Friday, August 28, 2009

California, part trois ~

Before we knew it, our visit was nearly over. We had fun in those last days though, mostly just hanging out with the girls and Jason & Wendy.

The day we left, everyone got up early to see us off. The girls were still sleepy but that only makes them sweet. Sweeter. Sweetest!!!

I always get a little teary telling Alahna & Kirra goodbye. Same goes for better believe he gets choked up too, that's just the way we roll.

We have kind of a funny little tradition that helps a little, that when we leave (or when they leave) I give the girls each a pack of orange Tic Tacs. It started one visit when Alahna was two and getting on the plane to go home. I was crying a little, so she cried to make her feel better, I gave her my Tic Tacs. So now we do it every time! They know that orange Tic Tacs is just a special thing that means Mawmaw loves them very much, so that's why you see them holding breath mints in these photos. :)

I guess all good things come to an end, and that includes vacations too. So what do you have left when it's over? For one thing, these - courtesy of The Signature, Las Vegas.

But even more, there's a whole lot of hugs, smiles, and happy times. Seeing the world from a different place. Sweet pictures, funny memories, and looking forward to more vacations. Hugging sleepy little blonde grandgirls who murmur into your neck, "I love you Mawmaw." ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, August 24, 2009

California, part deux - Ballad of the Tutus ~

Last year we went to a craft show in Lake Charles, and they were selling hand crafted no-sew tutus. I am not crafty but Lou Ellen said we could do this so what the heck, we bought the stuff. I had no clue what I was doing or even if I was guessing right as to the waist size. The problem wasn't in the tying, it was in the cutting, not easy. Anyway, we forged on and Lou Ellen made one for her granddaughter Ella and I made one too, first for Alahna, then a few weeks later for Kirra. If you (hello, is anyone out there??) want some direction, look here: I used elastic instead of a ribbon around the waist to make it a bit more sturdy.

I had wanted a picture of the girls in their tutus since I shipped it all off last Christmas but never got one, SO when we went to CA last month one of the things on my list was to get some pics. The girls weren't quite in the ballerina-zone, they liked to put them around their necks and pretended to growl like a lion. Oh well...the best laid plans. One of these days, I'll get them to pose again, preferably outside, all sweetness and light (hey it could happen) but for now, this will have to do.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

California, part un ~

As we drove from Las Vegas to California I hoped we'd see some interesting sights. We knew it was desert, I just thought it was going to be pretty…um, no. No painted desert, no tumbling tumbleweeds, nothing. OK, next stop on this vacation. I was hoping we’d get there before dark so I could see Jason’s new house in the daylight. We had our Garmin leading us and finally, finally, we were there and it was still light, whoo-hoo!

Each and every time we see our grandgirls (our only grandchildren) we are thrilled and just can’t wait. I know one day they will be older…teenagers even, and they won’t be so excited to see us - but that is not today!! :) When we got there, Alahna & Kirra were jumping up and down and yelling and running, all at once! They couldn’t believe how Pawpaw looked without his beard.

Jason’s house is typical for CA, Spanish-style with a tile roof. I think it was built 3 years ago. I really liked his landscaping and was pleasantly surprised to see that the backyard was nice and large. The houses they rented had lawns that were small, compared to what we're used to in Louisiana. Downstairs is the kitchen and dining room, two living areas, one full bath, one bedroom, exercise room, the double garage, and another half bath. Upstairs there are 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Both floors offer lots of storage. Not sure how many windows are in the house, but there are a lot. Jason & Wendy had white plantation shutters installed on all of them. Of course the girls were dying to show us their pink princess room.

Bandit, their Shih Tzu, was also excited to see us. Don calls him his little buddy (don't tell Sam). I'm not a dog person, but if I were to one day get a dog, I'd get one like Bandit....he's a really good dog.

BTW, here's our genetics, exhibit A: foot pic...(I had swollen feet). The funny thing is, after looking at it, Alahna (left) has feet a lot like mine, down to the crooks in her toes. Kirra (right) has toes like someone else, they're long with no crooks - maybe like Wendy or Don's side.

We had so much fun, we got to see 2 movies w/ the girls - Night At the Museum 2 and Hannah Montana. Hannah was my favorite. We missed going swimming (their favorite thing to do in Louisiana) but we did other fun stuff: took Alahna to the Dr. for her pre-1st grade checkup, ate out a few times, talked a lot, played at the mall, played games (Go Fish), read stories, looked at pictures, read stories some more, stayed up late, and talked some more. Both girls like to chat. Hey, they get it honest...from uh, Jason. Who gets it from...both his parents. Really! We went to a delicious frozen yogurt place (forgot the name) where you put the toppings on and weigh it to pay. On our last day there, we went to the library. Here's a few pictures, more later.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's your Daddy?

Today is Don's birthday. Everyone knows Don. He loves me, and I love him too! He talks Cajun...he smells good...he looks like the Eddie Bauer know, the one in the catalog, the mature guy with the short beard who looks like he can do anything. That's my husband.

But I'm not sure who this guy is...first he got tired of his beard itching during the hot weather so he shaved it off! Then he had Lasik surgery (he just wanted to see better) so the glasses were gone. Then we went to CA and Jason decided to buzz him with the standard LAPD haircut, so his hair was gone.

Hmmm...I still love this guy...he talks Cajun...he smells good, but I kinda miss Eddie Bauer man and the scruff. He's promised to bring him back again when the weather gets cool. Either way, I'm keeping him. ♥

Happy Birthday baby!!!

CRIBS, Vegas!

I was the star of my own version of "Cribs" from our hotel suite. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Leaving Las 5

We got in late from the concert, not to mention being a little wiped out so we asked if we could check out late. We got packed and checked out about 1 pm. I'll tell you one thing - I was ready to move on to California and see our grandgirls, but I was sorry to have to leave behind our suite (especially the bathroom) at The Signature. But we weren't leaving without one more trip to Orleans, so off to brunch we went.

We finally hit the road, and found out that every Sunday afternoon there is a general EXODUS from Vegas to CA, all taking Hwy 15. Somehow we missed that memo. So if you're ever on that road on Sunday, remember, there will be traffic. It wasn't too bad though...we were full - both our tummies and the gas tank, we had water, comfortable car, so even though it took us almost 5 hours, we were good. Adios Las Vegas!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vegas - day 4 (party time!)

Big day, party-time, the Keith Urban concert!!! It's impossible to say how awesome it is are unless you are THERE! (talking to you Gwen - ask anyone...Lou Ellen & Charles, Jennifer, Justin, Stacy & Mark, Diane, Vicki...Keith flat out rocks the house! Just spreading the gospel...

Soooo, I was pumped up for Vegas, Don was trying to contain his excitement. ;) No kidding though, he gets a big kick out of Keith too. And if I haven't said so, I have the BEST husband in the world (no brag, just fact!) for coming to Vegas with me to see Keith!!! Not to mention numerous other KU road trips. We have a lot of fun but I wouldn't enjoy it as much if he wasn't with me. ♥ ♥ ♥

When we woke up on Sat., I wondered if Keith & co. were out yet, riding their motorcyles on the backroads. Vegas itself seemed to double with the number of tourists from mid-wk to the weekend. Crazy-busy!! After our wonderful breakfast the day before at Orleans, we didn't even think about going anywhere else on Sat. Actually, we missed breakfast and instead had lunch. It was delicious too. After lunch we went running around, what vacation is complete without a trip to Target? Not mine. And then it was back to the hotel to try and rest some before the concert. After walking all that way the night before there was no way I was gonna repeat it, and besides I needed energy - standing and dancing for two and a half hours straight takes stamina, so we drove to Mandalay.

I was happy it was a smaller venue, holds about 12,000 people but they don't sell seats in back of the stage so that cuts off a lot, and the concert wasn't sold out (times are lean, even for country music artists who do better than most touring acts). Our seats were on the floor, 5th row in the 2nd section, which put us about 10 rows from the stage. Glen Campbell opened....he's expired, poor Glen, his time is up. Some of his songs were good (his classics), some were blah (Foo Fighters), and some were flat. He got confused and began one song for the 2nd time, what's up with that??? Finally he was done and after a short intermission Keith hit the stage!!

He wasn't confused, he wasn't flat, he was ON FIRE!!! And he looked, well you (he can't help it, he just is) We were able to move up very close to the front though we couldn't get to the center, drats. But still, great location.

He went back and forth to each corner of the stage and the crowd was rockin. Don took a hilarious video of me dancing that I'll try to upload...there's two guys in back of me who crack me up b/c they look like they're made of stone. After nearly two and a half hours, it was over. Keith thanked the crowd for coming out to see them, recognizing that times are hard and many people have it rough. Their last song was Better Life. So. Much. F-U-N.

After the concert, the lights came up and the road crew starts busting it all down, and they move fast. I asked a couple roadies for a set list, but they just shrugged. I got one in Salt Lake a few years ago, it's the list of songs they do in order, with some notes...and the titles are shortened - so the first song "Hit The Ground Running" is just labeled "Hit". Anyway, I saw one big guy who seemed to have some authority jump on stage, and I asked him and *bingo* he gave me one. :) Whoo-hoo!!!

We ran into the band in Mandalay and told them great show, such nice guys and the best road band in the business. We made our way to our hotel, picked up McDonald's, picked up some more free diet coke from the lounge and ate about 2 am and collapsed in bed. But we had a ball! When can we do this again???? Magical night. And in Vegas, to boot.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vegas - day 3

This was our only day where we didn't have something that we had to do - no travel, no shows, just a long day of doing anything we wanted. In theory, it sounds perfect. In the real world, you realize that everything takes longer than you thought it would and the day's gone before you know it. So, what to do...

We slept in a little, and really, looking back we should have stayed in the suite more than we did. It was gorgeous. There were 2 AC units, one for the bdrm and main bath and one for the living area. I like an AC unit that will cool down to EXACTLY what I set the thermostat to...and, do it quietly. This place passed the test with flying colors!! So off we went determined to have fun and better food than the day before.

We ate breakfast at The Orleans, and we hit the jackpot!! :) They had everything you could wish for on a breakfast buffet - eggs, bacon, fruit, sausage, pancakes, waffles, even cheesecake (for me) and gelato (for Don). The omlette station was a big hit. They made huge ones, and if you wanted a cup of cheese in it, you got it. I don't like cheese in my eggs, I figure I'll save the calories for somewhere else. Anyway, the breakfast buffet was only $6.49 pp (bargain of the trip) and we got a discount b/c we signed up for their Players Card. So, stuffed to the gills after our late breakfast, we headed out, after taking a few pictures.

We had to pick up something at Fry's, and then went to the Outlet Mall nearby. Apparently, we picked the wrong outlet, we didn't find much, only bought a couple of things. By this time, the middle of the afternoon had hit and with it, the heat wave of about 115°. We headed back for the Signature and really should have just crashed in the room. I tried to rest but relaxing is hard, even if you ARE in the world's quietest suite, with the best air conditioning unit, and a perfect bed. Go figure.

So, we decided to head for the pools. There were several to choose from but I wanted to try the lazy river even if it did look like the party place for the 20-somethings. One thing you need is a tube, and the rental place had closed. So I saw a random tube just sitting there. I asked everyone around if it was theirs, they all said no, so I just took it. Many people staying in this place rent cabanas for an insane price, so there were some people who had been poolside all day, drinking. As we were walking back to the lazy river with the tube some drunk people at a table called out that it was their tube...we just kept on walking, I told Don that if they wanted it, they'd have to come take it. Of course they couldn't really stand up, not that it was theirs anyway.

But the lazy river proved a bit rowdy so after one trip around, we moved over to the Academy Pool (each named w/ MGM movies-connections). As part of our hotel package we got a $100 beverage credit that could only be spent in the clubs in MGM or at poolside. So we kept ordering diet cokes, $4 a pop, just to use some of it up. After a couple of hours we went back to MGM to visit the lions again. This time, the big guy was there - the currrent MGM lion. He was a hoot to watch. He knew he was the big dog and he was showing off a little. I called him Mufasa...

Then we bathed, dressed and went out for the evening, this time to Mandalay Bay, which is beautiful. We decided to seemed easy enough in the planning. We walked through MGM (huge) crossed over the strip on the walkway to Excalibur and then took a tram from there to Luxor and Mandalay. It sounds easier than it is, no big deal since we needed the exercise anyway. We ate at The Bayside Buffet, and it was delicious! Don pigged out on lamb chops and veal and I settled in with my King Crabs!!

Afterwards we walked around Mandalay and looked. Took some pictures, talked to a few people, and just wandered. We went into The House of Blues for a little while, but the band playing was not on our musical radar for the night, so we left. Actually, they would never be on my musical radar, not on any night. But it was still a cool place.

The Louisiana gambler himself (toothpick in his mouth):

By this time it was late so we thought we'd head back. The joke was on us though, as the tram was OUT. It doesn't look far as the crow flies, but it was a hike. We should've jumped in a cab but hey, I was game for walking so off we went. Halfway back, I was sorry. My feet were feeling the burn and I was so thirsty. But we didn't stop until we got back to MGM - I was not about to spend one cent on something to drink when I knew back at MGM I could have all I! We just had to go in the lounge to get it. Actually, the one we picked was a quiet little place where you could eat too. I'm sure the bartender thought we were funny for walking in and ordering diet cokes, 4 for 2 people, trying to use that beverage credit. It was late again before we got to bed, but who cares, Vegas never stops. Big day ahead.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Las Vegas - day 2

We spent the morning and noon in MGM. They have a 3-story display called The Lion Habitat that was fascinating. Each day they bring in two or three lions from the ranch where they live outside town, in a fancy transport. They rotate them in and out, but there are about 14 all together. When they're in The Habitat, they sleep or eat or play. It's so cool being able to see them up close. They can see us, but cannot hear us or the crowds, the waterfalls inside block out all the noise. It's climate controlled and they have plenty of sunlight and rocks to climb. I LOVE the cats!!! They're magnificent.

We picked up our rental car and did some errands in the afternoon and in the evening went to The Palazzo for JERSEY BOYS! I was so tickled I could hardly stand it!! The Palazzo is a beautiful hotel and casino. I took a few pics before the show.

Jersey Boys was all we expected and MORE. It's the story of Franki Valli and The Four Seasons. It had everything...awesome cast, interesting storyline, funny, and most of all - that infectious music!!! Don really got a kick out of JB too. I hope we can see it again...I know there's lots of other shows but I'm just not a Cirque-kinda girl.

We ended the night back at MGM, eating a midnight dinner at The Rainforest Cafe. Later.