What a great experience I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of weeks. It has to be considered one of the highlights of my life to gather in Phoenix with Tracy, Don and Austin and go through the temple for Don and Leslie’s endowments. It was so powerful and sweet to be Don’s escort as he received his endowments and then join with Austin, Tracy and the Galan’s in the Celestial Room after the session. How lucky can one dad be?
The next morning was a kick as well because Don took us to the gym to workout. He said he would pair back his workout because we were there, but I encouraged him to challenge Austin, mom and I. So we started off with 3 sets of 10 pull-ups and did a ton of additional weight work on various machines. I’m delighted to say that I could keep up pretty well with Don and may have surprised Don and Austin. As long as I impress Tracy I’m good to go.
We went house shopping and picked out two houses to buy for Don to rent out as the start of a business. It was crazy to try and buy two houses, take the family’s Christmas picture, meet and party at the Galan’s, and pick up all the kids from the airport and get ready for the wedding and reception in only two days. It was fun busy and we even snuck in a couple of movies and a dancing contest.
The wedding was amazing because it became an early glimpse of heaven. Here were Tracy and I with all six of our kids in the sealing room at the temple. Don and Leslie were so striking and happy. It was strange to hear Bro. Barrand and it not refer to me. I looked out at our family and pictured us all in heaven together, all of us at the age of 24 and thought what a great promise for the future. With all the twists and turns of life to have us all arrive here and be able to participate in this glorious day for Don and Leslie was incredible. I will treasure that feeling always.
Half a day back in Denver and then we were getting up at 3 am for the plane flight to Orlando to kick around with Celeste’s family at as many amusement parks as Celeste could plan to attend. We spent Thanksgiving Day at airports but did squeeze in a wonderful turkey dinner at a local restaurant. It is a lot easier to eat out. We spent the next day shopping, getting discount (?) tickets, and playing at the pool with the grandkids. It was a good day.
We ended up hitting 5 parks in 5 days; Sea World, Disney Magic Kingdom, Disney Movie Studio, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios. You could also throw in Disney Quest as well. We would pack a lunch each day and drag ourselves back home every night exhausted. Everyone including grand kids did great. Loved Sea World, although they have toned down the Shamu show and nobody gets in the water anymore. The Dolphin show was like a Hollywood production with cliff divers, trapeze artists, streamers, birds, and very colorful costumes. Somewhere in there the dolphins still brought tears to my eyes.
We liked Universal better than Disney: Newer attractions, colorful ideas, and far fewer crowds. The Harry Potter exhibit was incredible and Butter Beer is very good. I also like Toy Story Mania a ton. Everyone had their favorite ride and we got around to doing something for everyone. I got to be the designated runner to collect fast passes and move us to the front of the line. It helped to burn off excess energy while waiting in long lines.
I felt a little guilty spending a lot of money on amusement park rides and events but I got to be with and know much better my grandchildren who I don’t see enough of, as well as Celeste and Brad, but most of all, time away is good for Tracy and I.
It has been a great couple of weeks, now to survive Christmas.