The Winterhaven neighborhood in Tucson was aglow with holiday lights. Though the temperature was near 80 degrees during the day, the feeling at night was nothing but wintery delight when we strolled through the streets filled with colorful lights and decorations.
Mike and Anna took advantage of mistletoe dangling from one of the street lamps.
|Preparing for the holidays|
Me, Mike, Anna and Cherie baked and iced a batch of cookies to nosh on over the holidays
|Matt and Mel Bring Goodies from Seattle|
|Matt and Mel brought a taste of the northwest with them. They stopped in at Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market before leaving Washington so they could bring fresh salmon and giant crabs for our first meal together. Mel's mom added a bottle of L'Ecole No. 41 Merlot from Walla Walla into the mix. We weren't sure if Matt and Mel flew in from Washington or Heaven.|
|Anna Celebrates Her Birthday|
Anna celebrated her 20th birthday this year with her family. Her mom seranaded her with the family's traditional birthday song, which you can hear by clicking on the sound icon below.
Mel, at left, thinks this party is swell, while Angela gets Mike to smile for the camera
At bottom, the gang donned their winter hats to keep the hot Christmas sun out of their eyes
|Angela and Hap, right, bring the family together for Anna's birthday. Cherie baked three breakfast casseroles and poured mimosas, while Angela brought the cake and ice cream for the celebration. Also at right, Anna's siblings Levi, Taylor, and Noelle came for the Stratego and paddleball games.|
|M2 P2 Visit the Happiest Place on Earth|
|Matt and Mel, Pete and Pega rented a car and drove to Disneyland to party with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Pluto. They "borrowed" a neighbor's gingerbread couple for their trip to California, raising the curiosity of fellow travelers and border patrol agents.|
|The Kids at Play
Anna and Mel show off their talents on the putt-putt golf course. Anna, left, prepares to putt out of the ultimate "rough," while Mel goes fishing for her golf ball in the water hazard.
Anna and Mel play Pocahontas in the Huachucas, right
Kevin is a wild and crazy guy, which seems to be infectious
|This picture of Mel reminds me of Bridget Fonda. Am I right?|
|Matt and Mel soak up the Arizona sun...a nice reprive from the winter rains in Washington|
Another Arizona sunset, as Matt and Mel drive home from a hike near the ghost town of Fairbank, along the San Pedro River.
|Christmas Eve Eve in Tucson|
|We spent the day at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in the desert west of Tucson, above.|
Mel and Anna found the cave there fascinating ... they were inspired to try out pole dancing with the stalactites.
|Matt, left, sets out on an anthropological dig, after which he and Mel rest up in the shadow of a saguaro cactus|
|No, Anna didn't jump up on this housetop to get away from the javalina, in fact, she couldn't huff and puff and blow its house down, so she decided to try to get in through the chimney|
Matt and Mel steal a kiss as the sun drops in sky over the valley west of Tucson
Hike to Clanton Ranch
On New Year's Day we walked the wash along the Murray Springs Clovis Site National Conservation Area. People first arrived here 11,000 years ago. They belonged to the Clovis Culture and were the earliest known people to inhabit North America. Named after the distinctive Clovis spear points they made, they were expert hunters of the large mammals of the Ice Age. At Murray Springs, Clovis occupation surfaces were found in place. Bones, tools, and a hearth were discovered where Clovis people left them, as well as bones of several extinct animals, including Mammoth, North American horse, Camels, Bison, Lion, and Dire wolf. We walked in their footsteps, stalking our own exotic animals, namely the fearsome ... okay, namely hibernating lizzards that Matt found buried in the wash bluffs.
Mel looked for geologic and anthropomorphic evidence ... Matt looked for lizzards hibernating 'neath the muddy bluff surface
|This little critter stayed on Mel and Matt's hands and clothes for miles, slowly waking up from his hibernation before scampering off. The kids had him so long they named him Brave, and were ready to adopt him|
|Further along the wash we came upon more recent evidence of man, a dump, where the kids dug through the wash walls looking for evidence of times gone by.|
Matt and I found an old Clorox bottle still intact
|Hiking further, we found a small waterfall and pool along the stream, where Mel went wading and the soothing sound of gurgling water invited us to pause and enjoy.|
We brought the sound back with us, which you can hear by clicking on the sound icon, below.
|At left, Mel and Matt stand beside the only remaining wall of the infamous Clanton Gang ranch near the San Pedro River.|
Below, Mel puts the finishing touches on her very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and scrawny cactus plant with yellow flowers
A Wine Tasting with the Neighbors|
Jeanne with her brother-in-law Harry and sisters Cecilia and Judeen
Cherie is happy to see Belinda home from Germany
Paul and Shari share a hug
Daniel and Harmony snuggle, above,
A Day at Fort Bowie
We spent a day at Fort Bowie in the Chirachaha mountains, walking along the Butterfield Stage trail, visiting the cemetery where soldiers killed by Apaches were once buried, finding the Apache Spring water source, and walking among the ruins of old Fort Bowie.
|Move the mouse over this photo of the officer quarters to see how they look today|
|Mel and Matt couldn't get enough of the Arizona sunsets, in this case climbing up on the roof to good a good picture of the sky awash with color|
We hope you, too, had a happy holiday. From our house to yours, Merry Christmas|
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