Friday, January 12, 2024

Utah New Year's Eve

The drive from our house to Arizona is long.  A total driving time of 24 hours without stops.  Luckily my brother lives in Utah which is almost halfway and he let us stay at his house both ways.  It was so nice to get to see his family.  On the way home it was New Years Eve so we stayed at their house two nights and spent the holiday there.  Another one of my brothers and his family came so it was a big party.
The kids had so much fun playing with their cousins.  In the top picture you can see a Christmas village.  It was at Mary-Anne's mom's house and it was really cool.  There were so many houses and figures.  She even had a scavenger hunt set up.  In the below picture you can see the girls putting make up on the boys.  I'm not sure what that was about but they really were enjoying it.

Their neighbor put on the biggest neighborhood fireworks show I've ever seen.

We had a blast!

The drive in general was not bad.  We had some dense fog at points but other than that the roads were clear.  The kids did well and we listened to several audio books including a few from the "Wings of Fire series."  Tucker pretty much finished his mandatory driver's permit hours and was getting pretty good at freeway driving.

It was a great trip.  I'm so glad we went even though we spent four days in the car.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Talitha's and Ghost Town

While in AZ we spent most of our time staying at my parents place, but Talitha and David also own a home down there.  We drove out one day to their house; it is really nice.  I didn't get very many pictures but they have water in their backyard and we went kayaking.  
After dinner we drove around and looked at Christmas lights.  I think I saw the best home displays I've ever seen.  This first one was amazing.  They had a floating space Santa and giant blow ups coming out of their second floor. 
They also had a walk though with tons of more blow up decorations to see.

Another day we went to the local ghost town.  It is pretty much a tourist attraction but it used to be a real town.  It has been this fun ghost town for a while though.  I remember going as a kid.

They have a show where they do a pretend gun fight on the street.  Calista didn't like the noise.  I remember it seeming a lot more real when I was a kid.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Arizona Hiking

We went in two hikes while in Arizona. 
The cacti were a big attraction for us.

At the top of the first hike there is a place where you can chip away at the rock and find these cool black stones.

We had a lot of fun with that.  It was really dusty though.

At the top of the second hike we got to see ancient petroglyphs written on the rocks.

I love getting outside and being in nature.  These hikes were so different than what we are used to.  Very dusty and the plants were completely different.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Grandpa Swift

A couple days before we made it down to Arizona my grandpa Swift passed away.  We were excited to see him soon and very sorry to hear the news.  I always thought he and my grandma (who passed a way a few years ago) were great.  My grandpa played baseball most of his life, even into his 90s.  He was still sharp and walking around up until the end.  We didn't get to see him very often because we never lived in the same state.  He could zoom though and we got to chat with him that way, which was neat.
I'm so happy I went to his hundredth birthday party in September.  It was really cool to hear him tell his life story.
He lived a good life and I'm sure he is happy to see his wife, Dora, of over 60 years again.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Arizona Christmas Fun

We visited family in Arizona for Christmas this year but before left we celebrated at home.  Beatrix got to be the innkeeper in a nativity play.
The girls and I went to see a ballet similar to the nutcracker.  Their friend Tessa was the main character, she did great.
We also did all of our presents but I didn't get any pictures.  

Once in Arizona we first visited my Grandma Rucker.  She is 97.  She has dementia and her memory isn't quite working.  I enjoy talking to her. 

One evening we went and saw the Mesa temple lights.

Beatrix had gotten a camera for Christmas and was really into taking pictures of everything.

Mainly we hung out in my parents retirement community. The golf cart was a big hit.  I know most of the kids got to try steering it.  Leon had gotten a lock pick set for Christmas and was able to start it without the key.
We swam pretty much everyday and we even went to line dancing.
The main thing was really the pool and hanging out with family.  The weather was warm and sunny, it was great.