We made the trip to Arizona for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. The trip was better than expected overall. Carson was a champ and slept almost the entire time, but we did have to stop about every 3 hours so he could eat. We are also very thankful for the TV in our van because for some strange reason our girls do not sleep in the car, even though the trip was 10+ hours! Both visits were short, but we had a great time visiting family, going on dates (yay for grandma to watch the kids!), and enjoying the stores and restaurants we came to love in Utah (since Mesa is basically a mini Utah).
One day during our visit, Russ and I and Russ's dad did sealings at the Gilbert Temple. The last time we visited Arizona (2.5 years ago), we missed the open house by 1 week, so we'd never been inside. Russ's mom met us with the kids afterwards and we walked around the temple grounds and tried (pretty unsuccessfully) to get a few good pictures.
That same day we met up for lunch with some friends from Provo who live in Arizona now.
It was great to see them again! I couldn't decide which of the next two pictures I liked best. Grace is hilarious in the second one, and Carson was screaming his head off!
We went to a train park one afternoon and the girls loved it so much we went back the following month when we were visiting for Christmas.
hot dogs and s'mores!
Sophia had a sleepover with her cousins and had SO much fun!
one of our feed Carson & feed ourselves breaks :)
before church. I love this picture (Grace doesn't, though!)
Carson with Sarah - his cousin 2 or 3 weeks younger than him!
This gingerbread-making activity was before we went to Arizona, but I thought it was funny that when I said, "Make a silly face to send a picture to Daddy" they both did exactly the same thing. :)
Obligatory picture with Santa - no one even cried this year, but while in line, Grace kept saying, "But. I scared!"
Uncle Jeff and Carson Jeffrey
Grace refused to wear the elf jammies I got her, but she looked adorable in them! At least I convinced her to wear the shirt to see Santa!
One of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions is to act out the nativity story. Carson got to play Jesus, with Sophia and Russ as Mary and Joseph. Grandpa was a narrator, Grandma, Aunt Hayley, and I were wisemen, Grace was the angel, Uncle Jeff was the donkey, and cousin Makenna was a shepherd (cuddling with our tired donkey in this picture)
church on Christmas!
Sophia picked out this book for Grace all on her own and used her own money to buy it for her. :)
Aunt Suzy has a magic touch with the babies!
Carson amidst all the wrapping paper. He was the best gift of all (even though he wasn't wrapped :D).
back at the train park with Russ's childhood best friend and his family (plus some nieces they were babysitting)
I also love going to the Mesa Temple to see the lights! It's fun to go and take a picture in the same spot every time to see how our family has grown and changed!
Look at those eyes! Carson was taking it ALLLLL in.