Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A rough time...

Well, folks...it's been a rough day...and by "day" I actually mean the last 12 hours. I woke up at 2am this morning with what turned out to be a "whopping infection". I won't go into all the details (and believe me there are many to give), though most of my faithful readers are woman anyway (except for my wonderful dad...and I'm sure he'd symphathize)...so I'll just simply say there was lots of blood involved and so much pain that I truly almost passed out a couple times (you know that pain where you are pleading with God "why me?" and "help me")...and I swear to you (this after having 3 babies) that the pain was so excruciating and continuous that I have to say it was definitely worse than at least Dylan's labor (which was not easy by any means...just shorter than the rest)....and this pain almost took me to the ER (and I really do have a high pain tolerance, so I think even Kev knew it was bad by how I was carying on). I'm truly not sure how I made it through the night cuz from 2-8am I was (no joke) either hysterical in tears from what I started to wonder might be a kidney stone passing. Thankfully it was not and after talking to my doc at 5am he reassured me that I could "pull through" til morning and that I shouldn't rush to the ER. It was all I could do not to scream in his ear that he had no idea how much pain I had already endured (sometimes guy doctors get to me...I'm certain a woman would have been more sympathic)...anyway...so it's been a very rough 12+ hours. I never dreamed I'd ever say that any pain was close to childbirth, but my friends, it's true....and the night's occurances left me worn and tattered...and I'm sure they left Kev the same (though he holds up remarkedly well...and he did at least get some sleep that didn't involve sleeping in a bathtub...she lucky him :)). So....I'm thankful I got into the doc...they were not even gonna work me in today but when I started to plead and threaten to go elsewhere, I think they knew my pain was real...and the wonderful NP I saw felt terribly bad for me after she saw my almost-black urine that she gave me some good ol' painkillers and an extra-strong anti (biotic)...too bad the pharmacy was out of the painkiller so I am still enduring. Luckily the kids slept for 3 hours today and so did I...I think I can call that the BEST sleep I've gotten in years and that wad definitely a "God-send" today :)

Ugh....so, not that I want/need sympathy, but this is not how I intended to start the week....and not at all what I intended to post today....I have some amazing news about Hailey (and each of the kids actually)...but I will come back and post that later when I have time and am more comfortable. Love ya'll and peace out! :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Well, here's the proof of our awesome time in LV (mind you these are in no particular order)...it was agonizing trying to twindle down the pics to these few since I took about 700...so hopefully these portray our Vegas story best.....above is our awesome Paris hotel....the famous Paris hot air balloon out front and the acclaimed mini replica Eiffel Tower (I love this night shot!) :)
And the very famous Ballagio fountains...just breath-taking at night...really an amazing sight...
Our mini Eiffel during the day...here you can see the Eiffel Tower Restaurant (on the 5th floor?) that we ate at that one night....
The anniversary couple downing 18 different sodas from Around the World at the Coke store...this was one of our highlights as well...and our "first" Vegas experience :)
Here's our trays of sodas...and I believe this was one of Kev's favs (that he's holding)? I can't remember...or maybe it was one of the worst...there was one that tasted like old pee :( Blah! And a pink soda from Holland that tasted even worse than pee (or so I would imagine :))
Kev by his fav. soda bottle...he and Coke have a long-standing love affair :)
He wanted a pic of me sitting on the famous Coke bear's lap :)
The outside of the Coke store (2 stories tall)...very cool....
Then next door was the M&M store...also very cool...5 stories tall...lots of memorabilia and candy...yumm! Also a real M&M race car on the top floor that Kev enjoyed :)
Us and "red" M&M...on our "tour" of the M&M place...
Loved this place...this is inside the Bellagio after we ate a breakfast buffet there...they have a courtyard there with this amazing ferris wheel (fake)...and all these real flowers everywhere....it was so beautiful...
Here is the fun show we saw, The Producers, with the ever funny Tony Danza...we took this pic as we got off the plane in LV...

The neat Luxor hotel...this pic doesn't do it justice, but it was getting too dark to get a good pic...but you can kinda see Kev at the bottom and the Egyptian/pyramid motif was really neat...even inside. And you can see the light on the top of the pyramid just starting to light up...very cool at night
A view of the south side of the strip as we stand on top of the Eiffel tower...it was amazing to see the view and the city all lit up! :)
Me right after we arrived...we had just stepped outside our hotel and the Bellagio fountains (in the background) went off...it was amazing to see...
Kev with his M&M buddies as we enter the M&M store
Proof of the excessive amount of little chocolate M's that tempted us at the store :)
A view of the Excalibur hotel
Kev and a slot machine he thought looked fun...can you see why?? Ok, I'll give you the answer...it was a popcorn slot machine...with a popcorn theme...and he LOVES popcorn. We tried to play this slot, but we found out at this point that you can't use coins...you have to have a ticket...bummer :( No fun :(
Us at the good' ol' Hoover Dam! :) Yes, it was VERY windy and I should have taken that darn sticker off my chest :) They made us wear colored stickers on our tour so they knew who was going where....beautiful sight though...and a little bit nausea-inducing for me who is not fond of heights...
Me on the bridge over the dam right near the NV/AZ border...this is Lake Mead...also very beautiful...
Kev and his humongo hotdog...I sweat this is the biggest one I've ever seen!
This isn't a great pic, but it kinda shows the partial interior of our hotel with the neat "sky" ceiling...and Kev by his much-wanted "crepe" place (I believe it's called a La Crepeteria? But who knows and I can't squint enough to read the sign right now :))
A partial view of the Venetian hotel waterway (as I stand near part of the hotel)....very cool. This is the waterway we had our gondola ride on. We didn't get the pic they took on the ride cuz I just didn't want to spent 25 bucks on a pic...but you can imagine it was very romantic and fun (and hot) :)
Us after our gondola ride...awwww...what a lovely couple we are :)
Here we are before our "show"...at the entry way doors...they wouldn't let us take cameras into the performance so this is all we got...but it's kinda proof of our Vegas show :)

Here we are...all decked out for our night on the town...ok, so we only ate and stayed in our own hotel, but that kind of counts :) We never get dressed up except for weddings so this was a big deal....this was actually after dinner....
Here I am (can you see me?) before dinner out by our pretty Paris fountain :)
Here we are at our favorite restaurant (the Eiffel Tower one)...isn't the view of the Bellagio lake awesome?!
Here is one of our yummy desserts...it was a banana soufflet (sp?) with vanilla creme poured inside...ummm...yum! And our special Anniversary drizzled plate :)
Here is a view from the restaurant of the awesome Bellagio fountains :)

And here I am inside the Bellagio...can you see the amazing extra long-stemmed roses? They had just "planted" them standing straight up behind me and they smelled so good....
Kev by the TI (Treasure Island) hotel pirate ship....I took pics of the "interesting" pirate show that took place at night at this ship, but not sure they are appropriate to post :)
Loved the Wynn hotel (behind me)...so pretty....
And the NY NY hotel had an awesome exterior...can you see the Coney Island roller coaster....it looked cool, but kinda slow-moving (non-scary) if you ask me and Kev :)
The stratosphere tower....another awesome sight...
Me drinking my yummy non-alcoholic smoothie drink at the Top of the World restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere :) Awesome (and, yes, I know I'm saying awesome a lot :))
Us at the top of the Stratosphere (the floor above the restaurant)...you can see the strip below us....
Kev on this freakin' scary thrill ride on top of the stratosphere...he's the one closest to me with his hands up like a crazy man :)
Me by the Caesar's Palace fountains/hotel...this is where Celine Dion performs...
Inside the Wynn hotel...this is such a neat area with the ornate ceiling decorations...and this had an amazing view of the big fountain outside...where they had a neat show with a funny head that came out of the water and changed faces...it was very unique and artsy fartsy...Kev liked it :)
Me in the Wynn hotel...aren't these balls of roses above me amazing....
Outside the Wynn...pretty fountains...
The neat show on the canopy at Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas....the show we saw was alien-related...I would have loved to stay for some other ones, but heat had worn me out this day....but it was an amazing sight to see...And below is me playing my first slot machine...do I look confused? Cuz I am! :)

Well, we've returned (as of 1am this morning) from the "depths" of the fabulous "Sin City" and although I can't say we are refreshed and more relaxed than when we left hum drum Bloomy, I can say we had a fabulously awesome time and enjoyed (almost) every moment :)

Really, I don't even know where to start. Just getting a vacation alone with my hubby was a treat, but this whole trip was just such a wonderful gift. Not only did we get to see and do so many fun things that we never thought we'd get to do in the next 2 decades, but we got to do them together...and without the kids...and that was what truly made the trip a great one...just enjoying each other's company. All the Vegas action was just an added bonus and so worth every second of the torturous heat we endured (yes, I do believe it was over 110 a couple days...whoa...I used to swear to people that I didn't sweat, but Vegas proved me wrong, baby :))

Ok, so truly...I don't even know where to begin to tell you all the things we did...it'd probably be easier just to post a hundred pics and let you see for yourself...but I guess I'll start with the BAD part of the trip first and get that over with...and believe me....there was enough bad in the beginning to put a big ol' damper on the whole darn thing....almost to the point where we scrapped the whole trip and went back home.

So....let's start from the beginning...get ready...this could be a long one (oh, come on...you're all used to my posts by now :))....so...I know I never gave specifics dates on when we were leaving...but that was simply cuz I was so busy before we left I never had a chance...and maybe that was part of our downfall...who knows....but I'll tell you now...the plan was to leave this past Monday evening and to return to Indy late Thursday night. Hmmm....now do the math and you can probably figure out things didn't go as smoothly as planned. So, here's a "quick" recap....Monday night...got to the airport a couple hours ahead of schedule...all ready to go...excited...happy to be in each other's quiet company...kids are safe and sound with Nina Stegs at home....all good....nope.....we go to check in at the self-check-in at American...and I should have known when it told us to "go to the desk" that things would go from bad to worse. Not only did the lady break it to us that our flight had been completely canceled, but she said we couldn't leave til sometime the next day. I thought she was joking...and then I thought I was going to cry. You have do be kidding me...this is our first real big vacation alone since our honeymoon and we can't even get to our destination?! Ok...so the lady could see were NOT happy. We are nice people, but this is where our patience started to grown very non-existent :( I looked at Kev and he looked at me and I said..."well, maybe we should just cancel the whole trip...we can't get into Vegas tomorrow afternoon and only have 1 full day there...that's a waste of time and money"....luckily Kev had his head on straight and said..."can you get us out tomorrow morning and back on Friday night" (phew...never thought of that...good thing Kev was "on the ball" :)). So, that what she did...booked us to leave the next morning. We knew it couldn't be that easy and we (Kev...I must give him all credit) then proceeded to spend a good hour on the pay-phone talking to travelocity about switching our hotel dates. Once that was (what we thought to be) officially changed and ok, we decided to spend the first night of our anniversary trip at the "casa de Steg" :) (Kev's parent's house)....his dad kindly took us in and we were very grateful for that and happy not to have to drive back to Bloomy and interrupt the routine of Nina and the kids or spend money on an Indy hotel. Ok...so the whole trip sounds like it should be a breeze from then on...yep, we thought that too...we even spent another 1-2 hours on the phone that night at Kev's parents just making sure travelocity had it all straight and would send a fax to the Paris hotel and make sure we were staying til Friday. So.........................

Tuesday morning we made our same trek back to the Indy airport and off we flew without a hitch to Dallas...only to discover on the next flight we were not sitting together...of all the times to be split from Kev I really was bummed out (it was like our honeymoon revisited...which is a story for another day)....we tried to switch seats only to find that we were both had actually been upgraded to first class! Oh my...we didn't complain after that. So, yes, we made it to Vegas and I have to say....I will never scoff at 1st-classers again...they have the life of luxury and we were waited-on hand and foot and pampered the whole time. I loved it! It was totally worth not sitting with my hubby :) I can't even tell you how great it was to actually have a meal on a plane and to get a warm chocolate chip cookie and all the wine (I mean water) I wanted :) Really...I only had water, but the wine was tempting if I only liked it I probably could have drunk a whole bottle and the flight attendant would have never blinked an eye ;) So, that was a real treat....it partially made up for the real hassle we endured the night before....but not the hassle we were about to endure......

So, we arrived in Vegas on time (actually our landing was amazing...we both had first class window seats and we could see the whole strip as we landed...not to mention we could see the Grand Canyon right beforehand as we flew over...awesome!)...so, no problems landing...the heat was intense and I lost my will not to sweat....we got on our bus...no problems....dropped off at the Paris...no problems...entered the building...and then the problems began again. To make this as short as possible I'll just say........the fax that the Indian guy the night before said he sent twice to our hotel stating our date changes.....well it was never received by the hotel...and not only did we have to stand around that day on the phone for 2 hours (and got charged 10 bucks to our room because of it), but Kev took 2 more hours that night on the phone with travelocity and the hotel...it was not pretty. I can't even tell you how fed up and completely ticked off we were....and if you know Kev....you know he is the most patient and kind and nicest person you'll ever meet (it takes a lot to tick him off...and I actually don't think I've ever seen him this mad)...but after wasting 7 hours of our vacation on the phone and dealing with complete idiots (sorry...but you can tell this all brings up some bad vibes for me)....anyway...Kev was beside himself...not only was he exhausted from dealing with people who weren't following through with what they were saying...or giving us wrong info, or wrong fax numbers....but just the fact that he was on the phone while we were supposed to be enjoying the sights of the city....well, I can't even tell you how disappointed I was with.....travelocity...and with American Airlines. So, long story short...I went to bed that night at midnight (3 am our time) and Kev was still downstairs in the lobby of our hotel on the payphone trying to get answers...I guess a lady at the desk finally felt bad enough for him or was being hassled enough by him :) that she called the manager for help and he somehow over the course of the night took care of it all and called us the next day saying it was "all taken care of". Amazing....truly...we wanted to kiss that guy's feet. He saved us.....so....that truly was the "candy-coated" version of it all. And the moral of me telling you that is that we will NOT be flying American again and will be very careful about our travelocity trips from now on...and we apparently don't have "good luck" in Vegas :) That definitely all put a damper on our trip. I don't mean to focus on it, but it made the rest of the trip seem even more glorious once we had that very significant weight off our shoulders...cuz believe me...there was a moment where I thought we might have to move to a different hotel or even pay a lot more money to stay put at the Paris. So...it all worked out....but that was no thanks to travelocity and the American Airlines.

So...........onto happier things. The Paris hotel was amazing. Really...I'd recommend it to anyone. Yes, you walk in the door and you're faced with the lit-up slots enticing you to play, but in the midst of that you walk down cobblestone streets with French street signs all over and this beautiful blue (fake) sky is above you and it must truly look like Paris (not that I would know)...but it was almost like walking through parts of Epcot....ok, so not a good comparison cuz we all know Disney is not lit up with slot machines and smoky casinos...but still....it was a great hotel atmosphere and I was very pleased with it...the hotel room was very nice and the bathroom was the nicest I've ever seen (ok, so that's weird to comment on, but I like neat bathrooms...and this one had a nice glass shower)....and the replica of the Eiffel Tower was truly amazing. It was mostly outside, but part of it jutted into the casino so you could see the legs of it near the slot machines. It was really cool. So, yes, we loved the hotel...my only complaint was the smoky smell...but I have to say the Paris was one of the better ones....almost all the casinos smelled like that, which I expected. But, my eyes especially are sensitive to smoke so my poor contacts suffered a bit :) But, the smoke was bearable enough...and the hotel atmosphere made it worth it...it was very rich-looking with huge chandeliers in the registration area and fountains all over...and all fairly authentic to one (me :)) who wouldn't know a darn thing about France :)

So.............since this post is dragging and I'm starting to fall asleep myself as I'm still jet-lagged....I'm gonna change this over to bullet points to "mix things up" a bit and tell you a few things we did over the course of 3-4 days :)

  • The highlight of our trip was our outstanding dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Now mind you it was also the most expensive thing we did, so I'm glad it ended up being a highlight, but it was well worth the cost. Not only did we get an amazing view of the strip...but we sat just in the right spot so we could see the Bellagio fountains every time they went off. It was an amazing sight to see them from so many floors up. And just such a very romantic setting. And the food was amazing (as I guess it should be for a 5-star restaurant :))...it was fancy stuff, but not so fancy that the food was non-existent (if you know what I mean :))...Kev had a big juicy fillet and I had like a whole chicken...I couldn't even eat it all. And they kept stuffing us with french breads and free cheese puffs (complimentary due to our anniversary??) Not only that...but we had this amazing banana/vanilla creme soufflet dessert and on the plate they had written Happy Anniversary in chocolate sauce...ummm....VERY COOL! Then Kev asked about another dessert he saw and about 5 minutes later the waiter brought it to us free of charge compliments of the chef (also on a Happy Anniversary plate :))....ok, so that was a very cool experience...and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone. We even dressed up for the occasion. I have yet to see our pictures, but I hope we have some that turned out ok.
  • That same night we saw our first Vegas show...the Producers. It was great planning cuz we just went from dinner back to our room to change and then to show which was right downstairs. It was a great time...Tony Danza was the main character and he did a great job...so funny...I've always loved Tony since Who's the Boss (loved that show)...so it was neat to see him in person and we had pretty good seats. As much as I'm sure the show was great...it was so dark in there and we had such full bellies of yummy food that Kev and I both were shifting in our seats just trying to stay awake...and in our defense it might have only been 8pm Vegas time but it was 11pm our time when it started...so by the time it finished it was 1am our time and all we wanted to do was go to sleep (especially after being up half the night before with unreliable Travelocity people). But, the show was good and we enjoyed it aside from having to use tooth picks to keep our heavy eye lids open :)
  • Another highlight was our trip to Hoover Dam...which we affectionately called the "dam tour"...it was much funnier in person, but we had a great/funny tour guide/bus driver and he made so many jokes on the way to the "dam tour" about being the "dam bus driver" and us being the "dam tourists"...he was a funny guy and he made the trip very enjoyable. The Dam itself was amazing...pictures don't even do it justice...just seeing the big generators and going inside the dam and seeing things firsthand...it was an amazing tour. And the sight on the top of the dam....breath-taking...to see the mountains and the Colorado River and Lake Mead...all very cool. I'm a tad bit afraid of heights so I was a little uneasy and slightly nauseous so far up and looking down, but it was still well worth it. Our only complaint is that 90 minutes at the dam was not enough...we could have spent double the time there...but the tour we took didn't allow that and we were limited on time anyway. At least we got a quick tour and even walked over the boarder from NV to AZ :) Very fun...I'd recommend it to anyone....and....I must say...if one good thing came of our flight rescheduling...it was that we actually had time to do this tour...it was something we had decided not to do before, but since we had an extra half day in Vegas we booked it! Awesome! :)
  • We saw just about every free show we could see in Vegas...by that I mean we went through just about every major hotel on the Strip and of course saw all the "lovely casinos" and all the free sights each place had to share.....
  • The White Tigers at the Mirage were awesome....as were the lions at MGM Grand...I know I've seen tons of lions and tigers before, but seeing them in the midst of a casino...well, it's just very cool....don't know how to explain it....
  • Loved the waterfall that turned volcano at night...at the Mirage...
  • We had lunch at the Stratosphere...if you don't know it's the tallest building there...I think it was like 108 floors....we ate at the 107th floor which has rotating dining room...so in an hour you can see 360 degrees. It was an amazing view...can't even tell you....then cuz we ate there we got to go up on the top floor for free (whohoo...I think that was our only "free" thing in Vegas :))....Kev even went on one of the (scary) thrill rides at the top....I wanted to keep my lunch intact so I stayed with my feet on the pavement and watched. But it was a great afternoon....the view up there was breath-taking (and again...slightly nausea-inducing for me :))...but it was neat to put the city in perspective from 108 stories up (though I will say I'm glad we didn't stay at the hotel...we had considered it in the beginning cuz it was so cheap, but it's the farthest off the strip and not in a great area of town)...but it was fun to eat there and enjoy the sights.
  • Downtown Las Vegas...we made a quick jaunt to Fremont Street there and saw the good ol' Golden Nugget...I think that's one of the older casinos??...I don't remember much of Fremont Street cuz I was so hungry that night and very light-headed that all I wanted was food so we wandered a bit down the street which is covered by this awesome HUGE canopy screen....I don't even know how to explain it, but every 15-30 minutes this big TV screen that covers the entire street lights up and you see this awesome electronic show on Viva Vision. We only saw one show cuz I was just too exhausted...but it was very cool.
  • The bus system (aka The Duece)....well...I'd like to say it was a great mode of transportation...but after riding it at night with about 100 people jam packed like sardines in it and some weird guy rubbing against me and breathing on me heavily.....I pretty much got the heeby jeebies from riding the bus :( It was ok during the day...no problem finding seats...but at night...well, it was a different story. I guess cuz the city comes alive at night...and everyone is out in all their "spendor"...they just jam pack the buses til we're all like little sardines in there...and then you add creepy guys on there and some drunks...well, it was a bit scary....thank goodness we only used it for one day...the rest of the time we hoofed it (walked :))....so, yes, we walked our butts off....ok, so I wish we walked our butts off, but we did walk A LOT! :)
  • We really loved the M&M store and Coca Cola store...we went to both twice....the Coke store was awesome....2 stories and full of EVERYTHING coke. Kev almost bought a hat, but decided against it and we got Dylan a cute little Coke b-ball there...he loves it. Not only that, but on the 2nd floor you get to taste-test stuff (for a cost)...we chose to do an "Around the World" taste test....tasted 16 sodas from around the world...all different colors and tastes...most were pretty putrid tasting...the ones from China, I think, were the best. But, that was a lot of fun...and the first thing we did there :) Kev loved it...he's a Coke man all the way so this was right up his alley! The M&M place was HUGE...5 stories...I never knew they had that MUCH M&M stuff...but it was neat...they even had a movie and a little thing you walked through to show you how they make M&M's....of course they had the M&M candy wall and with millions of M&M's to buy...we got Shelby some mini-ones...and Hailey an M&M charm for her link bracelet....very neat store.
  • We did the south side of the strip the first half day....it was great planning...there wasn't much on that side, but it was neat to just walk through the hotels...I'm not sure what our fav. hotel on that side was....I liked a lot of things about them all...New York New York had a really neat outer look to it...with the buildings that looked like the skyline of NY...and the Statue of Liberty and with a tug boat in the water (oh darn...I just realized we never went back there to see it up close...bummer)....but it was really neat. And the Coney Island Roller coaster looked fun too...it ran through the hotel and then outside too...but not fun enough to ride for like 15 bucks. We ate at a really good Irish Pub the first night...it was on the Brooklyn Bride at NYNY...it was awesome food with a great view of the street...I had a great Irish chix salad and Kev had a very yummy pot roast. Sadly enough the whole time we were there the sheer heat and exhaustion from walking kept us from eating much and really enjoying our food....weird...but all we wanted was water all day long...food wasn't as important as it normally is.
  • I think Kev had the world's longest hot dog at a deli in The Mirage...we joked about what size we thought the "dog" would be before it came out (due to the size of the cow-size deli sandwiches they were bringing out stacked mile high with sliced meat)...but I think even Kev just about died when she saw his 2 foot long hotdog :) Ok, so it wasn't that long, but it was HUGE...I have a picture to prove it...trust me! ;)
  • Ok...what else....oh...the Bellagio...what a beautiful hotel...I know it's most famous for movies like Oceans 11 and such...but was such a beautiful place especially the fountains outside. I think the thing I liked most about it was the fresh flowers all over inside the hotel. We went there for their breakfast buffet the first morning we were there (it was ok...but we both agreed out WI breakfast at our awesome hotel were waaaay better! :))....but we got to see the awesome array of flowers as they were setting them out....they had fresh cut fancy long stem roses all lined up straight in this garden of theres and it not only looked amazing but smelled great too. And the glass artwork on their ceiling...just beautiful. I'd love to stay there sometime. And then, of course, there is the acclaimed fountains...which are even more awesome at night. I have to say that was one of my fav. things to watch the fountains come alive with music. Who ever invented that did an amazing job....it is a definite sight to see....
  • And in relation to the fountains...the Paris was in the perfect spot to see them every day....not only from the ground...but from the Eiffel Towel. We went to the very top of it that last night we were there....it was an amazing view at night....to be in the middle of the strip...to see the fountains all lit up and dancing and to see the very cool light from the top of the Luxor (that hotel was really neat too...with it's Egyptian motif)...supposedly you can see the Luxor pyramid light from space?!
  • Ok...so....what else...oh...one of the other days we spent touring the north half of the strip....this had more of the upscale hotels....I loved the Wynn hotel...it too had awesome flower arrangements...all real...these neat balls of roses that hung from the ceiling and some very cool vibrant hot air balloons that spun around...not to mention all their neat fountains and their very cool show at night (something called a lake of dreams)...I'd love to stay here too someday if I won the lottery :)
  • And the Venetian...I loved this hotel too...it was similar to Paris, but Italian style, of course :) The inside reminded me of the Paris only it had a shopping mall inside and awesome waterways with real gondolas floating past. We did one of the gondola rides, but opted for the outside (hot) one that was cheaper and had less of a line. It was definitely neat and since I doubt I'll be in Italy any time soon I guess a Vegas gondola ride will have to do...the gondoleer even sang us a song in Italian under one of the "kissing" bridges (we were supposed to kiss the whole length of the bridge...but due to extreme heat that didn't happen :) Poor excuse, I know) Ha! :)
  • We saw a very "revealing" show at Treasure Island...by this I mean...it was actually a show you see from the street and it was labeled a "pirate show"...so of course, Kev wanted to see it (he loves ships and anything piratey)...ok, so I won't tell you the whole plot of the show, but almost the entire length of it was girl "pirates" dancing around in their bras and panties (Never seen pirates like that before) The special effects were neat, but I have to say the dancing girls with their suggestive singing was less than desirable. I'm sure a lot of the Vegas crowd enjoyed it, but if I could have escaped from the mass of people watching it I would have. It was less that appropriate...and I was saddened to see little kids watching it as well....not at all what I would consider child-friendly or "Disney-like" :(
  • And that leads me to another point. What kind of people bring their kids to the strip at night?? I admit during the day the M&M place and the Coke place and maybe places like Circus Circus are good for kids...but at night...nothing good can come from taking a kid on the bus at night or letting them watch all the scum and such that comes out then....I just don't get that....I was shocked to see so many kids and babies on the strip...even at midnight....
  • Water...hard to come by and VERY expensive....I knew this going in, but we finally wised up on our second day and bought water in bulk at a cheap convenience store. But that was only after paying $3 for each bottle the day before....crazy....and our hotel vending machines never stocked water...they wanted you to walk down to the store at the Paris and pay $3 for it or get it out of your room fridge for $5...that's highway robbery! It's only water, people! But, it's a GREAT necessity there and in high demand so I guess they can scam you to buy it...that heat was stifling....good thing it was dry...I can't imagine 115 degrees with 100% humidity :( I have to say I was less that comfortable most of the time...walking in that heat made me grumpy sometimes (Kev can vouch for that...sorry, babe :))
  • I am proud to say we only lost $1.00 at the casinos :) Hee, hee :) I'm so proud of us. It was one thing we "had to do" in Vegas...to try a slot machine. And let me tell you...those darn things are very confusing. I thought you could just put in a nickel or a quarter in and pull the handle...not so simple. You have to get pre-paid cards now or use whole dollars and then when you do that you press buttons now and sometimes have to chose what level you want to play. Way too complicated. The one we tried was so new-fangled that we got so confused...never did figure it out and just kept pressing the buttons til we lost our buck. Oh well...at least we can say we tried it....but alas we didn't "win it big" :( Maybe next time.......It was amazing to see the amount of gambling...even at 9 in the morning...people were out drinking and sitting at their slot machine with no expression on their face pressing their slot buttons....doesn't seem fun to me?!
  • Elvis...I only saw him once singing from the top of a rented Elvis trolley...he was really belting it out...and he looked good from afar :)
  • Wedding chapels...no we didn't renew our wedding vows...but I have to say the north side of the strip and downtown LV is full of those ever popular shot-gun wedding places...they were fun to see...I think I only saw two brides though....but, hey, it's a cheap way to go down the aisle :)
  • Promptly at 3pm every day the "girly card/porn guys" come out....it's true...it's like the strip is invaded with them at that time...they come in riding on bikes and unload their little "business cards" and they get right in your face and give you these girly cards with "posed girls" on them and numbers. It's sickening really...even women were passing them out...and then little kids were looking at them as they littered the sidewalks and streets....yuck. I guess that's part of the "sin" of Sin City. That I could have done without....but it shows how rampart lust and porn are.
  • Believe it or not Kev and I didn't have a single drop of liquor the entire time we were there...not that we were striving towards that, but I think we were just so ravenous for water that we forgot about the drinking part...he hardly even drank any soda and if you know Kev that is RARE :) But, the food was great almost every place we went...just definitely not cheap. I had always heard about cheap/free buffets so that you'd eat a lot and then gamble a lot...not the case...food was outrageous....even though we only dropped a buck at the casino we spent a small fortune on our food and waters :) So, don't be fooled....you'll pay to eat well in Vegas :) On a side note...Kev never got the coveted crepe he wanted for breakfast...I guess we slept in too late a couple days and the line was too long at the "crepeatory" (or whatever you call it)...he was bummed not to get one :( He said he never even got a one in the real Paris during his European Calvin tour :( Poor baby :(
So, all that babbling to tell you that....indeed, we had a lovely time in the good ol' City of Lights. I actually loved it, but I'm a big city girl all the way...I love the lights and all the action and cities that never seem to sleep. That's not to say I wasn't exhausted every day....by about 9pm I was dragging my feet, but then again that was midnight our time so is that really horrible of me?! But, I really thought we could join the late night crowds and go to some bar shows (we wanted to go to Coyote Ugly...we loved the movie and thought the bar would be fun in NYNY, but by the time we passed the bar the line was so long and we were too tired to wait) and there were many other things we wanted to see...but nope it was beddy-by-time by midnight every night...sleep just took a front seat to the night life for us :) Oh well, I'm not embarrassed to say it...I'm not a night owl anymore. But, what we did get to see in Vegas was mostly great....and even though it all started out badly it all ended well and we had a great time. In fact, I'd like to go back sometime and see more shows and tour more of the city. There really was never a dull moment.

But, it's back to reality now. We got back around 12:30am this morning and Kev's parents were here to greet us. The kids were fast asleep (well, Shelby welcomed us with a good cry)....it was good to be home though...wonderful to hug our kids and see them peacefully sleeping...but then again it was about 3am when we finally got to bed ourselves (yes, after being on IN time the whole time in Vegas we were finally on LV time when we got back...go figure)...anyway...so needless to say today has been rough....the kids were bouncing off the walls to see us this morning...Dylan was crawling all over me and sitting on my head as I was sleeping on the couch at 10am still :) He was so excited. Hailey even wrote us a day-by-day journal (complete with pictures) of the "events of the household in our absence" :) Very cute. We missed our babies and I think they missed us, but Nina did a splendid job of babysitting. We can't thank her enough...and thank Kev's dad for doing w/o her for the week. And HUGE thanks to both our parents for gifting us with this trip...it was an amazing adventure and we love you guys for doing this for us for our 9th anniversary. Bless you guys a million times over!!!! :) :) :)

And now it's back to all the schedules and meetings and the crazy, busy lifestyle of our fam (Kev actually worked all day today due to the extra day he had to take off and all the pages he got in Vegas cuz of "broken" computers while we were gone...again, not cool!) But, it's all good...no complaints. LV was a great escape, but as always it's good to be home....as the saying goes...absence makes the heart grown fonder....I definitely missed our crazy household of kiddos.

Hopefully I'll post some pics tomorrow when we download them...I think we have like 700 so it might take me time to dwindle that down to 20 or so that I'll post :) But, I'll do my best....and bravo to all of you who made it through this post....it was a doozy and you deserve a pat on the back (though in my defense it's been a blogless week so I did have to make up for lost time :)) I've missed you all and hope you've all been doing well in my absence! :)

Oh, and Happy Belated 30th to my sister-in-law-to-be! She turned into a "fellow ol' lady" on Friday :) I know she's really gonna appreciate me announcing that to the world. Love ya', Candy! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let the Torture Begin :(

As usual this is not "post-related".....A lil' tour of this thing we call a beach at our good ol' Lake Monroe :) Here we are on Monday testing the dirty mucky muddy waters :( I stayed on shore and let the kids do the swimming :) They seemed to like it though....The girls enjoyed lazily floating on their tubes...
The protective Big Sis making sure Dylan stays afloat :)
A decision was made to attempt a "sand" castle...I use paratheses there cuz I don't believe there was any sand involved...it was like little mashed up rocks...not fun :( and not easy to mold into anything :( Dylan was making this difficult too by constantly throwing his ball into our moat and knocking towers over :) Hailey was not pleased with him :)
But, we persevered and this was our "castle"...complete with a muddy moat :) Not too shabby for a lake beachfront castle :)
Dylan sits down only for a snack of crackers :)
Shelby loves getting buckets of "sand" :) And Dylan likes to strut his surfer boy stuff along the water's edge :)

Well, today was the day...the day I've been dreading probably all summer...the day that the baby food jars magically disappeared and were replaced by this thing we humans call "real food". Ok, so you can picture it all now....and then just imagine how my day has gone as this little, sweet, stubborn boy of ours refuses to eat anything and is now at the point of starvation and is hysterical due to the rumblings in his empty little tummy :( Let's just say it has not been a pretty day. My mom can even vouch for that cuz she called in the midst of his hunger meltdown (one of the many) and I think the shrieks for help and food were even too much for her to bear. Ugh!!! So, believe me, it's been a rough day all around. I don't entirely know what possessed me to call today "The Day", but now that I've started there is no going back. I guess it sorta had something to do with dinner last night. He refused to even eat his jar of baby food, which is normally not an issue...so I slammed it on the table and got a bowl out and put a little of everything in it that we were eating. So....I'm not entirely sure what happened, but we all started making funny noises with our mouths and I guess I saw my opportunity to insert food and with every mimicking sound he'd make I'd pop a pea in his mouth...or a carrot...or a corn kernel....and he made hardly any fuss and there was very little gaggage and absolutely no pukage :) Yay! Granted he only ate like six veggies...but they were whole REAL cubed/small ones...none of that baby puree junk! So, I took that as my sign that today would be "let's be a big boy and eat real food" day....and well....so far it's not been what I had hoped...but I had very low expectations so I guess it's not been horrendous either. The plan is as follows 1) A tasty yogurt for breakfast along with his usual milk (should not be an issue) 2) no snacks until lunch and then we just keep offering him the same things every day until he eats them (i.e. noodles, mac and cheese, cut up lil' veggies, lil' pieces of meat/hotdog, etc...) 3) he'll be offered water with his meals (which he hates and will promptly throw with first taste) 4) Same routine for dinner. 5) no snacks unless he eats some of his "real meal". 5) milk before naptime and bedtime are ok. and 6) No/Very little juice unless he eats his "big boy meal" (I think that has been one of our issues...he drinks juice constantly and is always full from it...which has been a necessary thing with his bowel issues...so I fear this all could backfire in my face and we'll be faced with the man-size poops again too...not fun :() So......it's only been 1/2 a day, but I'm feeling tired and worn out already by the fight that's he's put up. But like my mom said...he's very strong-willed...you just have to be moreso! YES....I do....so please Lord, give me strength and maybe send me a good pair of ear plugs too to drown out the sorrow in my boy's cries :( I'll keep you posted on the progress or lack of....but for now it's been a rough day...I think it's kinda like withdrawal for him...he's gonna need a few days to come to grips with his "new food situation"...and hopefully he'll give in sooner or later. He was so darn hungry last night after he only at 6 pieces of veggie that when we went to Cold Stone for dessert he was literally attacking all our ice cream cones...he was possessed almost at the sight of something liquidy and yummy :) Oh...it's gonna be a long week....and I hope he makes some progress or we'll have to revert to baby food for our time away in Vegas cuz I certainly don't want Kev's mom to have to endure any food issues :( Oh, what good times we have in our Steg household :)

Ok, so onto better news....Hailey had a fabulous 1st day in the 2nd grade! Whohoo!!! It was no surprise...I knew she'd love it. Her "man teacher" is apparently a big success and quite a comedian too :) He told lots of jokes about his name and how to pronounce it so Hailey had to tell us those stories over and over again and laugh with glee at funny Mr. S. :) Ha! And apparently Hailey knew all but three kids in her class...again she was very proud to tell us that and very happy with the outcome of her classmate situation :) She's a little bothered by the fact they don't really have desks this year...they only have little tables to sit at with a partner with no cubby underneath...I agree...that is weird :( Oh well...I have a feeling the kids will survive :) All else went well....there was lots of paperwork to fill out last night and lots of "fun" stuff to read. But, all in all it was a great day for our little 2nd grader. She rode the big yellow school bus home as usual and was happy as can be to see all her bus buddies and to have NO homework :) So, that's all good news. Now it's countdown time for tomorrow...the big day she's been waiting for....High School Musical 2. I'm not sure how big this is around the rest of the US, but here it's big...I think I know of at least 4 parties going on tomorrow celebrating the big movie on Disney. Hailey is going to her best bud, Julia's for her "movie party" tomorrow night...and it's been something she's waited for weeks for! I honestly have no idea what the big deal is...I've never seen the 1st movie and we live in the stone age of "no Disney" channel (yes, we are cheap!) :) So, it's a good thing there's a party going on or we'd probably have to wait til it's out on video. Anywho...so this big ol' teeny bopper film is out tomorrow and is all the rage around here. I hear it teaches good values and such...but I still am not entirely sure how I feel about Hailey watching "teen" type stuff. I'm all for her watching Sesame Street til she's 13, but I suppose PBS is starting to lose her attention...Ha! :) I know...I want her to lead a sheltered life...I am crazy, I admit it :) So, I'm sure it'll be a crazy time tomorrow. Hailey loved the first movie (she saw it at Julia's also) and we got the CD yesterday for the new movie (it's gonna be a surprise for her on Sunday...a kind of going away present from us as we leave for Vegas :)). Anyway...so there is major excitement about HSM2 tomorrow....I know you all can't wait either...ha! :) So...until tomorrow or whenever I post again...adios, my friends! :)