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.
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.
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!
So, my daughter turned 4 just over a week ago and I put together a party at the house. This birthday party was Christmas themed and equipped with sing-a-longs, peppermints, ornaments and the holiday spirit in general. I wanted to document this for my daughter and share here how I put the whole thing together.
First, I came up with the theme. This wasn’t rocket science or anything — I love Christmas, kids love Christmas and we already have tons of decorations. I think April is just far enough away from Christmas to do something like this, although, there are no hard and fast rules. I say, when choosing a theme, make it something your kid loves and try to think outside of the box.
So Christmas in April it was, and Viv’s main request was a bounce house. I took to Amazon — ordered candy canes, peppermints, snowflakes for the ceiling, fake snow, Christmas ornament crafts and that was it! The rest of the stuff I already had.
Set up an ornament making station for the kids (this was supposed to be the favor but I know not everyone got one) and that was basically all.
1. Hire the 10 year old girl next door to ‘man’ this station and encourage kids to make an ornament. OR
2. Bag up all necessary items to make an ornament and send them with that to do the craft on their own time.
I sort of loved how much some kids enjoyed the activity though. It allowed them to just be creative and have fun on their own. So you could just wing it like I did too. Again, no rules.
I did get a cake, some pizza, water, juice boxes, alcohol (because it’s not really a kid party without that), bounce house and tables and chairs if you need them.
That’s it ladies and gentlemen. That’s how you throw your kid a Christmas themed birthday party to remember.
Oh, and I forgot to do this but my intention was to have my favorite Christmas scent melting in the house. It is called ‘Sugared Spruce’ and you can get it here at Candles by Victoria. Just another way to set the mood.
Thanks for reading!
Think about your child. Maybe you can throw him or her a Halloween party in their birthday month, a Valentine’s party. What’s your child’s favorite holiday?
‘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.
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!
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.