Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 Survey

It's the penultimate day of December and I'm sharing my annual "survey" that I like to fill out each year!  

1) What did you do in 2022 that you’ve never done before? We went on our first kid-free vacation since having children almost 5 years ago! And it was amazing!!

2) Did anyone close to you give birth? A friend I met through run club had a baby boy in September. I met him in November when I brought her lunch! 

3) Did anyone close to you die? Not close to me, but 2 of my friends lost a parent this year. Sadly, I have reached the stage of life where it seems like this is going to continue to happen. I hate it. 

4) What places did you visit? 

- We went to Tucson in February to visit my sister/celebrate my niece's 1st birthday and we went to Mexico in December! And we made several trips up to my parents lake place. 

- For work travel, I went to Kentucky, Washington DC, Charlotte, New York, and I was in Chicago twice. My work travel has really amped up! 

5) What would you like to have in 2023 that you didn’t have in 2022? I would like to go on a girls trip! Ideally, I would like to meet up with the my best friend (who I met through blogging!) that I used to do running trips with before we all had kids, except I think I'd rather we meet up to go hiking than run a race.

6) What dates from 2022 will be etched in your memory forever? Nothing in particular will be etched in my memory from 2022. It was a good, normalish year after 2 weird pandemic years, but it is all kind of indistinct in a way since parenting young children is a little bit like Ground Hog's Day.

7) What was your biggest achievement this year? 

- I was promoted at work in March. 

- I ran a really strong 10k race in October! 

- I am also proud of the presentation I gave at a conference in July - which I was asked to present at with about a week's notice. I'm guessing another presenter cancelled due to covid? Typically you have months of notice when you present! Nonetheless, I worked my butt off to prepare for it and got really great feedback. 

8) What was your biggest failure? I don't like the word failure. So instead I'll say my biggest area of opportunity is figuring out how to fit exercise in better now that I'm back in the office 3 days/week. It's been really challenging and I'm disappointed by the number of workouts I've done. But I also recognize that I have a lot going on and might be expecting too much of myself. 

9) Did you suffer from illness or injury? Nothing serious, but I had covid in May and many, many viruses in the fall. I had surgery in December to remove polyps which were all benign!  

My RA was pretty well-managed - until December when I had a horrible flare that would not go away. I finally got a steroid injection yesterday, though. My doctor was surprised how bad the flare was despite taking a high dose of prednisone for weeks. My labs showed a high level of inflammation in my body. So I have to change my drug regimen and go back on a stronger drug (methotrexate) so I don’t have to deal with these painful flares. It’s frustrating since I am already on several meds but hopefully we can drop some of the other meds in 2023 when things are under better control. 

10) What was the best thing you bought? 

- For me, a new coffee bean grinder after the one we got for our wedding died on me! I had to wrack my brain to think of a great purchase. We don't buy much "fun" stuff!

- for the kids, the Nugget has been a great purchase. They have played with it a ton and love making different formations. They race cars up and down it, do summersaults, and log rolls. Paul loved building ‘mountains’ and then jumping off. 

11) Where did most of your money go? Daycare - but they earn every single penny! This category will start to go down next year when Paul starts kindergarten! We'll still need to use before/after care but it will be much cheaper than daycare.

12) What did you get really, really excited about? My Mexico vacation with Phil, although I didn't get excited until the day we left because I was sure something would prevent us from going, like getting covid or the kids or my parents getting sick.

13) What authors did you discover in 2022? Catherine Newman (We All Want Impossible Things and Catastrophic Happiness), Catherine Ryan Howard (The Nothing Man), Bonnie Garmus (Lessons in Chemistry), and Sabaa Tahir (All My Rage) are authors that stand out!

14) What do you wish you had done more of? Running/strength training. But see question 8. 

15) What do you wish you had done less of? Worrying. And going to doctor appointments. 

16) How did your spend Christmas? We spent Christmas Eve with Phil's extended family. Christmas Day was our little family of 4.

17) What was your favorite TV program? Ted Lasso, hands down. That show is such a joy to watch. 

18) What did you want and get? For my kids to get vaccinated from covid.

19) What did you want and not get? My answer is the same as last year! We are still trying to buy a Rav-4 Prime (plug-in electic hybrid) as having 4 wheel drive would be so nice in the winter months. But supply is still so low. Hopefully by next fall we will be able to buy one! We are on waiting lists at many dealerships!

20) What was your favorite film of 2022? Ha. A favorite film. I don't know that we watched a single movie in 2022! Instead we prefer to watch tv shows, but rarely watch an entire episode because I go up to bed at 8:30. 

21) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 41 on a Sunday in February. I got some delicious treats from a GF bakery, Phil made a Spanish Tortilla for lunch, and we went sledding with the boys in the afternoon. That night we got Indian take-out. It was low key but just how I wanted it.

22) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More sleep, although things have really improved the last 2-3 months!

23) Who kept you sane? Repeat answer from last year: Phil! He is the best partner I could ask for. He has a sense of humor, he keeps me from taking things too seriously, and reminds me to be easier on myself.

24) Who did you miss? My little sister. I wish we lived closer but hopefully we will some day. I saw her a handful of times, though, which was wonderful!  

25) Who was the best new person you met? 

- I made a connection with a co-worker I've known of for years but had never really gotten to know. She's been very helpful in raising my profile at work since she is very connected with our sales force.

- I also "met" a lot of new bloggers this year, like Elisabeth, Nicole, Life of a Doctor's Wife, Jenny, NGS, Coco, and Sarah. Most of the women I met when I started blogging have stopped writing, so I am thrilled to have met so many wonderful women this past year!

26) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022. I am continually being reminded how important it is to set boundaries. 

27) Show us one of your favorite photos from the year. 

I'm going to cheat and share 2! 

#1 - Look! Mom and dad are on vacation and Phil smiled for a selfie!!! 

#2 - This is my favorite picture from our family photos in September. 

Your turn! Pick a few or many to answer or fill this out on your blog!

Happy New Year, everyone! We'll be celebrating Christmas with my MIL now that she's feeling better. Here's a fresh start in 2023!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Best Books of 2022!

2022 was a stellar year of reading for me. As as type this post, I've read 112 books! Every year, I parse through the books I've read to come up with my "best of" list. Some years, it's easy. This year it was hard because I read so many wonderful books! I think my reading has been boosted by new recommendation sources. Some book recommendations have come from Nicole (Hi, Nicole!) and other bloggers like The Gilmore Guide to Books and Novel Visits. But I also get a ton of recommendations from my favorite book-related podcasts which are Sarah's Bookshelves Live (who introduced me to the 2 book bloggers above!), Currently Reading and From the Front Porch. I also belong to the Patreon community of those 3 podcasts and find the $5-7 I pay each month well worth it! 

I targeted selecting 12 favorite reads - but ultimately landed at 13 as I couldn't cull this list any further! 

Top book of 2022

Hands down, "Lessons in Chemistry" was my all-time favorite book of the year. I've recommended it widely because it's the kind of book that surely will appeal to nearly everyone. So far, everyone I know who read this book also enjoyed it. It's about a woman working in a male-dominated environment in the 1960s. She is treated abhorrently. But she persists. Trigger warnings do abound, though. Don't let the cheeky cover trick you into thinking this is "light" fiction. It has a light, humorous tone but the author is delving into HARD topics. But what I really love is that this is the debut novel of a woman in her 60s! Isn't that phenomenal? It's been picked up by Apple and will be turned into a tv show which I plan to check out. 

In no particular order, here are the other 12 best reads of 2022! 

1. All That's Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien. I tore through this book during our Mexico vacation. A murder of an 18yo man has happened in the Vietnamese immigrant community in Sydney in the 1990s. But no one is talking. The older daughter who is a journalist comes home and takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to her brother. This is definitely a heavier read but was incredibly well-done. 

2. Kaleidoscope by Cecily Wong is a book about grief. It's about a rags-to-riches half-Chinese family that builds a fashion empire in NYC. They appear to live a charmed life until one of their daughters tragically dies. The other daughter is left to sort through the pieces and discover family truths. 

3. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin. Guess what, this book is about death/mortality, too! I guess that is a heavy theme in my reading this year. Lenni and Margot are an unlikely pair. Margot is 83, Lenni is 17. But they both reside on the terminal ward of a hospital. This novel is about the relationship between these 2 women. It is sad but beautiful. 

4. Notes On Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach pairs well with Kaleidoscope because the topics are so similar - a sister is dealing with the aftermath of her sister's death. It's told in second person narrative - the narrator is speaking to her sister before, during and after her untimely death. 

5. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I am a huge TJR fan. I do not know how she cranks out these books on an annual basis. I know one person that did not like this (Hi NGS!) but I found it unputdownable! It's about a tennis player that comes out of retirement to defend her grand slam record. The protagonist is incredibly unlikeable which is usually a kiss of death for a book for me, but I still loved this so much. 

6. Book Lovers by Emily Henry. This is my favorite of the 3 romances Henry has written. I loved the snappy dialogue which was reminiscent of Gilmore Girls. What I liked best is that the conflict in this novel did not stress me out and was believable. Even though romances always have happily ever after endings, the conflict sometimes really stresses me out! Can you tell I am conflict avoidant? 

7. Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger is a memoir about the author's time in prison after drug charges. She was an elite pairs skater that falls from grace and makes some horrible decisions in college. It was an interesting inside look at life inside a prison, especially for a female. 

8. Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott was such an endearing and relatable collection of essays from a woman who, like me, struggles with anxiety. I would hand this book to any booklover who is preparing to send a child out into the world/to college because it talks about how to let go of those you love. In Philpott's case, the letting go process is complicated by the fact that her son has a neurological disorder. 

9. How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith. We read this for book club and everyone loved it. In this book, Smith travels to various landmarks and monuments such as Monticello, Whitney Plantation, Angola Prison and a Confederate Cemetery. He looks at the roots of slavery, the impact it's had on our nation, and the extent of the truth these monuments provide. Smith is a poet so the writing in this book is particularly beautiful. 

10. Fight Night by Miriam Toews was an unexpected hit for me. It's narrated by 9yo Swiv. Swiv lives with her mom and her elderly, frail grandmother. She gets into trouble at school and ends up being homeschooled by her grandmother. Swiv is so feisty and delightful, and her grandmother is equally likeable. 

11. Love and Saffron by Kim Fay is a slim epistolary novel of just 208 pages. It follows the lives of 2 women who become pen pals in the 1960s. But their relationship becomes so much more as the book unfolds. It is such a beautiful and heart-warming novel. I didn't want it to end!

12. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka is a heavy, difficult read but worth checking out. It's about Ansel - he's a serial killer on death row and is 12 hours away from his execution. As the hours tick by, his story is told by 3 women impacted by his life: his mother, his wife's sister, and a homicide detective. Americans are kind of obsessed and intrigued with serial killers; this story hands the narrative to those impacted by the terrible actions of a terrible man.

What were some of your best reads of 2022? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Christmas 2022

We had a really nice Christmas with our little family. It was a bitterly, dangerously cold holiday weekend with windchills in the -30s. So we were cooped up for the weekend. We were all very happy to have somewhere to go on Christmas Eve! Paul and I went to mass at 4pm and Phil stayed back with Will - he’s so hard to contain that I knew we’d get more out of mass if he stayed back with daddy! After mass, we picked up daddy and Will and headed to Phil’s cousins for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. My MIL was supposed to come to our house on Saturday and spend the weekend with us but she had a bad cold and wasn’t feeling well enough to be out and about. :( Terrible timing to feel awful! 

We go to this gathering every year and have the best time! Phil’s mom is a widow with no living siblings so we are all she has - hence the reason we stay home at Christmas. But the children of Phil’s uncle (who also has passed - all of Phil's dad’s siblings have passed away sadly) always include us in their Christmas Eve celebration. Phil is quite a bit younger than his cousins - all the cousin’s kids are in college or older!! So our young kids are quite a novelty and get a TON of attention as a result - and lots of presents, too. I love the way this party is set up - the hosts have a bunch of snacky things and food in crockpots so people can just graze. And then they have a huge cookie decorating area, which we didn’t partake in this year since we were keeping an eye on the boys. We stayed until 8:15 which is pretty late for Will, but all the toys and attention kept them from getting tired!

The couple that hosts are going to be epic grandparents when their kids hit that stage of life. They are so completely obsessed with our kids. And we have an extra special bond with them as they are Will's Godparents. 

Will was up around 6:15 on Christmas Day and Paul slept until 6:45! Not bad all in all. The boys enjoyed donuts for breakfast. 

Then it was time to dig into their Santa presents. 

The Lego set was Paul’s favorite gift! 

That was the extent of presents since they got their nugget play couch from us in early December. Usually they would have 10+ gifts from my MIL to open. I was a little worried the gifts might seem sparse to Paul but he was thrilled! Lesson learned - kids, at least at this age, don’t have high expectations to meet. 
Putting one of the lego sets together later that day. I am loving the lego stage!!!

Phil made his signature dish for lunch - Spanish Tortilla which is a dish he ate a lot of when studying abroad in Spain. We had our big meal at dinner time - ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and asparagus (And yes, that means we have ham and potatoes for both meals!). The boys would only eat the ham, go figure. 

But us adults enjoyed a delicious meal. Few things make me feel more like an adult than making gravy! Ha! And yes, I enjoyed a generous amount of gravy since we only eat it a couple of times a year! 

We had the 26th off so had one more day at home together. My MIL was feeling better so Phil and Paul went out to see her and I stayed home with Will. The highlight of the day was taking him to Target. We walked down every aisle of the toy department and he had so much fun making dinosaur noises and pointing out trucks and balls and such!

Today Phil and I are both back in the office and the kids are back in daycare. We had a wonderful family weekend but I was admittedly very happy to return to a quiet workplace today! 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Happy Holidays!

And in the blink of an eye, Christmas is upon us. Yesterday was the boys' last day of school. They are off through 12/26. Phil and I work today and tomorrow, although tomorrow is an early market close. So we will take turns managing the chaos around our house!

Here is the holiday card we sent out - ignore the dashes around the text on the right. This was a draft I sent to Phil! 

We had pictures taken in late September. My cousin's wife took them after work on a beautiful fall day. But can I just say the pictures do not at all reflect the sh*t show experience of taking pictures with young children? We were not holly, jolly, merry, nor bright, despite what you see in these pictures!

Last year, we took them early in the day on a Saturday morning and froze so I thought surely this year would be better. Nope, it was worse! We went to the area by the creek that is a block north of our house. Will almost fell in the creek twice. And then face-planted a few times. Even though we had a record drought, the boys managed to find mud and got that mud all over Phil's shirt. Will didn't want to be held and didn't want to stand still for photos. 

I don't know how my cousin's wife got as many great photos as she did. She's a miracle worker. 

After we had pictures taken last fall, Phil told me he would never look at people's holiday cards the same ever again because they do not show the misery that is often behind these beautiful family photos - or how much work it is to get 4 people looking presentable and photo-ready. 

And yet, we still get pictures taken each year, much to Phil's chagrin. He would love to do away with this tradition but if we don't get family pictures, I am honestly not in any photos with my kids. I am the one capturing the candid photos or asking people to pose for a picture. Yes, I could ask Phil to take more photos but it is just not in his nature to do so. So I put my foot down and make us get professional photos every year.

I could have drank an entire bottle of wine after these photos and still been on edge! But - the photos are gorgeous snapshots of a fleeting stage of life. They are worth every penny we spend on them. 

So whether your weekend includes a Christmas celebration or not, maybe your weekend be truly holly, jolly, merry and bright! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Post-Op Follow-up

Just popping in to say that surgery went totally fine yesterday! It was probably the easiest surgery I've had of the 8 I've had. Yes - 8 surgeries! Nuts, huh? I've had my wisdom teeth removed, tonsil/adnoids removed, sinus surgery, hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, 2 c-sections, and a d&c when I had my miscarriage in 2019. This is the 4th surgery with my OB so Phil joked that we must be due for a free surgery soon. But hopefully this is the last of my surgeries? Time will tell. 

I felt tired/foggy afterwards and had minor cramping but was pretty much fine otherwise. My OB talked to Phil after the surgery and it sounds like I didn't actually have polyps - they were something else that present like polyps that are even less concerning. I'll see my OB in 2 weeks so will get a chance to ask more about what was found. The biopsy of the tissue will be back in a week but even when she thought they were polyps she wasn't worried they would find anything. 

I also had one of the best IV insertion experiences ever! I've had a lot of IVs between all these surgeries and other hospital admissions. There have been times that it takes 3 attempts to place the IV, especially when I have fasted before a surgery. I told the nurse to not even try to put it on the top of my hand by my knuckles because it's rarely successful so she used the big veins by my elbow where blood is typically drawn and it went in so easily. I commented on how I have good veins and Phil said he'd never heard someone say they have good veins! I said he is lucky to not have blood drawn a ridiculous number of times in his life. Phlebotomists have commented on how great my veins are for blood draws - thank goodness I am an "easy stick" because I have to get routine blood work to monitor side effects of my RA drugs. 

Hopefully this is the last surgery for our family for a long, long time. The last 5 years have been kind of brutal between all the surgeries I've had and both boys getting tubes! As nice as they are, I'd like to not speak to an anesthesiologist again in my life if possible! But I recognize the chances of that are probably not great!

I am envious of what I call Phil's "medical privilege." The only doctor appointment he has, typically, is his annual physical. It's rare for him to take any medications. Meanwhile, I have so many different doctor appointments and a days of the week pillbox with am/pm slots since I have too many medications to keep track of. I meet my deductible in January because of my expensive RA injections and typically meet our out-of-pocket max by the fall. But at least one of us is very healthy. He got life insurance this past year but we didn't even consider getting life insurance for me because we knew the cost would be horrible with all my ailments! 

Are you medically "privileged" like my husband or do you have a hefty health history like me? I wish my medical history was shorter but I'm very grateful to have excellent access to incredible physicians!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Vacation Hot Takes

Send me some good vibes today - I have my uterine polyp removal surgery at 12:45. I'm honestly more worried about not dying from hunger than anything else since I can't eat for 8 hours before surgery. Ha! 

After yesterday's longer post, I'm back from a couple of "hot takes" from our vacation.

1. OMG, so many people have tattoos. I am certain guests without tattoos were a small minority at this resort. And it wasn't just small tattoos, I'm talking huge tattoos that cover significant portions of a person's body. I can say with complete certainty that Phil and I will never get tattoos. There isn't anything I feel strongly enough about that I want to permanently mark my body with it! I know I am very prudish about things like tattoos. I do see the beauty in tattoos and find the stories behind them interesting but would never ever ever get one!

2. Also people apparently still smoke! It is easy to forget that people smoke now that smoking is banned in most restaurants - at least in Minneapolis. Phil and I have never smoked nor do any of our friends. So you can start to think smoking is a thing of the past that no one does. But on this vacation we were reminded that people in fact do still smoke which I find to be such an awful habit. Yes, this is judgy of me but I am so very sensitive to cigarette smoke! I waitressed all through college and HATED working in the smoking section. But it's not like there was a barrier between the smoking and non-smoking sections so I was inevitably going to smell like smoke no matter what section I worked in. The restaurants at the resort were smoke-free so we mostly encountered cigarette smoke at the pool or at the beach. So it wasn't a big deal - but we are happy we don't encounter cigarette smoke very often back home!

3. A lot of people were vacationing with friends - it was an adults only resort so they either didn't have kids or they have someone watching their kids. I find it difficult to organize dinners with multiple couples so it is hard to imagine planning a group vacation. We did try this back in 2016 before we had kids and it did not work out. We love the idea of doing this but feel like the chances of it ever actually happening is pretty low. I think we could travel with one couple - but multiple couples? How!! But it did result in me designing a fantasy draft game of 'who would we travel with' if such a thing were possible! 

And those were some hot takes from our trip. A post doesn't feel complete without pictures so here are some of photos of the boys that we received while we were on our trip. 

Barely awake, snuggling with nana with an ever-present car in his hand.

Snuggling with my dad.
These are the absolute best jammies. Isn't he the cutest little elf?

He worked on lots of baking projects with my mom! He is the best helper in the kitchen!

The one day we facetimed with Paul, they had just finished decorating the gingerbread house I had purchased for them at Target. Paul started the conversation by saying, "let me start with the bad news, one side of the house is a disaster." Let me tell you, disaster is not a word I would have used to describe the house. It was perfect. My mom did the frosting and Paul put the candy on. My mom said that it's evident he is a bit of a perfectionist and wondered where he got that from - the answer is me. 

What are your thoughts on tattoos? Would you want to travel with other couples? Our first Caribbean resort experience was our good friends' wedding in Jamaica and we loved having lots of people to go to dinners with/hang out with on the beach. And Phil liked being able to play lots of beach volleyball with friends.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Mexication Recap

Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and settle in for our trip recap! It's a little long but I wanted to document our wonderful vacation so I can look back on this!

We are back from a wonderful 4-night stay in Mexico! We had the absolute best time away and I am so glad we did this. Neither of us really felt a sense of anticipation for the trip. Thanks to covid, it's hard to really look forward to things because there is always a chance that someone will get covid and a trip won't happen. But the stars aligned and everyone stayed healthy!! My body was clearly very ready for a vacation because I got a flare in my right hand the Saturday before the trip. I am not too surprised I got a flare - the pace of life has been really hectic leading up to this trip and the trip to Chicago the week before was so jam-packed. Flares are sadly my body's way of say - 'hey, remember that you have a chronic illness.' I still have the flare a week later despite taking steroids so it's a nasty one. (Flares are when a joint swells up in your body - it's the main symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.)

Before having kids, Phil and I liked to be out and about while we are traveling - our vacations featured tons of hiking and exploring. But we needed something far different from this trip. We just wanted to relax and, honestly, sleep! So Mexico was perfect for us. We stayed at the same resort we went to last time - Valentin Imperial in the Riviera Maya area, just south of Cancun. We really like this resort because the buildings are really spread out so it doesn't feel like this super huge resort. And the beach is amazing there. 


Monday was a travel day. I thought we might get to the resort mid-afternoon since we landed around 1, but customs in Cancun was INSANE. It was the longest wait I've had outside of my return to LAX from Australia when I was studying abroad. Several flights must have landed at the same time or something. And they routed flights to different queues. But what REALLY irked this enneagram 1 is that some people in the flight that landed after us cut in our line! So by the time we got to the resort it, was around 4pm. We dropped our bags in our room, grabbed a snack from a restaurant and walked on the beach before grabbing dinner later that night. 

Phil HATES taking posed photos but I was able to convince him to take some pictures on this trip so we could send them to my mom to show the kids!


It was pretty windy while we were in Cancun but the weather was gorgeous - in the 80s and sunny. The humidity felt amazing on our dry Minnesota skin. Even though I could have slept as late as I wanted to, I was up at 6:30 that day, which was actually 5:30 am Minnesota time. I guess I am programmed to be up early. But I felt very rested since I wasn't woken during the night. The boys don't wake us at night all that often, but when you are programmed to listen for kids in the night, it takes away from the restfulness of sleep. 

Enjoying a morning latte on the beach!

I watched the sun rise that day! 

This was the view from the hammock on our patio - we couldn't quite see the ocean but we could hear it. I spent A LOT of time in this hammock, reading and playing spelling bee and wordle! 

On Tuesday, we took an aqua biking class at the pool in the morning which was super fun - we took the class the next day, too. The wind was the lightest on Tuesday so we spent most of the day at the beach. I alternated between swimming in the ocean and reading my book - I read 4 during our trip! 

Each night, we'd have dinner at one of the restaurants around 7 and then we'd get drinks at one of the outdoor bars. It felt really good to not have to plan anything and just wander around and enjoy the warmth. We talked about our kids a lot, of course, but also had lots of great discussions about work, family, friendship, and where we might live when we retire. 

Post dinner photo - Phil did not want to smile!


Wednesday was the windiest day - it was too windy for a morning beach walk so I enjoyed my latte in the hammock. 

Phil made friends with a kitty that we saw by one of the restaurants nearly everyday. 

We saw lots of wild life during our trip. The animal on the left is a "Coati." It's a cross between a raccoon, anteater, and monkey! We also saw lots of iguanas. Paul is obsessed with Wild Kratts so we sent him lots of wildlife photos and he told my mom all about iguanas. Did you know they can run up to 21mph!!

Posing by the Christmas tree on Wednesday night after dinner

On Thursday, the winds were calmer so I enjoyed my latte on the beach. I was typically up around 7-7:30 and Phil tended to stay in bed until 8:30-9 each day. But he doesn't drink coffee so that gave me a chance to get a latte at the coffee shop and walk on the beach. 

I took a water aerobics class that morning and then we spent some time at the beach since it was calm enough for some swimming. 

I will never tire of this view!

Last dinner out!

Friday was another full day of travel, especially since the shuttle company insisted we get to the airport SUPER early. Then our flight was delayed by an hour so we ended up spending almost 4 hours at the airport. BUT - we were not traveling with small children so it was fine! Seeing families with kids at the airport did make me especially miss my kids but I was glad to not be entertaining them in an airport! We landed around 5:30 CST and were home at 6:30 CST. There was a pretty big snowstorm while we were gone so guess what we did shortly after dropping our bags inside? SHOVEL! Woo hoo. Phil snow blowed and I shoveled the sidewalks he can't get to with the snowblower. What a return to reality!


And that is a wrap! All in all, it was a fantastic getaway! We came back refreshed and relaxed. I missed the boys but it was not as hard to be away from them as I feared it might be. Nicole's comment (Hi Nicole!) about keeping in mind that the kids are making memories with their grandparents was super helpful! I got lots of pictures and updates on the kids. They slept like champs for my parents and Paul got to help with lots of baking projects. We ended up facetiming with Paul on Wednesday afternoon while Will was sleeping. I feared that Will might get upset seeing us but I knew Paul would handle it ok. Other than that, we just exchanged a lot of pictures and updates!

I feel incredibly lucky that my parents were willing, able, and excited to watch our boys for the week. If not for them, a trip like this never could have happened. If you have young kids and have been on the fence about taking a trip but have someone that would watch your kids, I highly recommend doing something like this. It was really wonderful to get time to reconnect with Phil without interruptions. But I do not take for granted how lucky we were to be able to do this!

I'll be back later this week with some other reflections from the trip!