In the 5.5ish years Grant and Ruth have lived in Houston, this is my second trip to spend Christmas with them. (Also went once in February and once in May.) It's a little pricey going there and I'm crossing my toes that their next residence is closer (and Thank You, Jewel, for just moving to Vegas!).
I always take a picture of Timp when I'm flying out/in, and apparently the route to Phoenix is further out than the route to Vegas (west of the Ophir range). Ruth's yummy Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas "crackers" (crowns and trinkets) were also shared with a friend, Firmin, who came from the Congo to Houston via political asylum, and after years of saving towards bringing his family, two sons, 5 and 8, arrived the 18th! Three more children and the wife, to go! The ward helped them a lot, and it was nice to be part of the experience. The boys speak French. After dinner, Firmin helped his boys, Reagan and Morgan, put a puzzle together, and Grant helped his girls do another one, and the competition to finish grew fierce the closer they got, accompanied by lots of laughter. With the last piece, I called out, "Voilà!" and they all laughed. The boys will be going to Lucy and Hazel's school.
The girls awoke before the parents on Christmas morning, though not particularly early, so apparently the season's hype wasn't of influence. They were good to wait until I got the bed turned back into the couch, and Mom and Dad arrived.
Divvying up the stash:
This is a Razor 360 - and yes, you can swing it around full circle+.
Sunday dresses - Hazel's requested first long one.
After presents, Ruth fed us a delicious omelet, and then stockings were opened.
Went to a park, daily, which is a normal routine on nonschool/church days. Ruth came down with a heavy duty cold, just in time for Christmas Eve, and so she got some quiet recuperative naps each day while we played.
This is Grant reading Virgil while the kids played.
Eventually I gave Lucy my phone camera, and then Hazel, and she was caught by Grant taking pictures of him behind his back, and this is his mock reaction and promise to take pictures of her drooling in her sleep to send to all her friends!
Besides taking their bikes and scooters to the park, Grant brought a styrofoam glider.
(One of the days Grant took the girls to a field next to Firmin's apartment, and three adults and the four kids played soccer. Another day, he dropped off treats to one of his home-teaching families, and then they joined us at a nearby park.)
Lucy and her friend Emma.
These noisy birds are rather interesting. Grant said they are called grackles - from the blackbird family, with dark blue iridescence and a longer tail.
Waiting for Dad's breakfast pancakes:
Friday night we went to the amazing Zoo Lights:
Attended church on Sunday and enjoyed a great meal afterward of Ruth's fresh hummus
with a variety of dipping veggies, crackers, and roasted almonds.
The last day, we went to lunch at Jerry Built:
Besides delicious food, the place is über kid-friendly:
One wall is a chalk board - Lucy's on the right, Hazel's on the left.
Note the fancy Rice U. chalk drawing.
Note the fancy soda vending machine, and to it's right,
the wash-up machine when you're done chalk-drawing.
Hazel posing as we left Jerry Built:
On the way to the airport, we stopped for gelato
(coming to Vegas, Jewel!):