Friday, March 30, 2012

Cooper ~ 3 months

Meet Cooper.  He belongs to my “big brother” and his darling wife.  (Ok, he’s not my real big brother, but he might as well be.)

I got to spend some time with these guys last weekend, and it just reinforced my current thinking that newborn and baby photography is what makes my heart happy.  I can’t get enough of squishy little ones…especially an angel like Cooper :)






This face is just priceless…I’m in love.



And this last one is very fitting for that big game that just happens to be tomorrow… rock chalk! :)


Smooches little Cooper…can’t wait ‘till I get to take your pictures again!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegas {again}

well, we did it again. 


2 years ago we drove more than 22 hours to Las Vegas to see my favorite band play on their very own holiday. 

Last week, we did it again. well, all of it except for driving 22 hours (thank goodness). This time, we hopped a plane and made it there in just under 3 hours. (best idea EVER!)


We stayed at the Tropicana this time, and it did not disappoint!  I read a lot of reviews online before we booked, and heard nothing but great things about the newly remodeled hotel, and they were all right.  Last time we stayed at Excalibur, which was nice enough (and we got a KILLER deal) but this year with no amazing deals to sway us, I was happy we chose a little nicer and much newer hotel.


As usual, I wasted no time in starting to take pictures once we got checked into our room.

Ash & Zach made the trek to Vegas with us (while the 3 other guys who went with us last time all bailed…LAME!). 

They stayed at Hooters (which was also actually a pretty nice hotel!), and once they got checked in they came to visit our room, and again I wasted no time in getting the first (of many) Brooke & Ash photos.


And by the way, yes, I did chop my hair off!  Thank you for noticing. :)


We also wasted no time in finding a 311 Day sign to take yet another Brooke & Ash photo. (with the point & shoot camera I got for free on Black Friday…I can see why it was free :) but hey, it’s waterproof!)

Speaking of 311 Day…this year was unlike past 311 Days.  Rather than one marathon concert, this year we got 2.  One the day before, and one on 311 Day.  And since 311 Day fell on a Sunday, we ended up with a perfect weekend trip. 

We got in on Friday evening, which meant we had a whole night to kill before the fun began on Saturday.  We decided to spend that evening in downtown Las Vegas, on Freemont street.


I can’t believe we missed this gem the last time we came to Vegas!  We had so much fun downtown.  If you are planning to go to Vegas anytime soon, I highly recommend you spend at least one evening on Freemont Street.  You will not regret it!


We even got to see the “World’s Largest Golden Nugget” at…you guessed it…the Golden Nugget. :)


I won’t lie, I was expecting it to be a little bigger… but what do I know.

There were some crazy characters hanging out in the street that night…


(That is NOT the Buzz I remember from the movie!)

Ash & I may or may not have shared a giant margarita.


Ok, we did.  And it was SO yummy.  I will go ahead and end the night 1 pictures here…you don’t want to see the rest. A giant margarita and a late night in Vegas… that’s all you need to know. :)

Day 2 started out just a little rough for me.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend eating a slice of cheese pizza when you are on a dairy free diet, and then drinking several beers when you are also on a gluten-free diet.  Oh, and then drinking a giant margarita.  Not a good combo!

But, being the trooper that I am, I pulled through.  I mean, I was in VEGAS after all!


On day 2 we decided to explore the North end of The Strip (which we barely saw the last time we were there). 

We took a cab to the Stratosphere in the morning, and spent the entire day walking our way back to the South end of The Strip. 

(I need to pause for a moment to discuss the cab drivers in Vegas.  These people are INSANE.  I have never held on so tight in a vehicle in my life.  Are cabs like this everywhere?  I don’t take a lot of cabs here in good ol’ KS, so maybe I’m just inexperienced.  Or maybe Vegas cabbies are just CRAZY!) 


So we started at the Stratosphere.  The menfolk wanted to be all brave and ride the rides up at the top, so we ventured inside.  On our way to the ticket counter for the rides, we were distracted by the “Sky Jump”.  Sounded interesting. 

Interesting it was!  Turns out, it’s just what the name says.  People actually PAY MONEY to be hoisted up to the very top of the Stratosphere, and then freefall FACE DOWN to a platform.  I am beginning to think Vegas is just full of crazy people.

See the little blue square at the top of the Stratosphere in this picture?  Yeah, that’s what people JUMP OFF OF.


We actually watched someone take the plunge…NO THANK YOU!  My hands were sweaty and my heart was racing…and all I did was watch. 

After we talked the boys out of that $109 death wish (yes, they charge you 109 DOLLARS TO JUMP OFF A BUILDING.  Have I mentioned that people in Vegas are crazy?), we then realized that the line for the other rides was ridiculously long, so we decided to quit while we were ahead and move on.


Circus Circus was one of my favorite places we stopped that day.  And not because there were creepy clowns everywhere (there were!)  I enjoyed it because it was the only place I had any luck gambling.  I sat down at a nickel slot and put in $1, and walked away with $40!  Sure, $40 isn’t much, and it was gone probably 2 hours later, but still.  I won something!  I was excited, ok?!

Now I can’t remember what casinoit was, but we wandered inside and found an extravagant butterfly statue and a waterfall!  Did somebody say: Photo Op?"




And of course I took a picture of the 5 o’clock Somewhere sign…


So eventually we made it back to Hooters & Tropicana from The Stratosphere.  Yes, we walked entirely from one end of the strip to another (that was about 4 miles...)  We took a little pit stop in our hotel rooms to rest and recover from our tiring day.  We met up for dinner, and then it was time for the concert.  I wasn’t feeling so hot when it was time to leave and go to the concert, and believe it or not I almost didn’t go.  But then I reminded myself there was no way I was missing this, so off I went.  It was a great show – they played 40 songs, and were on stage for 3+ hours.  I didn’t take too many pictures at the first concert (I think I took 3), mostly because I felt like I was going to pass out at any given moment.  But I made it through, and I’m so glad I did.  311 puts on an amazing show, and they never disappoint.

We all slept in just a little bit longer on Sunday morning…surprise surprise.  Once we did get up and moving, we met up for lunch and then were off to explore the North end of the strip (which meant a lot less walking… hallelujah.)

Last time we went up inside the Eiffel Tower at Paris, but this year we just admired it from the street.



there were trucks driving up and down the street 24/7 with giant billboards on them.  We were pretty excited to see one advertising 311 day. :)


We went into quite a few more casinos as the afternoon went on, and proceeded to gamble away our money.  But hey, we got free drinks in the process, so that made it all worth it. :)  We considered riding the roller coaster at New York New York, but we ran out of time.  We had another concert to go to!

It was so neat to go back to the same venue, sit in the same seats, and watch a brand new 311 show with all of the same people.  The second concert was full of energy (as was I, now that I was finally feeling better), and once again they played for more than 3 hours, and 39 songs. 


As you can imagine, the foot-long margaritas with an extra shot on top really helped me get to feeling better :)


This guy was a true fan.  He was awesome.


And we have the one and only group shot from our trip.  As you can see, the foot-long margaritas are almost gone…


The pictures only got worse from here.  So I will spare you once again. :)

We had an absolute blast at this concert.  I am still not sure how any of us successfully walked back to our hotel rooms that night…our bodies (namely our feet) took a beating over those 2 days!  But it was allll worth it.

It took us even longer the next morning to get up and moving, but we could have cared less.  The only thing on our agenda for Monday was to pack our bags, check out of our hotel, and get to the airport.  We had until around 6pm to get there, so needless to say we took our time. :)


Since we spent a lot of time in the hotel room that day, I satisfied my itch to take pictures by getting a few shots out the window of our view.


Tropicana had a super awesome pool and outdoor set up that was right below our window.  Unfortunately the pool was closed while we were there, and of course the day we were leaving they started filling it up.  How convenient of them!

Looking the other direction we could see Excalibur, which is where we stayed last year.


Hi, Excalibur!  Nice to see you again.


After taking this picture (which I actually took on Saturday, in an attempt to distract myself from feeling like I was either going to get sick or pass out), my camera accidently switched focus to the screen on our window for the next shot, but I think it looks pretty cool.


I love these little happy accidents. :)

And last but not least, here’s little ol’ me, looking like a tourist outside our hotel.


Well, kudos if you have made it all the way through this post!  I considered breaking it up like I did last time, but why not just give it to ya all at once. :)  Once again, we had an absolute blast in Vegas, and I can’t wait to go back.  I love that my favorite band loves their fans so much…it’s pretty awesome! 

We shall see where 311 Day 2014 ends up being…and if I will be able to talk my husband into going :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

we did it again…


yep.  we ventured to Las Vegas once again, to celebrate the holiday of all holidays…311 day.

I’m still working on getting through all of my pictures, but I promise to have a good ol’ recap posted soon. 

In the meantime, feel free to go back and read my posts from the last time we went to 311 day in Vegas in 2010 (click for part 1, part 2, part 3).  I just did, and wow…what an adventure that was. 

This trip was equally awesome, and I can’t wait to tell you aaaaaaalllllllll about it. :)  so stay tuned! (I promise I won’t wait another month and a half before posting again… pinky swear.)