This weekend was a lot of firsts for our little family. It was the first time we all stayed in a hotel (the kids LOVED it, and when I explained what room service was Fin's eyes got really big and he sighed, woooow. Dats weally cool.) He also became our official elevator operator, dashing inside yelling "I GOT IT! I GOT IT!" so he could push the buttons. As soon as the door closed he would position himself inches away from the door, exactly in the middle, shoving middle aged men out of the way to secure his spot with a polite but firm, "scuse me!" so that he would always be the first one out.
It was also the kid's first time at a buffet. Griffin was thrilled with the idea of not having to wait for your food, and Parker. Well she just about died and went to heaven. I caved and gave her a plate with some cottage cheese on it (her lactose intolerance usually stops me from giving her any dairy). All of us were laughing so hard because she would SO happy. No one in the entire history of cottage cheese has been that happy to have a plate of it. "Cheese cheese cheese!! Cheeeeeeessssee! I got cheese!!" as she shoveled it into her mouth. She was also tired, so her exhaustion and exhilaration led her to act like a loopy drunk, making faces and deliriously offering her cheese to everyone, laughing maniacally to herself.
It was also, of course, the first time Josh and the kids had been inside a cave. I'd been to this cave when I was younger with my family. It was my dad that suggested this particular cave when I mentioned that I wanted to take Josh and the kids to a cave. And it was such a perfect choice. It has several of the major cave formations that you can find in caves (stalactites, stalagmites, cave shields, mushrooms, fossils just to name a few). The path through the cave is paved, with hand rails, and uplighting, so that I was easily able to walk through holding Parker in one hand and a camera in the other, and Griffin was able to make the journey all on his own. I was the only one to see a bat as we walked out, so there were no creatures to freak Josh out. And the hike to the cave, while hot, was completely do-able, even for those of us that are not in perfect shape.
*Six in the morning we started our trip!
*Nothing like Donettes on the road!
*Five and half hours later, we made it!
*Parker spent the majority of the time in the hotel room plastered to the windows, watching the motorboats on the river and the people in the pool.
*Josh and Parker making a hike in the Mojave look good
*Josh only lasted about three minutes carrying both kids in the 90+ degree weather. Wimp. ;)
*It always amazes me the colors and plants that exist somewhere considered so "barren."
*The view from the mouth of the cave
*Parker and I listening to Mike, our tour guide at the mouth of the cave
*The entrance to the cave
*A cave column
*Auntie Jessie in a cave!
*Parker and Josh as tour guides. They were to point out the formations that looked like a dead chicken, and a yawning walrus. Parker wanted nothing to do with the cave till she got this job. Then she was all business.
*Uncle Chris' contribution to the shoe marks on the ceiling of the Harrah's parking structure (which by the way has the most amazing breakfast buffet you've ever seen. The hotel, not the parking structure, that is).