Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Celebrations (all 6 of them)

"Christmas" was a multi-day event this year... 


 1.  Matt and I's celebration and "gifts" came first - a few weeks before Christmas.  Just like last year, we chose to support the Don Bosco Holiday Friends program instead of getting gifts for each other.  But we were too late to adopt a family this year.  After a little initial disappointment, we decided it was actually a good thing that all the families had sponsors, and opted for two seniors instead.  We got their profiles and went to check each thing off the list that they wanted.

I wasn't as good at taking pictures this year, but they got slippers, bed sheets, underwear, blankets, etc.  Nothing too exciting, but it was all needed.

We were supposed to get to deliver the presents again this year, but that fell through, too.  When we showed up to the center, they said they weren't ready to make deliveries just yet, but we spent some time there up, arranging all the gifts and packing them, organizing/cleaning out a closet, etc.  Just whatever they women running the show needed help with.  A little volunteer time is always good. :)

2.  Our Christmas present to ourselves was tickets to the musical Les Miserables as it came through KC.  Matt had seen it once before (in London), so this show didn't quite live up to his expectations, but I thought it was amazing! 

*Funny story:  We wanted to go out to eat before the show, and thought an hour and a half would be plenty of time to eat sushi at Drunken Fish downtown.  That turned out to be a very bad judgement call.  We didn't even have our sushi by the time we needed to leave for the show.  After tracking down the manager, he had the sushi boxed up and met us at the door with it.  We literally RAN with a bag of expensive sushi the few blocks to the show, and hid it under my coat to sneak it in.  We ate it after the show - and it surprisingly wasn't that bad...even warm and shaken up. ;)

3.   The Satruday morning before Christmas was when we celebrated as a family (the Keeler side).  Doughnuts and sausage were served, and the kids opened presents.

My ADORABLE nieces and nephews:  Hadley, Allie, Hunter, Brody

I got Hunter a little train set...

...and Hadley a singing bear thing (my mom picked it out) and a trip to Monkey Bizness and the pet store - two of her favorite places to go: 

(*Once I told her what the card said, she informed me that Monkey Bizness was closed and went back to playing with her toys, haha.)

Allie and Brody got gift cards for Dave & Busters - another "date day" with Aunt Terri!
(Those are my favorite!)

I made some home made hand cream for the girls, and got them Feed Just One t-shirts

The boys got some new K-State grilling utensils.

My mom got an ornament with a picture of Hadley in it.  And when you push the button, it's Hadley saying, "I love you, Grammy!"  It's the cutest thing ever, and of course made her she pushed the button over and over again.  We also got her a picture of a new tv - coming soon. 

4.  That Saturday night, the celebration continued as we all (minus the two littles) went to the K-State vs Florida basketball game at the Sprint Center.  A small catastrophe was adverted by walking 8 blocks to find a restaurant to eat at.  And then the 'Cats pulled out a W to end a great night!

YES, those are matching t-shirts.  My mom got them for us at Old Navy, and the boys were NOT happy about wearing them, haha!

I LOVE this picture of all of us!  Just missing Hadley and Hunter :(

5.  On Christmas Eve, we went to mass downtown at the Catherdral with my mom and Tony/Christa.  We got there before the previous mass even ended in order to make sure we actually got a seat, which turned out to be a good call.  10 minutes after we sat down, the place was packed.  After mass, we went to Fogo de Chao on the plaza, an all you can eat Brazilian steak house.  The girls opted for the all you can eat salad bar instaed of the meat (which was still fantastic) while the boys made themselves sick on 10 different cuts of meat.

"Santa" came while we were at mass and dropped off some stockings for us big kids to go through. Jewelry, scarves, candy, gift certificates...Santa came through! :)

 6.  Christmas morning started out with more presents under the tree for Matt & I.  The dogs also got their stockings, and thoroughly enjoyed all the new dog treats and squeakey toys! 

We went back out to Tony and Christa's for more crazy Christmas present opening with her side of the family.  It was madness...

Look at all those people - and all that wrapping paper!

Then it was off to lunch at Matt's roommates parents house for an amazing feast.  His mom is such a wonderful cook, and we got to meet the newest member of the family, Goliath!

Goliath - trying to sneak some Christmas lunch

That evening we took my mom to see the movie Les Miserables. She must of enjoyed it, because she actualy stayed awake during the whole thing!  Matt and I loved it (although I liked the musical a little more...)


It was another great Christmas, and I'm so thankful for all the blessings I have in my life - my family, my friends, my health... and especially for the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Las Vegas - Round 4 (Sat/Sun)

Needless to say, we didn't get up too early on Saturday.  Two late nights at the clubs will do that to you...
Heading out for the day (Saturday afternoon)

We were, however, starving when we did manage to get up and moving.  Since we hadn't hit up a buffet yet, we decided to check out the line at Caesars.  And it was ridiculous - just like we thought.  So we walked over to Bellagio to check out theirs - which was even worse.  Stopped and looked at some other restaurants along the way - and eventually ended up right back at the buffet at Caesars.  We were hungry and impatient, so we paid an extra $15/person to skip the line.  Talk about one expensive lunch!

Worth it, though.  It was HUGE and there was every kind of food imaginable.  For real.  I never do get my money's worth out of those places, but it's still fun to do it once a trip.  I think I ate more cheese than anything else.  Well, that and desserts.

The line                                            Inside the massive buffet

Our receipt for lunch.  Holy cow.  (We justified this because we haven't really paid for any other meals - dinner Friday/Saturday were paid for!)

My plates of food.  Yum.

Again, when you sleep in that long (and wander around casinos trying to find food) and have stuff going on in the evenings, there isn't much time to do anything during the day.  (Or what's left of the day.)  But with a few minutes to kill, we decided to gamble with the free $10 Matt had from signing up for a players card.  My first time gambling in Vegas.  And what did I do?  Penny slots, of course.  It took us forever to figure out the stupid machines, but I eventually squandered away the whole $10 - even after cashing out for some change a few times, haha. 

Matt had to be down in the grooms room super early to do "guy stuff" and get ready together, so I hung out in the room and eventually got ready myself.
Waiting for the wedding

My towel. I kept it on all night.
The wedding was pretty early,, but it was still C O L D.  Apparently everyone thinks it's just warm in Vegas all the time.  I'm here to tell you it is NOT warm at night in December.  Especially in a short dress.  The pool towels, again, saved me during the wedding.

There were about 15 people there for the wedding, which was short and simple - and surprisingly didn't quite go down like they had rehearsed the night before.  There was an MC kind of announcer guy running the show, so a couple things changed.  The bride and groom wrote their own vows, and everyone was fine (ie: not crying) until the groom read his.  Wow.  They were good - and made us all break out the tissues.

Outside (waiting for pictures) and inside (waiting for more pictures)

After the wedding, all of the guests took a limo down to the bar at New York, New York for the reception at Nine Fine Irishmen pub.  The wedding party decided to walk and take pictures along the way.  For some reason, as if I didn't learn my lesson the night before, I decided to tag along.  And I froze.  It was miserable.  And all the pics were of the bride and groom anyways - everyone else just stood around shivering, haha.  We found heat wherever we could - and I carried my towels with me the whole time.  They did get one awesome shot in front of the fountains at Bellagio...and a not bad one in front of some Christmas decorations inside.

Pictures took waaaay longer than everyone expected, as did the walk.  As tensions were getting high (grooms dad calling saying they only had the place for another hour!), pictures were cut and a very brisk walk ensued.

The reception at Nine Fine Irishmen
The Irish pub was cute, and we had the upstairs room reserved.  They had live music, good food, and an open bar.  After the reception (and a few toasts/speeches), everyone decided to take another limo down to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.  There were a lot of other options, but it's hard to keep everyone happy AND not pay any covers - so that's where we ended up. 

We sat around and talked - and I listened to all the stories and watched everyone drink for as long as I could.  I couldn't stay awake any more and walked back to the hotel room around 2am.  9 hours of wedding festivities was long enough for me. :)

Inside another limo - from New York, New York to Margaritaville

I sat here and watched this for too many hours for my eyes to stay open...

Matt - slightly intoxicated - came to bed around 7am.  What in the world he did until 7am is a mystery to me, haha.  But he did inform me that he was setting an alarm for ONE HOUR to go back down and have breakfast with everyone.  Yea, right.  Of course that didn't happen.  The alarm went off a few times until I told him to either get up or turn it off.  It was turned off.


Sleeping all day again was not an option Sunday, because we had to check out of the hotel by noon.  We drug our bags down to the bell-hop to keep them for the day, and ran in to the bride and groom in the lobby.  Apparently they stayed up all night, too - and they were looking/feeling pretty rough as a result. 

On the hunt for food, we wandered over to the buffet at Cosmopolitan.  The line was of course ridiculous.  Even more ridiculous than Caesars the day before.  So we ended up at a little burger and milk shake place called Holsteins.  For some reason, burgers and shakes just sounded good to both of us.  The burgers were great and the milk shakes were even better.  I had a Captain Crunch milk shake that tasted just like the milk from the bowl after Captain Crunch.  Yum.

After lunch, we still had a couple of hours to kill, and thought about ice skating - which was on the roof of Cosmopolitan.  Until we went up and looked at it.  I don't even know how you can call that an ice skating rink.  It was so small I don't know how you would even turn around on it!

So off to the mall we went.  To wander around and see what we could find to spend more money on.  Thankfully the only thing we bought was another Christmas ornament for our travel tree - and I got some candy with my whopping $1 of gambling winnings.  If we keep up these trips, our tree is going to be all Vegas!  I drug Matt in to a jewelry store, too, and made him look at diamonds, ha.  He was thrilled. ;)

Airport dinner.
We looked at everything we could look at, and eventually wandered back to the hotel to get our bags and take a cab to the airport.  Our flight was on time, and the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.  A healthy "dinner" of a bagel and cream cheese at the airport, and non-stop flight back to KC (where Matt slept and I didn't). My mom picked us up and brought us home.

Oh Vegas, how I love you.  We'll be back soon, I promise. :)

Home. Late.