Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lexi ~ 4 months {Happy Easter!}

This past weekend I went to visit my niece Lexi once again, for a fun Easter themed photo shoot.  It’s just crazy how fast this little booger is growing!  She gets cuter and cuter by the minute. :)

Here are a few of my favorites from our shoot…

Lexi’s mama got her this adorable Easter basket…don’t you love it?!

Lexi Easter_0114_2 

What could possibly be cuter than a baby butt with a bunny tail on it?!Lexi Easter_001

How ‘bout a baby with bunny ears!

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Or perhaps a basket full of Easter eggs and a baby!

Lexi Easter_0364 Lexi Easter_023

This is one of my favorites

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I just had to get crafty and make her a personalized Easter egg :)Lexi Easter_0260

And who doesn’t love a baby in a tutu?  I seriously LOVE this trend… check out the tutu Lexi’s daddy made her! (Yes, you read that right, Lexi’s DAD made it!)

Lexi Easter_013 

This is another favorite.  I liked the original version, but then decided to give it a little ‘fade’ and now I really love it. Lexi Easter_0206faded 


I’m so proud of myself… I took these on Sunday, and got them uploaded, edited and posted in 2 days!  That is quite an accomplishment, if I may say so myself. :)  The fact that Easter is less than a week away may or may not have had something to do with that…

Happy Easter little miss Lexi!  Can’t wait for our next photo shoot :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vegas! {part three}

First of all, sorry about leaving you hanging yesterday!  The evening just got away from me…  I am sure you were just sitting on the edge of your seat just WAITING for part three.  :)

Well, here we are, at the final installment of my Vegas recap.  Are you still alive?  Hopefully breaking it up in 3 parts made it a *little* less painful to get through.  :)  By the way, if you missed my first 2 posts, part one can be found here, and part two here.  Now…let’s get back to it!

When we left off, it was the eve of 311 day, and the gang was getting ready to go to the concert event of our lifetimes.

Let me first give you a little bit of history and background on this whole 311 day concert experience.  Let’s just say it’s a pretty big deal to us 311 fans.  Here is a little snippet from the 311 website that explains it quite well:

Since 2000, every other year on March 11th ("311 Day"), the multi-platinum group 311 holds a very special concert event that attracts thousands of fans from around the world. The event is typically held in New Orleans. As a result, the mayor of New Orleans officially proclaimed March 11th as "311 Day" in New Orleans. However, due to a massive medical convention overtaking the vast majority of hotel rooms in downtown New Orleans, the 311 Day concert for 2010 is moving to Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.
Billed as "the ultimate 311 concert experience",311 Day is the premiere event for 311 fans to gather and celebrate their love of the group and to witness the most exciting 311 show of the year. 311 plays an extended setlist (5 hours) of hits, rarities and covers; backed by a state of the art light and special effects show. Past shows have also included appearances by circus performers, aerial acrobats, fire twirlers, stilt walkers, jugglers, drumlines, and marching bands.
March 11th is considered a holiday to 311 fans around the globe - and 311's dedicated following of fans travel to the 311 Day show from far and wide.
For 311 Day 2008, tickets were sold to fans in all 50 US states and 13 different countries. The band played a 5 hour show (63 songs) for a sold out crowd of 14,000+ at New Orleans Arena.
In 2006, 311 played a 5 hour show, 66 songs. / In 2004, 311 played a 5 hour show, 68 songs. / In 2002, 311 played a 4 hour show, 59 songs. / In 2000, 311 played a†3 hour and 11 minute show, 47 songs.
A“Live From New Orleans" DVD of the 311 Day 2004 show was released in October 2004 and is now certified Platinum. With many music fans having heard about the concert or having seen the DVD...the legacy of 311 Day is now stronger than ever. And the 311 Day concert event in Las Vegas will certainly live up to the legacy.
It's clear that 311 Day has become more than a concert. It's a true happening. An event that began organically and has taken on a life of it's own. For 3 days the city of Las Vegas will be swarming with 311 fans - meeting there together to celebrate the music of 311. See you in Vegas!!

Can I  just say that I get the chills from reading that?  Great, because  I do.  :) 

So, as I was saying, we made our way to the Mandalay Bay Events Center around 6pm that night, thinking we had plenty of time to get in, get a beer and find our seats before the 7:00 show.  Ha.  Oh, were we wrong.  We walked down the hallway (the same hallway where we waited in the 3 hour line for merchandise, ironically enough) only to find about 5,000 other 311 fans.  I am not exaggerating.  There were so many people it was insane.  Apparently no one thought about the fact that 10,000 people would all be coming to the same door at the same time, because mass hysteria ensued. 

This is a really awful picture, but it shows you what I’m talking about.  You can’t even see the door to get into the place in this picture.  Yeah, I wasn’t exaggerating.


So after about 45 minutes of moving at one step per minute, we finally made it to the door.  (May I also add that in that entire stretch we only saw 1 trash can.  ONE.  I wish I got a photo, because it seriously looked like a beer volcano.  Who were they kidding?  One trash can.  Ha.)  Next up we had to wind our way through all of the people, and make our way to the beer line.  We waited in line some more, got our beers, and headed to find our seats.  By this time it was about 7:45, and I will admit I was having a small panic attack because the show was supposed to start at 7 and I knew it could begin at ANY minute.  Well I was right.  Just as we were getting in to find our seats, the place erupted.  So we scrambled, we spilled beer, we tripped over people, but before they even finished their first song we were happily  plopped in our seats and ready to go.

I did have to sit down for the first song or two, and regain my composure.  I am normally not a concert sitter-downer (yes, I am fully aware that I made that word up), but in this case it was necessary.  After a few deep breaths and a gulp of beer, though, I was ready to rock.  And that is exactly what I did.  For 5 hours.  Yep, FIVE HOURS.

Here’s a photo of the hubs and I at one of the intermissions.  This concert was so long they had to have intermissions.  3 of them.  CRAZY.


Please excuse how incredibly pale we both look in this picture…I really can’t tell you what that’s all about.  You can also excuse how drunk we look.  I can tell you what that’s all about – we drank a lot of beer.  :)

And here’s one of Ash and I…


What are you talking about?  We are totally sober.

And one of the guys…also sober as can be.


What, you don’t believe me?

Next up are just a few pictures I took of the actual show – now, these aren’t very good, I’ll tell you that right now.  I didn’t bring the DSLR to the concert, just my point & shoot, so the quality isn’t great.  Not to mention it was a concert and we weren’t right in front of the stage or anything (we were actually behind the stage – weird, I know), so they are taken from kind of far away, as well.  At any rate, they do show a few bits of what we saw that night, which was total amazingness (I am all about making up words today), so I feel compelled to share.

This first one shows *almost* the whole band.  On the right playing guitar that’s Tim Mahoney (better known as miT), then to the left of him is SA Martinez, gettin his groove on, then you have Chad Sexton on the drums – a rotating drum set nonetheless, with Nick Hexum singing up front, and that elbow on the left side belongs to the bass guitarist, P-Nut.  I’m not a 311 nerd, I swear.



Like I said, this concert went on for 5 hours.  They played 60 songs.  It. Was. Awesome. (have I said that yet?)  And we rocked out the entire time.

Here are a couple of photos that are WAY better than any I took, from 311’s website.  (Photo credits can be found here.  Or click on images to see original.)


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Can you see how much fun these guys have on stage??  Now you know why I love them so much. :) Oh how I wish I was close enough/have a nice enough camera/was cool enough to get images like these… *sigh*

So.  If I haven’t expressed in enough yet… we had an AWESOME time at the concert.  It was seriously one of the greatest concerts ever.  In 2012 311 day is supposed to be back in New Orleans, and let’s just say I’m already making plans.  :)  We will be there.

After the concert, we were all on adrenaline highs (ok we may have been a *smidge* intoxicated as well…), and we roamed The Strip once again.  We didn’t last very long, though…we were all pretty exhausted.  We made it back to our hotel, tried really hard to get some food (but apparently all 10,000 other 311 fans had the same idea, and the only place open in the hotel was McDonalds.  No way were we waiting in that line.), but eventually ended up back in our room.  We all gathered in the boys’ room and attempted to order a pizza from room service, but a 3 hour wait was not sounding so good.  So we crashed.  And boy did we.

I woke up on Friday morning in all of my clothes, on top of the covers.  I’m amazed I even managed to take my shoes off.  It was about 6am Vegas time, and I pretty much felt like dying.  I have never been so exhausted (read: hung-over) in my life.  It took me about 4 hours to get to the point where I could even walk out of the hotel room – thankfully the hubs wasn’t quite as bad off and was able to pack up for us while I held a pity party for one.

Once everyone was up and moving, we hit The Strip for one last hurrah before heading out.  We drove down to the Stratosphere, being the one main thing left on our list to see.


We all agreed that the next time we go back we will go up and ride the rides (although I was pretty much lying, I don’t EVEN want to ride those things – no. thank. you.), since we didn’t have time this trip.

Then we piled back into the car, and headed home.  Well, at least we thought we were heading home.  After driving for about an hour, we saw a sign that looked something like this:


Yes, that is the state of CALIFORNIA you see.  (The sign actually looked nothing like that, but it did have a picture of the state of California on it!)  We all looked at each other, thought about it, and then realized we were going the wrong way.  And had been, for the last hour.  AWESOME.  So 2 hours into our trip home, we were back in Vegas.  At the time, it was humorous, but about 20 hours later when we wanted nothing more than to be at our own homes, we were seriously kicking ourselves.  But now that it’s all said and done, it’s back to being humorous. :)

The rest of the drive was pretty ho-hum.  We were all trying to hold our stomachs together, pretending like we weren’t completely hung-over and stuck in the car for an ENTIRE DAY.  But alas, we made it back to good old Kansas, all in one piece.

We took one final photo…


Then we dropped everyone off, headed home, and slept for 16 straight hours.  No, I am not kidding.  It was blissful.  Yet, somehow, I was STILL exhausted the next day, and for about 3 days afterwards.  Vegas does a number on you.  But I can’t wait to go back!

Well, congratulations if you made it all the way to the end of this.  Now you know everything you could possibly (not) want to know about our trip, and have the pictures to go along with it.  Well, some of them.  I think I added a few since I started, so that “40 pictures” statement from part one is probably a lie now.  Regardless, the trip was AWESOME, and I can’t wait to do it all over again in 2 years.  :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vegas! {part two}

And we’re back for the next edition of Vegas recap (if you missed part one, click here to get caught up)…got your popcorn ready? Great. Let’s get to it.

If you don’t recall, yesterday I left off at the point where we arrived in Vegas. It was about 11am Vegas time when we pulled into the Excalibur, a mere 24 hours since we left KC. So we wandered into the hotel, saw oodles of other 311 fans, and got in line to check in. This process took some 30 minutes (which feels like 3 hours when all you want to do is get to a room and take a shower).

On our way up to our rooms we ran into Ash & Zach (you may remember them from here) who took the easy lazy smart route and flew to Vegas. They had just gotten there as well, and were about to head out to explore The Strip. We weren’t quite ready for that yet (and by “we” I mean Matt, Casey and Nate. Some of us actually slept in the car…others, not so much).

Finally we found our way to our rooms (all on the 27th floor – they couldn’t have humored me and my OCD and given us an even number? sheesh!), and the first thing Matt did was crawl into bed. I’m not kidding. He didn’t even wait for our luggage to get delivered. I guess it’s exhausting to be up for 30+ hours, driving for 14 or so of them – I wouldn’t know. :) After our luggage was delivered (and I didn’t tip the guy…oops. talk about a nasty look…), and the boys came and got their stuff, I decided to crawl into bed as well and try to get a little shut eye.

That lasted for all of 30 minutes. Really, who can sleep in Vegas? Matt, Nate and Casey apparently. So I was up, in Vegas, in a hotel room, bored out of my mind. I took a shower, I got dressed, I did my hair, I did my makeup, I re-did my hair, I watched Ellen, I farted around on my laptop… Matt snored. I texted with Jeff and realized that he was up too, so he came by to say hi and bring me a (much needed) beer. That helped with the boredom. So now I was in Vegas, in a hotel room, drinking a beer, watching the local news. A little better, eh?

Finally, 2 hours later, the boys had risen, got showered and ready, and off to explore Vegas we were. The first thing all of us wanted to do was eat. It only took us an hour of walking around to finally decide on a restaurant. The ESPN Zone at New York New York it was.


We had a lovely waitress who graciously took a group photo for us. Don’t we all look just famished?! Please note the insane number of TVs in this place…I think I count 5 just in this photo. It. Was. Awesome. Especially at the start of March Madness. Definitely worth the hour it took us to decide.

We cheers’d our huge beers to the fabulous days in Vegas ahead of us…DSCF0984


And then the husband decided to ruin another otherwise adorable photo… *sigh*

We then proceeded to scarf down enormous plates of food, and guzzle our giant beers. It was heavenly. Once we were done, we were all about to chug the rest of the beers before heading out when our waitress came by and brought us – wait for it – TO GO CUPS. I’m sure to everyone that has been to Vegas before this is nothing to write home about, but for us Vegas Virgins it was AMAZING! So we gathered our plastic cups-o-beer, and headed out to explore the Vegas Strip.

This image was taken on one of the bridges, and I really like it. I was kicking myself for not having my tripod with me, though, because I really wanted to get this same shot but leave the shutter open and get some light trails from the car lights. But really, who walks around Vegas with a tripod?? So this will just have to do.IMG_6744

A few more images of Vegas at night-

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I just loved the fountain show at the Bellagio. We may or may not have stopped to watch it 3 times that night…


Here is a video Matt took of one of the shows we watched. You’ll have to excuse a couple of things – 1) Jeff singing along to the entire song (it was the Titanic theme song…who doesn’t know that one?!), 2) the constant flash and “click” from me shooting right next to Matt, along with the view of me smack dab in the middle of the show (thanks hubs) 3) the random shot of Matt’s beer can (I guess it was a cheers?), 4) the also random shot of the back of Casey’s head at the end (I think he was trying to show his 311 hat…) 4)Everything else that makes it a totally amerature video. Despite all of that, I still think it's a pretty cool video! Good job hubs!

And then of course it was time for another fun and exciting random group photo.IMG_6806

I didn’t make it in most of these ‘group shots’… I was, well, you know, taking the picture.

So we continued our trek up and down The Strip, and as more and more beer was involved, more and more photos like this began to emerge…


According to my camera this image was taken at 3:38am. That would be 1:38am Vegas time, I believe. Either way, I will spare you the remainder of the drunken photos. Lets just say the night ended shortly after this (and by shortly after I mean like an hour and a half…), and it was one of those nights where the minute you hit the bed you are sound asleep, er, passed out. Ahh, I love those nights.

Fast forward about 6 hours (because who really needs sleep in Vegas…) and 311 day is upon us!! We may have been a little slow to get up and moving, but nothing could hinder the excitement of the day. I mean, this is the whole reason we drove 24 hours after all!

The previous night, we had seen a merchandise stand set up in one of the hallways at Mandalay Bay. The line was pretty long, though, so we decided it would be much smarter to come back in the morning when they first opened. Clearly we were drunk when we made that decision, or just stupid, because smarter it was not. When Matt and Casey got back to that spot on Thursday morning, there were easily 100 people in line. But nobody wants to wait in line during the actual concert, so we decided to just tough it out and wait. I don’t think we realized just how long that wait would be. Jeff, Nate and I finally got ourselves down there to join in the waiting game, and 3 hours later we all had shirts galore. Yes, that’s right, I waited in line for 3 hours for a t-shirt. Actually 2 t-shirts. And a sweatshirt. And 2 koozie cups. Talk about dedicated.

Once we finally had our stinkin’ t-shirts, we went back out to Las Vegas Blvd to pick up the wandering where we had left off the night before. I have to tell you, as we were walking down The Strip, I was in one of the best moods I think I’ve ever been in. It was 311 day, I was walking down Las Vegas Blvd with my hubby and some of our best friends, there were other 311 fans everywhere, it was sunny, I had a beer in one hand and my camera in the other…I could go on and on. It was just a fantastic day all around.

So naturally, I took some more photos of everything we saw.


This might be one of my favorite images of them all… I just love me some sun flare.IMG_6869

We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, which was super cool. Although they didn’t have any 311 memorabilia…


Then we stopped at the Paris hotel, and took a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower


Of course the view made for some pretty awesome images…

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Then, before we knew it, it was after 5:00 and we had an hour to hoof it back to the hotel, get showered and changed, and head out to the main event!

So for now, I’ll let you digest all of the awesomeness we saw during the day on 311 day, and tomorrow I’ll be back with a recap of the-awesomest-concert-ever. Sit tight!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vegas! {part one}

The time as finally come for the big recap and all of the photos from our recent trip to fabulous Las Vegas. First of all, let me just tell you that I started with 600+ images. No, I am not kidding. I was able to narrow those down to about 350 “keepers'”, most of which I edited. Then I narrowed that down to about 200 to print and put in a photo album (which has yet to be done…). Then I narrowed that down to 40 to post on the blog. Holy cow was that a lot of narrowing. So this is the short and sweet version of our trip – I didn’t want to bore you with ALL 200 or 350 pictures. But you are welcome to come over and look at my photo album any time you’d like. Assuming I get it done.

Now, on to the fun! I’ve decided to break this up into several posts, so that you don’t fall asleep at your computer trying to get through it all. You’re welcome. Now get out your popcorn…here we go!

This is the first official photo from the trip. Note 1) how excited and happy (and rested) we all look; and 2) the super sweet rental car in the background – a 2010 Ford Flex.IMG_6499

Oh, and let me introduce you to the gang. From left to right that’s me (really?), the hubs, Jeff peeking through, his brother Casey, and Nate.

After this photo we all jumped in the Flex, and hit the road! Then we stopped at Burger King for lunch (where I proceeded to spill ketchup ALL OVER myself. Awesome. Can’t beat the smell of ketchup for 24 hours straight…). But then we really hit the road! And off to Vegas we were.

I snapped a TON of photos along the way, and am actually pretty impressed with some of the shots I was able to get from out the car window…

This one is one of my favorites…I love the rays of sun peeking out of the clouds.IMG_6502

I like the phantom speed limit sign in this one (taken in Arizona – I think? – where yes, you read that right, the speed limit is 75!)IMG_6541 IMG_6548 IMG_6591

The first sign for Vegas…score!

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Now, that may have seemed like a short, lovely drive full of beautiful scenery, but don’t let the photos fool you. We drove for 24 hours, through 5 states, 1,500 miles straight only stopping for gas and potty breaks. That is a LOOOOOOOONG time to be in a car (with 4 GUYS mind you). We had a ton of fun, though – we laughed till we cried, we ate munchies like crazy, we listened to great music, we slept, we complained… we did it all. For 24 hours. It would have been more like 20 or 22 hours, but we ran into a BLIZZARD in New Mexico. (What? It snows there?) The snow continued into Arizona (what? it snows there too?), and all in all slowed us down and cost us a good 2 or 3 hours. When you are driving halfway across the country, driving 30 miles per hour on the highway at 4 in the morning is not fun. Just sayin’.

So after a grueling 22 or so hours, we finally got into the great state of Nevada. Then we got stuck in more traffic, but eventually we made it to the Hoover Dam! It finally felt like we were getting close. As scenes from Vegas Vacation ran through my head, we wandered around the dam and did the tourist thing.


We opted not to go on the Dam Tour, just walked around ourselves and took some Dam pictures. :)

Then we saw a Dam chipmunk!IMG_6675



The husband and I at the Dam. Not sure why we decided to pose in front of the construction and random rock tribute rather than the Dam itself…


The first of many “woooo we’re on vacaaation!!!!!” photos. :)IMG_6689

Then we all piled back in the car, and drove for what seemed like 3 more hours. I think it was more like 1 or 2. For some reason I had in my head that we were pretty much in Vegas already, so we could just drive down the street and there The Strip would be. Uh, not so much.

Finally we found our way to Las Vegas Blvd., and drove by the Mandalay Bay where we saw this bad boy-IMG_6724

Yeah baby! We have arrived!

Naturally, we posed for another group photo in the parking lot of the Excalibur, before we went inside to check in.


Note how grungy and stinky we all look after having been in the car for 24 hours. And yes, I changed clothes. Can’t roll into Vegas in PJ pants!

So we made it to Vegas. I think this will be a good stopping point for today. Next up – we roam the streets of Vegas, and go to the most amazing concert EVER! Stay tuned.