Friday, April 29, 2016

7QT: Birthday, Well Check and Cirque Du Soleil


one. Today is Husband's "birthday." It was really last Saturday while we were gone. But the kids didn't get to celebrate and if you know anything about almost 4-year-olds it is that they take birthdays very seriously. We are going to do all the normal things, special dinner, cake, etc. It is going to be a fun evening! 

two. M had her 18 month check up today. Can you even believe that she is halfway to TWO?! Oh my goodness I can't stand it. My girl is healthy, happy and completely convinced she's three. No concerns. Passed her ASQ and MCHAT so that's about the best she can be. She has been adding new words to her vocabulary every day, today she said "apple" finally. So cute!

three. I love Cirque du Soleil. I have seen La Nouba twice, Corteo, Allegria, One of the stadium shows and I just love Cirque. So when we knew we were for sure going to Vegas I started pricing out shows. For a long long time it has been on my bucket list to see "O" it's the show in the water. (Eau is water in French.) As I was looking at tickets, it is just really expensive. And I eventually decided that we should put our money towards another less expensive show and bought tickets for "Ka."

four. We saw "Ka" last Wednesday night. It was amazing. The theater was spectacular. It was as much a character in the show as the talent.

This is a picture from the internet. This is what it looks like. 
This is the picture I took of the exact same thing. Don't judge it by my picture.
The preshow brought us to amalgamation Asia, with ninjas, warriors, spears and a haka. The show was the first Cirque show that had a real and true followable plot. That was really cool. The real star of the show was the set which was this giant rotating plate. It was amazing. I can't even describe it. It was really really good. 

five. So because "Ka" was SO good I felt even more like I should just try and make "O" happen. Then the stars alligned and we bought tickets. This theater was gorgeous. Like breathtaking. It was designed to basically be a European Opera House and it is just beautiful. 

The internet wins again.
My picture of the ceiling. 
What the ceiling actually looks like. 
And the show started. The synchronized swimming was as cool as I imagined. The Russian Swings that turn to diving was my favorite part for sure. I loved it. I am so glad I saw it. 

But at the price point I was expecting it to be AMAZING and blow me away. And it was just like any Cirque. I think I maybe even liked "Ka" better. Also we saw the 9:30 show on a Saturday. Which meant a great deal of our audience was clearly inebriated. I have never in my life seen so many people come and go from a show before. It was unreal and very distracting, which also may have contributed to my feelings on the show. 

But I am SO glad I saw it and have no regrets. 

six. I don't really like Michael Jackson and I pretty much can't stand the Beatles so I will never spend money to see "One" or "Love." I am unsure that I would appreciate the adult themed Cirque so "Zumanity" is out. I would however see "Mystere," the original Cirque show and "Zarkana" should I find myself in Las Vegas again. (There's also the Criss Angel one that I am rather un-opinionated on.) 

seven. We have more exciting plans this weekend and I can't wait to tell you about them next week! Have a terrific weekend friends!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Viva Las Vegas!

Saturday morning in Vegas was the good show. It is Husband's favorite food show of the year because he doesn't really have much to do except for make the rounds, be seen and get some free stuff. He nabbed me a brown butter sea salt rice krispie bar. It was delicious. He wasn't gone too long.

Saturday was also Husband's birthday! So that was kind of fun. Don't worry, we are celebrating tomorrow and the kids have no idea that they missed it. The joy of littles. I had this great fear that if C realized that it was his dad's birthday he would be upset because to him birthday's = cake. We weren't even having cake so I didn't think he needed to know.

We lazily sat around on our balcony and watched the world. The temperature cooled off significantly but by Vegas standards, not normal people standards. So it was in the 70s and awesome! We met the entire group from Husband's location in the lobby at 12:15. We got on a big bus which was the first air conditioned vehicle we had been in the entire trip. (Apparently cabs don't use the air conditioning until it's in the upper 90s or they didn't think it was hot or I don't know.)

We went back to Fremont Street because the company had scheduled us for "team building" which meant going zip/zoom lining on Slotzilla.

I did the "zoom" which is the doors that fold down over where it says Slotzilla.

That roughly translated to about 20 of us actually doing it and the rest of the people chickening out. The weird part is that every single female who was on the trip as a guest or sales rep went and tried. It was mostly men who didn't go.

It was awesome. I was slightly unsure when I was dangling there like superman before it was time to start but I really enjoyed it. Because the group had prepayed for 50 people I was able to go again, It was even MORE fun the second time. The wait was shorter, I knew what I was doing and I made sure to keep my arms in for speed.
That's me flying. I didn't pay $40 for one of the professional pictures.

It was a really wind day and people weren't making it all the way to the end where the tow thing was. So then an employee would have to come out and hand-over-hand pull them all the way to the end. There wasn't any chance in heck that I was going to have that happen to me, so I pushed off really well and kept my hands in per the instructions. The person next to me the second time Kellie got stuck and it's really kind of sad because you're just like an upside down turtle. She was moving her hands and arms but she wasn't going anywhere.

The company had opened a tab at both a bar halfway down Fremont and at the end. Which was great because I really needed a water! So yes, I had 3 bottles of free water and a coke during the course of our outing.

A funny story, when ALL the reps get together, they're loud. And they all try to out do each other. One guy started doing this yelling walking thing and people kind of made a circle around him, just from our group, Only because Fremont Street is full of street performers doing all sorts of things, this one guy came over and watched for a long time. Then started interacting with the rep from Husband's company. Everyone was dying.

We got back to the hotel in time for Husband to go down to his training for his roll-off table. I started getting ready, which was a good idea. Note to self: if going back to Vegas pack my own hair dryer. The hotel one was REALLY bad.

We went to the roll-off which was a buffet dinner and cocktails, a shorts dance performance and then the actual roll-off. Where all the many many many reps rolled the dice fifteen times to see how much money they'd win. I'm just going to go ahead and explain here that the event was kind of a cluster. It was disorganized and overcrowded and generally ridiculous. I would have words with Fred from corporate who planned the whole thing on how he could go ahead and solve at least some of the problems.

When the roll-off was nearly over, I took off for the Bellagio and when it was actually over, Husband joined me. We had tickets to see O and this was a giant bucket list item for me. O is the Cirque du Soleil show with the water theater. I had ALWAYS wanted to see it. We didn't think it was going to be possible but we made it happen. And I am so glad.


Post show however, I became extremely disenchanted with Las Vegas. Too many drunk people in miniskirts and I did not like it. Plus I was really missing my babies. 

Sunday we walked the strip down to the Mirage to go to The Sigfried and Roy Secret Garden gift shop. I got the kids some white tiger souvenirs because animals! And that just seemed really Vegas to me. I got a gift shop only ticket which gave me 15 minutes to get in and out. Husband couldn't come too. But in order to get to the gift shop you had to go right by the dolphins, like they were 2 ft. away in their pool. It was super cool. C would have loved it. I would definitely take kids there if I were to bring them. We walked to the Venetian and walked around and had lunch. I wanted to go on the gondola ride but Husband didn't. He has an aversion to doing tourist-y things. 

Then we went back and got our bags and headed to the airport. I did a lot of waiting because Husband's flight left hours before mine and we obviously got there in the recommended time for his flight. But our gates happened to be right next to each other which was kind of handy. I made it back to my parents house and looked at my sleeping kiddos and all was right with the world. 

That in a nutshell was my trip to Vegas. It was really fun! Made more fun by the fact it was nearly free! Plus 5 days of kid free time with Husband?! I mean, that never happens and while I was missing the kids after a while it was SO good. Thanks to my parents for watching them! 



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Going To Set My Soul On Fire

Thursday and Friday were largely the same on my trip.

Husband was at the marketing conference all day and I was on my own.

Thursday I slept in, went to get my ring cleaned and then I headed to the pool. His bosses had reserved a cabana and had a tab going so I was able to have some lunch and drinks poolside. I read a book and had a lot of time to myself but soon enough more people came down and so I spent the afternoon getting some sun and talking to husband's co-workers and their spouses.

Fish tacos care of the tab! 

View of the strip from the cabana.

We had a dinner that evening, the special Charlie dinner. He's the president of the company and took the two VPs, two marketers and the two accompanying spouses out to dinner. It was delicious. It was at Charlie's favorite restaurant Del Frisco's. Apparently he goes there a lot. I thought it was great. But this was the third time it was underwhelming for some of them so I guess he is going to get a new favorite restaurant.

I had the signature drink which was called the VIP. It was Svedka Clementine Vodka that had fresh pineapples soaking in it for two weeks. It was like candy. I only had one because it was so good that I am sure it was lethal!

It was a very nice dinner. Afterwards one of the VP's and his wife went with Husband and I to see the Bellagio Fountain right next door. It was pretty cool though I guess I wanted it to play Clair de Lune like in Oceans 11. But whatever, my life doesn't have to be a movie.

Picture this only with like 1000 more people everywhere. And no Brad Pitt. 

Then they took us to Fremont Street, the old downtown, and really what I expected the strip to look like. It was everything you'd expect. Lots and lots of lights, people, booze and crazies. It was a hoot. (Again, I was horrified at those who brought their children. It was even more inappropriate than the strip. Unless you wanted to give your child an anatomy lesson I guess.)

Prince died, as I am sure you've heard. Nothing tells you you're from Minnesota more than the day Prince dies and it is literally your entire news feed! But the Fremont Street Experience Viva Vision Light Show was Prince based which was great by me! We watched the end of the Blackhawks game, had a drink and listened to a really great band while we people watched. I am not entirely sure where you would even buy some of the things we saw masquerading as outfits. I really enjoyed Fremont street. Definitely more fun than the club scene!



Friday, I was again on my own. I slept in and read in the room then headed back to the pool. Because Friday was the day most of the crew showed up, they had two cabanas. I am glad I got there when I did and put in an order because the sales reps had run up the tab to $2300 since the pool opened at 9:00. The tab closed soon after that. Husband's meetings got out at 1:00 and he joined me not too long after that. We sat around sunning until 3:00 and then headed in to get ready for dinner.

Friday was the cocktail reception for everyone in the company nationwide and then big group dinner with all 75+ people from Husband's location. All the everyone. Dinner was at Milo's at the Cosmopolitan. They did the whole fixed menu with choice of entree which was awesome. The only flaw with big dinners is that there's a lot of waiting around between courses.

When that was over, we went back and changed and then went to the casino. We are high rollers and only played penny slots. Once that wasn't fun anymore, we went to a restaurant called Holsteins for one of their milkshakes because we had heard a lot about them and how good they are. We had a campfire smores shake which did not disappoint. Then we sat for a while to people watch because it was a sport basically. We tried to figure out the science between who would get in to the club or not but I never figured it out.


So that was how Thursday and Friday went. :) 

Bright Lights City

Every year about this time, Husband has a marketing conference and the Rolloff which is the big promotion pay out event. It's basically where the rep rolls dices 15 times and then they get paid out based on the formula. It's kind of a big deal.

A few years ago it was in Orlando and I tagged along. Last year it was in Baltimore and I didn't. Because of my six month old and all. But this year it was in Las Vegas and I had never been to Vegas and ALWAYS wanted to. So I went along. 

I left our house on Tuesday to take the kids to my parents house then flew out from there early Wednesday morning. (Like I had to be at the airport by 4:00.) It was kind of funny because with the time change I was in Las Vegas by 8:30 AM! Husband's flight was supposed to get in around 9:45 but was delayed a bit. So I had a lot of time to kill in the airport. 

But finally there he was and then finally, there was the suitcase and we could take our town car to the hotel. It was really nice that he was on his own flight with no one else from the company because usually we are on a bus but because it was just us we got a fancy schmancy car. If you've ever been to Vegas you know that you can see the strip from the airport, but then it takes a long time to get there because the lights take forever!

We obviously arrived in daylight but this gives you an idea.

We checked in to the Cosmopolitan and were able to get our room immediately. I didn't take any pictures but the internet is helpful in situations like this and they're better than I could have taken. 





Note to self: the mini bar is weighted and if you life the extremely overpriced items  for more than 30 seconds it charges it to your room. We did not have any room charges but the warning was only in the fridge not on the snacks on the counter. And when I say overpriced, I mean $8 for 6 mini-sized Snicker pieces. Not even fun-sized! 

Plus our room came with a terrace balcony with a little love seat and footstool, and the bathroom included a water closet with LOUD wallpaper and a double vanity. 


We had lunch reservations at Fogo de Chao which is one of my favorite chains. In Las Vegas it's just a regular restaurant. But it was delicious and we were allowed to expense one meal that day so it was free. Since we had both been awake since 3:00ish in the morning, we opted to take a nap. Then we got ready to walk over to MGM and see Ka. 


I am going to do a Cirque specific post later but I will say this, I loved it. If you've ever been to Cirque before you know there's a preshow, make sure you are there early enough so you do not miss the preshow of Ka! You wouldn't believe all the people who missed it and they don't let you in at all because they are in the aisles and it was really cool. 

After Ka we walked back a different way, stopping at Walgreens to pick up some incidentals, and then ate a late dinner at Earl of Sandwich. The last time I had this sandwich was in Orlando and I was hoping it would live up to the last time. It did and we parked ourselves in a perfect people watching situation. 

Even on Wednesday night I was horrified at the parents who had their babies and preschoolers in strollers at 11:00 at night. I couldn't convince myself that they were all traveling in from Hawaii and it wasn't late for the kids yet. There are some interesting things for kids in Las Vegas to be sure, but I think I wouldn't take mine at all, and certainly not until they were at least upper elementary age. And even then, not on the inappropriate strip at 11:00 at night! 

After our people watching we headed back to our room and went to sleep. But not before standing out on the balcony and marveling at how nice the weather is. No bugs or humidity? That's kind of awesome. And that was our first day in Vegas. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IOU

This is my little IOU to let you know that I haven't forgotten you! I will be blogging again sometime soon. I just walked back in to our house after being away for a week and I have a lot of unpacking to do. But never fear, once I get settled back in you are all invited to hear all about my trip to:



Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Monday: A Photo Dump

A week ago it was practically winter. The sky spit out some snowflakes. It was cold. And then Mother Nature remembered it was in fact April and in a week's time went from Winter to Spring straight into Summer.

It's glorious.

We celebrated National Grilled Cheese Day, because apparently that's a thing. And so we had grilled cheese. As it happens, C likes "Cheesy Walrus Sandwiches" over "Grilled Cheese" so there you go. 


Wednesday was our second soccer day. It was still "Spring-y" that morning so he wore his under armour but it warmed up later that afternoon! C has been doing so well with soccer, I am very impressed. He is excited to go and he is a very good listener. M is a bit more of a struggle. She truly believes she is three and has no interest in sitting on the side lines. Poor kid! And truthfully, she is very good. I didn't know 17-month-olds could kick soccer balls so well! 


M and I took a girls only Target trip and I cried and died a little when I saw this in the book section. They made a graphic novel of The Baby-Sitters Club. As the Edward D. Neill Elementary #1 fan of the BSC I was horrified. The books aren't even hard to read! 

It was otherwise the most stellar Target trip ever. The regional people were in town going through the store and talking about upcoming changes and maybe even reviewing the store, I'm not sure. As such the store brought their A-game. Like, 6 people asked me how my day was and if I needed any help. And they had SO many lanes open. It was dream Target. Plus M was super cute and talking about everything so it was really awesome. 


After three sessions in a row, we had our final art class on Friday. I really liked this class and I am sad it's over. We took the first two sessions with friends but the last one by ourselves. C really got good at doing the crafts by himself and we really loved to have an fun outing once a week. M will probably be ready to take the class in the fall, which she will LOVE. 

There was always a play-doh table and sensory table which were among the favorites each week. C made this polar bear on Friday. I loved it. I was so proud of his creativity. Usually he just used the play-doh tools to make noodles, or whatever shape the cookie cutter was etc. 

Summer hit this weekend as it was in the 80s! Our grass needed mowing and so everyone chipped in. 


No one wanted to be left out of the fun! We really do love our little old fashioned reel-mower. It's so handy that it doesn't throw rocks and stops cutting if you stop walking. But I think we are going to need to upgrade to an actual mower this year. The weirdly warm and wet winter left our yard a lot less flat than the past two years. But to flatten a yard is time consuming and costly.

We broke out the water table today. Well, we moved it from inside to outside and added water. The kids were happy! 


So that's what we've been up to lately. Lots of time in the yard and lots of fun. We are officially into the kids need a bath and at least two outfits every day time of the year. I love it. I hope the shorts I ordered for C come fast! We are going to need them! 

Have a great start to your week. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

You Can't Always Get What You Want

A good life lesson.

There is a long round about story that basically leads to this: we brought the Duplos up from the basement. We rotate toys so that things can be "new" again.

Husband was super duper into Legos as a child. I was not.

C appears to be mostly taking after me. He mostly likes to stack like two Duplos on the "car" base and then play cars. Or he acts out adventures with the Duplos people. It's creative in it's own way certainly but it's not the "hours of building" that some people and kids can do.

Even though the world of math lost me when we had to start caring about "x" I tend to be very literal.Which is okay. I played with my doll house a lot. It was easily my favorite toy.

Not mine. But this was the set I had.

I had the patio, the pool, the horse stable, the car... pretty much if they made an expansion I had it, except for the porch room, which I didn't know existed until I was searching for a good picture. This picture doesn't have all the right things either but it was a good overview. But I played doll house. I would spend hours having the kids come home from school, and live life. I was never huge on the whole "open ended play" thing. 

I didn't want that for my kids so I made sure to get all the right things. Magnatiles. Duplos. Megablocks. 

But C would rather read. Or play with animals. Anyway, M got Sofia Duplos for Christmas and we opened them up on Monday. So it came with a little catalog. And one of the sets was "Around the World." It is in fact, super cute. It comes with little sets that represent different continents and their animals. Pandas and tigers for Asian, penguins and whales for Antarctica, Lions and zebras and  hippo for Africa. 

But it's really expensive. And while my guy thinks he wants this set, he really doesn't. He just wants to play with the animals. And we already have lots and lots of animal figurines. So it is really not worth the investment. 

My guy is not to be dissuaded however. So when Mom said no, he asked Grandma. Luckily I tipped her off via text message so she knew to downplay it. Here's to hoping he forgets about it soon! Unfortunately he has also inherited my long memory so... we'll see.