Welcome to Mountain Brook Ink's 2018 Holiday Blog Tour! We're so excited you've decided to join us on this journey of family, friends, traditions, and memories over the next month. You as our reader have done so much to pour into our lives, and this season we want to give back to you with insights into our lives AND some giveaways. The more days you follow, share, comment, and engage with us, the more entries you'll have toward a Kindle Fire Grand Prize or one of three Amazon Gift Cards! (Kindle Fire can only be shipped within the U.S. and Amazon gift cards can be won by anyone who can use an online gift card)
Since my husband and I have been together since high school, I've been fortunate enough to be a part of his family's holidays for a long time. I've eaten multiple delicious Thanksgiving meals and celebrated many Christmas mornings with the Normans. Some of my favorite memories are from picking out a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. At a tree farm we would ride a hay rack to pick out the perfect tree. Afterwards, we would ride back to the barn to eat popcorn and drink hot apple cider. We would then decorate the tree once we got it home. Now that all the siblings (including us) have moved away, we sadly no longer get to carry out this tradition. However, I hope to continue a version of this with my own little family.
My most memorable holiday with the Norman family is from 2010.
My husband's brother and sister-in-law were living in Pasadena, California, so the day after Christmas we took a road trip all the way from Kansas to visit them. We made the twenty hour drive with fourteen people and everybody's luggage crammed into a fifteen passenger van. Along the way, we made sure to stop at the Grand Canyon. It was my first time to see it, but it was hard to enjoy since it was freezing!
During our visit in California, we hiked to the Hollywood sign and visited Hollywood Boulevard. Did you know that you can't actually get to the Hollywood letters like they show in the movies? And Hollywood Boulevard wasn't what I expected either. It's teeming with people and mostly full of souvenir shops. Seeing the celebrity hand and foot prints was pretty cool though. (My hands are on Tom Hanks' in the picture above) We also visited the beach! Since it was December, it was far too cold to swim. However, some of the family rented wet suits and boogie boarded.
The main reason for our visit was to see the Rose Parade on New Years Day. I was shocked to find out that in order to have good seats, we would have to spend the whole night on the street. We bundled up with coats, hats, and blankets on New Years Eve and spread out our lawn chairs along Colorado Avenue. Thousands of people played music, partied, or slept along the road that stretched for miles. Throughout the night, cars would continue to drive down the street, but at their own risk. The tradition was for parade-goers to spray silly string or throw tortillas filled with whipped cream onto the cars driving by. The night was long and cold, but it was worth the exhaustion for the parade the next morning. The parade was amazing! The creativity and craftsmanship of the floats made entirely of roses was astounding!
Holidays with the Norman family are never dull, and always full of laughter and love. Now that there are four grandkids five-years-old and younger, we can't go on road trips easily, but we hope to travel some place special every other year. In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy our Christmas tradition of watching Home Alone on Christmas Eve, putting together a puzzle after the young ones go to bed, and soak up the one week out of the year that we're all together.
Full blog tour schedule: (Some links may not work until the date of the author's stop)
Stop #1: October 28 Kimberly Rose Johnson
Stop #2: October 29 Christina Coryell
Stop #3: October 30 Mary Davis
Stop #4: October 31 Angela Ruth Strong
Stop #5: November 1 Susan Page Davis
Stop #6: November 2 Amy K. Rognlie
Stop #7: November 3 Gayla K. Hiss
Stop #8: November 4 Christa MacDonald
Stop #9: November 5 Linda Hanna & Deborah Dulworth
Stop #10: November 6 Richard Spillman
Stop #11: November 7 Annette M. Irby
Stop #12: November 8 Miralee Ferrell
Stop #13: November 9 Jeanette-Marie Mirich
Stop #14: November 10 Anna Zogg
Stop #15: November 11 Teresa H. Morgan
Stop #16: November 12 Kelsey Norman
Stop #17: November 13 Barbara J. Scott
Stop #18: November 14 Patricia Lee
Stop #19: November 15 Linda Thompson
Stop #20: November 16 Janalyn Voigt
Stop #21: November 17 Cynthia Herron
Stop #22: November 18 Trish Perry
Stop #23: November 19 Heather L.L. Fitzgerald
Stop #24: November 20 Sara Davison
Stop #25: November 21 Taylor Bennett