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I Think I Deserve a Medal

2 Jul

This past week, I survived the longest trip I’ve even attempted with the kiddos…  We had a 13 hour trip (a red-eye nonetheless) to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, with a 21 hour return trip.

TWENTY ONE HOURS, PEOPLE.

Seriously, isn’t there a medal for that? That included a SEVEN HOUR LAYOVER in Miami.  SEVEN HOURS!

I got my kids to sleep on a two hour layover in LAX at 10pm at night.

 

LAX

My husband had said, “there is no way you’ll get them to sleep in an airport.”

He then walked away to go to the restroom, and upon his return, he saw both kiddos snuggled up to their pillow pets with eye masks on and ear plugs.  I swear I could have puffed out my chest and pumped my fists in victory.

I also got them VIP access to the cockpit.  Perhaps the flight crew took pity on me, but this was super cool.

driving a plane

driving a plane 2

But in all seriousness, the trip was AMAZING.  No, AMAZEBALLS.

We gathered all 14 of the extended members of my family at Turks and Caicos to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my parents.

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FIFTY YEARS!  Wow, as much as I may joke that I deserve a medal for surviving a long trip with my kiddos, seriously, isn’t there a medal for making it to your 50th wedding anniversary?!  My parents have set a wonderful example of loving unconditionally and how to raise a family with love, warmth, high expectations and values.  It was an honor for me to bring my little family together with the rest of our clan to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

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The Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos was first class with amazing customer service.  They had a private beach with reefs within a short swim, and white sandy beaches and turquoise waters that are the perfect temperature.  It is my happy place.  I could have totally gone AWOL and stayed forever.

The resort also had a water park that was fun for all 6 of the grandchildren and all of the adults.  I can’t tell you how entertaining it was to watch my mom do water slides and my dad do the lazy river!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to love and how to raise a family, and for this amazing vacation!  We will never forget it, and are still glowing from the experience!

 

 

The Peacock Phenomena

22 May

Last week, I met up with my BFF from high school for a girl’s trip in Phoenix.

Why Phoenix, you ask? Well, we were mainly going off of airplane rates for both of us, and Phoenix was an affordable rate for both of us. I insisted I would not go to Phoenix any later than May, which turned out to be smart thinking.

Turns out Phoenix is having a heat wave. Temperatures reached 106 degrees while we were there. Phew, that is hot!!! Reno generally breaks 100 degrees a few days in the summer, so I’m not used to temperatures that hot.

But still, we were without kids, and without responsibilities for three days, which truly is heaven. We spent lazy time at the hotel pool, liesurely shopping, and hiking in the mornings. We also went out to eat sushi three times in three days. YUM.

On Friday night, we went out to the bars in Scottsdale. Scottsdale seems to have a freaky ratio of 8:1 for men to women. Lots of men, and not many women. I tell you, if you’re single, Scottsdale would be a great place to move (and much warmer than the alternative of Alaska, which also has a crazy ratio of men to women).

Anyway, it didn’t take long for us to observe something we had never seen in a bar. Suddenly, a man in a crowd would break out into a dance — waving his arms in the air, the running man, or even one man that did a spread-eagle cheerleader jump. They do this to get the attention of women. I guess when the ratio of men to women is so out of wack, the men have realized that they need to stand out in order to be noticed. It looks like some strange mating ritual. In fact, I actually saw one man doing an impression of a bird (though it looked a lot like a chicken dance).

What is even stranger is that it works. We sat back and watched women flock to the men putting on these strange peacock shows.

There were also men with keychain flashlights and glow sticks. They would wave them in the air, and women would flock to them like moths to a flame.

It was a highly interesting thing to watch. I had a brief conversation with one man who appeared to be in his 30s that was doing a peacock show, and he mentioned to me that he went to the bars every night from Tuesday through Saturday. My immediate response was, “you must not have a job.” But oh, no, he did. Just a male version of a bar fly.

There was another guy who had his own version of a peacock dance, where he went around insisting that the girls in the bar would smile. He’d come up and touch their faces and insist that they smile before he’d let them pass. We watched him do this over and over and over again.

But truly, the best thing about watching all the single people mill around and do their little mating rituals is knowing that I have a handsome man waiting for me at home. Every time I go to a bar, I’m reminded how thankful I am that I am now married and not having to put up with such rituals.

It was a fun trip, and I’m still in denial that it is over and I’m back to the grind. However, it did make for a sweet reunion with the family.

Disneyland Bound

6 Jan

I’m taking Little Miss to Disneyland one week from tomorrow.  She has NO idea.  Sometime in the next week, I have to figure out a way to let her in on this early birthday present, and my main goal is to COMPLETELY BLOW HER MIND.

I’ve been trying to bait her for this experience.

“If there was one place in the world you’d like to go, where would it be?” I asked.

“Albuquerque to see Grandma.”

OK, well that is a good answer, and I’m not going to debate that.

I’ve also told her that she’s not having a big party this year because she is getting a SUPER HUGE PRESENT.

It’s just going to be us two traveling.  JB isn’t interested in Disneyland, and I don’t want to take a 2 year old there…  It would be so much harder to deal with nap times and tantrums, and height limits with only one adult to manage the two kids.  Little Miss is tall enough for almost all of the rides, and we’re going to hit the big kid rides one after another.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to tell her about an hour before we need to leave the house.  That way, I announce it, we pack her bags, and zoom, off to the airport!  I’ll definitely videotape the reveal, as I had no idea, but there are countless videos on YouTube of parents surprising their kids with Disney trips.  Who knew?!

I went to DisneyWorld for my college Spring Break when I was a senior.  I remember saying after that trip that I didn’t see many happy kids there, and that I didn’t plan to take my kids to Disney resorts.

But now that I’m a Mom, and I know how much this would blow her mind, and I am pretty sure (fingers crossed) that she is mature enough to handle 2 days at DisneyLand without a meltdown, I’ve changed my mind.  For Little Man’s sake, let’s hope this goes well, and that I don’t swear off future trips to the happiest place on earth.

Is This Thing On?

1 Sep

Well yes, I am still alive! I’m just surfacing from a lovely 10 day vacation to Albuquerque, NM visiting the parents and my BFF and her family.

It felt like a whirlwind trip, but Mom and I had a list of activities we wanted to do, and all were checked off the list. Albuquerque has some amazing child friendly activities, we did something new and fun each day.

We hit the zoo, rode a train, fed the ducks at Tingley Beach, visited Explora!, explored the Bio Park, went to Cliff’s Amusement Park, did bumper boats and laser tag at Hinkel Family Fun Center… Every morning, we’d have some super fun outing, and then we’d come back to a lovely lunch made by my Mom, and my favorite, an afternoon nap.

Here are some pics of my kiddos at Explora!

After napping briefly, I’d usually venture to the YMCA to swim, which proved challenging every day due to the monsoon season bringing afternoon thunder storms. My kids had their first significant exposure to thunder, and it was fun seeing their eyes get big, and have Little Man exclaim, “BIG Thunder.”

My BFF took me out on the town in Downtown ABQ for my birthday, where we saw a highly entertaining burlesque show and then hit a few clubs. I got two birthday dinners out of my Mom, as well as a raspberry tart and a carrot cake. Needless to say, I’m working off those calories this week!

JB joined us towards the end of the trip, and we had a family outing to Cliffs, where Little Miss experienced her first “real” rides, as well as a lovely kiddo water park. That night after dinner, he took me to a movie, and let me choose, so we saw The Help. Great movie, but probably not the best for your hubby… I heard many deep sighs during the movie as he expressed his martyrhood for going to a bonifide chick flick.

And of course, we got some delicious New Mexican food. Here is a pic of Little Miss falling in love with sopapillas again…

On the last day of our visit, we went to the foothills, where we usually go trail running. I had to walk this trip, which had me longing for a good trail run. I’m going to run again. Just must be patient.

I was so thankful to have JB join the kids and I on the return flights home, especially during our 2.5 hour layover in Phoenix. It’s nice to have a teammate when you’re chasing a toddler around for that long!

6 Month Belly Shot

22 Apr

OK, I’ve been slacking on belly shots and posting in general.  I hit 6 months on Easter Sunday, but never managed to document The Belly for 6 months…  Anyway, on our camping trip to Bodega Bay (beach of NorCal) this past weekend, my brother took this picture documenting the shirt he gave me last time I was pregnant.  Doesn’t show the belly all that well, but makes for a few funny pictures!

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knocked-up

We got off to a rough start camping…  Starting with what we refer to the Bad Tax Situation (reference only my in-laws will get), as we were supposed to leave Thursday morning for camping, but got a “friendly” email from the IRS stating our tax return was rejected due to my birthday being incorrect.  After a long an unproductive call to the social security administration and 1.5 hours spent waiting at their office, it was determined that 5 years ago someone typed in my birthday wrong when I changed my name to my married name.  Evidently it took 5 years for the IRS to synch with the SSA to catch it, preventing our taxes from being filed on time.  I can’t tell you how LIVID I was that we had to delay our vacation because of their mistake.

Anyway, we swung by the post office to mail our taxes with the corrected documentation, and were off to Bodega Bay.  We arrived at 9:30 at night, where it was pretty flipping cold and windy.  In fact, the wind on Friday was so impressive (and admittedly miserable in our tent trailer — my brother in his hard side was happy as a clam) that we called up a friend that lived 45 minutes away to pursue “Plan B”, which included visiting Petaluma.

Of course, while we were packing up the camper, the weather turned GORGEOUS, but Plan B was already set in motion.  Saturday morning, Little Miss and I biked along the beach, and then JB and I both went for runs on the beach (I discovered I CAN still jog at 6 months prego — woo!  The pace is slow, but jogging nonetheless), cleaned up, and abandoned the gorgeous beach weather to head inland. JB mandated that I change out of the above pictured shirt before seeing his friend, and we were on our way.

I must say, though, that I absolutely LOVE Petaluma.  It is one of my favorite cities to visit, as it is just as charming as can be.  We walked around downtown, Little Miss made friends with our friends’ 4 year old daughter, and JB got to visit with a friend he has known since kindergarten.  Oh, and they have some of the best gelato I’ve ever tasted in Petaluma.

All in all, a very good weekend, despite Uncle Sam’s efforts to stifle it.  Oh, and try explaining to a 3 year old why the camping trip is delayed…

Me:  I have to go see some people so that we can pay Uncle Sam.

Little Miss:  Who is Uncle Sam?

Me:  A not so nice man who wants our money.

Little Miss: Where are you going?

Me:  To the Waiting Place (a reference to Dr. Seuss that I found perfect to describe the Social Security Administration)

Photos from our New Mexico Trip

7 Dec

Vacation Round Up

3 Dec

So I’m back from spending 11 days in Albuquerque visiting family and friends. Pics to come later, but for now, here is the round up, in no particular order…

  • Little Miss was a perfect angel on all of our flights.  Has she gotten to the age where travel is easier, or was I just extremely lucky?
  • Managed to work out every day, including doing a Turkey Trek 5K on Thanksgiving with my BFF Amber, runs with my Mom’s dog, and swims with my brother and hubby
  • Watched more movies than I’ve watched in the past year, including The Holidays, Baby Mama, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • Ate way too much of Mom’s well prepared food.  Her reputation as Martha Stewart continues
  • Went to the Albuquerque zoo, aquarium, Explora, botanical gardens, and River of Lights display.  Man, do they have a ton more cool things to do with kids than we have in Reno!
  • Went on a sunset hike with the hubby
  • Slept in almost every day.  Mmmmmmmmmmm….
  • Attended my nephews’ baptism, followed by a yummy New Mexican food lunch
  • Attended my BFF’s son’s birthday party
  • Took Little Miss to Amber’s house for a horseback ride.  She was SO thrilled!

That’s all I can think of right now.  Must get back to the pile of emails waiting for me.  Will post the pictures soon!

Viva Nuevo Mexico

24 Nov

You know you’re in New Mexico when you can order green chili on your pizza.

YUM.

I’m All Out of Love

5 Nov

I am getting old.  Last night, I was happily asleep in my Heavenly Bed at the Westin until 1am, when a party erupted in the room next door.  Some woman was belting out Air Supply’s “I’m all out of love” and there was loud talking and laughing and OMG, I was pissed.  After about a half an hour of this, I called the hotel front desk, who sent security to the room.

I hear security come by and tell them to be quiet, and as soon as they were gone, the party raged on with more rousing 80s tunes.  I turned on the TV trying to drown it out.  I was miserable.  I banged on the wall a few times…  And after another hour of this, I called security a second time, who assured me that the ‘unregistered guests’ in the room had been escorted out.  I asked for ear plugs, but they didn’t have any (mental note to travel with those from now on).

I don’t function well on lack of sleep.  And I was so pissed that by the time the party died down at like 2:30am, I couldn’t get back to sleep.  I was very tempted to bang on their door this morning to show them how it feels to be woken up.

So here is the kicker…  I meet up with a co-worker this morning to walk to our meeting together, and I tell her how I’m low on sleep because there was a party in the room next door, and she busts up laughing…  Come to find out, that room was full of three of my co-workers (good God, it sounded like 30).  The girl belting out 80s tunes at 2am?  One of my good friends.  And evidently SHE called security on me because I was banging on the wall. 

I don’t know how she does it.  That co-worker, who had to be sloused last night, is leading today’s seminar, and she is chipper as can be.  Meanwhile, I was sober and just a grumpy old woman, and I’m dragging. 

It sucks getting old.

Oh, and my partying friend?!  She’s like 10 years older than me.  I guess it’s all a state of mind.

Written On a High from Seattle Coffee….

4 Nov

I think my life is on fast forward right now, and my blog is suffering.  I have tons of pics to post from Pumpkin Patches (did 3 visits) to Halloween, but that will have to wait until I return from Seattle, where I sit right now.

I’m meeting in a building in downtown Bellevue, on the 11th floor with an amazing view of Belleview and Seattle.  If you could just get rid of the layer of clouds, I’d love it here.

Halloween was full of princess fun.  Little Miss picked out a “snow princess” costume, which I told her was Cinderella, as the Cinderella Disney costumes were overpriced pieces of you know what.  Anyway, she spent the day with her cousins, one of which was also Cinderella (Little Miss had a blue dress, my niece had a pink one).  The parade of princesses was adorable.  I took the two Cinderellas (pronounced Cinderwella by Little Miss) to my work for cubicle trick or treating, and we joined my sister in law and both nieces for trick or treating in their neighborhood.  The girls were thrilled with all of the candy. 

We pretty much avoided our neighborhood until 8pm, as it is out of control on Halloween…  All of the streets in our neighborhood were lined with cars on both sides from people driving into our area, and the streets were so crowded with rowdy teenagers that you can hardly drive.  Oh, and they are RUDE.  I put a bowl full of candy on the porch around 8, and it was gone within 5 min.  No one seemed to want the snack packs of pretzels I put out.  Anyway, thankfully no vandalism to our house due to our absence for most of the night.

Back to my business trip, I have two long days of meetings, but the reward is staying in a super nice hotel (Westin — love that Heavenly Bed) and dinner tonight at a wine bar and we’re doing a cooking class at the Culinary Institute tomorrow night for our dinner.  Yum.

Get on Your Feet

20 Sep

Fun.  I upgraded to Internet Explore 8 Beta, and although it is really cool, it doesn’t work with Word Press yet, as Word Press won’t become compliant until it is in its final release…  So off to downgrade I go (typing this on my home PC with IE7), as I can’t blog from my work PC now.

I went to Seattle for a day trip yesterday for our company meeting.  This wasn’t just any meeting, people.  It was attended by 20,500 people, was at Safeco Field in Seattle, was hosted by Dwight from the Office (aka Rainn Wilson), featured pyrotechnics and break dancers, and the grand finale was our CEO running around like a mad man and getting a reception fit for a rock star.  (He and that video just make me smile…  Such a contrast to the up-tight CEO I was used to at General Motors.)

Yeah, I work for a pretty cool company.  I’m a PC. (Did you see the new ad campaign?)

Anyway, tomorrow is my first running race of the season — the 8K Journal Jog (4.9 miles).  The packet pickup was insane tonight, so I’m anticipating a ton of people.  Fingers crossed that it goes well!

More Pictures

15 Sep

Here are the pictures from our trip to Mammoth over Labor Day weekend.  Enjoy!

Back from an Awesome Camping Trip

19 Aug

We had one of the best camping trips of my life this past week at Lake Almanor in California.  My brother and sister in law had scoped out a primo group camp site, where 21 of us were camping.  It was secluded, with our campsites being nestled in the evergreens, but with the beach only a 50 yard walk, and stunning views from our site.

We used our new-to-us (thanks G&J) pop up camper, which I just love.  Most people in our group had kids, and Little Miss was entertained the whole time by the other kids, but namely her two cousins.  Since we had a secluded group spot, the kids could roam from camper to camper, and we all kept an eye out for all of the kids.  Little Miss got her first ride on a waterski boat (yeah, she hated it), but I did get her in the lake water a bit. 

We saw amazing sunsets every night, and I took my kayak out every day (many times with a kid in my lap).  On Saturday, I did a REALLY long open water swim, which I estimate was between 2.5 and 3 miles (I was gone about 1 hour 40 min).  I also managed to get friction burn from my suit, which apparently got infected by the lake water, so now I’m treating my infected armpit (yum) with antibiotic cream.  (Sorry, that may be too much information, but I find it funny that I have an infected armpit).

I also got to take my road bike out for a long ride, and they have an awesome bike path that goes around the lake.  I got to try out my new bike shoes and pedals, and they worked great!

So thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for arranging this awesome trip.  I’m now scrambling to find one more open weekend before the weather turns cool that we can go camping again!

Here are my pictures…  I somehow didn’t manage to get any pics of my youngest niece, but I guess that’s because Little Miss was hanging out with the older one the whole time.

Lucky Boom Boom

22 Jul

Little Miss has started to repeat a phrase to us that you can tell means a lot to her, but nothing to us…  “Lucky Boom Boom”. 

Doesn’t that sound almost a bit dirty to you?!

This weekend, we stopped by JB’s company picnic, and she kept going up to his boss saying “Lucky Boom Boom”.  He’d turn to us and ask what she was saying, and I’d reply, “Lucky Boom Boom”.  Who knows what is going through her mind.

Our maiden voyage in the pop up camper went really well.  We even managed to get it set up in the pitch dark on Friday, and I really enjoyed having more substantial dwellings than a tent.

We camped at Donner Lake State Park, and they are REALLY strict on bear regulations.  As in each site gets a bear locker, and all food and toiletries (including coolers, toothpaste, deoderant, lotion) must be in the bear locker unless actively in use.  They threaten a $1000 fine if you don’t follow the regulations. 

The first night we were there, I asked JB to take our toiletries out to the bear locker before we went to sleep.  He said no, and said they were just trying to scare people into being compliant.  I, on the other hand, was too tired to take it out myself, and threatened, “you know this could mean I’ll have a nightmare.”

And that I did.  I’ve talked about my lucid dreams here before.  It doesn’t happen often, but generally if I go to sleep with the slightest bit of unease (as in if JB is out of town, or I am thinking about bears), I will have a dream so lucid that it has me jumping out of bed and screaming.

Which is just what I did in the middle of the night at the campground.  In my dream, a bear was trying to grab me through the canvas on the camper, and I didn’t wake up until I was all the way across the camper screaming at the top of my lungs.  I somehow made it over the wobbly table and into Little Miss’s bed before waking up.  I must have scared the be-Jesus out of my fellow campers.  JB promptly told me to be quiet and go to bed, while Little Miss remarkably just groaned and went back to sleep.

Luckily, the second night I was better, as no bear encounters actually happened (unlike when we camp at Bullards Bar, where the bears come into the campground during the night and day).

So anyway, we had a good time, and I got in a lovely swim in Donner Lake, which makes me want to do the Donner Lake Open Water Swim again, where you swim across the lake (2.7 miles). 

That’s all for today.  Your assignment for the day is to go up to at least one co-worker and say, “Lucky Boom Boom” with a lot of gusto!  You’ll get a great reaction!

Chinese Water Torture or Spending 12 Hours Traveling With a Toddler?

1 Jul

The reason I was quiet here for a week was that we were in Maryland getting all of the Bellin family together.  Little Miss finally got to meet her two Bellin cousins, ages 3 and 2, and the girls had a blast together.  The weather was rather mild, so although the humidity felt muggy to us, it could have been much worse.

We did a lot of hanging out as a family, going to parks, out to eat, and one trip to the Baltimore aquarium.  During the girls’ naps, I got in some trail runs in a beautiful state park right by my brother in law’s house while JB and his brother went on bike rides.

We traveled via Southwest Airlines from Reno to Washington Dulles, and in typical Southwest style, we took the scenic route with multiple stops, and it took about 12 hours door to door each way.  Little Miss was a champ, but I admit it was a rough trip for us.  I showed up in Maryland with a splitting headache, just in time for Little Miss to choke on food at a restaurant and puke up her entire dinner.  We also had a diaper explosion on the plane.  Fun times!

But did you know that the new Southwest planes have diaper changing stations in the restrooms?  I tell you, that was much appreciated!  I can’t tell you how difficult standing diaper changes are during turbulance! 

Anyway, here are the pics from our vacation.  Sorry, but I’ve been asked not to put pictures of my Bellin nieces up on this site, so I had to weed out a lot of the pictures I took.  Enjoy!

 

Mammoth Weekend Pics

6 May

OK, so it only took me a month to post these.  Here are the pics from our weekend at Mammoth back in April.  Enjoy!

Do Not Leave Your Children Unattended

10 Apr

A sign in the lobby of my hotel says, “Children left unattended will be fed espresso and given a puppy.”

Man, imagining my kid on that combo is a funny thought.

The Willows Lodge has to be one of the nicest accommodations I’ve ever stayed in.  I had a jacuzzi suite with a gas fireplace, flat screen HD TV with surround sound, and a walk-out patio.  It was a shame to check out this morning, and the website just doesn’t do this place justice.  It is right next to the Sammamish River, which has a beautiful bike path along it.  I really enjoyed the rural atmosphere with walks and runs on that path when I wasn’t in my marathon meeting.

In the lobby of the hotel, they also have a Bassett Hound that sleeps most of the day on a stationary dog bed with a sign in front it saying, “Complaint Department”. 

I have to appreciate their humor, and realized how refreshing it was to stay outside of the normal hotel chains for a change.

 

Albuquerque Pics

4 Feb

After spending three days in Taos, I dropped JB at the airport and stayed in Albuquerque for 5 days to visit with my parents and my best friend and her kids.  The week flew by, and we did a ton of fun stuff.  Mom and I took Little Miss to the Albuquerque Aquarium, which she absolutely LOVED (look for the pictures of her making fish faces at the fish).

We also got her 2 year portraits done (will post those later), and my best friend and I took our kids to Explora!, which is an awesome kids museum.  The kids just ate it up, especially the ball exhibits and the bubbles exhibit.  On Saturday, we had a small early birthday party for Little Miss, and she was even able to blow out one of her two candles.  She absolutely loved the divine carrot cake that my Mom whipped up.

All too soon we found ourselves on the plane again yesterday, which was about 5 hours delayed (oh, such fun with a toddler).  We had a great time in New Mexico — thanks to my parents and my friend A for making it such a fun visit!

Taos Ski Vacation Pics

4 Feb

Here are my pics from our 3 day getaway to Taos, NM, billed as the steepest slopes in the nation.  You can hike to some pretty gnarly terrain, and of course JB wanted to do so.  You start hiking at 11,800 feet.  I think it was the hardest workout of my life.  It was also freezing cold — I stick to the saying of the coldest day of skiing is a sunny day at Taos. 

Anyway, Rocky Mountain skiing goodness below:

Not Dead Yet

31 Jan

Hello, Internets.  I haven’t forgotten about you.  I’m on vacation in New Mexico.  We flew in on Friday, and JB and I skiied at Taos Sunday and Tuesday (area was closed Monday due to a storm), he returned Tuesday night (in a marathon travel day) and now Little Miss and I are hanging with the Grandparents for the rest of the week.  I’ll update soon.  Promise.

Seattle Pics

13 Dec

Thanks to my co-worker and travel mate D, who took the below pictures on our Seattle trip.  Even though we were in REALLY long meetings most of the time, we did get out for two fun activities.  One night, our group went to the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio, where we had a catered dinner, drinks, and we were able to create our own glass masterpieces (with the help of the true glass blowers).  I came home with a really pretty bowl and a sphere (that Little Miss is obsessed with, as she thinks it’s a ball to play with). 

Then, on our last day, we had about 4 hours to burn before our plane departed, so we headed down to Pikes Place Market.  I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done, and the atmosphere was just lovely as the market was all decked out for Christmas, and there were a lot of singers and street musicians adding to the ambiance.

So, here are the pics.  I just love Seattle.  It’s a great place to visit, but I really would prefer not to live there.  I’m a desert girl at heart.

Cruise Pics and Ramblings

5 Nov

I finally got the pictures developed from the underwater disposable camera I took on our cruise.  I am horribly disappointed with the quality of these pics, and it was pretty darn expensive once you pay for the camera and the developing! 

Anyway, these pics show our Mazatlan ocean kayaking excursion and our Cabo San Lucas snorkel excursion.  The kayaking was a blast.  They basically took us out and around this little rocky island with a ton of birds.  We were in a two person kayak, and the guides said that the person in back was the ‘captain’.  Of course, JB stepped up to the task, and took it very seriously.  I do have to say that we had a good groove going on with our kayak, especially as is counted out like drill seargent “left, right, left, right”.  After the kayaking, which lasted about 45 minutes and was over way too soon, we had some time to burn, so we body surfed for at least an hour.  JB, who went to college near the beach, is awesome at catching waves.  I caught a couple, and one even took my swim suit top off!  (Don’t worry, family, no one saw!)  After our beach time in Mazatlan, we met my cousin and her family on board another Princess ship for lunch.

The next day we went to Cabo San Lucas for snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez.  We were in a tour with a bunch of tentative swimmers, who were shocked when we asked if we could ditch the life jackets, and then jumped in and swam to a far off cove for some uninterrupted snorkeling.  The rest of our tour group stayed about 10 feet from the boat.  Our guide then caught up with us and had managed to catch a blowfish.  He told me to go get my underwater camera, and then took some pictures of me holding the blowfish.  This was way too cool, and one of the highlights of my trip.  It was all slimy, and I could feel it trying to puff up bigger as I held it. 

You’ll then see a picture of JB eating the infamous meal at Cabo Wabos that made both of us SICK, and landed me in quarantine in our room for about 14 hours.  I swear almost one month later, our guts are just now recovering.  As for how I was the ony one to get quarantined, I was the only one stupid enough to believe the postings I had seen saying that if you had stomach issues, you would get treated for free.  What really happened is that as soon as I mentioned that I had stomach issues (a PC way of saying it), the on board doctor and two nurses announced that I was to be quarantined and could not leave my room.  That is NOT what you want to hear when you’re paying a lot of money to be on a vacation! (Since Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, they take any reports of stomach ailments very seriously.  And I didn’t even have Norovirus!!!)

I ended up back in our room crying as I was going to miss formal night with the lobster dinner.  I sent JB to dinner without me, as I didn’t want him to pay for my stupidity.  Anyhow, minutes after I returned to my room, a team of sanitizers dressed in white suits and masks.  They wiped down the entire room, including the walls in the bedroom area, which I found pretty funny.  I kept expecting them to put some crazy quarantine sign outside our door.  And of course, the only thing playing on the cruise TV was 1980s movies, so I spent the night watching When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman feeling pretty sorry for myself. 

The next morning I was feeling better, and I managed to convince the ship doctor to let me out of quarantine just in time for spin class.  We took three spin classes on the ship, which were excellent, and kept us in good shape.  In fact, I love traveling with my hubby, who is just as nutty as I am about working out.  He didn’t bat an eye when I asked if he wanted to work out twice in one day on our at-sea days, and we’d work out after our excursions on the other days. 

Anyway, to end my rambling, we both ended up losing weight on our cruise, thanks to the crazy gut issue and working out a lot.  I guess I’ll wrap up my comments on the cruise with the only thing that really annoyed us, which was the Cruise Staff that seemed to show up at every bar/party we attended.  We’d be dancing and having a great time, and then the Cruise Staff would show up and start at least an hour of cheesy line dancing songs, like the Marcarena, Electric Slide, Tush Push, etc.  The first night, we humored it, but after six nights of this (the same line dance songs every night!), we were ready to empty our drinks on their heads!

Alright, enough rambling.  Enjoy the rest of our vacation pics!

Vacation Pics

18 Oct

Although I have a lot to share about our vacation last week, I have been completely swamped in work this week, and my system has been in shock jumping right back into my normal schedule.  So, in brief, we were on a 7 day cruise to the Mexican Riviera onboard the Golden Princess.  We had lovely weather, and stops in Puerto Vallerta (where we rode zip lines in the jungle), Mazatlan (where we sea kayaked and body surfed) and Cabo San Lucas (where we went snorkeling, ate at Cabo Wabos, and got SICK from eating the food in Mexico).  Oh, and my parents graciously watched Little Miss for the whole week, granting us our first child-free vacation since she was born (if you don’t count the weekend ski trip last Spring). 

In Mazatlan, I got to hook up with my cousin, who’s husband is a captain on another Princess ship.  We boarded their ship and lunched with them in the Captain’s quarters (pretty cool, I tell you).  They are raising a 14 month old toddler while living on a cruise ship, the thought of which baffles my mind.

Anyhow, here are the pics from the cruise.  I only have pics from Puerto Vallarta right now, as the pics from our other shore excursions are on a disposable underwater camera.  Lord knows how long it will take me to get those old fashioned pics developed and posted!

 Here are the pics I took after we returned from the cruise, including some great pics of a hike I took with my parents on Sunday to see the Aspens turning colors.

Still Alive, Amigos

15 Oct

Just back from a week long cruise of the Mexican Riviera.  I meant to blog to tell all of you I was leaving, but just got too busy.  The vacation was great, and included rapelling in the jungle, sea kayaking, snorkeling, and being quarantined for about 14 hours in my room.  Fun times.  Lots of stories to tell, but right now, I’m in email hell, as I have over 200 emails to get through before my afternoon meeting starts.  More later!

Yes, I’m Still Alive

5 Sep

Sorry to have been absent from the blog world lately.  I was traveling for business last week, came home for three wonderful days spent with my family, and now I’m back in Southern California for work this week.

This week has been remarkably smoother, mainly because those insane 5:30 am start times have been moved back to 8am, which is much more manageable for me, despite working late every day.

This trip is wreaking havok on my diet, as our vendor brings in lunch each day, with generally “healthy” options such as pizza.  We then go out to dinner every night.  I’ve managed to go running most days, as I’ve found some great running trails close to my hotel, and it has been a welcome respite in the mornings.

Southern California seems to make me have the complexion of a teenager and gives me bloody noses.  Attractive, isn’t it?

I can say without a doubt that I just hate being away from Little Miss.  I feel like I’m missing my right arm.  Luckily, when I came home last Friday, she was super excited to see me, which helped ease the guilt a bit.

Well, I must get back to the grind.  Work has been pretty intense these past few weeks.  I’m just keeping my sights set on Friday when I get to come home again — for good this time.