We feel really lucky that in the past 3 months since Maren was born we were able to see almost everyone in both of our families. That really is a huge feat since the closest relatives are about 500 miles away, the farthest are about 8,000. We have little photo evidence of this last trip though since I was just mainly enjoying my time and not taking pictures. Mostly the pictures show some of what Maren did...
*We stopped the first night at Krista's house and spent time with Krista and Scott. This was the beginning of several "Christmases" since Scott had our name and we opened presents with him. Rand was SUPER happy with all his new Ninjagos. Rhianna got a great jewelry box to keep her earrings and other things organized. Seth got some Star Wars figures. Steve and I both got watches which fit so well and really are what we needed.
*The next few days we were in Utah for my brother Michael's wedding. We had a great family dinner (Valerie was the main one that did things for these meals, with a little help from me and Maria) and it was really nice to get to meet Emily's family. We did our Gangnam style dance. The day of the wedding was pretty perfect. It was so nice to be in the temple and see some extended family that day. It was a little chilly but sunny. We had another good lunch and then the reception that night. Our family mainly got to sit around and chat and then we joined in to surprise Michael and Emily with a small flash mob dance. Seth was excited about the sparklers as they left.
*After the wedding we had a few more days there. We played games (DOMINION! - and Brian gave it to Rhianna and Rand!), went swimming, went out to dinner, Seth threw up 2 times, went to church, went to Rixa's for a hayride and caroling.
*As my family headed back out across the US and off to India, we headed up to Idaho. Christmas Eve was really nice and we acted out the Nativity with a real baby, watched the Nativity, and sang Christmas songs while Marnie played the piano.
*Grandma and Grandpa were surprised they were the first ones awake Christmas morning, but I was glad my sleepy Funk genes are starting to kick in. Doug & Marnie and Scott & Chrissy and Krista were there too that morning and we had a nice few hours opening presents. Some of the most memorable gifts were from Krista - she was clever and made these present surprise balls for the kids with little tiny gifts that would pop out as you unwrapped it. She also got most of us gloves of Alpaca wool from her trip to Peru. That afternoon Greg & Robin and their kids came up - so we had a huge meal of turkey and ham and rolls and salad and I am not even going to remember all we ate. We were in the rec room so we could go to the basement and play ping pong, pool, or air hockey. The kids also went out with the cousins with marshmallow guns and played in the snow.
*The other days there were also fun. Most of us adults went to Les Mis. Doug watched our kids and took them out to play in the snow in his yard. We went out to dinner one night. Greg and Robin came up another day and while Grandma and Grandpa stayed with the kids at The Craze Fun Zone doing things like laser tag, we got to talk. Then later Robin and I took the kids to the park to play in snow. That is when Seth and Christopher were trying to collect ice treasures, and found a dead frozen flat squirrel! We had fun in the cold snow for about an hour.
*And then we headed home. The driving all went really well. Maren slept almost all the time we drove. For the most part the other kids were happy too and we watched movies, listened to books on CD, and did other activities. For driving so much, we only had an hour or so of actual snow and a little fog but mostly clear roads.
*New Years we were back here in Tucson and so glad we could spend time with the Neumillers - we love their family. They had an activity for us to do each hour as we got to midnight. I could tell our kids are getting older because this was the first year it felt easy to make it to midnight. We enjoyed talking over some of the events of the past year together like we have for several years now - and looking forward and setting some goals for the next year to come. Now we are back to regular life - and Maren is still super cute and fluffy and almost 3 months old!