Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Friday: Family Vacation Part 1

Exactly one month ago today Pastor Dad, the Bear, and I caught a late flight to Las Vegas for our family vacation. Las Vegas might not be what comes to most peoples' minds when they think of a "family" vacation, but in our case we already have "family" there, specifically Lisa and Dan, who also took vacation time so they could spend the week with us. And there are many "family" things to do in and around Vegas even if it does mean avoiding The Strip as much as possible.

When we landed in Vegas it was still December 6th by local clocks but early in the morning of the 7th by the ones in Cincinnati. Since we told Lisa we'd be there before her birthday we technically kept that promise as long as we used her clock as the standard and not ours. This seemed to be satisfactory even if it did mean some of us suffered a bit from jetlag.

If you remember, I went to Vegas last year to be with Lisa on her birthday because Dan had deployed just a few days before. Actually he left the day after I got there. Coincidence? :)

I must say that as "happy" as I tried to make last year's birthday visit, this year's was much, much, much happier with the addition of the men: Dan, Pastor Dad, and The Bear. No comparison!!!

The first day of our sight-seeing itinerary, which was Lisa's birthday, included a visit to a chocolate factory. Free samples!!!! Yum! These guys, the M&Ms, aren't made in Las Vegas but they were enticing greeters at the Esther M Chocolate factory.

Serious chocolate aficionados like myself want to know where their chocolate originates. Perhaps I'll plan future vacations around other chocolate factory tours. Who knows? And The Bear might be interested in touring the plant where his beloved Skittles are made. Most folks plan around beaches or mountains. I plan around chocolate. (Just kidding, although that Hershey's tour on the way back from NYC several years ago sure hit the spot.)

My dream job, but profits would go down if I worked here. That, or it would cure me of my addiction.

The factory also has a beautiful cactus garden to tour. It was decorated with seasonal lights, but since we were there in the daylight hours we didn't see it lit up. We found the various varieties of cactus to be interesting enough without artificial illumination!

Dan, Lisa (The Birthday Girl), and The Bear with a few "friends" who have "good taste" (because they're having their picture made with my kiddos! What did you think I meant?)

Gram and Pastor Dad smiling in the Nevada sunshine

I took so many pictures that I need to post them a few at a time. Enjoy visiting Vegas with us via our pictoral journal. And try not to envy those who live in an area of perpetual warmth. I know I was experiencing it earlier this week when the temperatures rapidly dropped and the ice made the roads slippery.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)