Sun and Fun

I love Vermont, and how we get to experience all 5 seasons (for you flatlanders, the 5th is mud season), but man, this winter has been tough!  It’s been below freezing for two months straight, which means we can’t go outside for too long and add in the fact that I work from home, so I rarely get out – well it has caused some serious cabin fever.  It’s March, a week away from the first day of spring and this is what it looks like outside…

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So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we left that snowy wonderland behind us for the warm west coast! So on a wintery wednesday, I spent the morning packing a bag with short sleeve shirts, capris, and sunglasses (later dubbed ‘Averyators’, thanks to Robin).

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So that afternoon, we spent our first hour (of many for this vaca) in an airport headed for warmer climates…

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Since we flew out of VT, it’s a small airport and we had to transfer, so two flights, and a couple zzz’s later…

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(we flew over Vegas on our way… a little foreshadowing…)IMG_5396

We were in the sunny OC!

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Avery stayed back with MiMi and Grampy while Steve and I (who have been planning this for mooooonths and talking about it since the summer, before we were dating) visited our friends from high school, Robin and Nate.  Now let’s preface this big reunion vacation with a little backstory…

Robin, Steve, and I went to elementary school together.  Robin and I were the bestest of friends – my family practically adopted her.  She went camping with us when we vacationed.  Her pet rabbit lived with my rabbit at my house.  She ‘taught’ me how to ski. She called my Dad ‘Chef Boyardee.” Good times.  (Oh and maybe this is a good time to mention Steve and I went to before/after school daycare together where he sneakily stole my first kiss!!! But he broke up with me on the school bus – a bunch of times, so needless to say, that didn’t last long)

When Robin went to a different high school than Steve and I, we kept in touch, but then I met Nate (he had gone to a elem school in another town)… why or how Nate and I became close friends is beyond me.  But when Robin transfered to our highschool, I introduced her to Nate.  They fell in love, and after graduation, moved to California.  So essentially, I lost both of my best friends.  We all lost touch over the years.

Fast forward ten years, Robin and Nate (finally) got married last summer – in Vermont.  So to my surprise, Steve was there too.  We hit it off and started Friday Night Wine Nights together – so all summer we caught up (and tried some good and bad wines), and what do you know, we eventually fell for each other(Awe).  It was only fitting that Robin and Nate repaid the favor I did them 10 years ago 😛

Soooo ever since their wedding, we had been playing around with the idea to visit them.  And so, we did.  We booked the flights and flew out there with no agenda… no plans whatsoever.

We stayed with Robin and Nate’s in their adorable house…

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We met their two pets, who Avery was more interested to see when I face timed with him than me.  Abby:

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And Kunta.

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We had four fun-filled days with them.  Some of the highlights…

Fried Pickles!  After hours and hours on planes and in airports, Nate and Robin picked us up late Wednesday night and we went to dinner and introduced them to our fave app.

Drag Racing Nate’s New Car! After meanduring around a mall for the afternoon, the men endulged in some racing fun.

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We look so happy in this pic… at this point we didn’t know we’d be stuck in the car for 6 hours days later.

Nate and Steve found this place with a drag strip where you can race your own cars.  They signed their life away and Robin and I watched from the stands as they tried to beat other cars.

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Laguna Beach!

We rode down to the beach in Nate’s fancy smancy Camero.IMG_5405

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We walked around and checked out a few stores (I got and sent two post cards to Avery and my Grandma), then walked the sandy beach.IMG_5406

We sooo lucked out with weather.  It was litterally 90 degrees warmer than in was in VT.  70s in Cali and -20 to -30 in VT.IMG_5413

To say we were happy was an understatement.

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We were in loooove.IMG_5416IMG_5419

We picked some seashells for Avery (he loved them and brought them to school to show off)

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The water was cold, but bearable.  I mean, common, we spent hours at the beach in February!!

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Awe.  Aren’t the newlyweds too cute! (Nate was actually trying to push her in…)IMG_5426

We loved it so much, we thought we would just stay and buy this fixer upper…

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We washed up and had some drinks and food right on the beach.IMG_5439IMG_5445

When we got back to their place, we were raring to go out to the Lakers game that night….IMG_5447

Lakers Game!

Before heading to the game, we visited my second cousin Kellee and her two kiddos and two dogs.  She’s the daughter-in law of my Uncle John, the one I’m buying the house from.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person!  Then it was off to fight traffic on the way to  LA.

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Robin and Nate had got us all tickets to the game that night, and not just any tickets…IMG_5458

Yep, we were THAT close.IMG_5460

mandatory ‘We’re Sitting THIS Close” photo to prove it.IMG_5461

We had drinks and prezels and smoozed with Denzel and Mark Walberg. (no, really, they were there!)

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And we even made it on the big screen!!!  I was waving and smiling and Steve was like what?

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The game was very close and exciting.  I’ve been to Celtics games, and even sat in box seats thanks to my company, but these seats… amazing!!!IMG_5466

Oh and on our long ride into LA for the game, we decided, hey, we don’t have plans for the weekend, so let’s go to Vegas.  And…. we did.

Vegas!

6am the next morning, we were on the road headed to Sin City!IMG_5468

Steve had never been, the rest of us had, so we were on a mission to show Steve what Vegas was all about.  The ride was just over 4 hours… lots of nothing to look at on the way….

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A random pitstop along the way…

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We arrived, and stayed at the Aria, one of the new hotels.  I wanted to stay at Treasure Island, but they had been booked – can’t blame them, we booked a hotel the day before going!

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So smansy, we walked into the hotel room and the window curtain opened up and music turned on… we weren’t in Kansas Vermont anymore!IMG_5483

We went exploring on the strip, and our first stop was the M&M store!

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I got Avery these M&Ms, personalized with his name (he was thrilled when I brought them home)

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“Oh hey, we’re in Vegas” selfie with New York New York behind us.IMG_5480

After lots of exploring, we sat down for some food on the strip.IMG_5482

After some napping and slot machine fun (not! we lost $11 and called it a night), we headed off to Fremont Street.IMG_5488

So many lights… and so many people!

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Nate and Steve did the Zip Line…

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Then it was back to the strip to visit the Bellagio fountains and atrium.IMG_5493IMG_5494

And then we did what any kid-free couple does late at night while in Vegas…. we grabbed some food, a six-pack, and headed back to our hotel room.IMG_5505

I think my fave part of the trip, other than all the laughing between all four of us all vaca, was relaxing in bed the next morning… ahh sleeping in is sooooo nice.

Before we headed out, we endulged in some more candy and chocolate….IMG_5506IMG_5507

Then began our 24 hour journey home.  We drove back to the OC, which took forever!  We were tired and sick of sitting before we even got to the airport.  Demonstration… Left, on the way TO Vegas.  Right, on the way BACK from Vegas.IMG_5511

Other than oodles of traffic, we saw a fun road sign.  IMG_5512

And it didn’t rain allll vacation, until we got in that car to drive back.  Good timing.

Our flight back to Newark was delayed a little bit, then 4 hours later in Newark (now morning on the east coast), we had a 6 hour layover thanks to a delayed plane.IMG_5514

When we were on the final plane ride home, we were a bit excited… and tired!IMG_5515

We finally got into VT 24 hours after we had left Vegas.  We only had a few hours of sleep while on the planes (I cannot sleep on planes) and it took us the next week to catch up on sleep I think.  I was excited to see Avery when we got in though.  MiMi had kept him home from preschool so he could meet us at the airport – he ran up to me and told me about the planes he was watching and he wouldn’t let me go.  Such a fun vacation, but we will be VERY happy if we don’t see an airport for a while… good thing our next visit with Robin and Nate will be here in Vermont after we buy the new house this fall!

❤ Meghan

Cape Cod Vacation: (Part 2 of 2)

Well, last night was another doosey.  Avery’s toddler bed transition is proving to be another difficult milestone.  Let’s just say I’ve been up since 4:15Am… enough said?  Oh well, I was due for a tough time after our amazing week on Cape Cod. I’ll pick up where I left off

Tuesday was fishing day.  Well, for Grammy and Grampy.  We were all up bright and early to bring them to their fishing boat at the Falmouth Harbor.  It was one thing Dad had really been looking forward to.  I had gone with him 4 years ago, last time we went to the cape.
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Avery was not happy to see “MiMi” go.  He kept putting his arms out to have her pick him up.  Sarah and I quickly distracted him by bringing him to this park:

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It was designed by the country’s best playground design architectural firm.  It had a nautical theme… boats and ropes everywhere.  There was even a rock climbing wall and a little kid section.

We would have stayed longer, but it was HOT.  And it was only 9am!  Good thing we had plans to hit up the Cape Cod Children’s Museum!  Inside and air conditioned!  We were there when the doors opened… and man was it fun!

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There was a farm section that Avery loved.  They had balls and trains, a tree house, a pirate ship… everything a kid could dream of!

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We followed Avery around and let him explore and play with other kids.  He was very good about sharing balls with another little girl.  He was a little possessive over the trains though.. and freaked out when another kid took ‘his’ train.  He’s going through this ‘MINE’ stage.. so he thinks everything is ‘MINE’

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Aunt Sarah climbed up to the top of this thing with him… and he even went up alone a few times.. you had to climb up throught holes offset on the wooden landing with railings on the right of that photo.. pretty cool.  There was a few pile ups between the kids going up and down, but most other parents were there to coach the kids along and there weren’t too many freak out moments.

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We stayed there for over 2 hours, then it was time to pick up Grammy and Grampy, who we just ended up saying hello to and taking their catch because they headed out on an afternoon fishing trip too.  We brought their food back to the house, hung out for a bit, Sarah prepped dinner because we were taking it out with us that night.

We picked Grammy and Grampy up at 5pm, brought them back to the house to change/shower and we packed our bags and headed to a free concert on the green in Hyannis.  So much fun!!! We sat in lawn chairs and on a blanket.  Avery warmed up and ran around, danced, threw a frisbee.  It was so much fun!  Sarah had made chicken salad sandwhiches, yum!  I don’t have any pictures of this, but Sarah has a great video of Avery playing with the frisbee.  We have to do that again!

The next day we hit up another beach.  No pictures from that day… I guess I just had too much fun!  That afternoon my Aunt and her grandson joined us.  It was great to have more people join the fun!  Oh and Avery got a lawn mower from Grammy and Grampy – he mowed the lawn all week!

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Thursday my cousin, her kiddos, her mom and neice joined us and we hit a beach on the east side of the cape.  It took an hour to get there but, man was it worth it!!

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We are the two umbrellas out front… can you see Grampy sitting in the shade?  He got WAY too much sun on his fishing trip and stayed in the shade most of the beach day.  The rest of us enjoyed the water, sun, and sand…

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At low tide the beach spread out so far and there were little pools of water perfect for Avery.  Sarah and I and the other older kiddos did some boogie boarding too.

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After a few hours, we were beat and headed back, on the shuttle that took us there from the parking lot.  On the way, Benj (Avery’s 2nd cousin) shared his snack with Avery… too cute!

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Back at the house, we prepped a seafood dinner from the fish my parents had caught and some lobsters and mussles or clams… I forget, I didn’t eat it because I hate seafood.  Everyone else loved it!  While the food was prepping, the kiddos had a blast together… Avery and his second cousing Ellery (who is only 2 months older than Avery) had fun in the Kayak…

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And Avery even went out with Grampy in the Kayak!  My mom has those pics, but he loved it!  They did some on land kayaking too… like when we went camping and Avery loved the boat… only when it was on dry land.

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Friday, our last day we took a trip to Martha’s Vineyard.  We took the Ferry over and used the busses to go around and see three different towns.

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Avery enjoyed the ferry ride, but when we got there, oh it was HOT.

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The bus was fun too!

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I took a few random pics, like this one.  My mom always tells my Grandma ‘it’s me’ when she calls her.  Had to take a picture!

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And when we hit Edgartown, we took a pic with my cousins son, Eric, in the same place (and pose) as he took one the year before.

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We’re such goofballs!

The ferry ride back we played some hide and seek to keep Avery occupied (it was a 45 min ride!) and other passengers got involved trying to point out to Avery where  I was hiding!

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And we even resorted to using phones to keep the kids occupied after a long day…

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And that’s it!  My family has tons more pics of the trip, and maybe I’ll share another time… but not now because we’re headed off to VT for our yearly family reunion!!!  This year’s theme… Medieval Times!

Happy Friday!

Do you have family reunions?  How often?  Do you do themes?  The year I was on the committee and planned it we did Survivor Mexico!

Viva Las Vegas: Part 3

Third and final attempt at wrapping up our Vegas trip.  I shouldn’t be surprised it’s taken me this long to share all our pictures and stories since we did spend a whole week there!  Ok, so I shared last week about our hotel and exploring the strip, and Monday I shared about the shows and the hoover dam tour.  Today we’ll wrap up with a trip to Paris, stories from the black jack table, and fun at the M&M store!

TWENTY ONE

When in Vegas, gamble!  And gamble we did.  Vinay more so than I did.  But when he finally convinced me to sit down next to him at the black jack table, I made bank!  Well, he did too.  The first time I played, we had put in $200 or something along those lines and cashed out $779.  Balla!  I have to admit, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I quickly caught on….obviously!  My favorite times were when the dealer had a low card and I got to double down.  Oh and I LOVED the people.  We met so many people from all over the world.  What’s fun about black jack is that everyone isn’t playing against each other so you can cheer for and congratulate someone else for getting a black jack or good hand.  We had a few times where we were THAT TABLE.  The one cheering and yelling and high-fiving that you can hear across the casino floor.

It wasn’t like that every time we sat down though.  We tried different Casinos and lost here and there.  And I was NOT fond of the stupid slot machines.  Maybe it’s because I played poker in college and love cards more and the thought it requires.  Slot machines are a whole ‘nother world.  They are SO BORING!  You push a button, it dings and then you find out if you won or lost.  Boring.  And I lost $4.90 in a matter of 30 seconds at one machine…so done with those silly things!

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But back to the card games – can I tell you how many times I got carded?!  I have no problem getting carded – I know it’s the dealers job and I’m glad they do it.  PLUS It’s flattering and I hope I get carded in my 30s!  But EVERY time Vinay sat at a table and I watched, they carded us.  Then if the dealer changed, they would card me again.  I lost count, but I know I was carded over a dozen times.  One lady told me I looked 18(I’m 27)!  Quite a complement 🙂

M&M

I have to say, one of the places I was excited to visit (again) was the M&M store.  It’s 4 floors of M&M goodies, and it smells of chocolate!  Here we are outside the store in 2009 with Vinay’s favorite M&M:

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This visit, we had fun looking for goodies for Avery.  He LOVES mini M&Ms!  We got a little distracted during our search and found hats, cars, and giant M&Ms to pose with…

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Oh, side note – they had this contraption that you could design sayings and images on M&Ms and put them into this contraption and they come out.  Pretty cool.  We were observing, as they cost $20 for a tiny bunch of them, no thanks, especially since Avery wouldn’t care what was written on his M&Ms, but anyways, on the screens where you type in the stuff you want on your M&Ms, we were watching this woman and she was writing ‘Will You Marry Me?’  We didn’t know if it was for real or a joke, because we couldn’t see her ring finger, and trust me, we lingered really long to check it out, with no luck, but she was really serious-faced while typing it in…. I hope he said yes!

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We found the best gift for Avery – a sippy cup with sparkles and M&Ms, oh and a tube of mini M&Ms of course!

Pari

Speaking of yummy food, we had a delicious dinner in Paris one night.

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We sat on ‘outside’ which was really like a fenced in eating area inside the Paris gallery overlooking casino games and a great spot for people watching.  I indulged in a french burger and some pomme frites, yum!

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Our big dinner was at Benihana’s on our last night of vacation.  They cooked the food right in front of us.  A fun experience and we got a souvenir picture to remember the night by.

The Goods

In addition to the M&M goodies for Avery, we snagged a Sesame Street T-shirt for him.  Vinay won a used deck of cards from Ballys.  We also found a snow globe on the monorail, and brought back some chocolate casino chips and a die lollipop for Grammy, Grampy, and Aunt Sarah to fight over.

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And, that’s a wrap.  Now onto all the fun Avery was having while we were away…