Christmas in California

Our road trip to California started with a night in Las Vegas that included Top Golf and the Cheesecake Factory. The Top Golf is in the middle of the strip and everything was lit up when we got there.

The next morning, we stopped at the Seven Magic Mountains. They are colorful rocks that are displayed off the highway outside of Las Vegas.

Jack, Owen, and Lucy thought we were arriving a few days later than we actually were, so we got to surprise them when we showed up. The boys and Helen had to pretend that they were in the mountains skiing for a couple days as an excuse not to be on FaceTime with the California cousins on our drive out. They were surprised 🙂 We spent most of our time relaxing, baking, playing cards, and enjoying the warm weather.


Kat and Walker were able to drive over from Tucson for a couple of days over Christmas ♡


For Christmas, Jack got a truck. This picture makes it look like Helen and Lucy own it though

The 5 kids did a Secret Santa… They aren’t very good at keeping secrets, so it wasn’t very hard to figure out who everyone had. Theo bought for Helen and got her these slippers as a joke (and a few other nice things)… but she has been wearing the gold slippers ever since 🙂

We went to the beach on Christmas to watch the sunset. It was so pretty and a few of the kids even went in the chilly water

Helen tried to teach Walker how to cartwheel. The picture of her ended up much better than the picture of him 🙂

This child is not related to us… he just happened to be in the perfect spot

I’m sure Helen would want to be pointed out in the background of this picture. We all got funny Christmas sweaters/shirts for Christmas, but Kat and I were the only ones who weren’t too cool to wear ours to the beach.

Before Kat and Walker had to leave, we took a couple family photos

I am just now realizing that Jeff is not smiling in this picture… there is a nice one somewhere though…

He was obviously not in the mood for nice pictures. There is also a boys picture with Walker in it and he was also offered a kiss on the cheek from Jeff

Family photos were followed by the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It was called Cookies for Santa. It’s probably good that it is seasonal, otherwise I would eat it all the time.

Theo, Jeff, Owen, and Dad took a little road trip to Phoenix to meet Kat and Walker for the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State was playing, they won, and the boys were on ESPN, so it was a good trip for them. The girls went to see Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Chris for a day and did some shopping while they were gone. New Year’s Eve was filled with a family ping pong tournament and some crazy dances.

When we left, Theo, Jeff, and Helen were so sad. They are in a sad mood for days after we leave and they started calling it “post-cousin depression” this trip. Even though we live far away from all of our extended family, I think my parents do the best job of making it feel like we live close by. The kids even said “California is only 18 hours away? We actually live so close to them… we should come here more.” An 18 hour, or most of the time more, car ride is worth it to be with family ☺️