Sunday, March 23, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

Yes, we are "those" people. We took an infant to Sin City. Right, I know you are sitting there thinking, are these people on crack? Not quite. You probably remember me talking about my Godmother, Margie. Well, we were there to not only celebrate her 40th birthday, but also to rejoice in the fact that she beat cancer!

I spent the better part of the night before we lept skittishly running around packing, sorting, and general running in circles. I was unsure what to pack. I had a better idea since we'd just gotten back from Kansas, but I knew the weather would be a thousand times better. We knew for sure that we didn't wnat to take the big stroller, but that was about it. We needed the carseat, her special mattress positioner, some blankets, diapers, wipes, and what about me? What would I pack for myself. I was totally excited that I could fit into my shorts again! Wahoo!! Anyway, the plane ride was relatively smooth. Don and I were completely impressed with US Airways. Talk about ridiculously friendly customer service all around. This from the baggage check, gate check crew, and flight attendant staff. I hadn't pumped any milk, so I did a quick pump at the airport. We had to pay some $$ because I couldn't find a private enough outlet. Instead, we seated ourselves in a massage chair, that not only played music, but would charge any electronic device. So I got a short massage during my pump session and Don was able to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation while I prepped the bottle. As for the plane ride, Mari was INCREDIBLE!! She ate on the way up, sucked her paci all the way through, and sucked on a bottle during the landing. She fussed shortly during the trip and we quickly realized she was hungry. I took out my wrap, and fed her right there in the center seat, completely covered. I knew everyone around me knew what I was doing, but it's kinda like when I would change jerseys in the middle of a gym when we had back-to-back games at tournaments and didn't have time to run to the locker room, but couldn't stand to be in a funky wet shirt. Anyway, we were so lucky! Then came the aftermath. Baggage claim was a breeze, but hailing a cab, not so much. First, there was a 2 mile maze of a line, filled with other anxious travelers. The difference was that they had 1 travel bag and maybe 1 personal item. Meanwhile, we had half of Mari's nursery and a small portion of our own closet: 3 rolling suitcases, the umbrella stroller, carseat with base, Don's backpack, the nursing bag, the diaper bag, and my purse. I'd wrapped Mari in my Moby, had the backpack, the nursing bag, my purse, and one suitcase and Don amazingly carried the rest! We finally made it to the front of the line. The cabbie loaded the bags while Don installed the carseat base. Meanwhile, I loaded Mari into the carseat.

We made it to our hotel: The Signature at the MGM. OMG...when the cab driver turned the corner into the entrance, I realized that this place was going to be worth every penny. There was a guard protecting a large swinging privacy gate admitting only those who were priviledged to enjoy this experience. It was a gorgeous Nevada afternoon and I couldn't wait to relax. My wonderful cold that'd I'd picked up in Kansas kicked into high gear. I was so angry with myself for not packing the medicine, but I didn't want to be drugged. I knew my natural defenses would kick in and I could beat whatever I had faster than any meds. We checked in and went up to our room. It was plenty spacious, the bed inviting, the bathroom like a dream (HUGE jacuzzi tub, incredible shower, double vanity with marble floors, granite counters, a small personal TV perfectly tuned to the fireplace channel, and plenty of plush towels!), an incredible view of the mountain range, a small kitchenette, and many breathtaking pieces of art! Shortly after our arrival, my father came to get us. He was rollin' in a brand new 12 passenger van. It was pimp! We headed to the store to pick up essentials. No sense in paying to eat breakfast at a buffet when we could make it in our own room. Then, we headed Downtown. First off, I ADORE downtown Las Vegas. It is old, seedy, and like Don says, reminds you perfectly of the sin you are committing. You are surrounded my decades old smoke, people who are perfectly aged, you know they've lived a life that could rival much of the imaginary people I create in my head. Too bad I felt like crap-ola! Bleh! My fever was climbing, my chest heavy, my air passages shrinkingy fast, and I was wearing my extra large cranky pants. I was so happy to see my Mom cheerful and greeting me. For a few moments I felt better when she hugged me. This poor woman is not feeling like herself and still her touch miraculously heals me after all these years! Don and I headed to a buffet while Dad and Brother went to play. While the buffet was nothing to brag home about, the level of service our waiter gave was terrific. I think he knew I was under the weather and when I asked for hot tea, he gave me honey and lemon instead of cream and sugar. LOVED IT!! I drank two hearty glasses of that and felt oh so much better! Not quite good enough to go gambling, but well enough to relax and hang with my mom.

After a bit, Dad took us back to the room and told us of the plan for the next day. That night a drew a hot bath and filled it with shower gel for bubbles. Well, I'd never sat in a jacuzzi tub that worked, so I fired up the jets. Little did I know that you shouldn't have bubble inducing agents when running the jets! About a foot of bubbles later and I turned them off. I was like a kid again, swimming in bubbles! It was like a foam party all over again. ha ha! I let 'em simmer down a bit and put Mari in the tub with me. I think she liked it, well, she liked the warmth so much that she peed in the tub. I guess the warm water relaxed her something fierce!

The next morning I got up and made us some breakfast, while Don went to go workout. We put on our matching "Lordy, Lordy Margie's 40!" black t-shirts. The whole group was wearing them and Margie's shirt was bright pink. Dad came by and dropped us off at Bally's. We walked over to Margaritaville and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. We had a hearty lunch before heading over to The Price is Right Live Gameshow. While none of us was picked to compete for the prizes, my mom and my cousin Tony won 1000 total reward points at Bally's. After the show, we met the host. You can see us here with the host. Yes, Mari has a nametag too! We took her with us! Her very first Vegas show! After that, we went to the hotel to relax by the pool. This being Mari's 6 week birthday, we figured the fun shouldn't stop. She took her first dip in the pool. While she didn't mind the water (it was a heated pool), once the wind hit her skin she was angry. I made sure to keep her held tight to my body. We were in for about 10 to 15 minutes and then I came out and swaddled her in those enormous beach towels. Later on that night, we went to have sushi at Shibuya. We enjoyed a flight of premium sake and I realized that I appreciate premium sake just the same as I enjoy cheap $1 table sake! While chowing down on the yellowtail tuna jalapeno roll I felt like an actual bonafide grown up. So weird. There I was eating sushi, in sin city, with an infant, and my beloved next to me, and I was so happy. I didn't want the night to be over yet. So when we got back to the room, I called up Daddy to see what he was up to. He came by to get us and took us to the Hilton. Mom watched the baby and we gambled for a few hours. I didn't win significant money, but enjoyed the time and relatively broke even. Dad did well for himself and quite frankly, I enjoy playing slots with him. When he gets to the bonus round, he lets me pick and play along. I get that dopamine high from winning without the risk of losing my own money. Of course I don't win any either but just spending time with my father is worth it. That night we went back to the room and all of us were plain exhausted. While I was hacking up all sorts of nastiness, I felt better and slept so soundly that night!

The next day was Margie's proper birthday. Don was heading Downtown to play in a tournament and I was hanging at the hotel. Danika was coming by so we could walk to Bellagio. My mom hung out with us at our hotel for a little while. She stayed back when we went off on our little adventure! We walked through the MGM Grand and up the Strip, past the Miracle Mile Shops, past the crazy construction, and finally to the Bellagio. Once inside, we soaked in all of the beauty. Their garden had been transformed to an Easter flower room. It was so vivid and bright, I'm glad I got a few pics! Here's one of Mari next to the fun tree. Oh and while there, we saw the largest and longest chocolate fountain. It was heavenly. I wanted to be like that kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and put my mouth in it, but I didn't. Well, actually, I couldn't...ha ha, it was in an enclosed glass area. Oh well.

We later went to Paris for lunch and to pick up a simple birthday present for Margie. They were coming by our room for cake before the evening's festivities. Like I said, we walked back and tidied up the room for all of the visitors. Don called to tell me they were on their way and that he'd gotten 5th place out of 51 at the tournament! On the downside, Margie had lived it up quite a bit and stumbled into a table. Even though you can't tell from this picture, I'm quite certain she was in a significant amount of pain. She didn't make it to see KA, but Don I and I did. I loved the show and was impressed with it. We met up with my folks briefly afterwards and headed back to the room to get ready for the journey home.

The next day came really early, but we were ready to go home. We managed to consolidate our bags and only had 2 rolling suitcases. We had a better system in place and we were prepped to brave the normally ridiculous security lines. We were quite surprised when we got to the airport to find that there wasn't any line. We made it to the gate and was one of the first to arrive. Unfortunately, about half an hour later, we learned that the flight was delayed for an hour and a half. The plane eventually arrived and we departed Vegas. Again, Mari traveled like a champ! I couldn't ask for a more cooperative baby. We fed her the first pumped bottle on take off. Unfortunately, shortly afterward she got sick all over herself. We changed her clothes, but that didn't curb the emptiness in her belly. So out came the wrap again, and I nursed her on the plane. She and I both napped for the remainder of the flight and she completely slept through the landing.

So now we're home and so glad to be here! Tomorrow is Easter and we'll be spending it with family. I can't wait. That's it for now and Happy Easter!

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