Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Two kids, no parents, a week of adventure!

We went to Mexico last month and left our kids in the frozen north.  You can read our our trip HERE.  Our kids had a BLAST at home with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judy. I worked for weeks to plan fun activities and the grands brought lots of fun things along and they all had a wonderful week together!  We feel so blessed that our kids were able to have this special week with their grandparents.  Besides the pictures you see below they went out to eat at THREE of their favorite places, went swimming at the Y, and went bowling.  They had a very eventful week!  

Some of these photos might be out of order.  

The day we left for Mexico the kids had a big snowstorm.  We are thankful for a great neighbor who brought over a snowplow and for our eager shoveler son! 

Monday and Tuesday pictures (and maybe one from Sunday) feature shoveling, experiments, playing in the snow, and hosting playgroup!

Working hard on our welcome home gift. 

On Wednesday morning T went to story time.  In the afternoon M did volcanos.  That evening the kids got fake mustaches for iGnite!  

Thursday was T's 100's day of school so she got to wear PJ's and bring a blanket and stuffed animal.  Her Perfect day!

On Friday Grandpa Tom was a mystery reader in M's classroom.  He was so thrilled!  T got to do her monthly story/art time at the real gallery.  

On Saturday the kids went to their first ever movie in a real theater.  They were very excited to do this!  What a special thing to do with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judy. 

I am not sure if she is engaged!

They both ended up on Tom's lap.

Sunday after church the kids did some playing and got ready to pick us up at the airport.  They were very excited to see us.  T worked hard on a special project for us all week.  So sweet.  IT was fun to have reunion in the airport!

Brandon's aunt sent them mail!

Both kids showing their emotions... anticipation and anxiety. 

A sweet reunion!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Two parents, no kids... a week of adventure!

Brandon and I have very full lives and we recognize that some times we need to escape the chaos of our daily lives and focus on our marriage, on our walks with the Lord, and on special time for self care!  With this in mind we took the plunge and went to Mexico last winter.  We had such a great time that we decided to do it again this winter! We had a WONDERFUL trip to Mexico last month.  We went to the same place as last year so we didn't actually take that many photos.  If you want to see a few more photos of the place we stayed you can check out last years photo post HERE .  

The details in words:
I spent several weeks prepping meals and desserts and schedules and documents about meds and contacts etc. It is funny how the time before vacation is always so taxing. We had been looking forward to it for months and then suddenly it was the day before we were scheduled to leave. Check out yesterday's post HERE to read the events that led up to our trip to Mexico.

We were up early the morning of the big day.  We were in the City and pretty close to the airport.  It was just starting to snow and our flight took off very close to on time.  It was quite blissful to have just one flight. It was the first time in our married life to have a direct flight.  It felt so posh to not have to run through the airport to make a connecting flight. 

This year's airport experience was so easy compared to last year.  We walked right past all the hagglers with our heads held high and on a mission. We quickly found our taxi and made our way to the resort.  I was thankful that the motion sickness meds were still working as we made the crazy curving ride. 

When we arrived at the resort things started to get a bit more stressful.  My parents are so very gracious to share their time share with us.  Our names are listed on the account, but the vacation was booked in their names.  The man at the check-in was very concerned about this.  Eventually he let us go to our room and we thought we were good to go. 

It was just after lunch time so we had plenty of time to take a couple laps around the lazy river, lay in the sun, hit up the grocery store, unpack, and go out to dinner.  It was a very long and very full day.  The motion sickness meds cause me to feel loopy for quite a while so my memory of the day was fuzzy.  

I completely went off the grid, but Brandon brought his phone and casually checked his FB and email.  The connection wasn't stellar, but he was starting to see reports about the big snow back home.  We learned that it snowed 12+ inches back at home.  We were thankful for our early flight.  It felt so surreal to be in a tropical place with so much snow at home. We were nervous about the kids early release and were thankful that Brandon's parents emailed to say that all was well back home. 

The next morning we had a bit of stress when the check in man called very concerned about my parent's names being on the registration.  My poor parents worked very hard to get things sorted out and by lunchtime everything was handled and we could relax. 

The days of vacation were filled with all the things we love!  I read THREE books for fun... not a parenting, trauma, or adoption related book among them!  I laid in the sun, went for a swim, and took a long bath each day.   We always started our time outside with two trips around the lazy river.  It was such a refreshing time for conversation and relaxation. Brandon biked each day... for much longer than I swam!  We had time for naps, walks on the beach, walks at sunset, good conversations, funny movies, and amazing food!  To some this would sound like a very boring vacation, but to us it was a perfect mix of all of our favorites.  

We are so very thankful to our parents for making this week in paradise possible.  We could not have done it without all of you!  We have been home now for two weeks and I can tell that my stress tolerance is still much better than before.  Brandon's parents were already talking about next year the day we came home.  That is a very good sign. The kids were so excited to see us at the airport.  They had a great time while we were away.  Tomorrow's post will be all about their time with Grandma and Grandpa. 

Here are our photos from the week.  

Enjoying a walk near the beach in the evening. 
Because T wanted pictures of me in dresses. 
A quick photo for T... I am pretty sure this was the day we arrived... very white skin!

The gym workers quickly learned to lay down a few towels around Brandon to soak up the sweat.
Some turtle friends enjoying a pond area.

So many turtles!  

The pictures below are taken at one of our favorite places to see the sunset.  We only had the phone camera so the color wasn't very good.  Brandon lightened them up, but the photos don't do justice to the reality of the beauty.  It was fun to stand there and hear every person walking by comment on the beauty of the sunset.  The beauty that God has created takes your breath away. 

A favorite spot. 

Yay!  Someone came and offered to take our photo so we didn't have to do a selfie. 

Ready for another day of relaxation. 

It was fun to watch the parasailing people take off and land.  One person is ready to go as the other lands so the boat is only inactive for a few seconds. 

Beach and Mountains... two of our favorites. 

Enjoying a walk on the beach. 

Yes I did wear a visor every single time I was outside during the day... I have to protect my aging skin! 

We saw a lot of these guys, but finally got a photo for the kids our last day.
T insisted I take this book with to remember her.  She was happy to see that I was appreciating it. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Birthday Fun and Snowstorm Fears

Brandon's parents arrived at our house on March 11th.  The kids were thrilled with their surprise visit and assumed that they were here to celebrate Brandon's Birthday on the 12th.  The kids had no idea we were leaving for the airport on the 12th!  

M was on a Yahtzee kick and recruited Grandpa Tom for a game almost right away.  Tom said it was the first game he ever played.  They played many many games over the following 10 days. 

M: It was so much fun to teach Grandpa Tom the game of Yahtzee.

The kids decided that we could eat Brandon's Birthday cake (and pie) the day before his Birthday because they really couldn't wait.  It was very special to have Tom and Judy here for Brandon's Birthday.  It has been at least a decade since they have been with us on his Birthday.  We told the kids that night about our travel plans and they took it pretty well.  We were very glad that we waited to tell them until the final day.  

M and T:  Thanks for making Daddy's cake in our favorite colors Grandma Judy!

Our family... T decided earlier that day that winking was the coolest thing ever!

So thankful for Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judy!

Brandon's Birthday was a Sunday this year... and spring forward day so he had very little sleep the night before and a very busy morning at church.  Spring forward day is super fun for me because when else do my kids sleep in? The kids were very excited for Brandon to open gifts when we got home from church.  His gifts were mainly food and things T drew, but I figured spending a week with me was a pretty good gift. 

Two family pictures in two days, a record!

T: We were so excited for Daddy's Birthday.

T had spent hours wrapping presents (her drawings) for Brandon.  She was frustrated with the time it took to tape the gifts so she glued the wrapping paper to the boxes.  Also, I precut the paper to fit the boxes, but she managed to turn it so that it didn't fit and needed extra scrapes glued to it.  Her finished products were works of art that depicted her personality. 

T: Isn't Daddy handsome. 

M: I gave Daddy his card a few days ago.  That was good, right? 

M: As soon as the presents were opened it was time for more Yahtzee. 

After opening presents we ate lunch and began to investigate the pending snowstorm.  We were scheduled to fly out of our local airport early the following day.  We were to have a layover in the City before flying to Puerto Vallarta.  We kept checking the weather and pondering our very short layover.  If our first flight was delayed we would be in big trouble.  We decided to drive to the City where our second flight was to take off and just skip the first flight.  We canceled our first hotel and booked on in the City near the airport (without researching it... sigh).  Then Brandon got a voice message saying our flight from close airport to the City has been canceled and we were rerouted to go from home city to Dallas and then on to Mexico.  Oh dear!  This was not what we were hoping to hear.  We decided to call the airline and change back to the first option without the first flight.  There was a big storm brewing all over the midwest and expected on the east coast a couple days later.  When Brandon called in the recording estimated 2 hours on hold.  We put the phone on speaker and packed to the music and words of American Airlines hold service.  It was stressful for everyone.  We were expecting to have a slow paced afternoon of packing and then a quick drive to the hotel after dinner.  Instead we were packing crazy fast and eating early and then having Tom and M drive us to the hotel in the City and then home again.  It was not ideal at all.  It was probably not a great way to spend a Birthday.  I just kept praying that we would get our flight out and remembering that we would soon be able to relax.  

We left the house in total chaos.  I felt awful leaving in such a hurry with piles everywhere.  Judy was so laid back and wasn't phased at all.  Wow, am I thankful for her!  

We arrived at the hotel to discover it was not as nice as we anticipated, but we were there in one piece and the snow hadn't started and we were thankful.  We had a sweet goodbye with M and then made our way to bed wishing we could just take a night flight out and keep the traveling going.  

The day was not what we expected, but everything ended up working out OK.  Check back in tomorrow to hear about our travel day during the snow storm back home, the crazy check in and our relaxing week in Mexico!