Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Cold Night

I blamed the cold for what I did last night, but really it is time, or more precisely, the fleeting nature of time.

Petunia cried out at about 10:40. I'd really rather she sleep a little longer before I bring her into bed with us, and some nights she does. Some nights she wakes up even earlier. She steadfastly refuses to settle into a routine. It makes it hard to catch up on the shows on our DVR.

Anyway, I went into her room, and saw that she was still half asleep, on her tummy in her crib. I went over and patted her back, and she found her thumb and whimpered a bit, and started to settle back to sleep. I could tell that she would eventually go back to sleep this way, and I knew that would be a good thing in terms of my goal of getting her to sleep longer in her crib before joining us in our bed. But I could also tell it was going to take a while, and it was cold. My toes were cold, despite the socks I had on. My face was cold. We've been having beautiful clear, sunny days, and beautiful clear, frigid nights here recently, and our 50+ year old insulation just isn't up to the challenge. Every winter, during the week or two that is really cold (by Southern California standards), we say that we should get that fixed, just like every summer, during the week or two when it is sort of hot we talk about getting a whole house fan. But we never do either of these things. (I predict the insulation will get fixed first, because it offends our green sensibilities to know that we're running our heater more than we have to, but it isn't going to get fixed while I'm unemployed.)

So I reached into Petunia's crib, lifted her out, and took her back to bed with me. I told myself that it was because I was cold, and she probably was, too. But really, it was because she is getting so big. She is taking a few tentative steps on her own, and zipping around the place with her little walker/baby stroller. She signs "more" while saying "muh, muh" and giving us her winning smile (this girl's smile is going to be trouble, let me tell you. It is irresistible.) All the signs are telling me that my baby- my last baby- is turning into a toddler. I look at Pumpkin and I can hardly believe that it was only a couple of years ago that she was zipping around the house with her walker, and saying "buh" while she pointed to the birds in our backyard. Now she likes to show me how she can hop, and her vocabulary amazes me. She still snuggles me- she insists on it as part of her bedtime routine- but not in that intense baby way, where you'd swear the baby is trying to reintegrate into your body. I'm tired, and I want more sleep. And yet, before I know it, Petunia will be sounding out words and delighting in her ability to do dot-to-dots, and I won't have any babies left to snuggle right up against me at night.

It was cold. But if I shivered, it was because I felt the passage of time, saw the impending end of our baby years. They aren't easy. They aren't even my favorite stage. But they are sweet in a way that no other stage is.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fifteen Characters

I'm picking up on a meme posted over at my friend Stevil's blog. The idea is that you list fifteen characters that have influenced you. You list the first 15 characters that you can recall, in 15 minutes or less. Here is Stevil's list. I wrote my list in 15 minutes or less, as required by the rules and the constraints of our bedtime routine. Here is what I came up with:
  1. Elizabeth Bennet (from Pride And Prejudice. I loved her when I was 13, and I still love her now.)
  2. Princess Leia (do I really need to say it? From Star Wars. Although really, I was more obsessed with Luke Skywalker- I know! Dork! But my sister liked Han Solo, so I had to pick Luke. Still, the rules say the first 15 you come up with, and Princess Leia popped into my head first.)
  3. Jane Eyre (from Jane Eyre, of course. I loved the romance of her story as a teenager. Now I think someone should have punched Mr. Rochester.)
  4. Jean-Luc Picard (from Star Trek: The Next Generation. This was the first Star Trek to hook me, and Captain Picard is still my favorite. Make it so!)
  5. The Doctor (from Doctor Who. I first got hooked on the show with David Tennant as The Doctor, and he's still my favorite. I haven't watched much of the new doctor- not because I don't think he's good, but because sleep is more of a priority right now. I'm sure I'll catch up eventually.)
  6. Anne Eliot (from Persuasion. Another Austen heroine. She did them so well!)
  7. Menolly  (from Dragonsong and the rest of the Harper hall trilogy. I loved Anne McCaffrey's dragon books when I was a pre-teen and teenager, and this was the first of her books that I read.)
  8. Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird, which may be the best book I was ever assigned to read in school, at any level. I love this book. I find that most non-Americans have never heard of it. Read it! You won't be sorry.)
  9. Mr Darcy (also from Pride And Prejudice. He is a romantic hero who has stood up to my increasing years and wisdom... probably because he had the sense to want to marry an intellectual equal!
  10. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and the sequels- all of which I loved as a kid.)
  11. Jeeves (from Carry On, Jeeves, and various other Jeeves and Wooster stories. The books are a fun read, but if you've never seen the Jeeves & Wooster TV shows, you should. They are brilliant.)
  12. Merlin (of King Arthur fame. I think my version of him is based largely on Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy.)
  13. Anne of Green Gables (from Anne of Green Gables. I had an illustrated hardcover edition, which I adored.)
  14. Arthur Dent (from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Good, silly fun, with some sly messages about what is important in life.)
  15. Nancy Drew. Those books weren't high literature, but they were fun. Nancy Drew may be the logical thing for Dora fans to graduate to, really.
OK, I don't do the whole "tag, you're it" thing. But if any of you want to post your own lists, I'll come read them!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mystery Solved

I was feeling better yesterday, even without doing any yoga. Which is a good thing, because I spent the entire day cleaning the house and sorting through toys and baby clothes, and I still didn't finish- so no yoga for me.

Around 3 p.m., Hubby called and asked me how I was doing. I told him fine, and rattled off everything I'd cleaned or organized. He said he wasn't feeling well at all- he had chills and aches. I told him I'd pick up the girls at day care. I had to go up that way anyway to pick up my severance check. Later, after he got home, he told me it felt like his vestigial tail hurt. And then he moped around the house for the rest of the evening. He did have the grace to look a little sheepish when I pointed out that these were the same symptoms I had the day before, which he'd laughed at and said were due to my advanced age. His defense was that he'd explained it better. Whatever.

His stomach is still bothering him, too, so he's coming home after he drops something off at work. I'm not sure what this does to our Thanksgiving plans, but I guess I'll still cook the turkey no matter what. I bought a fancy brined one, and I'd hate it to go to waste!

Meanwhile, I'd better get to work on cleaning the rest of the house. I predict that just after I scrub the bathrooms (again), Pumpkin will get sent home with an upset tummy. Also, that as soon as I finish, something that I cleaned in the first wave will be dirty again. Housework sucks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scenes from a Bath

I used to love to take long, luxurious baths. Since becoming a mother, I typically settle for a nice hot shower instead. Leaving aside the obvious logistical issues with having a relaxing soak with children running or crawling around, the proliferation of bath toys in our bathroom further detracts from the soak-worthiness of a tub that is essentially too shallow for a good soak, anyway.

However, I've been having trouble with muscle aches lately. My back, neck, hips, and legs all ache. I can't decide if I have some sort of bug that is causing this- I did have a cold, complete with shiver-inducing chills, last week, and I had another bout of chills last night. (Or maybe I was just cold because the heat doesn't blow into our bedroom that well. It is hard to say.) I took my temperature this afternoon, and it was normal, though. Maybe the aches are from our mattress, which I have suddenly realized is going on 10 years old and showing its age. I've told Hubby that when I get a new job, I'm going out and buying a nice, new mattress. He points out that no mattress is likely to be comfortable if you spend half of the night sleeping on the very edge because your baby is trying to occupy the same exact space as you are and you refuse to learn that moving away doesn't actually help. But still. I think there is a Tempurpedic in my future. I'm sick of feeling springs jut into my hips.

Of course, the aches could also be due to pent up stress from the unpleasant last month at work, the fact that I haven't been to a yoga class in over a month (and my gym membership was one of the casualties of the lay off, so I don't really have a yoga class right now), or the wear and tear of picking up a 22 lb baby and a 30 lb preschooler everyday.

Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Anyway, I decided that I'd have a bath tonight to see if that would help my muscles. Hubby was happy to watch the kids- if I go away, Petunia will actually play with him instead of just crawling over to me. I dug out my Muscle Soak bubble bath, and ran a nice hot bath.

I discovered that our tub is indeed too shallow. I had to choose which set of muscles to soak at one time and alternate. I also discovered that the base of our frog bath toy holder actually does a fine job of cradling my head while I soak. I hadn't bothered to take it down- I just removed the frog's body that holds all the toys.

I could hear the kids playing with Hubby while I soaked- our house is not that big. I heard Hubby start the CD my parents had made for Pumpkin. She loves it, so I'm guessing she asked for it. Or maybe he decided to put it on because Petunia likes the music, too. He keeps trying to win Petunia over, but she is oblivious, and if I'm in the room, she keeps crawling over to me. Poor Hubby.

There were the usual sounds of playing- Pumpkin was narrating some elaborate story involving a lot of cars crashing into each other- until "Wimoweh" came on. Then Hubby started laughing, and I heard him say "she's dancing before she can walk!" I gathered that Petunia was showing off her dancing skills. I'd seen them earlier in the day. She holds onto someone's hands or her walker, bends her knees, and bobs her little bottom up and down in time to the music. Wimoweh is one of her favorite songs; it will almost always get her moving. I hadn't told Hubby about it, and I'm glad I didn't. He sounded so happy. Petunia's current mommy-centric phase is hard on him. She will often turn her face into my shoulder, clutch onto my shirt for dear life, and scream when he tries to take her from me. I know that he understands that it is just a phase, but still.... He sees her snuggling into me, and I know he is a bit jealous. (Whereas I see him going potty without an entourage following him down the hall, and I'm a bit jealous. The grass is always greener.) Anyway, I'm glad he got to dance with Petunia tonight. He showed me after I got out of the bath, and she has actually added some steps to her repertoire. I may be biased, but I think it is incredibly cute.

So I didn't get a peaceful soak in a deep bath- but I don't think that is on offer anytime soon. For one thing, there is absolutely no way that we can remodel our bathroom and put in a deep bath. Even if we had the money, there just isn't the space, even if we took the step stool and the little potty out. Our house was built in the 50s, and that was apparently not a time in which Americans felt like they needed a lot of space in their bathrooms.

My muscles felt better while I was in the bath, but are aching again now. I'm not sure if that tells me anything, other than that I can't cure this with a bath. I'm going with the "yoga makes all aches feel better" theory, and am planning to try a good long yoga routine tomorrow- without the help of Pumpkin, who usually joins me for my yoga on the weekends. I'm jealous of her ability to do a good downward dog without any props, and while her questions about the DVD are thought-provoking ("But why is he sitting on the beach, Mommy? And why does he have a ponytail? Boys don't have ponytails. Why isn't he wearing a shirt? Isn't he cold?"), they tend to detract from my ability to focus on the poses. I do the yoga anyway, though. Motherhood is all about learning how to fit what you need into the little bits of space your kids leave you.

Not Funny, Universe

On Thursday night, Petunia started sleeping like a champ. Hurray! The universe heeded my request!

Ha. Not so fast.

Saturday morning the diarrhea started. Poor Petunia has never had a tummy bug before, and she is not at all impressed with the experience. And my plans to start tapering off pumping? On hold until her stomach is all better.

She seems to be feeling better now, but her diapers are still not "day care quality", so she is home with me today. I still have errands to run and chores to do to get ready for Thanksgiving. This morning, she helped me sort through the bags of hand me downs and find more clothes for her to wear. Then she came shopping to Trader Joe's for our Thanksgiving turkey and associated needs. She had a blast- the girl loves to shop. Actually, I think she just loves to go out on trips. She got very excited when she saw me putting my shoes on, and she giggled as I strapped her into her car seat. She was a huge hit at the store, charming everyone who caught her eyes. She does have an irresistible smile...

She's napping now. Maybe we'll get some play time in after lunch. But now, I think I'll take a nap myself. Because last night? She woke up every two hours.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zenbit: Minature

Location: National Orchid Garden, Singapore
Date: January 28, 2006

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Beginning of the End, Round Two

I'm slowly tapering off pumping for Petunia. I've been down to twice a day for a while now, and next week, I will probably drop down to once a day. I suspect that by the new year, I'll be done pumping altogether. Just like with Pumpkin, I have mixed feelings about this. I certainly don't love pumping, but it also is an indication that my little baby isn't so little anymore.

With Pumpkin, I pumped past the one year mark because she was not very good at eating solid foods. Petunia is a different story. She hasn't really taken to dairy, but she eats a lot of other things really well. I made my carrot cake pancakes last week and they were a huge hit with Petunia- she polished off her first one and then pointed to the plate for more. She eats strawberries, pasta, bread, and tonight she tried chicken nuggets and liked them. (Why is it easier to get toddlers to eat chicken if it is breaded? We've had no luck with "regular" chicken yet.) I'm fairly confident that she'll start drinking more cow's milk as the amount of breastmilk available to her during the day is decreased, and if she doesn't, we'll probably be able to find her another source of calcium. So I'm not sure why I've kept pumping. The initial delay in introducing cow's milk and tapering off breastmilk during the day was due to the antibiotics that cleared up the mystery illness- I didn't want to miss any tummy problems from the cow's milk because of the inevitable tummy problems from the antibiotic. But now... I think I'm just having a hard time admitting that my little Petunia, my last baby is getting bigger.

Strangely, the lay off may actually move things along faster than they would have otherwise. I find pumping at home to be a pain- unlike at work, where I had a little room where my pump was out of the way (for obvious reasons...), at home the best place is on the sofa in the living room. This inevitably leads me to turn the TV on while I pump and then BAM! I've lost two hours to some stupid cop show.  (Sneaky move, cable channels, putting the same show back to back to back....) If I do that twice a day, my day is pretty much over, and I haven't accomplished much at all. Also, I'm trying to meet up with people for networking lunches and coffee breaks and the like, and my pumping schedule is getting in the way. Suddenly, I'm ready to be done.

Tonight, I watched Petunia playing after dinner. She was happily stacking her Little People Blocks and looking more like a toddler than a baby, really. They'll be moving her up to the "older baby" room at day care soon- she visited that class today, and apparently had a great time. It is time that I face it- Petunia's babyhood is almost over. It seems to have gone faster than Pumpkin's did, somehow, despite the fact that I was sure that I would stop and appreciate things more this time around!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Quick Update

The talk went well- in fact, I actually picked up a job lead from it. This has been a very strange job search. I have hardly done anything, and I have two or three good leads and at least two other jobs I should be pursuing to try to turn them into leads. But I had lunch with the hiring manager for one of the leads today and I'll be going in for an interview there soon. Nothing is certain until I have a signed employment contract in hand, but that lunch felt more like a recruitment than anything else.

This is how I know that the economy is picking up. People, I am good, but not THAT good. I guarantee that if I had been laid off a year ago my situation would be a lot bleaker.

I'll write a real post soon, I promise. But this afternoon is scheduled housewife time. I just cleaned the bathrooms and am off to bake bread to go with dinner....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Funny Things

I'm mostly over my cold now- yesterday was apparently both the worst day and the beginning of the end. So that's good.

But I still have to speak at a conference tomorrow, and I haven't practiced my talk much at all. So I'll just share the latest random funny things my husband has found on the internet.

First, someone has modified some My Little Ponies to look like Star Wars characters. I think the Princess Leia ponies are the best:

And you'll probably either love this or hate this. I love it, because I'm all for things that show girls that they can have a career in science and still be "girly" if that is what they want:

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Open Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe,

I had enough going on right now without this cold, thanks. And if the cold was unavoidable, could Petunia have skipped the return to waking three times a night and demanding Mommy?

I think the least you could do to make up for this is send me a really good job offer ASAP. But let's make the start date in 2011.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zenbit: Sea Cave

Location: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Date: February 26, 2006

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busily Not Working

I am surprisingly busy for someone who doesn't have a job and whose kids are in day care.  Since I saw the lay off coming, I had already started working my network and searching for a new job. Some of those efforts are bearing fruit now, and I need to follow up on that. I also need to figure out what I want out of my next job (beyond the obvious paycheck) ASAP. A lay off with a severance package is an great opportunity to redirect your career, if necessary, and I'd hate to waste it- particularly since I was feeling like I needed to make some changes. I don't want to jump into a new job that leaves me feeling the same way. Helping people sort these sorts of issues out is one of the things that outplacement companies do, so I decided to go ahead and start my outplacement services right away. I went to orientation yesterday and met with my career coach today. I'll do my workshop soon, but I couldn't schedule it this week or next, due to conflicts in my schedule. I'm taking Pumpkin to the zoo tomorrow, and next week I am speaking at a conference here in town.

The conference is giving me tasks to take care of, too. I had my slides ready, but I needed to write and practice my talk. I got it written today, but still need some practice. The talk feels a little more important now that the networking opportunity provided by the conference carries more importance- so I figure that I should practice it a bit more than I might have otherwise done.

I also had to fill out the application for unemployment, and I'm working through the a list of other little chores that I should do, like submitting receipts for reimbursement from my health care flex account. All very fun stuff!

So, here I am, with no job but still no time to read all the blogs in my reader. I'm trying to set aside time soon to just relax a bit and recover from the stress of the last month, so I should catch up soon. But if I'm strangely absent from your blog comment section, don't take it personally. Being unemployed is surprisingly hard work!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lay Offs and the Three Year Old

Last Thursday, I found out via the company rumor mill that I was on the list of people who would be laid off yesterday. I had been 75% sure I was on the list, so the revelation was no great surprise. But I was still angry and upset about how I found out. (And so, for the record, are the people who laid me off. The rumor mill was the result of one guy's big mouth. And he is not a director of the company, so I can disparage him... but I still won't. I think he just didn't think about what he was saying.)

Anyway, I couldn't hide the fact that I was upset from Pumpkin, who wanted to know what was wrong. So I tried to explain to her that I was about to lose my job. At first she didn't get it, but I kept trying, and now she thinks that Mommy needs to find a new classroom. Which you know, is close enough for a 3.5 year old.

Today, I went to the orientation for the outplacement services that I've been given. Since that started at 9 and wasn't far from day care, I dropped the girls off this morning, which is not our usual routine. Pumpkin wanted to know where I was going. I told her I was going to school (again, close enough for a 3.5 year old). Her little face lit up, and she said, "Did you find your new classroom, Mommy?"

No, honey, not yet, I explained. It will take a long time. This is just a class to help me learn how to look.

Pumpkin nodded, but I don't know how much she really understands. I think I would have tried to tell her what is going on even if the events of Thursday hadn't forced my hand. I don't know how much will get through, but I hope it will demonstrate that when things don't work out, you just pick yourself up and try again, and that you move on, even after things that make you really, really sad.  I think this is the way our jobs will be in the future- I think the lack of security and the need to be able to cope with a lay off and a period of unemployment is going to move from just the risky, start up driven type businesses like biotech to the rest of the economy. In fact, I think this is already happening. I want to prepare my kids for this reality, and this lay off is giving me a chance to start doing so.

So I muddle through, trying to explain things to Pumpkin, but also trying not to scare her. One of the good things about the lay off is that I can take some extra time with my kids. I'm keeping Pumpkin out of day care on Friday, and we're going to have a mother-daughter day. She's very excited, and is talking about how we're going to go the zoo, and maybe also to the merry-go-round (which she calls "the secret" because Hubby originally tried to talk about a trip to the merry-go-round by calling it a secret). I'm looking forward to it, too.

Pumpkin has a tendency to repeat everything to everyone, and of course, none of this is really making much sense to her yet. I really wonder what she's saying at day care. I can almost hear her explaining earnestly to her teachers about how her she's going to the zoo because mommy needs to find a new classroom, and how we'll go to the secret, too. She's very verbal, so it will all be crystal clear. But I don't think it will make much sense. Maybe I should send a note....

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


A funny thing happened in the midst of my own personal life reorg- my company decided to do another reorg of its own. This time, I didn't make it through: I was laid off today. I saw this coming almost a month ago (and I signed some papers today saying that I won't disparage my company or its officers, so that is all I'll say about that), and was prepared. Of course, as I have mentioned before, I think anyone working in biotech should always be ready to walk into work and find out you won't be coming back tomorrow, and for the most part, I do have my financial house in order. I am not worried about our ability to make our mortgage payments or keep food on the table, and for that I am grateful. But a lay off also takes an emotional toll, and no matter how much you accept the volatility of your industry and understand the reason for the changes, it is never fun when it is your job that evaporates.

However, since I saw this one coming, I had already made peace with it, and I had started networking and looking for a new job well before the cuts were finally announced. I have a few leads, but nothing definite yet. Interestingly, the most promising lead would be a job that would be more hands on sciencey-techie work than I've done in a while. Honestly, it sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not sure it would be the smartest career move, but since I was in the midst of trying to figure out what my career should really be, maybe just following the work that sounds fun is the way to go.

I have some time to sort all of this out, and some help- my company sprang for outplacement services, so I start what I affectionately call "lay off school" tomorrow. Or at least, I go to orientation tomorrow. After that, I can decide when to start.  I want to take a little time to relax and truly make sure that any hard feelings about how this job ended are behind me- I've interviewed enough people to know that sour grapes don't make a good impression. I also have some non-work things I'd like to do. If you look at my life list, there is a travel website I've been wanting to set up for some time. I've scribbled lots of ideas for that website down in a notebook over the years, but never had the time to invest in the initial set up. Now I do, and I don't want to waste this opportunity! I'll probably make some changes here, too, and try some things out, not so much because I expect this blog to replace my lost income but because there are things I've wanted to try and have never had the time to get set up.  So, stay tuned. It should be an interesting time.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Trip Story: Vegas, Baby (and Preschooler)

Let me just say this upfront, with apologies for anyone I offend: I don't really think Vegas is a family vacation destination. To be more precise, I don't think the Vegas Strip is a family vacation destination. For all I know, there are wonderful family attractions in and around Las Vegas. There are families living in Las Vegas, after all, and I doubt that they all wander the strip with their children on weekends. Still, when I think of Las Vegas as a tourist destination, I think of the strip. And once I got over my "WTF? Are you joking?" reaction to Hubby's suggestion that we spend a night in Vegas on our way back from our visit to Zion National Park, I had to admit that there were some things on the Strip that Pumpkin would probably like.

Our original plan had been to fly in and out of Salt Lake City, and take the opportunity to explore Utah a bit. However, we burned through a lot of paid time off during Petunia's bouts of recurring fevers, and I just couldn't spare the extra days that the drive to and from Salt Lake City would add to the trip. So we decided that we'd fly in and out of Las Vegas.

We had one afternoon and evening in Vegas- and that was just enough. We decided to stay in the Excalibur, because we thought Pumpkin would like staying in a castle. And she did. Unfortunately for us, the hotel is far nicer on the outside than the inside! To be fair, we opted for the base room, not one of the recently remodeled rooms. And we only paid about $40. Of course, the sign on our wall said we should have paid far more:

Which was pretty funny, since the room literally leaked when it started raining that night. Luckily, we had a cheap cooler we'd bought for our trip to Zion:

But you don't go to Vegas to stay in your room, right?

We walked down the strip to the Bellagio to show Pumpkin the fountain show. She liked it, but was a little freaked out by the big whooshes. Petunia was pretty fascinated, too.

Pumpkin also likes trains, so we rode the monorail back from the Bellagio (well, actually from Bally's, across the street) to the MGM Grand, where we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Pumpkin was impressed by the animatronic elephant near our table ("It's a REAL elephant, Mommy!") Hubby and I enjoyed the drinks.

Pumpkin wasn't impressed with hers. Too much banana. She prefers Mommy's smoothies. (Awwwww.) Personally, I think it was Petunia who got the worst deal. Pumpkin also didn't care for the fake thunder and lightening. She declared that that was scary.

After dinner, we went back to our castle....

 ... and Petunia and I went to bed.  Hubby and Pumpkin went out to see some more sights.

She was pretty impressed with the Luxor, too.

Interestingly, she also liked the real thunder and lightening associated with the storm that blew in that night. THAT wasn't scary.

All in all, our brief visit to Las Vegas with kids in tow was a success. I wouldn't go with a child much older than Pumpkin, though (she's 3.5 years old). The sleaze that covers the strip didn't even register with her. She didn't notice the rows of "magazines" at her eye level advertising girls, girls, girls or the big poster in our hotel advertising the Thunder from Down Under. She can't read yet, so she didn't notice the lewd t-shirts for sale in the souvenir shops.  The only thing I had to explain is what all the adults were doing at those machines, and that came up when we deplaned at the airport upon arrival.  Still, I think that for the most part, we'll leave Vegas to the grownups. Next time we visit a castle, it will probably have a big mouse outside.....