Christmas in Arizona, Part 1

Just about everyone knows that Christmas is my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas was always a really big deal in my family and my parents did a great job making it feel like a very special time of the year. When Chip and I were planning where we would be for the holidays, I was extremely excited that we would be spending Christmas in Arizona this year.

We had been planning on spending all of last Friday in the car for our 12 hour drive to Tucson with the hope of getting in sometime in the evening. But about a week before our trip, Chip thought it would be a better idea to do half of the drive Thursday afternoon once he got off work so that way we would get an extra half of a day in Tucson on Friday. I don’t get to go home very often anymore, so I was more than okay with this new suggested plan!

Everything loaded up in the car

Everything loaded up in the car

While Chip was at work on Thursday, I spent the morning finishing our packing and got the car loaded and ready for the drive (between the two of us, I’m definitely better at packing than Chip is… I thank my semester abroad in Chile for this skill!). We got on I10 around 3:30 in the afternoon with the plan of spending the night in Van Horn, which is pretty much halfway point from here to Tucson. Overall, the drive Thursday was very smooth and after one quick stop for dinner, we were checking into the hotel a little before 10:00. Wrigley did great in the car, but was a little confused in the hotel and being in a new space so he (and in turn Chip and myself) didn’t get the best sleep that night. Oh, well, we still love you, Wrigley. We were up early on Friday and soon back on I10 for the remaining six hours of our drive.

Little bit of Starbucks to get us going

Little bit of Starbucks to get us going

We made it into Tucson sometime after 1:00 on Friday, so of course we had some lunch from Eegee’s. My brother had flown in a couple of days before we did, and my parents had decided to wait to get a Christmas tree until we were all in town. Once we finished our late lunch, we all got in my brother’s truck and drove to the lot where we’ve been getting our Christmas trees for the past who knows how many years. I’m sure we were an entertaining bunch, walking around and looking at the different trees and debating over who was picking out the best one (props to my dad for loudly and boldly pointing at a tree and saying it was bent… my dad doesn’t always realize when he’s being loud and obvious, it’s one of his many charms). In the end, we got the tree I had chosen (of course) and brought it home.

At the Christmas tree lot

At the Christmas tree lot

Dad, mom and Alex waiting for our tree

Dad, Mom and Alex waiting for our tree

Getting the tree in the stand

Getting the tree in the stand

Wrigley offering to help

Wrigley offering to help

Doesn't look like you're helping much, Dad ;)

Doesn’t look like you’re helping much, Dad ;)

While the guys got the tree set up, my mom and I worked on our dinner: homemade lasagna. My dad dropped a few hints that he liked this tradition Chip and I were starting of having lasagna while decorating our Christmas tree, so my mom and I thought it would be fun to make together. We put in a little more meat and a little more cheese than normal, something I’m sure the guys didn’t mind at all.

Once we were done eating, it was time to decorate the tree. My mom is a pro at the lights, so we let her handle that part before jumping in for the ornaments. It had been a couple of years since I got to decorate the tree with my family, so it was fun getting to look at some of our old childhood ornaments (Chip thought my hair looked “full” in some of my elementary school picture ornaments… thanks). With the tree decorated, we spent the rest of the night relaxing together and watching a couple of episodes of Duck Dynasty. We got my dad into the show and were excited to show it to my brother; we had a feeling he would like it! We still can’t get my mom into it just yet, but she was a good sport and sat there with us while we laughed at the antics of the Robertson family.

Mom and Alex putting up some ornaments

Mom and Alex putting up some ornaments

Almost done with the tree!

Almost done with the tree!

Alex giving approval on my dad's placement of the angel

Alex giving approval on my dad’s placement of the angel

Our stockings over the fireplace

Our stockings over the fireplace

A favorite part of Christmas since my childhood: Santa's Marching Band

A favorite part of Christmas since my childhood: Santa’s Marching Band

Relaxing and watching TV

Relaxing and watching TV

The view on our walk to breakfast

The view on our walk to breakfast

Saturday morning, we walked over to Le Buzz for an awesome breakfast. All of us (Wrigley included) love the food there, so we try to make our way over whenever we’re in town. You really can’t go wrong with the food there. I highly recommend the egg sandwich, chorizo skillet, oatmeal and granola bars to anyone. After breakfast, the guys went golfing while my mom and I took the dogs on a nice, long walk before heading home. We spent the afternoon cooking a dinner with recipes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook. The homemade tomato soup we had with our meal was especially good; I’ll definitely be making it for us again soon! My grandparents joined us for dinner and the guys spent some of the evening playing dominoes. After dinner, my parents went to a work Christmas party while Chip, Alex and I stayed home and watched Ratatouille (very cute movie!).

We had a big breakfast at home Sunday morning and caught the noon showing of The Gaslight Theater’s Scrooge. We’ve seen Scrooge here a few times now and it never gets old. We also loved the “Andy Williams Christmas Olio” after the show; hooray for carol singalongs!

Ready for Scrooge to start

Ready for Scrooge to start

Sunday evening we went and had a very special dinner at Anthony’s. While I was in high school and my dad’s business was beginning to do well, we started the tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve at this restaurant. It’s been fun to come here year after year and see how much God has continued to bless my family while sharing a very nice dinner together. This was Chip’s first time at Anthony’s and it was a lot of fun getting to share stories with him from different years there at the restaurant.

With Chip at dinner

With Chip at dinner

The five of us at dinner

The five of us at dinner

With my mom after dinner

With my mom after dinner

The Lopez/Nance clan

The Lopez/Nance clan

Alex with mom and dad

Alex with mom and dad

I love these guys

I love these guys

We're really cool

We’re really cool

This is what usually happens when my brother and I take a picture together

This is what usually happens when my brother and I take a picture together

I love my little brother

I love my little brother

More to come from our trip to Tucson!

2 thoughts on “Christmas in Arizona, Part 1

  1. Pingback: Christmas 2013 | the nance familia

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