Last week, I intended to write a post about my Dad’s fortieth birthday, which we celebrated ten years ago. All seven of us flew to Wisconsin to visit his parents, and I particularly remember the cake we bought. We took a gorgeous family picture, all of us in black dresses and tuxedos, at a dining table in the middle of a field, with fall trees behind us. I then planned to mention how he would be turning fifty this coming weekend and there was going to be a big party in Las Vegas. My whole family was going to be there, including my grandparents, except for me and Bart.

It would have been a great post – loving, nostalgic, touching. You would have laughed and cried.

Fortunately, you were spared by my mother who emailed me on Wednesday morning to announce they had just received two Southwest round trip tickets through my dad’s credit card and would we like to fly out?

I replied, “We’ll be there tomorrow.”

And we were. We spent three and a half lovely days in Las Vegas, surprising my sisters and brother-in-law, who didn’t know we were coming, dressing up for Halloween, and celebrating my Dad’s birthday in style.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I am unbelievably glad not to have missed it.

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  • Reply Lindsay November 4, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    How nice that you were able to visit your family! That picture from ten years ago sounds like it would be a gorgeous picture, too.

  • Reply La Petite Chic November 4, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    What a nice surprise!! I’d love to see the 40th birthday picture. Happy 50th to your Dad! 🙂

  • Reply Stefanie Elyse November 4, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Yay! I love families and I love surprises. But I’m sad to miss the post that would have had me both laughing and crying… it takes a great writer to evoke both emotions!

  • Reply hello, my name is amber. November 4, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    oh i just love your family! you all look great!

  • Reply Heather November 4, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I love free plane tickets! Can you scan in a copy of that cool picture? That’d be something.

  • Reply ashley November 4, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    THis is such a great family picture of you all! I Love your and Merrick’s dresses and I love Landon’s hair and your mom looks gorgeous and Crawford is SO big and, well your dad looks about the same. Sorry Dave. But that is a good thing right! Expecially on the 5-0.

  • Reply Mad Hadder November 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Here’s a co-inkeydink! My family and I were ALSO in Las Vegas this weekend! Wedding. Youngest son. I’m not sure how to take your hometown. Loved the temple. Didn’t so love seemingly unlimited traffic jams. Loved the lights and glitz. Didn’t so love the decadence once you get up close. Tell Daddy-o that fifty is nifty.

  • Reply Chelsea November 4, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Beautiful picture! You all look so beautiful (and handsome of course)and so grown up!!!! That’s what happens when your old (tee hee hee). All the young cousins and siblings are always young in my head until I see a picture!
    Oh, there’s a girl in my ward that reminds me so much of you when you were a pre-teen! She’s 12 and just got into the young womens (that’s my new calling).

  • Reply Lacie & Ryan November 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Your family always has so much fun! I always remember you guys going all out for lots of things- what a fun weekend! Tell your dad happy fiftieth!

  • Reply Julie Beck November 4, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    How fun! And what a wonderful surprise! Crawford looks so grown up!!! And I love Landon’s hair. Very nice picture.

  • Reply Holly and Brad November 4, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    What a good looking family you’ve got there!

    Sounds like a fun weekend…I’m glad you didn’t miss it. I am so glad that we are close to my family again…I hated missing things like that.

    Thank goodness for credit card rewards!

  • Reply Merrick November 4, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve got freaky eyes, Philip has smiled too much and can smile no more, Crawford is too cool for school, Landen is giggling/smiling, and everyone else looks normal. Should have put up a different photo….

    So glad you were there!! Love you!

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy November 4, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    It occured to me yesterday that my dad will be 60 in a few months. Suddenly that seems “old.”

  • Reply Packrat November 5, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Happy 50 to your dad. Wonderful picture; wonderful that you were able to be there.

  • Reply Meredith Shatzer November 5, 2008 at 3:38 am

    What a handsome family! I’m so glad you guys got to be there for the big day! I wish we could see the whole Gates clan sometime soon!

  • Reply trent November 5, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Aw, I love your family. You guys were always so nice to me, and your dad was a huge influence in my life way back then. Such an awesome man. Tell him I said Happy Birthday for me, will ya? Thanks!

    I remember when he hosted the nonstop Book of Mormon readings, those were fun. I think I got in trouble for always talking to you and Merrick during the reading though. Haha, Good times.

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