Monday, January 28, 2008

Cruisin' Las Vegas Style :)

Well, we are home, and what a trip! It was a whirlwind five days, full of sights and busyness and shows and shopping. Now I need a vacation!

I want to share some pics with you that I took on the trip, so here's the play-by-play:


We left Saskatoon on Monday evening. Flights were uneventful, which was just fine by me! We arrived in Vegas at about 9pm, and had just enough time to check into our hotel and peek around the strip for a bit. We stayed at the Treasure Island hotel, which was very nice. Not too fancy and not seedy at all. We had a very nice room on the 28th floor.


We were traveling with my parents, and another couple, Vinnie & Christine. Tuesday morning, the guys went to the "World of Concrete" convention (which, I guess, was the real reason for our trip!) so we girls popped over to the mall next to our hotel, the Fashion Show Center. There, they had a shoppers' shuttle over to the Fashion Show Outlet in Primm, Nevada. So we took that shuttle and did some MAJOR shopping. Christine introduced us to Dippin' Dots...little bits of ice cream that froze your tongue and tasted soooooo good!

Tuesday night, we all went out for supper and then we went to Freemont Street. From what I heard, Freemont Street is the old "Strip". It's a street full of older casinos, shops, and restaurants. It has a huge, long domed screen over the entire length of the strip. Every hour on the hour, they shut the casino lights off and there is a light show on this screen. It doesn't sound exciting, but it is really incredible. We were mesmerized as we watched it. If you ever go to Vegas, you HAVE to check this out!!


Wednesday was such a fun day! In the morning, Mom, Dad, and I went to pick up all our show tickets. But first we went scrapbook shopping! We found a store called Majestic Memories. It was a bit of a drive, but well worth it. Mom and I shopped while Dad (what a sweetie!) patiently slept in the van. Russ wasn't with us because -- ahem -- he was jumping out of a plane. Yep, you heard that right. He went skydiving that morning. Which is why I had to shop to keep my mind off of the idea of him crashing to the ground from 15,000 feet. LOL We stopped at the Bellagio to pick up Cirque tickets and at the Excalibur to pick up Tournament of Kings tickets. Aren't my parents cute??

We all met up, even Russ the crazy skydiver, and went for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Then everyone else went to the convention and Mom and I took the tram to the MGM Grand Hotel. We started there and put $10 in the penny machines at every casino we had time for. We stopped off at the M&M Factory, which was soooooooo neat! And we gambled our way up the Strip. We played at the MGM Grand, New York New York, the Flamingo, Bally's, Harrah's, and then back to Treasure Island. We didn't win big, but we pretty much broke even -- and we had a blast laughing, hanging out, and just enjoying our time together.

We capped off the night with the Tournament of Kings medieval feast at the Excalibur Hotel. That was an awesome show, full of audience participation. And I've never cheered so hard and loud! After that, Mom and Dad went back to the hotel while the rest of us wandered down the other end of the strip. We checked out the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, which were very neat to see.


Thursday was a more relaxed day for us. We went on a bus tour with Grand Canyon Adventures. We met the tour bus, and rode all over Las Vegas. We stopped at the Ethel M's Chocolate Factory -- my FAVORITE part of the day. We sampled some divine chocolates, and I couldn't help but bring some home! Then we went down to Lake Mead on the bus, and took a tour of the lake on the Desert Princess, an old-fashioned paddle-wheeler. We had lunch on the boat and toured the lake all the way down to Hoover Dam. Back to the bus, and we drove to the Hoover Dam Tourist Center. Mom and I checked out the gift shop and the scenery while the rest took a tour of the power plant inside the dam.

Thursday evening, we saw Cirque de Soliel's "O" at the Bellagio. WOW!!! That's pretty much all I can say. It left me speechless. It was incredible. If I ever have the opportunity to see another Cirque show, I will absolutely be there. After Cirque, mom and I hit the penny slots and played until we were done for the night. Our last night in Vegas, we had to!!!


Friday morning was basically packing and getting ready to go. We had had so much fun, I almost didn't want to leave. But I missed the kids, and the noise was enough. So going home, while a bit sad, was a relief.

But before we left, Russ and I took a walk down the strip and I took some photos of Caesar's Palace during the day. They have incredible architecture there. Carved statues, marble columns, and everything. It was one of those things I just had to do before we went to the airport.

And as we checked through security at the airport, we saw huge billowing clouds of smoke coming from the Strip area. We heard the Monte Carlo hotel was on fire! Thank goodness no one was very seriously hurt -- and that we got away from the Strip area in time to not get caught in traffic. I can only imagine what it was like down there.

So, we came, we saw, and we loved it. It was a memorable trip -- and I am so glad we went. There were so many things we saw that I didn't mention here, but how could I? Vegas is a place you can't really describe. It's an experience.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

Guess what! Only seven more sleeps, and I will be in:

That's right, we're going to Vegas. Mom and Dad are heading to World of Concrete convention, and one of the couples they were traveling with couldn't go. So they asked us to take the tickets!

We're staying at the Treasure Island Hotel and seeing a few shows. Cirque Du Soliel's "O", a medieval feast, and a full-day Hoover Dam tour on a riverboat. Mom and I are going shopping while the guys check out the tradeshow.

Will Monday ever come?

Monday, January 7, 2008


It's really amazing, the things you learn from your kids.

Downhill skiing has always scared the jeepers out of me. I had visions of tumbling down the hill, breaking every bone in my body or freezing my feet until my toes fell off. Somehow, strapping two skinny boards to my feet and hurtling down a mountain out of control didn't really appeal to me. Gee -- I wonder why. (insert sarcasm here)

But Russ took me skiing about two years ago, because I finally got up enough nerve to try it. I enjoyed it, but I was very tense and afraid. I fell a lot. I got cold. But I did go up and down the bunny hill a few times without killing myself. That was a good thing. I guess I must have enjoyed it enough to try it again, because when he asked me to go this year I agreed.

I see how confident Russ is when he does certain things, like kneeboarding or skiing. He just jumps in and does things like that without even worrying about how badly he could hurt himself. I'm not like that. Why? Because I'm a big chicken, that's why. I don't want my kids to be afraid of trying new things, like I am. So I want them to try things when they are young -- so they don't know enough to be afraid.

So we went skiing yesterday at Table Mountain. And we took the kids with us.

We thought an afternoon would be enough. And I wanted everyone to take lessons, for safety's sake, you know. And I packed books & etc just in case the kids and I ended up in the lodge passing the time while Russ finished up playing around on the hill. But we were wrong.

After a few minutes of instruction, Russ took Curtis down the hill. He loved it. Then Russ took Renee down the hill. She loved it. After the first time down the hill, Renee was off on her own, up and down as fast as she could. Curtis went up and down too -- he only needed help when he fell down, which was not too often. By the end of the afternoon, with only one snack and bathroom break for all of us, Renee was tucking to get more speed and she hadn't fell down even once. Curtis was starting to control his skis so he could turn at the bottom of the hill.

And, honestly, I had so much fun watching them that I forgot to be afraid. I loosened up and really felt in control down the hill. I didn't fall down. I didn't break any bones. I actually enjoyed it -- and can't wait to go again! If a 7-year-old can handle downhill skiing, so can I. And I did handle it, thanks to the inspiration of my two young peanuts.

Here's a pic of my three skiiers at the top of the hill at Table Mountain:

One more thing I did learn? Ouch! I have muscles in my legs, and they are used while skiing. It'll take a few days for the soreness to wear off. But it was worth it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well goodbye to 2007, hello 2008!

This year has so much to offer! Already this year is exciting!

We just found out that we are going to Las Vegas -- in two weeks! We are going with my mom and dad. I just can't wait for this trip. We've never taken a vacation with my parents without the kids. A real, honest to goodness, big-person vacation! Wow, what a concept! My wonderful, generous friend Gisele has offered to adopt my kids for a week so we can go. I was completely overwhelmed by her unselfish offer -- and she didn't even hesitate to offer. If there were more people in the world like Gisele, this world would be an amazing place.

I am looking forward to a couple of new scrapping projects -- but these ones are a little bit different.

The first one starts on Monday: the 2008 Scripture Challenge at FaithSisters. Each week, you are challenged to find a scripture from the Bible that is close to your heart, and scrapbook it in some kind of way. This is just a vague description, I know, but I will know more about it on Monday when it starts. You can find the details here.

And the other is a scrapbooking project that will help you discover your faith and strengthen your relationship with God: the 2008 Faith Discovery Challenge at FaithSisters. You can find the details of this one here.

And, of course, I am waiting for the February Just Cre8 kit to hit my mailbox -- maybe it will be here today!! Mel has a great challenge up for January already -- I'll be taking that one to JSI tonight to do! And for those of you who like Sketch Challenges, you should try the Just Cre8 January sketch challenge -- you could win a gift certificate to the store!

I wish you all the most joyous, most prosporous, most cre8ive year in 2008!