Tag Archives: vacation

Literally Putting the Fun in Dysfunction

My family is so fun.  I know I’ve talked about this before.  Like here.  But seriously people, it is kind of out of hand how much of a good time we have together.  I mean we like genuinely like hanging out together.  Our latest hangout, which sadly all the fam couldn’t make, was a trip to Cali.  Last year we went there for Stevie’s Make-A-Wish Trip and so we decided to go back again this year to remember her and celebrate the amazing time she had there just shortly before she passed.

Day one was just a day of hanging out before Universal Studios.  So we did what everyone does that is traveling with a group of 10 and has a day in Long Beach.  We got hammered at a Mexican restaurant and then hung out at the Lakewood Mall.  Oh, that’s not what everyone does?  Well whatever.  That’s what we do.  In all fairness, not all of us were hammered.  My sister’s father-in-law was the instigator and the one ordering all the drinks, so I’m sure he was, but I suppose I should let everyone speak for themselves.  Seriously though, leave it to the old guy to try to get everyone drunk.  Leave it to the rest of us to decide to go to the mall.  It wasn’t even a good mall.  It did have a Target though.  Dylan immediately made use of the Halloween costumes.  You have to admit, he looks really good as a banana.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Day two was really the whole point of the trip – It was the day to get our scare on at Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights!  This is what we did for Stevie’s trip last year, and I am happy to say that I got the shit scared out of me repeatedly once again.  She would have loved that.  Here we are looking scary… or dead.  I don’t know.  Just pretend it’s cool.

We are amazing posers.

We are amazing posers.

After being really scared and really tired, it was time to spend a day relaxing at Newport Beach.  We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful beach house, and I realized once again, that I really would be good at being rich.  As in, I could totally do the whole Newport Beach beach house thing.  Plus, I’m not at all awkward when running into famous people.  While taking the beach cruisers for a spin with my sister and brother, Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray (act like you love them and still know who they are) was also out cruising.  My calm, cool response was to scream and point, “Hey, you’re that guy!”  I don’t know why he didn’t stop and ask us to swing by his place later.  Weird.  It may have been because it took Jess, Spence and I the rest of the bike ride to come up with the first line of their most popular song.  Mark probably knew we weren’t true fans.  I don’t have a picture to prove my celebrity sighting, but I have this picture.

Jess and Spence cruising.

Jess and Spence cruising.

In closing, vacations with my family are kind of amazing.  We laughed so much on this trip (partly because I’m hilarious) and you could just feel the love we have for each other and for Stevie Roonie. Thanks for keeping us together, Stevie.  We know you’re always along for the ride.  Here’s the whole group, some with zombie eyes, which is perfect for a Halloween trip.  Also, I can’t seem to fix it.

A fresh seafood dinner!

A fresh seafood dinner!

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Mexico!

Coming home from vacation is hard.  Especially when you’re coming home to Utah weather.  This morning I realized that it snows during every season except summer here.  Extremely lame.  I suppose it made us appreciate the 85 degree weather in Mexico even more though, right? Right.

The trip started out with just enough drama when a fellow passenger was escorted off the plane in Cancun.  After touching down, it was announced that no one would be exiting the plane just yet except for one passenger.  After paging his name there was this deafening silence as we all looked up and down the aisle waiting to see who this person was.  Holy walk of shame.  Not that we even knew why the hell he was being escorted off by himself, but we knew it wasn’t good.  As if the suspense wasn’t already killing us, the flight attendant continued to announce that this was “the most unusual thing I have ever seen.”  She probably said at least five times, “Sorry folks, please remain seated.  This is just very strange.  I honestly have never seen anything like this.”  I seriously almost died from not knowing.  Once we were finally off the plane we spotted the mysterious passenger in a room full of security dudes. And security dudes and police officers in Mexico are not the same as the ones in the United States.  Meaning, they carry machine guns!

We finally reached our resort after what felt like one of the longest car rides ever and were greeted in our rooms with some wonderful towel creations.  I wrote before about my dislike for the swan towel, but the Riu Palace Mexico put a new twist on it, and I think I like it.  Check out these bad boys.  I mean now they have sticker eyes and streamers!  Maria, our housekeeper, was a towel creation champion.

It's a double!

It’s a double!

I don't know what this one is supposed to be, but I like it.

I don’t know what this one is supposed to be, but I like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides enjoying the random animals made out of washcloths, we spent our time lounging at the pool, walking along the beach and eating way too much food.  All-inclusive is the way to go, but it’s also dangerous.  Each meal consists of like five different courses.  Of course, drinks are also unlimited, so add those calories on, and well, you’re screwed.  I mean unless you’re looking to gain a few pounds, in which case, you’re in luck.

Some other highlights from the trip include, but are not limited to:

-Being asked if we “want to get high” repeatedly on the 5th Avenue shopping street.  We politely declined.

-Paying $30USD for a bottle of sunblock.  Somehow I calculated it as $3 and was like, “Wow, what a great deal!”  Only later was I like, “Hey, wait a second.  They are completely robbing people!”

-Asking for a decaf at the end of dinner and having the server bring us an enormous jar of decaf coffee and a cup full of hot water.  Self-serve style!

Here are a few pics to sum up the beauty of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  Crossing my fingers we’re back on the Riviera Maya soon.

playa1

The fam

The fam

playa1

Say NO to the Birds!

We’re hoping to take a family vacation in a few months to celebrate Em’s college graduation.  Yes, I have a stepdaughter who is old enough to have graduated from college.  Can you even believe it?!  We’re very proud of her and thought a family getaway sounded like the right way to celebrate.  Hopefully we can make it all come together.  I’ve been looking at a ton of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and anywhere else that sounds like an awesome diversion when winter is still raging in Utah.

Quick tangent – – I’m already feeling a little sick of winter and it’s just getting rolling. Ahhhhh!  A massive winter storm finally came through pushing out the unbreathable air (not even joking around about the air; people were calling it a health emergency).  So now we have clean air but the high temperature tomorrow is 17 degrees.  17, people.  I rest my case.

Anyway, back to the vacation.  I’ve looked at countless resorts and I would venture to say that at least half of them have one or more photos of those stupid little doves (is that what they are – doves?) they like to make out of towels and place on the bed or bath in the room.  And most of the time they add some rose petals to make it look super romantic.  Is it just me or are these towel doves incredibly cheesy and outdated?  It’s like as soon as I see those damn birds I question whether or not this is a good fit for us.  Immediately I’m like, oh shit, they make those birds at this place. 

I know what you’re thinking.  I sound ridiculous.  They are simply making these god awful towel displays because they think they look nice and welcoming.  It’s a valid piece of feedback though.  I mean just look at them.

How romantic?

How romantic?

Success!

So the trip was a huge success.  I’m talking fits of laughter, clapping and cheering and spontaneous dancing in the kitchen.  We ate amazing food (if I do say so myself), played in the snow, watched Christmas movies, colored, read, decorated cookies, soaked in the hot tub and just really enjoyed each other’s company.  Even Heath had a rockin’ good time day two after we introduced him to Fireball Whiskey. He was feeling so good he threw my sister in the hot tub with all of her clothes on. After threatening to do the same to Rob, Rob voluntarily got in the with him.  I later learned they set up some sort of obstacle course in which they would roll in the snow three times, run to a tree and then run back into the hot tub.  I’m pretty sure the neighbors were thoroughly entertained by us.  That or really scared.

I know this is going to sound really sappy, but there were moments when I felt overwhelming love for my family.  I’m serious.  I really like being with these people. We have our issues and don’t always see eye to eye, but everyone came together for this trip.  And I’m serious when I say that spending a holiday weekend with my family was the best gift I’ve ever received.  We’re strange and some of us (Dylan) decapitate gingerbread men and turn the gingerbread house into a zombie house while others of us wear our pants pulled up to our boobs (Heath), but we’re funny as shit and know how to have a good time.

Here are some pics Rob took that capture the moments perfectly.  Not that you want to see a family slideshow, but, well, too bad.

Dylan romping in the snow

Dylan romping in the snow

Stevie braving the elements

Stevie braving the elements

Mom of the Century

Mom of the Century



Surprise attack!  Jess is going in the hot tub clothes and all.

Surprise attack! Jess is going in the hot tub clothes and all.

The cooks in the kitchen!

The cooks in the kitchen!

Proof of the pants

Proof of the pants

My dad is stoked about something and the gift isn't even open yet!

My dad is stoked about something and the gift isn’t even open yet!

Mom and Dyl; best buds

Mom and Dyl; best buds

My bro is too cool for words

My bro is too cool for words

Em getting her sled on!

Em getting her sled on!

Cookie decorating!

Cookie decorating!

How's that for happy?

How’s that for happy?

The photographer actually made it in a shot.

The photographer actually made it in a shot.

Family Togetherness

I know, I know, I haven’t blogged in FOREVER!  I have no idea what’s wrong with me.  I mean I have been busy with holiday stuff.  I’ve been shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, buying way too much food (I get really excited about comfort, holiday meals) and making endless lists of things that I must not forget to do before this coming weekend.

This coming weekend my family (siblings, parents, spouses, kids) and I are headed to a luxurious getaway home in Deer Valley.  Which means that I have to have everything ready for Christmas by Friday so that when we return on Christmas Eve we don’t have to venture out with the hoards of procrastinators.

Anyway, back to the getaway.  Months ago I had this great idea of spending a couple of days at a snowy Christmas cabin or condo.  Not too far from home, not too close. Enough room for everyone.  A kitchen to cook amazing food in.  Ummm yeah I have high hopes.  Doesn’t it just sound so Christmasy though?!  And expensive. Lucky for us my brother-in-law has clients with lots of money.  And this money translates to second homes in Deer Valley that they are willing to let us stay at for FREE!  Who are these people, right?  I don’t even know them and I love them.

The first place we were supposed to stay at ended up flooding, so Heath (my bro-in-law) was like, “Hmmm who else do I know that has a place up there?”  And then he randomly called some client and asked if we could stay at her place.  He is so brave. She said yes even though they don’t even rent the place out.  Again, who are these people?

So, we’re heading up with the whole gang for a couple of nights to pretend like it’s our place and live the life of luxury.  I know it won’t be perfect.  That’s why we’re bringing a lot of alcohol.  How else do you think we’re going to make it two and half days under the same roof?

If I don’t make it back to the blog before then.  Who am I kidding?  I won’t.  Happy Christmas to all of you!  I hope that this holiday season is filled with love and togetherness (and Xanax if that helps take the edge off).