Friday, November 25, 2011

Girls Week - Vegas Edition

That's right, it's that time of year. Time for the annual Gruber Girl's Week. And this year was my year for planning and hosting. The only real problem, Jason and my apartment isn't quite the size you would hope for to sleep five women. The only real solution, going to Vegas!! Of course! My responsibility became finding lodging and activities for our weekend in Las Vegas. While being fun and stressful, the trip was such a success and so enjoyable! I can't say enough how much I truly love my in-laws! I got so dang lucky!

GIRL’S WEEK ITINERARY – VEGAS EDITION
THURSDAY

7:00 AM Nancy, April, and Emily depart for Las Vegas
8:40 AM Amy arrives in Vegas
11:10 AM Alli arrives in Vegas
Lunch On your own (Alli and Amy at the airport?, Nancy, April, and Emily on the road)
1:15 PM Nancy, April, and Emily arrive at LAS airport
2:15 PM Arrive at Worldmark (unpack, get situated, tour of the resort, grocery shopping, change)
Surprise Gift: Jamberry Nails
6:00 PM Dinner – Cravings Buffet at Mirage.
8:00 PM Walk the strip, see Bellagio Fountain show (every 15 minutes), pick up O Tickets

Hitting the road

We've arrived!
I have to take a moment here and thank my parents for their generosity for allowing us to use some of their WorldMark discount points to stay at the WorldMark Las Vegas! This was the most perfect and beautiful place. Just outside the strip and away from the bussle, but just a ten minute drive from all the action. I stayed here once with my girlfriends on my Senior Trip and remember being so impressed and loving it! We couldn't have asked for a better place for a better price!



Going over the itinerary for the weekend
Doing our grocery shopping

Fun pregnancy cravings: Greek yogurt and coconut creme pie
A few things that are worthy to note: On this trip we had to be very conscious of our activities, we had two pregnant women and one pumping mother. One of the pregnant women was about 8 months pregnant, the other was about four months pregnant and still experiencing some morning sickness. What troopers! Seriously! 

After grocery shopping and touring the beautiful resort, I surprised them with a fun gift. I wanted us all to have cute toenails for the weekend, so I got everyone their own Jamberry Nails set (I became obsessed with them the month before).

Here we are, preforming the labor required for applying the fun toe stickers:




The end result! Fabulous toenails!

Every Vegas vacation requires a buffet dinner! After a lot of time, comparing ratings, and comparing pricing I chose the Cravings buffet at the Mirage. It did not disappoint! So good!


 Enjoying bottomless desserts!

Afterwards, we did a quick stretch of the strip. Pregnant feet can only take so much for one day, and I asked quite a lot of them :)

FRIDAY

8:00 AM Breakfast
9:15 AM Leave for Las Vegas Temple
10:00 AM Endowment session (every 30 minutes)
Lunch Nearby fast food: Subway
1:30 PM Pool Time
5:30 PM Dinner Out - Hard Rock Cafe
6:30 PM Leave for Bellagio
7:30 PM O (bring jacket, can get chilly)
10:00 PM Arrive home (hot tubing/footing OR games and Kettle Corn)

To get everyone excited for the Cirque du Soleil show that night, I surprised everyone with a goody bag that morning filled with treats that started with the letter "O": Orbit gum, Oreos, oranges, and orange gummy treats.


At the beautiful Las Vegas Temple - always a great experience!


After the temple session, we headed home to take advantage of the many resort amenities!
We laid out at the pool, went swimming in the lazy river (tubes and all), played Around the World on the ping pong table (a hoot!), and just enjoyed soaking up the sun!


Here are my lovely videos that I took to send my parents of the resort; however, they give a good idea of what the pool areas were like. We were so impressed and amazed. The resort had three separate and huge pool areas, each unique and each beautiful.

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Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and our hilarious waitress...wish I could remember her name now...


Pictures at the Bellagio before the show



Ready for the long-awaited show!


Front row balcony seats, not bad for the cheapest tickets in the house!

 Check out the amazing ceiling!


Huge theater!


How to describe the Cirque du Soleil show, O?! Dang near impossible! So amazing!!! I recommend it to everyone and can't wait to see it again! This show is unique because it is part aquatic. The stage is awesome; it can rise and fall, shift, become a huge pool of water, phenomenal! Add syncronized swimming, diving, and top notch acrobatics...Loved it! Since there is no photography from the show, I stole some pictures from Google to give you a taste:






No regrets seeing this show. Well worth the price!

After the show, we walked around the Bellagio Gardens. So gorgeous!






 
SATURDAY

-- Wake up at leisure -- Day of relaxation
10:30 AM Poolside Action, Workout room
Lunch by pool- Sandwiches
3:00 PM Free Afternoon/Evening - Walk strip, see Venetian
6:00 PM Dinner - Pizza at home, Nertz, Kettle Korn



Sadly, I remember close to nothing when it comes to Saturday...must have been napping next to the pool
Nothing better!

Waiting for our car from the Valet parking
Tip for Vegas vacationers: Valet parking is the bomb! So worth it. Pay a few dollars and you have no stress or hassle of parking. Especially if you have a carpool of people, just a buck a person and you're ready to go!


SUNDAY

8:00 AM Breakfast
8:45 AM Leave for Church
9:00 AM Church - Las Palmas Ward
10:30 AM Change, snack, and pack
11:45 AM Drop Alli off at airport
12:00 PM Nancy, April, Emily, AND Amy begin drive home


The Last Lunch - a meal of mourning!
Goodbye WorldMark!
Goodbye Vegas!
Goodbye weekend of paradise!

Next year...Nancy's turn!


A Day for Mothers

I may not be a mother, but that doesn't mean that Jason forgot about me on Mother's Day! He's the best! That morning he surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and two adorable movies for the future days when I am a mother: Tangled and Up.

Too cute!

Speaking of cute, we had dinner with my family this year for Mother's Day...and here is my cute mother:

Mom with the gift from Camry, Kimberly, Jason and I

Short and sweet...just like Mother's Day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Day of the Year

That's right....my birthday!

Ok, ok.... it highly competes with Christmas, but it's all my own!

As most glorious holidays, it was centered around food and mealtimes. The Sunday before my birthday was spent with my family. That means you know there were lots of yummy mashed potatoes! If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE potatoes...in all their forms: baked, mashed, heavenly, FRIES, potato chips, tater tots, you name it. My mom is from Idaho, so I think I'm genetically predisposed! There is one exception, however. Sweet potatoes! Can those even count as potatoes? I call them yams. So gross!

Sadly, no pictures of potatoes.....

On Tuesday, the official day, Jason picked me up from work and took me to lunch. We went to Spicy Thai. Thai food has become a favorite of ours. Our favorite Thai places around here are Spicy Thai and Evergreen. Both are awesome! Anybody know of any other fantastic Thai restaurants around? My recommendation is to steer clear of Thai Mango! We went for their Grand Opening and were so disappointed. I may have already vented about this, but their Pad Thai tasted like dirty, old cat litter. I couldn't even finish one bite! We drove to McDonalds and threw it away.

Tuesday night, the Grubers treated me to a delicious dinner. Check out this cake Jason made and decorated for me! Impressive!

No need to count... that's 24 candles...and I was a good girl for all of them :)

Present time!

Sweet kicks from Jason! And Mya, my unwrapping helper.

The big surprise of the night...

My mom had kept and dried my wedding bouquet and in the process of storing it, George and Nancy found it and put it in a beautiful case. Now, I can always have it and display it in my home. So neat and so special!

Another successful birthday! Twenty-four has never felt so good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Easter Time Once More

And as usual it was crazy and eventful :)

At work, one of my reps had the great idea of doing a "Secret Bunny" with the team. What that means is we all drew names, kept it a secret, and with a simple $5 limit we exchanged gifts the Thursday before Easter. An idea that originally sounded cheesy and lame actually turned out to be very fun and thoughtful. It definitely contributed to the unity of the team. As they presented their gift, they were required to say a few nice things about the person they drew and the rest of the team was to guess who they thought the recipient was. My gift was this beautiful flower pot for my desk! I LOVED it!

The perfect companion for my desk phone (which was far too neglected ha)

Enough about work....who cares about that anyway, right?

Thanks to BYU graduation happening during Easter weekend, we got to see the Spencer and Tuttle families! With this convenience, we took the opportunity to throw April a baby shower. No place better to do that than La Jolla Groves in Provo. Such amazing food! If you get a chance to go there, get their Salmon dish! To die for!

Alli, Erin, April, Amy, Stacy, Khirsten, and me



Can I just say that I LOVE what they've done with the Riverwoods Mall? It is so much better. I still say they need some more "normal people" shops. But they're making progress!

Behold, pictures from the madness at that Grubers:
Capri, Alex, Mya, Clara, Oliver, and Harlan
Too much cuteness for one creek bench!


A Gruber favorite past time


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This year, my family did something a little bit different for the Easter Holiday. Saturday evening, we met up with the fam in Draper for a Passover Dinner. So fun and so interesting! We had fun learning about and eating the kinds of food they ate at the Passover Feast at the time of Jesus, as well as other foods that were eaten at that time. Check out the menu:

Beitzah - roasted egg  -- symbolic of roasted offerings sacrificed at the temple.
Maror - bitter herb - horse radish - symbolic of suffering under task masters
Haroset - fruit and nut mixture - symbolic of building material used by Israelite slaves
Karpas - parsley - symbolic of Israel's new life of freedom
Matzah - unleavened bread - represents Israel's quick escape
Zeroa - roasted shank bone of lamb

Other things we had representing the time of Jesus:
Lentil soup
Yogurt
Honey Comb


As you can see, we even semi-dressed up and ate on the floor.
We're legit! Ha

Thanks Mom for all of the hard work you put into this meal to make it so memorable and enjoyable! You rock!

Sunday dinner was spent with the Grubers. Dinner was delicious, as usual. However, I sadly have only one memory from that meal...or day for that matter. It all began when I was examining my next bite of delicious spinach salad. This isn't an unusual thing for me, Jason calls me an "examiner" whenever I'm eating a meal...always having to check my food out from all angles and with all of my senses before taking a bite. I think he exaggerates... but I digress. So, I was moving my salad around a bit while Jason and I were telling a story to the family. While I was "examining" I saw something dark and round in my salad that didn't seem normal. As I peered closer, my heart stopped and my head got very hot. I did not know how to respond to what I just saw. Should I tell someone? Should I exercise class and keep it to myself? April was sitting across the table from me and saw a look of alarm on my face. She mouthed to me, "Are you okay?" I just smiled and nodded. I then looked to my left where Jason was sitting two seats down from me and continuing our story. I looked at him with a funny expression and he knew something was up. This, of course, brought the table's attention to me. I looked down at my plate and said simply, "I'm a little concerned about this..." I then showed them all the lovely surprise on my plate. It was a small brown caterpillar that was starting to make it's way into my scalloped potatoes. As you can imagine, the table burst out in an uproar. Needless to say, nobody ate any salad after that. Word to the wise, thoroughly check your pre-washed salad bags.

My little salad friend

 Other pleasant pictures from the afternoon: