Mini Family Reunion

This past weekend, post-StandDown, I headed off on a fun weekend trip with my mom to Laughlin, Nevada! Laughlin is like a mini Las Vegas for old people. (Emphasis on the old people part.)

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My Aunt Leslie & Uncle Dave where chaperoning my Grandpa & Grandma on their last big gambling trip out west, while my Uncle Duke & Aunt Linda were flying from Florida to San Diego first, before sneaking into town with my Great Aunt Teresa (Grandpa’s sister), to surprise Grandpa! Then there were Grandpa & Grandma’s gambling buddies, Bob & Cathy, plus of course my mom & me. It was a fun group!

My mom and I got to Laughlin around 7PM…and of course Grandpa could not wait for us for dinner, so the younger crowd ate together. It was seafood night at the buffet! I made a killing with my plate of mashed potatoes, cornbread, honey dew, and Jello. Worst buffet night EVER. The company was excellent though! We had a good laugh trying to figure out what time my Uncle Duke had to leave the hotel the next morning to run a race across the border in AZ, due to the time change.  We also had a good laugh at the fact I can’t hear anything & kept mishearing everything….23 will do that to you, I tell ya!

After dinner, my Grandpa broke a slot machine & then everyone went to bed.  (When they opened it to fix it, I peered in, hoping to find an Intel logo, but I didn’t see any.  Bummer!)

The next morning, my Uncle Duke went to run the 5K race, while I slept. I felt bad for not running with him, but I never get to sleep in & I was wiped out from StandDown. I made it up to him by spending the whole day with him, my Aunt Leslie, my Aunt Linda, and my Uncle Dave. We went to Oatman, AZ, a teeny little town…..to feed donkeys.

A donkey.
A donkey.

There were other things to do besides feed donkeys, but that was essentially the main attraction.  I had a lot of fun!  I hang out with my Aunt Leslie & Uncle Dave every time I’m in Minnesota, but I don’t hang out with my Aunt Linda & Uncle Duke as much.  It was really nice to spend time with them & goof off around the little Western town.  I was very thankful I spent the time with them!

The crew.
The crew.
Driving into town!
Driving into town!
Welcome to Oatman!
Welcome to Oatman!

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Donkeys, donkeys everywhere!
Donkeys, donkeys everywhere!
Feeding a donkey with my Aunt Leslie!
Feeding a donkey with my Aunt Leslie!

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Duke the Donkey Whisperer
Duke the Donkey Whisperer

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On the way out of town!
On the way out of town!

The boys dropped the girls back at the hotel & then went to buy some booze for their nighttime shenanigans.  I made the mistake of leaving my camera unattending with them….

Wow great picture guys!
Wow great picture guys!
My goofy uncles.
My goofy uncles.

Then it was off to a night of more laughs at the buffet & more gambling!  (Once again Grandpa couldn’t wait for us to eat & ate before us.  Boo!)

Grandpa & his new buddy gambling!  When I came up to him & said "Hey, Grandpa!" the other old guy turned around & said I sounded just like his granddaughter!
Grandpa & his new buddy gambling! When I came up to him & said “Hey, Grandpa!” the other old guy turned around & said I sounded just like his granddaughter!
Bob, Aunt Linda, & Grandpa at the slots!
Bob, Aunt Linda, & Grandpa at the slots!
Grandma gambling off in the corner :)
Grandma gambling off in the corner 🙂
Uncle Dave joins in on the action!
Uncle Dave joins in on the action!

The next morning, we all met for breakfast at the restaurant– finally Grandpa could wait for us!  Hallelujah!  He did get ornery at everyone & yell at me, but I know it is his sickness and he can’t totally control his meanness.  He is mean….and then forgets he was mean.  I got a bit frustrated though & reminded him I had driven a long way to see him & that he wasn’t being pleasant to be around.  Once we were seated at the table, he seemed to calm down a bit.

Well I guess this is one efficient way to serve everyone their toast?
Well I guess this is one efficient way to serve everyone their toast?

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Group photo op #1!
Group photo op #1!

Finally, post breakfast we said our good-bye’s 😦

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Hey!  Over here Aunt Teresa!
Hey! Over here Aunt Teresa!

It was an awesome weekend and as I said earlier, I’m very thankful that I could make the trip to see everyone!  Spending time with my family is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  No where else do I feel as content and comfortable than when I am with my family!  Even if we weren’t always together– like when I was reading in the hotel room one night by myself before bed– I still felt such inner joy knowing everyone was so close.  I really wish we lived nearer to one another; but perhaps the distance is what makes the times we spend together so treasured.

I am looking forward to seeing them all again as soon as I can!  (Although that likely won’t be until Christmas grrr.)

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