We’re Back

That’s right! After a 2-month hiatus, I’m finally making time to blog again. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, it’s just that I’ve had zero time to dedicate to it. Recently I’ve been swamped by work (more so than normal) and extremely tired. That typically makes my normal midnight blog more challenging. Never fear, I’m equipped with a hot cup of Joe (don’t be perverted) and my brain is full of things. Don’t get your hopes up though, most of what’s flowing is more of an update vs. deep, insightful stuff.

Obviously a lot has happened since I last wrote in April. Highlights include; participating in March for Babies 2015, running in our first Cheetah Chase, finishing Kindergarten, visiting family & friends, Will’s first baseball game, picking up new hobbies, acting like animals at the zoo, enjoying parade candy and most recently our fun-filled 4th of July weekend.

While we often have a lot of fun with our kids on the weekends, we also like to be productive and throw in some projects as well. Over the 4th though, we made a pact to not add in projects and have as much fun as possible. My goal was to cram in so many things that the kids crashed and I’m happy to say we were successful!

The festivities began on Thursday night, as we took in the Elver Park fireworks with friends. On Friday we didn’t have daycare, which normally means Joe & I divide and conquer and one would handle the kids, while the other worked or tackled some projects. Instead we decided that there was no better time to invite friends over for a little pool fun, grilling and more importantly, day drinking. We spent the entire day outside enjoying the beautiful weather and fantastic company. The kids swam, ran through the sprinkler and we capped the night with fireworks, s’mores and a bonfire.

On Saturday the weather was still beautiful/hot so we spent the day at the pool. Ella had a blast practicing her swimming skills and Will enjoyed being chauffeured around the water. Since we already killed the grass and had the wood, we had another bonfire and finished the night with a family movie.

On Sunday Joe really wanted to go fishing so we set out for the local fishing hole. Our kids are definitely not the most patient, so fishing is always a challenge. Unfortunately the fish weren’t biting but we had a great time and were able to get a nature walk in as well. We packed up quickly to make it to the movie Inside Out. This was our first time taking Will to the movie theater and he did a great job. The movie was cute and definitely made me sad to think about my kiddo’s growing up too quickly and them having to process so many different feelings and emotions.

After coming home for lunch, the boys ran some errands and the girls headed out for some pampering. Ella has wanted to get a pedicure for quite some time now, so I finally caved. We had a great experience and I’m happy to say, four days later, she still has polish on her toes (that’s a major feat, trust me)!

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from all the stress and chaos and focus 100% on what the kids would want to do. Joe & I had a great time and hopefully the kids did too!

IMG_3708

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

Never Quit

163701_702013547656_5719756_nAround Christmas time my grandpa became ill. He collapsed early in the morning and was rushed to the hospital. They found out his body was full of infection and while we were worried, he’s a tough guy who’s battled many things in his life so we didn’t think it was too serious.

A few days went by and he was still in the hospital. They couldn’t get his blood cell counts within normal range and at the same time we learned his lung cancer was back. There was a chance he wasn’t going to be coming home for the holidays which meant no Christmas Eve at my grandparents, for the first time in our lives. Things were serious!

Luckily the meds he was taking improved conditions enough that he could come home for Christmas. I was relieved, but also worried that it might be too soon and our large, overwhelming family would be too much for him to handle. When we got there he was visibly ill and I worried that we shouldn’t be there, but then I remembered how important his family is to him. No matter the conditions, he was going to be there with us that night!

Our entire family is very close, so I’m sure each one of us feels that we have a special connection with grandpa, but I feel like he & I have always understood each other. He comes off as a stern man, but if you truly know him, you know he’s soft. You can tell by looking into his soft brown eyes. He is also the pillar of our family. The one who is strong and bull headed and taught us all many things, including to never quit.

At one point in the night I sat with him to talk. It was just the two of us and I knew the conversation we were about to have was going to be an important one. As I held his hand he looked at me and said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’ve been battling for so long, I don’t have any fight left in me.”

I’m a lot like my grandpa when it comes to being stubborn and never willing to quit, so I think he thought I was going to argue and lecture him on all the reasons he needed to keep pushing. I could have said all of those things, but instead I put aside my selfish need for him in my life and told him the choice was his. It almost killed me to say those words, but I knew it wasn’t my decision to make and that only he could decide to continue on.

Here we are almost 4 months later and he’s still here! Shortly after our talk, he made the choice to not quit and underwent an aggressive round of radiation for his cancer! He recently welcomed two more great-grand babies (twins) and he’ll watch another granddaughter walk down the aisle in a few months. I’m grateful for many things he’s given our family, but right now I’m most thankful for his fight and the choice he made to keep going for our family. I’m sure he is too!16018_10100279013398559_6624051771182122952_n

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

Mexican Minute

We always rave about our trip to Costa Rica and find ourselves comparing every trip since then to it, only to find they all fall short…until now!

We’re pretty lucky since we stumbled upon this trip by chance. We were hoping to go to Punta Cana or Puerto Rico, but during our travel dates the prices were pretty high and the resorts weren’t as nice as we were hoping for. With the only requirement of warm weather, we decided to look for the nicest resort at the lowest price.

IMG_8037
That’s when we found Secrets in Huatulco, Mexico. I knew Secrets had a great reputation but I had never heard of Huatulco. The resort was rated 5 stars and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was leaps & bounds nicer than the other all-inclusive chains (RIU & Grand Bahia) we’ve stayed at in the past.

We flew into Huatulco so the trip to the resort was a short 30 minute bus ride. We were surprised and impressed with the quality of the roads – we learned that they had just finished paving two months prior. Once again, we visited during their dry season so the surrounding vegetation was pretty brown. Like all other trips though, it rained a few sprinkles on our first day there but at this point we view it as a sign of good luck!

Normally we jam pack as many activities as possible in the short time we are there. This time we wanted a blend with some relaxation too and the resort was the perfect setting to do so. At all times, no matter where you were at the resort you had a beautiful view of the ocean. You could see and hear the ocean from the bed and shower! It was awesome to wake up to that every single day.

The weather was phenomenal with every day being full sun and temperatures in the 90’s. The endless pools were nestled right on the beach and the water temps were perfect. The resort was smaller than those we’ve stayed at in the past, kid-free and located in the middle of nowhere so it wasn’t overcrowded. At certain times we had the upper pool all to ourselves and even had the entire beach one day for snorkeling on our own. Note: the ocean was pretty rough so if your goal is to lounge in the ocean, it might not be the trip for you.

On our past trips the food was just okay and we lived off the buffet most of the time since all restaurants required dinner reservations. That was not the case this trip! The food was amazing and there were no reservations required for any of the 7 different restaurants, plus all drinks were individually hand mixed and you could actually taste the alcohol!

We couldn’t lay around the entire time so we took a boat from Santa Cruz to view the 7 Bays of Huatulco and enjoyed more snorkeling. The water was very blue and we were able to see some beautiful fish & coral. On our boat ride back we were even lucky enough to see two humpback whales and a sea turtle!

We spent another day traveling into the city of La Crucecita. The town square was very nice and housed a million local shops for souvenirs. One of the main attractions was the Iglesias Church which features the largest mural painting of Mother Mary in North America. We were able to grab an authentic lunch & sip on Dos Equis.

Costa Rica will always hold a special place in our hearts and still outranks in some categories, but when it comes to kid-free relaxation, Secrets in Huatulco definitely moves to the top of the list!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

Look for the Good

imageEarly wake up call, lugging heavy bags, standing in line and cramped quarters. That’s how I started my day, so you wouldn’t expect me to say, “man, do I love flying!” And for the most part that’s true, but there is good in everything, you just have to look for it.

Starting with our seats on the plane. Joe & I didn’t get to sit with each other but we were both near a little boy who was experiencing his first flight. Watching his excitement & joy (and a bit of nervousness) as the wings left the ground was awesome! Our view of the morning sunset over the Chicago skyline was the cherry on top. Will would have loved all the beautiful colors.

I also love the time to reflect in silence and write. Between the kids, the hubby, the animals and work – I’m never alone, not even to shower or go to the bathroom – so moments like this are non-existent and I appreciate them!

The thing to be most grateful for is our final destination, as we are on our way to Huatulco, Mexico for the next 5 days. Once again my parents (mom, really) are keeping the kids so that we can spend some quality time together. Some might say we are selfish & don’t prioritize family, but I completely disagree. Sure, I’ll miss the kids and know they would love to come with, but I think the best thing we can give them is two parents who love each other & take time to focus on just us. We’ll take them on trips when they are bigger and besides, who doesn’t love Grandma Camp?

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

Winter Block

Unlike my last invigorated post about Funemployment, lately I have found myself feeling blocked in all aspects of my life. I don’t have the energy or motivation to move anything forward – including this blog. I hate missing an entire month without posting and yet somehow that’s exactly what happened in February. Granted, I’ve been busier than normal, but when it comes right down to it – I just had nothing to say.

So, tonight as I sat here trying to figure out how to turn things around, I looked back to my February 2014 blog post. While I managed to at least write something, the parts that were related to me (and not the kids) were definitely lacking – which leads me to think, maybe it’s the season.

One year later, I’m once again sick of the wicked winter temperatures and could definitely use an escape. So just like then, today we booked our next adventura (see what I did there?). In just a few weeks we’ll be sipping cocktails in Huatulco, Mexico. I’m so excited to spend some kid-free quality time with the hubby and see another part of the world we’ve yet to explore.

11026508_10101049002473026_1063518157_n
Other life updates -
Babies! At the beginning of the month our life was filled with lots of tiny baby bundles. Our great friends welcomed their second son Everett. We spend a lot of time with them, so we are pretty pumped to get in some quality snuggling in the very near future!

On top of that, I’m an aunt again and this time to identical TWIN girls. My brother is now the only male member of his house full of 6 women (7 counting the dog). Pray for him! In all seriousness, the day of delivery and their entire pregnancy could not have gone any better. The girls were born happy & healthy and weighed around 7 lbs. each, can you imagine? My sister-in-law is an amazing and beautiful person and this process just further highlights that.

Speaking of their family – my niece (their first born) turned 9 this past week. How that is even possible, I’m not sure! It feels like just yesterday that I was driving to La Crosse to meet her. She was such a beautiful baby and somehow she has managed to turn into an even more beautiful little lady. She is sweet, kind and considerate and we are grateful to have her in our lives.

Our little family has had some fun adventures too. A few weeks ago, we took the kids to FullSizeRenderanother men’s Badger basketball game. For the most part, they both did a great job and per the usual, were ecstatic to see Bucky – Will screamed his name every single time we caught even a glimpse of him (even during a free throw, in which the rest of the arena was silent). We also took them to the Overture to see a live production of Sid the Science Kid. I thought it might be too young for Ella to enjoy, but she surprised me and when I asked her what her favorite part was- she responded, “the entire thing.” Joe and I even got a date night, as we attended the annual American Advertising Federation 2015 Addy’s. In addition to having some kid-free time, Kella took home a few different awards – so overall it was a great night.

Everytime I think there is nothing to say, I look back on the time and realize there is always something worth writing down to remember!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest