Weeks 26 and 27: New York, Venice, Paris and a Vegas Wedding

Our stay in Vegas was fantastic! We did a lot of walking and saw so many amazing things. The first Sunday in Vegas we attended Praise Tabernacle and it was very nice. When we drove up the building was rather impressive and had multiple buildings including a building specifically for Sunday School. We also noticed that there were five different churches listed on the sign out front and we eventually found out that those five churches use the facility together and each church gets a time on Sunday and one weeknight for services. I thought that was a great way for smaller churches in an expensive area to enjoy a facility that would undoubtedly be too expensive for any single one of them.

Later on Sunday we ventured back to the strip and saw Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio. When we walked into Caesar’s the first thing we saw was the food court which had an Earl of Sandwich, one of my favorite restaurants! Yay! We had dinner and walked through the streets of shops there also known as The Forum. Most of the shopping was very expensive, but the stores were designed to look like an outdoor mall and the ceilings were painted to look like the sky above. There were also gorgeous paintings throughout and breathtaking fountains. I never realized how massive the hotels in Vegas actually were!

Next, we headed to Bellagio and saw the atrium gardens that they had decorated as a Japanese flower garden. It was amazing. You could smell the flowers from down the hall and when you walk into the garden it is unbelievably beautiful. I took so many pictures and was so disappointed to see that they only captured a fraction of the beauty of that garden. Just down the hall from the garden was the worlds largest chocolate fountain. Behind glass, it had white, milk and dark chocolate flowing from above the ceiling into glass bowls and then overflowing into more glass bowls. It smelled amazing and boasted a crowd the whole time that we were there. We also took in the fountain show that happens every 15 minutes or so in front of the hotel. It was really cool but after seeing the water shows at Disney, we are hard to impress.

On a side note, we never thought about the size of Stella (our truck) compared to the parking structures. That first night the maximum height for vehicles was 6ft 10in and after we entered, very slowly, we estimate that Stella is 6ft 9 and 3/4 inches tall. Scott opened the sunroof and we all held our breath as we drove under the first beam. It was less than two inches above the top of the truck, but we have lights on top of the cab. After I had parked and we were walking into the casino my stomach started to hurt, I realized that I had been holding my breath every time we went under a beam.

The first part of the week was spent taking Scott to Starbucks to work and schooling the kids. We swam a few times but the pool at Arizona Charlie’s was really warm so we didn’t swim much. On Tuesday night we went to an outdoor mall called Town Square. We ate dinner and then took the kids to play at a huge playground near the center of the mall. It looked like a little village and had a huge splash pad near one end, it was a hit and the kids loved it. On Wednesday, Brytan lost his first top tooth! He was so excited that he pulled it out himself. The tooth fairy took very good care of him!

Thursday, also the 5th of May, was a very special day. Scott and I celebrated 15 years of marriage by renewing our vows at the Lucky Little Chapel in downtown Vegas. It was the sweetest, most special night we have had so far. A week or so before, Scott had asked Brytan to be his Best Man and I had asked Charlie to be my Maid of Honor. The kids were really excited to be playing such important roles in our evening. We all had new outfits, except Scott, he already had the perfect jeans, thanks to Ron and Jenni! I had found the perfect dress and, luckily, had found the most beautiful roses to make Charlie and I bouquets for the ceremony. When we arrived, the minister, a woman, had the kids sign our vow renewal certificate as our witnesses. She then explained that Charlie would walk down the aisle first followed by Brytan and me. She had Brytan give me away to Scott after he kissed my cheek and shook Scott’s hand. It was the cutest thing. Then during the ceremony, Scott and I read vows that we had written for the occasion. Despite telling Scott that I wouldn’t cry, I did. When I began to talk about all that we have been through and experienced over the last 15 years, I couldn’t help it.

After the ceremony, we headed to the Wynn to have some dinner. This hotel quickly became my favorite. The restaurant that we ate at was the most beautiful I have ever been in. It was decorated with pillars of flowers from floor to ceiling and had an entire room dedicated to the dessert bar. “Wow” is all I can say! The rest of the hotel was gorgeous as well, full of fountains and flowers and amazing decor. The entire evening was just lovely.

The next night we explored the Venetian. Like Caesar’s, it has shops that look like they are outside as well, the shopping was a little more reasonably priced. I was thrilled to see an Alex and Ani store! I helped pick out my mother’s day presents and, boy, was it fun! We sampled some gelato while we watched the gondolas float by in the river. We also walked across the street to take in The Mirage, which we all agree reminded us of the Polynesian Resort at Disney World.

Saturday brought rain which meant indoor fun for us! We took the kids to the Children’s Discovery Museum and spent the entire day watching them have a blast. It was laid out a lot like the children’s museum in San Antonio. Since it was a Saturday, Scott was able to come along which was really nice. He was so into what the kids were doing, and they really loved him being there with us. We didn’t realize that there was a gigantic outlet mall across the street so we stopped in there after our day of fun. We ended up doing a little shopping as well as having dinner at Cheesecake Factory. It was a great day!

The next morning I was woke up to “Happy Mother’s Day” and presents from Scott and the kids. Charlie had been working on a gift for me for the past few weeks and was so excited for me to see it. Come to find out, she had taken some sand stone from our Sedona hike in Arizona (shhhhh!!) and she had asked Scott to help her with her plan. She crushed the stone into dust with a hammer, mixed it with glue and shaped it into a heart. After it dried a few days later, she colored it and wrapped it in some string to hang it from a necklace she had picked out. So much thought went into that necklace. I will treasure it forever.

After presents, we went to New York New York to check it out. It has a large section that resembles the old city streets of New York with pizza shops and hot dog stands. It’s pretty cute. More importantly, though, there is also a gigantic Hershey store which the kids were very excited to check out! I think Scott was pretty excited too! Each of the kids, including Scott, got a little something before we continued on to the M&M store across the street, which unfortunately was a little less exciting. The kids still loved it though so it’s all good. To finish off the day we drove over to Circus Circus to see some of the free circus acts that are performed throughout the day. Well, it was a circus. Literally. The crowd there was a lot louder and more crass. We saw a few acts and got out of there.

Early the next week, we went to my second favorite hotel, Paris. Wow! So elegant and so French. We had dinner at a little “outdoor” cafe in the hotel. They had my favortie, Croque Monsiuer, simply a ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top. It was amazing. I also got the cutest pair of shoes, so my night was made.

Later in the week Brytan lost his other front tooth and now has the cutest lisp ever! I am loving his new smile and the way he talks! Oh! We also got to see some familiar faces from Wisconsin. Scott’s two friends from work and their wives flew in on Thursday night and, on Friday, we had lunch with them at the Hard Rock Hotel. It is always so nice to catch up with people from Wisconsin and hear how things are going there.

That pretty much sums up our time in Las Vegas. I was a little worried about the kids being in Vegas and what they would see and hear. We were VERY vigilant in watching in front of where we were walking to plan for detours around crazy people wearing costumes. We mostly stayed inside the hotels when we were exploring which eliminates a lot of the riffraff. I truly enjoyed my first trip to Las Vegas and I will definitely go back in the future.

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