Saturday, May 01, 2010

Livin La Vida Vegas

Near the end of April we took a vacation to Vegas.  It was actually a babysitting vacation.  Not the kind that most people take :-)  My brother and his wife were going on a week-long Mexican cruise April 24 - May 3 and asked if we could all come down and stay at their Vegas house (with pool) and housesit and babysit for a week while they were gone.  It was nice to have a little break of the hectic pace that Pocatello is during the school year, and they even paid our gas money and left extra cash for us to go and do fun things like the Shark Reef @ Mandalay Bay and The Lied Discovery Children's Museum.  

But first thing's first:  SWIMMING!
One good thing about so much swimming?  Ellie decided she could finally just put on a pair of floaties and go on out there all by herself.  That's chump change for all those vegas kids, but for a landlocked girl like Ellie who hits the pool once a year I'd say it was quite the accomplishment!
This is me cannonballing on my birthday!

Aside from all the swimming we had a great time hanging with family and friends!  It was nice to be down there with just Mike and Vanessa.  It gave us a chance to hang out one-on-one.  
And these two little girls were exactly what it looks like:  BFFs.  They were born just a few months apart and I can say in full confidence, loved every minute of the whole week being together.  
While we were in Vegas I celebrated my 29th Bday.  My husband was awesome!! He gave me pretty much the whole day alone by taking ALL 4 kids out on his own to lunch and to the park and play because I had asked for my birthday to be able to lounge out at the pool and read a book.  It was seriously SO relaxing.  
It was nice and warm while we were there, but about halfway through the week cooler temps settled in with crazy crazy wind, as you can see whipping my hair (and palm trees) around in the pics below.  It made swimming less than fab from there on out, but we got out of the house and every day went to a different park.  We were so blessed to have such well behaved kids to look over!
This is another park we went to (the one where Jon & Mike were mugged) and we were the only ones there on that windy day for a while.  You can see that Buddy (dog) was there as were his owners Mike & Nessa.  Mike and D were having a home run derby at the park and the rest of us were bundling up in comforters to block the wind!
Another day we went to the park near Sunset with the pond & Duck and met Mike & Karen & Kate & Dylan for a playdate.  The kids were crazy about the ducks and I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the Sharps!  Mike is Ds best friend from high school and they had just had baby Dylan, were blessing him a few days after we left, then Mike was graduating with his Bachelor's in electrical engineering and he had accepted a job in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and they were moving right quick.  So this was actually the last time we'd see them in ?? who knows.  It was a good visit.  We hope to be able to stop by their place next year as we travel to wherever we get our next job.
Aside from parks and pools one of our two big outings was the Lied's Children's Science and Discovery Museum.  It was a little pricey (I think for $10 more we could have bought a year-long family pass, which would have been a good deal, for those of you who are in the Vegas area), but worth the $ we thought.  Here the girls had a blast whispering to each other off of the concave disks, Ellie is livin' the dream flyin' a plane, and Darik is trying to chase and recover a two-year-old.
Here are the cool bubble activities.  They had one you could stand in the middle of and pull a bubble up around you.  I love Ellie's face here.
They also had a play stage and a dress up area.  The kids are bowing after their 5 second performance.  And Ellie is being sad because the magic mirror told her she wasn't the fairest in the land.
They had another area/station with a mechanic's auto shop where they got to change the oil and tires and fix the car.  Next on the list was the mini-supermarket sponsored by Vons (I think?).  
Here we are taking a break and eating snacks after finishing playing on the first floor.  Time to move on to the bigger-kid-science projects on floor two!!  First off was pulling themselves up through a system of pulleys; and then my favorite the tornado simulator!  It was really cool - we had to stop it halfway through when maddy & owen were crying and pull them out.
Ellie and Jake seemed to take to it just fine, though.  There was so much more things to do I didn't get pics of including finger printing, heart monitors, wheelchair basketball, but I got the camera out for the virtual reality green screen games.  It was really cute!!
Our other big activity was to go to the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.  I had never been so was really excited.  I ended being a little disappointed, the larges shark they had there was four feet long, if I was being generous.  I was hoping for a least a 6 footer.  Oh well.  Other than that disappointment I was really glad we went.  Piranhas, sting rays, puffers, jellyfish, etc. what more could you want?

I do think my favorite part of the trips around town were people's reaction to us.  Here we are with four kids ages 5 and under and most people eyes bug out of their heads and say something along the lines of, "Wow, you've got your hands full, don't you!!??"  We'd just smile back and say, "Yes, we do, but it sure is fun!"  And we did have a great time.  We love those Miller kids down there and had a blast.  We'd like to do it again sometime, but only INSTEAD of not going on a week-long cruise we manage to fit that IN ADDITION to the babysitting.  Ya know? :-)

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