Every time there is a close to a year I am reminded that it is a close to some things and a beginning to others. I have also learned it's hard to predict what a new year will bring.
The day before New Years I got to have lunch with one friend who is leaving (moving to Utah for new opportunities) and one friend who is back after living out of state for a couple of years. No matter how far friends wander it's nice to know you still have them...it seems that the older I'm getting the more far flung friends and family get :)
New Years Eve Jeff and I went out to dinner with friends, then came home by 8:00 to pack up for our trip the next morning.
While Ashley Jeff and I were hanging out packing and watching a movie, Taylor and Jacob were at Knott's Berry farm celebrating with Cody and Kelzie.
Luckily the Cowdens brought the kids home because we were up in the morning driving to Vegas to meet up with the Olesons.
They were flying back from Christmas with family back east and we cashed in on a time share deal we agreed to do and decided to meet up for a couple of days in Vegas.
Dean was very excited to see Ashley.
Virginia said it was something he was looking forward to on their trip.
While we were waiting to be able to check into our room we visited the Ethel M. Chocolate factory.
Not much to see except overpriced chocolate in the store because nobody was working in the factory on New Year's Day.
We went over and got M&M's instead and walked around the cactus garden lit up with Christmas lights.
Here we are trying to feed blue M&M's to a rabbit. It nibbled it and then moved on...
When we got to our hotel room in the Hilton Grand Vacation club it was amazing. Great view...
Appreciated by some more than others...
But we loved that it had a separated master bedroom, a full kitchen, dining room and huge couch and sofa bed that fit all the kids.
Very comfortable for our whole group to hang out at for game nights and when we wanted to stay in with the Olesons. We watched shows on the big projection screen TV (that took up the whole wall), and when the kids had to hang out in the room and wait for us there wasn't any complaining at all :)
When we walked outside our hotel to check out the town...
we walked by the Paris...
And by the mini-Eiffel tower...
So we could see the fountain show at the Bellagio.
On the way back we in position to see another one.
Then we got Panda Express and played games and watched a movie in our room with the Olesons.
The next morning the kids got to hang out while we did our obligatory time share speal. We aren't on the hook for a time share but it took up a big part of our day!
Midafternoon we met up with the Olesons and went to go to see the sharks in the aquarium.
I guess Jared had been bugging his dad to come see them for the past 3 years so this was the day.
It was kind of last minute so Jeff wasn't even thinking of the prices...ha ha. Vegas is like going to Disneyland, you are charged for everything. It all worked out OK though and it was cute aquarium and nice way to spend a couple of hours.
Taylor checking out the komodo dragon.
(He used to have a little rubber on from the zoo growing up. He named it Como and took it everywhere)
The fish were pretty cool and we were up close to everything.
Touching the sting rays...
All we heard the whole time was "ONE FINGER ONLY', the guy on the microphone telling everyone "Only touch with one finger!!!" You would think anyone touching with more than one finger was a criminal.
and of course sharks.
That night Jeff and I cashed in on our free dinner and show tickets for listening to the time share presentation and Joel and Virginia got discounted tickets to join us. We had dinner at a great Italian place and then watch a fun variety show. The show was entertaining and family friendly, we thought our kids would've loved it.
The next morning the Oleson's were planning on heading back to Utah. We decided to stop over at the shop that's featured on Pawn Stars.
There was a long line out the door to wait to get in...but it didn't end up taking too long.
It was interesting to see some of the thing they have featured on the show. Jeff got to get a glimpse of the old man who was working that day and we saw some really expensive watches and things under the glass.
Afterwards we headed up to my Aunt and Uncle's house. We haven't seen Larry and Renae for a couple of years so it was nice to catch up with them and have lunch with them. While we visited the boys played some games. Sadly this is the only picture I got! I should've got one with Larry and Renae.
We said goodbye to Larry, Renae and and the Oleson's and headed back to our hotel.
Since we didn't have any plans for the night we decided to see if we could buy some more discounted dinner/show tickets from the time share place. We got there just as they were closing and were able to get them. So we took the family to a great buffet that was included and back to the show.
Even two nights in a row it was entertaining.
The kids loved it more than we even thought they would. A great way to spend our last night there.
The next day before we headed out of town we drove over to Red Rock.
(Make sure to have plenty of gas when you go, we learned the hard way our last time that there is no gas for miles around)
This picture doesn't seem very impressive but the boys are actually sitting on a rock with a huge drop off right behind them.
When Ashley got in the picture she just wanted to stand next to the rock.
The most fun part was exploring. There really isn't a trail so sometimes we found dead ends. Taylor and Jacob got to this one and realized it was a big drop off so they turned around. I have to admit I was the stressed out mom that wanted everyone in sight and kept imagining injuries.
This is the view from the bottom, if the boys would've continued they would ended up with a big drop into a shallow pool of water lined with rocks.
Taylor only wished he had his rock climbing shoes! He found this hole to hang out in.
Ashley was pretty brave and wanted to go wherever the boys did.
And of course Jacob wanted to go wherever Taylor did.
I think Red rock was one of their favorite parts of the trip.
On the drive home our trip was topped of with Jeff and the boys doing the roller coaster at State Line. I guess the boys have never been.
All in all it was a great little trip.
When we got back home we had to get ready for going back to school, including finishing Ashley science fair project. I hate that every year they assign a science fair project due the day we get back from Christmas break.
Then I remembered its my last one ever to have to help someone with! Sweet!