Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Our Christmas Trip

We decided this year to head to Mesa, Arizona to visit with Rachel and Joey for Christmas.  The weather is much better in this part of Arizona in the winter than the sweltering summer.  We headed out a couple of days late because Evan was sick.

The first thing we did was make gingerbread houses.

Evan working on his masterpiece with a little help. 

Rachel had some little friends  who were so excited to be creative!

And the walls came tumbling down! 

Isn't it lovely???

Rachel's little munchkins were going to be leaving Saturday morning so Rachel and Joey planned to have Christmas a day early.  So that made Friday "Christmas Eve".  And what is Christmas Eve without Christmas PJ's?  They were pretty happy about that!! 

One last bedtime story

And that meant that Saturday was Christmas morning.  I haven't never seen more excited kids!!  

So glad I got her excitement on video!  

This little guy was pretty happy too!  

I love the smiles!!  

Rachel and Joey's house comes with furry friends too!!  Lily likes attention from Evan. 

Sasha likes attention from anyone, she especially love walks. 

There are also strange creatures at Rachel's house.  

This one is attached to a cactus!  

Saturday night, the true Christmas Eve, we went to the Mesa Temple Grounds to view the beautiful Christmas display and see the International Nativities.  

This one is all inlaid wood and so beautiful.  It made me think of Brad.  

This one was so unusual,  and such a great idea.  It was cut-out of pictures of different family members. 

I had never heard of Santon before, but love this display.  

I fell in love with this painting.  It is called "Kiss for a King".  

It may have been cold outside, but the beauty of the displays brought warmth to our hearts!! 

Two little love birds. 

Christmas morning was quiet.  We ate breakfast then opened our presents.  The big men both got puzzles for Christmas.  Man is Joey ever a wiz at puzzles. 

Mike had a little bit of a hard time with his.

Evan received the Pie Face game.  We had fun playing and everyone was a good sport!! 

Sunday afternoon Katie and Brad arrived and we had a lovely Christmas dinner together! 

Monday morning we went to the Phoenix zoo.  Joey and Evan were a little under the weather so they stayed home to just chill.  It was a little chilly but we had fun.  

One of my favorite exhibits was the orangutans.  There was family with a bashful daughter and a frisky little boy, a dad that didn't like to share, and a rather ambivalent mom. They were so funny to watch.  They were behind glass and it was hard to get pictures, but they were so funny!!   

Guess who?? 

One of the fun things we did was the giraffe encounter.  We all were able to feed a giraffe.  They have super long blue tongues that kind of tickle!! 

The kids feed the giraffe's lettuce. 

Derek thinks giraffes are pretty cool! 

Kyle liked it so much he snuck behind and tried to grab more lettuce. 

Brad giving the okay sign and out comes that long tongue.  

We all got a change. 

Eye ball to eye ball! 

Kyle, Katie Brad, Cindy, Joshua, Derek, Rachel and Mike.  

The Phoenix zoo has a collect of Lego animals made out of tens of thousands of Legos taking hundreds of hours to create.  

I could not figure out how this hummingbird did not topple over!  

Joshua was pretty happy to climb on this baby elephant. 

Ride 'em cowboy, Derek! 
King of the Jungle!!

How about an elephant for a pet??  
The next morning there was a giggle monster chasing little boys!!  

We went for walk around Papago Park.  Before Katie headed out with her family for home!  

A rattlesnake to climb on that is perfectly safe to play on.

Just what we like, nice flat asphalt trails!  

Derek loves hats!!  

We decided to take a huge detour home via the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas to visit with Aunt Delma.  I loved the Grand Canyon in the snow, it was very peaceful looking.   Pictures do NOT do this place justice, but enjoy anyway or visit yourself.  The Grand Canyon does NOT disappoint!! 

We always enjoy our visits with Aunt Delma.  She is happy to have company.  She lovingly feed us and we spent the night in her apartment.  She said numerous times, "I am so glad you came!".  Aunt Delma is 91 years old, has outlived both her two younger siblings and her spouse.  She is getting a little frail but her mind is still bright!  We love listening to her stories.  

Our trip was a great way to end 2016.  We are looking forward to another year and more visits to family and the great outdoors.  

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