Up and Down the Vegas Strip: February 9, 2011

Vegas Classic!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

It seemed like we were up almost once every hour last night but despite that we rested really well.  It was the type of night where you wake up, look at the clock and then breathe a sigh of relief because you have so many more hours to sleep.  The first major event was Graham waking up/fussing at 4.  Since that was really 6 o’clock to him, we let
him get in bed with us.  But pretty soon he was out again.  Campbell fussed for a few minutes around that time and as I walked to her door to get her she calmed down.  So we didn’t hear from her until around 6 when Robby gave her some milk.  Everyone stirred a little after 6-well, except for Campbell who had gone back to sleep.  She didn’t even
wake up when Anderson went potty beside her bed (she is sleeping in the bathroom in her
pack n play-perfect spot if it only had a vent to turn on). 

Everyone woke up feeling good-especially Campbell.  You could tell she felt a lot better
today.  She was her old perky self.  She laughed, smiled, hammed it up for strangers.  She
still has a cough and might possibly have had fever tonight again (or her little cheeks are
just wind burned tonight)  Her cough does sound pretty bad but it is changing and it
sounds like she is coughing some of it up (sorry, that was definitely too much to share). 

After we woke up, we called Nonna to check on the snow and were glad to hear that it
was snowing.  We continued to check in through the day and each time Robby was more
and more relieved that we came a day early.  But this afternoon, we were surprised to see
that our flight was one of a few that did take off from the Little Rock airport today.  But
we still definitely made the right decision.  I tried to explain to the kids that this was all a
“Bonus Day” but they didn’t get it at all. 

We figured that 7 was a little too early to leave the hotel room and start the day so we
needed something to do to kill a little bit of time.  The kids had already watched a movie,
played with toys and stared and stared out the window, so we opted for baths.  First
Graham and Campbell took a bath.  They stayed in for awhile until Graham went ahead
and got out.  And the next thing I knew, Campbell was trying to crawl out too.  We had to
put them both back in and wash them up.  Next up was Reagan and Anderson.  They
didn’t last as long in the tub but were soon clean and in their clothes too. 

After everyone was ready, we went to downstairs to Krispy Kreme.  The kids couldn’t
get over the fact that our hotel had a mall in it.  And last night they couldn’t believe that
the hotel had so many “big people games”-in fact, every casino that we walked through
today at least one child would ask “is this our hotel?”  Anyway, we made it to Krispy
Kreme at 8:45 and we should have guessed since everything else we passed was closed,
but Krispy Kreme was closed also.  They did open at 9 so we walked around for a few
more minutes.  Apparently, Las Vegas isn’t the type of city that opens up early, it is more
of a late rising type city-not too surprising.

The kids picked out the outrageously priced (much more than at home) donuts.  Robby
paid and asked if there was a place with tables nearby.  The donut lady said that we could
eat in the neighboring and not yet open Aunt Annie’s pretzels.  She even got chairs for
us.  This was very nice but very awkward seeing as how we were eating behind the gate
of the store with the little Aunt Annie’s lady working hard behind the counter.  Yes, very
uncomfortable.  The kids must have been starving because at home, they only eat the tops
of the donuts but this morning they each finished all of 1 donut and most of another. 

Next up, we drove all the way down the strip (not much traffic before 10) and stopped at
the Las Vegas sign.  The kids enjoyed running and playing but we were able to get a few
pictures of everyone together despite the sun in their eyes.  There was a hustler there
offering to take pictures-we did decline but Robby was surprised that people were even
trusting her with their cameras. 

It was a short drive to the Mandalay Bay parking garage.  We walked through the casino
and went to the shark reef-we though you were able to see some of the sharks before
going into the aquarium but our very long walk was all for naught.  But the kids really
enjoyed this projected scene up on the wall that moved when you touched it.  The first
picture was an ocean scene and when you touched it the waves moved and the next was a
picture of cameras and their flash bulbs would go off.  Pretty cool.  Mom enjoyed looking
out at their swimming pools.  They were huge and without having seen the other hotel
pools, I think if you wanted to come to a hotel for swimming, the Mandalay Bay should
be the one.  Our hotel pool looks nice and big and when I saw it from our room, I was
slightly disappointed that we didn’t bring our bathing suits-until I saw that the pool was
closed and then remembered that it is February.

At the Mandalay Bay we caught the tram to Luxor.  We walked through that hotel
stopping to let the kids ride the escalator a little bit.  After that we hopped back on the
tram and made our way to Excalibur.  We walked through that casino and even took a
picture with Sponge Bob (well, even if it was just a statue).  The next hotel on the strip
was the New York, New York.  And it did not disappoint.  The kids were so excited
pointing out the Statue of Liberty.  We walked all through the place looking for where the
roller coaster could be seen from inside the building but it can’t be (just in case you even
need to know that).  By now, we were in need of a break and found a Nathan’s hot dogs
and decided that since it was nearly lunch time, we were ready to eat.  Reagan and
Anderson had some of a hot dog, Campbell and Graham finished off a slice of pizza, I
had a hot dog and Robby had Stromboli.  It was delicious and maybe we were just hungry
from all of that walking.   

Our goal was making it across the street to the MGM so we could see the lions-and they
did not disappoint.  There was a crowd around the 3 lions and 3 trainers but Anderson
just helped everyone push their way up to the front and there they stayed for a long, long
time.  Reagan finally gave up watching the lions and went to chase Campbell who was
blowing off some steam crawling around on the floor.  The boys though, stayed and
stayed watching the lions.  I asked Anderson if he wanted to be a lion tamer and he said

We then walked to the very, very back of the MGM and bought our monorail tickets.  We
didn’t know if we should get the 1 ride, 2 rides or all day pass so we opted with the all
day pass…and then we only ended up riding it once.  But we didn’t know how the day
would turn out so it was still a good call.  We got on and rode it all the way to the end of
the line which was a pretty good ways seeing as how we were almost back to our hotel.  
It was a nice drive and a great chance to rest for a few minutes.  Graham would get so
excited to see a train pass us, Reagan held on to the pole and was so glad that we were
letting her stand up (and even walk around), Campbell slept and Anderson just stared out
the window intently.  (He is a little Robby in that he can remember places and directions
so well-he was just soaking it all in so he can lead the way the next time we are here). 

After the tram started back the other way, we exited near Harrahs and walked through it
on the way to get to the Venetian.  It was a little bit of a hike but it was all worth it to the
kids when we arrived and they had moving walkways.  My kids don’t even need
Christmas presents, they just need a walk on a moving walkway.  The Venetian is our
favorite of the hotels.  The sky, building, gondolas and St. Peter’s Square-where we
stopped for some gelato.  And while we were eating, we saw a show with singers,
dancers, a man on stilts, a statue guy, live music and a drunk jester. 

I laughed until I cried because Robby, Reagan and Anderson were sitting on the front row
of a bench and I was behind them with Campbell and Graham.  Graham wanted to move
up to Robby but since we were on the edge, the man playing the flute was practically in
my lap.  Graham stood up, trying to pass him and as Graham neared, the flute man would
sway to the music and Graham would back up.  Then he would sway the other way and
Graham would try to move up to Robby but then the man would sway again and Graham
would jump back.  This went on for a few minutes until the man finally saw this poor
baby trying to walk beside him and scooted over. 

We then walked up to the Paris hotel (where we have stayed before) and made our way
through the shops and casino.  Before long, we were walking past the huge slot machine
that we had played at last time we were here.  We then walked through Ballys on our way
to get a coke.  Everyone had some coke or lemonade while we sat for a few minutes. 
Graham was sleeping now so he missed the refreshments. 

Across the street was the Bellagio so we made our way to the conservatory to see their
flowers.  They were all decked out for the Chinese New Year (the year of the rabbit) and
Reagan was so impressed with the flowers.  Before we went in, Robby reminded her that
we could not pick them-he knows her well.  As we were leaving, we were going to ask
about when the fountain show was but sure enough we saw it out the window.  We
rushed out there and as soon as we were near enough for the kids to see-it was over.  Oh,
well, we are going to go tomorrow night to see it.  That will be our big nightly adventure.

From the Bellagio, we trekked all the way back to the Excalibur.  It is a long way but it is
an especially long way for people with strollers.  Every crosswalk is an elevated one so
we have to take an elevator to get up, cross the street and then take an elevator to get
down.  Seriously, if we have ridden in one elevator today, we have ridden in a hundred. 
We finally made it and even stopped to watch the New York roller coaster fly by.  The
tram took us straight back to the Mandalay Bay and we were on our way to the rental car

Since we were in a day early, Robby had to rent us another car and it ended up being
from another company.  It wasn’t too big of a deal since the car was empty except for
what we had today and the 4 car seats.  We turned in the one car, loaded the car seats up
on top of the strollers and then went to check out the other car.  It would have been a lot
easier if there self check out would have worked or if the line had been short.  The kids
were already tired so they ended up getting into trouble-of course you are going to get
into a little bit of trouble when you knock over the stroller holding 4 car seats.  But
everyone survived and soon we were in a new van.  And poop, it didn’t have a movie and
it isn’t like ours.  It was so nice having a van just like ours-we knew were all of the
buttons were and everything was so easy.  This one does have a very large trunk so it will
be very good come time to load up and hit the road.

On the way back to the strip, Robby ran into Subway and picked up sandwiched and even
apple slices.  The kids devoured the apples, asked for more and then decided that they
would eat the peelings.  We will have to buy some apples while on the trip.  We ended up
eating back in the room which meant we had to drive down the strip again but this time
there was much, much more traffic.  We did make it and probably just barely made it
since Reagan and Anderson had to potty when we opened the door to the hotel room. 

After eating, we headed back downstairs to go to the top of the Stratosphere.  Anderson
has been calling it the needle and everyone was pretty excited about going high in the
sky.  On the way there, Anderson was absent mindedly following behind Robby and he
must have veered of course because we heard a bang.  Robby thought it was just
Anderson trying to pick up the trash can.  But it was Anderson running smack into the
middle of the trash can.  The poor guy was more stunned than hurt.  And I tried to control
my laughter as I picked the heavyweight up.  He finally calmed when I asked if he
wanted to ride with Campbell for a few mintues. 

As we waited in the line, Graham told me that he wanted to go back to our hotel and then
he wanted me to get him out of here.  His hands were in his mouth and he was pretty
scared.  The lights were kind of dim so it did look a little scary so I tried to reassure him. 
He calmed down when we got on the elevator and was still a little skittish at the top in the
observation room.  The kids got that we were high up but since our room is on the 18th
floor this only seemed a little bit higher to them (even though it was 108 floors). 

We then took another elevator to the outside observation area.  We spent quit a bit of time
out there watching the two rides that take place over the edge of the needle.  Pretty crazy
stuff and not from the squeamish.  Anderson would shudder every time the roller coaster
would plummet of the building.  He was pretty definite that he did NOT want to do this. 
Reagan on the other hand is starting to save her money so she can come back and do it
when she is older.  This just upset Graham a little bit more until we went back inside.

We then took the elevator down the 108 ear popping stories and were walking back
through the shops when Graham asked “we going to the needle and get poked?”  Then I
realized that he heard the word needle and thought we were going up the elevator to get a
shot.  Poor baby.  Couldn’t even enjoy it and was just waiting on his shot.  It is something
what the 2 year old mind thinks.  Needless to say, he was relieved that we were going
back to the room.

Back at the room, we put on pajamas and had something to drink before crashing.  It was
only a little after 8 but the kids crashed.  They had done a lot of riding but they had also
done a lot of walking.  They know that we are in Las Vegas but confusingly, they also
understand that we went to Egypt, to the Medieval times, to New York, to Venice and to
Paris.  It was a great trip around the world and a great excursion up and down the strip

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