It has become a tradition in my sisterhood group that we attend the Desert Botanical Gardens for their Las Noches de las Luminarias every December. It started in 2012. I actually missed the first year. So did Shireen. I was in Flagstaff going on the Polar Express with my family and Shireen was days away from having a baby and couldn't handle all the walking.
This is from that night in 2012. Brenda was taking the picture. (Left to right: Amy, Cynthia, Lauren, Maryellen, Joni)
In 2013 Amy had moved to Indiana and Joni and Cynthia weren't able to make it. Shireen also brought Dahlia. (L to R: Lauren, Shireen with Dahlia, Brenda, me, Maryellen)
2014 was really warm and we all ditched our jackets for sweaters and just long sleeves. (L to R: Lauren, Shireen with Dahlia, me, Maryellen, Brenda).
2015 was chilly again and Lauren brought us light necklaces to wear. (L to R: Cynthia, Shireen, Lauren, Brenda, Maryellen, me)
The night always begins with a gift exchange and snacks at somebody's house. The past few years we've gone to Lauren's. She just moved, so this year we went to Maryellen's.
We did a $12 limit- a pair of socks and beauty items. Maryellen's sister-in-law was visiting, so she joined us for the gift exchange.
We went in order of our birthdays. Brenda was first and I was last. We all had the option to steal from somebody else, but nobody did. We all liked our original gifts.
Maryellen picked my gift.
Shireen ended up keeping the black socks and giving me the tan ones, because they had a beagle on them. How sweet is that?
An action shot.
I picked Maryellen's gift. I needed mascara and I will never say no to new lipstick.
Feasting before leaving.
This was also my "pre-garden" outfit. I changed into suitable clothes for a public engagement.
There was a photo booth this year.
We missed a few of the musicians but made it to quite a few.
We all got boozy hot chocolate. OK, not all of us. But I did.
The 2016 group shot.
The Hut is an important part of our tradition. We go in and all sorts of antics happen in there. One of these years we are totally going to be escorted out by security. This year involved lots of dancing.
I taught everyone The ChooChoo
I brought these chocolates of the world to Maryellen's. I intentionally brought a bunch of them with us so we could enjoy them in the hut. You know. Hut chocolate. Not hot chocolate, but hut chocolate.
Hands over a luminary
This will be a new part of the hut every year.
Lauren's lover the pirate (which is a long running inside joke. He is neither Lauren's lover or a pirate.)
It was another fantastic year of friendship, laughs, good times and memories.