Sunday, September 28, 2008

We're Back!

WARNING: This is going to be a photo-heavy entry!

What can I say to describe the last week? Our journey started on the 19th as we drove to Milwaukee to spend the night before taking off early the next morning. We had my birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and then promptly headed to the hotel to go to sleep. We woke up Saturday morning at an unuasually early hour and made it to the airport only to find there were "maintenance issues." So, instead of going by plane, we were put on a bus to O'Hare. Actually, it took just about the same amount of time as it would to fly and the bus was comfortable.

The kids were extremely well-behaved on the flight down to Mexico. The drive to the resort was eye-opening. There is such a huge contrast between the luxury resorts and the villages that surround them. I did my best to point this out to Ian and Kyra.

The resort itself couldn not have been more perfect for us. They had an "Explorer's Club" that we could check the kids into. Each day, they had a schedule of activities and Ian would choose what he wanted to do and we would check him in and out. We did have the kids in there for lunch and dinner so Rich and I could have a quiet dinner each night. By the end of the first day, Kyra was counting to ten in Spanish (Ian can get even higher). We have nothing but good things to say about the kids club. Kyra and Ian both enjoyed their time and their teachers. The pictures above are a couple of the various kids' activities. One night they had a "show" and another night, they took part in the Mexican fiesta. Kyra and Ian were "co-winners" in the "Viva Mexico" contest. When you had the sombrero on your head, you had to shout "Viva Mexico!". Ian was the most entusiastic and Kyra was just a ham!

Aside from the kids' activities, there was no shortage of things to do at the resort. Each day we started with a huge breakfast and then headed down to the beach/pool. We spent LOTS of time in the pool! Kyra was a little hesitant the first few days, but by the end of the week, she was "swimming" like a pro and jumping into the deep end (provided we were there to catch her). They both also enjoyed the ocean trampoline (which made Mommy seasick).

When the kids were busy with the kids club, we got to play too. Rich participated in Beach Olympics. Here he is after a game where they had to pass flour over their heads in a line. We also played quite a bit of beach and tequilla volleyball (and yes, the latter does involve beverage).

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the food and drink available! It was actually overwhelming and we often didn't know what to choose (although I would have been just as happy munching on fresh guacamole and chips). Even my pickiest eater found new things to try! Ian discovered he loved pollenta and he found that everything (including bacon) tastes better with Nutella! In the evening, we went to several "adult" only restaurants including Asian, French and Italian. I discovered it is far too easy to drink a bottle of Merlot by one's lonesome when said bottle is left at the table (but oh was it good!). Kyra, in true princess fashion, has an affinity for being served by room service. In fact, I am surprised that she did not demand a fruit plate and tres leches cake (Miss M, I may need a recipe sometime)before nap time today! The kids also discovered rather quickly that the bars were not for adults only! Their favorite drink? "Happy Kids", of course!

On Wednesday, Ian got to go on an excursion with us to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. The view was absolutely spectacular! It was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! The boys also found a "virtual" geocache.

And here is the Mexican equivalant of the squirrel - the iguana. The first time one of these scurried across my path, I was a little freaked out. But then I soon realized they were EVERYWHERE and, much to Kyra's delight, they were really fun to chase! But you could sneak up on them (and with the help of an ultra zoom) get some decent shots of them!

In addition to everything else, Ian was able to go snailing, snorkeling and kayaking for the first time. He is extremely excited about snorkeling and even wants to keep practicing and is interested in looking into scuba lessons. I think we may have opened a(n expensive) can of worms here!

We got back late last night and the kids were exhausted though extremely good travelers. We're all a little sad to have left our slice of paradise, but at the same time, theer's no place like home! I look forward to catching nup with everyone soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another benefit of weight loss

Clothing takes up way less space in a suitcase (and you can bring more!)

Note to Self

1 Kyra + 1 Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcake = WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!!

Hopefully when she is done with her nap, she will have come down from her sugar buzz!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It will drive you MAD!

Last night, Ian wanted to play Mad Math. He got this game as a gift either for Christmas or his birthday but only played it a couple of times. Now, I guess it is a favorite in his new classroom at school, thus, the inspiration to play it at home.

It's a very simple game really but I can see how it's a great game for elementary math because there's LOTS of repetition. Anyhow, in a game that lasted a little longer than we had anticipated, there was a lot of laughter and quite a bit of silliness.

If you're looking for a fun, educational game, our family recommends this one!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember

September 11 sneaks up on me yet I can still remember every event of that morning like it was yesterday. I can still picture stopping cold in front of the TV as I saw the smoke billowing from the World Trade Center. I remember leaving the apartment just to get away from those images. I remember the father in the park telling me that the towers had just collapsed and I myself collapsing into tears. As painful as these memories are for me, I lift up those who were more deeply affected by this tragic day. I weep for those who never had the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones.

This morning, as Ian and I were reading our devotional, we were led to Romans 8:35-39(NLT):

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.") No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't , and teh demons can't. Our fears for today, our woories about tomorrow, adn even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Horrific events will happen. God grieves these with us. Still, I know where I am going if my life were to end as abruptly as those lost that sad September day. My prayer is that you know where you will be going to.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And Visions of Superbowls Danced in Their Heads

Hooray! Football season is officially underway! I so missed spending my Sunday afternoons on the couch with Rich cheering madly for our teams. I will also admit that when the current schedule was announced last April and we found out our Bears would be playing the Colts, we both collectively groaned. We just remember sitting at an icy Soldier Field in 2004 watching Peyton pick apart our defense. So, we were overjoyed at our team's "shocking" win last night over the Colts. We are now primed to enjoy the run to the Superbowl!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Need some prayers

I had a conversation with someone this morning and now I really need to pray about where God is leading me with this. If you can spare a prayer for discernment, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Annoying parents for thousands of years and still going strong!

An excerpt from a rather disturbing note in Ian's take-home folder:

"Hello Parents of 4th Grade Students,

As you already may be aware, in 4th grade, the students in msic class learn to play the recorder. It is a wind instrument, similar to a flute. It was first played thousands of years ago in the Renaissance period."

[I think I will invest in a good supply of ear plugs now.]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Did This Happen?

Yesterday was the first day of school. For the first time since he started preschool, Ian didn't want me to take him to school for the first day. He preferred to take the bus with his friends. At first I thought I was going to be ok with it, but as he stepped out the door, I was really kind of sad as it's a reminder of how quickly he is growing up. Seriously, how did I get old enough to have a fourth grader?

So, I spent most of my day yesterday wondering how it was going and could barely contain myself as the hour approached for him to come home on the bus. I couldn't wait to hear all about his first day. Kyra and I waited at the bus stop at whcih point, he came off again with his friends and promptly wanted to go play with them. Another crushing blow to the mommy heart!

Still, I am glad he is excited to be back at school and with his friends. I know he was anxious to get back. We did get a lot out of him at dinner and he has told me that I will like his new teacher, Mrs. D, as her two favorite things are crafts and reading. What's not to like about that? Still, I pray for this to be a great year for my "baby boy."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A New Toy (but for who?)

Ian has always loved maps, so it really didn't surprise me when he would stop in front of the GPS display at Radio Schack and check out all of the models. He's had a gift card for Target for quite some time. Rich introduced him to the geocaching website and the idea of going on "treasure hunts" intrigued him. So, my boys made a stop at Target on their way home on Saturday and picked up a GPS.

Seriously, I think Rich wanted one all along but wanted to have a "partner in crime." To say they have been obsessed is an uncderstatement. The funny thing is that it took them two days to actually find their first cache. Apparently, it is a little more difficult than they wuold have thought. Anyhow, here is a picture of Ian with his first "cache". I apologize for the grainy picture; it's from Rich's phone since venturing into the woods with Kyra isn't exactly a viable option at this time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September Play List

Where ever did August go? I actually went out for a run this morning before creating a new playlist so I just used one from last month, but it did motivate me to go create this month's edition. Here's what is on the list for September:

4 Minutes - Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
Give It To Me Good - Trixter (FYI: this one isn't even recognized by iTunes; I love my 80s hairbands!)
Hot N Cold - Kate Perry
Burnin' Up - Jonas Brothers
Livin' la Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
You Are Being Loved - Steven Curtis Chapman
Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good) - Sugarland
How Bad Do You Want It - Tim McGraw
Your Love Is Better Than Life - Newsboys
Shiftwork - Kenny Chesney (with George Strait)
Human Wheels - John Mellencamp
Lost Highway - Bon Jovi
The Ballad of John & Yoko - The Beatles
I Can Be Your Friend - Veggietales
I Write Sins Not Tragedies - Panic! At The Disco
Sugar, We're Goin Down - Fall Out Boy
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings