On Wednesday and Thursday, I had student-led conferences (the rest of the world knows them as parent-teacher conferences). These are never my favorite. After a long day at work, I get to stay in my classroom for another 4 hours waiting for parents to come and either praise or condemn me. Thankfully, most parents are understanding and helpful when it comes to difficult students. But more than anything, the day just drags on and by the end I am physically and emotionally exhausted.
I think the district realizes how taxing these conferences are, because they always give us the next day off. About a week ago, I told Andrew that he should "be sick" that following Friday so that we could go do something fun together. He promptly asked for the day off and we started planning for a spontaneous vacation to somewhere.
Our first idea was St. George:
Hotel- Four Points by Sheraton - Good and Bad
We stayed at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel off of Flamingo Avenue. It was a perfect spot: off the craziness of the strip, but still close enough to easily experience main lure of Vegas. It was much cheaper than many of the other hotels, and they didn't charge us any of those ridiculous daily fees for our stay (like when you think you are only paying $70 for you room, but then you find out at the end that there is a $35 daily hotel fee that surprises you, and suddenly you are paying double of what you imagined). The room was simple yet , and the bed and pillows were amazingly comfortable. All in all, I really enjoyed this hotel.
The only bad thing about this place was that it was conveniently placed in the flight plan of planes taking off early in the morning. So after driving all night to get us there, Andrew was suddenly awoken at 6am to the terrible roaring of planes leaving for their destinations. He was frustrated, to say the least, and we quickly visited Target the next morning to buy some ear plugs.
Show- Blue Man Group - Good
When we first decided to go to Vegas, we knew we wanted to go see a show. Andrew had never seen a show in Vegas, so I let him pick and he chose to get us tickets for the Blue Man Group in the Luxor. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a really fun show.
These men are very talented and entertaining musicians and entertainers. They played drums on some of the most random things (including PC pipes, upside-down tubs with paint, and drums filled with smoke to make smoke-rings), and they did it in a new and exciting way. Their show was filled with random additions like paint, streamers, marshmallows, Twinkies, and audience participation. At the end, it had such a fun party feel to the whole thing. I enjoyed it; Andrew loved it!
Fremont Street- Bad
We thought it'd be fun to visit the older district of Vegas one night, but that turned out to be a mistake. First let me preface it with an explanation of my overall Vegas experiences.
I have grown up driving though Vegas on our periodical visits to Utah. As a family, we'd often make this our half-way stop and sleep there. I feel like I have seen the raunchiness of Vegas grow. I remember learning to read and reading everything I could get by eyes on.....and then quickly realizing that Vegas was a very bad place to read the billboard advertisements. Well, since then, I feel like Vegas has cleaned up a bit. There aren't as many blatantly sketchy things on the strip. But when you go to Fremont street, all that quickly changes: women in pasties, men in thongs, obscene images everywhere. We walked around for a little bit, but soon decided to leave because it all just felt so icky. Yeah, I don't think I will be returning to Fremont Street any time soon.
Hoover Dam- Good
So we decided to take a little trip to the Hoover Dam. It was AWESOME.
(side story: I covered one class a few weeks ago for a sick teacher when the school couldn't get a substitute. The lesson plan for that day was for the students to watch a documentary on the Hoover Dam. I sat in the back grading papers, but I couldn't help but listen to the video because it was so interesting. I couldn't remember much of it, but what I did remember I proceeded to enthusiastically educate Andrew once we reached the dam. I totally geeked out about the whole thing; he loved it. haha)
Unfortunately, we got there around 4, and all the tours and visitor center hours had finished. So, note to self, next time we go, go earlier. I was actually really sad that I couldn't at least go into the visitor center and learn about the dam. But walking around it was pretty cool. They have also built this amazing and very intimidating bridge above the dam. It was all very impressive. I definitely want to go back there some day.
Now, let me preface this section by informing you that we don't gamble. However, how can you go to Vegas and not walk around the amazing hotels and casinos? There is just no way around it. As we walked through the casinos, we noticed that there were themed slot machines that kept popping up in every casino. The one we particularly noticed was one about buffalo. So we made a game out of it.
Rules: As you walk through the casino, look attentively to spot the buffalo slot machine. When you do, yell "BUFFALO!" and point to it. If you get it first, you earn a point. The goal is to be the one to spot the most buffalo slot machines throughout the day.
It sounds silly and childish, but it was really fun....and also really frustrating when you with someone significantly taller than you who seems to spot all the buffalo before you do. ;)
Well, after spending the weekend noticing the buffalo, we decided that it was only appropriate to put a little money down into the Buffalo slot machine and see if it brought us good luck and winning money. Andrew put in $3, lost it all, and then won 70 cents. Woo hoo! Big winners! We only lost $2.30! haha.
This is not our first rodeo when it comes to Valentine's day. Last year, Andrew and I had been dating for a little over a month when the day of love rolled around. I remember that evening very clearly. I was nervous because I obviously wanted to do/give something sweet to my boyfriend, but I wasn't sure what would be appropriately cutesy without being lovey-dovey (because, need I remind you, I was definitely afraid of the L-word at this point). I ended up making home made fortune cookies (which were a lot harder than I want to admit) and filled them with corny pickup lines. Then I bought him some Kiss Stix (Best Gift Ever!) and a small gift card to get a cheesecake.
Andrew made me dinner that night. He barbecued steaks and made roasted potatoes. I offered to toast some bread in the oven, which I quickly burned (not one of my finer, culinary moments). Dinner was delicious, and afterwards we made an intense blanket fort, watched a movie, and tried out the Kiss Stix ;) My favorite part of the night, however, was the card Andrew gave me.
This year was round 2, but round 1 as a married couple. We decided not to just celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, but rather we celebrated each other throughout the entire weekend. On Friday, we drove out of the nasty smog of the valley and visited Park City. After walking up and down Main Street, we had dinner at a lovely little Italian restaurant. Our night ended at the outlets, where Andrew bought me some new boots and a cute tea kettle.
We spent all day Saturday together. The night ended with us eating dinner and watching a chick flick under a master blanket fort (like we had done on our first Valentine's together).
Then on Sunday, I woke up early (I always do) and made a big breakfast for Andrew. He woke up perfectly at 9 when I was finishing up, and I served it to him in bed. I gave him my gift (cuff links that had a little message on them), which he wore to church. Yup, it was a wonderful weekend.
Side note / Funny Story:
The cuff links I gave to Andrew had (what I thought) was our wedding date engraved on them. As we sat in church, I glanced over to see my awesome gift, but I was quickly horrified when I realized I had put 11.28.2016 instead of 2015! Oh my gosh, I could have died! Woops. Guess I'm already forgetting when we got married.
Today (Superbowl Sunday) marks the 1-year anniversary of me meeting most of the Macey family. Up until this point, I knew Jeremy really well since Andrew lived with him. I had also met Ben and Olivia the week prior when we did a game-night date with them. So far, I had been impressed with Andrew's family, but I was nervous to meet the rest of the gang.
Of course, meeting your boyfriend's family is intimidating enough, but I think I was also a little more nervous because of the quantity of people I would meet. I was told that really not a lot of family would attend this Superbowl party, but that was definitely false advertising (although it really isn't Andrew's fault; people who said they wouldn't be able to come decided last minute to come anyway).
Well, long story short, the house quickly filled and I stood there in a half-daze of "I don't know who anyone is" and "Wow, I'm super impressed with this family and their close relationships." Little did I know then that I would be privileged to join such a wonderful, big, loving family.
Andrew and Maichael
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