viva las vegas (family style)

While lying in bed one dreary day in February, still feeling like this human I was growing inside me was going to take over, Tim suggested we plan a little family vacation.  He had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas and thought the hotel he stayed in would work well for our family.  As a bonus, all the hotel points he had earned from traveling would make the hotel stay nearly free.

A ticket out of bed for me...DONE!  I didn't care where we were going as long as it was warm.  I was craving the sunshine.  Hoping that it would somehow spur me out of my pregnancy induced coma, I immediately booked the hotel and the trip was planned.

We packed our bags and headed out on a gorgeous March morning suggesting that Spring was actually here.  The sun was shining.  It was a picture perfect day.  I had left my pregnancy induced coma for a sun induced coma.  Tim was in his driving-while-working-via-his-phone coma.  All three boys were in their electronic induced comas.

As soon as we went around the point of the mountain (15 minutes from our home), we started to hear some moaning.  It took a minute to realize those familiar sounds were actually not coming from me this time.  Parker was sick.  His tummy hurt.  I contorted my body from the front seat so that I could hold his hands and tell him it was okay.  Sure enough, his face started to get pale and I knew this was serious.  I emptied out the gallon ziploc bag with Parker's name written on it in black permanent marker.  Once holding his treats for the road trip, it would soon hold something else.  By the time we were in the thick of traffic and road construction on I-15 in Provo, Parker finally lost it.  I quickly unbuckled my seat belt so that I could hold the bag for Parker while he emptied his stomach.  After he finished, I zipped up the bag and set it on the floor beneath his feet.

I gave Parker his pillow and he fell asleep within minutes.  We all waited for the smell of throw up to permeate the air, but it never did.  A testament to Ziploc bags.  Maybe I should pitch a new commercial idea to them.  We made the drive to St. George without any more disturbances and Parker was perfectly healthy the rest of the trip!     

Our first stop was Red Cliffs Park in Leeds.  We packed a lunch and ate at the picnic tables.  After lunch, we went on a hike through the gorgeous Red Cliffs.  This was probably everyone's favorite part of the trip.  It was the perfect little hike for our young family and me in my fragile condition.

After spending a couple hours at the park, we headed to our final destination...Las Vegas!  We got to our hotel and the kids loved walking around the Mystic Water Falls Park that filled the interior of the hotel.  Immediately, we felt like fish out of water, walking through the casino with our three kids.  They were in awe of all the "video games," but we quickly explained to them they were for adults only.  After exploring and unpacking, we ate dinner at a Mexican Restaurant right by the Water Falls.  We got to watch the laser light show from our table.  The kids thought it was great.

The only other thing the kids wanted to do was SWIM.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't ideal for swimming outside.  It was only in the mid-60's.  Also, it was 7:30 pm by the time we finished dinner, but the kids insisted.  We took them out and let them sit in the hot tub.

The next morning, we were right back outside doing the same thing.  The pool was heated about as hot as the hot tub.  The kids loved it and Tim was a great sport to take them swimming.  I played the role of lifeguard.  The pool area was gorgeous and we had it all to ourselves, with an occasional visitor.  We swam outside everyday we were there.

After swimming one morning, we decided to take the boys to the...duh-duh-duh...STRIP.  We knew this would be a crazy adventure, but were well prepared.  We parked at MGM Grand and saw the Lion Habitat first.  That was pretty cool, but the kids were anxious to get to the M&M Factory.  We first had to stop by the big Adidas store.  At the M&M Factory we got to see a 10-minute 3D movie, which the kids liked.  After perusing all the M&M crap fun stuff, we started to make our way to Caesar's Palace.  We were headed for the FAO Schwartz at Caesar's Palace.  We asked the kids if they would rather go to the Shark Reef (which is about $20 a person) or have $20 to spend at the toy store.  Of course, we knew what they would pick.  On the walk down to Caesar's Palace we saw Elmo, Cookie Monster, Super Man, Little Elvis and many other crazy characters.  The kids thought it was Disneyland.  They loved it.  We did see a couple inappropriate billboards, but Payton quickly pointed them out and looked the other way.  Parker and Cooper didn't even notice.

After a long walk, we made it to Caesar's Palace only to discover that the FAO Schwartz was replaced by the world's largest H&M store.  Hooray for me, but bummer for the boys who were so looking forward to the toys.  We showed them the big aquarium and then ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Cooper slept through the entire lunch in his stroller (heavenly).

We started the trek back to our car.  Parker and Cooper decided they wanted to use their money at the M&M store and Payton had his eye on a soccer ball at the Adidas store.  Perfect.  We bought their items and headed back to our hotel after a long day of sightseeing.  I had a list of other places we could have visited on the strip, but the boys just didn't seem that interested.  The waterfall in our hotel was cool enough for them. 

We came back to our hotel and let the boys play games at the Arcade.  We spent $20 on earning enough tickets to buy plastic teeth.  Hooray!  I would have much rather been exploring the sights and seeing the things that only Vegas has to offer, but these are the simple things that my children want to do.  I'm constantly reminding myself that my little ones don't need a lot to be entertained.  A fun vacation for them is just being together and doing simple, fun kid things.  

The next day we swam some more and then went to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2.  It was just as silly as the first one.  The boys loved it.  After the movie, we came back to our hotel and went bowling!  This was another highlight for our family.  Payton loved the first game because he beat us all, but then Tim got rolling and smoked all of us the second game.  Cooper slept through half of the bowling and didn't want to participate.  At this point in the vacation, he was seriously sleep deprived.  After bowling, we ate at TGIF's in our hotel.  Everything was so convenient at our hotel.  We could have stayed inside all 4 days and had plenty to do. 

This was our morning ritual.  McDonald's in bed.  Parker, Cooper and I would go get McDonald's and bring it back up to our room every morning.  Yes, breakfast of  champions, I know!  But, it did work for our family and the kids were in heaven!

After fabulous weather and a super fun time in Vegas, we headed home (through a snow storm from Cedar City to Beaver).  I love vacationing with my family.  It's always so much more work than I think it will be, but it reminds me how grateful I am to spend my days with these amazing people.


Marie said...

Such a fun little getaway! I am always amazed at the variety of things you can find to do in Vegas. Your boys look like they have so much fun together!

Brianne & Jarod said...

i am amazed that you will do that. I have been thinking about going to Utah during Jarod's next trial but can't seem to bring myself to having a desire to do it all on my own. It isn't really a vacation..it is exhausting.I am a wimp, I know. Your boys are so cute..makes me think (when I am ready to have a third) that it will be ok if it is a boy too.

Reeses Pieces said...

So glad to hear H&M took over the toy store....not that I'll be in Vegas anytime soon but hello....still great news. You made Vegas look very family friendly. Looks like you all had a great time.

Patty said...

How FUN! It's great that you all enjoy SWIMMING and HIKING together! What a FUN FAMILY trip!