As a bit of an epilogue to a year of traveling, we drove out to spend Christmas in some place with family and snow: Utah. We rented a car--those of you betting against our car being anywhere near fit for the journey win whatever you win at our expense--and drove out in one day, stopping every hour or so as Ballyhoo recognized the leverage that a newly-potty-trained toddler has on her parents.
We stayed at CaA's house, home to many awesome cousins, including Maggum, for one reason or another the coolest person on the entire planet to EllaBella. The kids got the remainder of their presents, including headlamps for each--Santa's a smart dude, how did he know they always steal Mommy's and Daddy's headlamps?
BigE received her whole Christmas list this year--including a space station [EllaSmella clearly asked for a "space station," not a "fragile toy space-station-looking-thing made out of toilet paper rolls and scotch tape." Maybe the poor economy is hitting Santa hard up there. Time was, when a kid asked for a space station she got a space station. Not some cobbled-together toilet-paper-roll scale model. EllaBella was ecstatic so I guess Santa knows when he can get away with stuff like that. But still, Santa=cheapskate. I digress...] and a soccer ball. Ballyhoo got everything she didn't know she wanted, and loved it.
We attended Christmas morning at the CnA's, observing one moment when the heavens opened, angels sang, and the mysteries of True Christmas were revealed to us:
Ambrosia got a cell phone. We're pretty sure we observed a State Of Ecstasy, Nirvana, Total Oh-Em-Friggin-Gee, Transcendent Capitalistic Joy, Freaking Out Of The Highest Order [In A Good Way]. It was something.
We went to VonDenbergh's house to experience Christmas with them folks. All the pictures from that experience are in his possession, but imagine books. Lots of wonderful books. We had a fabulous Provencal supper wherein Daddy ceremoniously gnawed on a large lamb leg. We digested there for several hours, deciding finally that we had just experienced the best Christmas in the history of history, all told.
EllaBellaSmellaFella was way too very much extremely incredibly excited to play in the snow. So:
Mommy's side of the family had a big reunion in SLC, so we went there for a few days. We went sledding several times, sometimes with the family and sometimes just the Chesters:
K'naaan and Ballyhoo biffed it majorly:
Daddy got undercut from behind by two midget hooligans on a sled and it popped his rib out of place, which is a sure sign that he's getting old. Speaking of it...
After the reunion, we went back to CnA's house and spent endless hours jamming to Beatles RockBand. It was epically radinous. Sister BaBa and Elder BitBit came and "jammed:"
This next picture takes a bit of explaining, but once you understand it--and if you know BitBit--it may change your life forever. It's an instant classic, an I-Was-There-When type of deal. Daddy, as the photographer, writes the caption thus:
BitBit is playing the drums on Beatles RockBand, and--truth be told--entirely failing to more or less keep the beat, as it were. After watching his grandfather flailing away at the drums--and I'll note before I proceed that I'm confident BitBit will not read this blog post but if he does, my love for him has always been and will be forevermore orthogonal to his drumming abilities--YahnBahn decided to kindly step in and--to quote Russel the Asian-American scout--"assist the elderly" by surreptitiously keeping time on the snare pad to keep BitBit from failing out of the song. So here it is, BitBit in deep concentration hitting the drums with all the enthusiasm and random timing of toddlers telling knock-knock jokes, while Yahn is secretly the only one actually hitting the drums when they're supposed to be hit. BitBit was never aware of the source of his drumming power:
Then we pretty much just drove home, stopping in Reno to eat dinner with a couple of old Ogdenites, which was awesome.
We were treated with overwhelming generosity and kindness throughout the trip. It was phenomenal--thanks everybody for a great time!