We're back...alive and well and had a great time in Utah. The drive there and back was pretty chaotic with the kids, but it helped us to realize we were being CRAZY to think we could drive up to Oregon this summer with the kids. I am going to start looking for airplane tickets ASAP.

We stayed with my Aunt Brenda and her kids on the way down which was so fun. Her kids are teenagers and it made me realize how much I love youth. They are so amazing today, much stronger than we were at their age.

Utah was snowy and cold which was fun. It was fun to get bundled up and see the pretty white snow outside. Santa brought Tanner a kitchen. His reaction was a little different than we thought it'd be. I don't know if he was overwhelmed with a few extra people in the room or what, but he wasn't as excited as we thought he'd be. I've heard that's pretty normal at this age....that Christmas morning can be overwhelming for little ones. Kate was thrilled with what Santa brought her....a doll and Little People bus. She played with them until she noticed that Tanner was playing with something else. She always wants to be doing whatever he is doing. It's really cute.

Shad and I decided to each get a free day while we were in Utah. day I watch the kids from morning until night while he does whatever he wants guilt-free and one day I get to do whatever I want. It was GREAT! I think we will do that every vacation. Shad chose to go skiing and I chose to sleep in as late as I possibly could and then go shopping.

In Utah we stayed at Robin and Mikes house (Shad's sister and bro-in-law). It was really fun getting to know Mike better and spending time with both of them. Marion (Shad's Mom) stayed there the whole time too, which was wonderful. Tanner is absolutely in love with her. He cuddles with her so much more than he does with me. Somehow, I am WAY down on his favorite list. So unfair.

Every single spare moment I had I spent researching Digital SLR cameras. I know I got a new camera last summer, but it's just not turning out to be what I expected. I wanted a digital SLR then, but went cheap and now it is biting me in the rear end. Sooo I decided on a........

Nikon D40

I also ordered an 18-55 mm lens, 50-200mm lens and an additional flash. Once I do some research I will get some lens filters as well. I have been so incredibly excited that I honestly can't sleep at night. I think about all of the pictures I want to take. I look at photographers websites of kid galleries and try to figure out how to get certain pictures. I am sooo excited!!! I won't get it until my birthday though (less than 2 weeks away). I told Shad when it arrived in the mail, I would take out the batteries to charge it and then give him the camera to wrap up. That way I can play around with it on my birthday. Again, I am so excited. I put my old camera up on Ebay today and plan on buying a casio ex-v8 on ebay with the money. It's a tiny digital camera that we can just throw in our pocket in Disneyland and places like that, where I wouldn't want to risk bringing the nicer camera.

So tonight is New Year's Eve and Shad and I will most likely not stay up past 10:30pm. So sad. We haven't stayed up until midnight since we had a New Year's Eve party 4 years ago. Are we getting older or what? Actually, in our defense, I tried finding a sitter about 4 weeks ago, and had no luck. All of our sitters are in Utah until Wednesday.

My kids have been awfully preoccupied for about 4-5 minutes, which means they are probably taking something apart and creating something new with the left over pieces. I love you all. Happy New Year.