Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christmas 2015

For Christmas this year, we decided to be adventurous and DRIVE 18 hours {not including stops} to Nevada to spend the holiday with Brad's sister and family.
Our brother-in-law has been deployed for a few months, so we wanted to blanket her with as much love and company as possible to try to help distract from her hubby being gone.
I'm not sure it worked, but we tried. ;)

So, on Sunday, December 20th, with the help of Brad's parents, we started our trip to Nevada.  We rented a mini van {since the check engine lights keep coming on in both of our Jeeps, we wanted to play it safe} and thank goodness we did... that extra leg room was a blessing for such a long trip.  I can see why moms love these things!!
We packed up our sleigh with lots of Christmas presents and luggage & began our journey to Las Vegas.

After about 14 hours of driving, a few stops for bathroom breaks, Norah singing Jingle Bells on repeat & a million viewings of Frozen & Inside Out, we stopped in Flagstaff, AZ, at 1am, to catch a good night's rest.  It had started snowing when we got to Gallup, AZ, but nothing had been laying on the ground until we got down into Flagstaff.

YUCK!!!  Me & snow... no thank you.

But, Norah was so excited to play in it.
When we woke up in the morning & went out to the car, she insisted on playing in it.
The one big problem {and I hadn't realized this until we saw snow}... I forgot all of our winter gear.  It was 70 degrees in Texas when we left.  I didn't even think winter coats and gloves.
Thank goodness for my super sweet, always ahead of the ball, sister-in-law.
She had warm coats waiting for the girls when we arrived in Vegas.
Such a lifesaver!!!
But, backtrack to Flagstaff... Norah still wanted to play in this stuff.
So, naturally, I told her she could on the way to the car... years past, she has been extremely afraid of snow, so I was hopeful that this wouldn't last long & I was right.  She touched the snow, screeched, & told me it was COOOOLLLDDD!!!
She then continued to ask me to warm it up for her.  haha...
Of course, then I asked her if she remembered what happened to Olaf when it got warm.
Always refer to Frozen when teaching a science lesson. ;)

We had a shorter drive the second day & before we knew it, we were in Vegas & showered with hugs from our nieces and nephews!!  I had almost forgot we had brought Norah with us for the first 3 days.  She was loving having Presley to play with every waking moment of each day.  It was wonderful getting to spend time catching up with Jenni, too!  It makes me sad that they don't live in Texas anymore.  I hope someday we can all be closer again.  Norah really blossomed from having a friend like Presley!!

We had a wonderful week of going to the park with the kiddos.
Jenni put the littles in her super unique bicycle where they sang Jingle Bells all the way to the park {sorry guys, it's the one Christmas song Norah knows}.
The scenery in Vegas is beautiful.
We don't see those in Texas, that's for sure!!

On Tuesday night, everyone kicked Brad and I out of the house for a night down on the strip.
I was hesitant... I was confident gambling was the biggest waste of money.
I watched Brad play a game at MGM and thought, "this is lame."
But, let me tell you, that little button on the slot machines can really pull you in!!
I couldn't stop winning, but Brad kept losing all of my profits. haha.

I had a blast checking out all of the casinos!
We got to watch the fountain show at the Bellagio & we got dessert at the Cafe Bellagio.
I wanted to go on a ride, but our time was pretty limited and those slots were calling my name. ;)

On Wednesday morning, the girls went back down to the strip and Omah pampered us with massages and spa time!  Just what us mamas needed!! :)

The kids reenacted the nativity.
Norah was Mary & Piper was a little lamb.
The kids were so cute!!
We got a real kick out of Norah trying to give baby Jesus away to a shepherd.  haha

Opah read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to all of the kids & since Norah likes a story when she's tucked in tight, Brad read it again to the girls at bedtime.


Christmas was wonderful!!
We were all spoiled with gifts!!
Norah got everything she had asked Santa for.
At some point, she managed to sneak out of the bed we were sharing with her & out of the bedroom to make sure Santa came.  When I woke up, she said, "mommy, Santa brought me a ribbon bike!!"  She was so excited... problem is, Santa brought Presley a bike with streamers on the handle bars.  Luckily, she wasn't too disappointed.

We had been reading the American Girl Doll catalog for weeks leading up to Christmas.
Norah had her eye on Mary Ellen!
Omah & Opah got her a Truly Me American Girl Doll that looks like her & she said, "That's not Mary Ellen."  haha... but, she still loves her!!  Not a day goes by that we don't play with her and Samantha!
Santa brought Norah lots of princess dress up clothes, which left glitter all over EVERYTHING!  And Piper got a dancing robot, which was a big hit among all of the kids. :)
It was a great Christmas & I'm so glad we ventured away from home to spend it with family this year.


The day after Christmas, we decided to hit the road to allow us enough time to get home and get everything back in order before Brad had to get back to work.
We were off to a good start with the exception of sitting in an hour worth of traffic at the Hoover Dam.  We had made initial plans to get to Amarillo before stopping for the night.
Mother Nature had other plans for us.
When we hit New Mexico, we hit a major blizzard {they had actually named it "Goliath").
Great!  Here I was super paranoid about driving in the snow & Brad, Mr. "I still remember how to drive in this" super confident, bombing through in the mini van as we saw dozens of accidents on the side of the road... slide offs, roll overs, tractor trailor units on their sides.  None of that was helping me.
We ventured straight past Albuquerque about 25 miles into the mountains when they decided to close the highway and not let anyone past.
We made it as far as Moriarty, New Mexico.
There weren't any rooms available at the hotels in Moriarty which left a lot of people stranded in their cars at a trucker's gas station.
Piper had just projectile vomited all over herself & the car seat before we were forced to exit I-40 & we had no way to clean anything up except for wipes.
My poor baby caught a bug while we were in Vegas and it was hitting her at the worst time possible.
Brad b-lined into the gas station, found blankets to buy, and we got Piper changed into clean clothes.  We hunkered down for the night, snuggling the girls in the front seats & just trying to stay warm.  Piper had gotten sick about 4 times that night.  It was a mess & there was little we could do. :(

In the morning, people started leaving the gas station, so we were convinced we were good to go.  We got on the roads... they were a mess to begin with, but really cleared up further on.  We made it a little over 100 miles to Santa Rosa when they shut the highway down again & we were once again stranded in New Mexico.
Thank God for our family back in Vegas.  They were on a mission to find us a room for the night.  I was unsuccessful, but they found us a room at the edge of town in a pretty run down motel, but we didn't care.  We had beds, a shower, & heat.  We were about to park the car at the makeshift shelter the town created for those stranded in the storm when we got the text that we had a room.  I am beyond grateful for our family & that hotel!!  We were just happy to have 4 walls around us.  And thank goodness for Christmas presents to keep our 3 year old occupied through all of this!!  
Everyone crashed by 7:30.
The girls were exhausted.
Piper was still sick.
And we realized there wasn't anything better to do than try to get some rest because we still had an 8 hour drive ahead of us once they opened the highway back up.

In the morning we went for breakfast...
...we stood out like sore thumbs at the local restaurant.
Everyone stared at us as we passed their booths.
We decided to take a drive down to the highway to see if it was opened after filling our bellies & sure enough.  They were predicting it to open late afternoon, but by 10am, we were good to go.
We got back to the hotel, loaded the car, & went on our merry way praying the entire time they would keep that highway open the entire way.
The roads couldn't have been clearer.
It was smooth sailing until we made it home to Texas.
I have never been so excited to be in Texas in my life.

Brad said he wanted an adventure on this trip, & boy did he get one!

1 comment:

  1. I loved reliving this! except the part where y'all got stuck! ah! hat was so awful! Ill behest...when looking I started calling every hotel & then i thought...Im gonna find the worst looking thing...thinking people would pass it up & sure enough they had the last room in town. sorry it was crummy! we love you guys & will never forget the sacrifices you made to be with us!