Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hola Cancun!

I took a little break from the blog last weekend, mainly because I ran out of time.  I spent the previous week completely swamped at work.  On Saturday, I was rushing around like crazy in the morning, and then spent 4+ hours at the Mall of America, so Ava could attend a birthday party at Nickelodeon Universe.  I decided not to stick around at that party, but found a cozy chair at a Caribou at the MOA, and managed to work for over 3 hours.  It was very busy, and very loud, and I was so very happy to get into my car, and head out with Ava when it was all done.  But, I'm glad that Ava had a great time at the party!

I didn't take Ava home from there, though...I took her over to Grandma Deb's.  When we walked in, G was playing in a box, and he let out a loud squeal when he saw us; Darla started whining, and we were instantly back to the chaos and noise!  Eventually everyone calmed down, and I was able to head out and meet up with Scott for a late night surf & turf dinner.  Once we got home, Scott watched some SNL, while I worked for a few more hours.  Finally, at 12:30am, I decided I was done, and ready to shut 'er down.  So I did.  I haven't checked my work email since 12:30a.m. on Sunday , January 18.  And it's been a fantastic break.

We finished some last minute packing (or for me, ALL of my packing) on Sunday morning, and headed out to meet up with our friends at the airport.  We even managed to get rock star parking, and squeezed in a Bloody Mary before getting on the plane.  A perfect start to our Caribbean vacation!

Our flight to Mexico was uneventful (as it should be), and the hotel wasn't too long of a transfer from the airport.  We checked in, got some drinks, and started to enjoy the warmth, the wonderful hospitality, and relaxing atmosphere. 

Some lovely flowers that were waiting for us in our room...along with champagne, and a fruit plate.  I'm glad we upgraded to the Club level - it was so convenient, for so many things!

This was the view from our hotel room on the 6th floor, looking out into the Caribbean.

Look far to the left and you'll see the lagoon - it was a great view, no matter which way you looked!

We managed to eat at almost all of the restaurants on property (French, Italian, American, and seafood)...the only one we didn't get into was the Mexican restaurant.  The food at the buffet was good, too, and there were plenty of snack bars located throughout the resort to make sure we were well fed.

We spent some time on the beach, reading and relaxing, but Tiff and I managed to squeeze in a 45-minute walk one day, just to check out the neighboring hotels.  Walking on the beach is tough work - and there were big waves to contend with!

We also spent a lot of time at the adult pool.  Although we love our kids, when we're on vacation, if they're not there with us, it's really nice not to have to see/hear other kids.  Is that horrible?  Probably!  Do I care?  Nope!

We didn't do any planned excursions this time, but we did get a few at a questionable place on the beach (but holy smokes, the lady who gave me my massage must have specialized in deep tissue - pretty sure I am bruised), and another one at the spa on property.  My massage therapist there was also incredibly strong, so now I'm convinced that tiny Hispanic women might be the most powerful people around.  Not kidding you.

The guys headed into downtown Cancun while we were getting massages, as they were craving some wings.  And that was the only time that any of us left the property.  It was fantastic not to have anything planned or scheduled...we all did what we wanted to do, when we wanted it!

One afternoon, we came back to the room, and I noticed we had two lovely swan towels on our bed, along with a rose.  And then I noticed the hearts on the wall and balloon by the bed.  It was a nice surprise, and very random, as we were the only couple in the group to get something like that in our room.  Very sweet!

On our last night there, we walked to the edge of the property and enjoyed listening to the waves crash into the beach.  There were quite a few cruise ships out at sea each night...the white dot in this photo is one of those.

Looking south, past our hotel...

There might have been one night with too many tequila shots, but we met some fun people from Missouri and Oregon that night.  And there might have been a very late night at the disco where we met an interesting couple from Europe (lucky them, they were there for 2 weeks!)

But, even though we had a great time on this vacation, we were both ready to head home yesterday afternoon...we missed the kids!  Neither of us missed our jobs, so I guess we can consider the vacation a success.  :)  We're already looking forward to the next one!

(Next week, I'll tell you all about a naughty, sassy little 6-year old who clearly didn't want her parents to be gone...) 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Back to...

...reality?  Normal work weeks (ha)?  Less clutter?

So, the holidays are really over.  This year, it seems like they just popped up, without any warning.  Halloween was fun and spooky, and then BAM!  It was turkeys and elves and presents and champagne and HELLO 2015!  It was a whirlwind...and now it's calm.

I took all of the Christmas decorations down yesterday.  I took my time, sorting Ava's and G's ornaments into their own container, already preparing for the time when those ornaments will no longer grace our tree, but will hang on different branches, in their own houses.  I went through the decor that is no longer used, and made a donation pile...if you don't love it, don't let it take up precious space, right?  And as I was wrapping up the last ornament, I wondered what will be different in 2015 when we decorate the tree?  When I unwrap the ornaments next December, will I look back to the 2014 holidays?  Will I need to put the ornaments just a little higher on the tree, because this year, if G lingered a little too long in feeling an ornament at his level, he would stop when we would tell him no.  Next year, will he listen so well?  Will we have any broken ornaments? Any missing candy canes?

But, that's all done now...back to a fresh start of a new year!  This past week was a busy one...not only was it the first full week back in several weeks, but also the weather has been chilllllly!  Schools were cancelled this past Wednesday due to extreme temps, so that always results in a flurry of rescheduling madness.  Last year's weather prompted the schools to come up with back-up plans in the event they had to close due to extreme temps (not snow days.)  Ava's before-school program (sponsored by the Y - love them!) notified us at the beginning of the year that they would offer cold-temps full-day care for those children enrolled in their program.  So, Ava got to head off to yet another elementary school in the district on Wednesday.  We have been to 5 different elementary schools for release days since the beginning of the year, but at least this one was in Rosemount (usually we're off somewhere in Eagan.)  And she had a GREAT time that day...not kidding, she came home raving about what a fun day she had.  Way to go Y!

G's getting more teeth (4 on bottom, and the 4th popping through on top.)  Last night, I was holding him in my lap, and realized he was coming at my face, with his mouth wide open.  With some quick moves I was able to avoid his slobbery bites (maybe they would have been kisses, but I didn't want to find out if it was the former!)  He's eating like a champ, and is only taking bottles in the morning and at night...he's doing well with sippy cups during the day, even though there is a little whining for the bottle.  And he's toddling around everywhere...up the stairs, around the corners, and all over us.  He's such a joy, and I just want to cover his chubby little cheeks with my non-slobbery kisses, every single day!

I leave tomorrow for St Louis for a client meeting on Tuesday, and am hoping for a non-eventful travel adventure, unlike the last time I traveled for work.  Seriously, no unplanned overnights...there is just simply no time for that in the schedule this week.  I'm getting protective of my time away from my home/family...I just don't want to be gone.  I'm realizing that time is my most precious commodity, and I am reluctant to give it away.  Almost every day at work, I make a comment about "if we only had 30 hours in a day"...

But, we don't.  So, maybe 2015 will be all about finding that healthy work-life balance.  The kids are only going to be little for so many years, and I cannot stand the thought of missing out on important/non-important moments, because of my job.  It literally causes my heart to hurt.  So, that's a sign that a change may need to come.  Somehow, some way, things will need to change.

And now, I think I'm going to make my early-bird daughter some hot chocolate and get in some snuggles before the sleeper-inner (??) wakes up and starts shaking his crib!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas in Minnesota!

We celebrated our little family Christmas last Sunday, but it was really low key.  G decided he needed a nap right in the middle of opening gifts, so we quickly rushed through his, and got him settled in his crib.  Then, Ava, Scott and I took our time getting through the rest of the gifts, and spent some nice time together.

New bath toys!


I had Monday off, and took Ava to her school release day, and G to daycare.  It was a wonderful day at home where I was productive, and actually took an hour to sit down and watch TV...and the shows were what I wanted to watch!  Nothing on Nickelodeon, nothing about Fast & Loud cars, or Gold Rush...they were my shows, and it was wonderful!

Ava and I did have a bit of a rough start to the day, though...she had a dentist appointment at 8am, and while we were waiting to be called back to start her cleaning, their entire vacuum system when down.  No cleanings/appointments happening until they got that fixed!  Kind of a bummer, but we got it rescheduled for another day in January.  The dental staff felt so bad about it...and yesterday, I received a $10 gift card to Starbucks as a thank you.  Not 100% sure it was for the inconvenience of that appointment, or an end-of-year gift...either way, I'll take it! :)

We spent a fantastic (and a bit rushed) New Years with our very good friends in southern Minnesota.  It was a whirlwind trip, as we got there around 8:30pm, and were on the road, heading home by 9:15am the next day!  But, those 12+ hours were fun ones!  We all made it past midnight (except G - he was in bed around 10) and I'm not sure, but I think Ava and Isabel only got about 3 hours of sleep that night.  We've been ringing in the new year with the same group of people for at least the last 10 years...and it's always a good time!

She was sleeping within minutes after the car ride started...

Yesterday, we had Christmas with Grandma Deb, Grandpa Whitey, Scott's uncle Tom, and Scott's brother Tim.  It was another nice, relaxing family celebration, and the kids got some amazing gifts.  These are two lucky little ones, that's for sure!  Lots of fun new toys/clothes for the holidays this year!

Now it's back to the post-holidays reality...lots of work to do, but we have fun things planned that we can look forward to.  Plus, lots of good house projects to finish off this winter and start in the spring.  We're hoping that 2015 is going to be a great year!