As previously mentioned, we got to spend Christmas in Utah! Here are a few of the highlights:
Talmage's first time playing in the snow
He was so interested in it and immediately began trying to pick it up (check out that concentration!).
He rubbed his hand vigorously through it for 30 seconds or so and then looked at me with a panicked expression on and started fussing because his hand was freezing cold.
I put his mitten back on and he was off.
He looks like a little king of the mountain here.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever, and I am not even sure why!
Poor Sam has been roasting pretty much since we moved to Houston. He was so excited about the cold weather he didn't even wear a coat much of the time!
I love how little he looks here with Grandpa Brady.
Happy boy with Grandpa Brady and Grandma Elena!
Such great form!
Sam lifted Talmage up on the snow shovel...
...and then Talmage refused to get off. (Note his expression--he is clearly saying, "Um, Dad, what's the big deal here? Lift me back up!")
Sledding...in several locations
We started pulling Talmage around the yard on this sled. He lay flat on his back, completely stiff as we pulled him around. He looked like a wounded person being pulled to safety!
Yet every time we would stop, he would immediately start urging us to keep pulling him.
Then Elena had a turn!
We visited Great-Grandpa Brady's house and Talmage got to sled down the hill in the front yard. We also visited Sam's dad's old elementary school, and Sam and Talmage went sledding down the big hill there too! Too bad Houston doesn't really get snow...I guess we'll have to stick to ice blocking.
Playing with Buddy the dog
This very energetic dog would pounce on Talmage, yapping wildly, and knock him to the floor! Yet somehow, Talmage still adored him and chased him all around the house.
He liked Talmage's mittens and kept biting them off his hands. See Talmage's eyes squinted closed in his grin of delight?!
Seeing the house one of Sam's ancestors lived in
Visiting with Grandma Sue
Somehow I flaked on the pictures with Grandma Sue and my family this trip, but we had lots of fun with them too! We played lots of games, went to her performance of Handel's Messiah, and had a volleyball/racquetball/basketball tournament! I am known for fouling people all the time on accident (once I even fouled so many times in a Church basketball game they had to pull me out of the game and said I might have to go see the Bishop!), and this time was no different. I even accidentally elbowed her in the face! Sorry again! :)
LOTS of time in the car
Talmage was pretty good about things as we went from Salt Lake to Logan to Kaysville to West Valley and back and forth and back and forth! We were grateful to my parents for the use of a car and a car seat.
Going out to eat
Visiting some sites at temple square
Talmage loves his Uncle Joseph! We tried to get him to say "JoJo," but he called him "DoDo" the whole time. :)
This is a ship bunk the pioneers would sleep in. A couple and up to two small children were assigned to sleep in each bunk! Look at how squished the three of us are in there! Someone Sam's height (6'4") would be miserable! Learning more about their sacrifices was inspiring.
Snowmobiling in the Uintahs
We went snowmobiling with my dad, my brother, and Sam's brother! It was quite the adventure. I loved the going fast part...not so much the getting stuck part. It was extremely foggy and the snow was very heavy, so conditions were a little rough for we three beginners! Thankfully my dad and brother provided us with lots of help.
That area was so beautiful!!! It really looked like pictures from a calendar. At one point the trail was completely surrounded by huge pine trees heavily laden with pure white snow! It was truly breathtaking.
Talmage's first haircut
While we were off snowmobiling, my mom gave Talmage his first haircut!
She used to be a hairdresser, and her experienced hands did a much better job than I could have done. I take advantage of her expertise every time we visit!
Laura, my brother Corban's wife, kept him happy with a spraybottle of water and graham crackers.
Love that face! He wasn't a fan of the hair falling down and tickling his nose.
Opening pajamas on Christmas Eve
My handsome brother Bronson--I can't believe how big he is getting!
Talmage and Maxton
I made our matching pajamas again, in keeping with the tradition.
What a ham Talmage is! Look at that face!
Opening presents Christmas morning
Helping Talmage with his toys from Santa
He loved playing with Maxton's toys, too.
Cute little Peter!
This year Sam and I were assigned my sister Jocilyn and her family. I made them a nativity advent calendar with activity tags to do each day of December as they put the nativity pieces on the quilt. She gave a satisfying reaction!
Here is the finished quilt, just slightly jumbled from being wrapped.
Playing with his toy laptop from Grandma Sue
I teach piano lessons to a girl whose mom works for Southwest Airlines. She offered to trade me lessons for buddy passes (stand-by tickets), so that is how we got to Utah! Sam had to be back for a meeting, so he had an actual ticket back to Houston. Talmage and I were going to be flying stand-by again, but we didn't anticipate that it would be a problem, since we got there without a hitch. Well, the weather didn't really cooperate, and due to cancelled flights and re-routed passengers, the available seats quickly filled up! After finding out we wouldn't make a flight on Monday, when Sam was going home, or even Tuesday, we went to the airport on Wednesday.
Additionally, I was going to be taking care of a 7 year old little girl for my friend's friend! After spending 5-6 hours in the airport on Wednesday, it became clear that we weren't going to make it on a flight, so we went back to stay with my family. Our luggage had already gone to Texas, however, which meant living out of the few things in our carry-on bags. I unwisely decided against packing a change of clothes in our carry-on. So the next morning, travel weary before we even started our journey, we went back to the airport and made it onto a flight to Oakland, CA. They had to de-ice the plane, however, so we were delayed and missed our connecting flight to Los Angeles. Thankfully we made it onto one an hour or two later, and from there we flew to Houston, arriving just before midnight on Thursday night. We were so grateful to finally be back with Sam!!! Talmage was so good on the flights and mostly just slept. It's a good thing he is such a good traveler since we live so far away from our families!
He did get a little antsy during the 5-6 hour wait at the Salt Lake airport. He found a way to wiggle out of his stroller while he was still buckled in. It shouldn't have been surprising, knowing his persistent personality, but it still was!
Other highlights include:
Leaving my purse in a dressing room and returning a couple of hours later to find everything intact, including the digital camera and nearly $400 cash! I am grateful for honest people!
Making homemade candy--a Christmas tradition with my family
Christmas programs with both families
A brief visit to my old house in Brigham City--now Sam has seen every house I have lived in!
Enjoying my parents' ward Christmas party and accompanying hay ride
Participating in a musical number in my parents' ward (my sister Breanne sang and I accompanied her)
Visiting the graves of Sam's grandparents
...and the list goes on!
It was such a great trip to Utah! We loved spending time with our families, and we were so blessed to be able to be there for Christmas. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!