Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegas..what life is really like

I breezed right on through security…sort of…take off shoes, coat, take laptop out of suitcase, take the laptop out of the protective case, take all lotions and creams out of suitcase, place 3 bins, shoes, purse, suitcase, and carry-on bag onto the conveyor and hope that I don’t beep when I go through. I cleared the security scanner and after several back and forth scans of my items, I was ready to put my boots and coat back on, put my purse in the carry-on bag, put the computer back in the computer sleeve and back into the suitcase, liquids back into the bags…phew…I was ready to sit down.

The flight was straight through from Bellingham to Las Vegas which takes about two hours and thirty minutes. I think I might like to fly down on any other day than a Thursday next time. I forgot about everyone heading to Vegas for the weekend and that they start the party early on the airplane. No sleep for the trip, so I just read a paperback book that I bought at the store earlier in the week.

The pilot was funny, pointing out the sights, Portland, the Columbia River, Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, Reno, and Lake Mead. My flight left at 5:20 PM or there abouts from Bellingham, because I think we were running a little late. But in the northwest, 5:20 PM means it is dark outside in January and add in the fact that it was dark, overcast, and raining, we couldn’t see anything with a minute or so of taking off. But the pilot had his script and he did tell us what we couldn't see.

Kelly and Kyler picked me up at the airport and as we exited the freeway just a few blocks from Nellis Air Force Base, we stopped at the In and Out Burgers for dinner. We took our food to go and Kelly got the baby back in bed as soon as we got home and then we sat down to eat and talk. We talk almost every day on the phone, sometimes 3, 4, 5, 6, or more times if there is a lot going on, but in person there just seems to be even more to catch up on.

I watched the baby on Friday morning while Kelly ran some errands and did the grocery shopping. Sean dropped baby Ryan off in the afternoon and Abby came after work to pick up Ryan. Abby has gone back to work teaching and Kelly watches Ryan when both his mom and dad are working the same hours. The boys play together really well and it was fun watching them share toys, snacks, sippy cups, and blankets. Kelly fixed quiche for dinner and I got to help give Kyler his bath. Watching a fearless 16 month old walking in a bathtub full of water almost made me hold my breath and I did keep my hands on the side of the tub, just in case. Kyler loves his bathtime, probably the best part of his day. You forgot the simple things like when they learn to blow bubbles in the water or that they can throw one of their little tiny toys in the water and make a big splash and get grandma wet. So as a trial run for Saturday night, I gave Kyler his bedtime bottle and put him to bed. Not a big deal for some, but Kelly is the only one who has ever put Kyler down for bed at night. Kyler likes his snuggle time with mom so I wasn’t sure how he was going to do with grandma trying to give him a bedtime bottle and then put him down in his crib. Three bottles and on the third try, he was down. That left Kelly free to fold clothes and do a few household chores. The only real problem was that Mr. Kyler woke up about 11:30 PM and thought it was time to get up. We just had to let him talk it out, and after a couple of loud shouts (can you hear me), some soft baby talk, and about 40 minutes later he was back asleep.

Saturday morning I woke up to Kyler babbling away. He was up, changed, had a bottle, and he was ready to go. Kelly had a hair appointment and was going to pick up Kyle at the airport afterwards. I stayed home with Kyler and we played with his toys, had a snack, listened to some country music, attempted lunch time (he wasn’t very hungry), had a bottle, and then the little guy got a big surprise when his mom came home with his dad.

Kyle and Kyler stayed home to spend a little guy time together while Kelly and I went to buy some things Kyle will need when he deploys, and the makings for fondue Sunday night. Nap time for everyone when we got home and then Kelly fixed tacos for dinner. Kyle gave Kyler his bath and then Kelly got him ready for bed. Now Kelly and Kyler could leave for a couple of hours for a movie date night. Not one peep from the little guy while they were gone.

Given all the options, I like to sleep in and have a cup of coffee and sort of start my day leisurely. I know that when Kelly and Kyler come to live with us life is going to change and my short stay helping Kelly pack and get ready for her move is easing me into going to bed earlier at night and getting up earlier in the morning. When I woke up Sunday morning there was Kyler smiling at me. He had already been up about an hour and now he was ready to wake grandma up and get his day going. I did get my Starbucks coffee because Kelly bought the four pack bottles when she went grocery shopping.

Kyler took his morning nap and then Kelly, Kyler and I headed to Henderson to Hobby Lobby. It was a good idea but when we got there we found out they are closed on Sundays. Thanks, Larry, for the directions and sorry we interrupted your morning…ha ha. We headed back up to the northern end of Las Vegas and stopped at a McDonald’s to get lunch. Kyler got chicken nuggets and Kelly and I had hamburgers. Off to Wal-Mart to get everything we forgot yesterday and then it was home. The baby had food in his tummy and a warm bottle and no way was he going to take a nap.

Before I flew down, Kelly had a request that I fix dinner one night and she knew exactly what she wanted. Kelly referred to this dinner as “drunken cheese”; better known to the world as fondue. Bread, little sausage links, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower. It had been a long time since I fixed fondue and it makes a nice meal, but so rich. We watched half a movie “Legends of the Fall” after dinner and then it was time to get Kyler his bath and bottle before we could finish the movie. I love spending time with my family.

Poor me, I had grandma duty Monday morning when Kelly went to run errands. The little guy was just getting up from his morning nap when Kyle came home for lunch. I had the vegetables chopped and the chicken ready to make a stir fry for Kyle’s lunch. Kyle had enough time to eat and feed Kyler part of his lunch before he had to be back at work.

Kelly came home shortly after he left and after she had lunch, we decided to go back to Hobby Lobby in Henderson. A quick stop for gas and as we left the base two sets of jets were flying in formation and at least another four to six jets were doing touch and go’s. It is pretty amazing to watch these jets twist, turn, fly just feet from each other…sort of like ballet in the air.

Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas Nevada is home to one of the largest fighter bases in the world. The planes and jets fly on the Nevada Test and Training Range which is more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 4,700 square miles of restricted land. The planes fly anywhere from 100 feet above the ground and to twice the speed of sound and they fly seven days a week. Nellis conducts advanced combat training, performs operational tests, evaluations, and develops tactics. Two major training operations that occur at Nellis AFB are Green Flag and Red Flag. Currently Green Flag is in operation and when it ends, Red Flag will begin. These training exercises keep all personnel on base and those that come to participate in the exercises trained and ready to defend our country.

We stopped at the Las Vegas Record Journal on the way to pick up end rolls of newspaper print to use for packing. Hobby Lobby is sort of a cross between JoAnn’s, Michael’s, and Pier I. Furniture, scrapbooking, fabric, artificial flowers, baskets, lamps, woodworking, garden, so much to look at. We worked our way around the aisles to the outside of the store, slowly putting some really great bargains into the cart and when we had circled the store, we then tackled going up and down the aisles in the center of the store. We had fun just browsing and we did get a few good ideas for making items when Kelly moves to Washington. Kelly fixed salmon and fresh green beans for dinner and after they baby went to bed, we watched TV for a little while.

Tuesday morning Kelly and Kyler greeted me with a soft good morning grandma and my Starbucks mocha…a great way to start the day. After Kyler’s morning nap we left to run errands up to the Summerlin area and then the Alienate of north Vegas. As we left the base, two sets of jets were flying a close formations with about 4 to 6 other jets flying single doing touch and go’s. It was pretty amazing to watch how agile these jets look in the air. We bought baby locks for the kitchen cabinets at Babies R Us since we don’t have one in Bellingham and then made our 2nd stop of this trip at In-N-Out Burgers. We headed home because Kyle got out of work early today and would get home about the same time we would. The little guy was getting very sleepy, that is until we got home and his dad came in the door a few minutes later. Then it was, "forget the nap, let’s play." Kelly got a box full of baby clothes sorted, photographed, and listed to sell on line after she got the baby down for the night. We settled in for a quiet night and watched The Newton Boys.

Kyle was out of the house before 7:00 AM and after Kelly and I got up and got going, we sorted and packed. She has a lot done but we haven’t really made a dent in what needs to be done. She did somehow manage to push, pull, tug, and drag her big heavy sofa she brought to Vegas into the pod all by herself while I watched the baby.

Abby invited us to dinner and we stopped at Starbucks on the way for a pick me up drink before dinner. Abby’s mom Paula and her step dad Jan are visiting from Georgia and they have been watching Ryan this week. Abby’s parents are really sweet, nice people and I am glad I had a chance to meet them.

Abby fixed lasagna and Paula got French bread and salad ready for dinner. We brought a bottle of margaritas but poor Abby is fighting a cold and couldn’t enjoy her favorite drink. Sean had to work swing shift so he didn’t get to join us for dinner. Abby and Sean will be moving the end of June as Sean will have a new assignment after training. Friends Francis and Jeremy joined us after dinner with their son Aiden and they will have a new assignment in February. There are lots of changes when you live a military life.

Kyler is usually in bed by 6:30 PM and it was closer to 9:00 PM when we got home last night and Kelly put him in bed. Because Kyler went to bed late, he slept until 8:30 AM on Thursday. So we all had a little extra sleep except Kyle who was up and gone before 7:00 AM. We ran to Wal-Mart, which is conveniently only two blocks off base, to buy more packing supplies and back home to work. Kyle came home for lunch and after he left to go back to work, Kelly and Kyler both took a nap. Kelly packed up a large box of clothes for the baby that we are going to ship home and she will finish filling the box with her clothes tomorrow. We might need one more box to ship “stuff” home.

Kelly fixed chicken fried steak, or as she likes to call it “smothered steak” for dinner with blue cheese mashed potatoes…great dinner. I cleaned up the kitchen and Kyle gave Kyler his bath while Kelly got the bottle and pajamas ready. We all crashed on the sofa to watch Waterworld, or at least the first part. The kids had a date night planned and were headed out to a movie--so they left me alone with a sleeping baby…poor me. We will watch the rest of the movie after they return home. They don’t really get a chance to go out and it’s nice to be able to give them some time alone.

Packing and more packing is priority for the day. Kyle came home for lunch and then it was nap time for Kelly and Kyler. Kyle and Kelly are going to the Bellagio for dinner tonight, compliments of Larry who wanted them to have a little alone time before Kyle deploys. The little guy went down and then got back up for a short bottle and then he was out for the night. Mom and dad had a good time and like true grownups they were home by 9:30 PM.

Saturday morning I slept in till 8:00 AM. Even baby Kyler was still asleep. Kelly was up and had already fixed blueberry pancakes for Kyle and a nice stack saved for Kyler and me. The kids had some errands to run and I stayed home with the baby…somebody has to do it. Nap time was over and it was lunch time and play time. When Kyle got back he found the country western music on the television and said no, it’s football….typical guy.

I ordered a crib to be delivered just about the time I return home and that is a good thing because it requires some assembly and that is the part Larry hates the most. A couple of baby gates, a highchair, Costco, grocery store, baby store, whoa….little guys require a lot of stuff and we haven’t even gotten to the toys and bath stuff.

We spent a quiet evening at home and Kelly and packed up some of the kitchen items. Tomorrow is another day and there is lots to do for Kelly and Kyle as he leaves Monday morning for more training.

Kelly fixed homemade clam chowder for Kyle and finished up his laundry. Kyle packed the last of his three bags and then it was football for the afternoon. I took a walk outside and soaked up the warm rays of sunshine from the Vegas desert weather. I could feel the warmth seeping into my body and the light sweater I was wearing almost seemed too hot to wear.

Kelly, Kyle, and Kyler were up early and off to the airport Monday morning. Kyle is flying to the east coast for additional training before he deploys. When Kelly returned she fed the baby his breakfast and we made a quick run to Target for diapers and wipes…and more Starbucks coffee in the little glass bottles. But wait there is more….there was a Starbucks inside Target so I bought Kelly a Tazo tea and I had my cafĂ© latte. Life is good.

It was playtime, packing time, naptime. A quiet evening watching television and Kelly did get to talk to Kyle after he arrived at his base.

Kelly wasn’t feeling well when she woke up Tuesday morning, so I sent her back to bed and the little guy and I had morning playtime together. When he had exhausted all his energy, he wanted up on my lap to snuggle. When he thought he might fall asleep he wanted down, so I just stood up and gently bounced him and my shoulder still has its magic touch, because about five minutes later he was asleep and another five minute for good measure and I put him down for his morning nap (not like yesterday afternoon when I just let him take a short nap in my arms).

Wednesday morning when Kyler woke up, baby Ryan was already here and ready to play with him. Kelly has a routine for the little guys, playtime, snacks (they really like this part), diaper changes, sippy cups, play, nap, diapers, lunch, play, diapers, snack, play, whine and grump time before bottles, nap time, diapers, snacks, and more play time. The boys do really well together and Kelly amazes me with her patience. Abby wasn’t feeling well and was going to be late so tonight Kelly fed them both dinner and then they had bath time. They shared the bath toys and then splashed, not just little splashes, the bathroom floor was all wet, Kelly was wet, the rug was wet, I just sort of stood back and took cover. In between all the baby details, Kelly managed to pack up 4 large tubs.

Thursday was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday except we made a fast run to Wal-Mart to pick up more tubs and packing supplies and my RX which I had to have faxed down since my stay was extended.
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