Viva Las VegasAugust 10, 2011 by Victoria Strong Before unexpectedly driving 5 hours north to Stanford, we had a fabulous planned long weekend 5 hours east of Santa Barbara visiting some great friends in Las Vegas, Nevada. Viva Las Vegas! Whoa, the G-Van is really racking up the miles these days...
Gwendolyn is actually a Vegas veteran. Yep, at not-yet-four-years-old this is her second trip to Sin City. She's a wild child! Vegas was the first stop on our Sponsor-A-Mile trip two years ago when she was only 20-months-old (such a little peanut). And it has been far too long since we have visited our very dear friends who live there. Far too long. For starters, they have all added new children to their sweet families. And so a normally smallish gathering of good friends in the past has ballooned into quite a lot of little ones rolling and crawling and walking and running around. And when everyone arrived Gwendolyn had a look that said, Whoa, that is going to be a lot of babysitting (I am so bummed I didn't get a picture of the group and all the kiddos, but there were 7 children having a blast.)
In addition to the party, we spent lots of time swimming in the pool, having tea parties, playing games, giggling through tickle-fests, hiding and seeking, talking into the night, looking at old photos from Bill's college days and trips we all went on (and this was when I was going Whoa, those were some bad outfits and haircuts!) and just loving being with good friends. Heather and I went out for pedicures and girl time. Bill and the guys hit the felt a few times (he won or so I was told). And Gwendolyn adored playing non-stop with Reagan.
Reagan is an absolute sweetheart. I don't think I've ever met a more easy-going mellow child. She and Gwendolyn are only a week apart and they were both so excited to be together. What was neat about this was Reagan was perfectly happy sitting and playing next to Gwendolyn for hours. She brought things to show Gwendolyn and held them right up to her so she could see. She snuggled up with her to watch a movie. She was over the moon having tea parties every morning and brought all of her stuffed animal friends to surround them on their blanket, was very good about sharing the plates and treats with Gwendolyn, and always poured lots of tea for everyone. And Reagan even helped during one of Gwendolyn's breathing treatments, comforting Gwendolyn by saying, "It's okay Gwennie, I do this sometimes, too." Or when she saw the bloody nose Gwendolyn had, "I get those too." And she and Gwendolyn took turns doing CPT (chest percussion treatment) on each other, both giggling. My heart was so full and so proud to see how naturally accepting and inclusive she is...and it clearly meant the world to Gwendolyn to play with a friend and feel totally included.
On Sunday we headed to the strip and the Bellagio with Heather, Wade, and Reagan to see the Botanical Gardens. Gwendolyn loved cruising the strip, seeing all the big buildings and the bright signs. And the Bellagio's Botanical Gardens was incredible with countless fresh flowers, water bridges to walk through and an aviary. Gwendolyn was especially impressed with the hot air balloon exhibit (given her current Wizard of Oz fetish). We explored the rest of the hotel, the Fiori di Como, the fountains, and the fancy shops and Gwendolyn loved all the sights above her. But she especially loved being right by Reagan's side and she really loved when Reagan wanted to help push her stroller through the hotel -- priceless!
We were really sad to leave, so that means we need to go back sooner Maybe next time Gwendolyn can meet Elvis