Family and Wedding in Las Vegas

Troy, Annette, and Riley

Above: Troy, Annette, and Riley looked fantastic as we headed out to the chapel! Amanda and I took a trip to Las Vegas to attend Troy and Annette's wedding. It was a great opportunity to spend time with family. The trip over was great, with some quality time spent with Uncle Dan and Aunt Valli, who were very kind to offer us a place to stay before catching a flight early the next morning. When we arrived, I was finally able to meet Annette, Troy's new wife (Troy is Amanda's cousin). She's genuine. I like her. After seeing many photos, I also met their son, Riley, who is really fun and full of unlimited energy!

Teri, Amanda, and Sharon

Teri, Amanda, and Sharon: three beautiful women. For the first few days we stayed with Amanda's Uncle Mike, Aunt Teri, and Grandma Sharon. SUPER special thanks goes out to Mike and Teri! They accommodated us and family at the hotel there, making the trip doable.

Wedding Ceremony

Photo provided by Troy and Annette Valentine

Troy and Annette getting married!

one happy couple

Photo provided by Troy and Annette Valentine


What a happy couple. :)

happy couple with their happy kid

Photo provided by Troy and Annette Valentine

A happy couple, with a happy kid. He was very fun at the wedding, and to get to know.

wedding party

Photo provided by Troy and Annette Valentine

The wedding party: Amanda, Annette's sister (who got married the next day in the same place!), Annette, Troy, and George, Troy's friend

everyone at the wedding being silly

Photo provided by Troy and Annette Valentine Everyone at the wedding, having fun, especially Amanda (Chris's Amanda), and her grandma!

amanda and chris all dressed up

Photo taken by Teri Valentine Chris and Amanda all dressed up, and everywhere to go.

hanging out with blue men from Blue Man Group

Chris hangs out with the Blue Man Group at the Venetian. We probably walked several miles per day checking out all the stuff on the strip. The casino hotels were MASSIVE. The high points on the strip included the water shows at the Belagio (they show a different show every 15 minutes), The Venetian architecture and still statue guy, Mandalay Bay (see below), and the people... People watching is a favorite past time in Vegas. Just watch people of all walks of life walk by. Minor down sides included $7 cups of beer, fantastic shows outside of the budget, and few opportunities to sit and relax (unless you are at a slot machine or food court).

in front of New York, New York, Las Vegas

Grandma Sharon joined us for a trip around the world, stopping at Paris, then taking a photo at New York, New York... Las Vegas. We wandered through Excalibur, MGM Grand, M&M World (a giant gift shop), and Amanda's favorite, Luxor.

The Fremont Experience

Fremont Street (the old strip) was very laid back, full of fun, also holding the world's largest TV screen (about 3 blocks long)! This place was one of my favorites, with much to see and do. Amanda and I were particularly interested in the spray paint artists. They whipped out vibrant pieces of art with paper scrap brushes and other interesting techniques, working against time as their paint dried quickly. We joined the family at a great buffet there (Vegas is known for their buffets). Amanda and I even did a little gambling, winning big with a whopping $17!

Sharon with Elvis, Elvis, and Austin Powers

Sharron gets her photo taken with Elvis, ... Elvis, and Austin Powers. Yeah baby!

Micheal, Amanda, and Ashley

Above: Michael, Amanda, and Ashley at Hoover Dam After the wedding festivities were over and everyone went home, we stayed with Amanda's Grandma Pat (on her dad's side of the family) who live in the Las Vegas area. It was the first time spending time with them since Amanda was a kid (I met Pat at our wedding). The trip allowed for us to get to know everyone again, all grown up! Her cousins Ashley, Tori, and Tori's cute kid, Michael took us to Hoover Dam. The place was huge! A new traffic bridge is being built there to keep cars off the dam. We all agreed it was quite high and scary looking. I can't wait to check it out when its finished next visit.

Hoover Dam

Notice the 'big' trucks parked by the dam below.

Amanda and Michael

Above: Amanda and Michael We truly enjoyed getting to know and re-know everyone, lounging around (felt great after all that running around), visiting, and just spending time with family. Micheal showed me all his toys (I tend to be awkward with kids, but he was fun). I met Amanda's cousin, Justine, who stopped by. Tori even took us out for ice cream, something I was searching for on the strip only to find gelato most places (the ice cream made Tori sick, I felt bad). After a day of visiting with Grandma Pat, we joined Ashley and her friend, 'Mom', for some grub then headed out to a local karaoke bar. We were in the presence of amazing talent (and some other highly entertaining singers)! Coming from 6,500 feet, the low altitude there allowed for drinking super powers as we relaxed and visited. We met up with additional family the next morning for breakfast at a local casino. I met Amanda's aunt, Angie. Angie and I had a great conversation about fine art. Being a right-handed artist without much use of her right hand due to an accident, she had some great pointers on how to think in reverse when illustrating with your left hand (I have to try this). Amanda's cousin Amber joined us as well who was also great to meet.

Mandalay Bay, under water

After breakfast, Pat, Ashley, Amanda, and I took a trip back to the strip to check out Mandalay Bay. Beautiful! I recommend taking anyone to see this place.


I loved the jellyfish. For a creature without brains, these things seem pretty functional. Very graceful.

Chris, Pat, Amanda

Photo taken by Ashley Above: Chris, Pat, and Amanda Alas, we had to go back home. The trip back was a little rough with flight delays. When we arrived at the airport, SuperShuttle was no longer running, although apparently still taking reservations only to tell people the next ride was in the morning. A few people were stranded, and a poor frustrated woman who's dog died told them, and me in her anger, to go to hell and that our dogs should die (I didn't take it personally). We took a cab to our car, got stuck in snow on the way home and checked into a hotel. Thanks to the cruddy weather though, my work had a two hour delay and I still made it in on time! The trip was excellent.

Posted: 2010-03-06