Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday Vacation in Arizona

*Just know before you start reading, this is a long winded post.*

This year it was my family's turn to have us for Thanksgiving.  Everyone, but my sister Rachael would be there.  We were going to leave after work on Tuesday, but our Thanksgiving Holiday started a day earlier than expected.  When Michelle came home from work on Monday night, the first words out of her mouth were, "There is going to be a blizzard tomorrow, and if it's snowing I won't drive down to Arizona.  I want to leave tonight."  I thought she was being a little dramatic and I had already checked the weather for our planned route earlier in the day, but I knew she wouldn't budge so at about 7:30 pm we both found people to work for us the next day.  We then proceeded to finish packing and then attended a dinner with some ward friends to celebrate the coming holiday.  After a quick meal we got back home, packed up the car and were on the road a little after 9pm.  The weather was clear and so were the roads.  Drew was an Angel and fell asleep just a few minutes into the trip.  To make going early worth it I decided we needed to at least make it to St. George, UT, but we ended up going even further and stopped in Mesquite, NV.

We got a $27 room and called it a night for the next 6 hours before waking up, getting our free breakfast, and hitting the road again.  The weather was clear and beautiful.  Drew traveled well again and slept, or was content most of the way.  After hitting some traffic we pulled into my parent's house a little before 3pm.  To help celebrate our arrival, my mom, and sisters put together a lasagna dinner for the whole family.  My sister Becky had even made a home-made lasagna.  They were both really good.  As an after dinner treat Drew decided to show off a little of his moving skills for us.  He isn't quite completely crawling, but he is beginning to get on his knees a little more.

We soon hit the sack because we were both so tired, but Drew wasn't feeling well and woke us up a few times at night.  Wednesday morning we decided to go visit my grandpa Gaisford at his nursing home.  He was in bed at the time, but he was glad to see us and Drew, and he even offered to let Drew take a nap with him.  As we got back to my parent's house we got a call from Chelsea telling us that Michelle's sister Dy rolled her car on her way home, after sleeping at Nettie's house the night before, to avoid the storm that Michelle was worried about in Salt Lake.  Dy was one of 4 accidents caused by black ice on the road.  She was OK, but her car was deemed totaled.

After recovering from the news, we got ready for the day and headed out to Benihana's, one of my many practically free birthday meals.  They give the birthday person 30 dollars off of their meal, not other guests, and I took advantage of it.  I got shrimp, teriyaki beef, vegetable, rice, soup, salad, and California rolls, while Michelle got the lunch special that included, the rice, soup, salad, and California rolls, as well as breaded shrimp, vegetables, fruit, and raw salmon and tuna.

We did not leave hungry.  Drew was a very good boy and everyone thought he was so cute.  At the restaurant they take your birthday picture.  I think we look like a good looking family and Drew looks so big.
After lunch we headed straight over to Emily's place to help her make rolls and visit.  By the time we had gotten there she had already made the rolls.  Soon everyone in the family came over and we had taco salads and a pumpkin cake dessert.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was packed with fun.  Michelle and I went to the gym for a little pre-eating exercise.  There were quite a few people that had the same idea, the place was packed.  We then headed to Emily's again to help her make more rolls.  The first batched she made yesterday wasn't going to be enough.  It was determined that out of the three of us, I was the best at rolling the dough out into a circle.  While we were finishing up, Ryan offered to let us ride on the little three wheel motor bikes that his parents got from China.  You could either use the handle bar to use the gas, like a motorcycle, or you could peddle your feet and it would have the same affect.  Michelle road with Peyton, Hailey, and Drew, while I got my own bike.  In the videos we are just riding through the neighborhood, which we did many times passing the same people.  I'm sure they thought we were crazy.  It was a lot of fun and I think we should get one.

By the time we arrived home we needed to hurry and get ready and finish preparing for an early dinner.  While my Mom finished getting things ready, Michelle and I headed to pick up grandpa Gaisford.  Dinner was as good as usual.  Everyone in the family contributed in some way to the meal.  The adults ate inside, while the kids got to eat and play outside.


For dessert we all headed over to my cousin Nicole's house.  We had plenty of options for treats and even had home-made root beer.  It was fun to visit with some of my cousins and see what's been going on.

Friday was my big day.  I left the realm of those in their twenties and entered my wife's realm of thirties.  I got free breakfast and lunches, you can read about them in the previous post.

Before coming down to Arizona Michelle and I decided to make caramel apples with everyone as a little Christmas gift since we wouldn't be in town for the holiday.  Earlier in the morning we went to Emily's and dipped the apples in caramel so they would have time to set.

Later in the afternoon everyone came over and enjoyed personalizing their apples with melted white and milk chocolate with crushed almonds, pretzels, cinnamon and sugar, and for the kids little M&M's and red and green chocolate chips.  All of the apples looked really good, and no one could resist eating a little before dinner.

Peyton and Hailey have this over sized stuffed dog and Drew just loved it.  It was another clue to us that Drew really wants a dog to play with.  We need to teach Drew to be gentle or make sure we have a very friendly and patient dog.

For dinner we ordered pizza and had salad.  To finish off the evening we headed down the street to look at the house with all the lights that flashed to music played on a specific radio station accessible within a few feet of the house.  All of the kids loved the show and even started dancing.  Drew also enjoyed the blinking lights.  Maybe one day when we have a house I can set something up like that.

On Saturday we didn't do a ton in the morning.  My brother Scott did ask me to catch a scorpion that was hanging over his bed.  Don't worry its not terribly common.  He has been stung three different times in his life, so he wasn't eager to get near it.  I would have let it free outside, but my mom insisted on killing it.
We then went to my grandfather's home and picked up some furniture and dishes that my mom received and then gave to us. we had to wrap each piece and then find room in our car so we could bring them back to Utah with us.  Once finished everyone met at a train park about 30 minutes from my parents house.  It had all sorts of actual train cars around the park, a train museum, and then a miniature train ride that went all around the park.  The actual train ride was long compared to the one at Freestone Park by my parents house and even cheaper.  All of the kids enjoyed the ride.

To help get rid of some energy, we had the kids play on the jungle-gym while the adults and babies sat around and talked.  Drew got hurt on the slide earlier and wasn't wanting to smile for any slide pictures.

We again gathered at Emily's place and enjoyed some of my mom's home-made chili, with salad, chips, guacamole, and some of my brother-in-law's home-made shrimp and lobster ceviche.  Dessert was my favorite, cream pies.  Scott and his girlfriend Megan later joined us and after most of my family left we stayed behind to play the Brain Game on the Wii.

Sunday morning we attended my parent's ward for sacrament meeting.  There were a few people that had been in the ward for a while that didn't recognize me.  It must be because I have filled out a bit and I haven't been to church there for several years, but it was good to see familiar faces.

Michelle and I headed back to my parents to get our bags packed and also load the car so we could be all ready to leave after dinner.  We had quite a bit of stuff coming down for the vacation, so we thought it might be a little tricky to get it all back in along with 2 chairs, 4 boxes of dishes, a new toy for Drew, and a few other random things, but we did it and had room to spare.

Since Sunday was our last day, we wanted to make sure and see my grandmother Mita, that's what we call my Dad's mother, at her rest home.  I know I have mentioned and even posted a picture of the yellow house were she lives.  It is a beautiful home.  She was very tired, but it was nice to see her and get some pictures with her and Drew.  We had a lady that worked there take a picture of all of us, but when we looked at it later she hadn't done a very good job.

We then made one last trip to see Grandpa Gaisford.  This time we found him eating a late lunch all by himself at what my mom calls his usual table.  We enjoyed a little conversation and Grandpa and Drew played for a little while until we took some pictures and headed on our way.

I am glad to have the opportunity to get pictures of Drew with his living great-grandparents while I can.  Especially since we live so far away and they are getting so old.   As a side note, my mom found a note to me, written by my great-grandmother, my grandpa Gaisford's mother, written when I was 3 years old along with a needle point that said "I am a child of God".  Michelle is going to frame it and we will use it when Drew has his own room.  I thought it was cool.

As if we hadn't eaten enough during this trip, my mom wanted to give an official birthday dinner for Scott, Emily, and I.  Mine and Scott's birthday is on  Nov. 26th and Emily's is on Nov. 27.  Three birthdays in two days.  We decided on having my mom's boneless BBQ pork ribs with lots of good sides and to finish it off, a ice cream cake made by my mother.

Last year at Michelle's parent's house we played pin the gobble on the turkey, so we decided to let all the kids have a turn and the adults just watched.  We then took some pictures of the little ones closest in age and my parents.  It was a very good ending to our trip.


We said our goodbyes, loaded into our car, and hit the road around 7pm.  Michelle and I split the driving.  I went first and she finished.  We decided to go the Vegas way again because Scott's girlfriend Megan had tried to go the Flagstaff way earlier in the day and the roads were closed and had to turn back.  There were a few parts where some accidents slowed us down, but the weather was great and it was pretty smooth sailing.  Right before Vegas, Michelle asked where we wanted to stay and I mentioned that maybe I would drive again and take us to Mesquite.  She said we were too tired so I used my phone to try and find a decent rate, but I wanted to be past the down town area to avoid morning traffic.  When I finally found a place and we were about a mile from the freeway exit, Michelle decided that she had enough energy to get us to Mesquite so we would be that much closer to home and be able to stay in the same $27 hotel.  Well, we made it in one piece, and crashed for the night.

In the morning, while Michelle got Drew ready, I went and got us breakfast.  The price of the room comes with one free hot breakfast which included 2 pancakes, two eggs, two sausage, and bacon.  When I went to order my food the woman at the desk gave me another free coupon so I only had to spend $2 on breakfast for all of us rather than the $7 I was planning on.  Michelle said we were blessed.  The weather in Mesquite was sunny, but a little cold.  Michelle decided to start off the driving.  The roads were good all the way through St. George, but once we got into Cedar City there was a little snow/slush on parts of the road.  Before hitting Cedar City I took a little video of the road and how you could see the red rocks end and snow covered mountains off in the distance where we were headed.

Michelle was very cautious driving because there were several cars that had gone off the road, but I thought she was being a little too cautious.  Once in Beaver I took over the drive and after a little bit of snow fall near Nephi we made it into the Salt Lake Valley and into our driveway.  It felt good to be back home, but we could tell that we had gotten a lot of snow while we were gone and were glad we missed it.  To welcome us home, Michelle's grandparents made us a late lunch, we then unpacked, cleaned, and then went to my work party for dinner.  It turned out to be a long day, but we enjoyed our trip to Arizona very much and were glad we made it there and back without any problem.  We can't wait till our next visit, hopefully when the weather is better.  Thanks family for the fun holiday.