The kids (& 2 old people) all dressed and ready for Christmas Eve service.
Look! Aidan found another squirrel!! Taking pictures of Aidan has not gotten any better since this time. This is the best…urr…best of all the worst shot of all 3.
Our church had 3 services on Thurs. and 3 on Friday. We chose the 3 pm on Friday which gave us time to grab dinner before everything closed. It was a great service. They opened and closed with some TSO like this:
which thrilled Matt and they did this song again. The place was rockin’!
After dinner at Olive Garden (and meeting a nice lady from our church in the bathroom who happens to live near by) we headed for home with no certain plans of how to spend the evening.
Once home we got a Skype call from Mimi, Papa, Uncle Adam, Uncle Sam & Aunt Marcia and Dallen & Madison. The gift opening was pandemonium!! Paper flying, kids screaming and Aidan handing me one of my opened gifts!! :) Despite Skype technical difficulties we had a great visit and are thankful for technology that helped us feel a little closer to home for the holidays.
Aidan excited for his new razor scooter from Mimi!!
Isaac opening his new animal placemat from Mimi and enjoying the wrapping paper from all the opened gifts. :)
On to the preps for the jolly bearded man and his reindeer. Reindeer food scattered- Check.
Cookies, milk and a “are you real?” note- Check.
We did what we could to feel the Christmas spirit here in AZ with out the aid of blistery KS winds & snow.
Emma dug out her duds that Mimi made a couple years back during her Mary obsessive time period. I was able to snap a pic of the willing donkey she found to take her on her trek out of Bethlehem (considering it appears Jesus had already arrived).
We drove through a light display near Phoenix. They claimed to have over a million lights. This display differed from your typical displays b/c they not only had your typical Christmas trains, gingerbread men, snowmen, etc. They also had several scenes from different stories from the Bible. Jonah & the whale, the last supper, crucifixion, leaving the grave, ascension into heaven. Kinda cool to see all those displayed in lights.
The end had you drive through TONS of lights all flashing and blinking. The kids LOVED it!
God’s gift to us this Christmas week was getting to know a new neighbor. They have a little boy “S” that is about 6 months older than Aidan and loves Transformers as much if not more!! They also have “A” which is only a week older than Isaac and will single handedly wean Isaac from his pacifier for me! They don’t have a “match” for Emma, but she would love to get her hands on “A” & Isaac to play mommy or daycare her favorite two games!!
We had them over on the 23rd to make cookies for Santa. A.LOT of sprinkles were used in the making of only a few cookies!! :) They all had fun decorating and then playing together.
Overall we’re doing Christmas things, lights, Polar Express, we’re decorated for Christmas complete with outdoor lights…but the 70 degree + weather makes it difficult to believe!!
Williams AZ looked like a cute little town the night of our train ride, so we decided to go back Monday morning and look around. There were WAY less people. We practically had the place to ourselves.
This old steam engine was HUGE! Aidan couldn’t get enough of the trains.
The courtyard of the depot was decked decorated with a little village full of lights. Emma & Aidan standing by a wheel of a steam engine. It’s HUGE!
Here’s a shot of our train in the daylight. The crew was cleaning the windows on the other side of the train. There were a lot of little window lickers & sticky chocolate fingers the night before. :) This was one lil’ window licker who is all smiles cause he knows he kept his mommy up ALL night long and now he can rest in the car ride home!
Flagstaff & Williams is beautiful. Very similar in view to Colorado. It was hard for Emma to understand we were still in AZ. She kept asking “are we back in Az yet?”. Both towns have quaint little main streets and lots of mom & pop local restaurants that looked very interesting. Either town would be a great destination for a couple –sans children- to visit and stroll around.
The further you go south on I-17 the snow covered mountains turn to lower mountains or even red rock cliffs of Sedona. The evergreen trees thin out to green bushes.
Then the cacti appear. More and more the closer to Phoenix.
THIS was perhaps the most interesting sight on the way back “down”. Matt passed them and I made him slow back down so I could get a pic!! :) I can’t imagine hunting something THAT huge!!! You could see the pride all over the drivers face!! Ask Emma sometime about seeing this. She makes a great impression of the elk!!
We took off north to
Flagstaff the North Pole after church on Sunday. We had reserved tickets to ride on the Polar Express Sunday at 8 p.m.
Isaac kept busy with his early Christmas present from Mimi…actually all 3 of them loved the quiet activity book!
Isaac had some trouble with his ears and the altitude. Rough going from 880 ft to 7500 ft in 2 1/2 hours!! Rough on mommy too…but I’ll refrain from sharing my feelings about the speed limit & road condition on the I-17. When I can stand to open my eyes and look out it is by far one of the most beautiful drives I’ve been on….it rivals fall in the Ozarks.
Along the way we found a DQ which are few and far between ‘round here so it was a must that we stop. I have.no.idea why Aidan has a sweet dreams mask on?!?!? This also gave us time to fire up Daddy’s laptop with wireless internet to listen to the Chiefs play.
Our hotel had a “cook-in-front-of-you” restaurant which is Emma’s favorite and highly entertaining for 2 little boys. Aidan even loved the soup that looks like pond water. That kid will eat ANYTHING! :) See Emma’s excitement!
This chef really like the fire. He made some of the biggest fires I have ever seen at a place like this!! It might have been a distraction so you didn’t realize the $70 you spent on food that didn’t taste very good! :)
After dinner we got our jammies on and took a quick pic by the hotel fireplace. SOO cute of Isaac & Emma…then there’s “Look-a-squirrel Aidan”.
When we arrived in Williams we wrote letters to Santa and visited Mrs. Clause. Emma’s said “I am a nice gril. I want a IPOD tuch, cumptr and selfon.” Aidan’s said “I want 2 transformers. I want a Bulk Head. I am a nice boy. I am excited for Christmas Eve.”
Mrs. Clause reads Aidans and then responds to Emma’s requests as Aidan “mails” his letter. Mrs. Clause said she would like an IPOD Touch too. So I told Emma if Santa hadn’t got Mrs. C one than her odds of getting one was slim. Mrs. C said “What happened to little girls wanting barbies & dolls?” Emma said “I want those from my mommy & daddy.” She’s really testing this whole Santa gig this year!!
Isaac loved the train set. He squealed each time it came out of the tunnel!!
Here comes the real train!!!
Isaac snuggled on mommy waiting to board.
Daddy & Emma. Mommy & the boys.
Once boarded they played the story of the Polar Express as the chefs on the train car walked up and down with the book showing the pictures. Then they handed out super yummy cookies and hot chocolate. Emma is now in love with hot cocoa! She sipped and savored hers to the last drop!
Before reaching the North Pole Isaac hit the “i’m so tired of being held and it is my bed time so I’m going-to-rip-your-face-off” mode.
After traveling through the “time warp” tunnel we finally reached the no-snow North Pole. Hard to get a good shot. It was fully lit with Christmas lights, trees & a little village. Santa was there waving!
Then Santa got on the train and visited each kids on each train car! He gave each child a bell as a souvenir. We are going to made a tie for ours and use it as this years Christmas ornament.
On the way back we sang Christmas songs. The kids favorite was 12 Days of Christmas b/c the dads all stood up and loudly bellowed “5 golden rings!” each time through. Once in the car they quickly passed out as we drove back to Flagstaff.
To be continued….Day 2.
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