Christmas visit in photos - Part two!

Did you make it all the way through part one of this photo deluge? If you did, you are amazing, my friend! Have a cookie! Want another cookie? Then brace yourself for part two:

We discovered that the morning after Christmas is almost as exiting as Christmas itself, because there are all of these new toys to wake (your mother) up early and play with. 

Espen was playing on the iPad and Gwen crawled up to join him. I promise she's not really as big as he is, this is just taken at a funky angle!
After a morning of getting packed up and ready, we all piled into the car and headed south to Nick's parents' house just outside of St. George, UT. After spending the night with them, we left Espen and Gwen to spend a few days with Grandma and Grandpa while we took my family on a quick road trip around the Grand Canyon!

Gwen was a big fan of the new walking toy at Grandma and Grandpa's house. 

We kicked off our adventures by driving through Zion National Park.

Jeremy checking out the scenery.
Lots of red rocks.
It is quite large. Also, do you think I have my mother's nose?
While we were driving through, we happened to look out of the window and see some mountain goats strolling about on the cliffside. 
Totes casual. No big deal. (Did you know I love goats?)

Then we left the park and saw a flock of bison. They were in an enclosure, but still cool. Slightly off-putting: the restaurant half a mile down the road serving bison burgers. 
Desert flowers in bud in Kanab UT..

I made Nick pose awkwardly with his ancestor and Kanab town founder (I think?), Levi Stewart. Levi's got moves, man. 

Ye olde stage coach!

Ye olde cigar-toting chief.

Ye olde carved bear outside Denny's Wigwam. 

We hit the road again and drove for hours through pretty scenery. I got bored and made my mum take selfies with me. 

One of the best moments of the trip was coming out of the trees on the mountainside, turning a corner and then seeing the Vermilion Cliffs streched across the desert landscape below. Pictures don't do it justice, you'll just have to trust that it was breathtaking.
It inspired an impromptu photo shoot.
Maybe not the world's most serious photo shoot.
It made the men want to stand on rocks.
And gaze heroically into the desert.
Then we drove for a few more hours through the desert and across the Colorado River, until we reached the Grand Canyon!

It is indeed grand. And canyony. 

We started with the Watchtower, which is one of my Grand Canyon favorites. (I've been once before, so I get to talk like  I'm a local). 

Inside the tower, looking down from the top. 

Looking up from the bottom. I think it's absolutely beautifully built. 

On the viewing platform outside. Hiding my rather intense fear of heights quite well, if I may say so myself. 

As I stood looking out at the canyon, this felt so true. 
We hurried along to the next lookout spot and watched the sunset. Not too shabby!
I took this with my phone! While photos don't do it justice at all, it's basically impossible to get a bad shot of the Grand Canyon.
Then we took some more family photos.
And documented our wild enthusiasm.
My goodness, that was a lot of photos! Are you still with me? I think maybe you deserve another cookie, because I'm maybe only half way. But I can't back down now! OK, so maybe a bathroom break? I'll wait.

The next morning the Grand Canyon remained unfathomably gorgeous. 
It was still impossible to do it justice.

More photos were taken of me on this day than in the past year combined. 

My brother looked handsome and happy, like I knew he could. 

I am windswept, but happy. My mum is cute and classy as always. 

Another phone photo. It's crazy how pretty it is! 
Another crazy thing about the Grand Canyon is that you can easily spend an entire day just going from viewpoint to viewpoint along the rim and be perfectly content to just stand and look at it.  
Nick is the one with the fancy camera, so doesn't make it into as many photos, but I did make him take a selfie with me. 

A brief stop in Williams, AZ for some Route 66-ing. 

And then lots and lots and lots of open road.

Bored enough for selfies on the road in the desert. But check out my new necklace that Nick gave me for Christmas!

A brief stop at the Hoover Dam. Obligatory dam(n) jokes were exchanged.
And then Las Vegas!
I can't tell you how weird it was to wake up to the majestic nature of the Grand Canyon and then arrive in the land of silliness where artificial volcanos erupt every half hour and you can take a gondola ride around the mall.
Pretty at Christmas time, though.
Sore footed and exhausted, but still enjoying the sights.
The next day there was one final adventure to the Fremont Street Experience.
Glitter Gulch boasts one of the coolest old signs, and one of the nastiest billboards I have ever seen. Be glad the photo is cropped!
Jeremy by the Golden Nugget.
And then we headed back to Grandma and Grandpa and I kissed and kissed and hugged and squeezed my babies and solemnly swore to never leave them again. It was a fantastic trip, I loved being able to show my big brother a little more of my world, and we were really in need of a little bit of a break from the kids (two nights of uninterrupted sleep!), but my goodness, there isn't a sight in the world that is better than than my two little cuties. 

On the drive back from Grandma and Grandpa. 
After picking up the kids, we packed up and headed home. We celebrated New Year's Eve, we went to Park City, we visited the dinosaur museum and all too soon we were saying our goodbyes and headed to the airport. 

Uncle Jeremy and the crazies before leaving for the airport. 
One last snuggle with Granny.
But what does make saying goodbye so much easier is knowing that in six short months (or so) the four of us will be making the trek across the globe to visit Granny and uncle Jeremy in Norway. And that is something to be happy about!

Now go get yourself a box of cookies, friend. You've earned them. 


  1. Loved it! I have never been to the Grand Canyon before, so thanks for "taking" me. :)

    I'm so glad you got to have your family come for Christmas. Living far away from family can be hard. Hurrah for visits!

    1. Thank you! One of the things I loved about you blogging from Egypt was how I felt like I was getting a little "inside look" at a country I had never visited, so I'm glad I could do the same for you. Now get yourself to the Grand Canyon!


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