Thursday, November 19, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

There are times in your life that you consider to be your one in a life time experiences. For me, it was meeting Josh, our wedding day, and I a few years, it will be the birth of our first child. Along with those "normal" experiences, I can also add the five day trip to Vegas!

First thing you must all know is that Josh doesn't gamble. Since we have been married I have only been able to get him into one or two casino, and that was to only do penny slots! I don't gamble much either, but I am no where near as bad as Josh. He hates it. Along with not gambling, we have also slowed down on drinking..weird right?! We were the party house in Sicily! But since being diagnosed, we have to watch him, which means I watch myself to make sure I can still take care of him if needed. We rarely drink. We rarely gamble. All of this is funny because we just spent five days in Vegas! 

We received the phone call a few months ago from Josh's Neuro Oncologist nurse case manager. She had zero details. No idea what we were doing and no idea where we were staying, all she knew was that it was an all expense paid trip to Vegas. Most people would have passed, but Josh and I signed right up. We have been talking about going out west since moving back because Josh has never been past Texas, haha. We were literally the first people on the list. Besides our parents and a select few, no one knew we were going. I do this for two reasons. One, I don't know if in a few months Josh will be able to do it so I don't make a big deal about it. We try to not plan in advance, so I keep everything on the down low in case Josh can't go. It's easier to not have to explain than have a million people asking what happen. The other reason I don't talk about it is to surprise people. If I just say "oh on Friday we will be doing such and such" then people can give us an honest response.."oh wow, I'm so happy for you guys." If I talk about it constantly, people tend to get know? So yes, we knew months in advance and just kept it to ourselves. 

We had to go to a meeting a week before our trip to get the run down of everything. First off, I must state this trip was COMPLETLEY free. I'm not saying flight was free and we had to pay for food, or that the food was free but we had to pay for the This entire trip was free. I think in the beginning there was a total of 140 of us on the trip..I know towards the end that number had grown though. The flight, the hotel, the food, the entertainment. all of the trips and adventures we did, was free. The whole trip was put together by the USO. Along with them, they also had American Airlines that donated the plane. Yes, we flew on a chartered plane with only the people on the trip on it! As well as many supporters that donated money, time, and effort to make sure we had a memorable trip. 

Friday morning we met at the USO to get chartered by a bus to Reagan airport. Once we were there, we were introduced to the welcome that we would become so accustomed to. There were people standing outside, with signs clapping and yelling for us. It was overwhelming! Once we were checked in, we received a TSA escort to security where we experienced THE FASTEST security check! I was floored, lol. We walked to our gate where they had a band playing, food and refreshments, and more people thanking us for our service. After a few speeches, we then boarded the plane where Josh and I had the whole row to ourselves! I was so excited! Josh didn't sleep much the night before and since it was going to be a long flight, he was able to stretch out and catch some z's.

Before flying out, we received a salute from the Airports fire department! This is usually used for diplomats and very important people, so now we are apart of the few that have received a water salute. It happened when we landed in Vegas as well. 

(I stole this picture because obviously I was on that plane!)

The first night was a fancy night so we downed our fanciest attire! I actually wore a dress...something I probably haven't done since my wedding day! Josh actually wore a tie, one that he tied all by himself..that's how fancy you know it was! It was basically a night for all the donors to get together and welcome us to Vegas. We had an amazing dinner and I was even able to drink a little, yay! It went on a little longer than I wanted. With being jetlagged and the time difference I was exhauted. Most people went out after and partied it up.. Josh and I went back to the room and had club Hearndon which consisted of a shower, a snack, and sleeeeeep! 


The next morning, we ate breakfast and headed out to our tour of the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. We had some time to kill before boarding on the bus so I asked (more like told) Josh if he wanted to gamble a little. He said he had to, he was in Vegas after all! We put in $20 and split it between us both. He put $10 in his machine...played literally 5 minutes and won 90freaking dollars! I was absolutely floored (and kind of annoyed, lol). He decided to test his luck and decided to play until he hit $60. That was his limit, he was going to cash out if he didn't win by then. It was almost down to $60 when he hit it big again! He ended up cashing out with $85. Meanwhile I was losing everything. Grand totally I lost about $30 the whole trip (we only played penny slots, so I wasn't to bummed). Josh still has some money left over from his big winnings. I want to call it beginners luck...but maybe that's just me being bitter lol.

We then loaded up onto the bus and headed to Mandalay Bay where we went to a Shark Reef. Being aquarium nerds, we loved this! Afterwards, we went to the Siegfried and Roy Tiger exhibit and they also had dolphins. We then decided to walk around a little while waiting for our bus. I honestly love just to walk around the hotels, each one of them is so unique with their own atmosphere and restaurants. It nice to just walk and appreciate the beauty of it all. 

Dinner that night was at Bubba Gumps and it was amazing! We were able to meet Gary Sinise, who played Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. He is a HUGE supporter of the troops. He has his own foundation, The Gary Sinise Foundation that does amazing things. It was so surreal meeting Lieutenant Dan, at Bubba Gumps, surrounded by movie movie memorabilia. It was truly amazing and Gary is really a nice guy. Josh and I were nervous to ask him to sign the hat because we had already met him in the line when we first arrived. But he made his way around to every single table and I'm almost certain he didn't want to leave the restaurant until he had met everyone there. He took time to talk to us and to take pictures. 


I'm not entirely certain, but I think they had shut down the restaurant for us. There may have been a first floor but I know we had the entire second floor to ourselves. They had set up menus for us, which contained SO. MUCH. FOOD! They also kept pushing alcohol onto us, so we happily accepted. I will say, Josh and I got really buzzed that night and I even woke up with a hang over! Honestly (mom) we only drank two or three drinks, I have no idea when we became such light weights, lol. We then were bused off to old Vegas at the Golden Nugget where we watched Gary and The Lt. Dan Band play a free concert on Freemont Street. It was amazing but SO cold. Josh and I really didn't plan on it being cold, it's Vegas which is in a we didn't pack a lot of winter type clothes. That night, we froze our butts off. By the end of the night I swear my toes were ice cubes!


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