The trip to Phoenix was a blast! I seriously can’t believe I’m home already. Don’t get me wrong – I’m so glad to be back in my own house but I wish I could’ve fit in more one-on-one time with friends and family.
Sunday 23rd – We arrived in Greensboro without any problems. Settled into our hotel, ate some dinner and hit the sack.
Monday 24th – Left the hotel around 4 a.m. (did you know it’s very dark at 4 a.m.?) and arrived at the airport. We parked in the long-term lot and the nice shuttle driver picked us up right at our car. We only had three suitcases and a bunch of carry-ons. The only snafu we ran into was that the reservations I made did not save the seating arrangement I had selected so the agent at the counter had to find random seats for the five of us. The first plane was teeny tiny and the seats were all pretty close. The second plane was larger and had us all pretty spread out. Luckily we had a few nice guys offer to switch seats so we could all be together. (Thank you Mr. Strangers!)
Almost the whole family met us at the airport. There was a flurry of hugs and tears as we were greeted. This was the only day we had to hang out with my oldest niece as she was leaving for MN the following morning. It was so good to see her and see her all healthy <– she looks better now than pre-cancer.
We unloaded the luggage at the house while the kids helped put out the last of the luminarias around my parents’ block. Then we settled in for an afternoon of opening gifts. And more gifts. And even more. Our family only opens one gift at a time and with 14 people in attendance… it took awhile. After gifts it was time to eat. This was the first year in quite some time that my dad made lutefisk (gross, smelly, smushy, jelly-like, white fish) and of course my hubby had to give it a try. (ew) We barely finished eating when it was time to head out for church.
I was so excited to spend Christmas Eve worshipping with my Genesis family. I was not disappointed. Lots more hugging and crying 🙂 So many people asked us if we drove back…. are you INSANE?! It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Tuesday 25th – My brain still hadn’t registered the time difference so I was up early. We had another big lunch with the family and a few family friends. Opened a few more gifts because clearly we didn’t open enough already. Did some gambling. What? You don’t gamble on Christmas? Ok, so we just play Left, Right, Center. The kids had a blast being included and The Boy’s face split in half from smiling so much after he won a round.
After game time the hubby and I took a quick trip over to my younger niece’s new condo. The place is so cute with a wreath on the door, a huge Christmas tree and all their matching furniture. (whatever happened to Goodwill mis-matched furniture?!) It was fun to see where she’s living now and it was fun to see how proud she was to show off her new place.
Wednesday 26th – Up early again today but this time it was because I was too excited to sleep. This was the day I had set aside to hang out with a dear friend. We opened gifts (yup, more gifts!), had breakfast, did some shopping, visited a friend’s brand new baby, had some crack – I mean lunch, and did some more shopping. I think we spent most of the time in the car but that’s okay we just wanted to hang out and talk. I got home just in time for dinner.
My parents decided to teach me and my hubby how to play a card game called 500. The game itself is interesting. The rather random set of secret rules however…. I seriously felt like the catcher in a game of baseball… If I tug my right ear, rub my elbow and then wink – that means I have the joker. Ok, so it wasn’t that random but seriously, the game does have a lot of unwritten rules to it. I think we drove my parents crazy – or at least my mom. Oh well, it’s their crazy game anyway.
Thursday 27th – It was crunch time. Literally. The hubby and I headed over to our chiropractor only to find out he called in sick so we had to see his partner. I’m glad we were able to be adjusted but his partner isn’t as good. After that appointment we headed over to the pet store to buy yet another gift! This one was for my parents’ new cat. They adopted an orange male cat. What do you call a cat that’s no longer a kitten but isn’t really a cat yet? Whatever it is – that’s what he is. He was so much to play with that we couldn’t resist getting him some new toys. Shopping done, we headed over to our next appointment with our financial guru, Becky. My niece works in her office and we were supposed to have lunch but she’d called in sick. It’s so funny to me what constitutes “sick” to her. Anyway. We finished up our appointment and then headed out for one last meeting. The company I work remotely for had hired a new director and I wanted the chance to put a face to the name. (soooo not what i pictured) We wrapped up our day together with lunch at Arriba’s Mexican food. Yum!! I think it was that afternoon that we finally let the kids go swimming. My dad had bought and labored over a pool heater so that the kids could go swimming on this trip. It was a huge hit and a really nice treat for them. My days are all kind of a blur but I think that was also the evening that we played Balderdash with the family. My dad is the KING of making up stories and random facts so this game is right up his alley. I think my mom may have peed her pants during one of the rounds. Such a fun game!
Friday 28th – I spent the morning shopping with my sister. She wanted new drapes for her living and dining rooms. Not my forte but it was just an excuse to hang out with each other. We did manage to find some really nice curtains. And jewelry. And coffee. And hair. (yes, hair)
This was the night that we had invited everyone we knew to come hang out with us around a campfire in my parents’ backyard. First let me say – it was freaking cold. Second – there totally was not enough time to hang out with everyone. I am SO glad that we at least got to hug all of our friends and take pictures with them. But I wish I could’ve sat and chatted longer with everyone. At least my frequent blog commenters all got to meet each other 🙂
Saturday 29th – Hang out with my niece day! I picked her up at her new place. (Sidenote: My oldest niece left me her new sporty Scion to drive around. So dangerously fun to drive!) We hit up Ikea. (oh, how i’ve missed you ikea) Had some lunch and did some shopping. After Ikea we hit up Tempe Marketplace. (like Desert Ridge but crazier) And then… we met up with my hubby at the Phoenix Tattoo Company where he was getting a new (long awaited) tattoo. Looks so cool. Don’t you wish I’d post a picture? Yeah, you’ll have to wait.
Sunday 30th – Church at Genesis again! Woot, woot! (that was just for you Rachel) My friend was preaching that day so it made it extra special. After church we had an open invitation for lunch at a local pizza place. We had a really good time just hanging out and catching up with our friends. We head out around 2 to go visit my great aunt. She’s such a neat lady with so many stories to share. We had a really nice visit with her and yes, we opened MORE gifts. Made it home in time for dinner and cards with the family.
Monday 31st – This was my hang-out day with my mom. What did we do? Shopped, of course. I don’t think there’s a major store we didn’t visit. That woman – she wiped me out! I did get new shoes so it’s okay 😉 She announced that the family would be going to church that night for a big renewal celebration. There went our plans for the evening. By the time we finished shopping she said she was so exhausted that she was planning on staying home with the kids while she sent the rest of us to church. ???!!! Um?? No?! We had already cancelled our other plans for the evening but I figured that they wouldn’t fuss if we did end up heading over to their place. And then I saw how much stuff we had left to pack. (Sorry, Trace, that we didn’t end up coming over) We ended up with EIGHT large suitcases. (remember that we only came with three??) It was a delicate game of weighing each bag to stay under 50 and trying to take the minimum amount of bags. We ended up leaving being a few large items behind to be shipped to us. No one seemed very happy about that but it’s not our fault that we received several heavy bulky gifts. I think it was somewhere around midnight before we finally crashed.
Tuesday 1st – Happy New Year! I was up at 2:30 (remember we went to bed around midnight?!) getting ready and packing the last of the toiletries and jammies. By 4:30 a.m. we were out the door and on our way to the airport. The adults put on a brave face and it was only one kiddo that ended up in tears. The flights home kept my scheduled seating so we were all seated together for the flights home. The first flight had a movie (The Nanny Diaries) which they cut short – totally missed the ending. Grrrrr. Beans slept on my lap most of the flight. The second flight was a very tiny plane – just short of needing prop propellers. That was a very bumpy – white knuckle flight. Beans was the only one cheering, “Whee! Dis is fun!” Crazy kid. By the time we made it down to the baggage claim the carousel was turned off with only one random piece of lonely luggage. Ours was no where in sight. My hubby had a lengthy chat with the claim department where they finally determined that there was a possibility our luggage was on the next flight (due in two hours) but if it wasn’t they would ship it when it finally arrived. Um. Okay. We opted to go out for dinner and cross our fingers for our luggage to arrive on the next flight. We arrived back at the airport just a few minutes before the carousel began to turn again. We didn’t have to wait long before our first piece of luggage popped up! Yea!!! All eight pieces arrived – another Woot, woot! Now we just had to figure out how to get eight heavy suitcases to our truck. Luckily we breed strong kids 🙂 Each one took a wheeled case, the hubby and I added the duffle bags on top of our wheeled cases and he pulled an extra case. What a sight we made tromping through the airport. I was amazed that he managed to get all the cases loaded without having to fold down the last row of seats. I think he was determined to keep the row up so we could separate all the kids for the 2 hour drive home. No worries, they all fell asleep!
Now we have a living room full of suitcases in various stages of unpacked-ness. (shush, it is too a word) I’m sure we have several loads of laundry to do and many, many, many toys to put away. Oh, did I mention that there was a large box full of gifts from their other Grandma waiting for the kids at home?? It was a wonderful trip – my only regret is that there just wasn’t enough time to hang out with everyone. Guess that means they’ll have to come visit us!! (hint, hint)