Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Surprise Birthday Trip!!

I need to share our incredible trip before I forget anything.

A turns 40 at the end of the month.  I asked him months ago how he wanted to celebrate his big birthday.  We could have a party, go on a trip, anything, but we definitely needed to celebrate such an important milestone.  A really liked the idea of going on a trip – especially to somewhere warm seeing as February in Chicago is typically cold and snowy.  A is really easy going (unlike myself) so we somehow decided that I would plan a surprise trip.  Let’s face it, I would have planned the trip regardless if it was a surprise so the surprise element was a fun twist.

I worked with a travel agent, which is definitely the way to go in my opinion.  I knew I wanted to head to one of the Caribbean islands and after much research on my own and input from the travel agent, decided on Turks and Caicos.  A literally had no idea where we were headed until we arrived at the airport at 3:30am.  Admittedly, it was a tad anticlimactic as A found out when the American Airlines desk agent asked what our final destination was, but it was fun nonetheless.  Even A’s colleagues were trying to guess where we were headed (and they were all wrong!).

The morning we left, it was snowing steadily in Chicago.  We had a connecting flight in Miami and realized that the next two AA flights from Chicago to Miami were cancelled.  Thanking our lucky stars we were able to flight out – we were very, very fortunate.  We were delayed about 45 minutes and as soon as we got off the plane in Miami, our next flight was boarding.

We arrived in Providenciales around 1:30pm.  It was such a weird feeling to leave 20 degrees and snow, fly 5 hours, and land where it was 80 degrees and sunny (but we weren’t complaining!!).  We soon arrived at our amazing resort, quickly changed clothes, and grabbed lunch.  We were starving!  We’d planned on grabbing breakfast in Miami, but there just wasn’t any time.  I ordered fish tacos and I should mention that I never ever order fish in the Midwest. If you asked, I’d tell you I don’t like fish.  But I change my tune when near an ocean.  And these were so good!  In fact, all the food we had was amazing!!

Unbeknownst to me at the time, our travel agent had called ahead and secured an incredible room (see, find yourself a travel agent!).  We were on the top floor of the resort (Penthouse) and had a view of the ocean.  A platter of fresh fruit was waiting.  It was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed at.

We went out to dinner that night and sat outside under the stars.  I had butternut squash ravioli (so good!!) while A had coconut chicken.  We were beyond exhausted by the end of dinner.

Friday, we booked a tour and traveled by ferry (the fastest ferry ever!) to North Caicos.  Only 1700 people live on the island, most of whom are descendants of slaves who once worked at the plantations on the island.  We visited a sink hole, a plantation, a stunning beach, and then stopped for lunch.  A and I both had snapper and it was possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten (fish again!).  I should also mention that our tour guide was fantastic and actually lives on North Caicos.

 After lunch, our tour guide took us to Middle Caicos.  There are no residents, only a couple resorts and restaurants.  You basically feel like you’re on a deserted island.  It was such an amazing experience.  We first visited an above ground cave.  Apparently, it’s 4 miles deep and I can’t imagine you’d be allowed to go in something like this in the US.  The walk was treacherous, there were bats, but it was so darn cool.

After the cave, we headed to Mudjin Harbour.  A and I walked up a cliff and then down a narrow stairway to a deserted beach.  This was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  The photos don’t even do it justice.

Once we arrived back on Providenciales, we headed to dinner.  I had lasagna and A had mushroom ravioli (I think).  This was my least favorite dinner, but our dessert was delicious.

Saturday and Sunday were spent on the beach.  Our resort brought out fruit on a platter and all the bottled water we could ask for.  Even our lunches were delivered to our cabana.  We walked along the beach and swam in the ocean any time we were hot.  I think it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever been. 😊 

 Our Saturday and Sunday dinners were both fantastic (and our favorite restaurants of the ones we tried)– beef tenderloin, mahi, steak.  One restaurant even had a menu that lit up when you opened it and live music!

This vacation was MAGICAL.  We had an unbelievable time and I’m so thankful A and I could experience it together.  Also incredibly thankful for our parents for taking such good care of our boys!

A couple more things to note:  You drive on the left side of the road!  I didn’t realize this and considered renting a car.  So glad we didn’t because that would’ve taken some getting used to. 
EVERYTHING is expensive.  I knew this before I booked the trip, but EVERYTHING was pricey. 
Each dinner we had was outdoors amongst the trees and the stars.  I think many of the restaurants are outdoors and I couldn’t get enough. 
Everyone asked if our resort was all inclusive and I think they were surprised I didn’t book one.  I did NOT want to be at an all inclusive hotel.  I wanted to get out and try new foods and different restaurants.  Also, A and I are not big drinkers so I don’t think we would’ve gotten our money’s worth.
I’ve never taken a relaxing vacation.  Typically A and I try to squeeze everything in when we travel.  We want to do as much as possible and see everything because we may not have the chance to return.  This was SO different.  I’ve never been so relaxed in my entire life and this was so so good for my soul.  I think we need more relaxing vacations in our future! 😉

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Trikafta Update

Hello, hello!  I need to write a post on our vacation (quite possibly the most amazing vacation I've ever been on!!).  But that will have to wait until I have more time.

For now, a quick Trikafta update will have to suffice.  I (think) I mentioned previously that we were a bit concerned about the effects of Trikafta on A's liver (actually, it was probably just myself who was concerned, but anyway...).  A's liver enzymes were slightly elevated and had been for a year or so.  He had the necessary blood work done before starting the drug and has had two appointments with a hepatologist since then.  Good news!  A's liver enzyme levels actually decreased since starting Trikafta.  A has no scarring and the test results were "reassuring".  He has mild fat levels that the doctor was not concerned about.  Such a relief and we're so thankful for this drug!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Weekend Recap

We celebrated S’s 5th birthday on Saturday!  I was a bit worried because he came down with a cold on Monday.  He never seemed too miserable, but he did have a nasty cough.  Luckily, by Saturday he was feeling much better.  I think he really enjoyed his party.  I worked with a local baker and she was able to make this amazing car wash cake!  I loved celebrating this sweet boy and I can't believe he's 5!!

A and I leave for a little vacation on Thursday morning.  He turns 40 at the end of the month so we decided to celebrate his big birthday in a big way.  I planned a surprise trip!  He has no idea where we’re headed.  I’m a little nervous – I don’t like being away from the boys.  But I’m also excited.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Weekend Recap

We had quite a busy weekend…

Saturday.  Gymnastics class number 2.  Once again A and I were laughing hysterically.  The boys are really enjoying the class and it’s great to have a place where jumping, rolling, swinging, etc. are encouraged.  It’s also great that the boys are not doing these activities in my house… ahem.  From there, we grabbed lunch, ran lots of errands, and the boys got haircuts while I got a pedicure.

I’ll have to miss the next gymnastics class and I’m pretty sad about it.

Sunday.  Church, Starbucks, and then we went for a long family walk.  I heard some statistic that we’d only had like 2 sunny days in all of January.  It was so so good to see sunshine and have milder weather.  We all really needed fresh air.  Once we got home, I spent lots of time cleaning with bleach because all these viruses going around (flu, corona) are making me paranoid.  After that, my mom came over to watch some of the Superbowl and have snacks with us.  I know it’s been quite the controversy, but I loved the halftime show.  Those ladies were amazing!!

Annnd of course, S now has a cold.  Ugh.  I’m taking vitamins, washing my hands 83,050 times a day, and praying A and I don’t get it.  S’s birthday is tomorrow, his party is on Saturday, and A and I head out of town next week.  Stay away, germs!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Weekend Recap

Saturday.  The boys started a gymnastics class.  A and I thought they needed an activity to do seeing as we’ll likely have cold snowy weather for at least another 2 months.  We gave the boys a choice of tennis, swimming, or gymnastics.  Both wanted to try gymnastics.  And oh my gosh, was it funny to watch.  I think A and I were the only parents laughing hysterically.  S is just a funny kid.  His somersaults (front rolls?), or flips as he calls them, looked more like rolling down a hill versus an actual somersault.  He emerged from class a sweaty mess asking when he could do it again.  I love that he’s willing to try most things.  W seemed to enjoy it too.  This feels like the first “real” class the boys have taken.  We could see the older kids practicing several impressive flips, turns, etc. and view all the state and national qualifier plaques on the walls.  I’m assuming the boys won’t reach competitive levels, but who knows.

From there, we grabbed lunch and then headed home.

Sunday.  Church, breakfast, and Open House at W’s school.  We had fun visiting W’s classroom and S’s future kindergarten classroom.  I loved seeing all the projects the children have worked on.  The students in W’s class were focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. and each one had to come up with an idea for improving their community.  Naturally, W chose recycling. 😊  So cute.  We also visited the book fair.  I love W’s librarian – she always makes sure to set aside cat books for W.  I love that she’s taken the time to get to know my boy and remembers that he love cats.  My philosophy has always been to purchase most books the boys have requested (within reason).  Books are given for birthdays and holidays.  I’m definitely a believer in the benefits of reading.  I think we did go a bit overboard at the book fair, but the boys are really enjoying the books they chose.

Also worth mentioning, I started a graduate class.  I don’t think I previously discussed it, but I was accepted into grad school.  I decided to pursue this after my company announced that they were providing tuition assistance.  Earning my MS has always been a goal of mine and it seemed like it was now or never.  At this point, I’m setting my expectations low.  I’d love to complete my Master’s degree, BUT I’m going to wait and see how this first class goes.  I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself.  If I’m being honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed.  I was really excited at first, but now the reality of being a full time working professional, involved mom, board member, STEM mentor, and student is weighing on me.  My plate is really, really full.  Eek.

And one more thing.  One of the kids in S's preschool class broke his arm.  S came home and told me Rafael had a casserole on his arm.  LOL!  Cast, casserole... same thing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Weekend Recap

We had the laziest weekend and it was amazing. 😊

Friday afternoon, it started snowing right around 4pm.  As a result, it took me an hour to get home from work.  Ugh.  We ordered Chinese food and after the boys went to bed, A and I caught up on crossword puzzles and Jeopardy.  We are very exciting, obviously.

Saturday.  The boys woke up some time in the 7am hour, which is actually really good for them.  BUT!!!  They got themselves up and went downstairs to play.  I overheard W getting juice for S.  They played really well together and I dozed on and off in bed until 9am!!!  This has never happened before.  I don’t think I’ve stayed in bed until 9am since before the boys were born (unless I was sick?).  A headed out to pick up coffee and juice while I slowly put on some makeup and attempted to put my hair up.  We had plans to go to Target since W was supposed to attend a classmate’s birthday party on Sunday.  However, I received a message that the party was cancelled because his classmate was sick.  This meant that none of us even got dressed.  We stayed in our pajamas all day and played games (Uno, Dos, Sorry!), watched too much tv, and read books.  After a busy week, this was really needed.

Sunday.  Our usual morning routine.  I promise we try to be good at church, but I guess we were all well rested and giggly on Sunday.  I was wearing a black and white striped sweater and at one point, W looked over and said, “Well, helloooo mommy zebra!”, which I found hysterical.  Our church acquired a new painting – it’s a GIANT portrait of Jesus and mounted right next to the pew we sit in every week.  I’m pretty sure this was done on purpose to remind us to be on our best behavior.  A looked at it and commented that it looked like it should be titled “Disappointed in His Pizza Jesus”.  Upon hearing this, W burst out laughing, which made A and I laugh.  SO extra penance is in order for us.   I hope Jesus has a sense of humor. :\

That afternoon, we headed out to meet one of my college friends for lunch.  It was so great to catch up with her.  I can’t remember what the remainder of the afternoon entailed, but I’m sure more games and tv shows were involved.

Monday.  Another low key day.  We went out for lunch and ran a couple errands.  I made lemon chicken and penne per W’s request.  Any time this boy requests something other than pizza or chicken strips is worth celebrating!

One other thing I want to mention.  W has always been shy in public.  He talks nonstop at home, but is really, really quiet at school.  In fact, the only somewhat negative thing his teacher noted in his first report card was that W didn’t often raise his hand to participate in class and he seemed reluctant to ask for help.  Neither of which was concerning to me because I really think the participation will increase as he becomes more and more comfortable.  I am the exact same way.  But I digress.  Last week, A and I received a message from W’s teacher.  She told us that W had volunteered to do a reading at the K-2 school mass on Tuesday (today).  I was a bit shocked.  My sweet boy who doesn’t always speak up in class was volunteering to speak in front of six classes of students?!?  He practiced his lines all weekend and delivered them today.  A sent me a video and he completely nailed it.  I’m so incredibly proud of him!!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Weekly Update

I’m just realizing that I never did a weekend recap and it’s Friday.  Honestly, it was a very mellow weekend and that made it great.  Saturday was snowy.  A offered to get us coffee and juice (he’s the best!) and we spent the remainder of the day indoors.  The boys made a Lego city that took over the entire dining room table and we worked on a 500 piece puzzle.  Sunday, S requested that we go out for breakfast after church so we did just that.  I ended up meeting with the preschool Executive Board (it sounds fancy, but it’s not) to discuss tuition rates while the boys went grocery shopping.  And that was our weekend.

This week has been crazy.   I had a preschool board meeting on Wednesday night, which meant I didn’t arrive home until 10pm.  And then this happened yesterday:

I arrived home from work to a frantic A and S.  S is in tears.  A is near tears.  They quickly explain that they were playing hide and seek, but W cannot be found.  Hmm... ok.  So we’re all yelling, “W, come out, the game’s over!! W, you’re scaring us!! W, are you ok?! W, we’re worried, you need to come out!! W, we’re going to call the police for help!! W!!!!!!”  Many variations of the same worried, panicked pleas for W.  At this point, I’m scared out of my mind.  We’re all thinking the worst... W is injured, he can’t breathe, he was taken.  A is running around outside, I’m looking under/behind everything, we’re checking the sump pump sewer area, looking in containers in the crawl space, S is calling for his brother.  It’s complete and utter chaos.  We’re about 2 seconds away from calling 911, when W emerges from behind a chair (that NO ONE thought he could fit behind), angry that no one found him.  NO MORE HIDE AND SEEK IN OUR HOUSE.

Happy Friday.