Sunday, March 31, 2013

Love List - March

Although we are not loving on long and snowy this winter has been...we definitely continue to enjoy life with Miss L.

This month's "Love List" includes:

Loving: seeing the snow melt! Slowly, but assuredly! Weekly Zumba class with my friend Kelly - such a great, fun workout. It just so happens to take place at a local dance studio and it makes me real excited for Miss L to participate in dance class...just as I did. Lastly, brown sugar in my coffee. I had this at a Wild NHL game last month and it was delicious. Now, it is my staple.

Below are some photos from our 8" of powder on March 5th, 2013. Notice the "spring" wreath on the door with the snow-covered spruce tip topairies next to the door. Oxymoron.

We concluded our shoveling with cocktails...phew!

Miss L is LOVING eating rice, and also these new mini-crackers with peanut butter from Target...or anything with peanut butter. She knows the difference between hot and cold, yes and no, and is quickly identifying Mr. Cole as her new bestie. He is so patient with her.

Watching: As always, Kim & Kourtney take Miami tops the list (any Kardashian show is a reminder that my family isn't "that" crazy!). We also recently re-negotiated our cable bill and rec'd HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc. free for a year. With that said, I am certain we will gain an addiction in some new series.

Miss L is watching Poppy Cat, Chica, Thomas and more - all on our favorite new TV channel Sprout!

Anticipating: Seeing my family next month when we make a trip to MI to visit.

Listening to: Justin Timberlake's new album The 20/20 Experience, is a bit jazzy-blues-ish and we are fixated on the song: Suit & Tie

Planning for: Preparing our taxes...yep this on my list LAST month! 15 more days...eek!

Working on: Planning a girls weekend away later in the year with my high school/middle school long-time girlfriends! It seems as if a trip to SW Michigan is I'm researching wineries and well as cottages with a hot tub! It is a reminder of how wonderful that side of Michigan is and there is a reason they call it "Napa Valley of the Midwest."

Wishing for: warm weather soon! A new job for J!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vacay Recap

After having experienced 3 all-inclusive resorts with the Sandals brand, we were a little cautious about trying a different brand of AI resorts. After our vacay, I can say Karisma Resorts delivered on many aspects of the AI experience, particularly the family-oriented aspect.

Resort: Azul Sensatori
Location: Puerto Morelos, Rivera Maya, Mexico

I'm going to spare you the details of sitting on the tarmac to be de-iced TWICE while Miss L screamed bloody murder...or her carry-on having to get gate-checked and then failed to arrive at Cancun Airport...but instead, focus on the fun things at the resort, like...

We arrive and receive glasses of bubbly and a fresh towel just inside the contemporary lobby. They upgraded us to the Premium Building, which was oceanview, of course! We had a large jacuzzi tub in the suite and a nice balcony which Miss L loved to play on.

Our room was stocked with a real crib, toys from the toy lending library, a stroller, baby monitor and a few other baby goods such as a baby bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer, and baby bath tub. It was so nice knowing we didn't have to pack a ton of things, especially a stroller!

After day 2, we quickly realized we had been excpecting so much of an 18-month old - things out of her element that she wasn't used to; so we decided to sample the childcare on-site. The resort partners with Fisher Price to outfit a clubhouse called Azulitos House with a Doll Room, Theater, Arts & Crafts area, sports items and plenty of Fisher Price toys.
Miss L loved the Doll Room - it was her heaven on earth!

We could accompany her to the Azulitos House anytime to play, but we also began arrangements for "childcare." Just $15/hour to let her have a blast doing kid things and mommy & daddy walked on the beach and escaped to the adults-only swim-up bar. We really had her there for an hour every day and then also one evening while we dined at a 13-course French restaurant {adults-only of course}. The staff could not have been more attentive with her, acknowledging her by name as we saw them around the resort. Without a doubt, it was the best money spent on our vacation.

One day of the week they hosted a huge Kid's Fiesta Breakfast with the Little People {I don't know names, but the Fisher-Price Little People}...dancing, balloons, face painting and more! It was a zoo, but Miss L loved it!

With the help of this childcare arrangement, we created quite the vacation "routine." As we are not a family big on "schedules," this was an easy thing for all of us to adjust.

Daily Routine:

8am wakeup, most days

Breakfast in one of 3 restaurants offering breakfast - my favorite was the Carribbean restaurant and Jeremy enjoyed it too, as they had Eggs Benedict {his fave}. I became particularly fond of Baileys in my coffee and of course Malibu & pineapple juice.

Stroller walk around the resort followed by playtime on these large queen size beds suspended by a rope in a huge thatched-roof gazebo which contained a coffee bar, soft-serve ice cream and cookies!

Miss L goes to Azulitos House, Mommy & Daddy have fun

Lunchtime, followed by naptime {2-3 hours} for Miss L...and sometimes also for Mommy & Daddy
   *She would usually nap in the stroller under a nearby tree or umbrella

Pooltime or time spent on the beach...Miss L did not like the sand at first...let's say it was an acquired feeling on her feet!

Dinner was at one of the seven restaurants, we found ourselves going back to the Carribbean restaurant most often.

After dinner each night, we would head up to the rooftop garden to see the scheduled entertainment. It was a week full of great performers - from a "Lion King-style" theatrical dance show to a Michael Jackson Tribute - everything was impressive and very entertaining. Below is Miss L playing with her laptop at the rooftop garden.

Mommy & Daddy "powered-off" but Miss L needed to update her Facebook status!
Mommy & baby dancing on stage!
The restaurants were all pretty good and the bars offered top shelf liqours. The housekeeper was very attentive to our needs and made all of the fun "towel-art" to entertain Miss L. A few of the staff members made our trips to the swim-up bars really special by offering a serving of apple juice disbursed in a shot glass...thus, looking like tequila! It was quite the site, even random strangers at the Bar flipped out their cameras to take photos of Miss L casually sipping her juice with one hand, as she was belly up to the bar! "Raymundo" was awesome and helped to create memories forever embedded in our minds.

Another bartender made her a "Senor Pina" - aka Mr. Pineapplehead
Our vacation with a toddler was noticably different than past trips to an all-inclusive. We both felt that Miss L forced us to Sllloooowww down, relax more and do absolutely nothing...which is practically our idea vacation.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Sadness

I must has been nearly 6 weeks since my last post. Wow!

February, a short month, flew by as expected with us dashing off to warmth and sunshine in the Rivera Maya for a week {posts to follow, I promise!}.

Thus far, March has been filled with sickness {like every other household}...and loads of work and even more loads of snow. The white stuff just keeps on falling. For an entire week, we had just an inch every day. An inch doesn't sound like much...but it sure adds up.

It is no secret that I dislike winter. I admit I can appreciate it on occassion about 4-5 times per season and the special occasion of having a "White Christmas" or playing in it on a warm{er} day with Miss L...but for the most part, I would be a happy camper without the white stuff at all.

I think this never-ending-winter has really got me feeling blue, despite the carnival of green this past holiday weekend. Between the single-digit temperatures, constant snowfall, overflowing inbox{es}, taxes, housework and intense work load...I am spent!

We are also trying to decide how to give our Master Bathroom a facelift - enough to enhance the home for"resale value" but not enough to loose our shorts on the job. If this was our forever home, we would have our way with it with lots of fun, modern enhancements...which always = $$$.

Being the optimist, I am trying to combat the sadness with plans for a exciting and positive things:
  • Short trips to Chicago and Detroit in the near future
  • A Girls-weekend with friends from high school to celebrate our big 3-0 milestone year
  • I started taking a weekly Zumba class with a friend - 60 minutes of pure "me time" and joy!
  • I still LOVE my job...which feels so great.
  • I need to work on the following: blogposts {lots of vacay photos and recipes to share}, staying hydrated, maintaining my workout regimine at the gym and maintaining Miss L's baby book. 
  • Happy thoughts about relocating somewhere warm...crossing my fingers for anywhere but here {Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful here (6 months of the year) and the Cities have a lot going for them...but we agree this is not where we wish to live the rest of our lives.}
As Miss L would say: "Night, Night!"