On Sunday, Jay met up with Jason, Jeffrey, and Tim on Fashion Mall on the Strip in Las Vegas. We ate supper and then enjoyed wandering around seeing stuff.
On Monday, Josiah, Sarah, Joanna, Nicole and Tim drove to the Strip and saw some sights. One of the things that Tim and Josiah did was get in virtual reality pods that give the sensation of moving. It was pretty realistic!
We saw the small version of the Eiffel Tower.
On Tuesday, the entire family (minus Jeffrey who flew back *early* Monday morning for coding school) made it down to the Strip. We arrived just in time to see a show of the famous Bellagio fountains.
We drove to see the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and the Hoover Dam. The weather was nice. A little on the cool side…sunny in the 60s. The bridge was completed in 2010 and now allows traffic to avoid crossing the Hoover Dam.
We walked across the bridge into Arizona and then back. Here we are on the bridge.
Here’s a picture of Sarah and Justin taking pictures.
Here’s a picture taken while we are on the dam with the new bridge in the background.
Today, Jeri, Lizzie, Josiah, and I (Tim) went to the LA County Fair. The weather was pleasant…partly cloudy with a high in the low 70s. Good thing that we brought our jackets when it cooled down later in the day.
Our first stop was the Magical World of Dragons, Wizards, & Beasts. The place had *lots* of fun kids stuff including animated dragons and a “spinning” tunnel to disorient you.
Here’s Josiah with a live owl in the background.
One of the highlights of the day was the food. This year, a vegan food truck was at the fair, Plant Food for People. We had lunch there and came back at the end of the day for more.
Jeri, Josiah, and I had the vegan tacos.
Josiah absolutely loved his!
Here’s a picture of them.
Lizzie wasn’t so sure about the “jackfruit” (though they had other/soy vegan meats). So she opted for a HUGE plate of Mexican curly fries…which she readily shared.
Lizzie and Josiah needed new sunglasses. We found a place and all of us ended up getting a new pair. It was one for $10; two for $15; three for $20. He sold us four for $25.
We then saw a little magic by Brian the Wizard. For one of his tricks, he had fun pulling money from a little boy’s ear, hair, sleeve, etc. and filling a can with coins.
We did a lot of walking and ended up with around 16,000 steps for the day.
We always enjoy seeing the Chinese Circus of Beijing. They had a number of amazing feats. One guy had plates spinning on rods.
Another guy did amazing feats with a pot…he could catch it with his head and back.
The literally breath-taking feat involved setting four glass bottles on a small table. Then one by one as he climbed the stack, the guy would slowly add a chair. Each time that we thought that he was done, they would bring out another chair. Finally there were six chairs and he was nearly to the ceiling. First he does a handstand on top.
Then he balances himself on one arm.
Here’s Josiah and Lizzie in front of a burger truck. Some of the meat eaters in our family would have enjoyed the Double Diablo burger that they were selling (see the sign above Lizzie’s head).
The sign read “Ghostpepper Cheeseburger – Fresh All-Natural Angus Beef, Ghostpepper Cheese, Sliced Jalapeños, TastiChips, Avocado, Jalapeño Cheese Sauce and Chipotle Mayo on a Fresh Pretzel Bun.”
We got some Dole Whip (non-dairy ice cream).
And watched a show by Cirque Mechanics.
We visited the historic train engines kept at the fairgrounds.
This train engine looked a lot like Bill Peet’s Smokey.
Here’s Bill Peet’s illustration.
We loved the vegan taco place so much that we returned for an evening snack. We got an order of their nachos. Muy bueno!
Lizzie bought a sleeve of cookies…freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. Yum!
We ended our day looking to buy a sleeve of fries. But we couldn’t find the place that we had seen earlier in the day.
Normally our church has a Labor Day picnic. But since one wasn’t scheduled this year, we took the opportunity to host a gathering at our house.
The weather cooperated very nicely! Thank you, Lord! In the week prior to Labor Day (including the day before) the temps had been in the low 90’s with high humidity. But, today, it was cloudy with a high of 74 F!
Quite a few people (nearly 20) showed up. Some of the guys headed across the street to play four-on-four basketball. The ladies played Scattergories, Catch Phrase, and Marrying Mr. Darcy (a strategy card game based on “Pride and Prejudice”).
Lots of people brought food to share. And someone even brought burgers with the fixin’s.
Jeffrey is our family’s master griller. (Jeffrey is standing next to the grill.)
We had plenty of food.
Later people played the favorite game from New Year’s Eve, the “fruit” game.
The reunion last night made for a late night. And we (Jeri and Tim) had to rise early to take showers before church at 9:30 AM. We went to Uncle Jim’s church, Messiah Lutheran. So we were a bit tired all day. After the service, the congregation helped Uncle Jim celebrate his recent 60th birthday. Among the gifts were a wheelchair, a bib and some adult diapers.
After church, we went to Hibachi Grill. They have an extensive buffet as well as a build-your-own stir fry noodles dish. It was fun. Unfortunately Jonathan had to work at O’Reilly Auto Parts and Rachel wasn’t feeling well.
Josiah loved building his own plate of noodles.
Of course, Uncle Jim is always entertaining.
A group photo after the meal.
Josiah, Jeri, and Tim in the entrance area for Hibachi Grill.
Back at Grandma’s house, Jeri packed up while Tim helped Grandma with some more computer questions. The much-longed-for nap never materialized.
Jeri and Tim headed out to Mercy Hospital to visit a classmate who is battling cancer. He very much wanted to attend the reunion but couldn’t.
We had a very nice visit with Gary as well as with his brother who was visiting with his wife and youngest son. We shared a lot of similarities with Gary’s brother’s family…home schooling, ATIA, Christian faith. We closed our time together with prayer.
We could tell that Gary definitely appreciated our visit. So it was nice to encourage him. He and Jeri reminisced about some fun times in the past. Jeri was his date to the Junior Prom.
One plus of our delayed flight was extra time to visit Gary as well as enjoy supper with Jim’s family one last time. Grandma ordered Casey pizza. Tim made chocolate smoothie. He and Jeri had veggies and hummus.
Our flight back home was delayed. So instead of arriving at LAX a little before 11 PM, we got in after 1 AM. Thankfully Jason and Jeffrey came and picked us up. We got home around 2:30 AM and were in bed around 3 AM.
We met Uncle Jim and family at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant for breakfast. It’s a fun place. They even have checkers.
Josiah and Tim played a game while waiting.
We enjoyed a big breakfast together. Here’s a picture that Vicki took.
Here are Rachel, Josiah, and Vicki.
Here are Jeri and Tim.
Here are Josiah and Jonathan playing a game after breakfast.
After breakfast, Grandma took us to Jordan Creek Mall for walking and shopping…mainly to find Tim a pair of khaki shorts for tonight.
Josiah and Tim explored Sheels sporting goods store. It is HUGE! Tim spent two dollars so that Josiah and he could play a video shooting game to hunt wild bulls in Africa.
The big event of the day/evening was Jeri’s high school reunion at the Des Moines Embassy Club West. Jeri’s fears of an awkward night of feeling out of place (like the previous night) didn’t come to pass.
She immediately met some old friends and was talking with old acquaintances alkyl evening. Even though we skipped the meat entrees, we enjoyed some very nice food.
The place, especially outdoors, was beautiful. So before the meal, we mingled outside. A guitarist played some instrumental music.
The weather was very nice!
There was a lot of picture taking.
We moved inside for a buffet supper and then more talking and more pictures.
After starting the day with fruit smoothie made by Tim, Jeri and Tim went on a brisk 40-minute walk. Then Grandma and Josiah went for a walk.
Lunch was veggie wraps with the veggies chopped really small and then lightly cooked. We also had vegan Italian sausage that we sliced and fried. The wraps were delicious! We had Grandma Pau’s Maple Pecan cookies for dessert. Yum!
Around 1 PM, Uncle Jim and Rachel came by to pick up Josiah. They went fishing till evening. Josiah once again out did Uncle Jim. Josiah caught 14 fish to Uncle Jim’s three. Even Rachel caught eight.
Because the fish were small, they ended up releasing all of the fish that they caught.
Around 3 PM, Jeri and I (Tim) left for the fair. Because there’s a shuttle from the State Capitol to the fairgrounds, we decided to park at the Capitol and take the bus.
Before getting on the shuttle, we took a self-guided tour of the Iowa State Capitol. The building was mostly empty…not surprising given that it was late on a Friday.
We saw a lot of beautiful artwork…murals, paintings, mosaics. There is a huge model of the U.S.S. Iowa battleship in the Capitol.
We were able to see the library as well as the Senate and House chambers.
Here’s Tim on one of the spiral staircases.
We saw the visitors gallery for the Senate chambers.
The Capitol has a large, highly detailed model of the U.S.S. Iowa battleship.
After our tour, we took the shuttle to the fair. We then wandered up and down, all around, checking out the abundant food options…of course, most had meat, so our vegan choices were limited.
We heard about done veggie egg rolls…but they had pork in then. We ended up getting something healthy, veggie wraps. They were good…but not as good as the ones we had earlier for lunch.
Here’s the famous Butter Cow. FoxNews.com has an interesting article about the Butter Cow.
We saw the tail end of the ice carving demonstration where the guy made a nicely detailed alligator. Then we went into the Agriculture Building to watch the VitaMix demo and try the samples.
The black guy doing the demo looked very fit and energetic. He had gone to Iowa State University on a wrestling scholarship back when ISU was a national powerhouse. He later transferred to Indiana. He eventually got into corporate America, ate unhealthy, and gained 65 pounds. Now, thanks to his VitaMix, he eats raw, vegan, and looks great.
Here’s the pig that we saw being carved yesterday.
Next stop was Jeri’s high school reunion at Jalapeño Pete’s, a restaurant/bar with LOUD music. When we entered, a live band was playing a not-so-great rendition of American Pie (by Don McLean).
We navigated through the crowd to the upper level patio. Jeri recognized a few members of her class…but none that she knew well. So after feeling like a fish WAY out of water, we left.
Amazingly shortly after getting out on the main concourse, Jeri saw one of her cousins, Mike Cochran, and his daughter. They are from Illinois but were headed to Adel for their annual sweet corn festival tomorrow. Considering that fair attendance that day was just over 100,000, it’s quite a “coincidence” that two cousins from different states run into each other.
We walked and wandered…we both enjoyed our relaxing stroll. We ended up at the Bill O’Reilly stage to catch the 9:00 PM performance of the acappella group, Tonic Sol Fa. That was fun.
The air was getting cool by the end of the concert. So afterwards, around 10 PM, we headed for the shuttle bus back to the Capitol to pick up our car and drive home.
Even though it was after 11 PM when we got home, Josiah was still awake. He was anxious to tell us about his fishing trip.