Monday, March 25, 2013

FORTY. . .It's Just a Number!

So. .
If you haven't been around here long. .
You might not realize that my hubby and I share the same birthday. .
Of the same year. .
And. .
THIS was the year we turn 40!!
I felt like we should do something. .
Cool. .
Out of our box. .
So. .
after nearly a year of talking about it. .
and months of having the dates set and the tickets bought. .
Last week. .
We found ourselves headed west, young man. .
All the way to Las Vegas!
We stepped off the plane to another world. .
Literally. .
Warm temperatures, people everywhere, and monstrous buildings with flashing lights in all directions!
View of the New York New York casino, you can barely make out the roller coaster tracks on the left side of the photo
We got into to town early enough to spend the evening exploring our hotel. .
We elected to stay at Treasure Island. .
which had great rooms. .
and several fabulous restaurants. .
Including a super seafood place. .
which is where we ate first!
They don't make seafood like that in Kansas folks!
And we are ALWAYS glad to find it!
The indoor flower and butterfly garden inside the Bellagio was incredible!
Our birthday was spent roaming around the city!
But before we did, we enjoyed a trip to the hotel's day spa. .
and indulged in a body exfoliation and full body massage!
Jeremy had never had a massage. .
and he tolerated it quite well, though at one time I heard him tell his massage therapist that he certainly had "mean little fingers," as the therapist separated the knots from his well worked back muscles!
We also enjoyed eating at the Mesa Grill on our big day!
For those of you who don't know. .
I am a foodie. .
And I ADORE Bobby Flay!!
I was outvoted when we went to New York City (not really, we just never got close to his restaurant). .And dining in his Vegas restaurant was number one on my bucket list!
We were so thankful that we went for a late lunch and got right in. .
Because when we went back Saturday night to eat a second time. .
there was a 2 hour wait time!!
We split a swordfish sandwich. .
and Ahi tuna nachos. .
which was a kind of sushi tuna spiced perfectly and served with little homemade chips!
As odd as it sounds. .
It was one of the tastiest things I have EVER eaten!!
Lady Liberty in front of New York New York. .with the turrets of the Excalibur casino in the background
We aren't big gamblers. .
And to be honest. .
we aren't even little gamblers!
I lost $20 bucks in the slot machines in less than 15 minutes (which is how it always goes for me!)
And one evening we sat at an empty roulette table and played that for a while. .
Jeremy lost his $20 after about 45 minutes or so. .
But I cashed my chips in after about an hour. .
and had made $5!
That was our entire gambling experience for the weekend!
Pathetic, right?
Heart Attack Grill. .Over 350 lbs eats free!
We didn't go in. .
Our genetics in heart health are pretty bad all on their own!
There was so much to see and do!! We went into nearly every casino on the strip to check out their
decor. .
Most of them were quite extravagant. .
This one (I think in the Monte Carlo). .
had this huge dangling decoration that shimmered and glimmered with all the lights!
That entire display was made up of all these tiny beads and crystals all strung together!
New York, New York was another of my favorites. .
mostly because it had so many replicas of what we saw in NYC.
Many of them had GREAT water features in AND out of the hotel. .
This was in the lobby at the Venetian.
This one outside of the Mirage!
And of COURSE. .
The famous fountains of the Bellagio!
We saw them go off 3 times. .
but never at night, which was a disappointment!
It could certainly shoot the water!
Speaking of water. .
We took a 1/2 day trip to see the Hoover Dam.
It was impressive. .
These were the compressors within the dam. .
I loved the picturesque nature of the beasts!
In between the two World Wars. .
as work on the dam went. .
They poured 8 yards of concrete (which is equivalent to the load of one normal sized cement truck) every 72 seconds for 2 1/2 years. .night and day!! The story of the mastermind engineering behind the creation of the dam was nothing short of incredible!
The work was hard. .
and the wage was small!
And over 100 men lost their lives in the process. .
With worthwhile results for the western states! Lake Mead, the largest man made lake in America after the creation of the dam, is over 100 FEET low because of their 15 year drought!! I couldn't even imagine!
We LOVED the Fremont Street experience. .
They have a light show every night on the hour. .
There are 12.5 MILLION LED lights that are synchronized to the music. .
and they display on the largest screen in the world. .
which spans 1500 feet (or the equivalent of FIVE football fields!!)
It was crazy awesome. .
And I'll say I've never seen anything even REMOTELY like it!
If you are curious, check it out on youtube!
We went to the M & M store on the strip. .
All those colored bins in the back of the picture are full of different colored m & m's. .
I wanted to buy some for the kids. .
but it was SO hot that afternoon, that I was sure they would melt before we got back to our room!
We went to the Miracle Mile shops in Planet Hollywood. .
It was all covered. .
but painted to look like you were walking outside along cool little buildings!
And we enjoyed a trip to Margaritaville right down the street when we were finished!
We went to the old Imperial Palace casino, which is now the Quad (though not changed on their maps. .much to the dismay of unsavvy, out-of-the-know travelers!)
Where we toured the museum of antique cars. .
It actually took me longer to look than Mr Motor himself. .
because after a brilliant idea I had at the Hoover Dam, found me analyzing the details of the cars for letters. I have always LOVED the wall hangings where you spell out your last name with photos of things in nature or architecture that creates a letter. .
Needless to say, I found the coolest "letters" to spell out our short last name. .
but also found enough "letters" to spell out the name of our friends that will be getting married this summer. .
I can hardly wait to print them and have Jeremy build a frame for me!
I'm hoping to save enough money to buy me a great mobile like this one! HAHA! It looked like the ULTIMATE party van!
This is NOT me. .
But it shows a great photo of what the contraption looks like!
I had my heart tested while we were there too. .
I did NOT read this flyer before I went. .
I was too scared to know!
Ignorance is bliss, right?
And allowed myself to be launched up into space 160 feet from the top of the Stratosphere casino. .
The tallest structure west of the Mississippi river!
I would have loved to show you the photo they took of me riding it, but it looked like I was crapping my pants. .
literally. .
And I figured that I looked much better in my head anyway. .
so I left their expensive souvenir photo right at the booth!
Standing at the bottom of the stratosphere looking up. .
It was every bit as high as it appears!
Up over 100 stories in the sky!
It was nerve wracking and invigorating all at the same time! The ascent took 2.5 seconds, according to their literature and cruised at a leisurely 45 mph!
Jeremy just stood on floor 112 and waited for me to get it out of my system!
The final big thing that we did was to catch a show the night before we came home. .
Jeremy is not into shows. .
But. .
we had seen everything we wanted to see (and many things we wished we hadn't), and had done everything we wanted to do. .
And we had the evening left, so he consented to see a show.
Mystere was a performance of athleticism. .and I thought he would enjoy it.
Not to mention it was right in our hotel lobby.
The acrobatic artists were absolutely incredible! Their strength and abilities were unfathomable to me! Jeremy enjoyed their show. .though he was ready to be out when it is was over!
I am not afraid of clowns! I was sure I could outrun him!
So a celebration of 40 years of life entailed 4 1/2 days of uninterrupted US time. .
He was everywhere!
Seeing lots of crazy people and things we never could even imagine existed. .
In lieu of lunch one day we had this awesome tropical platter of appetizers. .complete with a smoking volcano. .consumed poolside in the glorious afternoon sun!
Sampling incredible food and beverages. .
And hanging out in the quaint little nooks that served them. .
Soaked up deliciously warm weather. .
Hoping Jeremy will fix me a little water feature like this one we saw outside of the Mirage. .
only cause I am SURE he will rebel against one like the Bellagio!
and the landscaping beauties that come with that!
And enjoyed remembering who we have become over the last 40 years!
Not just who we are as parents, or neighbors, or even the career holders that define us. .
But remembering US. .
Our hearts and our sense of adventure and our inner personalities that don't always have time to come to the surface of life!
And THAT was the greatest part!
Despite all the great things we saw and experienced. .
There were enough less desirable aspects of the town that will likely inhibit a return visit. .
And they were a GREAT reminder of exactly HOW blessed we truly are. .
as individuals. .
and as a couple with a family!
And, God willing. .
Here's a toast to. .
The NEXT forty years!
More exciting stuff around here is happening. .
come back soon to check in!
Thanks for taking time out of your day to read about our little trip!
Blessings to all!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mark Another Year. .

The month of March finds 1/2 of our family getting a year older. .
This one. .
turned 15 already!
I'm afraid, though. .
that, of everyone I know. .
Grant has had more things go wrong with HIS birthday, than any other!
It started 6 or 7 years ago. .
Grandma Pat was very sick after an abdominal aneurysm surgery. .
You may recall. .
that SHE makes ALL the birthday cakes. .
Grant was CERTAIN that he was being shafted. .
He asked who would make his cake. .
I will. .replied his mom!
Well, Can't Granny make the cake??
NO. .I will make your cake. .
Can you just BUY a cake??
NOOOO. . I will MAKE your cake!!
And I did. .
As I was finishing up the tedious work of making little brown stars with frosting in the shape of a football on his cake. .
the little snot walked in and said. .
Oh, that's not so bad after all!
It was a good reminder to me of why we are SOOO thankful that Grandma Pat makes all the cakes!
A few years later. .
a couple days before his birthday. .
Miss Thing got really sick with a viral respiratory infection. .
She was only 3 months old. .
And we got to spend 5 days in the pediatric unit in the big city. .
WE missed Grant's birthday. .
And he'll never let us forget that!
LAST year, as we were sitting down to supper at his extended family birthday party. .
I got the phone call from my brother about my dad's accident. .
Which wouldn't have been sooo bad. .
Had the ultimate outcome been different. .
And so forever to come, Grant's day will be marked by that horrid event!
And as if those weren't enough birthday bummers. .
This year??
Granny and Papa had to miss the big day because they were down with influenza. .
Grant's comment. .
Why does everything have to happen on MY birthday??
It makes a mama sad!
Alas. .
His day came and went. .
He partied with family and he partied with friends. .
He had a great cake. .
great dinners. .
homemade chocolate ice cream. .
And all, TRULY was well!!
The next set of birthdays will be here soon. .
No more turning 15 though. .
Or 10 (like Devin). .
Or even 5 (like Miss Thing). .
The NEXT birthdays will be HARD CORE. .
Like. .
Get the fire extinguisher ready to put out the candles. .
 more like turning. .
15 + 10 + 10 +5
And then. .
multiply THAT times TWO birthdays. .
Holy Moly!!
Tune in later. .
because you won't want to miss THIS celebration!!
Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winter Storms. .Blessed Moisture

I often wonder about people who don't blog for a long time with no good farewell note. .
Are they OK? Sick? Dead? Throwing in the blogging towel?
I wonder about them, as I am sure you are wondering about me!
If I ever decide to give up blogging. .
I will let you know. .
So, in the meantime. .
Thanks for showing up to hear a story or two!
Better late than never!
I'm pleased to report that we got major snow and signs of spring in the same week!!
I lose count. .but I think it was 2-3 weeks ago now!!
On my second snow day home from work. .
In between games of slap-jack. .
I was awarded a short window break from the slave drivers children. .
I was pretty thrilled to see SIX bluebirds around the frozen pond!
By the time the second snow came and went. .
We had about 2 feet of snow to be piled up out of the driveway. .
so that every day life could take place. .
Like working :-)
The second snow came as a blizzard that lasted all day and into the night. .
I was glad to see the sun shine Tuesday morning. .
and impressed to see how the snow attached to vertical surfaces. .from all sides!
As well as how it fashioned such CRAZY looking icicles!!
I've seen others with similar photos at their houses. .
And here I thought we were the only ones with unique ice sculptures!
But, I'll add. .
I've NEVER seen icicles like THOSE. .
We were thankful to get out of town BETWEEN the two storms. .
And to grandmother's house we went. .
Where all of the cousins were super excited to play together. .
Including an afternoon trip down the street to a hill that leads down to the river. .you can see the grates on the right where the water goes underneath the main street into the other side.
The object was to land in the snow BEFORE getting to the grate!
I think that everyone got the point!
My big boys and Uncle Chris. .
weathered the entire afternoon. .
With Haley, Teegan, and Colton winning a close second on sledding runs!
Even this old lady (NO, that is NOT me on the sled) made two trips down the hill. .
Totally exhilarating!
And I guarantee that I landed MUCH more eloquently than THIS one did!
I was glad to have gotten the first photo taken above with the beautiful snow about 10 minutes before my father in law came through with his big tractor. .Scooping massive amounts of snow out of his way so he could feed his heifers and their new babies. .that's what the plowed area was in the background. .It was comical to watch those new baby calves run through the snow in the path as they played!
It was good to be with family. .
We hadn't been back with everyone since Christmas. .
 And it was a great time hanging out. .and playing. .
AND I even smoked my sister in a game of Scrabble (which DOESN'T happen often. .unless my preacher's wife happens to call to chat. .and I coerce her into praying for me. .BUT that wasn't the case this time. .I won on my own. .just sayin!)
And while we enjoyed the snow play outside. .
It also meant a few fun activities inside. .
Like a little tea party for lunch!
Tuesday's sunshine was SO warm and refreshing. .
That Cami and I couldn't resist building a little snow buddy. .
And THESE girls. .who didn't leave their coop for nearly a week. .
were glad to get down for a bit of fresh air as well!
On our trip to mom's. .
We brought back a little piece of history. .
And I can't WAIT to show you what this will be soon!!
We are hopeful. .
That because of the winter scenes like these. .
our spring and summer might be a little more normal!
Hoping to be back soon to show some photos of the recent
The greenhouse is in good use right now. .
and I know my gardening friends would LOVE to see what I'm up to in there. .
We also have a few "little things" up our sleeves around here. .
that will CERTAINLY be showcasing some photos in the next few weeks. .
I know that my family enjoys reading what we are up to. .
And I enjoy the comments from the blog-land friends I've made. .
and more than anything. .
I'm so glad you keep showing up right here for a visit!
Thanks for your patience. .
and your friendships!
Blessings for a wonderful week!