I survived the cold and 8 whole days in Utah. I thought it'd be too long, but it turned out pretty great. It was the first time in four years that our immediate family was all together at Christmas - the last time was during our ski adventures. Good thing I didn't try to cram in my ski clothes, cause the only snow I saw was the first morning, just a brief dusting that was gone by afternoon.
I think Max liked it.
He and I hung out for the first couple days while Taylor and Courtney worked, and everyone else wasn't there yet.
He's so black it's hard to get a photo - he's like a black blob, or way too shiny if you use a flash. Surely there's a way around this.
I worked out on the bike from 1983.
We ate BBQ twice at The Smoking Apple, which is pretty delicious. Courtney and I wrapped tons of presents.
We also got up one morning and ran part way up a mountain. I did my best to be tough.
My cousins came over on Thursday night, and there was a schnauzer face-off, between Max and Ralph.
I started a puzzle of San Francisco, but got sidetracked. Good thing everyone else was interested.
Max got comfy.
Corey came over and joined in some family home video viewing. He says he's serious about the fact that he enjoyed it.
I know he at least enjoyed the part where cousin Ryan started telling one of my favorite stories ever (coming home from judo class in his gis, getting attacked by a burrito, and successfully retaliating by getting the exploding burrito back into the fugitives open car window). It's always a riot when he's around. I need to find the police report he sent me a few years ago, which he wrote up after carrying out a citizen's arrest.
On Friday we got in some shopping, then headed to Park City for my mom's Christmas surprise. It was going to be cold, so I had to put on my capilene in the bathroom before venturing out. I am a weenie in the cold - totally weenie. Years in AZ and CA have made me soft. East Coast, I long to visit you soon, but you have winter, so it's going to have to wait until April.
We went to the bottom of a ski lift and pretty soon we heard jingle bells on horses - they were coming to pick us up in sleighs!
Taylor - in the middle - didn't get the memo that we would be outside for awhile, so he didn't bring a coat. It was freezing. And the 'blankets' on the sleigh were really just large tarps. The horses move at about .5 mph, so it takes awhile to get up the hill.
Courtney got on the horse once we made it to our destination - The Snowed Inn.
We grabbed our mess plates for some grub - I had trout. Everyone else had prime rib.
Nice, cozy atmosphere. Way to go, Mom.
The next morning I drove up to see Erin, Todd and fam - they were blessing baby William at home with all their extended family.
And then Christmas Eve was at Courtney's Gram's house.
It's their family tradition to play lots of games. I had crap Bingo cards.
But we played Minute to Win It, and I managed to win the whole thing. Jenna did a great job of putting all the games together - like Face Cookie.
And toilet paper mummy races.
Stacking nuts with chopsticks.
After games and our white elephant exchange, I walked away with a few good things. I even scored a bag of Lesa's amazing Rocky Road Popcorn. It's legendary.
Finally - Christmas morning! Max was ready for presents.
My bros got gummy vitamins from me. I care about their health.
Tanner also got a bubble calendar that arrived at 4pm on Christmas Eve, despite being shipping on Dec 5. Christmas Miracle.
Mom got some stuff from Turkey.
So did Courtney.
And we all pitched in and got Mom a Wii. She's excited.
Courtney knows I'm obsessed with candy from Spain, that is unfindable anywhere other than Spain. Except now it's at Williams Sonoma. Let me tell you - money can buy happiness for $12.95 + tax. I am giddy over this stuff.
All the kids got signed copies of Pres Monson's biography, which I have been wanting to read.
Here's the rest of my pile.
We took some family portraits after church.
Even got Max to pose.
Corey came over again, and I kicked his trash at Wheel of Fortune. We also watched a lot of Saved By the Bell, cause that show is still awesome. We had 'Terrific Lady Day' at the movies, because I needed to see Moneyball and Hugo 3D. I was super excited over $3 movies and $3 large popcorn, even if I had to go all the way to Spanish Fark. Another Christmas miracle - the ability to see 4.5 movies in Utah for the price of one in LA.
Adam came over on afternoon and didn't die on the Indo Board.
Max laid on him the entire time.
Last day in Utah, dropped the parentals and little bro off at the airport, and the rest of us went to eat some excellent sushi at Takashi. It's one of my favorite sushi places ever.
Derrick, a fellow Hoya, was in town visiting his fam and came to eat and shop with us.
Pretty good Christmas, even if it was in a cold place. Utah, you're not so bad!