Our PG-Rated Trip to the Las Vegas Strip

Clear back in September, we went on a family trip to Las Vegas. It was actually a business trip for Steve (International Baking Industry Expo) that I morphed into a family trip. We have never had this experience before, and I know that it is not probable to ever happen again, so I feel the need to document that we really did have a PG-rated trip to the Las Vegas Strip.

Steve and I go to Las Vegas every year, but it had been a few years since we had taken our kids. We were worried about exposing them to the filth that, unfortunately, accompanies the amazement that is Las Vegas.

Prior to our departure, Steve sat down with Rachel and Lucy and gave them quite a talk about modesty, morality, etc. in preparation of what we were certain they would see. But thankfully, they never saw it.

We checked into our (slightly off-strip. . . no smoking allowed) hotel and went straight to Fremont Street for the light show. The kids were completely enthralled.

We saw people dressed up like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and every other pop culture icon you can imagine. It was probably the most risque part of the whole trip.

Have you ever seen a balloon man without a line? He made each of the kids a sword and a belt with a sword holder.

We met up with Courtney and his wife, Brandi, and went to the Stratosphere. Steve, Courtney, and Rachel rode the Big Shot, which catapults riders at 45 miles per hour from the top of the 921-foot tall platform straight up an additional 160 feet, to a height of 1,081 feet. Rachel loved it.

While Steve and Courtney were at the food show the next day, I took the kids, along with Brandi and her very-quiet-and-well-behaved-one-year-old little girl to see the sites on the strip. To say she was overwhelmed by my not-quiet-nor-very-well-behaved kids would be an understatement. (But she was very polite and put up with us nicely.)

Overall, I did pretty well with four little kids on the strip. But there was a lot of yelling: "Rachel, slow down!" "Lucy, watch out!" "Adam, hurry up!" It was a little hard to get my camera in and out of my bag and its case to get good pictures while I was trying to manage the kids, so I settled with my phone most of the time. And there were a few tense moments.

We had parked at New York New York, walked through the casino, up the escalator, and across the pedestrian walkway. Rachel and Lucy were wearing Heelys, I was pushing Kaleigh in the stroller, and Adam was supposed to be on the Buggy Board. . . except when we rode the escalators. Everyone got on the escalator to go down, but Adam just stood there at the top, frozen. Of course, there were hoards of people trying to get on the escalator and I couldn't run up to rescue him because I was balancing Kaleigh in the stroller. I yelled for Rachel to go help him, but she couldn't outrun the escalator. It was certainly only a few seconds, but seemed to last an eternity. He finally decided to get on and made it down safely with the rest of us.

M&M World was definitely a highlight for the kids. I tried to keep them from touching everything in the four floors of M&M novelty gift heaven. We watched the 3-D movie, ate some M&Ms, and made it out without breaking anything.

We walked next door to the Coca-Cola store. The two kids who weren't afraid of the bear posed for a picture.

And then Adam gave me my second scare. . . when he climbed onto the outside of the escalator in the middle of the store. I noticed just in time and grabbed his foot, a second or so before he rode out of my reach.

I pumped them full of more sugar, as we tasted sodas from around the world.

Immediately after posing for this picture, Rachel was a little concerned it might end up on my blog. . . and here it is.

We walked back to the car and drove over to Ceasar's Palace. (Thank goodness for valet parking.) Courtney and his wife went to lunch with Steve at Mesa Grill, and I walked around with the kids. Since Mesa Grill is my favorite restaurant, it was a little painful, but Steve brought me Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash to go. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. While we waited, the kids watched the fish in the aquarium for two hours. No joke.

That night, we went to dinner with Ether at Lavo and then for dessert at Tao, while his sister watched our kids. I absolutely love the Giant Fortune Cookie, but my stomach hurt so bad from dinner that I couldn't even manage to finish it off. Oh what I would give to have another bite right now.

Steve woke up early and went to find a FedEx Office to get some work done. He showed up at breakfast just in time to rescue me. It was a little slow and the hostesses were far too concerned about Adam and Kaleigh, who were standing up on their chairs. Rachel and Lucy, on the other hand, were quite pleasant the entire time and made excellent little tourists.

When we first planned the trip, I figured a late-September trip to Las Vegas would put the temperature at about 90 degrees, perfect for swimming. But it was so hot. Record-breaking hot. 105 degrees hot. By 9:30 am, it was plenty warm to go swimming outside. By 10:00 am, my iPhone shut down because it was so hot. But we still had lots of fun at the pool.

Steve and Courtney went back to the food show and off to check out some other restaurants. I got the kids changed and everything packed. Somehow, I managed to get all four kids and our luggage down from our room and packed up in the car. . . in one load! I wonder if the businessman with a bell boy carrying his two small bags felt dumb as he passed me in the hall. He probably thought I was dumb.

Not sure why I thought record-breaking heat was a good time to go to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden Tour. . . but we went. It was a short little trip.

And then we went to Circus Circus for my first time. It was just as bad as Steve described it. Actually, worse. . . I used most of a bottle of hand sanitizer before we left. Each kid had been promised one "ride" at the Adventuredome, and I tried to get in and out as quickly as possible. But everyone got hungry and we ended up buying lunch from some little store with gas station-style food and ate on a bench in hall. (Meanwhile, Steve and Courtney were enjoying a fabulous lunch at Dos Caminos.)

We met up with Steve and Courtney at the Palazzo, let Lucy enjoy flying across the perfectly-smooth marble floors one last time on her Heelys, and then we were ready to go.

Las Vegas is the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD to wear Heelys.

We loaded the tired kids up in the car, started a DVD to keep their eyes off the inappropriate billboards, and left Las Vegas.

At first, I was thinking that a trip to sunny Las Vegas sounded really nice right now. . . but this made me too tired. I think I'm good for a while.


blakeandcourt said...

That is awesome you had such a family friendly trip to Vegas. Everytime Blake and I go I always think I've had enough for a few years because everything is so yucky.

The Ballard's said...

I am glad I know you do amazing things like that all the time. You are incredible. Your post made me tired and hungry. I can't believe that you were OK letting Steve go without you. You should have had me tend:)

Julee said...

Seriously... The picture of Adam lounging at the pool is the BEST!

Lori said...

awesome! you two are great parents.

Eric and Kelly said...

I was actually going to say the same thing that Julee said....that photo of Adam by the pool is just hilarious.