So I participated in a labor of love this week. It involved driving to Las Vegas for one day with 3 adults, 2 kids, and one infant in a Grand Caravan to visit my sister Abby while she and her husband were in Las Vegas for spring break.
While it sounds like the stuff of nightmares and family rifts, it really was quite pleasant.
Amy and Chris generously provided the car and the kids, and Abby’s friend, Jenny, and I provided the “other adult-ness”.
Once we picked up Abby for a day of fun and excitement, there was a seating issue. So I sat in what we explained to the kids as the “special auntie seat”. This was my view.
We visited the M&M Experience thinking it would be a fun thing to do with the kids, but I didn’t realize it was 5 stories of M&M merchandise! It was just a big store! So we decided to stick around and watch the 3-D movie about how the red M&M loses his “m” gambling at roulette and how they find it again (good family fun?). The 3-D glasses were filthy and not very 3-D-y. They didn’t work unless I tilted them almost perpendicular to my face. Jake and Matt kept looking over at me as if to say “Are you sure about this? Am I supposed to be seeing double?” And afterwards, they didn’t mention the movie again. They pretended like it never happened. But hey, free M&Ms…
The thought of Las Vegas is often alluring…you might occasionally find yourself saying “Gee, why don’t we ever go to Las Vegas?” because you’re thinking of the lights, warm weather with pleasant dry desert breezes, palm trees, the tropical drinks, the lights, the fancy hotel pools, the shopping, the exciting night life, the lights, the beautiful people, the shows, and did I mention those dazzling lights?
Then you go there, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and after 29 minutes, you remember why you HATE Las Vegas: the smoke, the thinking that the Aladdin is just down the street because you can SEE it, but it’s really a mile away, the tank tops worn by people who usually don’t (whiteness!) and SHOULDN’T (bulging!) wear tank tops, the flyers on the sidewalks and the free papers at 4 year old eye level, the overly-tan Elvises, or Elvi (ah, that one could go either way…), the exhaustion of getting from here to there while carrying 38 lbs of tired child, the dirtiness of my feet from wearing flip flops on the strip, the chilly desert air blowing up your overly summery dress, the crowds, the characters, the perverts, the NOISE, and the overt FAKENESS.
A highlight for me was visiting the Bellagio. I love that hotel. My dream is to be really, really ridiculously rich so that I can jet down to Vegas and stay at the Bellagio and spend a WEEK at the pool and in the shops
and in the spas and at the museum and in the Bellagio Buffet (the BEST in town) gorging myself on king crab and crème brule.
But I digress…I thought the kids would get a kick out of the “flowers on the ceiling!” (the Chihule glass in the lobby) and the Conservatory which would be ripe with Springtime! They did. Matt kept climbing barriers just to smell things. He was adorable. Hannah was in the stroller cooing and smiling at strangers. People were constantly stopping to tell Amy “what beautiful children you have!” They are beautiful (non-biased opinion), but one lady went off, like she had never seen a “miniature human” before. “They’re called ‘kids’, lady…”
The “miniature humans” had had about enough of this and were anxious for food and bed. So at this point we decided to head back to the car (a mile away) and go meet up with James and get some yummy I-talian food. I carried a lanky, 38 lb 4 year old most of the way…I DESERVED my ravioli and spaghetti & meatballs!
Here’s the crew on the Strip: (l to r) Jenny, Abby + 5 month old male fetus, Matt on top of Chris, and Amy holding sleepy Jake.
Dinner was yummy for us, but torture for the kids. It was one hour later to their little biological clocks and they were little cute ticking time bombs. I ended up in the car with an inconsolably crying Matt trying to pacify him with a terrifying movie. Thank goodness for mini-DVD players. He was asleep before the opening credits.
It was tres triste to say au revoir to Abby and James. I really, really, really miss them. But I will see them in July when the male child is born. Can’t wait!
We had stayed overnight in St. George two nights because there was a huge nerd convention going on last week and a huge retail convention going on this week; Vegas was BOOKED. Even the EconoLodge was charging $300 a night.
We got up Friday morning, and Amy and Chris wanted to hike before we drove home. Chris took us up a beautiful canyon (Snow Canyon?) and we found an easy hike down to some lava caves. Jake practiced saying “igneous”. The caves were neat-o; Jake and I saw a bat.
Then I carried 34 lb Matt the WHOLE way back. He actually fell ASLEEP on top of my shoulders. I treated myself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut, 3 flavors of potato chips, an Almond Joy, and a Caramello for my act of valor.
We had a good time. I don’t know why I don’t do road trips more often… Summer’s a comin’!