I know we’re two weeks past Christmas and everyone’s over it (including myself) and we don’t want to see another Christmas tree for at least four months and if we hear one more jingle our brain cells will fuse together and become obsolete, BUT. I had to get get this post written because I don’t have many other memory-keeping avenues besides my personal journals and I’m not sure that’s the place I want to send my family for memories in 25 years. So please. Bear with me, yes?
This is the first time ever in over six years we’ve driven to Albuquerque for Christmas. Or for any reason for that matter. As I’ve mentioned before I worked for two major airlines for five years and we were quite spoiled with our flight benefits. We used to fly there or elsewhere usually once a month or at least every other month. And on good tail wind days, it takes 54 minutes to fly from Missoula to Salt Lake. Fifty-four minutes. It took us fifty-four minutes to make our way out of the house and into our vehicle sitting in the garage.
We had terrible weather until we got to Utah which slowed us down quite a bit but after that we made good time. Moab was our stopping point and I wish we had had a couple days to spend there. Moab is one of my most favorite places on earth. Arches National Park is like a giant and indescribably beautiful playground for adults. We woke up after our night there to the sun rising over the red rocks and not a cloud in the sky. I can’t explain what it did for my soul.
We got into Albuquerque in the afternoon and thus began one of the most relaxing weeks we’ve had in a very, very, very, very long time. Matt’s mom and step-dad live there and Matt’s mom most certainly has the gift of hospitality. She spoiled/loved us rotten. And since I’m from there I had a list of restaurants and food that I had to eat while we were there and we over-fulfilled those requirements (in addition to all of her delicious home-cooked meals).
Matt and I got to sleep in every single day because she got up with the boys every morning. One morning I went in there because I was starting to feel bad and Asher said, “No! Nana! Naaaa-NA!” I think they missed me.
Prepare yourself for lots of pictures. I’ll let them tell the stories of our time there. Micah calls Albuquerque Albaqerty, so thank you Albaqerty Nana for loving us so well and giving us the rest our bodies and souls needed. It was a restorative end to a long and difficult year.
|This was in Salt Lake. We had a coffee and Nutella and banana toast break. Only 17,000 more hours!|
|Ahhh, the sunshine. Sweet blessed sunshine and blue skies.|
|This doodle toy was seriously a win for the car ride. Thanks Montana Nana for early Christmas presents!|
|Watching Planes for the 38th time.|
|Still soaking the blue skies in. There are more of these where this came from. Interesting fact: we are on the Navajo reservation here and my mom is Navajo and grew up not far from here. A lot of family history here.|
|Oh sweet Serious Texas BBQ, you always were my first love.|
|This was the picture we sent Nana to let her know we were almost there!|
|There are the Sandia Mountains; we’re officially in Albuquerque! My only tearful melt-down happened about 17 minutes before this picture was taken. But we’d been in the car for 19+ hours so who can blame me, right?|
|Just arrived at Nana’s house and she had some sweet toys waiting to be played with. Such a good Nana.|
|Matt and his sweet mom whom I love so much. (That’s a Starbucks drink in her hand, not a beer.) (She thought it looked like a beer.)|
|Getting some exercise after all our hours in the car.|
|Sweet Baby Luke at 17 weeks.|
|The local amusement park was open for Christmas festivities. It was such a blast. I honestly love nothing more than watching my children have a great time and sharing it with them.|
|Oh Dion’s, you always were my first love (too). This is Christmas Eve dinner.|
|Micah made several ornaments at his school so we brought them with us and added them to Nana’s tree.|
|This was my favorite. A sheep made out of cotton balls and q-tips.|
My mom sent us a video on Christmas day of Grace’s resting spot decorated with lots of pictures of her family and stockings for everyone. She made it so festive and beautiful. I hated that I wasn’t going to be able to visit her on Christmas so it meant so much to see our girl so loved and cared for. There is this indescribable ache of missing that’s exacerbated on special holidays. Someone’s missing. Somebody irreplaceable and deeply loved and missed. I was so thankful to my mom for doing that.
|A sweet gift from a sweet friend.|
|Micah made this star too.|
|It has a bow in the middle because those lights went out and were unfixable. Adds character, doesn’t it?|
|I love that these are called “Troubled Teeth.” Yes, indeed, my pearly friends, you have seen some troubled times.|
|This toy may have been hidden every single day after it was received.|
|Christmas morning. Don’t mind the bedhead.|
|Slinky! That totally let me down on the Stair Test. One stair, my friends. That’s as far as it got.|
|Setting up for Christmas lunch.|
|Linda and Matt’s step-dad, Kim. We got Kim Griz paraphernalia for his gift so now he’ll fit right in when he visits.|
We went to this place called Gravity Park and it was so fun! It has tons of trampolines and foam pits built into the floors and wall. The boys had a blast. I loved watching them.
|Getting ready to jump!|
|This is the Dodgeball Pit where games are constantly going on and you just jump in.|
|We had a lot of car-napping. Too much fun was still to be had to stop and nap!
(Also: the cheeks.) (And also: the double chin.)
We made Salt Lake our stopping point on the way back and In-N-Out burger may or may not have been my primary reason for this. (And IKEA.)
|Oh the happiness.|
|And then this was the part of our road trip that I wondered if happiness existed.
Northwest, you kill me in the winter. Gah.
Wow, bravo to you for making it through that. A cookie?