Friday, March 27, 2015

Puerto Vallarta

We've been back home from vacation for about a week. And I swear that's almost how long it's taken to get everyone back on schedule. Today Graham finally napped without screaming in protest for 10 minutes first. Major progress.

But let's get back to the subject at hand. 
We spent 6 glorious days away from home in the land of Mexico, specifically at the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta. 

We left home on Sunday afternoon and spent the night at Catrina's, getting up at 3 AM to make it to the airport for our 6 AM flight Monday morning. 
Believe me, a long-awaited vacation is the only time I'm this happy at 4 AM.

We arrived at our resort in Puerto Vallarta at 2 PM local time, and in typical style began drinking and eating immediately. Once our room was ready, we wasted no time throwing on our suits and flagging down a waiter to place a drink order.

While Jared frequently stuck with beer, I made it a goal of sorts to try as many different drinks as possible. There was no shortage of new drink options.

We sat pool side or on the beach for hours each and every day. 

The service was amazing and our drinks were never empty. We took in the scenery and the sun's rays. I read an entire book from start to finish (The Girl on the Train - great beach read) and enjoyed the silence. Jared frequently checked out the activities, playing darts and even singing karaoke (a Spanish song no less! Loco Por Ti - check it out, my husband's crazy) one night after consuming a few margaritas for courage. 

We met quite a few people on our second day in Puerto Vallarta. It was overcast and rainy all day, so Jared and I took ourselves (and our cocktails) to the adults-only hot tub. We ended up socializing and drinking for 4 1/2 hours, having a lot of laughs and meeting some fun people. Jared was feeling no pain pretty quickly - partly because it was St. Patrick's Day and also because our hot tub mates had previously tipped the pool waiter quite handsomely. We wanted for nothing that day. Except maybe some sun.

The resort itself was newly remodeled, reopening just this past December. It was beautiful. Each and every detail was clearly thought out. Even the walkways through the resort were picture worthy.
The beach was clean and the views were spectacular. 
Our room was great. We were on the highest floor (other than the penthouse) and one whole wall was floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors facing the beach. Each room had an ocean view and this was ours.

We fell asleep each and every night with the door open and the sound of the crashing surf lulling us to sleep.

We stayed at the resort most of the time, but we hit up downtown one morning to see what it was all about and purchase souvenirs. It was a scenic cobblestone boardwalk with stores and restaurants flanking the other side.

The food at the resort was phenomenal. The buffet was actually delicious (which I think is probably a high achievement for an all-inclusive) and we loved eating breakfast there. Can't beat a delicious omelet and fresh baked croissants! 
Out of the four restaurants at the resort, we had two favorites and divided our evening meals between them.

And then on our last night, we didn't want to chose between the two. 
So we didn't. 
We ate first at the Asian restaurant and afterward went straight to the steakhouse. And while part of me is ashamed to admit this, another part of me (aka: the fatty part) says it with pride - we then went to our room and ordered room service. 
We ordered a pizza and dessert. 
And we ate all that food, people!
I have zero vacation shame, it's fine. 
And I can proudly say I didn't even gain weight on vacation. It's a miracle.
Thank God for the amazing resort gym because I didn't hold back on anything I wanted to eat or drink the entire time we were on vacation.

We had an amazing time. This was our first vacation alone in 6 years. And if I'm honest, it took awhile getting used to it being just us. But it was needed and well worth saving up for. We were able to reconnect as a couple - no kids, no jobs, no responsibilities. 

But when it was time to come home, we were ready. We had three little people pretty excited to see us again. And even more excited to see what we brought home for them. 

Maracas for the win every time.

** A big internet shout-out to my parents for watching our kids for most of the week and to Justy and her boyfriend Zac for staying at the house for a day or two with the kids. We greatly appreciate all your help!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday faves

So. I'm a day late. I started this on a Friday, so it still counts right?
Better late than pregnant.

This weather.
On my goodness we were ready for a break from the indoors! We've been outside all week. Riding bikes and trikes. Tearing up the backyard. Going on long walks. Walking everywhere actually. I've been so anxious to be outside I even picked up the girls from school with G loaded in the stroller and we walked home one day.
That being said, I'd appreciate one day of snow while we are gone on vacation so our friends and family can be a tad bit envious of our amazingly warm weather.

Old stuff.
I love old stuff. Apparently my affair with old things has been going on for awhile because back in middle school I found a wedding picture of my dad's parents and had it up in my room. 
Yep, I was clearly the trendiest 6th grader.
I like doing that around our house too. Instead of switching out for the newest photos of everyone, I like to display my favorites from over the years. It will be even more meaningful as the kids grow bigger and bigger. 

So while at my parents' house last weekend, I decided I wanted to reclaim that old wedding photo I so proudly displayed in my tween years. And after digging through boxes in the closet housing all my and my sisters' old stuff, I found it.
Exactly as I remembered.

And while I was digging, I came across other old photos I'd found years ago and since forgotten about. They were carefully preserved in my tacky childhood jewelry box.

A photo of my grandmother addressed to her future husband.
Ronald, I'll love you always.  Love, Joyce

Seriously, isn't that the sweetest?!
Fifty-five plus years later and I know that statement has been proven true day in and day out.
And this is why I love old stuff.

And to my jealous sister Justina who claims the oldest child always gets all the cool stuff, I am making copies for y'all. You're welcome. 

Love Me Like You Do
I saw 50 Shades of Grey a couple weeks ago with Justy. I am definitely not a prude, but I couldn't help but giggle like a school girl on a few occasions and share an embarrassed glance with my sister.
But this song
I'm obsessed.
I'm also a chronic new-song-over-player. Sorry Jare.
He'll be hating it in no time, I assure you.

Kids in workout clothes
Bailey received this outfit from Aunt Beaner for her birthday. 
She refuses to wear it unless some physical activity is planned.
Unlike her mom who just lives in workout pants.

Travel prep
I love to make lists. 
And believe me, packing lists were made a month ago. 
Obsessive? Yes.
For weeks I've had a dedicated shelf in the closet for things I don't want to forget. I have an organized calendar on the fridge for whoever is watching our kids on each day. Copies of our passports are made. Cameras are charged. Beach books are purchased. Music playlists are finished.
So to sum it up: I'm ready.
I'm coming for you, Mexico!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

enjoying my own

I've written before - well over a year ago - about the struggle I sometimes feel with where I am in life right now. There are times when staying at home with three young kids is the best possible job in the world. 
And there are days when it just isn't. 

Yet I've come to realize that most of my insecurities with being a stay-at-home-mom come from within. On bad days I start to doubt my purpose. Occasionally I let comments made by others - at times they might even be well-intentioned comments - affect how I view myself. 
And that's crappy. 
That's on me. 

There are going to be people who don't know me well or those with limited life experience who judge my decision to stay at home. Or ask what I could possibly do all day. Or roll their eyes when I say I've had a rough week. 

But I get to choose how I see myself, not outsiders. 

And honestly, a few years ago I too would have seen only the up-sides of being a SAHM. Because staying home, raising your own kids, is a blessing right? 
And it is. 
But it's not for everybody. 
Some days it's not even for me. 
Because just like every other mom in the world - working outside the home or not - some days just suck.

Lately though, our days are better. I feel less stressed than a few months ago. 
I don't regret my decision to stay at home with my kids these last two years. 
I get to do some extras that I wouldn't if I were gone during the day, like tucking Graham in for his nap and having plenty of time to hit the library with all three kids.
I've met some friends that I probably wouldn't have had contact with otherwise.
I've had the opportunity to take better care of my health - both with eating and exercising - that I know I probably wouldn't make time for if I were working.

So I'm cutting myself some slack, not being so hard on myself.
Or maybe I'm getting more perspective as I age. (30 is so old and wise, ya know.)
Or maybe I just give less of a shit about what other people think.

I read something on a random blog a while back that said mothers are 
"the keepers of the details in their families' lives." 
I like that.
Not only are we keeping the details straight about doctor appointments and tee-ball practices, but the laundry gets done, the dirty bathrooms get cleaned, and supper gets cooked. Working mom or stay-at-home mom. We're all still moms.
So yeah, there ya have it. My job description:
I keep the train on its track. 

We all contribute differently to our kids' lives. 
I cultivate details through records of our lives: baby books, photo albums, journals I write for the kids, this blog even. That's my little extra that I add in.
Jared is a hands-on guy. He is out in the kitchen cooking and baking with the kids, letting them each sniff the cinnamon and the cumin, watching them take turns stirring batter. In the spring they'll help him pot the plants they grew together from seeds. 

Other parents plan massive birthday party blow-outs that put the Solko Family's to shame. 
Others are great with arts and crafts and anything Pinterest can dream up. 
Some have a nightly routine filled with blankets and books that I envy. 

We're all different. And it's okay.
I didn't exactly envision staying at home full-time. And that's okay too. 
But I need to enjoy more and worry less. 
To everything there is a season, right?