Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Christmas Vacation (part 2)

The day before Christmas Eve we all woke up with a buzz of excitement.  That was the day we got to go and get Daddy from the airport!!!  Truly it was the ultimate highlight of our day!  We had dinner with Scott and Chris and then I had to go finish my Christmas shopping.  I used to talk about how silly last minute shoppers were.  I always wondered why they were still out shopping on the 23rd and 24th and said I would never do that.  But there I was doing my Christmas shopping on the 23rd.  I didn't want to fill the suitcases with presents to take out there so I had wait to shop until we were on vacation.  But then we just were doing everything but shopping and I couldn't shop for me kids when they were with me.  So I ended up waiting until Brian was there so he could have the kids and I could shop.  It was super fun though because Chris came with me.  Bless her, she drove so I could just plan out where we were going next and what we were getting.  It was probably the fastest I have ever gotten my shopping done.  We then rewarded ourselves with a martini and a chocolate mouse dessert.  I had so much fun going out and chatting with her.  (Don't tell but when they come for vacation, I think we will have to do it again!)

From here on out the vacation literally did not stop once for Brian and I!  It was a crazy go - go - go for an entire week, but it was so much fun.  Hold onto your seats because here we go!

Christmas Eve morning was spent at Jon and Hilary's house visiting with them, their most beautiful daughter Kendall and Lindsey and Rob.  I picked up Kendall just after getting through the door and besides when she was eating her breakfast, I don't think I put her down once.  She is just too precious! 

(Emeric-2, Kendall-9mo., Angela-10 and Connor-5)  

 (Emeric wasn't too sure about all the attention I was giving to Kendall)

 (She had fun playing with Uncle Brian)

It was so nice to get to see both of my cousins and catch up with each other's lives.  We are all three married and two of us have kids.  Such change since the last time we had all seen each other.

The rest of Christmas Eve was spent with the Jamison's!  We got to have Scott and Chris and every one of their Sons, daughter-in-laws and grand kids all under one roof for Christmas.  It was probably the nicest part of Christmas for me.  We had a wild time with 17 people opening presents.  Then we had to find room for all of those bottoms to sit and eat dinner.  Of course it was big but it worked out so nice.  I can't wait until we can do something with the 17 of us again!

Christmas Day was spent at my parents house.  I love the look of the stockings sitting out and ready for the kids to wake up. 

We had fun seeing what they held as well as what Santa brought for the kids:

a scooter for Angela

a sled for Connor

and a bike for Emeric.

I can see your brains spinning....Yes, we did find room for those and all of our other presents in the luggage but that will come later in the story.  We spent time enjoying breakfast and getting dressed but mostly holding the kids off from the other presents until Dad got home from town.  He had to do sound at church and the rest of us slackers said it would have been too much of a rush to get up and get us all ready and do Santa and the stockings and get to church on time.  The rest of the afternoon was spent opening our presents and ohhing and ahhing over everything.  Dinner filled our bellies so full that I took a nap during the after dinner Christmas movie.  We helped to put the kids to bed and then Brian and I left for Spokane.

The morning after Christmas Brian and I got up quite early and headed for the airport.  Las Vegas here we come!  As soon as we got to our hotel we dropped our bags off in our room and then headed for the strip.  We logged more miles walking than I think I have ran in the past year (slight exaggeration, but close).  We headed for the Luxor, which is a big pyramid,

and got ourselves some snacks and drinks!  Once we finished our snack we were anxious to keep going and see as much as we could see.  The only thing holding us back was the fact that we had just ordered a new drink.  Thanks to our smart bartender, she noticed we wanted to get going and she gave us our drinks to go!

We both thought that was great (can you tell we are from a small town either that or someplace pretty conservative?).  We are pretty certain that every town needs to have this policy that you can carry your drinks while you are walking down the street.  All that first day we walked and stopped for a drink and walked and stopped for a snack and drink and then we repeated that for about eight hours.  One of our stops was the Minus 5 Ice Bar at the Monte' Carlo.  The entire room: walls, tables, seats, decorations and bar were made out of ice.  The cups were even made out of ice, which made for a chilly drink!  After we got home I posted a picture of us inside on my FB page and a WI friend commented: "Looks like fun, although you don't need to fly all the way to Vegas for a drink in the cold :). Just come to my garage ;)"  I am looking forward to getting back into a routine and taking her up on that offer! 

Now back to the vacation...The temperature down in Vegas was in the mid 50's which was nice considering a couple of mornings before we left the thermometer read 2.  It did cool off a little bit once the sun went down but not too bad.  We returned to the hotel and I got to enjoy the hot tub, Brian forgot his suit. 

The whole reason we went to Vegas was because we got it discounted through a timeshare offer.  We slept in and relaxed for our next morning and then we did our little timeshare thing.  It wasn't really that bad.  We were really looking forward to that evening when we got to take a helicopter ride over the strip.

It was Brian's first helicopter flight.  We both had a really good time.  None of the pictures turned out but that is okay.  After our flight we got passes to go to an exclusive bar/restaurant called the Foundation room which was on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay.  It was great fun to go up and relax for a few minutes with a drink.

We took the bus to a northern part of the strip and again spent a night walking and seeing and eating and drinking.  Vacations are so much fun!

The next day we got up early, pack up our bags and then headed to breakfast. After breakfast (9:30 AM) we were set to go and see more of the sights. Little did we know that nothing in Vegas opens until well into the day. Silly town only seems to burn the candle on one end. So we leisurely walked around until 10:00 when we started visiting things.

We went to the New York New York hotel and saw this Statue of Liberty statue which was quite fun.  It was at a candy store and it was made from jelly beans.

Then Brian wanted me to ride the roller coaster there but I wasn't too sure that I wanted too.  Ten years ago when I went to Vegas I wanted to ride it and I really enjoyed it.  I guess I am getting weak in my old age because it didn't sound like fun at all.  Can you see that wide eyed, deer in the headlights look I have?

I will admit, a few tears leaked out on the first two big drops but after that it wasn't too bad.  I did not jump right up and ask to go again but I wasn't mad at Brian for having me do it.  As we were doing some souvenir shopping I saw this advertisement for one of the shops.

It made me laugh as I though, "This must be like the Vegas Dollar Store".  It was a lot of hats, scarves, purses and costume jewelry.  Not really things we were looking for for the kids so we moved on.  In the Belagio we went and walked through the conservatory.  It was still done up in all of its Christmas finery.  This "postcard" was made from flowers and tree branches and other flora.  It was much taller than Brian, I am guessing about ten feet tall.  Regardless, I thought it was very impressively made, like much of Vegas.

We did end the trip with a bit of stress though.  We were on our was back to our hotel and we had a little less than 30 minutes before the shuttle would pick us up and take us to the airport which means our plane would take off in a little over an hour.  That is when Brian realized that his phone was missing.  He sent me on to the hotel to get our bags with the directions to go to the airport without him if he did not get back before the shuttle left.  Then he ran back towards the strip and all the places we had visited that morning.  It is a really weird feeling taking all the bags on the shuttle to the airport without your husband.  Fortunately, he was able to get a cab and he met me at the airport about 15 minutes after I got there.  Unfortunately, he was unable to find his phone but we were able to get things taken care once we were home. 

The next couple days were again spent doing laundry and packing all of our things.  We came with one bag stuffed inside another and one full of Girl Scout cookies that we delivered so I thought we would have enough room for everything.  We barely made it.  We checked eight pieces of luggage, shipped one box home and had three carry on items - yikes. 

New Year's Eve was spent quietly with the five of us watching a movie, enjoying a dinner and playing some games.  We put the kids to bed and then Brian went to his aunt and uncle's house to see some of his family.  The next day we visited with some friends and saw some more family.  At one point in the day Connor was having some trouble listening and he got sent to the corner.  Emeric felt bad for his brother and went to be with him.

Our last day in WA was again spent seeing family and friends.  We had intended to make it an early night because we had an early morning to catch our flight, but I don't think Brian and I went to bed until 11:30 PM.  Fortunately for us I woke up with the alarm, Brian slept right through it, and we made it to the airport with no hitch.  It was another long day of travel (from Spokane to Denver and then to Milwaukee and home) but it was quite uneventful which was nice.  We miss our family and friends a lot but we are so very happy to be home and able to see our friends here.

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