Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Instead of dealing with the wreck that is my house during naptime I am reminiscing about Mexico. Seriously, every room is a mess. I haven't unpacked a single suitcase. Laundry is piled high. The table top is barely visible. The kids have pulled out almost every new toy they received for Christmas. Joe went grocery shopping yesterday, but I am yet to put most of the groceries away. And the icing on the cake is the large puddle of water I discovered under the kitchen sink! Who knows how long that has been there?!? My guess...a while as evidenced by a moldy box. The reasonable thing to do would be deal with it all. But that sounds boring. And tedious. And well just not like anything I want to do today! So instead I am sharing the pictures from our most wonderful week ever...

Joe's parents very generously took us (along with his siblings) to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico to an all-inclusive resort. Seriously, it was like a dream come true! The last time we went on a week long KID-FREE vacation was nearly SEVEN years ago...also to Mexico with Joe's family. On that trip I was 6 months pregnant with Isaiah. It was somewhat of a miracle that this trip worked for us. The dates happened to be during Joe's winter break. My mom was able to watch our children. And I am neither pregnant nor nursing (which has been very rare over the last 7 years)!

My fabulous in-laws!

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before Mexico happened we had to get all packed up (for Mexico & Christmas...including gifts) and drive 400+ miles to my parents house WITH a puking Hannah. Not to mention Joe had to take his SHELF exam for his EM rotation before we could hit the road. It was just a tad stressful and crazy and complicated. We had very little wiggle room. Joe finished his exam at noon on Friday and we had to be at the airport the next morning by 4 am....two states away! Thankfully the weather (and the children!) cooperated and we made it! With our sanity mostly intact. This trip couldn't have come at a better time. As Joe put it "the wheels came off" for our family just days before we left. I needed the break from the kids. Joe needed a break from school (and stress).  And most importantly the kids needed a break from me.

my sad sick traveling baby:(
All that being said, I wasn't prepared for the anxiety that hit me as we actually left the children (sound asleep) at Grandma's house. My heart was pounding and I was on the verge of tears as I realized I was LEAVING THE COUNTRY without my babies! We only had a few hours to sleep that night (midnight - 3 am) and as exhausted as I was from the all the prep and travel, I could NOT sleep. All the "what ifs" and worst case scenarios were whirring through my head...none of which happened!
A little comparison. Same day. 12 hours apart.
Minnesota temperature -8. Mexico temperature 84.
The first three hours of our vacation - as in the first three hours we spent at the resort - were the loooongest three hours of my life. In a good way. In the best way possible actually. They were three solid, completely uninterrupted hours. I had nowhere to be. No one demanding something of me. And nothing to do. It was perfect. I put on my bikini, grabbed a good book and plopped myself down on a lounge chair on the beach and RELAXED! I even dozed off for a bit. Oh and I had a fountain Pepsi. Pure bliss. Don't worry I didn't burn. I wore SPF 50 all week. My goal was to get rid of my bags under my eyes NOT get a fabulous tan.

I am the apple of his eye. Look closely...I am there:)
 And the rest of the week went pretty much like that. No agenda. Get up. Eat. Relax in the sun. Play in the waves. Eat. Sleep. And repeat. One of the things that I really loved about this trip was the opportunity for Joe and I to be just that....Joe and Bear. NOT Daddy and Mommy. We were able to just be. And have fun. We played like a couple of kids. (We even went down the water slide in the kiddie pool!) We played in the waves. Boogie boarded and body surfed in the waves. We kayaked. And just plain had FUN. I managed to read two and half books! I haven't read a book in its entirety since before I had Hannah (16 months ago)! Joe played beach volleyball for a couple hours every day. And he squeezed in a little study time too. (Boards exam coming up this summer...) I had forgotten how fun and funny my husband can be.



Speaking of eating. I got really good at that on this trip. Probably too good. One day I ate 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner with dessert and then 1 extra dessert. I took full advantage of not having to cook!

Our vacation did have one scheduled event. A beach wedding! Joe's cousin got married Thursday afternoon. It was a beautiful, private event on the beach. Followed by a beachside dinner for our party of 15. Initially when I heard of the wedding (it wasn't part of the original vacation plans) I grumbled and complained...a tad. I didn't want to have to do something on vacation! I thought it would interrupt the fun. Also I didn't want to hang out with the bride and her bridesmaids all week...I assumed they would be fun and young and cute (they were!) and I would just look old and fuddy duddy in comparison (I wasn't!).  And as it turns out, the bride and her bridesmaids made me feel like a million bucks by exclaiming over how amazing I look and they couldn't believe that I am 30 and have three kids and look so good! Seriously they were the best confidence boost I have had in a loooong time. Thanks ladies:)

And a couple I took from the photographer's FB page...

I could go on and on, but I will try to show some self restraint. Suffice it to say it was an AMAZING trip. But by the end we both missed our kids terribly. The twice daily email updates just weren't enough. And yet once we arrived back to Minnesota we were shocked (and slightly overwhelmed) by the sheer volume and constant activity of our own kids. It would have been nice to ease back into the role of parents and family...but alas that did not happen. Instead we were thrown back full force just days before CHRISTMAS! More on that to come....
I want to go back...I want to be this person again...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hello Family Medicine.

Today is going to be a doozy. I just know it. It's back to reality for this family. And sometimes I just don't like facing reality. Especially when my reality is three tired, crabby kids in a house that looks like Christmas threw up inside it. (Totally our fault. We just dumped the entire contents of our mini van into the house without putting anything away upon our return!) And it's freeeeezing outside so there is NO chance of us getting out. AND Joe is back to school, which is family medicine for the next 6 weeks. So yeah, coupled with my complete lack of motivation to do anything productive...this could be interesting. 

Charlotte has already this morning managed to tear three pages out of her new book and text my cousin's husband an inappropriate message! 

Last night as I was tucking Isaiah into bed, we were discussing one of his friends. Isaiah thought it was pretty cool that this friend has two houses (because his parents are divorced) and therefore DOUBLE the toys! My attempt to explain the not-so-cool parts of having divorced parents failed miserably. I said divorce is sad because the friend doesn't get to spend time with his mom and dad together. To which Isaiah immediately replied, "Yeah, that's like our house too. You are here and dad is at the hospital. Right mom?!" Ummm. No. Well....kinda. 

Welcome back to reality indeed. I am going to miss my relaxed and carefree husband. I am going to miss our seemingly endless family time. I am going to miss having my co-pilot around. But we've got this thing. I think. Maybe. After I drink my soda and get out of my jammies. Which may or may not happen yet this morning. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

We are back!

Oh...you didn't notice we were gone?!

Well we were. Joe and I were in MEXICO for a week with his family while the kids were with my parents. 

It was HEAVENLY. So much peace and quiet. Rest and relaxation. Three meals a day I didn't have to prepare! I almost didn't know what to do with myself...

but I managed:)

As amazing as our week was we were both ready to come back to these three adorable faces...we missed them terribly!

More to come later. Lots more! Beware I took A LOT of pictures. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dear Santa,

Last year I was bound and determined to take my kids to see Santa Claus. I wanted them to experience the magic of meeting Santa, making their requests known and then on Christmas morning opening up exactly what they asked for! Yes, yes, yes I realize Christ's birth is the true meaning of Christmas. And we do celebrate that! That is our main emphasis. But I was thinking that it *might* be Isaiah's last Christmas truly believing in Santa. I loved the magic of Santa as a child - probably because we didn't have much growing up (in regards to material belongings) and it was the one time a year I got whatever I wished for...within reason of course:) And like my own childhood, it is a rare occurrence when my kids get exactly what they want, when they want it.

Add to this the fact that I had heard a rumor that THE BEST Santa Claus was at Bass Pro Shop. (Which is a solid 45 minutes away from our home.) But it is practically on our route to Minnesota (ie "home"). Ok. Really it a slight detour but in the general direction of our driving route home for Christmas. All this to say, I decided last year that it was a good idea to stop and see Santa at the beginning of our 8 hour drive "home"! What I didn't factor in to my plan was the 2 hour wait to see Santa! Add in a tired, nursing baby and the experience was slightly tortuous. When it was finally our turn the moment was pretty magical. Santa was patient and attentive as Isaiah introduced himself and asked for ONE thing.

Santa 2012
I thought the one gift request was sweet and very unselfish. UNTIL I went to buy that one gift. And much to my dismay EVERY toy store within a 50 mile radius of my parents' home was sold out of the Lego Ninjago Rattlecopter! And just like that I became the crazed mom bound and determined to get the right toy for my kid. My determination knew no limits. (Seriously, an old high school friend posted on FB that she was shopping at Mall of America and I texted her asking her for help despite the fact that we hadn't spoken in years.) I was that mom despite being completely perplexed that I had  become a stereotype without even realizing it!

Before I drag this on for-ev-er, we found the Lego set (without taking extreme measures). And Christmas morning was magical. End of the Christmas 2012 story.

Christmas morning!
Lo and behold, Isaiah still believes in Santa this year. It wasn't our last chance to have that magical experience after all! Jokes on me. But I wised up this year. We went and saw Santa on Monday afternoon. NOT Friday evening. And NOT in conjunction with a 8 hour road trip! And we went armed with a gift card to a local restaurant so that when we were all starving after our long wait there would be a quick and fun fix! BUT best of all there was NO wait. We just walked right up and chatted with Santa.


Ok. Ok. It wasn't quite that easy. First, Isaiah threw a fit in the van about not wanting to wear the sweater I picked out for him. (He put the sweater on). Then Charlotte, despite all her talk of being brave, cried big crocodile tears at the sight of Santa. (Bravery went by the wayside, daddy held her the entire time). Lastly, Hannah fell and hit her head as she was walking up to meet Santa. (She recovered quickly but then freaked out when I put her in his lap.) But it happened quickly and then we went out to eat. All in all a success!


Oh and most importantly, I came prepared. I had talked extensively with my kids about their requests for Santa ahead of time. I knew exactly what they were going to request! In fact their gifts "from Santa" were purchased and wrapped loooong before they ever sat on the jolly man's lap. Isaiah will be getting a rainbow loom kit. And Charlotte will be getting an Ariel dinner set - purchased on clearance at Target immediately after she saw it and "had to have it" and I strongly suggested she asked Santa for it;) Easy peasy*. Oh and Hannah, she will be getting a lump of coal. I am kidding. Well sort of. The girl doesn't talk so I guess I get to decide what she gets. Just might be that headband I bought on clearance last month. We shall see:)

*Since I believe in full disclosure. Let me explain that I thought it was going to be easy peasy.  And it was...kindof...with a little manipulation on my part:) Charlotte wasn't brave enough to sit on Santa's lap but she was brave enough to introduce herself and make her gift request known. And after all my prep work, what did she do?! She asks for a ninja riding a dragon! What?!? Um. Yea, wasn't expecting that one. But I was able to recover this little lapse by convincing her she needed to also write Santa a letter "in case he forgets". And what do you think was included on that list? An Ariel dinner set! Alls well that ends well. Lets just hope it ends well on Christmas morning when there is no dragon riding ninja to be found...