Jan 3, 2009

Top Ten Christmas Trip Memories

On Christmas Day, shortly after Santa's glory unfolded in our family room, we packed up our bags and got on a plane. We then enjoyed a week in Logandale, Nevada, the small town Garry's parents and sister call home. Here are the highlights, presented in Top Ten fashion:

10. Santa's second Christmas stash
Zachary and Tyler were elated to discover that Santa Claus made a stop in Logandale on their behalf. Garry and I were so bleary-eyed by the time we arrived Christmas night that we forgot to take pictures of the boys opening their huge stack of presents and stockings, but they were in heaven as they unwrapped and discovered it all. Some new favorites: A game called State to State, a Mario Kart game for the Wii, remote control cars, and a doggie buddy named Jack for Gavin. Oh, and boatloads of candy!

9. Garry's mini high school reunion
When we were planning our trip to Logandale, I asked Garry if he'd like to see any of his old friends. This simple question blossomed into a miniature high school reunion of sorts. Garry's cousin, Sandy, took care of everything (including hosting) and we had a fun little potluck dinner with six couples and all of our kids. We were sad to miss the friends who got sick or had conflicts at the last minute, but it sure was fun seeing everyone else!

Garry seasoned and barbecued all the meat we had for dinner.

Moapa Valley High School class of 1994 (with spouses who were also alumni): Garry Bartle, Michelle Booth Anderson, Ryan Anderson, Ryan Wheeler, Wendy Leavitt Wheeler, Reagan Jones Whipple (her husband, Don, was sick, but he was also a '94 grad), Sandy Terry Reese, and Erin Bunker Leavitt.

And all the kids (although the Leavitts' kids weren't there!).

8. Family pictures
Since all of Garry's family was together, we had a makeshift photo session in the living room on Monday. Zachary threw up a few times that morning, so in every photo he looks like death warmed over. This is as good as it gets, people. As my dad always says, "At least we recorded history."

7. These boxes
Garry's mom asked him to install the new toilets she got for Christmas (guess she's as practical as we are this year) and all three boys have had a blast with the boxes. They have become forts, storage bins, artistic canvases, shooting targets, vehicles, hideaways, and even moving laundry bins.

6. Discovering Tyler's new life plan

One evening Tyler noticed that Grandpa had a "real" sword hanging on his office wall. He said to Garry, "I'm definitely going to want one of those when I grow up." He then elaborated: "I am going to become professional at it -- professional at fighting. I'm going to take all the knights and line them up and glue their feet down. And then I'm going to take the sword and run and chop them all." These are excellent aspirations, no? Tyler would have enjoyed the show at Excalibur (see #1).

5. Swimming at the Terry's
On the day we spent in St. George (see #4), we visited the home of Garry's cousin, Brad. The highlight for Zachary and Tyler was swimming in the fabulous swimming pool. Even though it was almost freezing outside, the pool was a balmy 90 degrees! Zach loved playing basketball in the pool with all the cousins, while Tyler liked the rock slide and hanging out in the hot tub with Garry.

All three boys were completely exhausted on the drive back to Logandale. I love pictures of sleeping children!

4. Going to the temple
On the 26th, we drove to St. George, Utah, so we could attend the temple with nearly all of Garry's adult cousins and Grandma Terry. It was so great to be there with people we loved -- not to mention being in a temple so soon after our last great experience. Grandma and Grandpa Bartle watched our boys at Grandma Terry's house.

3. Aunt Heidi's hair salon
A Logandale tradition we always look forward to is being treated to Aunt Heidi's fabulous hair care. We really appreciate her expertise and generosity whenever we visit. We all got dolled up Monday morning before our family pictures.

2. Special time with Grandma and Grandpa
What could be better than time spent with the grandparents?
Each of the boys enjoyed one-on-one time with Grandma and Grandpa, whether it was a special bedtime story, a run to Wally's for ice cream, playing a game, mowing the lawn, or visiting the neighborhood farm animals. Riding a neighbor's horses and visiting the Shark Reef in Las Vegas were amazing, too! The boys all enjoyed their day alone with Grandma and Grandpa when Garry and I got away alone (see #1). We were especially happy for the way Gavin warmed up to them.

1. A Las Vegas getaway

For Christmas, Garry's parents reserved a hotel room for us in Las Vegas and watched the boys so we could have a short getaway. This was only the second time in ten years (aside from our honeymoon) that Garry and I have vacationed alone together. Even though the Las Vegas night life isn't our scene, we had a great time! We stayed in a suite at The Palazzo, went to the Tournament of Kings dinner show at The Excalibur, revisited The Forum Shops where our courtship began, had late-night dessert at Denny's, slept in late, and saw Australia in the movie theater before returning to Logandale. Our time together included a few misadventures, like a dead car battery, very heavy traffic, unmet expectations for class, drama, and good food at the dinner show, and a closed Ben & Jerry's shop, but we made some great memories and had so much fun together!

We were relieved to get a wonderful report on the boys when we got back. We left behind a teething Gavin who also had diarrhea and separation anxiety and a barfing Zachary (Tyler, at least, was in good shape), so we were nervous about their first overnighter with Grandma and Grandpa. Happily, Zach and Gavin both recovered enough that everyone was happy and reasonably healthy during our brief absence. Many thanks to a most excellent Grandma and Grandpa for giving us the gift of peace and quiet for 24 hours -- the best gift of our Christmas this year!
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