My family in Mexico

Sunday, November 30, 2008

palm and palapas

It's a week later - we came home from our Mexican holiday on Sunday, November 23 at 3:15pm. I have been trying to blog about the trip ever since. It's always busy when you come home from holidays - catching up on the stuff you missed for a whole week while you were off out of the country. However, even with the little spaces of time that I had to try to capture our holiday on this digital paper, I didn't know how to tackle it all. So, I probably will have to do it in chunks... which means, good! I might actually post a little more regularly.

For now, I think that I'll just write about my family, on holidays.

It's insane about how difficult it is to get my family all together in one place. I think that I've written about this before. Our friends, the Lareaus, found this out when they came to visit us this past week. Our family would just drift into and out of their day as we hung out together... everyone just has too much going on. My father has a regular schedule, but my mother works many nights and every weekend. Both my sisters have part-time jobs as well as their art (Margaret works at a studio and Christine freelances for herself). I had to ask them all to block off this November 16 to 23 week, but be flexible about whether we leave Saturday, Sunday or Monday. It turns out that also became difficult. We a few fights about it (mostly me with my hubby), but finally we were able to find a solution around some scheduling conflicts and made the trip happen.

So, being the person that researched, organized and booked the trip I felt the pressure of hoping that I booked someplace that everyone was happy with. Sure, it's true that you can't please everyone, but with my family I really believed that I could. I booked the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya in Akumal, Mexico - five star! It's definitely more luxury than anyone of us has probably experienced personally. After a problem-free flight (aside from some annoying people who were obviously going to Cancun to party-out their brains for a week), and then a swift private transfer to the resort about an hour and half away, we arrived at around 10:00pm. We checked into our rooms, with bellboys taking our suitcases for us, I first had my sisters come into our room as we were settling in. The looks on their faces relieved me instantly. They were so excited. My parents were happy too. PHEW!!

The whole week, we pretty much just lazed around in chairs, working on our tans; in the pool cooling off and swimming up to the swim-up bar; at the beach snorkeling taking underwater photos; eating at the high-quality buffets, or ordering awesome dinners at the à la carte restaurants; it was just a great week relaxing as a family.

After the week was over, my mother said that it was the most relaxed that she has had in a long time. If you know my mother, she has a hard time just sitting still. If she's not at working, she's cleaning her house, and if she's not cleaning her house, she's cleaning mine. It's very bad. My father is not much different. He doesn't understand the purpose of a holiday. (What? Do nothing?) And if you were to send them on a holiday on their own, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves, so we know that if we want my parents to take a vacation, we have to go with them.

We had a lot of fun. It was a good chance to hang out with one another, reconnect and also get some rest. Life has obviously picked up in pace for all of us in the last year. I'm glad that we were able to make some time with one another a priority.

More later!

I echo you

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Excitement grows!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tonight I hung out with my parents while Gonz was at work and we were searching flickr for photos of the area that we're going to be visiting, our resort and some attractions. My parents are already so happy with the resort that I booked. It's kinda crazy that during low season you can book the best resort you can find (5 star) for about $100 more. It ended up being about $50 more than our budgeted price, but we figured to just go ahead and spend $50 and be extremely happy, versus wishing that we did and find our resort lacking.

While we were looking at all the photos my dad just kept saying how happy he was that the resort had this or that, like the lazy river, because it would be fun to enjoy it with Sofia. My mother keeps saying to Sofia that "We're going to have so much fun together - then mommy and daddy can go and enjoy themselves." I keep telling my mother I don't want it to be like that! This is a family vacation! She's not coming along to be the nanny! I know that she will enjoy it anyway, but she's already making me feel badly!

My underwater housing arrived from TigerDirect yesterday and I am so excited! My sisters and I LOVE taking photos underwater but I hate those disposable cameras that cost like $20 and take crappy shots. With this underwater housing I can actually even take video if I want to! I'll let you know how it is. I got the Dicapac (WP110) for my Canon SD1100 for about $60 with taxes and shipping. Yeah, that seems steep, but when you compare it to the official Canon one which is $200...

I'm making my extensive lists of all that we have to pack. I don't really care if I forget something for myself, but it's the stuff that I have to bring for Sofia that I am worried about forgetting. But I have to keep reminding myself that children are resilient and they won't notice if you forget something - just don't forget the diapers and the wipes! They could wear the same thing all week and they wouldn't notice... (don't worry, I wouldn't do THAT).

One week away.
At the beach.
Snorkeling, snorkeling, snorkeling.
No cooking.
No cleaning.
No grocery shopping.
With my family.

This is going to be refreshing.

Where the sun shines...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We'll be there soon! AND... we'll be leaving this:

Ugh. Disgusting.

11 months

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

334 / Monday, November 10
This week, Sofia turned 11 months. She had been showing tons of signs of what her personality was going to be like, but this past month it really has just been shining through all the baby-ness. She is ridiculously fun to play with now, but also ridiculously tiring because she's getting into everything, much more opinionated about her likes, dislikes and wants.

What's going on?

  • Teeth. Sofia has sprouted her third tooth. Yeah, that's all she has got so far. I think that in this department she is behind. Oh well, that's fine with me. She's already chewed into one of her board books (it looks like we own a dog), and she bit my mother tonight.

  • Dancing. Sofia dances EVERY TIME music comes on. You should see her at the mall. You don't realize how much music is playing in every store until you walk Sofia through it. She's got both fists in the air while bopping up and down. She has also added a new move. Yeah, I'd get a headache too.

  • Copying. Just today she starting doing what many toddlers do: mimicking adults. She picked up the phone and started pretending that she was answering it. She's even got the put-the-phone-between-the-ear-and-the-shoulder move down. Gonzo and I really have to start shaping up. Oh gosh, did I use the word TODDLER?

  • Funny Face. Sofia has got a new funny face. Unfortunately, this is all I could capture on (digital) film. She just opens her mouth wide. Probably funnier in real life. And that she's my daughter. Okay, fine. Maybe it's not funny at all.

    335 / Tuesday, November 11

  • Talking up a storm. Sofia is starting to babble in a way that all her inflections sound like adult conversation. Except that none of the syllables make sense. Other than that of "bear".

  • "Pointing." Sofia has learned that if she points in a certain direction that it brings attention to it. So, if her Gwa-Kong is holding her, she may "point" to her "shrine" in the livingroom so she can view all the photos, Gwa-Kong will take her over there to it. The funny thing is that her "pointing" is her arm extended with hand pointing up. Matt has dubbed it, "Opera Hand". Yeah, go ahead and belt that note!

  • Cruising. Walking while using furniture for support is definitely full-force now. Hardly anything is safe now.

  • Her diet. I still feed her commercially prepared baby food, with some guilt. I feel like if I tried harder I could make her my own baby food, but I guess I work too much. But one thing that I hold on to for comfort is that I think that the reason why she pretty much eats anything is because I switch her food every day. If I made her my own baby food, she'd eat the same thing for days. Yeah, sure, I could make a whole array of baby food and freeze it, but I don't have that much room in my fridge, thank-you-very-much. Heehee...excuses. Anyway, she does eat as much fresh stuff that I can get into her: bananas, blueberries, raspberries, and ripe pear are the perfect texture. I started giving her steamed apple today and that was well-received as well. I have started giving her whole cow's milk, mixed into her afternoon dose of formula to get her used it when she turns one (TOO SOON!). When the meal can work for her (i.e., not having a spicy steak for dinner), I will set aside some of that for her to eat. She loves fish, especially. She feeds herself her bottle now, too.

    327 / Monday, November 3

  • Sleeping pattern. Definitely can't complain in this area. She'll sleep from 9:30pm, until 9:30 am, with a waking in there somewhere. Just take her to our bed, she falls back asleep until morning. Naps are usually one hour in the morning, and then two hours in the afternoon. But the afternoon one is getting wonky lately.

  • Separation Anxiety. Last couple of nights have been particularly bad. She usually goes down for nighttime sleep no problem. Give her the chupete and her teddy bear and away she goes. These last couple of nights she has just been literally screaming and sobbing. I left her for a nap this evening (because I couldn't get her to sleep any earlier) for perhaps 45 minutes, screeeeeeaming. I finally figured out it wasn't just a regular I-don't-feel-like-napping... She was heartbroken. She thought I disappeared off the face of the planet. (See separation anxiety here. The funny (but good) thing is that I can leave her at a sitter's, or in the nursery at church, and she's fine. Maybe that's coming to an end...

    It's crazy to think how far she has come. I often will sit and just watch her and think back to all the different things that she has learned and discovered and mastered: she can turn toward where a noise is coming from, she can eat solid foods!, can pick up tiny objects with her thumb and forefinger, she can sit up on her own, heck! she can hold her own head up!! It's crazy how they come into the world not knowing anything but crying and pooping and sometimes not even breastfeeding. It's a wonder how much they develop despite the fact they are pre-loaded with not very much.

    God has been so good to us with giving us Sofia. She is seriously an amazing source of joy in our lives.

  • Akumal

    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Originally uploaded by snwbrdr5656

    The area that we will be going to, as a family, in the Riviera Maya is called Quintana Roo, and the closest community is called Akumal. It's about an hour and half south of Cancun and is directly across Cozumel - an island just off shore. That area boasts the second largest coral reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It's called the Belize Barrier Reef - which starts where we are staying and extends all the way down to Honduras. Crazy - I never knew that it would be so "close" to us.

    I am not an expert snorkeler or anything, but I really, really enjoy it. I have snorkeled in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, and also in the Philippines. I think it's one of the most amazing experiences that you can have in nature. I imagine diving would probably far surpass this, but I'm afraid to try it. I guess I would feel a little bit easier if I was diving with someone very experienced, but I guess I'd still freak if I was face-to-face with, say, a SHARK.

    Many reviews that I have read of the area said that sea turtles can be spotted easily year round, in addition to sting rays, barracuda (eek!), and many types of colourful fish. What I am also looking forward to is seeing colourful coral which I didn't get much of at Hanauma Bay and in the area (which I have no idea what it's called, or even where it is) in the Philippines. I ordered underwater housing for my digital camera so I'm super excited about being able to bring some decent pictures home.

    Gonna be nice to relax and be with my family for a week. Sometimes it's hard to even get together for a weekly meal. It's insane how life picks up and schedules take you away from each other. But we're all pretty good at carving out some time to make family a priority. Anything important to you is worth the work, yes? Life with family isn't anywhere perfect, everyone has their quirks and preferences, but when we put these aside, it's the most fun to be had.

    Checking in

    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Dear Daine,

    I am not in jail. I am glad that I am free to roam. Don't worry - no one will be asking you for bail money.


    P.s. Hello internet - I have been working too much. Therefore I have been neglecting you. And if I wasn't working, I have been only using you to search high and low for the most fabulous (and reasonably priced) resort in the Riviera Maya for a whole family vacation. We have finally booked the vacation! Will have lots to report when we get back... which means now I feel the pressure of blogging about it and also posting a ridiculous amount of photographs (which I am also behind on).

    But, right now, I have to return to work, but thought I'd just check in. Gotta churn out a fabulous PowerPoint to help support a pretty darn good message for a church this weekend. I hope to hang out with you soon, oh dear friend Internet.