Things you should know if you ever plan to take your family to Las Vegas:

  • Being on vacation is more work than “working”
  • If one of your younger kiddos starts crying in his sleep, while you’re driving through the middle of the desert, pull over as soon as you can, unbuckle him, drag him out of his seat, and make him walk around for a few minutes. Unless, of course, you want to go insane and let him “cry it out”.
  • Come to terms with the fact that you may never know what kind of bug is now the big yellow goo splattered on your windshield.
  • Your 21 month old can make it all day without a nap, but there are better ways to ruin your dinner.
  • You should make sure that your kiddos know not only your mobile numbers, but your area code, too. You can always tattoo it across the tops of their hands, just to make sure. You never know, they could decide that they want to help the security guards find you, for some reason.
  • If your 3-year-old drops his shoe in one of the animal exhibits in the Mirage’s Secret Garden, your 8-year-old can get it before he gets caught. Hey, his speed will save you a trip to Walmart and the $10 for new shoes… totally worth it! But, make sure you retrieve the shoe after you’ve seen all of the animals, though, so you get your money’s worth.
  • You should most definitely bring along a sister, cousin, friend, or grandpa who can stay with your kiddos, after they go to bed, so you and your hubby can cruise the strip after dark. Doing this does wonders for making you feel like being in Vegas was actually a good idea.
  • That said, take your first “evening out” and scope the land. Discover first-hand which hotels are  appropriate through which to stroll with the kids and which ones are not. Keep in mind that even the “good” hotels have sections to avoid. Um, this is definitely easier before your kiddos can read.
  • If you are even slightly observant you won’t have to drive around for forty minutes looking for the closest grocery store…. It may just be around the corner from your hotel!
  • Plan a day trip to Hoover Dam, but make your husband promise that he won’t pee off this incredible structure. It will be difficult, but you’ll be glad you did.

The Youngs in Sin City?


Las Vegas doesn’t seem like a family friendly place to vacation and in many ways, it isn’t. But if you’re selective (and bring someone to watch your kids when you go out at night) you can have quite a fun and enjoyable trip with your little ones…and have some quality time with your spouse.

Right now, we’re at the beginning of day four, and so far, we’ve had quite the family adventure exploring some of the great cities of the world – Paris, Venice and New York. Josh finally got to see the Statue of Liberty up close – he’s been begging to go to New York and see everything on his souvenir mug – and all the kids enjoyed seeing the lights of the Strip from the top of the Eiffel Tower. We even got to see the Bellagio’s water light show from way up there. And Zach commented as we walked through the “Streets of Paris” that it’s exactly like he imagined the City of Lights would be in real life.

Speaking of Zach, we (me, the kids and my dad – who graciously joined us for our vacation) visited St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, and then toured the Grand Canal. But as we were watching the gondolas row past, we realized that Zach was not with us. After a frantic five-minute search, I approached a Venetian security guard and presented Ethan, asking, “Have you seen a boy who looks exactly like this one?”

Thank the Lord that he responded with, “Yes. They just called it in.” Apparently, Zach had been distracted by a kids’ movie near the entrance. And he displayed a cool head under pressure, approaching a security guard and informing her that he couldn’t find his family. No tears were visible as we approached him.

Interestingly, because we doubled back, we ran across a unique rare coins and objects dealer that we’d missed earlier. had on display an original copy of the 1611 King James Bible. There are less than 200 in existence today. Plus the kids got to gawk over the 16th century Spanish cannon on display. The owner of the shop was happy to show the kids how the cannon worked…and how heavy the pieces were! And we all viewed original Christian objects from the early Church period, such as a cross dating from the time of Constantine the Great, the Fourth Century A.D.

Moving on from the history lesson, we got to see a number of wild animals – lazy lions in the MGM Grand and dolphins, tigers, lions and leopards at the Mirage. Ben actually lost his shoe in one of the enclosures at the Mirage, but thankfully, it was the llama exhibit, so I helped Zach descend 10 feet and grab the shoe. He was back up in less than 10 seconds and we didn’t even get kicked out of Sigfried and Roy’s Secret Garden.

Today we’re headed off to see a bit more history and a man-made wonder – the Hoover Dam built in the 1930’s which, I’m pretty sure, has six bodies buried in it (workers who fell into it during construction). Later, we’ll jump back to the middle ages at the Excalibur and maybe tour Ancient Egypt at the Luxor.

For all those horticulturists out there, definitely don’t miss the Conservatory in the Bellagio – beautiful, huge butterflies, Tulips of every shade, many other plants and flowers. They also have cool water fountains that shoot out of the ground and arch over the walkway and back into a hole in the ground on the opposite side. The kids enjoyed putting their hands into the streams and getting strangers all wet. I had to make a few apologies.

Check out the pictures!