Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vegas--Day 4

Our last full day in Vegas, we once again slept in and then headed to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay for brunch. Justin had always wanted to go to one of these and had we not had a show planned for the evening he might have convinced me to go back for some live music. After brunch, we hit the strip for some more sightseeing. We took the monorail all the way up to the northern part of the strip and then spent the rest of the day buying souvenirs. We did get an up-close encounter with the lions at the MGM during feeding time, which was very cool. At 5, we headed to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner and then it was off to our final show, KA. It is another Cirque show and like Mystere, this one did not disappoint. The theatrics were absolutely amazing! Several people have asked me which was my favorite between Mystere and KA and I can honestly say that I cannot choose. Each one is fantastic in its own right, so they both get high marks from both Justin and myself. After the show we went back out of the strip for a bit and then headed back to our hotel and capped off our trip with a few more pulls of the slots. We had an early flight out on Thursday so we headed to our room about midnight to get packed.
We definitely had a wonderful time and got a much needed vacation from our toddler who I think has hit the Terrible Twos a bit early (more on this in the next post.) Don't get me wrong, we love Makenna and couldn't imagine our lives without her, but this trip gave Justin and I some long overdue, uninterrupted adult conversation. Enjoy the last set of pictures.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vegas--Day 3

On Tuesday, we didn't have any plans so just simply spent the day doing whatever we wanted without any time restraints which was very nice. We slept in until about 8:30, headed to breakfast, and then hit the strip. We spent most of the day going in the various hotels and casinos on the strip and had a great time. From all of the places we went in, the Bellagio and the Mirage were our favorites so maybe we will stay at one of those on our next trip. However, those two are also some of the more expensive, so we will just have to see. For lunch, we ate at a place called BLT Burger in the Mirage that was voted for having the best burger in Vegas. I am not too sure about that, but it was a good meal. The afternoon got very warm (I think it topped 108 degrees) so we decided to go see a movie. I am usually not one to do things on vacation that I can do at home, but by mid-afternoon it was so hot and my ankle needed a break so we went to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was a great movie and it watching it will always be a memory Justin and I have of our trip. When the movie was over it was dinner time so we headed to Planet Hollywood and ate at PF Chang's. We had neither one ever ate at one of these restaurants and our dinner was amazing. They had a special 4-course dinner for two that we chose and we both left there very stuffed. We both had egg drop soup and crab wonton appetizers. For our entree, Justin chose orange chicken (which was delicious) and I had there famous spicy chicken (which was fabulous as well.) For dessert, Justin had a smore concoction and I had tiramisu. It was our favorite meal of the trip. After dinner we hit the strip again and watched the famous fountains at the Bellagio and spent the rest of the night relaxing on the strip before heading back to the Luxor. Once back at our hotel, we hit some slots and we both had some luck. I won $22 and Justin one $10. We definitely didn't put in a lot of money so we were pretty excited. I know some of the people around us thought we were crazy for getting excited over this "little" win, but to us we were just happy to win something.

In front of the Bellagio

At the gardens in the Bellagio

Glass flowers at the Bellagio

In front of the Mirage

On the strip

View of the strip

Another view of the strip

The fountains at the Bellagio

The fountains

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vegas--Day 2

On Monday we took a day-long excursion over to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. I was really excited about this for a few reasons--1) I had never been to the state of Arizona and 2) we have a national parks theme at school this year and being the team leader I chose the Grand Canyon National Park because I was going to visit it on this vacation. Needless to say we got a TON of pictures that I can use to decorate my classroom this year.

We loaded the tour bus early in the morning because it is a long drive to the Grand Canyon, but thankfully our tour guide did a good job of giving us the history of Vegas and other areas we traveled through. I can honestly say that I learned a lot. We made a brief photo stop at the Hoover Dam, which was quite cool. While the pictures of the dam are amazing, nothing compares to seeing this man-made wonder of the world in person. Our tour guide also reminded us that the Hoover Dam was one on the targets on 9/11 and upon seeing the dam Justin and I both realized how lucky our nation is that the plane that was supposed to destroy the dam never left the ground. While that day is a very horrific one in our nation's history, it could have been much worse. If the Hoover Dam had been destroyed much of the land west of it would be gone today.

After our brief stop at the dam, we were then off to the Grand Canyon. The tour guide played a video of the Hoover Dam and the movie "National Treasure" on the trip, so time went by fairly quickly. Once at the Grand Canyon we were allowed a full three hours to hike the park, shop, etc. We spent the time simply going to various points along the South Rim and taking in the spectacular view of the enormous natural wonder. All I can say is that it was simply breath-taking. And as I mentioned two post earlier, it was at this point that I sprained my ankle getting back on the bus to head back to Vegas. Luckily, only Justin and two other very nice women saw me.

On the way back to Vegas, our tour guide showed us two movies--"National Lampoons Vegas Vacation" and "Oceans Eleven" as well as a video on the Grand Canyon. I am so thankful that we had these to watch because we got stuck in traffic near the Hoover Dam (we simply crept along for 5 miles), but it wasn't too bad since we had some entertainment. It also rained on our way back and when we arrived in Vegas it was storming, which only happens 2-4 times a year there. Overall, we had a fantastic day and we would highly recommend taking a trip to these two landmarks to anyone planning on going to Vegas. We would also highly recommend the tour company we went on--it was very reasonable in price and our tour guide was fantastic.

Vegas--Day 1

I decided to dedicate one post for each day of our trip instead of putting all of our pictures and info into one long post. We arrived in Vegas on Sunday afternoon and made our way to our hotel, the Luxor. One of Justin's co-workers stays here every year when she and her husband go to Vegas, so she had given Justin some tips on what to do. She told him to go to the west tower registration desk to check in and lucky for us that was right by the door where our taxi dropped us off. There was no line and Justin asked and was able to get a room upgrade to the west tower (which was newly renovated) instead of in the pyramid. We then headed to our room to leave our luggage and change before heading down the strip for dinner and our show. As we were headed to the tram to take us up the strip we had to pass the main registration area. There was a long line with at least an hour and a half wait. Boy were we glad for the tip we got and so thankful that we didn't have to wait in that long line. We really would have been cutting it close to eat dinner and get to our show had we had to wait in that line!

We made our way to Treasure Island to pick up our tickets for our show--Cirque du Soleil's Mystere and then we headed to dinner. We ate at a California Pizza Kitchen and arrived there right before they closed (once again good luck for us.) Our dinner was amazing and by the time we were done it was about time for us to get seated for Mystere, but we did have a few minutes to spare to pull a few slots before the theatre opened. We weren't really sure what to expect from Mystere, but Justin and I both enjoyed it a great deal. When the show was over around 11 o'clock we were both exhausted and decided to take the monorail back down to our hotel instead of walk. Not only were we tired, but we also had to get up early the next day for our planned excursion, which will be detailed in our next post. Here are a few pictures taken from our first day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We're Back

Justin and I got back from our Vegas vacation yesterday afternoon. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to going back sometime. I don't have any pictures uploaded yet, but hope to have that done later today or tomorrow, so I will post them when I do. While the vacation was wonderful we did have some crazy experiences.

First, as we were getting situation in our seats for our departing flight a teenage girl sitting two rows behind us found a multi-tool with the knife blade open in her seat. She alerted the stewardess who took it and immediately called security. The tool was found in the last row of the plane so a lot of people were not aware of what was going on at this point, but all the action was taking place right where we were at. The stewardess got very upset about the whole deal and began crying as she was speaking with the others on the phone and at one point she thought we were all going to have to deplane and go through security again. However, two security officials arrived on the plane and questioned the poor teenage girl. She along with her friend and grandparents had to get off the plane and go through security again. I felt really sorry for her, but they finally returned to the plane and we took off only 30 minutes behind schedule. However, once we got to Vegas our luck turned around because we got a room upgrade at our hotel and we made it to our show in plenty of time.

On Day 2 we took our trip to the Grand Canyon on a tour bus. There were only 20 people on our bus which was nice but we were definitely in the minority as Americans. It was a wonderful day until we got ready to get back on the bus to return to Vegas. It rained at the Grand Canyon earlier in the day so everything was wet and slippery. As Justin and I were going down the stairs (which were made or different levels of stone) from the gift shop to board our bus, my foot hit the edge of one of the raised stones and I went tumbling down. So, I spent the rest of our vacation with a badly sprained left ankle. However, I took several aspirin and was able to tough it out. It is still very swollen, but hopefully on the mend.

Our last and probably scariest event happened on our returning flight. It is important to note that Justin was sitting in the aisle seat and I was next to him. We were about 30 minutes into our trip back home and I had just dozed off when I woke up to Justin scooting very close to me. I then see a man falling down in the aisle. Yes, that is right, as man passed out right at Justin's feet. He then woke up and returned to his seat which was one row in front of us and across the aisle. Justin said that he got up to go to the bathroom, couldn't get the door open, and headed back to his seat. He alerted the stewardess that he was going to pass out on his way back so she was right behind him when he passed out. The man was traveling alone so no one knew if he had any type of medical condition or not. They alerted everyone on board that we had a medical emergency and asked if there were any doctors or nurses on board. Luckily, there were three nurses who came up and helped the man. They gave him some oxygen, checked his bp, etc. and then he came to and was a little better. Finally everything calmed down and we were able to continue our flight without any other major events. When we did land in Springfield, they did have EMTs come on board and ask the man if he wanted to go to the hospital (which he refused) and he had to get off the plane first to sign some papers. I knew the man had to be embarrassed, but thankfully he was okay and we didn't have to make an emergency landing.

While we did have these crazy moments on our trip, the positive ones outnumber these three by far and I will tell you about those when I get the pictures uploaded.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

18 months and Vacation

Makenna turned 18 months old last Friday so yesterday we made our trip to Dr. Hampton's office for our check-up. I was hoping that she had gained a little weight, which she had, but she is still only in the 10th percentile weighing in at only 21 lbs. 11 oz. Everything else was great and we were told once again that she seems to be above average--except in her weight. :) Dr. Hampton especially noted that her fine and gross motor skills were exceptional. We are definitely proud parents.

Justin and I are leaving Sunday for our much needed vacation to Las Vegas after the past week we have experienced. While it will be difficult being away from Makenna for 5 days and 4 nights, I am sure we will have a good time. We are going to two Cirque du Soleil shows, taking a day trip to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, and just looking forward to spending time with each other with the interruption of a toddler. We will be sure to post pictures!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Video

Here is a new video of Makenna. I am still learning how to convert videos so that they go on here and the only way I could figure it out was to get a 15-day trial of some program so if anyone out there knows how to do it without paying for a program please let me know.

But anyways, back to the video. Makenna likes to have "dance time" and yesterday she decided that she wanted to stand in the chair to dance. I think this was her way on getting me to let her play with things on the desk (as you will see in the video), but I gave in. Makenna's vocab has really increased over the past few weeks and one of her favorite things to say is thank you so I thought I would play her a song called "Thank You." In the video she is listening to the song and will repeat thank you. I luckily was able to get it on tape. A while after this was filmed, I found Makenna in the chair once again playing with the mouse like she was trying to get iTunes to come back on. She is a mess. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A few new pictures and bows

Here are a few pictures taken on the 4th. We must get better at having others take a family photo of us! Justin is taking off work on Friday and we are planning on going around town on a photo shoot for Makenna's 18th month milestone! We will see how that goes and hopefully we will post some pictures of that here, too.

Also, I want to point out the bow Makenna is wearing. Andrea, a good friend of my friend Lauren's is getting her bow (and other girly things) business started and I just want to pass along that her bows are super cute and VERY REASONABLE in price for anyone reading this who has little girls in their lives. She is even making a few pairs of Willard bows for Makenna for the fall--which is incredibly nice since she is from Republic and used to be the counselor at the high school! :) Click on her name above to visit her website and let me know if you need any other information. I will definitely be ordering all of Makenna's bows from her from now on. I can't wait for her fall open house!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


After trying several things, we finally got our first video to post. We will keep trying to get a better system down, but for now just enjoy this video of Makenna playing with her kitchen. If you listen carefully, she says "I'm cooking," right after she looks at the camera to show off that she has lettuce on her plate.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Little Cook

Makenna and I have been enjoying our time together at home. All she has wanted to do these past few days is "cook" at her kitchen, which was a wonderful garage sale find because it is in brand new condition and I paid 1/5 of what I could have paid for it in the store. It is so cute to watch her--she will work at her kitchen for a bit and then she will set out plates and put "food" on the plates for us to sample. She will even pass out the silverware. She doesn't have a lot of pretend food yet, but she definitely has enough to keep her occupied. She will have more at Christmas--yes, I already have purchased a vegetable set, a fruit set, and a hamburger set give her. These sets were so cute that I couldn't resist and it will also help her learn all her fruits and veggies as well as help her with color recognition. I found the veggies and hamburger sets at Marshall's so I got a great deal on them. The fruit set I purchased at a local store called the Children's Orchard, who just recently began carrying this line of pretend food. Unfortunately, I can't get the video of her playing with her kitchen to upload (I have been trying since last night), but I will keep trying. Until then, we hope everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th of July. We sure will.