Travels and Yard Updates

First of all, thank you for your votes last week on our latest furniture project. If you haven't voted, please go read the post and do so now!

July 11 was Keith's 30th birthday and I have been planning a surprise Vegas trip for months. Keith loves surprises, has always wanted to go to the airport and buy a ticket on the spot, and Vegas has been on our joint bucket list for the past year. I used some of our travel rewards points for the hotel and flight so there wouldn't be any charges in advance to make him suspicious. It was a great way to ring in his thirties! And he had absolutely no idea it was happening. I picked him up from work on Friday and asked him to wear a blindfold on the drive to the airport. Then I had him take it off once we were in the airport parking garage and gave him wrapped Vegas travel books to announce our trip. Here are the progression photos of him figuring out we were leaving on a plane in an hour:

We stayed on the strip at The Mirage, and I scheduled a luxury sedan to pick us up at the Vegas airport. This was both our first times there and will probably be our last. It was a fun weekend of shows, a little blackjack, lots of pool time, good food and drinks but I'd honestly rather spend my money on different locations in the future. Vegas is crazy expensive. Aside from that, we loved our hotel. It felt a little more low key than some of the bigger resorts, and we definitely had the largest and nicest pool. I used extra rewards points for a room in their private, entirely non smoking towers in the hotel, which is important in Vegas if you're not a smoker. Here are a few photos of our room, bathroom and the view from our window. I totally want a walk-in glass shower and deep tub like that someday!

I had also considered the Cosmopolitan, Aria and Mandarin Oriental but I knew we probably wouldn't spend enough time in the hotel to make the much higher costs of those spaces worth it. That was definitely true! We were out until 3 am each night exploring other hotels on the strip and enjoying some great drinks in a few swanky bars. Vegas isn't exactly our style but we found a way to make it fit us. I researched the most low-key, nicest bars and best restaurants on the strip. And I feel like we found them at the Mandarin Oriental Bar for birthday drinks our first night there and Bouchon Bistro at The Venetian for a special pre-show dinner on Saturday. Keith's parents also bought us tickets to see Penn & Teller on our last night there and that was so much fun!

While we were gone, friends came and checked in on our pups and took care of them. And on Monday, we finally started leaving them outside for the full day while we were at work. Their dog run is still a work in progress but we're slowly figuring out what works best for them. It's tough to get good photos of this space because it's so darkly shaded and to get a little light, I have the gate open in these photos. It at least gives you an idea of how shaded it is (if the gate were closed) and how the dog shelter came out.

Dog Shelter 6.JPG

It's not in this photo but we keep an automatic dog water jug out there for them and their kiddie pool is along the fence, to the left of the gate. After two days of them being out there, we've discovered that at least one of them really enjoys digging holes as there are now about 4 - 6 in various spots. We're trying to come up with some solutions to prevent this as they are digging close to watering lines. Keith even proposed building some form of a sandbox to see if they'd dig in that instead. It's an interesting concept but I also don't want us going completely over the top on this space.

Has anyone else come up with solutions to prevent digging while your dogs are outdoors? If it was a sandbox, did you build it using plans online or buy it somewhere?