Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"The Trip"

Well, we are back from our Vegas vacation.  And, I use the vacation term lightly.  I don't really feel it was a relaxing trip...just a fun trip.  There was not a lot of time for relaxation, only a morning we had set aside for pool time (I'll explain that later), and that was it.  We were in one of four locations at any time during the, hotel, casino, or outlet mall.  That was basically it!

We left Saturday night and drove to Primm, the hidden jewel in the middle of the desert, for our shopping extravaganza part 1.  All four of us were piled into Rich's car, with limited luggage because room would be needed for all of our purchases.  There was an ice chest in between Lynn and I in the backseat and approximately two inches between our knees and the front seats.  It was...cozy, to use a nice term.  Now, what was so drastically different with this trip compared to the other dozen or so that Rich and I have taken this way, is that he had people to talk to.  So he talked, and talked, and talked.  And talked.  At one point I turned to Lynn and said, "Is this the most you have ever heard from Rich...ever?"  He's not used to people responding back.  When it's the two of us in the car, I am either asleep or have my nose in a book for hours at a time and I usually say "yes", "no", or just grunt as a response to whatever he is saying.  I have no problem with just sitting and not speaking for long periods of time.  Rich took full advantage of the opportunity to have non-stop conversation for seven straight hours!

Sunday morning was Lynn's birthday!!! We started the morning with Starbucks and the outlets!!!!

After a few blissful hours of shopping, we headed into Vegas and stopped at Town Square for lunch at Tommy Bahama's.  I think I can commit to saying this is turning into one of my favorite restaurants EVER!

A few pictures of the happy couples who are at a restaurant, relaxing, and not cutting up children's food.

The last time we were here, we had ordered an appetizer sampler and it was fabulous.  This time we changed some of the selections.  Here are the the Little Chicken Lollipops.

Crab Cakes...

Jumbo Coconut Prawns

The birthday girls meal...BBQ Cheeseburger.

My fish sandwich.  As you can see, I had to cut off fish because it was like they fried an entire fish and put it on the bun!  I really think you can put grilled caramelized onions on anything and I would eat it.  So good!

This was Rich's Lobster Tacos.

Jason's Fish Taco's....which were fabulous!!!

Last month when Lynn and I were already planning our meal and what to have from the online menu, we came across this dessert.  The description is...Baked upside down with caramelized pineapple,  infused vanilla, cane sugar, topped with “from scratch” caramel sauce.  Need I say more?  We both decided that we had to have it.  Well, after lunch the waiter came over with a tray and asked Lynn what dessert she would like for her birthday and he went through everything on the tray and then said the only one not here is the upside down cheesecake and Lynn said, "We'll take that!"  I had completely forgotten about it and screamed a little when I realized we totally almost forgot about the only reason we went there!!  Here is the dessert!

After lunch, a few pictures of the travelers.  We had to shoot them was 107 outside!

After lunch, we headed in to Vegas to check into our rooms.  This was the only down side to the trip, separate hotels, but they were free.  Free always works!  Especially when the saved money went toward other "stuff".  :)

Here was our room at Mandalay.

Lynn and Jason's at Rio.  Funny thing/creepy thing....see the "mirror/window" on the wall to the right of the bed?  It's a window.  So the person who is in the shower can see into the bedroom and the person in the bedroom can see into the shower...I have no comment. 

Drinks in looks like we are heading out to a nice birthday dinner, right????  Wrong, we are about to leave for the second outlet mall of the day!  Who needs dinner when there are multiple outlet malls in Vegas!

A quick picture before the night out!

After shopping, on our way to the buffet for Lynn's not-my-idea-of-a-birthday-dinner, we went through the Bellagio.  I would love to bring Boy 1 and Boy 2 here...when they are of age...and let them look around and at the cool stuff.

Ryan asked if we went on this...

And this... :)

Now...the deal with dinner.  I had this whole plan to take tons of pictures of our dinner!  We were going to try this new place called the Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan.  We have all been reading about the crazy ridiculous cool things they had and I was excited to see what it all looked like.  We got to the casino around 8:15ish.  We were looking around and signing up for players cards and playing our allotted free ten bucks.  At about 8:48pm we decided to head to dinner.  The buffet closed at 10:00, so we thought we had plenty of time to eat.  After we finally found it, I noticed a bathroom outside and I said I have to go clean up since we just played slots.  The four of us, clean hands and empty stomachs head to the counter to start is 9:03pm.  The "wet behind the ears" young boy tells us that the buffet is closed at 9:00pm (which is NOT the time on the website).  We say, "Oh, your kidding!!!  Please, can we just come's her birthday!!!"  The smirking, pompous nineteenish year old simply says, "Sorry, we start pulling food at 9:00, you wouldn't be able to eat."  Now, at this point Rich and Jason start losing it.  Like, want to jump out of their skin lose it!  Because here's the deal...he wouldn't let us speak to a manager AND, if we had showed up at 8:59pm, we would have all paid for a $47 per person dinner that they would have stopped serving????  Bullsh%#!!!!  So we go with plan B...the buffet across the street.  It was not great and by then it was 9:45pm and THEY were closing at 10:00, so we felt we had to eat fast.  It was just not good all around!  We owed her a good meal!

The next morning was the only designated relaxing time of the trip.  Lynn and I had talked Rich into setting aside a few hours of pool time to grab some sun and R-E-L-A-X!!  The four of us headed down to the Mandalay pool...what a was like CRAZY busy!!!  There must have been over a thousand lounge chairs and every single one of them was taken.  And there were kids EVERYWHERE!!!  And, we love kids...we have kids for crying out loud...but I don't love kids in Las Vegas.  I don't want to hear screaming, crying, yelling, or playing.  I wanted quiet and this place was a zoo!!!  So, we decide to head to the Four Seasons pool, which is located on the other side of the wall from the Mandalay pool.  Rich and I  know this because when we are there for the sports show in November, we sneak out to the pool to just look around.  So, we thought...let's go there, I bet it is not as crowded!!  And we were right.  The slight...major...problem was that we are not guests at the Four Seasons.  Apparently you have to be and they take that seriously.  So, as we walk out to the pool area, we see an abundance of lounge chairs available and....wait for it....NOT A KID TO BE FOUND!!!!!!  Bulls-eye!!!  So, we go grab lounge chairs, soak up some sun, Jason gets in the water to start doing laps, all while enjoying the peace and quiet...until the pool boy comes up and asked for our room number.  Here's where I lost it...

Pool Boy:  Hi, can I get you room number?

(Lynn and I---speechless)

Rich:  (thinking, stumbling with putting a sentence together) Yeah, it's 38011, or 38101. 

(the pool boy staring at Rich)

Rich:  I'm not sure, I'll ask him when he gets out of the pool.  He's swimming right now.

(the pool boy still staring at Rich)

Pool Boy:  Um, okay, let me know when he gets out.

As the pool boy is saying this, this is my cue to bolt!  I hate lying...I hate being put in uncomfortable situations (Remember when Rich lied about us staying at the MGM to get me on the bus out to Primm for free and I thought the entire time that at some point some man was going to come and get me for not paying the LOUSY $12 that I would have happily paid!!!  I hate uncomfortable situations!!!)  I get up and say I have to go to the bathroom to make my escape and I have no plans for returning.  I left Lynn (who soon joined me in the bathroom) with Rich dealing with the pool guy and I also left poor Jason who has NO IDEA that Rich just threw him under the bus and that he is going to have to come up with an excuse as to why he doesn't know the room number that Rich just told the pool boy he knows!!!  I HATE UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS!!!!!

So, after I make it very clear to Lynn that I will not be going anywhere near the pool, Rich, or the pool boy, we decide to head up to the room and get ready for....the mall.

Rich, wanting to know why we are resting...

Because when we relax, we look this happy!

Don't rush is not a fast sport.

Heading in to the Wynn....

Lynn and Jason's son Camden's middle name is Okada...which is the name of a restaurant in the Wynn.  How cute is he!!  My Asian husband! :)


Here is my very first dirty martini and Lynn's amaretto sour.

Here is me drinking my last dirty martini....

We HAD to makeup for the ridiculous dinner fiasco from the night before!!  Rich and Jason had a dinner date by themselves at the Texas de Brazil Restaurant.  For those of you that have seen Bridesmaids...yes, it's the Brazilian place that has cuts of meat on sticks that men deliver to your plate.  As this is a much nicer place than the one in the movie, Lynn and I decided to skip it and just have dinner at a safer restaurant...The Grand Lux Cafe.  Rich and I have eaten here many a time, so I knew no bathroom scenes would follow!

Here's her crunchy caramel chicken.

Here was my chicken and scampi.  Both dinners were delicious!

Here is me making fun of Ja Locke's hat that is built for all weather types and is mission impossible indestructible. 

We had such a great time on our trip!!!  It was not quite as relaxing as some vacations should be, however we laughed so hard we cried at times and that makes for good times!!  After Jason scored a major deal with two pairs of shoes he said..."This alone is worth coming back here!"  I'm totally going to hold him to that!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait....

Why does it seem that every time I have vacation...things get planned at the end of it.  So, it's like this huge hurry up and wait game.  In the next two weeks we will be going to Vegas, picking up my sister and Natalie for a visit and then going, going, going right up until the first day of school.  It's like I haven't done a lot (other than my Fresno trip) all summer and now I am going to pack everything in the final two weeks.  Uhhh!!!

This weekend we are heading to Vegas.  We are taking a risk...we are going with Lynn and Jason.  Not that THEY are the risk...they've never vacationed with Rich in this setting and this quite frankly might be the one and only time we do this.  And here's the thing, if we NEVER go somewhere with them again...I don't blame them.  Not one bit.  Because a month ago when we decided we were going to do this, it started the fire that is this continuous flame in my husbands heart for LV.  It's his favorite place in the world...and I wish I were kidding.  Because it is his home away from home, he has planned our entire trip.  THE ENTIRE TRIP.  Right now, I know every hour of every day that we are there and what we are doing.  This is where we might lose Lynn and Jason.  They were hoping for a nice relaxing trip...he told them if they wanted relax to sleep on the drive there!!!  Every meal has been planned.  Every outlet and mall has been booked in calculation as to where we will be on the strip and at what given time.  The first itinerary that he sent out to them said "Midnight snack at Grand Lux, Monday night".  Lynn said..."Midnight???  Who does he think he's going with?  I'll be fast asleep by then."  Embarrassed, I told her..."Don't worry, you can go back to your hotel...he's kidding!"  Yeah, he's kinda not kidding.

I plan on documenting the ENTIRE vacation.  Be prepared for a post when we return and be prepared it may not be pretty.  At one point I see Lynn and Rich going head to head and me enjoying every minute of it.  Did I mention that it is her birthday on Sunday and she hates buffets?  So, it really should come at no shock that Sunday night, we are eating at a buffet.

Stay's going to be fun!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My rule for the summer with Boy 1 and Boy 2---Unless one of them is bleeding, I don't want to hear about it.  If I had a dollar for every time my boys tattled, the Bora Bora vacation I have planned in my head would not only have turned into a fabulous vacation...I probably could have bought a summer home while I was there as well. So this conversation today should come at no surprise...

Ryan:  Mom, Matthew just called me a girl!

Mom:  Ignore him.

Ryan:  But Mom...I am NOT a girl.  I am NOT!  What do I say?

Mom:  Say, "No!  YOU are a girl.  A big girl!!  A big girl that stinks!  Badly!!" 

Seconds go by....and then...

Matthew:  Did you call me a big girl that STINKS??!!

Mom:  Yes I did.  Get over it!

Matthew:  WHAT??????

Mom:  Deal with it...I'm done!

Well...I'd like to say I am better than this.  That I am a better mom and show better judgement.  But I can't.  It is week six of summer vacation.  The level of my maturity while parenting is declining by the hour. 

Sticks and Stones people.  Sticks and stones.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pre-4th Celebration!!!

**This song is for Ryan.  He listens to it 15-20 times a day on You Tube.
Happy Independence Day!!  My favorite thing about teaching 5th grade???  American History!  Happy 4th!
On Friday Rich left at the crack of dawn to head to Fresno to his annual firework gig.  He uses vacation days to earn money.  I use my vacation days to spend money.  And there you have it...

On Friday Matthew left for his fireworks gig too.  He isn't making money like his father, however he doesn't care.  All he wants to do is head down Fresno, spend time with Mason and Mikayla, work at the fireworks stand and be paid through sparklers and smoke balls.  He has been counting the days until he leaves and had his bags packed over a week ago. 

Ryan on the other hand is too young to do the marathon event.  He is just too young to handle the Four-Fun-Filled-Fresno-Fireworks-Fantastical Days.  I made a deal with him, we could go down together and spend some time playing and swimming, but we would come back early.  Then when Matthew goes back to school, Ryan can go down by himself with Sharon and make up the time then.   Because Ryan clearly knew that Matthew was going four days and he was going two and that was not fair...or his words..."not even and not a good deal."  To brighten his sad mood on Friday, I called in some reinforcements...Camden and Kirsten!!

Friends and a slip-in-slide make EVERYTHING better.


Saturday morning Ryan and I got up EARLY (first alarm clock wake-up of the summer) to catch the train to Fresno!  He was pretty excited.  Luckily he had his friend "Teddy" with him.

Mom, when is it going to get here???

I have known this to be true for several years...Buzz and Woody make everything better.

Here we go!!!

We selected a table in the "dining car".  I had to order a cup of coffee in order for us to stay there because as the conductor said..."You don't get to sit in the dining car without having something to eat or drink."  So I took one for the team and made myself get a coffee so we could set up shop for the duration of the trip.

The traveling goods.  Legos, Tic-Tac-Toe, airplanes, and "Teddy".

And as the conductor also said..."You don't bring food into a restaurant and eat it, do you?"  So, the eating of the poptart had to be on the sly....

This just makes me giggle because I told him I would look out for the conductor and he said, "It's okay, I'll just do this."

And I'm not going to lie...after about seven times of asking "When are we going to be there?" and we were only in Stockton...I was grateful for his cat nap.

Look who was waiting for us at the train station!!!!  Anyone else see the bursting enthusiasm coming from Matthew?

And one in front of the train.  Again, Matthew couldn't have been happier to see us!

Ahhh, yes!!  The fireworks stand.


I fear this is my future.  Both of them working every 4th in the booth.  Stacy sent me a text last night saying that Matthew helped her with counting and sorting the money.  She taught him to check to see if there were any counterfeit bills.  She said he became obsessed and wanted to check every bill. 

Ryan just wanting to be there and be a part of it.

And since it is Fresno, we went swimming the minute we got back.

Love.  Just Love!

The boys during the "rest" time of the day.

Ask me what I did while I was there.  Go on, ask me.  I enjoyed the Marini Resort Backyard Extraordinaire.   Not only was it beautiful, it has a mini-fridge located in this little bar section that I may or may not have taken a beverage or three out of while I watched the kids play.  I may or may not owe Mike a 6-pack of beer.  I'll never say. 

Matthew loving the water. 

Some down time inside with Kiki.

This is what I heard early in the morning.  I knew it either had to be Matthew or Ryan.  At times that we could not find either of them, this was the first place we looked. 

Grandma Jean in the back, trying to stay dry.  Ryan, trying to control a super soaker that was clearly too much to handle at times. 

Mason was such a good older cousin...taking a hit like that at such close range!

The three amigos.

Ryan, back at it!!!

I'll let you come up with your own caption.  I will tell you that his fingers and that look are aimed at Grandma Jean.

Coolest.  Bike.  Ever.

Ryan has NO FEAR.  ZERO!!

Nice night for a bike ride!!

Time for some fireworks.  Some fun we had with the little ones.

We threw MANY of these flowers.

I took this picture because Matthew was telling everyone to stop playing with the fireworks because he was afraid they would run out.  And Mason is trying to explain to him in the nicest way possible that his grandfather owns a stand and running out is NEVER going to be an issue.

So we continued playing.