Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Trip

Here's a picture that Max took with his new camera.
This is Bell Rock which is one of the more prominent natural structures,
east of highway 179, as you begin to approach Sedona, Arizona.

On Monday morning, December 18th, my family (all 6 of us) got up early, packed-up the van and headed over to the Original Pancake House in Laguna Hills. We got to the restaurant right around the time it opened at 7 am. We ate an excellent breakfast and then headed for Arizona. Late that afternoon we stopped in Anthem, Arizona (just north of Phoenix off the 17) to check out the home of our friends, Darryl & Robyn Brice and to have a quick visit with Robyn as Darryl was working. From there we drove straight into Sedona (south of Flagstaff) and checked into Los Abrigados Resort & Spa. Los Abrigados is right next to and shares a parking lot with the well-known Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village. Since it was already evening when we got there, Los Abrigados, was totally lit-up with their annual Christmas lights festival. As soon as we showed the kids our suite we took them to dinner at the most fantastic pizza place called Picazzo's.

On the side of highway 89, Oak Creek, between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona.
(Wednesday, December 20, 2006)

We spent December 18-22 in Sedona with the kids. Actually, on Wednesday, we drove to the Grand Canyon. The kids enjoyed the snowy drive there and, despite the travel time to and from, it was well worth the day-trip. The other two full-days the kids had in Sedona were taken up by lengthy hikes. On the 19th we hiked around Bell Rock (see Max's introductory photo above) and Courthouse Butte. Then, on the 21st we hiked the Baldwin Trail in the vicinity of Cathedral Rock.

Me and the boys on the Baldwin Trail with Cathedral Rock in the background.
(Thursday, December 21, 2006)

That Friday we drove all four children to Chrisy's father's house in Prescott (northwest of Phoenix and about an hour south of Sedona). After catching a movie by ourselves in Prescott ("Prez-kit" if you don't want to sound like you're from California), Chrisy and I hightailed it back to Sedona and spent two night and three days in Sedona all alone and kidless! Over the course of this vacation we saw five movies together and I squeezed in an additional film by myself while Chrisy was getting a massage! We checked-out of our hotel on Christmas Eve morning, had some killer breakfast at our very favorite place, Wildflower Bread Company, did some shopping, and then reunited with the kids at James and Sherry's house in Prescott that afternoon. We went to a Christmas Eve service at 4:00 p.m. and had a to-die-for Mexican Christmas Eve dinner of tamales and Pena enchiladas (this means that they are not put-together the traditional way; moreover, the chili-sauce was homemade from Chrisy's grandmother's homegrown chilis in New Mexico)! Christmas morning the kids had stockings and presents from Grandpa and Grandma. It was lovely. That night we had a scrumptious full-spread Christmas dinner with roast beef as the main dish.

This is Zoey and her Nana Sherry on the Peavine Trail overlooking
the granite dells in Prescott, Az. on the last full day of our trip.
(Tuesday, December 26, 2006)

Chrisy and I were in Prescott with the kids from December 24-27. The day after Christmas her dad had to work and his wife, Sherry (Nana to the kids), took us on a local hike on Peavine Trail. After that she treated us to lunch at Wildflower again which was, of course, appreciated by Chrisy and I. We drove home yesterday. Our drive home was much better than last year, but it was still very long (about 10 hours). We pulled off the El Toro exit Wednesday evening around 6 pm and had dinner at Don Jose. This trip was such a great experience on so many levels: we all connected as a family and had enjoyable times; Chrisy and I were able to rekindle our enduring love affair; all of us were able to appreciate and visit with Chrisy's dad and step-mom; and, perhaps most importantly, I felt a tremendous sense of God's presence and provision out there in his creation; even many times on the road, through some reading and writing I was doing, I had moments of great clarity and felt the presence of the Spirit. In all, this was a much appreciated and well-spent ten days away from home.

I'll likely be doing some additional posts with some more specifics about the locations we visited. In the meantime, I hope you had an excellent Christmas.

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