Thursday, December 13, 2018

Quick Lit - December

I feel like I write these much more than once a month.  Maybe because I'm reading a lot more than once a month?  Although not as much as I would prefer lately because CHRISTMAS.  Why am I always so shocked at how much time it takes to put together?

Here's everything I've finished in the past month-ish.  Now I just have another TWELVE books to finish by the end of the year to hit my revised book goal.  I'm currently in the middle of 4 of those.  Maybe once the shopping is done but before school is done for the year I can fit in a lot of extra reading?  Maybe.  Hopefully.

Only one other book post recently:  Book Love: I'll Be There For You: The One about Friends by Kelsey Miller.

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy, on Goodreads here, and Instagram here.  I'm in the Goodreads app at least once a day, hopefully more in the coming weeks as I knock out all these books!

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
Usually I can remember where I get book recs.  This one I have NO IDEA but was pleasantly surprised by it.  It's told in two timelines, 100 years apart - 1911 and 2011, with one woman who survived the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and one who survived 9/11.  They are both in possession of the same scarf and how it got from one woman to the other isn't revealed until the very end (and I didn't figure it out).  The 1911 storyline also largely takes place on Ellis Island which is a place that holds extra interest for me this year since we were almost there (as in, on the ferry that docked there while people, including my parents and in-laws got off, and we continued back to Manhattan with two tired boys).  I read a lot of books set in NYC and so I've read many references to 9/11 but this one was right there and that made it extra interesting (and horrifying) to me, as a person who wasn't there that day.  3.5 Stars
Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines
I read a few home design books a year and this one was filled with pretty pictures but I didn't find much that I could apply to my actual home.  I think it also hurt my opinion of it, having just read Cozy Minimalist Home a few days earlier and having found that a lot more practical and useful.  Also, I've only seen one episode of Fixer Upper, haven't read any of her other books, and don't follow her on Instagram.  So maybe hardcore fans of hers would like this more.  3 Stars
The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum
I liked the premise of this book: that there are a team of people who arrange coincidences for people so certain things can happen.  But as can also happen with an idea like that, I felt like about halfway through it got bogged down in the details of explaining this job and super natural-ish world.  So rather ehhhh about it overall.  2.5 Stars
The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby
A reread that I like enough to own!  Based on the true story of the dress shop that made clothes for Jackie Kennedy, often based off European designs but made in New York so they could say they were American made.  It follows one (fictional) seamstress who made the famous Pink Suit and her life in New York in the 1960s.  I always really enjoy this one and always end in a rabbit trail on Wikipedia afterwards, reading about what happened to the real Pink Suit.  4.25 Stars

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
This is the point of the month where I was knocking through A LOT of graphic novels and short books that I honestly did want to read but also needed to get through some books fast to hit my goal.  I've read Lucy Knisley's previous graphic memoirs and this was a shorter one that was mostly about a couple week trip she took to Europe.  It was interesting, I'll never do that "travel around Europe for a few weeks in my 20s" thing, mainly because I am no longer in my 20s and also have two small children.  But it's interesting reading about someone else doing it!  3 Stars 

Spinning by Tillie Walden
Another graphic memoir and I was surprised when I picked it up at the library at how THICK it was.  But the pages turned fast.  Started out as a memoir about the author's life as a competitive figure skating (which sounds...not fun) and then turned into more about her life.  I appreciate the time it must take to make these but I wasn't super into it. 2.5 Stars 

Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Another one by Lucy Knisley, about a cruise she took her elderly grandparents on.  It made me miss cruising, super miss my grandparents and also super super glad I was never responsible for my grandparents on a cruise.  3.25 Stars

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony
Another graphic novel, I know, a lot.  This one was told through photographs and not drawings and I just...didn't really get it.  Again, appreciate the time it takes to make but this one really wasn't for me. 2 Stars 

Frindle by Andrew Clements
How had I never read this book until now?  It's middle grade, in fact my sister recently read it to her grade school aged kids.  About a student (5th grade?) that decides to change the word for "pen" to "frindle" and then convinces his whole class to go along with it.  Their teacher is super into the dictionary and there is a battle that ensues.  This was so charming and so well done.  Would recommend for pretty much any school aged kid (or adult who missed it).  I even got choked up at the end.  (And if you liked this, then try Wednesday Wars which is longer but also fantastic.) 4.5 Stars

Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
The last graphic memoir FOR NOW.  This was a much longer book about her romance, engagement, wedding planning, and then planning.  We have different opinions on some things but there was a lot I agreed with her one - like HOW can weddings cost so much and who spends that kind of money on one???   It made me glad I am a decade + removed from planning a wedding.  3 Stars

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
I saw this book all over and my sister lent it to me months ago but I just finally got to it.  I feel like I read the whole thing in school pick-up line, which isn't true but it's what I remember.  The title pretty much sums it up.  She is a pretty privileged white women, living in LA, whose husband had a fancy job where they went to the Oscars at least once.  A lot of negative reviews I saw for this on Goodreads had people complaining about all those things.  BUT, she did have some good advice and sometimes you just need a verbal kick in the behind.  4 Stars

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
This was very hyped and the library hold line was over 100 people long when my copy came in (I put it on hold back in September or so).  It's about 9 strangers who all go to the same health/wellness retreat in Australia.   Then things get weird.  My interest died out a little about 2/3 of the way through when said things got weird but it tied things up nicely.  Didn't like as much as What Alice Forgot or Big Little Lies but definitely better than Truly, Madly, Guilty 3.25 Stars

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I didn't like the first book of hers I read but really enjoyed the other two I've already read this year.  Cute, charming, sweet YA is always a good way for me to get out of a reading slump or just get through a book fast.  Maybe because it's just nice to be reminded of falling in love as a teen and how things that felt like they were life or death at the time really, probably, weren't.  It was charming and I didn't see what was so special about the friend that was gone but overall it was pretty enjoyable.  3.5 Stars

What have YOU been reading lately?  Do you think I can finish 12 more books this year?  Books recs and encouragement always appreciated in the comments!           

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Love: I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a product link, I’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for helping support this blog!

I did not grow up watching Friends.  From the ages of 13 until I went to college I don't remember watching much tv period because high school and marching band and homework and all those things.

But then I went to college.

The 8th season of Friends premiered about a month after I first went to college and I don't know if it's something I really wanted to watch or my roommate wanted to watch or just a bunch of girls on our floor but I remember most Thursday nights that fall, we had a room full of girls all gathered around our tv together watching Friends.  

This was season 8, which to this day remains my favorite season, when Rachel is pregnant and I still remember the gasps from our roomful when it was revealed that Ross was the father.  Friends quickly became something I watched every Thursday.

Of course, before then I had only seen bits and pieces of episodes and quickly began to catch up with the twice a day TBS reruns.  (The only time in my life that I've lived with cable is 3 years of living on campus and I mostly used it to watch Friends and Boy Meets World reruns.)

I bought the complete 10 season DVD package with some college graduation money (I used most of the rest of my gift money to pay my car insurance so I was somewhat responsible) and when finally watching the whole series in order I found there were a couple of episodes that I never caught during my years of reruns.  That box set has survived many purges although when I watch episodes now I just use Netflix.

Many of my sisters have watched the show many times over, one of my brother-in-laws can even out quote me.  Although I do remain the 3 time, undefeated champion of our Friends trivia nights.  (It might just be a coincidence that the game we use is also mine, although I honestly have never "studied" the questions, which Matt & I did do for Star Wars Trivial Pursuit in order to beat his brother.).

We've even visited the intersection of Bedford & Grove in Manhattan TWICE to see the apartment building they use for establishing shots on the show.  The never filmed with characters there but the fact that they showed this building in the majority of episodes was enough for me to want to see it.  (The second visit was when we took my sister and her BFF to New York with us.  My husband is not proud of the fact that he's now had to see this TWICE.)

All this to say, when this book, I'll Be There for You: The One About Friends popped up in my Goodreads feed, I added it to my TBR so fast and then immediately bumped it to the top of the list of books I was going to read ASAP.

And I found the book delightful.

It starts with the creators and how their past led them to making Friends.  How each of the 6 main cast members were added to the show.  How a lot of people knew there was something special about it before it made it to air.  How quickly the show blew up.  The backlash from it being every where.  Then how it was almost done at the end of season 7, season 8, season 9, and finally finished with season 10.

I knew bits of pieces of this but didn't know how many times Friends was almost over.  I just remember watching it and wanting it to go on forever.

The book talked about some of the more major plots but didn't get into a lot of behind the scenes of making the show (although I would definitely read a book that went further into deciding on plots and twists and so on).  A lot about it's cultural impact and how it started and ended.

I LOVED reading this.  I've seen every episode of Friends many times and immediately knew every episode or moment mentioned.  The pages turned fast and I finished with a renewed appreciation for the show I've listed on every adoption profile as my favorite.

I finished the book right before Thanksgiving, when we (or mainly me but Matt will watch them too) rewatch all the Friends Thanksgiving episodes My favorites: season 6's (the one with the trifle) and season 8's (the one with Brad Pitt).  It was perfect timing and made me really appreciate the show even more.

I highly recommend this for anyone who loved/loves the show.  It was a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then it will give you a great excuse to rewatch episodes on Netflix and if you think you can beat me at Friends trivia, please let me know.

Now, favorite episode?  Mine is The One Where Everyone Finds Out.  "They don't know we know they know we know!"  It is fantastic.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Looking Back at November

It's December!  I feel like I'm always in shock that a new month is here already.  As if I haven't lived through some 400+ month transitions in my life but they just always seem to come so fast!  We're just a little more than 2 weeks from Christmas and realizing that just put me into a little bit of a panic.  There is a reason there hasn't been much on the blog lately, Christmas prep takes TIME.  I've logged over 10 hours in just 5 days decorating the house and doing other Christmas-y things (OF COURSE I track these things, you shouldn't be surprised by this).  Not including shopping and I haven't wrapped one single gift yet.  So, it might be light posting the rest of the month too but, seeing how my feed reader is constantly full, I'm guessing you might have less time for blog reading too.  Tis the season!

Looking back:
1 year ago: {12} Christmas Hacks (of sorts)

2 years ago: Triple Chocolate Cookies
3 years ago: Some Christmas Thoughts (Not rambling, not. at. all.)
4 years ago: Mixed Drink Monday: Caramel Apple Cider

5 years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
8 years ago: Stairs are (almost) done!

1) It wasn't until I enlarged this picture on my screen that I realized they are in front of the STOVE, not the MICROWAVE.  Making pancakes for a dinner when nothing else was easy.  I might need more sleep.
2) We voted!  Although the sticker was my son's for voting in a mock election at the library for best pet.  We never get stickers for actual voting but I want to assume that's because Indiana is very budget conscious (our state tax rate went DOWN a couple years ago, threw off my projections slightly and I had to investigate why we were getting back $2 more than I calculated.  Again, this shouldn't surprise you.)
3) He begged me to let him wash the dishes and did a pretty good job.  Can I have this version of this kid all the time??
4) Super exciting Friday night with two small kids (and a husband) at home.
5) One last time in Spiderman before we pack him away for little bro!  He's worn this for countless hours in the last 18 months and I was a little sad when he outgrew it!
6) Pretty backyard sunset.
7) There is white stuff on the ground!  Our son was more excited than us.
8) Cranberries are just so pretty and festive.
9) Thanksgiving Eve tradition of The Family Stone and addressing Christmas cards.  I've mailed them on Black Friday for nearly a decade and held off for a week this year since Thanksgiving was so early.  Then got a lot of flack from many people for sending them "late".  You are all getting them November 1st next year and I want to hear no complaining! 
10) I burnt my pie crust when I couldn't leave the tv during a 4TH OT for our high school alma mater state finals.  It was an exciting game and they won!  And the pie was still good.
11) Reading in the school pick-up line on a snowy day.  I should calculate how much time I spend in the pick-up line every week.  Although I did make it until the last week of November before I had to drive all 5 days!
12) How did he get so big?!?!?!?!
13) Batches # 3 & 4 of Chex mix for the holiday season.  We might be close to making #5 & 6 too.
14) It's the season of 5 Target deliveries in one day.
15) Quietly sitting and reading.  A little more of this too please.
16) I've been hoarding library Christmas books since October and now we can finally start reading some!  I wrote list of 25 good ones last year, we've read almost all of those again this year!

Books finished: 16
Miles ran: 0.00  It got cold early this year!
Currently watching: We've started on this list!
Most read post this month:
Quick Lit and then Christmas Season Family Fun List
Luke's current favorite song: He's back into his Christmas favorites: Feliz Navidad, A Muppett Christmas Medley, A Sesame Street Christmas Medley, and Jingle Bell Rock.

Obviously the highlight of the month is going to be Christmas and all of it's celebrations and fun.  I'm so excited we have TWO boys to celebrate with this year.  The joy of having them both hasn't worn off yet.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Things I Like - November

My monthly round-up of 5 things I'm liking, with a few affiliate links sprinkled in.  Thanks for helping support the blog! =)  See more here!

1) Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Many times over the last few months I asked Matt if he would watch a Mr. Roger's documentary with me. I had gotten it at the library and had heard really good things about it.  He may have watched it just so I would stop talking about it.  I grew up watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and have so many fond memories of it.  Remember the Picture Picture that showed how crayons are made?  That one was my favorite.  (It's on YouTube.)  There were some musical episodes that took place entirely in the land of make believe?  This documentary covered a lot of things that took place on the show before I was born and I haven't seen nearly all the episodes because there were a lot but this was such a comforting and charming watch.  I didn't realize how incredibly gifted Mr. Roger's was at dealing with the emotions of young kids and that made me appreciate all my childhood viewings all the more.  I almost cried by the end (my husband did not have the same reaction).  I'd highly recommend if you grew up watching Mr. Roger's too!

2) Renpure Coconut Milk & Vitamin E Body Wash

I like finding a something I really like and then never switching.  I like having go-tos.  For instant, my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, my favorite brownie recipe.  Once I find a good one I stop looking around.  Now I think I found our ideal body wash and I don't need to try others.  This was a semi-impulse buy at Target and I think it works really well.  It has a slight coconut smell but I don't notice it once I'm out of the shower.  Matt is happy with it.  Best of all, it has a pump so I know, most of the time, I just need one pump on my poofie.  Maybe 1½ if I just ran in the summer but otherwise, one pump will do.  I previously had a tendency to WAY over use body wash so this is perfect.  This one bottle has lasted a couple months and I just bought a few more when Target had them on sale.  I am very happy I happened to pick this up.

(I am still on the hunt for a perfect, affordable mascara if anyone has suggestions!  I buy a different one every time and haven't been thrilled with any.)

3) Marble Bookend
This list is very Target heavy this month.  I don't want to admit how many orders I've placed there in the past week (they had clothes buy one get one 60% off + 15% off everything on Monday!  Bought most of Luke's school uniform pieces for next year but did many orders to maximize my savings - I didn't want them just taking 60% off my lowest priced items!).

ANYWAYS.  We have an old house with uneven floors and no perfect 90° corners.  Our bedroom door is not hung perfectly straight and has had trouble staying open the whole time we've lived here.  It drives me just a little bit crazy.  So, during another sale, I bought this bookend to hold it open.  It was $11 and has worked perfectly.  It makes me a little bit happier every time I see it holding the door perfectly open.  And, when we move, I can use it as a bookend which also makes me happy.  Unless we have more door shutting problems.

4) The Nineties
This is a 7 part documentary that we recently watched on Netflix and found mostly enjoyable.  It looks like it may have first aired on CNN last summer but we don't have cable and just found it on Netflix.  The first 3 episodes were super fun - talking about music and tv shows from the 90s (Friends and Backstreet Boys both got mentions).  We were 6½ when the decade started and 16½ at the end so a lot of the pop culture things we knew about and could compare memories since we didn't know each other in the 90s.

The last 4 were much more newsy - the Clinton affair, OJ Simpson, terrorist attacks (very weird watching news footage of the car bomb at the World Trade Center knowing 9/11 was coming right after this decade ended).  It was kinda a depressing end but also very educational since a lot of the politics and world events we didn't know about, being so young at the start of the decade.  I'm still really glad we watched it.  I also feel really smart for including TWO documentaries on this list, even though they are both pretty pop culture-y. 

5) Shark Navigator DLX - NV71  
I think a sign of being old is being very excited about a new vacuum.  Although, Luke is also really excited about this purchase and he's 5.  When we bought our house my MIL gave us an extra vacuum they had.  It was used and I have no idea where it came from, probably an auction (they go to a lot of those).  We had just bought a house and were planning a wedding so anything we didn't have to buy was fantastic.  We used that vacuum, which worked pretty well!, for the last almost 13 years. 

Then I was tempted by cordless vacuums that are lightweight and easy to carry around...since I vacuum upstairs a whole once a month.  Matt talked me into one with a removable hose so we (I) can vacuum between couch cushions and such, that is a feature that I use every time I vacuum instead of being super concerned with the weight of carrying it up the stairs once a month. 

We bought this one for under $100 on Black Friday and, despite the fact that I do 90% of the vacuuming, Matt and Luke were the most excited to open it and get it going.   OH MY GOODNESS.  I vacuum the whole downstairs every Friday.  We opened this on Tuesday and Luke started vacuuming.  It was AMAZING at what it picked up, mostly rug fibers, that the old one had missed just a few days earlier.  I am really excited to vacuum again today to see how much more it gets.  It's also super helpful to have a clear container so we can see when it needs emptied.  I had a tendency to overfill the bag on the old one, wonder why it wasn't working well, and then have Luke point out that I should check the bag.  So.  This one should be an improvement all around.  #adult

What have YOU been liking lately?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Viva Las Vegas!

This weekend, 11 years ago, Matt and I took a long weekend trip to Vegas.  We were 24, married 18 months, and could get a pretty decent direct flight.  It just seemed like a fun place to go when we were in our 20s and didn't have kids.  It was a good trip and we liked Vegas but it wasn't somewhere we ever expected to go again.

Then over the summer Matt was asked to go to some work training at a company that is based in Las Vegas.  We thought this seemed promising because he had just been at this job a few months and they already wanted him to get this training and then come back to teach it to everyone else.  We talked about options for a weeks.  Should just Matt go?  But we have a pretty strict "we see each other every day" rule, having only spent about 15 nights apart in our 12 years of marriage, and never two full nights in a row.  Should Sam and I go along with Matt, getting someone to watch Luke, who would be in school during the day?  Or should we pull Luke out of school and all go together?

Even though it still pains me to admit to it, we pulled Luke out of school for 3 days and made it a family trip.  It was fairly cheap with all of Matt flight and food paid for, the hotel paid for, and it would be in the 70°s-80°s there while it was about 40° at home.

However, I was insistent on Luke missing as little school as possible so we flew out after school on a Tuesday and back home on Saturday which wouldn't have been our preferred if we weren't working around a school schedule but I really really felt (still do) feel bad about pulling him out of school for Las Vegas.  VEGAS.  It seems like the most ridiculous place to take kids, much less have a kid miss school for (even though his teacher was fine with it and was very supportive of us taking him!). 

(I already wrote about our flying with a baby experience here!)

Where We Stayed
Last trip we stayed at Planet Hollywood, about 2 weeks after it officially opened, right on the Strip, with a view of the Bellagio fountains from our room.  This time Matt's work wasn't offering to pay for us to stay on the Strip and we stayed where they were willing to pay for: Staybridge Suites and it was a GREAT hotel.  We were about a mile off the Strip but they had a free shuttle that took us back and forth from the Strip and the hotel.  The continental breakfast was among the best we've had, the people were all really nice, we had the same two shuttle drivers most of the trip and they were so nice and helpful.  PLUS, we had a full kitchen (that we mostly just used for the fridge and microwave) and washer/dryer in our suite.  And a separate bedroom for Matt & I while Luke slept on the pull-out couch in the living room.  We got a rolling crib for Sam so we could pull him into our room to nap or out in the living room to play with Luke.  It was fantastic.  I certainly see the appeal of staying on the Strip BUT this did work out very very well.

What We Did - The Boys & I
A big question in us deciding to take both boys is what the heck I would do with them while Matt was in off-site training for 2½ days?  Everyone kept asking if the hotel had a pool.  Yes, they did.  But taking a 7 month old to the pool, in sunny Las Vegas, while trying to keep a 5 year old safe isn't a super fun relaxing pool experience for Mom (although I have a sister who says taking her 7 kids, ages 8 - younger than Sam, to the pool solo is pretty easy.  I might just be wimpy.)

So we did what you do in Vegas - we walked the Strip.  A few months earlier in New York City, in pretty safe midtown Manhattan, Matt didn't want me (and the baby strapped to me) walking to The Milk Bar for cookies alone (my Mom ended up going with me).  Then we get to Vegas and I was taking two kids on the Strip alone.  It felt like the craziest thing I had ever done in my life, but it was fun!

The hotel shuttle dropped us at New York, New York and then we'd walk down to around Planet Hollywood and The Bellagio, just under a mile.  We'd spend some time there, walk back to the New York, New York, and get the shuttle back to the hotel.  There are a lot of raised cross-walks in Vegas and we got good at finding the elevators to take us up to them, cross the street, and then find an elevator to take us back down.  By the end of our couple days we knew which elevator was out of service, which casino we could go in that had a elevator nearby to get us up to cross-walk level. 

Number of Vegas casinos our 5 year old and 7 month old have been in: 4. 

There is a lot of good people watching in Las Vegas and all the hotel/casinos are pretty cool to look at.  Planet Hollywood has the Miracle Mile shops attached to it.  Matt & I spent some decent time there 11 years ago, waiting for our hotel check-in time while it was raining outside, and the boys and I spent a couple hours there this time too.  It kept Luke more contained and there weren't streets to cross so it just felt a little easier.  Plus, there was Jamba Juice and ABC Stores, both with happy memories from prior vacations (New York and Oahu, respectively).  And I am NEVER going to pass up daily Jamba Juice when given the chance.

The only bummer was that the Bellagio fountains didn't start until 3 and that's when Matt's training was done so we were always back at the hotel by that point.  So we never got to see those during the day.  But otherwise, it was walking around, not seeing many other kids, getting Jamba Juice, and finding where the Backstreet Boys perform BUT weren't there at the time (am I still bitter about that?  Yes.)

We also found a shuttle between the Park MGM and the Bellagio which didn't really save time but did save walking and got us in less crowded areas.  We went to the Conservatory in the Bellagio and saw their really cool exhibits.

What We Did - The Whole Family
A lot of the same things I did with the boys.  We took the shuttle to New York, New York, walked the Strip.  Actually saw the Bellagio fountains going (my FAVORITE), got Jamba Juice. 

One day we walked just over a mile, along a 8 lane busy road, to see the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.  We hadn't seen it on our first trip.  We had to wait in line about 30 minutes to get our picture under it.  The whole time this felt crazy, the roads were so busy but we kept saying "It's for the Christmas card, it's for the Christmas card" (and one of them is on our Christmas card). 

Matt barely had anything the last day so we spent most of the day, a hot 80° day, on the Strip.  We did the High Roller, a huge Ferris Wheel just off the Strip with great views.   Both boys were free and we could just roll the stroller right into our cabin so that was easy.  We also ran into the only people we knew in Las Vegas, Matt's co-worker and her Mom.  Which is so weird in a city filled with so many people.

Where We Ate
A lot of our New York favorites are also in Las Vegas: Shake Shack, Jamba Juice, Earl of Sandwich (Vegas is where we first found them!), Milk Bar.  We got food at all of those.  Breakfast was always at the hotel.  Two suppers we picked up and took on the go.  Once eating pizza back at the hotel and once having a 7pm picnic in The Park, next to New York, New York.  It took two days but our second solo day I got a sandwich and chips at ABC for $7 which felt so affordable for Las Vegas, then Luke and I could share with Jamba Juice and it made for a cheap lunch (two Jamba Juices were more than the sandwich + chips!).

We did ZERO gambling and whole total drinking was sharing one beer on our last night.  We were really living the wild life in Vegas. 

The trip felt crazy but really was a lot of fun.  I never thought I'd take two young kids there but we did and everyone survived!  Luke is young enough and some of the...Vegas-y things he may have noticed in a few years went right over his head.  Sam was able to crawl at the time but barely and so wasn't in that "I constantly want down to explore and put everything in my mouth" stage yet so he was fairly content in the stroller or carrier for large parts of the trip. 

Doing New York earlier in the year really was good prep for a big city, maneuvering through crowds.  And having already been there once really helped just in terms of orienting ourselves and kinda knowing what to expect.  The weather was near perfect and it was a wonderful getaway for our family!