Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Journey 2008

On December 23rd, Matt and I embarked on our long Christmas journey to Missouri and Texas with our dog Maggie. As you can see- just thinking of the trip made her tired but visiting with the friends and family was well worth it.

Maggie traveled extremely well. She had quite the nice bed in the back seat of the truck and we stopped every few hours to stretch our legs.

Missouri was our first stop where we stayed in Steelville, MO at my parents house. On Christmas day, the entire family comes together at their house for lunch and to open presents. Below are some pictures of the day of activities.

Above- Heidi helps Avis (her beautiful adopted daughter from Guatemala), Jordan and Cameron open their gifts.
Jordan (Wendy's daughter) playing with some "goo" !
You always have to steal a picture of Cameron (Wendy's son) smiling.

Snuck another picture : )

The nieces and nephews keep us laughing and feeling like kids again!

Avis trying on her new princess outfit while Cameron looks on.

Jackson (Dana's son), Cameron and jordan found their own source of entertainment...

Matt was the resident jungle gym for all the kids.

The farm is filled with fun activities such as horseback riding- - -

tractor riding-
blowing up pumpkins with shot guns and fireworks- (Robin and Dana below)

And collecting and chopping wood for heating the home in the wintertime.

Papa prides himself on building the perfect cord. And it all starts with the process demonstrated below. The wood is chain sawed into 20" sections that are measured using markers on the chain saw.

It is then transported back to the farm in the bed of the truck where the wood is unloaded
Split - and

Stacked into the perfect cord!

After lots of hard work at the farm- we made our way to TX. Matt knew the perfect way to sleep despite the rain or sun!

And well- then so does Maggie. She really knew how to ham it up!

In Texas we were welcomed by relatives who also made the journey from Minnesota. We sat around a great bonfire and caught up on the past year.

Above- Annie was the "roasted pig" that was tortured by her brother (right) and cousin.

Cousins Diana and Caryn- and Maggie!

On our way home- we stopped at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX to visit 2 cheetahs that I hand raised and transported there a few years ago. It my first time back to see them. I wish I could say they remembered me but I think the thought of their impending breakfast took over any memory of their "mother".
Tambo is seen below: He suffered from feline herpes that affected his eyes quite drastically. He had surgery that made a huge improvement- but still leaves them looking slightly abnormal.

Despite them not remembering me - it was fantastic to visit them and see their new place that they have made home.

Covering 2,912 miles and driving through 12 states- Our trip was was exactly what we needed to rejuvenate and relax.