Monday, April 27, 2009

Our trip to Las Vegas

We took a trip to Las Vegas this past weekend. It was a lot of fun. Kimball's dad kindly let us use his scheduled time share at a resort called Tahiti, since he wasn't going to use it. We went down there with Kimball's brother Mike and his two kids, Mikey and Isabelle. The room was nicer than a hotel room, in that it had a full kitchen with dishes and everything. I was glad we could make our own food instead of eating out, which would get very expensive for every meal. Most of our time was spent swimming at the resort. It had two large pools, one wading pool, and a hot tub. The bigger pools each had a section with sand in the bottom. Every morning, the sand was miraculously swept back into place, so we could play in it and mess it up again. There was also a little golf putting green. We had some fun with that while we waited for the shuttle to pick us up on Friday.

On Friday morning we left home at about 2:45 a.m. We put everything in the car, buckled in sleeping kids, and took off. It took us about 5 1/2 hours to get there. That same day we took a shuttle (which was a big hit for the kids) to the Vegas strip. We went to the M&M Factory and saw the 3-D M&M movie. It was a cute movie, and Hazel and Nathan did reach out to try and grab things (it was funny). Sad for me, the movie gave me motion sickness. I came out feeling very woozy. How nerdy is that? Afterwards we walked down the strip. There are a lot of neat things to see.

On Saturday we swam for a few hours, then relaxed in our room for a while. It was nice to not have a time schedule for anything. We just took it easy. That night we dragged ourselves to the strip one more time for the other thing we really wanted to see: the fountain/light show at the Bellagio hotel. It was awesome! It would have been nice to stay for more than one show, but it was late, so we just saw one. The show was very impressive.

Unfortunately, we found that Las Vegas is called Sin City for a reason. There is pornography everywhere. You can't look down because the ground is littered with raunchy pictures. I had to coach the kids to keep their eyes up, but even that doesn't help much because of all the half-naked advertisements everywhere. That was the one big turn-off for this trip. It's too bad that it even had to be an issue at all. I will say it was good for one reason and one alone. Let me explain:

On Sunday, as we were leaving Las Vegas, we remembered that we had wanted to go see the temple. It didn't take too long to find, once we got directions from some nice ladies in a gas station. When we arrived at the temple, I could already feel the peace emanating from it, even before we got out of the van. We found an open gate where the public can enter to walk around the temple grounds. There were so many flowers in full bloom, it was quiet, and the temple itself is so beautiful. We were able to have a poignant discussion with the kids about the differences we felt between the Las Vegas strip and the temple. I know they understood and felt the difference for themselves. The spirit is not present in downtown Las Vegas. It is so flashy and loud there. The temple was completely opposite. We could feel the spirit there very strongly.

All in all, it was a very fun trip. I was very happy to have been able to spend some much-needed down time with my family, whom I love more than life itself. Thanks, Kim, for giving us the opportunity to have a nice family vacation.

Go Nathan! Get that ball in the hole!

Claire is so tricky. She can golf one-handed.

Mikey is getting down to business. Let's get this game on.

Hazel did hit some balls with a stick, but then decided it was more fun to watch the other kids do it.

Once Isabelle decided the stick was bigger than her, and thus, hard to hit a ball with, she took to gathering up as many balls as she could hold, even taking other kids' golf balls. It was entertaining watching her try to hold them all.

Whacking a ball with a stick must be way below these two hoodlums' standards (actually, Mike did get up after a while to do some whacking). Come on, Kimball, get in the game! He had a good excuse not to: driving all night. I guess he deserved a nap/break that day.

Lahela had to make sure I was aiming right.

Apparently I had it all wrong. Thanks, coach Lahela, for setting me straight.

"This is how it's done. Get it right, Mom."

Hazel and I almost got lost in the jungle. Whew! That was a close one.

Lahela loved the shuttle bus, as you can tell.

There was a live lion in a great glass cage at the MGM Grand hotel. It was interesting to see that lady petting it while it slept.

Claire and Lahela slept through half of our trip down the strip on Friday. This picture was taken inside the M&M Factory. A nice man offered to take it for us so we could all be in the picture. Thank you, nice man.

Strike a pose, girls! You look good enough to eat!

Nathan made a new friend on our trip. It's too bad he ate him before he could take him home.

HELP! ALIENS ARE ATTACKING! Oh, wait, it's just Nathan and Kimball. It's only the attack of the nerds...I mean cool dudes. Everyone can rest easy.

Lahela loves the water. She was so cute in the pool.

Swimming is not swimming if you don't throw at least one person into the water...or something like that.

Just the girls, relaxing in the hot tub.

The pool court of the beautiful Tahiti resort. The sand portion of the pool is at the far end.

The Langton family waiting for the Bellagio fountain show to begin. It was worth the wait.

Four kids in the bed, and the little one said...

The Las Vegas, Nevada Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I thought we were the only ones there, then we came upon a couple who was willing to capture us all in the moment. The temple was so peaceful and happy. We loved it there. I am so thankful to have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and that I can be with my family forever through sacred temple ordinances.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fountain/Light show at the Bellagio

We took the kids to see the cool water light show at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. It was very neat to watch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to the world, little Ella!

Today I had the opportunity of taking my family to visit my sister Teresa and her new baby, Ella Naomi, in the hospital. Ella was born on Sunday, April 19, at 9:57 p.m. She is 8 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 inches long. As you'll see in the pictures, she has tons of long, dark hair. She is adorable! While we were at the hospital, Jaime, Katelyn, Amanda, Seth, and Hayley showed up. They are all very proud of the newest addition to their family. Ella is very lucky to be in such a great family.

After Jaime showed up with the kids, Renee' and Jeremy came in with their kids. Mama and Daddy were there when we got there, but they left shortly after. Daddy wasn't feeling that great today.

Happy new mama. I think she's especially happy that she's not pregnant anymore.

Proud big sister Amanda and proud cousin Hazel. Now Hazel thinks we need a baby too. We shall see, Hazel. You'd better pray hard.

I think Katelyn is going to be a great sister for Ella. She is so loving and kind.

Athena was so excited to hold Ella that she brought her own hand sanitizer (maybe to speed up the process and hold her sooner...?). She shared the sanitizer with her family and practically used up her whole bottle on Jeremy. On another note, how can you hold a brand new baby and not smile?

Ella's cute little teeny tiny feet.

Renee', Alexandra and Samantha having their turn with Ella.

Wow, this baby actually moves all by itself. Amazing!

Hayley loves her baby sister. She'll be able to teach her a lot of how to climb on the table, get into the cookies, and so forth. It will be fun to see them turn into little playmates.

So cute!

Ella opened her eyes and looked toward her new mommy. Teresa is an excellent mother. Ella will have all the care and nurturing she'll need.

Lahela really wanted a turn to hold Ella. Right before we left, she finally got her chance. Aren't these three so cute? I hope they'll have lots of fun growing up together.

Proof I was there. I'm always the one behind the camera, but Kimball was obliging and took a picture at my request.

I love my new little niece. I also love my sister Teresa and her family very much. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I think I have pretty much the best family ever!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kids these days

Yesterday when I pulled out the cereal for breakfast, Nathan groaned and asked why we have to eat cereal every day. I ended up giving him a slice of leftover pizza from the night before and he was happy. Secretly I vowed to myself that I would make breakfast the next morning (today), and I ended up making waffles. They were a hit.

It's funny to me that when we were growing up, cereal was the special breakfast. Now the tables are turned, and it's the home-cooked ones our kids crave.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Claire!!

Claire has been looking forward to turning five for several months now, and the day finally came. I think it was everything she expected it to be. She has been so excited all day, and she tells me things that have changed since she reached this magical age. For example, I was brushing her hair after her bath, and I was in a hurry, so I wasn't being super soft (but I wasn't yanking either). She said, "Mom, since I'm five now, it doesn't hurt when you brush my hair." I thought it was cute. She reached a higher level of maturity overnight.

I do have to say that my life is so much more full having Claire in it. She is a great peacemaker in our home, and is always trying to help her family to be happy. She is learning to give to others, even if the things she gives are things she really wants for herself. She has a beautiful smile and a beautiful soul. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that he saw fit to send me such a sweet little spirit.

To celebrate her birthday, we invited some family from Kimball's side for a little party. We had Brian and Tasha and their four children, Daniella, Broderick, Emeline, and Anthon, and Mike and Silvia and their two children, Mikey and Isabelle. Kimball barbecued hamburgers (Claire's birthday dinner request) and I made a cake. I was quite proud of my first fondant cake. Thanks, Cynthia, for the great recipe. It was a lot of fun to create with.

Doesn't Claire's smile make you want to smile too? Come on, try it.

Claire got a My Little Pony and a Tinker Bell shirt from Isabelle and Mikey. Emeline is behind Claire.

Kimball went to the store and let Claire pick something to get for her birthday. She wanted hair clips, and these are the prized ones she picked. She is happy with the clips, as you can imagine.

The kids enjoyed building a fun marble race together. Later the older boys, Nathan and Broderick, had fun with a lizard and a dragon costume, chasing the younger kids and making them scream.....really loud. That game didn't last too long.

This is the fondant I made to decorate the cake. It was my first time ever making it, but thanks to Cynthia's pointers, it turned out great!

I got the rolled-out fondant on the cake with no problems. The cake was a Betty Crocker butter pecan mix. Claire wanted it square, and I wanted it to be better than just regular cake. I cut each square in half lengthwise and turned it into a four-layer cake. I used cream cheese filling and sprinkled each layer with toffee bits and chopped walnuts. It was very tasty!

Here's the finished creation. For my first time working with fondant, I thought I did a fair job. Claire wanted pink, blue, and purple. She was very happy with her cake.

Claire was captivated by the lighting of the candles.