Jason and Robby put in some more surfing time, while the rest of us played at the park and then moved on to the sand on the beach. Charlie was loving it, of course. He didn’t mind getting sandy, he would just lay right down on the sand, bare back and all. What was especially exciting is when Robby and Jason let the little kids bodyboard on the small waves near the shore. Harlan, Alex, and Clara braved the freezing cold water and laid stomach down on the surfboard while Robby helped steady them and helped them catch a wave in. Jason was right there with his Go Pro and got some really fun footage!
Another surprise from the gift box
Here is a link to Jason's GoPro video...it is pretty good! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCU3akNi4q8
After our fun at the beach, we headed to the warm pool area. We took advantage of the hotel service and had them bring us lunch at the poolside. Man, that really defines luxury! Eating delicious, salty fries while sipping on a soda and water while relaxing in the hot tub. That is one of my heaven moments! Love it!
After naps and showers, it was dinner time again. We headed to a delicious Italian restaurant. It is crazy going to restaurants with so many people! I feel bad for the waiters for how many things they have to keep track of. It also takes a considerable amount of time. Each dinner experience usually took about two hours. The kids were such troopers, hanging in there while we waited, ate, and visited. It was always past bedtime by the time we left, but they seemed to enjoy it just as much as the adults did.
Beautiful sunset from our balcony
James and Spencer had to leave dinner a little early to catch their plane back. Work is always calling! So we had to do our nightly games without them. However, it was fun to welcome Steven, Annette, Nancy, and George to the mix. We had fun introducing the celebrity game to them and had a blast laughing at and with each other! We also had tons of yummy treats, thanks to Robby’s many grocery runs.
The Gruber kids at Alli's house
Next up was taking a tour of Grandpa Bank’s new place, and dropping him off. He was recently moved to an independent assisted living facility not too far from Alli’s house due to his rapid decline in short term memory. It has been a sad and hard thing seeing the man who has been so physically healthy and who has such an amazing attitude start to suffer from short term memory loss. It got to the point that he lost his drivers license, and so began the move from his condo in San Clemente to his new place in Burbank. However, the facility is one of the nicest I have ever seen. He has several windows that look out onto a beautiful California landscape. His room is even complete with a kitchen area and small living room area. The family did a good job bringing some of his art and other decorations to his new place so he can feel as much at home as possible.
Eventually it was time to leave and bid farewell. We thanked him again and again for such an amazing Thanksgiving reunion. It was all made possible by Grandpa Banks. We were so grateful to him and his kindness!
We quickly returned to Alli’s because it was time to say goodbye to the others before we started the long drive home. The Tuttles, Max’s family, and Nancy were staying behind with Alli. Amy and Max’s families were going to Disneyland the next day while Alli and Nancy were going to watch the kids that were too young to go. What a fun thing for them to be able to do together! Jason and I were sad to miss out, but not too sad since we knew we were going to be taking our own Disneyland vacation sometime soon (In fact, we just returned last Saturday from Disneyland, just the two of us! Wahoo!).
So George, Karl, Jason, Charlie and I started the drive to Las Vegas. We were splitting the drive into two days again. We had a good time listening to The Tomb and having a good conversation with Karl and everything that was going on in his life. This time we drove into Vegas a little bit later, since we had a later start, and stayed at The Orleans. The Orleans was a lot older and was way more sketchy! Can’t say I would love to stay there again. Even though it was late, we headed down to the lobby/casino area and found a TGI Fridays. We had an enjoyable dinner before heading back to our rooms and hitting the sack.
Monday morning, we were back on the road for our final leg. We were sad to say goodbye to our fun vacation, but so ready to be done with traveling. Thanks to all of the Banks family who made this reunion so enjoyable!