Sunday, November 30, 2014

Turkey in Vegas: Day 2

We all woke up bright and early, and ready to explore! First order of business was to find some breakfast though, so we hopped a tram over to the Luxor for breakfast. We found a restaurant there with famous french toast and since we were taking the week off low-carb, we thought we'd give it a go :)

Troy admiring the statue and learning about Egyptians, below.

When I downed my cinnamon roll french toast and Mike ate his peanut butter creme french toast, Troy chose a yogurt parfait that was like the size of his head. When they plopped that thing down with a whole bunch of fresh berries, his eyes bugged out of his head. He loves fruit and yogurt!

With so much to see, we explored one little area at a time. So after breakfast we headed down one more hotel (they look so close, yet SO far away!) to the Excalibur. We were in search of some knights but couldn't find any. In fact the inside was pretty disappointing. The outside, however, was Troy's favorite building in the whole city!

And I just gazed up at these beauties and soaked up the sunshine on this respite from the winter cold!

Next we headed back to our hotel to check out and move to the Embassy Suites (Convention Center) for the remainder of our adventure. This boy has his Daddy's blood to travel and loves to be just like him, even learning the proper way to wheel Daddy's bag!

We made a visit over to Circus, Circus for some free circus acts. There were a billion things for kids to do there (arcades, theme parks, etc.) but it was all pricey and VERY crowded. Off to somewhere else...

Okay, so that somewhere else was our new hotel room for naps. Everybody took a nap except for Mommy... so I got some time to read in the quiet!

After naptime, no one was really hungry for dinner so we headed down to the pool. Can this girl get any sweeter with her swimsuit bows?! This is the only real picture I have of swim time. We got down there and it was jam packed with tweenage boys (ick). There was a large group staying at our hotel for jr high football championships or something. It was too crazy and icky for me to keep my kids in there for long, so we did a quick swim and headed upstairs to shower off. No more pool for us that trip!

The night marched on and we headed over to one place at the top of my list of "must sees", the Bellagio. They have a conservatory inside that they change out seasonally. While I was hoping to see the famous Christmas display, I was not disappointed with the gorgeous fall Thanksgiving arrangements that were up. It was stunning!

Have I mentioned how much I love my Ergo for Cassidy?! This thing was my best friend this trip. She is so much happier in that than a stroller and I'm so much happier being able to climb stairs/escalators freely, without worrying about maneuvering a stroller around.

We wrapped up our visit to the Bellagio by watching their incredible fountain/light show. WOW. Another completely spectacular sight. Mike shared he'd actually never done this during his year he lived in Vegas (as with most tourist attractions) so it was a first for all of us. And we all loved it!

Turkey in Vegas: Day 1

Prepare for onslaught of blog posts about our trip... :)

My mom kindly escorted us to the airport to help me get checked in and drop our bag off as the kids and I traveled to Vegas to meet Mike (who was working out there already). One of these kids looks much more excited than the other as I checked us in...

This is his "we got through security now let's rock and roll!" pose :)

So.much.excitement. This kid has wanted to ride an airplane literally as long as I can remember!

Troy says, "Mommy, I have my own book so I can learn how to fly a plane!" (To the emergency card in the seat back pocket.)

The struggle was real for Troy and these headphones. Couldn't keep them securely on his head for anything!

After Cassidy took a snooze (and TMI alert, a poop, yes on the plane) she settled back in her seat for some leisurely reading, the American Airlines magazine.
I was thrilled when we landed! In all honestly, aside from the poopy diaper i had to change on the plane, they could not have been more natural travelers! A kind elderly man right across the aisle from us said to me at the end, "Your children travel well. I mean, you travel your children well!" I was very appreciative of all the kind people on the plane and airport, and it was a good reminder that in general, people really ARE very kind and helpful to a mom wrangling her two young children on an airplane :)

Surprise! When we walked off the plane, Daddy was waiting for us and had been granted a gate pass. Troy was so thrilled! And I was too of course :)

We cruised around Vegas, had dinner and headed back to our hotel for the night, Mandalay Bay. The kids were full of energy so we went for an evening stroll around the resort property among the palm trees. It was a fantastic night for our family to just enjoy together!

Admiring the lights of the strip from 25 floors above ground :)

Shedd Aquarium

Our pre-vacation Chicago vacation marched on as Gramma had some days off to spend with us before we departed to meet Daddy for Thanksgiving. Next destination? Shedd Aquarium! Cassidy's first trip was quite reminiscent of Troy's first trip just before he turned 1. They both loved it!

She scouted out this spot at the giant tank in the middle while the kids and Gramma waited for me to park the car and arrive after dropping them off. Did I mention it started blizzarding in that 10 minutes?! #chicagowinter

After Troy and Gramma went to the dolphin show, we all met up for lunch. Troy was sitting with me when I snapped this pic rather spontaneously. A friend of mine recently posted a pic of her little girl and shared how when she looked at that photo she saw a glimpse of a young woman instead of a little girl. And that's exactly what I thought (young man, of course, instead) when I looked at this later. He's really growing up on us!

Cassidy loved the jellies exhibit. Particularly the tank that emerged from the wall and I could actually roll her stroller under. She kept trying to touch them.

Second funny story involving Troy and a map this weekend... after several hours, Gramma and I were ready to head out. As we walked towards the elevator, we passed a map on the wall, and Troy took a glance before stating, "hey! guys! they have sharks here!!!!" Sure enough he'd spotted an exhibit we didn't even know existed. Off we went, and wow was it breathtaking! Cassidy was reaching straight up trying to touch the fish swimming over her head!

We capped off the night with some playtime with Gramma and Grampa, resting up so we could be ready to travel the next day!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#yearofthezoo part 2

With above averages temperatures for late November and an annoyingly off/on drizzle of rain all morning, we were conflicted as to whether to do a Brookfield Zoo visit this weekend. One of the many perks of having a pass now? Not feeling like we have to "see it all" when we go! So off we went. And it was a huge success!

When we arrived, we went the opposite direction we went last time, towards the zebras, camels, giraffes, bears, etc. The "heavily populated" direction, as we now call it. We skipped through the rain mist from exhibit to exhibit, "house" to "house" as Troy calls them.

We went in to see the giraffes, a huge hit. Cassidy stared and stared

"Those guys are TALL" she says.

We arrived at the polar bears and Troy (very concerned) stated, "Um, where is his head?" Gramma lifted him up and all was well once he saw his face.

This is an awesome pic. I wish I could touch it up a bit to make it even clearer!

He loved this wolf hat. Who wouldn't?!

Me and my girl, navigating the zoo on a rainy day.

Best moment of the day. The rain started to pick up so we began to head for the exit (after seeing what seemed like a billion animals in about 80 minutes haha). I was struggling with the map to find the quickest way and Troy kept asking for it. Finally we figured it out and I gave it to him. He walked along saying, "Yep, bison there, uh huh, keep going straight..." with such sincerity and focus. I love my boy!

Skokie Exploratorium Visit

Having visited here once before earlier this year, we headed back with Gramma for some morning fun. Out of all the kids museums we've visited this not-quite-a-kids-museum gem has two things I've never seen before. One would be a water table with seats cut out for little ones to sit in. I knew we'd use that!

The second would be "fishing" nets. Troy could do 

Cassidy's favorite thing was this giant light board. Think life size Lite Brite. She pulled all the pegs out over and over!

This would be a rare shot of my son's feet. About as much as I saw of him while in the giant play structure.

Here's a link to their website! I enthusiastically give this a thumbs up!


There's always a bunch of randoms from time with the grandparents. Here are a few from around the house...

Playing with Grampa and ringing the bells hanging from the kitchen ceiling!

Zoning out on the couch with his former pooch while watching a movie.

Loading up Gramma with lots of hugs!

I went out for a drink with my dad and brother and came home around 9:30 to this guilty smile. Someone had managed to stay up late with his Gramma and Beema, munching on a snack :)

A fleet of playmobil horses in the basement.