Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Vegas

With Dad being an only child and mom having only one brother, our extended family is a little smaller than most. However, our whole family decided to meet in Las Vegas for the first Christmas together since 1984.
Cousin, Sarah, lives in Las Vegas with her husband, Ray, and their son, Ryan. They opened their home to all of us and it was a week long slumber party! We had a fabulous time!

Jo & Scott ended up getting a great deal on a room at Caesar's Palace so they spent the first few nights down on the strip. It was fun to get at least a little taste of the Las Vegas casino lifestyle. Definitely not my forte but a great place to people-watch.

Since Scott & Dad were planning to take in a basketball game while they were in Vegas, the girls decided to have a "girl's night" in Jo's hotel room - complete with room service. I can't remember a time where I have dined on room service and it felt quite extravagant!

One afternoon, Sarah took us to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve where we enjoyed an afternoon hiking the trails. It was a little colder than we expected for LV but the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day! We discovered how Native Americans, early settlers and Mormon missionaries relied on the Springs to survive.
The MGM Hotel has a Lion Habitat where we spent quite a lot of time mesmerized by the lions. They have a tunnel where you can walk underneath them but most of the time it was so dirty you couldn't see much. The habitat is better than a zoo because it's climate controlled and completely sound proof. They hear and smell nothing from the hundreds of people who have their noses pressed up to the glass. The trainers would throw pieces of meat on the glass and they would lick it off. It was gross and awesome at the same time!

The cousins - Sarah, Carla, Jo, Nancy & Steve. The first time we've all been together for Christmas since 1984!
After Jo & Scott headed back to San Antonio, Mom and I decided to have a little fun on the strip ourselves - with a room at the Las Vegas Hilton. We spent one afternoon shopping at the Fashion Show Mall and Mom and I found gorgeous red suede jackets so we decided to be twinkies for our date with dad. Dad took us out for drinks in the hotel bar and we played $5 in the poker machine. We played for about an hour and cashed out at $9. Whoo-hoo - we're rich! :) Dad treated us to a fabulous evening with Barry Manilow who performs at the Hilton. Barry put on a spectacular performance - we laughed, we cried, we sang and we danced. It was a night to remember!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Happy Hour at PBR Big Sky

I won another Happy Hour down at the Power & Light District. This time at PBR Big Sky - the country bar with the mechanical bull. The greatest surprise of the evening was the arrival of my former camper, Jennifer, and her husband, Rob. I haven't seen Jennifer in forever and I recently found her on facebook and invited her to the party. I was thrilled when I saw them arrive. She's become such a beautiful young lady and I am thrilled that we have become adult friends.
Lesa braved the mechanical bull first - and did an amazing job!! She's such a fun person and is afraid of nothing! There is also not a shy bone in her body and she took to that bull like a fish to water. I'm so grateful that God brought her into my life because she definitely pushes me beyond my comfort zone and I'm grateful.
Her husband, Greg, also did an outstanding job on the bull. It's no wonder they have been together for so many years - they are both so fabulous and they aren't afraid to try new things.
I had a lot of fun hanging out with my "girls." Amy & Alisa were in my youth group when I worked at Pine Ridge in the early 90's. It is not always easy to make that transition from youth leader/youth to colleagues and adult friends. Alisa has been helping with the senior high youth group for the past few years and I love working with her. She's a great help and I know she really cares about the "kids." Amy is a wife and a mom and lives not far from me but still chooses to come to Pine Ridge. They are so fun and I am glad they came to my party!
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