We slept in and enjoyed a leisurely morning. Except that Rachel and Lucy were talking non-stop, filling Grandma and Grandpa in on everything they'd missed over the last five months. That included all sorts of things, including the YouTube video What Does the Fox Say?, which they can be seen watching here:
It was pretty cool to go outside and see the orange trees right next to Richard & Gloria's condo:
This is Adam's current picture pose. . . get used to it:
Our first stop of the day was to the Costco. The kids were pretty excited about this Four Corners Monument that they spotted in the parking lot. (It's a sewer lid.) And out comes Adam's pose:
After our shopping trip to Costco, we went to lunch at Tia Rosa, Mesa's favorite Mexican restaurant:
Our server asked if any of the kids needed kids' cups. I told her they were all okay to drink from regular cups. . . and then she returned with these gigantic one-liter glasses of soda:
The food was good, but more along the lines of your typical cover-everything-in-melted-cheese Mexican restaurant:
After lunch, we went to an amusement center called Golfland:
I think I've mentioned this before, but miniature golf is serious business when Steve is around. He is insistent that the kids learn the rules and play correctly:
I was the official scorekeeper and enjoyed admiring all of the pretty vegetation:
Here's the whole group:
We were stuck playing behind a slow group, so we had plenty of time to stop and take pictures along the way:
But it sure made Richard nervous that they were going to be late for their shift at the Visitors' Center. As soon as we finished miniature golf, Richard and Gloria went home. We had to stay and play some arcade games because Steve spotted Doodle Jump. . . I played a whole lot of Doodle Jump on my phone when I was recovering from surgery. (I still play every once in a while when I am looking for a mindless distraction.) Steve was pretty excited to see if I could win. It took me a couple of games to get used to it, and then I was one jump away from winning the 1000 ticket bonus. . . pretty sure the game is rigged. And I'm pretty sure Steve will be in big trouble if he ever shows anyone the videos he took of me playing.
We went back to Richard and Gloria's condo, let Steve take a nap, and then went over to the temple:
The official Mesa Arizona Temple Garden Christmas Lights display didn't start until the day after Thanksgiving, but we had some insider information. . .
Gloria knew that the lights would be on and that we could go and see them without the 20,000 or 30,000 people who would flock to the temple grounds opening night. My cousins, the Garzas (who live in Gilbert) and the Adams (who were visiting from Idaho Falls) met us there:
We enjoyed a nice, leisurely stroll around the temple grounds and saw all of the lights by ourselves:
And. . . bonus. . . we didn't even lose any of our thirteen kids.
Then we went inside the Visitors' Center. Gloria was stationed at the front desk, answering calls:
So Richard took us on a group tour of the center, starting with the Christus presentation:
This is a three-dimensional model depicting Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ:
One of my favorite things in the Visitors' Center was this display of Book of Mormons in over 100 different languages:
Lucy quickly found the Book of Mormon in Africaans, which is one of the three languages that Derrick and Gcobisa speak:
And then she went to work doing some translating between the Xhosa and English Book of Mormons:
We watched a series of videos about families and the temple, saw the International Nativity Scene Exhibit, and then things got all sorts of crazy:
Just kidding. We weren't being very loud, and there were only a couple of other people around. One last look at the the pretty lights:
And then we drove to the Garza's beautiful new home in Gilbert. Heidi and Travis stopped and got pizza for the kids, and once everyone was situated, we left all of the kids at home and went to dinner at Postino. It's such a shame that I didn't take any pictures because that dinner was one of my very favorite parts of our whole trip. We were seated outside, but they moved a patio heater next to our table, and everything was just really pleasant. I had the Prosciutto with Brie panini sandwich and the Mixed Greens salad. I loved both and couldn't have been happier with my food. For dessert, Steve and I shared a Salted Caramel Sundae (with chocolate covered corn nuts). It was so good that we almost went back a couple nights later to get another one. David snuck away and generously paid the bill for everyone, so then Steve felt a little bad about ordering so many appetizers.
When we got back to Richard and Gloria's, Steve spotted this on the kitchen counter and wanted me to take a picture. Gloria is always so organized!