|Jacob getting fancy with his lasso at the Rockin R Ranch Cowboy Dinner Theater.|
Even though I did a horrible job capturing the holidays via photo this year, I'll do my best to recap some of the highlights:
+ Breaking up the drive to Mesa by stopping and spending the night in Page, AZ at the home of our good friends Alison and Weston. I love any chance I get to catch up with Alison, play with Elsie (their adorable baby), and from what I know of sleeping on couches—theirs is the comfiest. Oh yeah, and alison made me a delicious birthday breakfast. Love you guys!
+ Listening to Twilight on audiobook until we seriously could not handle it anymore. We had never read the books or seen the movies, and so we thought it would be funny... and it was... for awhile... and then it just got so bad it was depressing. We also listened to Dickens' A Christmas Carol and the original War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
+ Arriving at my parents house in the early afternoon. The cars were in the driveway, but the whole house was empty. I made my family disappear? Of course, we found them in the backyard, taking pictures of Brock and Marcos jumping the pool. And then, of course, my MOM jumps in the pool. In her clothes and everything. Ummm... it's December? My family is crazy!
+ So many bean and cheese burritos from Los Taquitos—AKA the "staff of life" for Holli. How she lives without them in Provo, no one knows.
+ My birthday fiesta with the family. And yes. We had all the goods—mini chimis (from Los), mom's burritos, conchitas, jarritos, and Jacob made his famous South African malva pudding for my birthday cake. Couldn't have asked for a better birthday feast!
|About to blow out my candles. Of course, Luke is in his undies.|
+ Meeting my lil' nephew, Johnny, for the first time. I want to call him Luke 2.0 because they are basically twinners. Anyway, he's as cute as a button and so so sweet.
+ Christmas eve dinner, acting out the entire "Twleve Days of Christmas" song with all the kids (Marcos made a perfect Brazilian "partridge in a pear tree"), white elephant gift exchange, Dad's christmas stories, AND a christmas miracle—Jacob finally felt Baby Robinson kick! He'd been waiting so long for that moment!
+ Christmas morning!! We got to skype with Elder Hale!!! Miss him times infiniti.
+ I loved the gift Jacob gave me, and I was really excited for my dad to open the present I got for him. He was really surprised when he found a photo album with a picture of his young, 19-year-old missionary self. I digitized all 400-and-something of his mission slides.
+ Watching Jheri's kids go crazy over their Christmas presents. THEY GOT A CHIHUAHUA!!!
+ Getting to play with their chihuahua "Luke" for the week. I seriously fell in love with that dog.
+ Noah's best line: "Is Luke shaking because he thinks we're giants?"
+ Seeing Le Mis with Jacob and Mason. I weeped through the ENTIRE movie. Pregnant, emotional ladies—don't say I didn't warn you.
+ Jacob made his South African pap and beans for the family. We tried to get my mom to eat it with her hands (as is custom), but she refused.
+ INDIA OVEN BUFFET (which obviously resulted in an indian food hangover—we pretty much passed out the for rest of the day)
+ Mesa Temple lights. It's still the best Christmas tradition.
+ Nielsen's Frozen Custard. Nom nom nom...
+ My mom gave me and Jacob an intense tennis lesson. She's basically a pro and, sheesh, she was drilling us! She had us running all over the court forehand! backhand! forehand! backhand! Me and baby were out of breath!
+ Going to the Rockin' R Ranch Cowboy Dinner Theater with the fam. The best was when they called Jacob and Marcos up to the stage (my dad had given "Big Jim," the head cowboy, their names) to twirl the lassos during one of their songs. Jacob got pretty fancy with it.
+ Marcos falling in love with Chelsea, the cowgirl. Those Brazilian boys are such hopeless romantics!
|Brock and Marcos at the Rockin R Ranch|
+ Marcos' (the Brazilian exchange student) last night in America. We had a big family dinner with all his favorite American foods—hamburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, cream puffs, and Coke. We went around the table and everyone (including the nieces and nephews) took turns saying what they like about Marcos. It was heart-warming and, at times, hilarious.
+ Finding and reading the letter Marcos left in the mailbox for our family. It was probably the sweetest thing ever. He wrote something heartfelt to each person in the family (including all the nieces and nephews), and the letter ended "the best thing I learned in America is 'What is family!' and also Mormon people are cool."
+ Mexican food with Whitney, Chad, and their little baby girl, Amy Jane. Great to catch up with them again.
+ Game night at TJ's house for New Year's Eve with TJ, Tressa, Brock, and Brock's girlfriend. We killed it on "You Don't Know Jack" and suffered a heartbreaking loss on "Crainium." I sculpted the most beautiful rocking horse imaginable out of playdough, but all I could get out of Jacob was "rock horse" and "rocker horse" and every possible combination of words—except "rocking horse." To give him credit, he thought he had already said "rocking horse" and was basically losing his mind. It was tragic and hilarious. I still say we won.
+ Fireworks and Martinelli's, of course.
+ SO MUCH FOOTBALL + SO MUCH FOOTBALL FOOD = so many naps on the couch for Holli.
+ Dad's homemade salsa. The best.
+ Fresh squeezed orange juice every morning with breakfast. That's what home tastes like.
+ Mom sending us home with a GIANT bag of oranges and grapefruit from the backyard. Yesssss.
+ A smooth drive back to Provo. Listened to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ate lots of fast food. By the time we got to Fillmore, there was frost on the inside of our car. The outside temperature read 2 degrees. Yipes!
+ Returning to a house covered in snow and 3-foot-long icicles. Still, we made our little nest warm and cozy again. As much fun as we had in Arizona, it was good to be back home.
|Left to Right: Dad, Marcos, Mom, Mason, Brock, me, and Jacob. Photo taken by my nephew.|
I love Christmas.
I love my family.
(if you read this entire post, you're a champ)