Thursday, April 26

Vegas, Baby!

A few months ago, Ryan told me that he was planning a secret trip for the two of us.  He told me he didn't plan on telling me the date until he absolutely had to, so when a potential client emailed me with an early May due date I had to get the date of our trip out of Ryan!  April 20-23.  I tried to get hints out of him regarding the location, but he wouldn't budge!  Then, one day, we were talking about a concert and Ryan accidentally spilled the beans.  He was so angry at himself but I was psyched- Las Vegas!  We went to Las Vegas nearly 7 years ago for our honeymoon as a last minute trip- we were supposed to go to Mexico but a last-minute hurricane in the Gulf changed our plans.  But, this time we were staying on the strip!  He didn't let anything else slip, and I didn't even know where we were staying until our cab drove up to the hotel.

We left early Friday morning to catch a morning flight, and we both prepared for the trip by bringing long books for the 3 hour flight- I read the final book in the Hunger Games series and Ryan read the first book.  We weren't much fun on the flight, each reading our books the entire time!

When we got to Vegas, we caught a cab and took the quick trip to our hotel.  The Monte Carlo!  Ryan's trip for us revolved around a conference he was attending, the same conference he attended in 2010 when we went to Miami together.  His conference was Monday and Tuesday, and we had most of the day on Friday through Sunday to spend together, and my flight came home early Monday morning.  He and I stayed on the 27th floor with a view of the strip, and once we checked in, we did what all parents probably do on the first day of vacation- we took a nap!  A real, honest-to-goodness nap!

Just arrived!  Ready for vacation to begin!

We had to wait an hour or so for our room to be ready- what better place to wait than the pool?

We left our room to walk around a bit, we had to make dinner reservations for us and the couple who was also there for the conference.  We walked to New York New York, one of the coolest-looking exteriors on the strip, in my opinion.  We rode the roller coaster too!  After dinner Ryan had plans for the four of us to go see David Copperfield!  After dinner, we walked to his show at the MGM across the street.  It was a smallish theater, not a huge auditorium, and we were in the sixth row so I felt comfortable not being picked out for one of his tricks!  As the show went on I realized it'd be fun to be picked, so I started raising my hand trying to volunteer.  He was picking pretty girls afterall, I thought I stood a chance!  And, he picked me!  Not for his most impressive trick (I was paying attention and saw some things I probably shouldn't have seen!) but I did get to take a live rose home from the show.  I thought the whole thing was pretty neat!
New York New York casino.  See the red roller coaster tracks?

A view of the strip, looking north, from the crossover in front of the MGM

Inside the mall area in the Aria hotel, we took some silly pictures for the kids.  Ryan is feeding a fake turtle, but the daffodils are real!
After the David Copperfield show.

The show let out late and we were planning on staying out to gamble but as soon as we got back to our room to change, we both crashed.  There was no way we were making it out again that night!

The next day we slept in then went down to the pool.  The pools at the Monte Carlo are pretty nice- there was a wave pool, a lazy river, a regular pool, and a hot tub.  We played in the wave pool for awhile despite the fact that it was still pretty cold, and then went around the lazy river a couple of times.  After we cleaned up, we went out to walk around some more, and unfortunately I forgot my camera for this outing, so I had to use my phone.  We took the tram from our hotel to the Bellagio and walked over to Spago, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Caesar's Palace.  It was delicious.  We walked around more, then went to meet up a friend of mine from high school who just randomly happened to be in Vegas with her husband.  We met at a bar in the Bellagio for a couple of hours and had a great time chatting!
An ariel view of two of the three pools at the Monte Carlo
The Eiffel Tower, the restaurant portion is right where it starts to narrow
My delicious portabello and caramelized onion pizzaa at Spago
Inside the Forums at Caesar's, it's supposed to be the Trevi Fountain
The gardens inside the Bellagio hotel, it smelled beyond fabulous in there.
Oversized bees hanging from the ceiling, Beth got a kick out of this picture
Outside the Bellagio
Chocolate fountains coming out of the ceiling.  This is the stuff my dreams are made of.
After that we went back to our hotel and got ready for dinner that evening.  We had a low-key evening, having a few drinks at a pub in our hotel and walking around some more.  Saturday nights in Vegas are very busy, and it was so crowded and noisy!

Sunday morning we walked to a church right off the strip to attend mass.  Yes, there are churches in Vegas!  After mass we took a cab to Freemont Street, which is the downtown area.  We had a lunch at the Binion, a cheaper hotel, then stayed to play some $5 Black Jack.  It was really our first time to sit down and seriously play, and we walked away $100 richer.  We had a lot of fun because that hotel seemed a lot more laid-back than the hotels on the strip.  I knew there were cameras and we were being watched (not that we'd cheat anyways) but I felt less pressure to make the wrong move!
Freemont Street

View of the mountains from the highway during our cab ride.

We had an early dinner reservation at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant that evening, so after we got back from being downtown we got ready and left for dinner.  It was in the Eiffel Tower at the Parisian, and we had beautiful views of the Bellagio fountains at sunset, not to mention a yummy dinner!
Dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant
One of the many pictures I took of the Bellagio fountains.  The sun set right behind the Bellagio hotel.  I was so impressed that those front fountains reached as high as the top of the hotel!
After dinner we had to almost literally run to our next show, a comedy show at the Brad Garrett Comedy Club at the MGM.  Brad Garrett wasn't there (the tall brother from Everybody Loves Raymond) but the other guys were pretty funny at times.  A little crude and definitely rude at a few points, but I think we were both expecting some of that.  After the show we decided to play some more Black Jack at the MGM and walked away with $80 extra bucks!  We left as soon as our luck seemed to be fading, what we thought was a smart move.  We went back to the Monte Carlo and played some more Black Jack, and we should have listened to our intuition more because we wound up losing most of that money we'd won!  How frustrating!  We called it a night, I wanted Ryan to have some money to gamble on Monday night after his conference when I was gone.

Our view of the stage from the back of the Brad Garrett Comedy Club.
I left about 6 am on Monday morning to catch my flight, and Ryan stayed for his conference.  I read the whole way home (finished my book 5 minutes before we landed!) and experienced the worst part of the trip when I got home.  Beth and Luke were very happy to see me, but Jack wouldn't come to me, he clung to Ryan's mom like he didn't know who I was. :-(  It broke my heart.  As it turns out, he wouldn't drink the milk I had pumped and saved for him.  It took him a good 30-45 minutes to warm up to me, and he didn't ask to nurse.  This also made me upset.  I wasn't sure how he'd react to my leaving and coming back, and I was ready to let go of nursing if he was ready to stop.  But once actually in the place of being faced with never nursing him again, it brought me to tears.

When I got home we had to leave pretty soon to go to ballet, and when we got home he asked to nurse.  I wasn't sure what to do- was he asking out of habit or because he really wanted to?  I tried to divert his attention a couple of times but he was really wanting to nurse, so we nursed.  I am happy I did.  I feel like it was the connection he needed in order to really get comfortable with me again.

But, all of that aside, the kids had a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa!  They were talking about the fun things they did for days!  Ryan and I know we are so blessed and fortunate to have family who lives nearby and will volunteer to take our little crew for a few days.  It's always very difficult to leave the kids but I truly do come back refreshed and ready to tackle the days again with a fresh point of view.  I feel so lucky that we have these opportunities to travel.

Ryan and I agreed that this was a super-fun trip, but very expensive after it's all said and done and not too relaxing!  It's hard to sleep when you know there is so much going on around you!  I was very happy I thought to bring my favorite aluminum water bottle with me and refill it at every Starbucks along the way.  The casinos have no water fountains as they want you to buy their $3 bottles of water!  I was also very happy to have our evenings planned out, making reservations ahead of time is definitely the way to do it.  I wish I had thought to bring chapstick and some hand lotion, it's amazing how quickly your skin can dry out in the dry desert!  We had such a fun time but agreed that our next vacation- whenever that is- needs to be a relaxing one!


mama schmerb said...

All Hail the awesomest Grandma and Grandpa!!! They made this trip happen! :)
Glad you had a good time & with Jack Jack.

Kyla, Michael & Joseph said...

So glad you guys had a great trip to Vegas! Yall got some great pictures and sounds like you made the most of your time there!
Ever since you guys went, Michael has been walking around the house saying "I want to go to Vegas too!!" :P

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