Please forgive me, I couldn’t post this beforehand. The paparazzi would have staked themselves outside our hotel room the entire time and we would have graced the cover of US Weekly without getting paid for it!  (Ah, the life of a celebrity…)

When I think of Las Vegas, the first thing that comes to mind is “Wow, I can’t believe I’m thinking about the shrimp eating capital of the United States.”  And when I have dreams of myself snorkeling from one slot machine to the next in the hopes I could jackpot a lifetime supply of shrimp with just one pull of the lever, it’s time for a shrink a visit.

Las Vegas built a direct road to San Diego.  Scratch that, San Diego built a direct road to Las Vegas.  (It’s part of the reason why our city is broke.)  One freeway, the I-15, whisks you over the hills and through the woods desert to the place where the fourth largest pyramid in the world resides.  (If you’re visiting from space, hover directly over the vertical light beam in the sky and descend.  It will take you right to the center.)

When I was younger and had time, money, and energy, Vegas was a fun place to let my single self cavort and run wild.  “Sleep during the day and party at night” was the motto.  Funny.  Now that I look back, I don’t remember seeing any babies or toddlers in Vegas.  (In my mid-twenties, I probably couldn’t tell you what a toddler was, let alone spot one in public.) Today, I know why you don’t see a lot of young families like mine in a place like Las Vegas.  Would you still view Vegas the same way if the consequences of your sins committed there were standing next to you on the people mover?  Watching a poor sap like me lugging a 50-lb bag of diapers, a stroller full of toddler screams, and schlepping a tired, worn-out pregnant woman from casino to casino would make any sane man question his free-wheeling motives!  So, strollers and babies are forced to navigate the “Strip” more covertly…through the service and maintenance routes.

2.9 Members of the MVG clan!

I’m on the other side of the Stratosphere now, and I’ve had to begrudgingly change my Vegas habits to a more G-Rated, all ages version. Wake up at 6:30am.  Nap time at noon.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner time scheduled around pregnancy munchies and Worm’s occasional desire to eat.  Squeeze all that in by 8pm and everyone’s happy…almost.  During our three-day stay, I saw more of my hotel room than I have in all the other times I’ve visited combined.  Not the most fun for me, but I sacrifice my own joys in life to be with my family.

During Thanksgiving, Vegas gets much fewer visitors.  This time of year isn’t hard to find a great hotel package deal for the whole clan.  We haven’t been on a vacation since before Worm was hatched.  It was a perfect opportunity to test out the little guy’s portability and travel manners during the “terrible twos” period.  Besides, the thick walls of these hotel rooms can muffle sounds from the most unhappy toddlers.

I found Vegas to be surprisingly kid-friendly.  There’s a ton to do.  If your kid is bored in Vegas, consider the clergy for them.  The mobsters running the Boulevard (just kidding, please don’t shoot me) know that Vegas runs in two shifts (day and midnight) and never the twain shall meet.  Every day well before the witching hour, we hit the pool, the buffets, and the Strip.  On the last day, we blazed through the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium in about 10 minutes.  (We were overstimulated, ready for nap time, and our brain had shut down…we were out of sins and ready for home.  We = Worm.)

Though I had plenty of misdeeds left in me, Worm was right.  Out of time and Thanksgiving turkey, we left Paradise (Clark County) and headed for home.  It was a nice detour from reality, if only for a few days.

Looks Like Someone Was Enjoying the Mandalay Bay Exhibits

If you’re wondering, Worm racked up the 11 hours of driving in excellent condition.  He was a great travel companion.  When strapped down, he was easy to talk to and didn’t once try to escape my lecture on “Why Vegas is Called Sin City”.  We managed without shoving a TV, iPod, iPad, or laptop computer in his face.  (Yes, I’m amazed too.)

Finally Able to Catch Some Z’s! Vegas was Awesome!

Gavin – 19; Dad – 9 (From the pictures, it looks like you got the Vegas thing down pat, Worm.  Good job!)