to maintain her attendance each day. It took us almost two hours for the lesson this morning but we have a nice study area set up in the back of the van too.

Thayne has never had a Whataburger before, so once we hit Oklahoma City there was the opportunity to share with our boy what was a childhood food memory for his parents. He thought the burger was huge. We had lunch there and then it was fill up with gasoline at $2.19 and head on out again.

The big sky of Texas loomed over us and as the sun set over the horizon, we were headed into Amarillo where not by morning but by evening we will had made it here.


Epic Road Trip - Day 3

Twenty one years ago was the last time I was here. Maliea was 8, Chaiya was 5 and Quayde was a wee babe on my hip in a sling carrier. The International Space station had parts that were still being built here and we took a bus tour. Things have changed a bit and the facility is much, much larger. When we drove past to our hotel, Thayne started screaming with excitement! He loves all things NASA and was so happy that we were going to check this place out.

Computers have changed a lot in that time and all you have to do is touch a screen and up pops tons of information. Maliea and Lydia spent lots of time learning about the history of space exploration and various parts of rocket history. There was an exhibit of incredible space inspired jewelry but I failed to take any pictures of it because I was just in awe.

So the coolest part was that all the fun rides and things were included in the price. There was this great rock climbing wall. Thayne was so thrilled to make it to the top. He has never been able to climb to the top before. It was pretty high. His descent was kind of crash and burn but he was so happy he didn't care.

There are lots of  rockets outside. Along with the testing Space Shuttle PathFinder , missiles, military vehicles, jets and various other space exploration artifacts. Maliea, Michael and Thayne got to experience a 4 G centrifugal ride. They faces were bright red coming out.

This is a very small space that they are laying in. It was quite the task to crawl out of it but so much fun to pretend to be an astronaut in the Apollo command module.

Some of the other cool things were simulators where you got to fly an aircraft that you designed and this weird thing where you were a bird and had to flap your arms and move your body. It was to teach you the principles of drag, lift and flight. The computers monitored your movements and you were controlling the geese on the screen.

 I have a picture of the two older girls in front of this in 1996 so of course I wanted a picture of the kids now. We were only planning to spend two hours there and then get on the road again but we ended up spending 5 hours.

It was worth it and I have a ton load of pictures. Michael and Thayne were in NASA heaven. We girls had a great time too. They each got to pick a souvenir from the gift shop. There is a boy with a blow up space shuttle and a girl with space socks at the end of this universe based adventure.