A Mom, A Dad, Two Kids and Sin City Part II

 

Day 3: Trump International, Botanical Gardens and Gondolas

 

Some people may have mixed feelings, but I was curious to check out Trump International for breakfast just to see what the fuss was about.  The hotel is quiet, as it doesn’t have a casino inside of it, and there were several sparkling floor-to-ceiling light fixtures in the lobby which Viv and I loved.  Jeff and I had a little bet on whether the “Make America Great Again” hats would be in the gift shop.

 

I honestly didn’t think they would be, but the minute you saw the gift shop, you couldn’t help but notice a large stack of mainly red hats and I knew I had lost the bet.  Breakfast at DJT was yummy and overall, I’d take those huevos rancheros and free valet parking again next time.

Once nap time for Sebastian was over, we headed out for The Venetian but first stopped at the Botanical Gardens in Bellagio.  There is always a different theme for these gardens, and this time the theme Chinese New Year and it was just as gorgeous as it has ever been.
What can I say about The Venetian?  This is a cool hotel as it not only mixes rooms with casino, but it also throws in a high-end mall.  We went straight for the gondola ride which was definitely a highlight to our trip.  The gondolier sang many songs with us as we floated through the hotel and took many, many pictures.  We went to dinner that night at Grand Luxe Cafe.
Night-night!
Day 4: Dig This and Homeward Bound
We woke up, got dressed and quickly went to our appointment at an amazing place called Dig This not far off of the strip.  I found this business online when searching for things to do and although I wasn’t sure my kids were old enough, I had to at least call and see.  
When I called, Walt was more than accommodating and he said he would be able to ride the machines with my kids.  I never knew places like this existed, but Dig This allows kids and adults to operate excavators, bulldozers and other construction machines for a once in a lifetime experience.  Sebastian has inspired a love for these machines in our family through the way he lights up when he spots one of these driving around town.
Everyone who worked here was incredible, friendly and patient with our kids.  Bash and Viv were able to operate the machines with assistance, driving forward, backward, spinning in circles and picking up tires.  Dig This made sure we went out with a bang.

A Mom, A Dad, Two Kids and Sin City Part I

Eating at Yellowtail Restaurant at The Bellagio

 

I have only been to Vegas three times before this most recent trip and while I always see plenty of kids here, I instinctively felt like it wouldn’t be ‘Vegas’ if I ever brought my kids along.  I was under the impression that there wouldn’t be a whole lot for them to do, considering much of the attraction to Las Vegas is adult entertainment.

Alas, we knew we needed to get away somewhere, and we wanted a place we could drive to.  So with that requirement, and having done Palm Desert twice already, we figured we would give Vegas a shot with the whole family.  Boy, was I wrong about not having much for the kids to do.

I am writing this not only to document a memory, but also give some ideas for a Vegas trip for another family with small children.  This is how the we did Vegas…

 

Day 1:  The Drive & Arrival

 

We left the house around 10am equip with snacks, toys, music and fully charged phones.  We stopped in Barstow for food and to stretch our legs, then back in the car while the kids and I slept the rest of the way.

We checked in at Bellagio and were given a wheelchair accessible room by the woman who checked us in as a curtesy.  What’s the difference?  Well, the room and bathroom are considerably bigger.  I wouldn’t know that had I not stayed at this hotel twice before.  We settled in and had dinner at Fix.  Just a tip, every restaurant we went to we requested a rounded booth so we could sandwich the kids between us (good idea).

 

Ready for adventure, we drove to Circus Circus for a fun show and carnival games.  Vivien, our 4 year old, actually popped a balloon with a dart and won herself a prize.  We topped that off with chocolate fromHershey’s Chocolate World in the NYNY Hotel and we are still working through our endless bag of kisses.

Getting the 2 year old to bed that night wasn’t easy, so the strategy ended up being that he fell asleep in the stroller and then was transferred to crib.  We did that each night.
Day 2: Museum Day, Spa and Kobe Beef
As you may know, many kids want to eat the moment they wake up.  Having totally forgotten this, we didn’t order room service in advance and faced hungry children at 7am.  We quickly got ourselves together and went to a breakfast place I had remembered from my first time in Vegas called The Cracked Egg.
After eating we headed to The Las Vegas Museum of Natural History.  Looks are deceiving here, because when I first entered, the place seemed somewhat small.  After getting through the aquatic portion of the museum, we entered a space with Egyptian relics, then dinosaur fossils, then the whole of Africa.  The kids could have spent the entire day there, but quite frankly, it was us parents getting worn out towards the end.
Back in the room we put Sebastian down for a nap and I went to Bellagio’s amazing gym and spa spending several hours pampering myself.  That night, we decided to do dinner at Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant in our hotel.  Sebastian wouldn’t eat sushi, but he amazed me at how quickly he inhaled the kobe beef.  Note to self: get that recipe!
Finally, The Spa at Bellagio

Un-decorating… Oh What Fun It Is

 

Today, I began the un-decorating of my house. I am in the midst of putting away all the decorative pillows, ornaments, festive lights and Christmas wreaths. Sometimes putting these things away feels like getting rid of more than just mere ‘things’. Indeed, it sometimes feels like we also take our holiday cheer, surround it with bubble wrap and put it in a red and green storage box deep in the garage with everything else.

This year however, I’m not feeling that same yucky feeling as I put away all my Christmas decor.

Starting in November, this holiday season we have had visitors, countless play dates and night trips around the city doing fun things with our kids. The Aquarium of the Pacific was our first stop of the season, then the lights at the LA zoo, The Grove, visiting Santa, driving through Candy Cane Lane and even going ice-skating twice. Bebe (my mom) and my Aunt Joanne were here for a nice long visit that elated my little ones beyond anticipation. Thanksgiving brunch outside, Malibu lunches, walks around the neighborhood, Palm Desert relaxation with a friend, online shopping, lots of food and lots of fun have been what this holiday season has been all about.

 




 

Top all of that off with both Thanksgiving and Christmas concerts at my daughter’s school, Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker show, Cirque du Soleil, a Polar Express parade and a cozy, relaxing Christmas Day at home with my little family.

So, we didn’t get the Christmas cards done this year (or last year). We made the absolute best of it and while I pack it all away in the next few days, I know that I’m just packing away the stuff. This year, I am so looking forward to keeping the festive spirit alive. More visitors, more trips, more play dates, more celebrations and more decorations in my home for every holiday we celebrate. That’s my goal for 2017, along with of course, keeping up with this blog.

 

 

We are kicking it all off with a trip to Vegas tomorrow. I think I used to question why people brought their kids to Vegas, but now I understand. There actually are a lot of things to do with a family there and my hubby and I can switch off with hitting the tables after the kids are asleep.

I am happy to say though, that the one thing from Christmas that lasts in my home year-round is the smell. Pine, spruce, fir, it really doesn’t matter. These scents are appropriate year round as they are the perfect blend of homey and clean. Stock up now, because these scents are on sale everywhere I’ve been and I have picked up candles at almost every store.

Below are just a ton of pictures from our holiday that made the cut and here is to an amazing 2017 to everyone who sees this.

 


 

It’s Warming Up – Nutrient Dense Vegetable Soup

So, it is definitely warming up out here in LA, but the mornings lately have been just cold enough for me to feel comforted by this delicious nutrient dense soup.  My mother-in-law bought me this hand blender a few years ago and I wondered at first if it was something I would use since I already had a blender.  Once I started my paleo diet, it became something I use so often that now I wonder how I ever lived without it.  I don’t like to give my kids dairy all the time, so I use this to blend avocado and banana into almond milk for them almost daily.  I also use it for this soup and those are two things I make constantly.

Above are all the ingredients you will need to make this, but feel free to make homemade broth.  Before you click the back arrow button on your browser because you hate brussels sprouts, know that you can easily change the vegetables you use in this soup.  I’ve used butternut squash and broccoli before in place of carrots and asparagus.  You can also do all carrots if you like or any number of different combinations.  Just be creative.

Frozen veggies, unlike canned, are actually just as packed with nutrients as fresh vegetables.  That is such good news for people who are a little lazy like me.

All you need to do is peel your onions and cut into fours (you can even avoid this by buying these).  Then put all the veggies in a large pot with the olive oil and 2 containers broth — let simmer.

Once the veggies are soft, mix them with your hand blender or you can batch blend it in a regular blender.

Your end result will be this comforting, beautifully colored soup that your kids will eat.  I add salt to taste and serve it with crumbled bacon and red palm oil.

If you have trouble feeding your kid veggies you may want to try it.  I also add it to pasta sauce for noodles.

Enjoy!  <3

One Of “Those” Days

‘Those’ days are not only necessary, but they are the absolute best. These are the days when you just can’t seem to get it together. These days you don’t bother to send back your Netflix, you don’t pick up the groceries and you don’t make that call to your insurance company.

Those days are full of messy hair and mix-matched jammies.

Those days are booked with “check-ups” from your favorite doctor and the sound of plastic princess heels.

Those are the days when you only focus on being a mom and give in to your child’s every desire because you don’t want to spoil the moment.

We can’t have days like this all the time. But when we can, we should embrace it and never feel guilty. My daughter loves to go out, but she enjoys ‘those’ days just as much as I do.

You know the very best thing about those days?

Every hug smells like maple syrup.

Baby Love

 

So, there is a little bit of controversy and varying opinions on the etiquette of having a shower for your second child. Luckily, when you have a group of wonderful friends, all rules are out the window and they plan an event around you and your new baby anyway. It is a beautiful things because, we all know, the second pregnancy is nothing like the first. The novelty is gone. You’ve been there, done that, and you know there will be many moments of discomfort.

In addition, now you have someone else who is super dependent on you, so you can’t run out for pickles and take naps whenever you want to.

That is why when friends get together just to make a fuss of you and your new nugget, it helps you realize what’s happening. Right now, I am making the best gift I could ever give to my daughter. Giving her a companion through growing up in our crazy family. Someone she loves already and never forgets to kiss goodnight. Some of her teachers at preschool say she talks about him nearly everyday.

When I think about that and how much I love my siblings, the discomfort I am feeling in this 8th month seems to subside. I get that pregnancy glory for a moment and I really feel like I am doing something noble, something good. Then, the feeling is usually disrupted by Braxton Hick contraction and I am back to square one. But even if the feeling doesn’t last forever, thank you ladies for taking the time to remind me anyway!

 

The Last of My Twenties

 

As I woke up on my birthday morning, I looked on my nightstand to see two cards. One that had my name on it, the name I was given at birth. The other had the name on it that I was given on April 14th 2012. Yes, one card said “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” on the front of it. One “Mommy” is never quite enough for my little one. Of course, my husband wrote on these cards and I couldn’t thank him enough for having them out for me on this day. I turn 29. Yeah, it’s no 30, but it is my last year of my 20’s and I will be mourning the loss of my twenty-something self all year.

I am not afraid to turn 30 at all, and there are plenty of things that I wouldn’t mind leaving behind in my 20’s and moving on. But there is still the fear of aging that I think we all have to an extent; the fear of the unknown future.

At this point, I am halfway through my second pregnancy and I am expecting a little boy in November. We are planning a move in about a year and while we are unsure of where we will go, I know it will be exciting. The future, while mysterious, is looking quite bright and I am starting this blog now to document my family’s journey through it all.

I have so many interests and passions, so I won’t even attempt go over what this blog will be about. Just consider it will probably be a mosh posh of family outings, experiences, fashion (mommy & baby), recipes (mostly paleo), photos and other random things I feel compelled to share.

Right now this is just family and friends, so I want to tell you all that I love you and thanks for your support.