Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sitting on Great-Grandpa's Knee

Last winter, Sean gave me the most amazing gift, when he suggested that we make the very long drive back to my hometown for Christmas. It had been 1.5 years since we had been down to visit my extended family, and I had been wishing that I could get the kids down to see their great-grandpa again. Except how do you say, "Hey, Babe...let's pack up 4 kids and take a really long drive so that you can spend Christmas in a hotel room?" Not exactly what most spouses want to hear. But I married the best guy who volunteered for it himself, even though he knew it would take him far away from his own family on Christmas.

I love him! *sigh*

The drive back to where I grew up in New Mexico takes 16 hours each way. It's a long road trip through some pretty empty states with literally no cell signal for hours at a time. (As a total side note, can I just add how weird it is to be unable to even make a call in this day and age?) When we go back, we have to take two days to drive each direction because the kids just can't do the full 16 hours in one stretch. So it ended up being a two day drive down, two days in New Mexico, and a 2 day drive back. Not going to lie. It was a bit grueling to spend four days driving for just 48 hours in town, but the kids were champs, and it was so amazing to get to spend Christmas there!

I bet you are wondering what the kids thought of all of that....well...they were totally confused and so over tacos by the time we left, it was almost comical. It was just too different from Christmas as they know it. haha!!

My kids know all of the traditional Midwestern Christmas stuff, you know, the stuff in Christmas movies. But in New Mexico, a traditional Christmas looks very different. It involves luminarias, Mexican food, and no snow. haha! I think my little family was in a bit of a culture shock, but to me, it was so perfect. It was just like going back in time 20 years and getting to do Christmas the way I remembered as a kid. Our extended family always celebrates on Christmas Eve with a giant get-together, and my grandpa always displays his collection of several hundred Nacimientos (nativity sets) for the public to enjoy as well. It was all exactly as I remembered, even down to the exact same Christmas Eve punch recipe that my aunt has been making every year for as long as I can remember and sitting on the floor eating dinner with my cousins because there aren't enough seats for all of us. 

And I got to share ALL of that with my kids and show them what Christmas was like for me while growing up. They may not have appreciated the over-abundance of tacos in the moment, but I think they had fun anyway!

One of my big goals going back was to get some photos of my kids with their great-grandpa. It was so important to me to get those photos...but, unfortunately, I waited until we were saying good-bye to try to get them. It was already dark outside, we were in a dimly lit living room, and that combined with my not-so-stellar photography skills just wasn't working out the way I had hoped. All of my photos were blurry and my tired kids weren't fully on board with the idea of watching mom try to take the same photo over and over. Thankfully, one of my cousins took over with his own camera and captured the photos below. I have to give him a quick shout-out because Paul is an international award winning photojournalist, and I kind of scored big time by having him rescue me from my lack of skills.

I wasn't sure what he had been able to catch. I gave him the worst lighting ever, 4 very tired kids, and only about 10 minutes to work with. But oh my word! I just cried when I opened the link he emailed to me to download the pictures. My kids sitting on their Great-Grandpa's knee....so precious! They are exactly what I had dragged my camera all the way to New Mexico to try to get. Photos that I will cherish forever!

(Warning: I'm posting all of them below because I don't want to lose them! It's not really a warning though because I have cute kids and a cute grandpa. hehe!)

Great-Grandpa Taylor and Ellie

Elijah and Great-Grandpa Taylor

Abby and Great-Grandpa Taylor

Caleb and Great-Grandpa Taylor

Me and My Grandpa

The Crew: Elijah, Ellie, Great-Grandpa, Abby, and Caleb

Our Family....so worth the drive!

The Playroom at my Grandpa's house. I spent a lot of hours in here as a kid.


Brothers: I love this photo! It pretty much perfectly sums up their relationship. lol!


We have a ton of family in New Mexico who I think might enjoy these. Somebody show Grandpa for me! :)

Anyhow, thanks for enjoying these photos with me even though grandparent photos are maybe not that interesting to the general masses. Our trip to New Mexico was one of the sweetest gifts that Sean has given to me, and then the photos from Paul on top of it...well, I think I can safely say that time with family and the memories that go with them are everything. <3

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