Because our time was cut short last year by an impromptu visit to my dad in San Diego and then the fire in New Harmony burning all of our stuff, we didn't get much Vegas time in 2012. So this year we planned about 10 days at my sisters' house in Henderson, which is a suburb of Las Vegas. I "grew up" in Henderson, so I definitely have an affinity for the place. It's Memory City. I mean, come on! Home of my first everything. First grade, first love, first date, first kiss.... hey kids! There's my high school! Look! That's where we used to roller blade! Oh my heck! That house looks exactly the same!! But nope. Nobody cares. The kids and Jonah... they just go for the extended-family time and the pool hopping.
But, in any case, Sonna is always a wonderful hostess and feeds us so well and always has loads of things planned for us to do. The first on the agenda was a picnic in their newly-finished beautiful backyard and with their recent family addition Evan the Guinea Pig (see above).
But the truly exciting newish family addition was baby Luke, Sonna's third child. Jonah and the kids, minus Elsie who was with me when I came to the mainland in February, had never met this cutie and it was love at first sight for everyone. Who can help but love this happy, smily, loving baby!? He is so freakin' adorable!!!
It was also great to reunite Ruthie, Gabe (aka Reggie) and my kids, of course. We luckily also got loads of time with my brother's daughter Riley, so it was Fegert Family Cousin Fest (um, yes, Fegert is my maiden name and I somehow survived, thank you). Po was especially loving Fegert Cousin Fest since Riley and Gabe/Reggie are only six months and three months older than her. We were worried they would all terrible-two tackle each other, but they actually played really well together. And then there's Elsie and Ruthie, who are only six weeks apart. And luckily Cam and Ruthie pal up pretty well too, so it's really just Ana who is lonesome. (Yet, I think she secretly enjoys the alone and adult time.)
We did a massive amount of swimming, especially at our friend Shannon's house, since she was out of town and let us use her pool (and let Jonah and I sleep at her house while our kids stayed at Sonna's. Score!).
My dad and his wife Roxanne live in Henderson too, but they are slowly relocating to San Diego, so they offered to take all our kids with them on a weekend trip to their new place in San Diego. Um, of course! A childless weekend?! We'll take it.
While the kids were gone, Jonah and I helped Sonna and Sloan with some house projects and also took our car to get the windows tinted. The new AC unit Jonah had ordered for the car had finally showed up, but they sent us the wrong part! Since we didn't have time to wait for a new one, window tinting seemed like the next best option to help us survive the Southwest heat. We found an incredible deal and the guys did an amazing job on the tinting... and we were so happy.. and then they reminded us to NOT roll down the windows under any condition for three days!? Oh my heck. We forgot about that part. Jonah and I had to open the doors to the car at every red light so we didn't combust. We started laughing so hard. Here we were on our rare childless weekend driving around in a literal sauna.
So, we were reasonable, and went to the movie theater and watched three movies in a row until the sun finally went down and we could drive back to Sonna's. I think we borrowed Sloan's truck the next day for our great double date with Sonna and Sloan for Thai food and LuvIt Custard. Then Jonah and I went and explored the new casinos and City Center on the Strip and sadly discovered that we aren't as young or calloused as we used to be and finally collapsed in exhaustion from all the walking and from having to avert our eyes from all the lasciviousness of downtown Vegas. I think we slept all Sunday just to recover.
When the kids got back from San Diego, we discovered that Elsie had strep throat. I started to feel a sore throat too. More on this later. But regardless, the kids had an amazing time.
Early that next week, I took Ana in to get a much needed haircut. She also got a mini-blow out. She loved it. For the first time in years, she wouldn't wash her hair for days. She just sat around all day brushing it. Cute.
(My kids took their In-n-Out visits very seriously-- it's another missed attraction here in Hawaii.)
My kids were real troopers as we dragged them all around Henderson and Vegas visiting family and friends-who-are-like-family. But I was in heaven. I love visiting old friends and family SO much. It's manna for my soul. The kids... well... they like reuniting with all the friends and cousins, but I think they would put "adults wasting time visiting and talking for hours" as one of their top five worst things. Sheesh. I need to plan some more adult-only get togethers and leave them home in front of the TV. Remind me for next year, okay?
But one visit was especially magical for the kids, and that was visiting my late cousin Jerilyn's husband and boys out in Summerlin. They have a great pool, and Aaron's wife Libby is a delight. We had a cookie buffet. We even got to watch the NBA final game with Aaron, and watching sports with Aaron is one of Jonah's all-time favorite things to do. Aaron is a total crack-up when it comes to spectating. But the best part is that every time Cam sees Matthew and William again, they instantly reconnect. These three are like peas in a pod. I love it and it warms my heart. I miss Jerilyn so much, so this is a little glimpse into heaven for me, and it reminds me that family bonds can never be broken.
(And here is the world's worst picture, but If I don't put it in, I may forget to write about this and then I won't have it recorded for posterity....)
And one more bonus-- Sonna held a Voice Camp during the second week we were there. She had organized it so Ana could be there and participate, and it was totally worth it. The other girls in the group happened to be one of Ana's first friends from when we lived in Vegas and the daughters of friends of Sonna and myself that we've known since before we were all this age. Sonna, our old friends, and I were so glad to have all of our girls together. Sonna did an amazing job and the final performance really proved how much the girls improved. I hope she does the camp every summer (hint hint Sonna!)
And finally, we really got to spend some good time with my younger brother Tyler (Tyty) and his gorgeous and wonderful girlfriend Jerica and of course my darling and perfect niece Riley. Po calls Riley "my best friend" or "my cousin Riley". They get along so well. I love it so much, but it also breaks my heart that we all live so far apart. Cute Tyler is such a great dad though and has really handled all the challenges of single-parenthood with aplomb. I hope he (hint hint) settles down soon as has a few more siblings for Riley. Just had to put that out there!
Okay, more from Vegas coming up....