Welcome Back Kotter, Uh…Kaytee

This is a long one so get comfy.

No, this post is not about the recent, odd happenings of John Travolta. Just a little flash back from before I was born. But I haven’t posted anything in almost a month so I thought I would give myself a little “Welcome Back” celebration. So…What has happened in the past 29 days? Well, I’ll show you. Get comfy…there’s a lot here.

Shortly after Father’s Day, Jack had his post surgery check up and everything looked great. Jack was even fitted with a Mic-key button gastric tube. My mom jokes that he now has two belly buttons. Ha. I hated watching the change of the tubes because it was causing Jack some pain. But he got past it quite quickly (quicker than I did) and he has been reaping the benefits since.There is no tube hanging from his belly when he is between feeds and there is no plastic disk laying on his skin. He is itching noticeably less and seems much more comfortable. It was such a good day, we celebrated by playing in the Exer-saucer. He leaned a little but worked really hard at pulling himself to the toys attached.

June 22 came all too fast and I was packing to spend a week in Las Vegas for a food science expo. No, not like ComicCon but just as nerdy. I was going to the IFT12 Expo which is a one week (technical courses and expo) gathering of food technologists and vendors. It’s a great way to see new products from food vendors and suppliers. It’s also a great way for existing vendors to schmooz.

Since I was going to be away from home for one week; being my first week REALLY away from Jack, I spent the evening with him. We hung out in the living room and he introduced me to his favorite monkey. That monkey gives him the biggest smiles. He’s also going to need a bath soon.

I left for the airport very early the next morning. Matt drove, I made last-minute preparations and Jack snoozed in the back seat. When we arrived at the passenger drop-off at CVG, I decided I would be selfish enough to hold up traffic (no surprise here) so I could get Jack out of the car. I wasn’t going to be able to hold my baby for one week so I was going to give him a proper hug…and kisses…and another hug. Now it’s off to Vegas.

Vegas is not the best place for someone who doesn’t gamble…in late June. And I was missing my two boys pretty bad but Matt was really keeping things together nicely and would send me pictures every evening (a little after noon for me). It made the two-day food labeling regulations course a little more manageable. Funny though, Jack wasn’t wearing clothes in ANY of the photos. He looked really happy about it too. Here he is, just soaking up the ‘Guys Week’ after a bath.

I did get the chance a couple of times to see my distance family using FaceTime. It’s great until Jack requires the handling of the phone. Then it becomes a little more unpredictable. I did get a couple close-ups of Jacks mouth before Matt would pull the phone away from his face. I guess FaceTime is a literal term for Jack.

I continued to get photos like this during my week which made me miss Jack even more. After two full days in Vegas, my regulations class had come to completion and I was looking at finishing the week with the floor show (expo). Over 18,000 food professionals were in attendance to see 1074 vendor booths, poster sessions and short technical sessions. It was a packed convention center. And our schedules were just as packed. We had vendor dinners and lunches planned almost once a day. We did make time to spend one night on Fremont Street which is the old strip. In my opinion, it was better than the current strip. I felt like I was in National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation. I couldn’t find any 6 packs to tie to my belt, however.

The second to last night in Las Vegas was spent at a night club that was 20-some floors up in the Palms Casino. It was a night hosted by a vendor which included appetizers and an open bar. I partook in the open bar. We all watched people drunkenly dance and brought back jokes from earlier in the week. There was little talk about work this night which was nice. We did, however find ourselves watching a LMFAO video on my iPhone which was a little worrisome, but okay in the long run (you know the one I am referring).

The following night was our last night on the town. Since we wanted it to keep it low-key but still see the sights, four of us put on our most comfy walking shoes and got into a cab… wait for it. Our hotel was on the far end of the strip so we took a cab to the Luxor which is the very start of the strip. Then we got out and started walking. Our plan was to meander all the way back to our hotel on foot. We wanted to see as many sights as Vegas could offer in one night. And we sure got our money’s worth! In 5 hours, we walked through the Luxor Casino, past the Tropicana and Excalibur Casinos and stopped just past the MGM Grand Casino. We began on our way again and passed the New York New York Casino with their massive roller coaster on the roof. Awesome. Jealous. This is where we took a 4 floor tour a store dedicated solely to M&Ms candies. To my surprise, I bought nothing.

We continued down the street a little more until we found a Harley Davidson Restaurant. This was our chance to take a quick walking break and eat some dinner. I finally added a salad into my diet (with a beer-I’m not perfect) and we continued on our way again.

We continued on past Planet Hollywood and Paris Casino and found our first true Vegas site at the Belagio. The fountains were finishing a show which repeated every 15 minutes. Since we weren’t content with the last minutes of someone else’s fountain show, we stuck around for the next spectacle. It was starting to get bark and the lighted casino was a beautiful backdrop for a grandiose and refreshing water show. Since the temperature was still well into the upper 90’s, the light sprays of mist from the fountains was well welcomed. And the amazing sound of the fountains really showed to force that water was carrying. My first thought, how loud is it for the people who try to sleep in the rooms facing the fountain. My response to myself, people who pay to stay in the Belagio probably aren’t looking for much sleep. I was satisfied with my dialogue.

After the Belagio was the Flamingo and Caesar’s Palace. Even though Caesar’s Palace did have some nice statues, the fountains were so disappointing compared to the large-scale and sophisticated Belagio fountain acrobatics. I walked on.

A little further down the street was the Mirage. We had taken a taxi past this casino a couple of days prior and had witnessed what looked like a spectacular volcano with a fire show so we stopped to watch the next show. We heard it was going to be every 15 minutes on the hour which only left us about 8 minutes before the next show so we waited. And waited. And waited. about 30 minutes had passed before someone looked up the show times and saw that passed 10pm, the volcano would only erupt once an hour and stopped at 11pm. By this point, it was 10:40pm so we decided to continue trying our patience but hoped for a mind-blowing display. And like clockwork, the show started at 11pm with a fade of the music and an introduction to crickets….desert crickets? The show was a cluster of thrown fire and water. No real organization, which I guess harnessed the temperament of a volcano but lacked entertainment. We walked away disappointed at the event and angry at ourselves that we let our curiosity keep us there so long.
By this point, it was a dash to get back to the hotel. We still had about 45 minutes of walking left and we were getting tired and dehydrated. At this point, it was still 98 degrees and the mediocre volcano show left us with hot, sweaty faces. The Venetian was enjoyed by the whole group on our first night in town so it was passed by from the opposite side of the street. We gave it a little glance though. The same street show was taking place as the first night. It was an Italian street performing theme with large ball gowns, mimes, feather masks and a crazy contortionists. We walked through Treasure Island‘s pirate boat facade but didn’t stay for the show which was promised to start in minutes. We were all finished with the waiting game. It was time to get some sleep for the early 5 hour plane ride the following morning. Wynn was in the background as we sped down the strip toward our hotel.

A couple blocks and we were at Circus Circus. The last casino before our hotel. Someone made an offer to take a peek inside before we walked past to our hotel but it was all idle and nobody slowed the pace.

Back in the hotel, eagerly and gently took my shoes off. No matter how comfortable your sandals are on any given day, they are not made for a 5 hours walk down the Las Vegas strip. Period. I crammed the my remaining unpacked things into my suitcase and headed to bed.

Matt and Jack were waiting for me in the airport baggage claim when I got off the plane. What a sight! Both my husband and little boy wore smiles on their face when they saw me. I did the same. I was so happy to be at home and for them to be my first familiar sight off the plane.

Now that Jack is past his surgeries and has healed, he is not able to get regular baths without fear that his poop will spill from the side of his body and fill the bathtub. We are giving him baths either nightly or every other night (depending on how much he drools) and he is starting to get used to the feel of water. He is a little leery but likes to give a little kick to move the water around. I am loving the ‘normal’ progression of things. Who knew a bath would be a milestone?!

On June 30, Matt and I were able to relive a little bit of our honeymoon. My company summer picnic was at Kings Island again this year but unlike last year, I am not pregnant. I hadn’t ridden a roller coaster since our honeymoon; scooting around Florida and hitting all the big roller coaster thrill parks only to finish off the week with a relaxing weekend in Clear Water. But without the opportunity to travel, KI is the closest thing. And still a ton of fun. The day was HOT and I was invested. I even wore shorts. We attended the company picnic first and spent a little time with my colleagues. Then we were off to wreak havoc in the park. But…..with line times being 45 minutes and the temperature and humidity so high, we rode the Diamond Back and headed home. But the one ride was a lot of fun. Jack will certainly have to like roller coasters.

The following weekend, we decided to introduce Jack to the swimming pool. And he really didn’t mind it at all. For the first half of his swimming debut, he laid in Matt’s arms and looked around. He was quit comfy and wasn’t going to do anything to change his position. Once Matt needed to go inside (hopefully to pee), Jack was set on a raft and accompanies by MawMaw, Aunt Jenni and myself. He out his hands up underneath his head and soaked it in-no pun intended. He was under an umbrella and really living the life. But it must have drained him, he was in the pool for about an hour. Went inside for a diaper change and headed to bed right on time. No fussing. Water a good water baby. That pool will not go to waste.

July 8 was spent at my mom’s house doing laundry. Though it’s not my favorite chore, it has to be done. I can’t go to work in my bath robe. Weird. So Jack and I spent 7 hours at my mom’s house using her laundry facilities. I can’t wait until our laundry room is finished and I can use my new washer and dryer!

While we were there, Jack started to get a cough and was gagging and sitting up. We kept him elevated and watched his feeds and I made an appointment for him to visit the pediatrician’s office on Monday for a sick visit. Since nothing seemed urgent and there was no fever, we continued our day. By the evening, Matt joined us and we ordered in Chinese for dinner and watched tv while the constant supply of laundry came to a slow end.

I will stop there since the next couple days will have to be a post in itself. Some may know that the next couple days were a little rocky. Don’t worry, we are back to normal now.

Until next time, keep a look out on the site for blood donation information. A little teaser is that the CDH Awareness Blood Drive will be held prior to the Holy Trinity Festival on Saturday August 4 from noon to 6pm. Start thinking about your donation time! More info to follow tonight.

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