Christmas Vacation

I can’t believe I am finally writing about Christmas! We’ve been in the new year for one whole week. It is crazy to be 2011 all ready.

We had been planning on visiting Texas as soon as we found out my sister was expecting. What a great time to visit home, see some family and friends, go down memory lane, and make some new memories! But before I dive right in to the trip portion, I have to set this up with the day we celebrated Christmas.

Since we were going to be traveling on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we celebrated a couple of days earlier. Here are the girls in their Christmas dresses for church.


The girls had a wonderful Christmas morning! Lizzie was so cute! I set up their tent so they would have to go through the tent and tunnel to get to the tree. As soon as they came out on the other side, there was a doll that plays peek-a-boo waiting for Lizzie. She saw it in the store a few days before and fell in love. She cried like crazy when I made her put it back. She was so excited to see her little baby doll.


For a 15 month old, she is a Christmas morning natural. She opened a gift, played with it for a bit and then went to the next one and repeated until she opened all her gifts. It was so cute!


Katie is a Christmas morning pro! At 6 years old, she has many Christmas mornings behind her. We didn’t even have to get off the couch. She just got right to passing out the gifts and even waiting to see what you got before she went for another.  I had to take her to see “Tangled” before we had Christmas since she was getting lots of Rapunzel stuff.

Here she is with her new Rapunzel doll and her dressed up as Rapunzel—wig and all! Halloween 2011 is done!

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We enjoyed our morning and the girls relaxed a bit before we began our 10 day road trip. Liz with her peek-a-boo doll and Katie reading her card from Mom.


But before I go on, we also planned for another remodel to happen while we were away. We removed the fire place right before we left. Here is a picture of me in front of what used to be our fire place. I was also trying to get a picture of my 70lb weight loss!

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So we were off! Christmas morning was done and that afternoon we traveled to my sister, Misty’s house in Oak City, UT. We spent the night there and the next morning began our 2 day journey to Texas.

Here we are at a rest stop for lunch the first day. Katie was so excited that her cousin Sophie could ride in the car with her.

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That night we stopped at a local hamburger joint. We barely got food before they closed because for the rest of the world, it was Christmas Eve. We stayed at a hotel that night and early the next day we drove until we reached Pleasanton, Texas. Here are some pictures we got as we drove into Texas. There was not much to see during the day, but at night it was pretty cool.

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The girls held up pretty well, but it was a long drive and they were done being in the car. We had dinner at Jack in the box (never again) and again we barely got food because to the rest of the world it was Christmas night. Here is Jessica holding Sophie and Katie. Cute girls!

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Sunday morning and the fourth day of the trip. We went to the baby blessing. My little niece, Christina, being held by her daddy in her blessing dress. My mom crocheted the dress and my Grandma crocheted the blessing blanket. She has a lot of dark, thick, and long hair! So different from my babies, but so adorable.


Just hanging out.

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WHEW! What a day! My brother, Jared, catching a snooze and Lizzie, too!

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It has been so long since I have seen Jared and his family! They had not yet met my kids, and I had not yet met their two youngest. Here is his family. Jared, his wife Melissa and their four children Heidi (in Jared’s arms), Megan, Ethan, and little Christian. I didn’t get a picture of my sister, Dawn because she got sick and ended up in bed all day. Bummer! Also my brother Wiley and his family wasn’t able to make it. Double Bummer!!


Monday, day 5 of our adventure. The Alamo and the Riverwalk. We wanted to spend some time in San Antonio. Unfortunately I forgot to recharge my camera battery so I didn’t get any pictures at the Alamo. We also drove by our old house. Such memories! Misty took pictures so I will have to get some from her. Misty’s family headed up to Jared’s house in Weatherford, Texas. I bought a disposable camera and my family took a boat ride on the river. We didn’t have time to walk the Riverwalk, but we did hang out at the Rivercenter Mall for awhile. That night we had dinner with one of my friends from High School, Annette. It has been so long since I have seen Annette!!! I was so glad we got to visit, even if it was briefly at the Mi Tierra. A very yummy Mexican restaurant at the Market Square, San Antonio.FH000018 FH000020  0005713-R1-044-20A 0005713-R1-046-21A 0005713-R1-048-22A   

One of my best friends from High School Annette.

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Tuesday, the sixth day of our trip was spent mainly on the road. We thought about going downtown again but with the rain we decided to just head up to Weatherford to hang out with my brother and his family. He lives about 5 hours away from San Antonio, but it took us a bit longer than that. I think it was more like 9 hours with restless kids and frequent stops, it seemed like we were never going to get there. Plus we HAD to stop at Bill Miller’s BBQ so I could show Bryce what fast food BBQ was like. Here are a couple of those pictures…

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Lizzie was pretty fed up with traveling by this point and kept screaming. Not the crying screaming, but the abrupt, loud, just because she can type screaming. Every half minute she would just let one loose to the point that I had to stick my head out the window into the wind to help buffer the penetrating screech escaping my daughters lungs. I was sure if my ears didn’t start bleeding, I would surly go deaf. But we made it to Weatherford and I was glad to be out of that car. I am sure everyone was glad.

Wednesday, day seven of our glorious trip was spent mostly hanging out with my brother and family. It was so much fun. Bryce and I got up early to go for a run to help balance all the holiday feasting we had been indulging. That night we went to dinner with another old friend TeriAnn, from collage. We were also roommates. My camera, though charged was not at the ready for any of this day (sigh), but definitely memorable. I was really sad I didn’t take any pictures with TeriAnn, but between her kids and mine being restless, it was a miracle we got through dinner! So much fun and again I wish the visit could have been longer.

We headed out for Colorado that night to avoid any more screaming. We figured if we drove through the night then we would be driving mostly while the girls were sleeping and maybe we wouldn’t be as frazzled for our next destination. It turned out to be a really good idea because we missed the snow storm by a few hours. We got into Colorado Springs on Thursday (our 8th day) and by this time, we were very much done with being on the road! But we got to visit with Valerie and her family for 2 whole days! Finally a nice rest from driving. Valerie and I practically grew up together. We have been best buds for a very long time…since grade school! So for the first day, we just hung out and chatted. Bryce and Harvey (Valerie’s husband) and the kids played a dancing game which was really fun to watch. We tried to go to the Garden of the Gods, but that was when the snow came in, so we just headed back to their place and had hot chocolate and relaxed some more.

On the ninth day of vacation, our families hung out at the mall and then that night, New Years, went to one of their friend’s house to welcome in the new year. So much fun. Too bad it was at the end of a very long trip!  Here are the kids playing at the mall playground. The little boy is Noah, Valerie’s son.

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Val and I stayed up chatting while Bryce and the girls slept. I thought it was so cute! They are covered by a quilt I made  Bryce for Christmas. I made it out of his old jeans. Happy New Years my sleeping cuties!


The 10th day, Saturday and the last day of Vacation. Or so we thought. We were supposed to head home and get home sometime that evening. But we didn’t leave till late. All that partying we did the night before….

Here we are saying good bye to our wonderful hosts. Valerie’s daughter had spent the night at a friend’s house, so we didn’t get a picture with her in it, but I made sure we got pictures this time!

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We both just got up. Wish we had taken pictures the night before, oh well.

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Katie with their dog Tex. Katie was afraid of this dog the whole time, she finally got brave to sit next to it for a picture and even pet it a few times. I love this picture because they both have the same look on their face.


Because of all the snow storms we determined the best route was through Wyoming. The only problem is that Wyoming is colder and windier then Colorado. Even though we started out late, I still hoped to be home that night. It didn’t happen. We got Rawlins, Wyoming before we finally decided to stop. The wind blew the snow over the road so you couldn’t see and the cold made black ice a concern for our safety. At about 5PM, we knew we were not going to make it home and decided to find a motel. Problem one-we have never been to Rawlins. Problem two- it was cold and dark. Problem three-Katie had to pee, and I mean bad. After trying several places that were closed and almost getting stuck in snow patches, we finally found a Burger King where Katie could finally go to the bathroom.  The wind and cold made it impossible to just stop at the road side, but it was intense there for about half an hour. We decided to get dinner there at the BK since we had enough and just wanted to get in somewhere warm and safe. We ended up at the Comfort Inn just across the parking lot from the BK.

Whew! We were so glad. The girls quickly snugged themselves into bed and watched TV. I had to laugh so here I took a picture of it.

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Sunday, the real final day and day 11. I am not kidding, this had to be the longest road trip I ever made. Here is Bryce driving us home!! And the girls just holding on a little longer.   


But to give a clearer picture of what we were up against while driving home…


Gotta love that chili wind! But we did make it home and boy were we ready! I could have kissed the threshold! And we also came home to our brand new living room!! Good bye old, ugly and useless fire place, hello brand new window!! Katie is standing in the same place I was standing in the picture at the beginning of this post.


If you made it this far, thanks for reading. It was a fun trip and I will never do it again! But really, I am so happy I got to see all of my friends and family. I have missed you all so much and this really was revitalizing for me. And though I am glad to be home, there is a part of me that wishes it could have been longer.