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Bright Light City

Adam had certainly been racking up the airline mileage points in his first year, but all of our trips had either been to family events in Florida, visits to Philadelphia, or work trips. Our first actual family vacation came to fruition on February 19th when we flew to Las Vegas for a four day vacation. I disconnected from work entirely, powering off my phone and sticking it in a drawer before we left home.

It’s still a challenge traveling with a little one. Luggage-wise he had an entire suitcase devoted to his clothes, toys, food, bottles, changing pad, diapers, and everything else a 13 month old needs. We also assembled a bed kit consisting of a couple Port-A-Walls and a Pack ‘n Play, all packed into a Humes & Berg Drum Seeker Tilt-N-Pull Hardware Bag. This was the first time using this collection of things to block off an area of our hotel room for him, and it worked out quite well. The Port-A-Walls are just thin synthetic fabric, so it does nothing for sound, and only a little for light, but they do block out motion, so he doesn’t get bothered or distracted when we walk around the room, which is especially key when putting him down for a nap. Plus, he had his stroller bag. That’s three full-size suitcase equivalents just for him! As you can imagine, packing also takes a bit longer than it used to when it was just the two of us.

We stayed in the Aria Sky Suites. If I’m honest, we probably won’t bother with it again. The room was beautiful, and the airport transport, lounge, and special pool were nice, but the perks they advertised as “personalized” really weren’t. They made a lot of mistakes, and for the most part I’ve gotten better service from standard hotel front desk staff than their alleged “personal concierge.” I don’t regret going there at all, it was just a little disappointing compared to the hype and list price (which we didn’t pay, but who does? It’s Las Vegas! Comps!).

Introducing little Adam to Las Vegas was a joy. At 13 months old, the lights and sounds of the casino were a delight for him. Outside, he watched the crowds of people and cars with great interest.

During one walk, I took him to see the amazing fountains at the Bellagio, though his attention was thoroughly elsewhere: watching the people watching the fountains.

Because of how delighted he was with walks, we did a lot of them during our visit. Up and down the strip, on a bus to go the mall where they had a Build-A-Bear Workshop, taking trams from the Aria to Mandalay Bay. In the course of traveling the strip with a stroller, we got to navigate around to find all the elevators, no small feat.

Feeding Adam while on the go also presents particular challenges. He’s old enough to only be drinking milk when he wakes up and goes to bed, so most of his nourishment comes from food. We packed Gerber snacks and ravioli, which left two meals per day to find elsewhere. One morning the two of us went to breakfast, during which he ate a bunch of my avocado toast and I was left to eat most of his fruit and yogurt. The buffet at Aria was great for us, allowing him to sample a bunch of different foods on a leisurely timeline. Easy access to bananas throughout our trip was good too, they are his go-to fruit!

Activity-wise, we each got time to go out and do things. As part of our family during her stay in the United States, our au pair joined us for this vacation and she met up with a friend who flew in to spend the weekend together. She was able to watch Adam while MJ and I went out on our big Date Night where we enjoyed a stunning French meal at Guy Savoy. We went with the tasting menu and I added the wine pairing.

Our evening continued by stepping outside of Caesars Palace to see Absinthe.

The weather during our visit was on the cool side, but on Friday it warmed up enough to make our way down to the pool. We spent the day as a family lounging in Gazebo we rented (which got us food delivery by the pool), eating snacks, playing, and sometimes even going into the heated pool.

As MJ and I swapped off the evening duty of staying in the room with the sleeping baby, one night I went downstairs to Bardot Brasserie. Another French restaurant, I went for the escargo in puff pastries, and their lobster and steak entree was delicious. For dessert, I had a trio that I had to mostly take back to my room to enjoy later. Too much food! I also spent one morning making my way out to the Erotic Heritage Museum, which got good reviews for actual interesting historical content, but is not much to look at from the outside, and even the entrance made me questioning whether I really wanted to visit. It was worth it though, several of the exhibits were quite in-depth and many of them were fascinating. Obviously not a museum for the more prudish among us, but I enjoyed it.

As a whole, we had a lot of fun, but the trip was not particularly relaxing. Vacationing with a little one takes a lot of energy! Still, I absolutely cherished Adam’s wide-eyed looks of astonishment as we saw new and impressive sights everywhere we went. I wouldn’t classify Las Vegas as a family destination, but at this age, he really enjoyed being whisked around everywhere and trying new things.

More photos from our visit are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157713662176597