The Rest of Thanksgiving 2017

This post is a hodge podge of pictures from the rest of our Thanksgiving Break. First up is pictures from the Friday before our break began! Hadley doesn't go to school on Fridays, but once a month her teachers host a family activity. Hadley made a little Thanksgiving card to give her teachers when we went {pictured below}. I didn't get any pictures at Hadley's event b/c they were making Thanksgiving crafts, and it was just about all I could do to help Hadley complete her crafts and keep Brady content in his stroller at the same time.

After we finished up in Hadley's class, we headed home for a quick lunch before heading back out for the first grade Thanksgiving Feast. Of course the feast was smack dab in the middle of Brady's naptime, so attending the feast was all kinds of fun with this guy in tow. ;)

{Shelby's placemat for the feast}

 {Excited to be on BREAK! And excited to have the school functions over with--attending these things with a baby in tow is not for the faint of heart!}
The very next day, I went to go see "I Mom So Hard" with my friend Jessica and a few other moms & teachers from the girls' school. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!!

And last but not least, here are a few more pictures from our time in Williams!

And just in case anyone was mistakenly thinking traveling with 3 kiddos is easy, here you go! Brady sleeps pretty well when we travel, but he woke up much earlier than the girls did on this trip. So one morning I took him into the bathroom to play to keep the room quiet so the girls could sleep longer. Then he had a dirty diaper, and of course the diapers & wipes were in where the girls were sleeping, so it was bathtime at 6am! ;)

On our drive back to Las Vegas, we stopped and had Thanksgiving lunch at Cracker Barrel. Derek & I were having major deja vu because we spent one Thanksgiving at Cracker Barrel when Derek was working in Jackson, MS during residency when Shelby was about Brady's age now {HERE is that post}. A lot has changed since that Thanksgiving! And after re-reading that post, it's amazing what you remember and what you don't remember! How did I not remember Shelby being that good of a sleeper in a hotel?! The only sleeping in hotel experiences that stick out in my mind from when Shelby was a baby were the bad ones, ha! ;)  I'm so glad we have this blog to record all of these memories!
{Thanksgiving 2011 at Cracker Barrel in Jackson, MS}

{Thanksgiving 2017 at Cracker Barrel in Kingman, AZ. Playing Checkers while we waited on our lunch--according to Shelby, this was one of her favorite parts of the whole trip!}

 {Brady's first taste of pumpkin pie!}
While our last two Thanksgivings have been far from traditional {last year's was at Disneyland}, I hope these trips we take together are lasting memories for our family!


Bearizona | Thanksgiving Break 2017

If you ever find yourself in Williams, Arizona, Bearizona is a MUST! This place totally exceeded our expectations. It is a drive-thru place where you can see animals from your car. They obviously had a lot of bears {hence the name!}, but they had lots of other animals, too! We didn't get a picture of it, but we got to see/hear the wolves howling! It was the coolest thing!

They also have a portion where you can get out of your car to walk around and see other animals up close including a petting zoo area. The girls could have camped out in the petting zoo area for the rest of the day if we let them!

{This picture cracks me up--Brady got right up in the goat's face to check him out! He had absolutely no fear whatsoever!}

{Yes, Derek is holding Brady back from the turkey in this picture!}

{Both of the girls were so enthralled with petting the goats & brushing their fur.}


Polar Express | Thanksgiving Break 2017

The hotel/train station where we stayed in Williams does the daily trains to the Grand Canyon, and  they also do a fall themed train ride to a pumpkin patch in September/October & then they do a Polar Express ride during the holiday season. We got to take advantage of the Polar Express train ride during our stay--it was so well done & a ton of fun!

{visiting with Mrs. Claus before boarding the train}

{mailing letters to the North Pole}

{About to board with our golden tickets! We didn't get a picture, but it was so cute--as the train pulled up to the station the "bakers" were hanging out the window waving to greet everyone as they arrived}

{our time on the train included hot cocoa, cookies, and lots of singing & dancing!}

{I love this one of all 3 kiddos peering out the windows to get a glimpse of the lights as we approached the "North Pole"}

The Polar Express train ride was a surprise to the girls. They didn't know we were doing this until minutes before we boarded the train. We fed the girls an early dinner in our hotel room, and then as I was reading The Polar Express book, our golden tickets fell out of the book. Their excitement level when they discovered what we were doing was through the roof. It was so magical for them! It was a really special night!


Grand Canyon | Thanksgiving Break 2017

Okay, here comes the first installment of posts from our Thanksgiving Break last week! In continuing our quest to make the most of our time stationed at Nellis & living out west, we wanted to make the trip to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. {I'm not as National Park-saavy as Derek is, but the West Rim is only maybe 90min from us, but the South Rim is supposed to be the one you can't miss.} We opted to stay in Williams, AZ at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, which is about about 3-3.5hrs from us. Williams is a little old Western town located on historic Route 66, and they have daily train rides that take you into the Grand Canyon for a visit. They also do a fun Polar Express train ride during the holiday season, so we tacked that onto our visit, too!

Still can't believe we got to see the Grand Canyon & have this amazing experience with our kids at such a young age! Derek and I were laughing on this trip trying to list off all of the adventures sweet little Brady has already been on in his short 16 months of life--the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, Mount Charleston, San Diego, Disney Land, Utah, Georgia, Florida, and I'm sure we're probably missing a couple! ;)

{on the train & ready for the Grand Canyon!!}

We were worried it was going to be super cold on this trip, and I scrambled to get Brady a winter coat, hat, and mittens before we left but we totally lucked out and had the most gorgeous weather for the entire trip!! Now for a plethora of pictures, it was truly a sight to behold! The pictures do NOT do it justice!!!

This next picture below is one of my favorites from the whole trip--we bring our kids to the Grand Canyon--a place people long to see and have on their Bucket Lists--and here are our kids playing in the dirt. ;)

{love this one of the girls looking out over the canyon}

{waiting to board the train back to Williams}
It was a long and tiring day with 3 kids, but it was so worth it! Such an amazing experience that we will never forget! And I'm just thankful we all lived to tell about it! ;)  I'm not super nervous with heights, but heights with small children are NOT my thing at all. My kids trip and and fall just walking down the sidewalk, then you want to throw in rocky terrain & drop-offs? Good grief! I was already nervous to begin with and we'd only been at the Grand Canyon for about five minutes & hadn't even made it anywhere close to the edge yet, and Hadley was walking along a little ledge near the bathrooms that was maybe 6-12inches off the ground & fell flat on her face. It made me all the more nervous for the rest of the day! Our kids were by far the youngest we saw there that day, but we just kept laughing b/c every single parent {even the parents of teens!} were all saying the exact same things. Hold my hand! Don't go any further! Stop right there! Be careful! ;)
On our drive home after our trip, I told Derek I really want to go to the West Rim before our time in Las Vegas is up, and he told me he wasn't sure I could handle it. ;)  Apparently the West Rim is on Navajo land, and they have a glass walkway that goes out over the Canyon so you can see straight down. I'm pretty sure Derek is right--the whole time I would be thinking one of my kids would jump and break the glass and we would plummet to our death somehow. ;)  I told him maybe we'll make a date day out of it sometime and go sans-kids! This military life has granted us some pretty cool experiences, and Derek is slowly but surely getting me on the National Park Bandwagon. ;)