Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Second Grade: Katie's First Day

I really should rename my blog "Better Late Than Never" - it appears that is how I roll when posting these days!  But I definitely don't want to miss some of the fun things that have been going on - including Katie's first day of school (even though it was almost one month ago - oops!)...

She is loving second grade!  She actually had her first quiz today (they don't get letter grades until third grade, so I assume it is just to get ready for what is to come once she hits third grade) on oceans and continents!  She loves to read and is just doing great!  Her teacher is so nice - and I certainly appreciate that she does not require homework every single night.  She gets that the kids are learning and focused all day and sometimes you just don't have time for homework in the afternoons!  Katie reads every night (which she would do anyways) and we will be doing more with her math and such coming up soon, but I love that there isn't anything that has to be signed off on each night.

Here she is on the first day of school!  I had picked out a different dress, but of course that was not suitable.  So she picked this one out!  And she is all about the bows again.  I am not complaining :) I know that won't last forever! 
Sweet girl looking oh so grown up!
And with the sign!  Love this picture!
This is one she "styled" herself - what a goofball!
And this is spot on - happy and sassy.  That's my girl!
And one more before we went inside.  She was less than thrilled about pictures, but she knows the sooner she cooperates, the sooner it is over :)
As we headed inside, the boys wanted in on the picture action!  Love this picture - need to frame it!
As we were trying to get Ryan to be still and look and smile (a lot to ask for a 2 year old), he was peeking out from behind Katie.  Love that I caught a cute one!
And Katie asked if I would take her to school on the first day and walk her into her classroom.  I know she won't want me to do that for long, so we did it!  Brad couldn't go this year, so it was me and the boys walking her in!  Here she is before heading inside!
Jack was so excited to go into big school! 
We walked her to her room, and that was it! The first day was just a half day, and she rode the bus home.  Her first day of school got a thumbs up!  I hope it stays that way all year!
And just for fun, here's a comparison of Katie's first day of school each year.  Goodness gracious.  We obviously love our Matilda Jane and Sperry's combo - ha!  And Katie is just growing up way too quickly.
So proud of my girl!  I hope she has a great year of school this year!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jamaica, Mon: Celebrating Ten Years

I'm finally posting about our amazing trip to Jamaica.  We left on a Tuesday (less than a month ago! I'm pretty proud of posting within a month - ha!) and came back on Sunday.  What an absolutely fantastic time we had.  We did go to NYC for a long weekend when Jack was 6 months old, but this was the first time we left for a decent amount of time with no kids.  And can I just say...I'm already researching part-time, work from home gigs that are flexible and pay decently so I can help ensure we can do this every summer (or every year - I'm not picky about timing - ha!).

Our flight left SUPER EARLY on that Tuesday, so our alarm was set for 2:45 with a goal of leaving the house by 3:15.  And we left at that time on the dot!  We got there early because we didn't want to get stuck in a TSA line, but thankfully it was a breeze and we had time to spare!  Here we are after boarding!
Since we left so early, and we connected in Orlando, we got to Montego Bay around lunch time. Once we got through customs, we found the lounge for our resort.
Red Stripe on tap? Don't mind if I do.  I had never had Red Stripe before...I liked it!
We took the shuttle to our resort (we were offered a 15 minute plane ride and the landing strip was across the street from the resort, but no thank you very much.  Small planes and I don't go together very well...) and got to our room.  First thing we did was walk around and find some food!  We were starving!  Then we went back to the room and took naps - because we could! And since we were up super early.  Once we got up, we got ready and went to find some more food.  Since it was an all inclusive, we could eat whenever we wanted to!  We didn't go overboard TOO much, but it was certainly nice!  Actually, we went and got a drink and decided to eat at the restaurant just next to that particular bar.  They had quite the extensive drink list, but the first I tried was called Purple Rain.  Yum!
And here we were after dinner!  We walked around a little but to try to figure out where some things were and then watched some of the entertainment that night and ended the night at the Piano Bar (which became our evening ritual).  We learned some Jamaican dance moves and had a blast!
I didn't get a picture of our room before we made ourselves at home, but here it is the first morning we were there!  We were really only in the room to shower and get ready and to sleep - we stayed out and about all day and then in the evenings!
And the water was so smooth and gorgeous!  I needed a picture with the beautiful scenery as we were walking to breakfast.  You can imagine how thrilled Brad was to stop and take my picture.  At least I didn't ask him to be in it :)
And this was the watersport area - kayaks (so fun!), stand up paddle boards (even more fun!), hobycats, and other things!
After breakfast, we went up to the concierge area and scheduled the things we wanted to do!  Then we found a spot poolside.
I found another drink that was delicious -- Electric Lemonade.  It had vodka, sprite, and blue curacao in good!  Sunshine, poolside, and yumminess...yes please!
That afternoon we had a couple's massage in a treehouse on the beach!  It was great!  Then we went to get ready for dinner.  Here is the picture we got that evening!  After dinner, we saw that night's show and headed to the Piano Bar!  And by the way, I did have shorts on with that dress :)
Just look at this!  I was just blown away by the beauty every morning!  Walking to eat breakfast with this view could never get old!
The Thursday of the trip was our "Boat Day"!  That morning we went out on a glass bottom boat - it was neat to see all the coral and different fish in the water!  This is what the boat looked like...
And this was what we were looking through to see the ocean floor!
And we took a selfie!  It was a gorgeous morning to be out on the water.
Once we were back, we headed to find lunch (more food! ha!)...but first I had to get in this swing on the beach.  Aren't they cool?!  They were hanging from some palm trees and had great views of the ocean!
That afternoon, we headed out on a Catamaran Cruise around to the west side of the island.  We stopped by Rick's CafĂ© and saw some folks cliff diving (no thank you!) and then headed to a spot and could go swimming in the ocean and check out caves.  Well after about 10 minutes in the water, a storm came!  So we all scurried back onto the boat and all crammed under the cover.  After a few minutes, the storm passed and we all went back to the areas up front to sit.  And there was a rainbow!
Here we were on the catamaran cruise!
Here is the boat we went out on with the gorgeous sunset...the sunsets after a storm were the best!  And I may have to frame this picture :)
Then we headed to take showers and get ready! Ha! Here we were that night :)  Then the entertainment and then a dance party (like every night) in the piano bar!
The next day was great!  We actually played some beach volleyball and did stand up paddleboards!  Yay for exercise!  We didn't just lay there the whole time!  This may be my favorite picture of us from the trip.  We just look so relaxed and that beach and ocean behind us.  Ahhhh....serenity.
Brad was a good sport and we had pictures taken! Imagine!  Wanting pictures taken! :)  They had photographers snapping pictures by the watersport area and piano bar and volleyball and pool bar trivia and basically everywhere, but I wanted a couple of us in nice clothes too!  Here are a couple of the ones that they took
I'm not a fan of my arm in this one, but I like the sun and clouds behind us :)
After we got done with pictures, a couple asked me to take a picture of them, and then they took one of us with my camera.  Pretty cute!
And then I took this picture of the sunset. had rained, so there was a pretty sunset!
Another night, another dinner, evening show, and adventure in the piano bar.  That night, it was karaoke - but we just watched and sang along from our seat :)  Nobody needed to hear any of that!

Our final day.  So, so sad.  We had a great day, but in the back of our minds we knew we would be homeward bound the next day.  We kayaked, played volleyball, hung out poolside, played pool volleyball, did pool bar trivia, and then headed inside to get cleaned up!  Here I am -- not sure where Brad was then.  Likely avoiding being in a picture.
And this was before we headed out in the kayak!  It was hard work, but it was so pretty!  We went all the way out to a cave at the edge of the bay and then came back.
And I played in the first volleyball game, but then decided to just sit and relax - and I took a picture of Brad serving :)
That evening, we had a private, beachside dinner!  We had picked our food and had a personal server that served us at our own table.  It was so great!  This was the view...a table set just feet away from water lapping up on shore and surrounded by 4 tiki torches.
We got a picture together...another of my favorites!
After we finished, we headed to the entertainment and ended our final night in the piano bar.  They were playing some pretty awesome music and we kept saying, "After this song we will head back since we have to pack!"  Well, we ended up staying late and then headed back and quickly packed our stuff and went to bed since we had to set an alarm and be up and ready by 7am the following morning!  After getting up and ready and final touches on our luggage, we went to have some breakfast.  I tried coconut water (that is what it is called, right?) and was not impressed.  I did enjoy my standard breakfast of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon (was so good!), and French toast with banana syrup!  So good.  Oh, and Jamaican coffee.
Then we waited on our ride to the airport.  Our buddy we made came to see us off!  Well, he didn't come just for that, but he made sure to say bye to us as he was arriving to work!  Deen was great!  He was one of the entertainment crew and we hung out with him some!  We played volleyball with him (when he was at work) and he went stand up paddleboarding with us (for his first time)!  He had some good stories and was full of information about the resort...pretty cool!
Then we were headed home!  Disappointed to be leaving Jamaica, but excited to see our crazy crew!
And this was our welcoming committee!  They had a blast and I don't think they asked for us once!  We are so thankful for family that stayed with them and made sure they had fun and survived without us!  I know it was good for us to get away, and I have to think it was good for the kids to have time with grandparents and enjoy time with other people!
Couples Negril was absolutely fantastic.  It was the perfect combination of relaxation and activity.  There were plenty of things to do if you wanted to...or you could just float around in the pool or ocean!  We had fun with the volleyball and trivia and watersports for sure!  When Brad and I were talking about our trip and if we would do anything differently next time, we both agreed that we would stay a full week :) There were a couple of excursions we may be interested in doing, and it was just a perfect trip...we could have used another day or two of our "normal schedule"...wake up, get bathing suits on, eat breakfast, lounge by the pool, beach volleyball at 11, lunch, lounge/poolside bar, pool volleyball at 2, swim up bar trivia at 3, beach volleyball at 4, shower, dinner, entertainment, piano bar.  Not too shabby. :)  We had a great time just the two of us, but it would also be a fun trip to go on with some friends too!  A childfree, all-inclusive resort was definitely the way to go!  Until next time, Couples Negril.  Hopefully we will see you again soon!