Saturday, June 28


Sand box at a yard sale: $2
Sand for the sand box: $7
Toys for the sand box: $6
Playing in the sand with dad on Father's Day: Priceless

Thursday, June 12

"Your dog just ran away"

Now that we are home and back into our routine - somewhat - I've started working out again.

Noah is out of diapers at the house, so after the Y, we have to stop by Costco to buy more.

After working out and sweating like crazy, I'm starving. (don't worry - i showered at the Y so i won't stink everybody at out at costco :) ) I decide to stop at Wendy's. I worked out today so I've already worked off any fat I'll collect from their burgers and fries - I'm even today :)

While waiting in line at the drive thru, I look out my window and see a dog squeeze it's way out of the back seat window of a car next door at Sears Hardware. I can't really blame him - it's 92 today and HUMID!!! I'm surprised at what I see and since it's not in the Wendy's parking lot but Sear's Hardware next door, what do I do??

I have the kids with me so I can't just hop out and chase after it. I'm next in line at the drive thru and I don't want to give up my turn. Now what? I decide to call Sears and tell them what I've seen thinking they will page the owner of a black dog. I search information for the store phone number but information doesn't have the store listed. I get the number for another store in the area thinking I'll call them to ask for the number I need for the store I am next door to. I order my food first - I can't work on an empty stomach :)

Poor Noah just wants "a plain cheeseburger" and I keep telling him to wait. There's too much happening and I'm losing all concentration... get a phone number - "wait, Noah" - order my food and a "plain cheeseburger" - "wait, Noah" - ask one phone number for the correct number - "wait, Noah" - pay for the food - " wait, Noah" - pick up the food and be sure we have everything we ordered - "I know, Noah. Please wait." - call the correct phone number...

"Hi, I'm sitting in the drive thru at Wendy's and I just saw a dog jump out of one of the cars in your parking lot. You should page the owner of a black dog. If I was the dog's owner, I'd want to know."

"Yes. Of course. Thanks"

I give Noah his "plain cheeseburger" and drive over to the store to see if I can find the dog. I just keep thinking of mom and Junior in TX. What would she do if she walked out of the store to find JR gone? How terrible would that be? Where is this dog? Where is the owner? If Sears paged the owner and the owner didn't come running out in a mad frenzy, maybe it's not like mom and JR after all.

I see an employee come out of the store and stand there looking around. I roll down my window and ask if they are looking for the dog. She tells me that someone just called about a dog. She's acting like it was a prank call. That poor dog owner has no idea. No wonder they didn't come running in a mad frenzy. I'd be so mad if that happened, someone saw it and reported it and no one told me.

A few seconds later a large man comes mozying out of the store and walks to the car like it's no no big deal that the dog is gone. He seems confused that his dog is not in the car. I can't believe the people at Sears didn't page this man like I asked!! I get out and tell him that I was in line at Wendy's and saw the dog squeeze out of the window and run towards the back of the store. He proceeds to question me on how a dog could squeeze out of the car window. By now, there are two other cars involved. One has gone towards the back of the store on the left and the other on the right. The owner is talking to me like I'm crazy and there 's all these other people telling him that his dog has just run towards the back of the store.

Between you and I - with as far down as the window was, I can't believe the owner is shocked that the dog got out.

As I drove away, with Noah still talking about his "plain cheeseburger", I saw the owner in my rear view mirror walking through the parking lot with his dog, Lulabell.

A man that size with a dog named "Lulabell" - something just ain't right :)

San Francisco or bust

We arrive home from Vegas at 2am on Friday morning and we are off again, headed to the airport, by 9am on Saturday.

We stop in Dayton to say our goodbyes to Penny before heading to Columbus for our flights to San Francisco.

We board our flight and things seem okay. We push back from the gate, taxi into takeoff position and Natalie starts getting anxious. We take off and she's off - fussy and carrying on. She's an anxious flier to the point that she and I both need to be sedated to fly.

She seems to be okay if I let her tear the pages out of the "Skymall" magazine one at a time. As we are starting our decent into Atlanta, so is Natalie. The magazine is in shredded pieces on the floor and she's starting to get fussy again. Luckily we land and have a short taxi to the gate. We've survived another flight with Natalie.

We have a 2 1/2 hour lay over in Atlanta before our flight to San Francisco. We push the kids and all our "gear" to the last gate at the end of the hall. There is tons of room for Noah run loose without getting in anyone's way. Natalie is teething 3 teeth so we give her Tylenol and Oragel hoping she'll fall asleep. We have plenty of room to spread out after flying with her and we hoping to get a second burst of energy before our 5 hour flight the San Francisco. Little did we know how important the second burst would be.

We are now at our departure gate area and we've been told it's an absolutely oversold flight. They aren't even going to get everyone on the plane. Oh well - a 767 from Atlanta to San Francisco seems unlikely to be that full but we knew it was gamble getting a seat for her. You'd think after our losing gambling streak in the Vegas a few days earlier that we would have stopped gambling but sometimes people just don't learn.

Natalie is getting anxious sitting in the gate area. Noah isn't listening to anything we are saying and I'm getting stressed. Really 5 hours of this without a seat for her? Dave calls the 800 reservation number just to see if they can tell us anything different. Nope - oversold flight! CRAP!!!! Oh the stress that is enveloping this family - God help us and everyone else on this flight.

We board and check Natalie's car seat at the bottom of the jet way as instructed. Dave goes ahead of me and the kids so he can get Noah's car seat strapped in before we get there. This is normal for us. It's part of our "travel routine".

We find our seats and sit. Natalie is beyond fussing and is uncontrollably crying - sobbing! I'm beyond stressed. My hair is falling by the fistful and I'm not even pulling on it. It's falling out around me in big chunks. I'm now bald! People are taking samples to share my story and have proof of the crazy lady they flew to San Francisco with. Noah's having a blast - he loves to fly about as much as Natalie hates to fly.

The flight attendants make their announcement indicating that all passengers are on board and we can't leave until everyone is seated. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!???? OVERSOLD MY ASS!!! We are in 36 C D E. There is one gentleman in 36 B leaving 36A open. There is a gentleman in 35 B leaving 35 A open. There isn't anyone sitting in 34 A or B. That's just what I can see from my middle seat in 36 D and a screaming baby clawing my eyes out.

Dave can sense my madness and decides to take Natalie to 34 A/B. Maybe if she looks out the window all will be well. Nope!! After hassling with her for a few minutes, we swap and I take her. This goes on - back and forth with "pass Natalie" - for about 20 minutes. We are still sitting at the gate 20 passed our original departure time. Dave hands Natalie off to me and I resume the position in 34 A/B. I am getting the looks from passengers around me - you know the look... "Oh great! This flight is going to suck and it's all your child's fault!" I'm sympathetic to them and am sorry. But I'm not sorry to the lady and her travel companion in 32 C and D. They turn and look at me like, "Why can't you control your child? Be a better mom!" I lose it... It's one thing to have a crappy flight because of my 12 month old; it's another make me feel like I'm a bad mom because my 12 month old can't reason with the situation. It's not like she's Noah's age and won't sit still in her seat. She's clearly an infant who doesn't understand. They were the idiots who boarded a full 767 for a 5 hour flight without ear plugs - DUH!!

So, in receiving this look, I respond - quite loudly as to be sure the two ladies heard me, "I'm doing the best I can!!! Stop staring!!!" Dave pulls a Kramer and suddenly slides up the aisle appearing beside me in the same way Kramer came sliding into Jerry Seinfeld's apartment. He leans in and says, "I'll take her!" I respond, "No, it's fine. She's fine. I have her. (and say loudly again so 32 C/D hear me) I want the ladies up there to quit looking at me like I'm a bad mom. She's 12 months old. What do they expect?!" He insists, "No! I'll take her." Fine - whatever!! I go back to 36 C/D/E and sit with Noah.

Noah is definitely sensing the tension on the plane so I distract him and myself by playing with the TV screens on the seat backs in front of us and we have a good time.

Exactly 1 hour from our original departure time, we take off. We never received an announcement as to why we took off late. We never heard why we sat at the gate for 45 minutes after our original departure time. That's Delta for you... Financial trouble and bad customer service. Do you think the two are linked? Anyway...

Natalie finally cries herself to sleep until the flight attendants become announcement happy. "We're serving drinks." "We're serving snacks." "Sign up for a Skymiles credit card." "Here's how you work your TV." And now, Natalie's awake and crying - again!!

Now that we are in the air and things seems to be a little less tense thanks to her 60 second nap, Dave and I trade off again. He sits with Noah and I take Natalie who is still uncontrollable. The only thing that seems to calm her is standing in the aisle. It's a cramped space so I take her to the rear galley where the flight attendants store their service items. Since they woke her up, they can listen to her. My plan backfires - they are already in the aisles doing their service so they don't have to listen to her.

I bounce with her in the galley area and she seems content watching everything going on in the aisles - people coming and going to the bathrooms near where were are standing, flight attendants serving food and drinks, people turning to see if we've moved farther from them so they don't have to listen to her, etc. She's not crying anymore but she's still making fussing noises. I think to myself as if I'm talking to her, "Please, get control of yourself! It's just an airplane. It's in your blood - your dad's a pilot, your mom's a flight attendant, your brother loves to fly... please get it together for all of our sakes and sanity!" This goes on for the first hour and a half of the flight. Keep in mind we took off an hour late so we've been dealing with this for a little over 2 hours.

Just as soon and as suddenly as the storm started it stopped. She was talking, smiling and laughing!!! What the hell?!?!?!?!?!

While waiting to be sure this isn't just the calm before a second storm, there are people milling about the galley - stretching their legs, waiting for the bathroom, etc. A few actually stopped to say they are proud of me for standing up for myself with the way some people were looking at me. Thank you... See, I'm not that crazy!

I cautiously return to 34 A/B to be sure she doesn't start up again. All seems well! She's fine - as long as I'm holding her. If I have to go to the bathroom and pass her off to Dave for a few seconds, she's fussy. If I have to pass her off to Dave to change Noah's diaper - nope, she's fussy! I am her saving grace and yet - I'm the one that nearly got us thrown off the plane for yelling at the other passengers to stop staring. Maybe that's why it's all about me - I tried to save her the embarrassment of the glaring that was coming our way. Whatever it takes to keep her quiet - so be it!!

She's torn up the magazine, thrown all the stuff out of our carry on, is moving the shade up and down just to see it work, has chewed on the airplane seatbelt, is trying to figure out how to work the arm rest, and has eaten all the food I brought for us. She won't drink a darn thing but whatever it takes to keep her quiet - so be it!!! God only knows how many germs she picked up from the seatbelt alone but she was quiet and that's what matters. :)

All is well the remaining 3 1/2 hours of the flight. Just as the wheels are about to touch down in San Francisco she falls asleep... Really, now?! But wait - there's an announcement from the flight attendants "Welcome to San Francisco..." Oh well - there goes another 60 second nap.

As people are leaving, some stop to let me out of my seat. I tell them to go ahead because I'm waiting for my husband and my son. They say, "Are you sure? You've had a rough flight!" Different people - same comment.

You win some - you lose some! Some were happy I stood up for myself - same wanted to push us out the nearest exit.

We head to get the bags, get the rental car, get the kids strapped in, and then she starts up again. We stop at a drive thru for milk for her and she wants to drink it but it's cold. We survive the drive to Cupertino and I vow to never fly with her again. (Of course that can't really happen - I have to get home from San Francisco but it's a nice fantasy! :) )

I overhear Dave telling the "adventures of flying with Natalie" story to Dick. I tell him that I was complemented for speaking up and about how "Kramer like" he was in appearing next to me after I yelled. He said he was worried I was going to be escorted off the plane in handcuffs. Well, I wouldn't have had to listen to her if I was in jail. Thanks for screwing that up for me :) :) It was still too early to laugh about the incident and I think it still is - a week and a half later :) Dick's response, "Well, at least you have good material for your blog." :) True!!

I tell Dave later that I can't fly with her anymore. I have so much anxiety thinking about and leading up to flying with her that I need a sedative myself. I'm going to ask the dr. if he can prescribe something stronger than Tylenol or Benadryl for her when we fly. Tylenol and Benadryl make her tired and she usually sleeps once they "kick in" but when it comes to flying she'll fight through the sleepiness. He tells me that the dr. probably won't be on board with use giving our 1 year old a sedative. If the dr. can't prescribe her a sedative, maybe he'll prescribe me some anti-anxiety medicine. This child's fear of flying is going to give me a one way ticket to crazy town. :)

We get through our visit without incident.

Our flight home leaves San Francisco at 7am so we have to be out the door no later than 5am. Surely it'll be so early that the kids will sleep. Noah can sleep like a champ on an airplane - usually. Not today...

Natalie isn't as anxious but she isn't going without a fight. Luckily the flight is only half full so we get a seat for her. In fact, on boarding we see that we get a whole row - 6 seat for the 4 of us. God is finally smiling on us!!

We survive the flight home with minor fussing fits from Natalie and no sleeping from either child. We are scheduled to land in Cincinnati and have a long layover before our connection to Columbus. The kids and I get off the plane and Ben picks us up. Dave waits for the flight back to Columbus to pick up our checked bags and the car. Wouldn't you know it - 10 minutes into the car ride both kids pass out. I'm too stressed out to sleep and I'm realizing on the drive that the cicadas have emerged and I'm absolutely terrified of them. I've jumped out of a moving car to get away from one before. This is not going well. They are supposed to be here for another 3 weeks! Why, God, Why??? Like I haven't been through enough?!?!?

Ben drops us off at home and heads to Stephanie's. Noah won't fall back to sleep but Natalie sleeps and sleeps and sleeps some more. Poor thing is exhausted! Maybe that'll teach her to sleep on the flight - not likely but there's always hoping.

The rest of the day drags on and we eventually head to bed for the night. I toss and turn and finally fall asleep a little after 2. Why - like I haven't been through enough and now, I'm not only jet lagged, I can't sleep.

Viva Las Vegas - "loser city"... I mean "sin city"

Dave and I left for Las Vegas on Monday, May 26. We were excited to have a few days without kids and to forget what it's like to be parents. We get to the airport and Dave tells me how much money he has taken out of the bank as our gambling money. I tell him, in summary, what I heard him say and he decides - more money would be best. We go the 5/3 ATM to withdraw cash so we don't have to pay extra ATM fees in Vegas if we need more money. The ATM won't take Dave's card. It's not broken but it's not working for us. I interpret this as a bad sign. Not the way I want to start out a trip to Vegas. If we can't even get the ATM to work, what's gonna happen when we put money into the slots? Dave interprets it fate is telling us we don't need anymore money because we are going to win so much that we won't need to go back to the ATM. We'll see...

We board our flight and see that our seats are directly in front of the exit row. That means less leg room and our seats don't recline to make up for the couple in front of us reclining their seats. It's a short flight between Dayton and Atlanta. The next flight is a long one and our row is different so we scout out where are seats on the flight to Vegas. Surely the seats will be better. We get into Atlanta and it's a very crowded airport. Dave is getting stressed - big crowd, loud intercom announcements, no where to sit. This is not going well! Please let our luck turn - SOON!!! We board the flight from Atlanta to Vegas and guess what... we have the row in front of the exit row again. Different row assignment but it's a different airplane type so we're stuck. It's a full flight and no option to move. The gentleman sitting next to me is old and he's a smoker. Oh boy!!! Surely this trip cannot get any worse. Let's just get all of our bad karma, bad luck, bad whatever out of the way now so we can have good luck in Vegas.

We arrive and unfold ourselves from the cramped seating arrangements. We check into the MGM using the hotel check in desk at the airport. We reserved a king size room with the option to upgrade on check in for $50. We'd like to upgrade. "Sorry, there's only 1 standard queen room available."

"No. I reserved a king room, not a queen room. I understand there's no upgrades and that's fine but the queen room is not fine." (Again - this trip is for us to forget what it's like to be parents. Because the kids keep Dave up all hours of the night with their sleep noises and not sleeping through the night, we don't usually sleep in the same bed. If this vacation is about forgetting what it's like to be parents, sleeping in separate beds is not an option.)

"Well, the only king room available in the hotel is on the 3rd floor but it's not ready. The maid is cleaning it now."

"That's fine. It'll be done by the time we get there?"

"Yes. There is also a room on the 5th floor if you'd prefer that." (Um - what happened to no king rooms available and within 10 seconds, 2 king rooms are now available. If I keep waiting will an upgrade room be available?)

"Which room has a view?"

"Neither. There isn't a view below the 16th floor."

"Well, I guess we'll take the 3rd floor."

We head off to claim our bags and decide that since we are waiting, we might as well go ahead and stick a few quarters into the slot machine. What?!?! The slot machines don't take coins. That's weird!! Maybe it's because they were having too many problems with all the airport travelers and people just passing through causing congestion.

We go to the taxi stand and wait for a cab. Of all the cabs in all of Vegas, we (trying to forget what it's like to be parents) get a mini van taxi. Oh yes - this trip is starting off so well!!! Broken ATM, bad airplane seating, no view from our room, no upgrades available, no coins in the slots, and a mini van. Surely this has got to be the end of our bad luck!! Maybe once we get to the hotel and settled into our room we will have better luck.

We get to our room and see that our view is of the fire exit stairs from the next building over. We knew there wasn't a view of the strip but the emergency fire escape wasn't what we had in mind either. We call the front desk to ask if there is a better room available. "I''m sorry, sir, the hotel is completely full. There aren't any other room available. If you'd like, you can check back with us tomorrow."

We decide to head to In-N-Out for a burger. Maybe that's all we need to change our luck - a good double-double animal style (yum!). We get a cab and the driver is nice and very informative. There's major construction on the strip and he gives us the low down on what they are doing and when it's supposed to be done. The cab driver's are on unofficial strike because the city keeps adding more cabs causing less money for the current cabs. I asked him the new monorail is effecting the business the cabs get. He says, "No. Locally it's known as the mono-fail." Good to know... It's $9 per person/per ride and you have to walk all the way to the back of the casino to get on and all the way from the back of the casino to get off. It's too much hassle to get on and get off so a lot people don't ride it. By the time you walk to/from the back of the casino you could have practically been to your destination without spending the money for the monorail ticket.

We eat our lunch and grab a cab back to the Bellagio to watch a water show. We call Noah and he seems to not even miss us. He is so distracted by whatever he is doing that he gives the phone back to Penny mid-conversation. Good that he doesn't miss us but at the same time it's so sad that he doesn't miss us. Well, not missing us is better for Penny so we head to the water show. We stop by the Monte Carlo to gamble a little. Dave bets the slots. I'm usually a black jack player but I can't find a cheap table so play slots with Dave. The slots don't take coins anymore and it's a shame. The casinos are so quiet (compared to what they used to be) and it's just not same. You put dollars in and a cash voucher when you cash out. You can take the voucher to a voucher/atm machine or to the cashier station to get cash. We didn't win anything so we don't have to cash in our vouchers. We decide drinking alcohol would be more fun at this point so we head to the NYNY. We've always liked the NY casino and we stopped for a frozen drink on the way.

The NY is doing construction in the casino so it's hard to navigate and you can't find anything. We sit down at a slot, play a few bucks and leave...without a voucher because we aren't winning.

We cross the street back to the MGM. Maybe we should just call it a night and hope for better luck tomorrow. We stop at a slot machine in the MGM. Dave sits and is having fun playing, winning 50 cents here, 75 cents there. I'm bored with the slots and lose $20 in a matter of seconds. The slots are so boring to me so I decide it's better to watch him. I can people watch, too and that's free. It's depressing how much bad luck we are having. The slot machine Dave is playing seems like fun so I decide to put $5 in. The machine won't take my $5 because it's one of the new bills. I press the button to call for the "change" person. They don't come so I run over to the cash/voucher machine to trade in my $5 for 5 $1. I head back to the slot machine with my 5 $1 but the machine doesn't take $1 only $5 and up. Oh my gosh... this is such a bad sign. I press the "change" button again and wait for someone to come help me. They are no where in sight so I stick my $1 in the nearest machine that will take it, cash out immediately and plan to put the $5 voucher back in the machine next to Dave. By the time I get this all worked out, a family from India has sat down to play at my slot machine. Oh well - it's probably better anyway. All that work to play tells me that it's best not to play. If I can't have luck getting my money into the machine, I'm probably not going to have any luck getting extra money out of the machine.

The Indian family is having a hard time understand how to play. Yes, they are from India, the call-center-technology capital of the world where all of the US work is being outsourced to and yet, they can't figure out a slot machine. Hoping to change our karma and bad luck, I decide to help them. They keep putting the money in and telling me to push the button. I tell them that if I hit the button and it wins, I get to keep the money because technically, I'm the one gambling it even though it's their money. They decide to hit the button themselves. Once they've learned, I go off in search of another slot machine to play my $5 on. I mozy over to one that looks half way interesting and sit down. I somehow or another bet the max and am out of money after 2 spins. Now who can't figure out the stupid slot machines!!!!????? I sulk back over to where is still playing and people watch. My drink is empty and I've lost too much to keep trying. I've given up gambling for the night. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

We head back to the room and I sleep terrible. There is large flood light attached to the fire escape stairs and the curtains have been closed in a way that the light is shining straight through the slit in the curtains and into the my eyes. I'm too tired to get up to fix it but I'm not really getting any sleep. I sleep fitfully and wake at 615. Why - I'm on vacation and am forgetting what it's like to be a parent. All non-parents always wake up at 615 so of course this is normal. Oh - please do not let this be an indication of my luck today. I'm in Vegas - cut me a break. I finally fall back to sleep and wake up at 9 when I hear Dave bringing back Starbucks. Ahhhh, Starbucks - maybe this make my luck all better?! It usually helps make my day better back home.

Dave checks his email and there are serious issues at work. He has to do some work and possibly a conference call. We decide to try to rent a Harley and go ride for the day. Dave checks their website and it says we have to show proof of motorcycle rental coverage on the insurance company letter hear. Dave calls his agent to have them fax a letter only to be told that motorcycle rental is a lot different than a car rental and we aren't covered. So much for renting a motorcycle. Hopefully this is not an indication of our luck for the day. Dave deals with his conference call and I shower. We decide that since can't get a motorcycle, we'll lay by the pool today. I've already told him - weeks before we arrived - I was going to spend a day by the pool and made sure the clarify what "day by the pool" means. Dave and I do not have the same tolerance for the sun. I am a "water baby" and would like right next to the pool if I could. Dave burns easily and isn't "all day" sun like me. All day, to me, means 11ish to 3 or 4. All day, to Dave, means an hour. :) We get some breakfast and make it to the pool around 1. Because it's so late in the day, all the good spots are taken. We find a spot, plop down our stuff. I float down the lazy river; Dave lays by the pool. Eventually, Dave floats and I lay. I'm quite impressed that after an hour, he hasn't gotten "too much sun" and headed inside. In fact, he lays by the pool with me all day. We moved spots a few times to find shade for him and sun for me and made it work. Maybe tomorrow we can make it out here before 1 and get a good spot that will work for us all day. I decide that I want a drink. I get a beer. Holy cow...$7 for 1 beer plus a tip. I'll be sure to make 1 beer last all day :) We call home and Noah is definitely missing us. I call Stacy to see if she can takes Adam and Bella to visit Noah tomorrow when she gets off work. Stacy is his favorite aunt (but only because of her car and Bella's shoes :) ) so says she'll go play with Noah. We call Penny to tell her that she's coming. We think it'll give Noah a little reassurance that there is some normalcy to his life. He hasn't been completely abandoned and it'll give Penny a chance to breath a little. I'm not sure if she needed it but the kids exhaust me and I know it's nice to breath a little sometimes.

I decide I want Chipotle for dinner and Dave remembers seeing one on our last visit here. There is so much construction going on and so much stuff has been torn down that I call the front desk to ask them if there's still a Chipotle on the strip. I'm told "no" so we head to a Mexican restaurant across the street at the NYNY. It's really good and I'm still craving their salsa today. YUM!! We get our souvenir cups from the night before refilled with another frozen drink and head out to gamble. Needless to say, after waking at 6, not renting a motorcycle, Dave having to work during vacation, paying $7 for a beer and not getting Chipotle, our gambling luck isn't any better and we lose all night.

Oh well... That seems to be the theme of the trip - "you are the biggest loser, goodbye!"

I sleep better because I've fixed the curtains but wake at 6 again. I fall back asleep and have the most terrible dream. Dave said I was crying out in my dream and really restless. He goes for Starbucks but has to follow up on the problem with work that he was working on yesterday. We get a much earlier start on our day anyway and head to breakfast. I really want Denny's but the one next door has been torn down and the other one is on the other end of the strip. By the time I get down there and eat, the day will be half over and by the time I make it back to the hotel, I'll be hungry again because it takes so long to get down the strip. We find a sandwich shop near the pool and grab some food to eat poolside instead. Because it's still a little early, we get a really good spot by the pool. We buy a beer and again, make it last all day.

We call home to check on Noah. He's really excited because Stacy should be pulling up any second. Again - he could care less that we're not home. Good and bad for us but I'll deal with it. Penny then tells me that when he woke up from his nap this afternoon, she said, "Guess who is coming over to play with you today?" Little Noah replied, "Mommy and daddy!" I lost it - right there in the middle of the pool, I lose all sense of control and start crying. The poor people sitting in the chairs beside us decide go for a swim as soon as they see me in tears. I'm not sure who they were but I can only imagine what they were thinking. Dave and I walk a few feet away to make a phone call and I come back in tears. Them leaving for a swim a few seconds later seemed a little coincidental.

I get control and we head back to the room early because we have tickets to the Cirque Du Soleill "O" at the Bellagio. We want to have a nice dinner before hand. It has taken us the entire 3 days we've been here to track the tickets down. It's our bad luck we are having that is causing the problem for us not getting the tickets but Dave is finally able to track them down.

Dave decides that since he has had to work during his vacation that work should pay for part of our dinner so we head to Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse. We eat the best steak we've ever had. The asparagus were cooked to perfection and the potatoes were so fluffy and creamy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. YUM!! We order creme brulee for dessert. It comes in three separate flavors: regular, pistachio, and chocolate. The chocolate is too rich for me but Dave likes it. The pistachio is my favorite. Dave order a glass of the dessert port. I have a Bailey's and coffee and we both seem to be in heaven. They bring our bill and Dave reaches for his money clip only to find that he doesn't have his work credit card. So much for being in heaven. Adding to our already high expense for this trip because of all we've gambled and lost, we now have a $200 food bill to pay plus a tip. Okay, okay, okay - enough bad luck already, PLEASE!!!

We see the show and absolutely love it. After the show we decide to stop in the Monte Carlo on our walk back to the MGM to see if there is a cheap blackjack table for me to play. I've had a small amount of luck in finding a cheap table at the Monte Carlo if it's early enough in the night. Don't get me wrong - I haven't had luck winning big but I've found a table. Not tonight... All the tables are $10 or higher. Dave is sulking because he hasn't won anything and we are on our last night in Vegas. I decide to go back to the hotel, change into jeans and tshirt and call the Excalibur to see if they have any $5 table going. They have 1 $5 table. We head to the overpass to walk to the Excalibur and Dave sees a sign that says, "$5 Blackjack 24 hours a day at the Tropicana." Now, 12 hours before our flight home we see this... Now is when our luck is changing... Seriously?? Somebody has not so funny humor!!

We head to the Tropicana. I sit down at a $5 table with $20 and 3 hands later I'm off to find Dave and I'm broke. He's at a slot machine not winning either. Oh well - at least our luck didn't really change so I'm leaving wondering if I should have been gambling at the Tropicana the whole time. As we are leaving I talk Dave into sitting at a $5 table with me for $20 each. Let's see what happens - maybe this will get him out of his "we're losers and we suck" sulking mood.

It works... he's not sulking anymore when we walk away after about an hour and a half. We're aren't up any money but we aren't down any more money either. We walk away with the $20 each we sat down with. We played, won few hands, lost a few hands, had a good time and walked away without losing our $20. I'd have to say that was one of the best times during the whole trip! Sitting together, gambling and laughing along with the crowd and the dealer. It was fun!!!

We fly home on Thursday. We made sure the pay a few extra bucks in order to book our seats a day early and guarantee we weren't in the row in front of the exit. It wasn't so bad. The flight wasn't completely full so it worked out. We had 3 seats together to just the 2 of us. We could spread out and take a nap. We needed it... We didn't get back to the house until a little after 2am.

Noah came in at 6 - like usual. I heard him coming down the hall because he SLAMS his door shut alerting me that he's headed my way. He stands outside the door for a few seconds. I call his name and comes in hesitantly. That's weird!! (later I found out it's because Penny slept with the door open - he was confused why the door would be closed) He trots over to my side of the bed. When I open my eyes and smile at him, he seems confused to see me. I say "Hi, Noah!" and chin starts to quiver and his lips starts to curl like he's going to cry! Poor little guy - I can tell by how he's looking at me that he thinks he's dreaming. It's only after I reach for him and pull him into bed with and give him a great BIG hug that he's able to stop quivering and see that I really am there. I think he thought he was dreaming - what a terrible dream for a 2 year old to have. Can you imagine the mental damage that would cause - "I dreamed mom came home but she didn't really. She's abandoned me!" But I was really there so all was well.

I have 36 hours to do laundry, settle back in from Vegas, and repack the suitcases before we head off on our next adventure. We are headed to San Francisco for Joyce's memorial service. I don't think we could have done it without Penny being there to help. I was so tired and there was so much to do. But we did it and we're off again!!! San Francisco or bust...