Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

We've been so busy visitin', we haven't had time for blogging!  Merry Christmas, all.  Here's a shout-out to one of the main reasons we're taking a gap year…to visit our beloved family.  We're currently with a good deal of the Larry/Linda Pearmine family in Sun Valley, Idaho, and there's a lull between activities, so it's time to send you our well wishes and catch you up on our shenanigans.  This post is devoted to our family visits, which started in St. Louis over Thanksgiving...

The boys with the Marys
The amazing Grandma Mary Volz had an injury which required some physical therapy time over the holidays.  So the Pearlz family made Thanksgiving dinner, with all the fixins and a pumpkin pie, at the hospital.

We froze some turkey soup for the road, helped Aunt Mary rake leaves, and watched the greatest football game ending…. ever. (Even you non-football fans should see it if you haven't: WOW)

Next up was a stop in Concordia, MO, with our pal Nate's parents. What a great couple they are. I hope when we are (ahem) older, we are as loving and gracious as they are. They put us up in their beautiful home, fed us, and told us stories about teenage Nate.

We blasted through Kansas, making it the first state we have been to but not spent a night in. Yes, Kansas, you earned a place on our No Go List. Here are some of the other states we will avoid: North Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi, West Virginia. Unless you gentle readers have any reason why we 4 should go there…?

Oklahoma was as fun as could be expected. More so, actually, thanks to a day of nice weather, a cool state park we camped in, and some bats in a cave (details in this post from a few weeks ago). Osage Hills had hiking, a lake, and even tennis courts. We had campfires both nights, and only one other person was in the whole campground. Gotta love off-season camping. A big cold front hit on our last day there, so we packed up in 30 degree weather and got as far west as we could. That was Freedom, Oklahoma, where we stayed in a prefab house in the Middle Of Nowhere.

This photo fails to capture the nowhereness fully. 

But don't be fooled! There is ONE thing to do near here: the bat cave

Another longish drive landed us in Amarillo, Texas. I splurged for the Holiday Inn Express, and we enjoyed free Coors Lights at the lobby happy hour. Plus free breakfast including…wait for it…


Ten degree + not much to do = Leave Amarillo ASAP. So we did. Santa Fe was next, and college friends Amy and Evan hosted us. We had fun, including trampolining in nearby Albuquerque (and Yes, I spelled that corruptly on my first try):

Evan emerges from the jump pit

So Fast, no camera can capture his Fast (especially my [now-ancient] iPhone 5)

And No, I was not injued after this Sick Air

We reminisced about fun we had at NU, and looked through photo albums of the evidence. One of the joys of this trip is pausing to reflect, and realizing how many lifetimes ago it feels like Sarah and I met. Over 20 years now!

An epic drive later, and we hit Phoenix. My mom and Steve arrived the next day, and we saw them briefly before hitting Vegas Dec. 12. Here is the #1 thing about Phoenix: the photo below was taken on December 10.

Ma and me

Out for sushi. Gotta love having kids who go for sushi

I am being called to Christmas dinner, so it is time to wrap up. Vegas will be the focus of our next post. Until then, here is a sneak peek at Xmas Sun Valley style:

Christmas Eve, heading to Nutcracker On Ice

Keeping warm before the show

Merry Christmas to all!