Over spring break we decided to head down to southern Utah to visit my Grandparents as well as enjoy some R&R with the family. We enjoyed time by the pool each day and I let it all hang out in my bikini. I am not sure others around me enjoyed me in it, but it is about the only time I really feel comfortable in a two piece suit. My little guy is a fish and couldn’t be happier than when he is in or on the water. He spent a lot of time in the pool making up games and trying new tricks. Lauren is a teenager now so pool time was more about splashing for short periods of time and then drying off before heading back to the house to listen to music or enjoy a Netflix show. I love the sun, I keep myself lathered in sunscreen, but can’t get enough of the natural Vit. D. I enjoy spending time in the sun, and shade but sitting outside and soaking up the scenery around me makes me extremely happy.
Lauren and I headed out to do some Summer shopping for her, she is growing so fast that I can’t keep up with her. There was a time when she could wear her stuff for two seasons, but now we are replacing things every 6 months. I would guess she is just about done growing, but I have been thinking that for awhile now.
The next day we headed over to see my Grandparents who still live alone (with some help) in their house. I haven’t been down to St. George since October I think, so seeing them was a site for sore eyes. I get a little emotional when I think about them and when I am around them, knowing that I don’t have much more time with them. My Grandfather is a Marine Colonel and lived through more than I could imagine. My Grandmother was a stay at home wife and mother her entire life and their adventures together in various states and countries always amazes me. Each time we go and see them, I try to get them to talk about stories from their past so that we can record these moments and watch them in the future. Some stories are the same, others I haven’t heard before, but each time they tell them, I am mesmerized. This visit my Grandmother looked amazing, even though she doesn’t feel well most of the time. My Grandfather is her rock, he is strong and has been doing such a great job caring for her. But this visit was a shock for me, he looked older than the last visit, he was slower in his pace, less steady but sharp as a tack. I love these two people so much, more than I can express in words and it breaks my heart to know how little time I have with them.
When we left their house, their neighbor flagged us down. This neighbor has been extremely hard to live next to, he is a grumpy and angry man, not a nice man in fact, but I heard his wife had died two weeks prior and felt sorry for him. Once we got out to see what he needed, he had something to show us still in the Christmas box. It was a blanket his daughter had given him with a picture printed on it of their family. He was so proud and kept telling us what an amazing gift it was to receive this. I had a feeling his relationship with his family may have been strained, but with the loss of his wife, and their mother, they were trying to rekindle their relationship. It is funny how life works, death is a horrible and tragic event, and yet it brings so many people together. I realized how lonely he must be to feel the need to flag down perfect strangers visiting his neighbors to show them his Christmas present. Even now reflecting back on that day, it makes me emotional.
On our second to last day, the kids wanted to go into Vegas for the day, so we made plans the night before and decided on all the things we wanted to see and do while we were there. Unfortunately, the day didn’t go as planned. When we arrived at our house a few days earlier it was late and we all headed to bed so we didn’t notice that the hot water wasn’t working. In fact, the next morning we threw on swim suits and hit the pool so even then we didn’t notice it. Later that day, Lauren was the first inside to take a shower and let us know that the water wasn’t warm so when we looked into it, we noticed the pilot light was out. In most cases this is an easy fix, right? Well of course this water heater was a bit older and my parents didn’t stock long matches or a long lighter. So Billy had to come up with something on his own. Good thing my mom collects odds and ends like small containers and chopsticks, because Billy was able to attach a match to the end of a chopstick and then light the pilot light. Of course this does not mean you have hot water right away, it takes a few hours to heat up, so we all took cold showers and called it a day.
On the morning of Vegas, when we were getting ready for the day, we couldn’t get the warm water in our shower to come out with any pressure. It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode of the low flow shower heads, but I took a shower anyway and didn’t think much of it. When Billy checked it out, he felt it was the valve and an easy fix…famous last words. He grabbed what he needed from Home Depot and started on fixing it so we could head out to Vegas later that afternoon. If you know my dad, then you know he isn’t the fix it type, so his tool box (which is older than me) has limited tools in it. Billy kept trying to make things work, but the valve was stuck, corroded, and just wouldn’t budge at all. So he had to head to my Grandparent’s place to grab some tools to finish the job. The job of 30 minutes turned into over 2 hours of blood, sweat and nearly tears, my tears, but it finally was complete.
After we finished getting ready, we piled into the car and headed to Vegas. We arrived in the later afternoon and our first stop was the Forum shops at Caesar’s Palace. We stopped in at H & M so Lauren could do a bit of shopping. She was over the moon when we hit the dressing rooms which felt like a posh experience. The sales associate pulled back the velvet curtain for her as the rest of us sat on the velvet couch and waited for her to show us the new outfits. This made her day, she felt like she was in Hollywood enjoying the good life like the stars – it’s the small things! Next we talked around the mall and the kids lost their minds when they saw the Mall Cop on a Segway. They love the movie Mall Cop with Kevin James and they didn’t realize that in bigger cities this is a real thing. Then while walking the strip they saw street performers and Will was so excited, since he has been talking about hitting a street corner downtown and dancing for money.
Our next stop was to Serendipity 3 the ice cream shop where the four of us enjoyed a $15 sundae. It had 3 cookies, 3 scoops of ice cream, fudge and caramel sauce and whip cream. It was delicious!!! After our bellies were full, we started down the strip walking toward the M&M factory shop. On the map this was just next door to the Paris hotel, which was just across from Caesar’s Palace, but in actuality it was VERY far away, 35 minutes of walking. Since I hadn’t gone for a walk that morning, I was up for the walk, but I wasn’t sure how the kids would do by the end of the day since Will has a tendency to complain when he gets tired.
I haven’t been inside the newer Paris hotel so we made pit stop to see if we could go up to the top. Unfortunately we didn’t have the right attire to dine at the top so we walked around the hotel instead.
We finally made it to the M&M’s World and had a great time looking at all the stuff, watching a moving and seeing new candy flavors.
Next up was the Everything Coca-Cola Store which was just next door. I think we had the most fun in this factory as we stat and tasted 16 different soda flavors from around the world. You wouldn’t believe some of the flavors, most were disgusting, some were okay. After all the walking and touring, the kids wanted to grab dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. So we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the noises of Vegas while we ate our mediocre food, at best, but the kids were enjoying themselves.
Our last stop was New York New York hotel, but the kids were too tired and wanted to head back to St. George, so we endured the long walk back to the car and headed home, but not before Will found a street vendor selling T-shirts that light up to music and other sounds. $25 later, Will had a new T-shirt and a smile from ear to ear.
On our last day, we spent time at the pool and waited for my Dad to arrive, he was coming down to care for my Grandparents and get in a little R&R himself. My Mom had to stay at home because her co-worker was diagnosed with aggressive cancer and she needed to fill in where possible for her. After visiting with my Dad for a bit, showering, cleaning, packing and having lunch, we all jumped in the car for the long ride home. A perfect vacation, just the way we like it.