It's never easy to be away from my family and my good friends in Indiana; but the holidays make it even more difficult. Luckily, Eric's family has always welcomed me as one of their own. This year Christmas was in the home of Rita and Paul, who recently moved to Tucson from Washington. It was a lovely couple of days.
On the drive from Phoenix to Tucson, we stopped at the beautiful San Xavier del Bac Mission. We missed sunset by just minutes but the sky was still a beautiful sapphire blue.
On Christmas Day we all gathered at the Mills' residence. Our morning got an exciting start as a coyote meandered past the front of the house!
Eric and I finally had the opportunity to meet cousin Stephanie's husband, Matt, and spend some time with their adorable daughter, Annika.
|Matt and Annika|
|Eric and Stephanie catching up|
Brian, Paul, and Rita were quite the chefs! They prepared TWO turkeys! One oven roasted and one deep fried...both delicious.
|Brian checks the turkey|
|Sweet Annika watching her i-pad|
Rita set a beautiful table and more family began trickling in as dinnertime approached.
|Brenda and Crosby assisting with veggies and dip|
|Crosby tries, unsuccessfully, to steal Annika's chair|
|And then she caught a ride on his leg!|
Brian and Paul continued cooking and even tending bar. They were fun to watch...such pro's!
|Paul taking out the deep fried turkey!|
|Brian finishing the gravy|
Outside, storm clouds started rolling in as the kids enjoyed the December Arizona weather.
|Christian, Annika, and Courtney|
Finally, the feast was ready and we all gathered around to eat!
|Stephanie, Matt, Bruce, Julie, Crosby, Celia, and Brenda|
|Turkey two-ways, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes|
Thank you to the Mills' and the McDowell's for a wonderful Christmas. I hope everyone back in Indiana, and all over, had an equally blessed Christmas.
"Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." ~ Washington Irving
"SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA'S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!" ~ Buddy the Elf