Cancun 2015

We’ve been back for a mere 3 days and I’m already nostalgic about our trip. I want to go back; just for the weather.

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We spent a full week at the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort in Cancun Mexico, but thanks to drawn out travel days we only really had 5 days of time to play around.  The arrival in Cancun was *brutal*…we sat on the plane for 30 mins before they took us to a gate, then there was a 30 mins deplane/bus/loading handicapped people delay, and then….then we waited 2+ hours in line at customs/immigration (were all 4 of us almost had temper-tantrums at the same time!). After the 30 min drive to the hotel our 1:30 pm landing ended up bringing us to the resort by 6 pm; all there was time to do was grab supper and a stiff drink.

Morning.I’m not a fibber and I don’t sugar coat; vacation with kids is HARD. Especially when you don’t have a kids camp, babysitter, family or other friends to lean on to take a break.

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Day 1 started off pretty hard after Ingrid fell in the baby pool and sliced open her chin and bit a decent gash into her tongue. There was lots of blood and crying and then she just passed out.  Royce was able to locate some super glue later in the day and we glued her back up. All seems to be healing nicely.

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We had 7 days of 24/7 family which is a lot when one of your kids is crying at any one moment. One is sick and they are sharing the same bed for the first time.  6 AM wakes ups were early and every day.

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People have asked how Cancun was; I say it was warm. Same *hit, better climate.  And its the truth. We did laundry, washed dishes, bathed the kids, wiped snotty noses, cooked meals, picked up the apartment. The only difference really was that school and work was replaced with pool and beach; not a bad substitution, but I’m not relaxed or rested…I just have more freckles.

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We did create lots of memories. We went to the pool, we dug holes at the beach, we took long naps. Syd miraculously figured out how to hold her breath and swim underwater so she dove in the pool for her My Little Pony’s over and over again.  It was so cool to go underwater with her and see her big blue eyes behind her goggles.

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We took a total dud of a day trip to Isla Mujeres where Ingrid fell asleep on two occasions and Syd complained and pouted so much she made ME cry out of frustration.

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The kids likely had too much time with their iPads (or ‘pooter’ as Ingrid likes to call it) but I’m proud to say that most of what Syd did on her computer was read book after book on her MeeGenius app which reads books to her (while I read my own!).

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Its all good though; the warmth and sun are enough for me to float on til our next ‘vacation’.  The silver lining is that vacations will keep getting easier as the kids get older (or we will just learn to do a better job of picking locations with a bonafide kids-camp).  More pictures are up on Flickr!

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Vacation :: Kansas City

We got back last week from visiting family and friends in Kansas City. Was a productive, fun and busy trip. The impetus for the trip was to attended a Stuber (Royce’s mother’s side) family reunion in St. Joseph, MO. Since traveling with kids is not a fly-by-night task we made a week out of it and stayed with my parents in Kansas City.

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familiarizing herself with the safety features of our aircraft

The girls did really well on both flights. Now that Ingrid is 2 she has her own seat so she sat next to Syd and watched a show on the iPad. They also colored, stared out the window, read some books, and were easily distracted by the snack/drink routine. I can see the light at the end of the traveling with kid stress tunnel, and am very much looking forward to exploring new places and blowing out-of-town more often when the time allows.

The family reunion and trip and to St Joe was also a lot of fun. The best parts were the time spent at Dan and Stan’s farm riding four-wheelers (my first time!) and catching up with family over supper at a German restaurant which served no beer (shake my head at small-town Midwest).

City girl goes country. For 10 mins.

City girl goes country. For 10 mins.

The rest of our time was spent with family and friends back in Kansas City. We went to a ball game, strolled among the zoo, went to the pool, and spent a day with Albert, Katie and their 3 kids. We even had time for a fun date night with Albert and Katie at Rye. Add in Ingrid’s first hair cut, a trip to Dairy Queen, and throwing rocks into the pond by our house and when I think about it…no wonder we are exhausted!

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zoo tram and a busted up face

The summer is ticking by quickly. With Royce’s new contract he’s been working a lot which means I’ve been alone a lot which is taxing…although looking back at last summers post there seems to be a summer trend of Julie losing her sanity over Royce’s work schedule in August.  Glad I’m predictable.

It was nice to be together (and go to bed at the same time) for WHOLE 6 days. I can’t say we’ve seen much of each other since we got back….actually the last time we went to bed together was the night we returned! We are both looking forward to spending some time just the 4 of us at the beach in mid-August. Hopefully, even though we have no help, we can find some time to relax and slow down…be lazy. Something neither of us are very good at.

More pictures of our KC escapades are up on Flickr click the twirling girl below.

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baseball and ballet collide

Travel :: Iowa and the beach

Homeland #iowa

Royce and I had the pleasure of flying to Iowa City without kids a few weekends ago to attend a wedding for a friend. It was a quick trip (Friday-Monday) but we crammed in some great time with friends along with lots of good food and drink.

Each time I fly back there I get nostalgic for the Midwest, the food, the people, the inherent genuine niceness of everyone. It takes me a few days to realize they want me to look them in the eye and smile when interacting. I get so used to the silent, head down, keep-to-yourself, efficiency of the east-coast.

#iowa meat. Happy husband.

Friday night I did the 1.5 hour drive to Manchester solo so that I could have some more time with my friend while Royce stayed back in Iowa City to enjoy time with his. The rolling farmland, the sinusoidal speed rhythm as you drive through small towns miles apart, the bug splattered windshield, passing cars on 2-lane highways — all things to me that are quintessential Midwestern memories that remind me of my childhood trips through western Kansas.

It took some grace to get out of the plane in this #kellyskirt @megannielsenpatterns

Since we didn’t have the girls with us we were less restricted with our time. We went on long runs, hit up the local DQ, drank coffee at Java House and wandered around downtown Iowa City. We even got to go up with Jeremy in his plane on Sunday night and see Iowa City from a new perspective. It’s always nice to go back, and each time we do we try to figure out ways to get there permanently but then I return home and remember how much I enjoy working for the agency and my tiny house in the city and all the city perks that come along with the city struggle and then I settle down and forget about having a large house in the open prairie land.

As if to prove my point for why I love living here we arrived back from Iowa on Monday and after a 3-hour drive on Thursday night — I was on the beach.

Happy to report my mental health is vastly improved. #mhic2014

This past weekend was my annual girls “Mental Health Improvement Conference” trip and we headed again to Fenwick Island, DE for a few days of kid and husband-free relaxation. We did absolutely NOTHING unless you consider drinking, reading and eating doing something. It was perfect. Most of us were so relaxed we were rendered speechless; conversation was at a minimum during the days as we all lounged pool or beach side reading.

Working on some #freckles. #mhic2014

Because I had just returned from Iowa I didn’t have my sewing gear organized to bring Betty or any sewing projects with me like I did last year. It was OK though because I didn’t have the time to sew like I did last year since I had to hang back and work all day on Thursday and even had to put in two remote working hours on Friday. I always travel with something that can occupy my hands so my knitting traveled with me this time.

Conference attendees #mhic2014

It is back to reality now though. Our next trip isn’t until the end of July when we head to KC with the girls for a family reunion. We will head to the beach sometime this summer as a family too.  I’m looking forward to heading out to the Midwest (hopefully!) this fall to meet up with the girlfriend-wives and am tossing around visiting my girlfriend in Dubai this fall to help lend a helpful hand after her baby is born.

A quick get-a-way

Lots of posts to make but I’ll start first with a quick one.  Royce and I escaped last week for 3 nights to the Chesapeake.  We stayed at the Hyatt Golf Resort, Spa and Marina. We only took part in the golf part.

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tee-off

It was nice to get away, and I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I was sick the entire time and well that just sucks, especially if you really need to get some ‘reset’ time (which I did).

Lots of friends kept saying “well at least you don’t have to take care of children!” and “at least you can rest!” which is nice and all; but to be honest…fuck it. If I’m going to be sick I would rather just go to work, and do my routine at home with my kids.  I want to possess the health and energy to enjoy my time away.  I don’t want to be laid up in a hotel room wondering when I can take my next dose of ibuprofen because my throat hurts so bad I’m afraid to swallow.  To make matters even worse I couldn’t sleep.  Between the constant throat and sinus pain I tossed and turned.  I wanted to be home with my humidifier, in my own bed (and maybe a little Xanax). Now I must say that a I was grateful that I wasn’t sick on a vacation with my children; cause that — would suck…

I did manage to get out and ‘enjoy’ (I use the term loosely) a few rounds of golf with Royce.  I did play decently, which surprised me since I haven’t swung my sticks more than once since Ingrid was born.

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golf skillz

He did play alone on Friday because I was just too achy and weak to do much outside of the hotel room.  I did manage to make it out to knit ‘poolside’ (it was freezing so I was in pants and a sweater) while waiting for him to come up the 18th hole.

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18th green

I did seemingly drink a lot of whiskey; it helped my throat pain…and since I was on vacation I could consume it at any hour of the day (my preferred time was lunch).

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my liquid lunch of choice

It was nice to get away from the routine and kids! I just hope next time we get the chance to do this I’m healthy enough to enjoy it a bit more!

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after sinking a putt, Royce told me to “pretend you are not sick and cold” and this was the result

And I must give a big shout out to my mother and Auntie-M (my sister) who came out to watch the girls so that this vacation was possible. I think everyone enjoyed the change of pace!

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Grandma with her grandkids

OBX 2012

We returned Saturday from a weeklong trip to the North Carolina Outer Banks (OBX is the common abbr). The OBX are a popular vacation destination for many of my local friends but this was our first time to these beaches.  We met 3 of Royce’s friends who all worked as phlebotomists together in college along with their wives and children. One of his friends couldn’t make it but his super awesome wife Crystal still came.  That’s how close we all are; It’s the best.  7 adults, 5 children.  Insane!
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To be honest I was a bit nervous about the trip. Syd hasn’t been the easiest thing to be around and thinking of an entire week with her and 4 other children seemed a bit dicey at best, but it all went really smoothly and like our MN trip we took last year Syd’s behavior was perfection. This kid really does pull through when we travel.

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She wasn’t a huge fan of the beach. We had maybe one day where we got her out there with minimal whining. She was afraid the dolphins were ‘going to get her’ and I think the sand wasn’t fun for her this time around either because the ocean was so loud…and so close…you know…those scary dolphins may sneak up at any moment.

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Thankfully there was plenty of other activities to keep us busy.  One rainy misty morning Albert, Royce and Jeremy took Syd and Jake miniature golfing while the girls and younger kids stayed home.

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Most of my time was spent in the condo either watching kids nap or feeding Ingrid.  Thankfully we splurged for the ocean view condo so even though I didn’t get my feet wet all that often I could at least see and hear the ocean!

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Many of our nights were spent dining together over fantastic meals but Crystals night of fresh steamed seafood was hands down the best!

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Overall it was a nice trip, even if the most relaxing part of my day came at 8 PM when all the kidlings were in bed and the wine and champagne came out…and all the adults piled in the hot tub.   It’s the memories that will stay with us, — the jokes about Royce’s meat and Albert’s shirts showing up in odd places — the things we will laugh about for years to come.  These trips will only get easier and more fun as the kids get older.

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The OBX was a long hike for all our Midwestern friends so hopefully we can find a place more central for us all to meet and still enjoy the sun.  I’m sure we will return to the OBX next year just the 4 of us at some point during the summer!

More of our photos are online in the OBX 2012 set on Flickr

A perfect vacation

Royce and I left for Sarasota on Sunday for a few days away. He had CME money to spend so is at a conference in the mornings and in the afternoons we have been free to do what interests us. I’ve had the luxury of spending my mornings lazing about drinking coffee, listening to NPR and reading the newspaper. I’ve spent a lot of time checking out little cafes in downtown Sarasota during my mornings as well which has qualified me the luxury of a daily morning pastry.

Yesterday I went to the Ringling Musem of Art which was created from the private collections of John and Mable Ringling of circus fame. It was quite a museum that displayed their love for Italian art (not my favorite if I must admit) but the museum itself and the grounds were amazing.

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28-week belly self portrait thanks to 18th century mirror at Ringling Museum of Art

In addition to the art museum there is a circus museum, multiple gardens including a rose garden, and the Ringling mansion you can tour.

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Even David looks happier surrounded by palm trees

Monday afternoon we played some golf and yesterday we spent some time at Siesta Key beach. Today I leave but Royce will stay til Friday. I don’t have enough accrued leave to cover my maternity leave as it is but these few days I’ve taken have been worth it! I only wish I could stay for longer! A huge thanks to Royce’s mother and sister who have come out to help with Sydney to make this vacation possible!

Family vacation

We have taken many trips with Syd but none have been a true vacation. This week is different though. We headed out for Hilton Head on Saturday. Hilton Head is place Royce and I have been often but Syd has only visited in the womb. We have fond memories golf in the early mornings followed by lazy afternoons at the beach. We know this trip would be different with Sydney in tow but we will still try to have some of the same patterns we had grown accustomed too.

Our flight went well. We were blessed with a unexpected 30-min morning nap (we flew from 9-11AM). And the rest of the time we read or played with the iPad. Unfortunately the pacifier, which on a normal day only allowed in the crib, was a participant in this excursion.

Sleepy airplane baby

After a nice lunch out we headed to the condo which thankfully was ready in time for us to check-in and get Syd down for her nap at 1. Past trips have proven poorly for Syds sleep schedule so this time I did things a bit differently. We flew during non-nap times which was risky, but I felt I would rather have a squirrelly awake child on my lap than a tired cranky squirrelly child. I also rented a crib this time since Syd sleeps like crap in a pack-n-play. Other than sleeping in the same room as us I really wanted to keep her as comfortable as possible for everyone’s sanity!

My tactics proved successful as she slept longer last night than she ever has at home. Her nap today may be the longest yet. But we had done a good job tiring her out at the beach! More on that later!

Beach baby!

Easter and Iowa and everything in between

Whoa it’s been a long time since my last post! We have been busy busy bee’s though so I have a good excuse.

We had a very busy Easter Weekend doing things that didn’t revolve around the actual Christian Easter holiday but we had a glorious time despite those judging our absence at a church.  My friend from work had an Easter Egg hunt on Sunday morning and we headed over with glee.  Syd was not nearly as interested in the easter eggs as she was into all of Emma’s toys; I’m fairly certain she played with each and every one that was available to her.  After a nap at home we headed out again to our neighborhood friends Ashley and Greg for an early afternoon Easter dinner with their daughter Stella.  It was a great holiday!

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This toy is way more fun than egg hunting

This past weekend I headed to Iowa for a get-away to see a friend who was home from London.  My sister came up to help Royce watch Syd which allowed him to go to work over the weekend.  In order for me to get-away we either have to ask for him to be off, or have someone come help.  With the demise of his paid vacation it’s easier on our pocketbooks to just keep status-quo and fly someone in to help, and thankfully Auntie-M was willing and able to come!  I sadly didn’t get any photos of her and Sydney while she was here which is 100% stupid and lame of me.  Alas there will be a next time so I will not be to harsh on myself; it was a very busy week after all between baseball games, and me leaving, and a trip to the Newseum.

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View of the Iowa country side at Park Farm Winery

Back to my trip.  I had initially planned to go back for Drake Relays but flights into Des Moines were $$$ and poorly timed so I flew into Cedar Rapids instead and spent the weekend with Chris at her family farm in Manchester, IA.  It was just what I needed!  Acres upon acres of land, fresh land, as far as the eye could see.  Simple small town hospitality and a quilt shop…and Dairy Queen…and HyVee!!!  I was in heaven.

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Manchester, IA small town charm

Friday was filled with family fun as it was her twin-mother’s birthday. It was fun to hear stories from the very sharp mom to those twins. I can’t imagine starting a family at 16 and having 6 children…I can barely handle the one I have! On Saturday we headed out to The Field of Dreams which was on our way to our intended destination, Park Farm Winery.

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Field of Dreams, Dyersville, IA

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Park Farm Winery

At the winery we sat and enjoyed some tastings and then some cheese and crackers and lazy conversation with a fantastic view of the Iowa country side.  I swear if someone came up to me tomorrow and said “Julie, we really need you to move to Manchester, IA and farm this land and raise these cows…and no one else can do it…and we will sell your home in MD and find you a fantastic home in Iowa (that has a kitchen the way you want it and a sewing room) “…lets just say I would move there in a heart-beat.  There is something so simple about a hard days work outside where you have tangible results of your labor.  So much more rewarding than sitting in my sensory deprived office sending emails and sitting in meetings for 8 hours.  I know there is more to it than that, no time off, no vacations, no weekends…but let me have my simple dream for just a while OK?

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Fischer family farm

It was a fantastic trip, one where I felt rested upon my return, and it was so nice to see a good friend!  Don’t get me started on how nice it is to travel without a kid or a husband…I may never go back to travel with them again! OK maybe I will bring the husband along sometimes.

You can find more photos from my Iowa trip here, and more photos of Syds Easter Day fun here.

My vacation sponsors

 

Vacation made possible by PeptoBismol, Imodium, and Zofran

Even a non-medical person could probably figure out these aren’t drugs that normal people consume on a beach and golf vacation.  I did have 2 good days, the day we arrived and the day we left.  All the days in between were filled with nausea, vomiting and topped off with a remarkable amount of diarrhea.   I can say that I got plenty of rest.  Much more rest than I would have had if I was sick at home while taking care of a spirited 15-month old.  At least my hotel room was sunny, comfortable and equipped with a nice bathroom.  And I brought plenty of good books (and even bought a few at a local Borders that was going out of business in Sarasota) to keep me entertained.  I laid in bed, sat on our balcony, lounged by the pool and even ventured to the beach in between visits to the bathroom.

Siesta Key Beach

Napping in the sand

One afternoon of golf was spent laying in the car trying to not throw-up, but by our second round a few days later I was feeling better and even managed to play a decent game.  Due to the GI bug I didn’t get to experience the typical culinary adventures standard to our vacations as I was on a limited diet of bread, crackers and water.  I did manage to eat a few yogurts and when we ate out our last night I managed a plain baked potato.  I also discovered that black tea is a nice fill-in for coffee when one is too sick to drink strong coffee.  I’m too addicted to morning caffeine to go cold-turkey but the black tea filled in nicely with no GI side-effects.

View from hotel balcony

Even though it wasn’t the dream vacation of all vacations it still fit the purpose of getting me relaxed, recouped and reset. I’ve given up searching for perfection…this trip was far from it, but it will do!

And we are off!

Royce and I leave this morning for Sarasota, FL.  He has a CME conference to go to (these ER docs really know how to do this continuing medical education if you ask me…Oncologists and their all day weekend conferences in crappy locations need to take a hint) in the mornings and then we plan on golfing in the afternoon.  I have some shopping, yoga, reading, wandering and camera-fiddling planned to keep me busy while he is at class.  Today I think we will start off with some pool side relaxation and maybe dinner and a movie.

Of course a huge thanks to Royce’s mom and his sister who flew out here to take care of Sydney for us!  I’m sure she will enjoy her time with Grandma and Auntie!

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