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July 25, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

So we just got back from a long weekend in Las Vegas.  Aaron had to go there for work, and I tagged along for the ride.  We were supposed to make our annual trek to the Jimmy Buffett concert that Saturday, so since he was making me miss it, I thought I'd feel better about the situation if I went along to Vegas rather than staying home alone, sulking.  Additionally, when else would I be able to stay at the Paris hotel?

In order to make this work, we had to drive to Aaron's parents' house 4 1/2 hours away, and then fly in and out of St. Louis, an additional 1 1/2 hour drive...three nights in Las Vegas, then turn around and repeat the trip back home.  That's a lot of traveling!  Aaron had to work almost the entire time, but I had better plans - one of my greatest friends and her husband who are currently in Tucson, AZ, decided that they could make a weekend trip to Vegas, too.  They just had their 10 year wedding anniversary and figured this was a great way to celebrate.  Her parents had agreed to watch their kids and all the plans fell perfectly in place.  So off we went.

The driving down part?  We're fairly seasoned at this particular leg of the journey so it was nothing unusual.  We continued on to St. Louis that evening and stayed at a hotel, because trying to get to the airport during morning rush hour would have NOT been fun.  The flight?  Oh, I am so not a good passenger on an airplane.  I have been on numerous really rough flights, even dropped suddenly, so I'm always afraid of crashing.  Now since 2001, I am even more afraid of it for other obvious reasons.

However, I must stop and comment on something here.  Airplanes are all uncomfortable in my opinion.  I am always claustrophobic, and you end up with your knees in the back of the seat in front of you.  As much as I would like to, I never recline my seat, because I realize that hey, we are all cramped, and that doesn't help anything.  Both flights we were in the same seats, the row behind the exit rows.  The exit rows have much more room, understandibly so in case there was an emergency evacuation necessary.  Both flights, the people in the rows in front of me reclined their seats.  Not only do they already have more room than us, but they go and recline on top of it.  Very nice.  I appreciate it, those of you in row 21 on those two flights!!!

Anyway, arriving in Vegas, I had the anticipation of getting together with my friends and a weekend of fun, including two shows.  I was looking forward to eating well, drinking plenty and having a great time.  I wasn't disappointed in those respects.  It was so awesome to get together with my friends, and her hubby did very well on the Blackjack tables.  They also won tickets to a show on Friday evening, so they had some nice time together without me tagging along.  The three of us went to The Price is Right show, and that was hysterical.  Just like the real show, prizes and all.  It was great fun.  We wandered around elsewhere, taking in all the sites especially my personal favorite, the fountains at Bellagio.  No way to put that into words; you have to see it in person.  We spent most of our time 'resting' at Margaritaville drinking water, um margaritas, what else, silly?  Truthfully with the price of drinks everywhere else, they were the most reasonable and WORTH IT.  No sweet, pre-mixed yuckky stuff.  Yes, Jimmy is a good man, taking care of his fans even in Vegas.  Sorry I missed you this year, Jimmy, but I was there in spirit!

Speaking of spirits, here's a sign of true friendship: my friend and I can go years without getting together in person, but when we do, we just pick right back up where we left off.  There's no time of awkward, 'gee it's been a long time' stuff going on.  No, it's hugs, tears, and let's get going!  I get along so well with her husband, too, so the three of us had a great time together.  Sometimes when I call my friend, I end up first chatting with her hubby so it's great to get the vibes going in person for a change.  Most of all, it was so much fun to just hang out and laugh so much!

After my friends left (sniff, sniff), Aaron was almost done with work, and we had a dinner and a show that evening.  We saw a Cirque de Soleil show, specifically "O", and oh my goodness it was awesome!!!  I mean seriously, it was breathtaking.  I love me a good show, and I was certainly not disappointed in this one!  Incredible!

Monday it was off to the day of travel.  Airport, waiting, a three-hour-flight-that-felt-like-nine, airplane anxiety attack, waiting more for luggage, waiting to get to the vehicle, driving back to Aaron's parents' house.  What a waste of a day!  Getting back to my children was the absolute highlight, and was so good to see them.  I had a great trip and am completely glad I went, but I get some serious separation anxiety being far from my kids.  I will interpret that as a good thing, and leave it at that.  I already feel bad for them when they leave me to live their own lives.  ;-)

Another thing to note about this trip; Vegas got EXPENSIVE.  Wow.  Granted, it's been almost 8 years since I've been there, but it used to be a place where you could eat and drink pretty reasonably, since they want your money in gambling.  Not anymore.  There are so many new casinos going up, it's amazing.  The economy is hurting?  You wouldn't think so going there.  I gambled exactly this much: $0.  I was too afraid of losing money.  How would I be able to eat or drink?  I had more fun just people watching, enjoying the company of my friends and my husband (when I could), and walking around.  I was thankful that we only had one night of the hotel, or else we never could have afforded staying at Paris - which by the way, is incredibly nice and in a great location.  I left a ton of money behind, but none lost to gambling.  See, you CAN go to Vegas and not gamble!

Although I should have bet on the Cubs winning the World Series!

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July 15, 2007

Could laundry be any MORE fun?

With a large family, it's an obviously fact that I do a TON of laundry each week.  When we moved in to our new house, we decided to go with a high capacity, water efficient, front loading washer.  There are many pluses to the front loaders, along with a few known drawbacks, since I did my research ahead of time.  The biggest drawback is becoming a real problem for me now that my washer is almost 3 years old.  These days, when I do the laundry, I have a terrible allergy attack. 

Why?

Because of the way these things are designed, they are prone to mildew if they are not thoroughly cleaned and dried out all the time.  Yeah, I totally have time for that in addition to doing all that laundry, folding it and putting it away.  Gah.  It might sound easier to clean them than it is in reality.  My laundry room is a very small room, along with being the entrance from the garage.  If I left those doors open to 'air out,' there is no doubt there would be a couple of injuries that I'd be writing about instead.

But really, what's more fun than doing tons of laundry, than having an awful sneezing and slight asthma attack to top it off?  My allergies are frustrating the heck out of me.  Yes, I know the dang washer needs to be rid of the crud currently plaguing it, but gosh, why does it have to attack me so violently?  Do I not spend hours each week in its company?  I am not the enemy here!

The only promising thing is there is an upcoming period of time when the laundry room will not be in use, and I can safely inundate the washer with tons of bleach, and give it all its open, free time.  We can only hope it will work.  If not, any volunteers to do my laundry?  ;-)

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July 03, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

I wish everyone a very happy 4th of July.  I hope you have a great time visiting with family, friends, neighbors, whomever.  Enjoy the day celebrating our independence.  I could go in to a rant about politics, but I'll save that for another day.  Instead...

...instead, I will reiminisce upon a particular 4th of July 6 years ago when we decided not to go out to see the fireworks, a favorite part of mine.  Our three tiny babies were in the NICU and we didn't feel it was right to go without them.  Instead, Aaron and I arched our heads out of the upstairs window of their-soon-to-be nursery and watched them that way.  We couldn't see most of it, but it was the right way to spend that event. 

Earlier that day, we had a great visit with them, and one particular NICU nurse had bought, with her own money, an Old Navy shirt for every single baby in the NICU.  I had purposely gone to the hospital with one of the best NICUs in the state, so it had more babies than most...but three of those babies were ours!  We walked in that day to see our teeny, beautiful babies decked out in the smallest t-shirt Old Navy had to offer.  It was the most adorable thing ever!  They looked so tiny in those shirts, but wow, how incredibly awesome of a gesture.  Not only that, but there were homemade little signs on every isolette with a 4th of July sentiment.  I asked to have our first family picture taken, and the babies were stable enough for that.  Another nurse gave me a blanket to put up behind them for reference.  Last year I took a picture of the kids with the same blanket.  Holy cow, what a difference.

I wish I could tell all of those nurses who helped how special that day was for us.  I wish I could thank them yet again for taking such great care of my babies when I had to leave the hospital without them.  I sent a note to the NICU that first Christmas, letting them all know how much I appreciated their care, and that our kids were doing fabulously.  However, every 4th of July I get extra sentimental about this because I can't adequately describe how emotional it was to enter the NICU and see all of those teeny, tiny babies hooked to monitors, tubes and what have you...with parents worrying, rocking and taking pictures of their precious little treasures they couldn't yet take home...and yet someone thought enough of that predicament to selfishlessly 'decorate' all of those babies and celebrate a holiday we had to spend without our little ones at home.

I had my fireworks right then and there with them; I didn't need to go somewhere else to see any.

Every 4th of July from then on, I make it a point to buy an Old Navy 4th of July shirt for all of my family members, which has now increased by one more.  They might not quite comprehend why this is so important to me just yet, but I think some day they will.  Often, it's the smallest act of kindness that leaves the biggest impact on your life.

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July!!!!  Hug those loved ones extra hard and enjoy being together!  And enjoy the fireworks, too!

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