Let's start back on December 22. I was up early that morning and on the road by 3! That's insane. But if I've got an enormous road trip ahead of me, anyone who knows me knows that I like to get started early. There's something mentally refreshing knowing I'm beating the sun, and driving through Vegas before rush hour traffic is such a good idea! I highly encourage it.
I hit a snow storm just outside Cedar City, and it was rough for a few hours. The snow was pretty heavy, and I saw 2 cars that had slid off the road and 1 that rolled over. Pretty gruesome. In reality, this storm cost me about an hour, slowing down my journey. And it reminded of the one thing I'm reminded of each year at this time: No one in Arizona puts antifreeze-washer-fluid in their cars! Suddenly I'm getting pelted by everything on the road that can filthify a vehicle, and I couldn't see a thing. Disgusting and annoying.
I stopped and saw Brien for a few minutes, and then made it to West Jordan by 2. Not too bad. A trip to the library made my afternoon busy, and then I ate dinner that night with Dad and Carol, enjoying my first Philly Cheese Steak. It was 23 degrees when I stepped outside, and that was when I finally decided I'm not as much a fan of the cold weather as I once was! Especially in shorts.
The 23rd was spent largely with Alayna. I did my best to help her out and just spend time with her, and it was a pleasant afternoon. Unfortunately in my efforts to get her home, I was delayed getting to the temple with Dad and Carol. That was a big disappointment for all of us, but I was really grateful for the time and memories with my kid sister.
Christmas Eve morning I was at the airport by 6:40. I was one of the last to get on the plane, just 'cause, and shortly after finding my seat, it turned out the guy sitting next to me was separated from his family by a few rows, so I was asked if I'd be willing to change seats and move further back. It was nearly Christmas so I was in great spirits and conceded. A few minutes later, one of the stewardess invited me to sit up closer to the front, a place with more leg room. I said, "Sure. Thanks!" only to find out, 5 minutes later, that the person's seat I was occupying, showed up anyway. So as I was preparing to move for the 3rd time, I looked up into the forward cabin and commented, "You've got room up there. Can't I just sit up there?" Gratefully the pilot was right there at that moment and said, "Sure!" So Christmas Eve morning I spent sitting in first class! One word: Awesome!
As the ride was over and I was leaving the airport, I was expecting Eron to be waiting for me with maybe one of his kids. Instead I found EVERYONE waiting for me: Eron, Kris, Mom, Shannon, Amanda, Dan, Nick, Kayla, Taelyn (who did hug me first!), Alison, Sidney, and Trevor. And they were all holding a banner that read, "We love you Bruce!" Totally awesome! It was the type of homecoming one might expect of a returning missionary (but we won't dwell on THAT!) It was also here that I found out my favorite niece will soon be a mother. Talk about joyous and sobering. So excited for them both!
The next two weeks went too quickly. Time with Shannon, Nick, Dan and Amanda, was just too brief; time with mom was awesome; time with Eron was all it's supposed to be, except once again he had the upper hand in cribbage; time with Kris is always enlightening and strengthening for our friendship; time with the girls was great, and I really went out of my way to try and keep it balanced, but I think Kayla got the most. :) And time with T was one word: Ninja!
I tried to take a lot of pictures, and these are some of my favorites:
|My favorite picture of the holiday|
|The best reaction of the morning|
|Did you see Darth Vader at Christmas? I did!|
There are so many memories to share, that I just couldn't do them justice. Butt-boxing Dan with Trevor, TRYING to find time to watch a movie with Amanda, falling asleep while watching the Chipmunks (first time I've ever slept in a movie theater), watching The Three Amigo's with mom and Kay, spending WAY too much for the party on New Year's Eve, Eron complaining (complaining!) about my pizza, Kayla and I completing the Disney puzzle, Mom watching SVU, Syd watching The Adam's Family, Nick recognizing geek in binary, a terrific an hopefully enlightening conversation with Kay and Tae while the rest of the house slept; brushing Syd's hair; playing cards with the girls, especially coming up with new Phase 10 rules with Taelyn; finding Ninja's on Indy Lego; and what will long be my favorite memory of the season: When Trevor showed up in his Darth Vader costume and used "The Force" to get his dad to get out of his seat, move to the fridge, and do his will. That's what being a dad is all about!
I wish we could make more of these memories more often. I wish I lived closer, that we all lived closer and times like these weren't so rare. I wish I could remember every moment of these two weeks and was able to play them back at will. I wish I had more time with all of my family.
And more than anything else, I wish you all a totally Ninja New Year!