Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Little Vacay

Back in June, Jake and I talked with our friends, Brett & Amelia, about planning a little vacation. This summer Jake and I will celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss - and Brett and Amelia will be celebrating 5 years. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to plan a couples getaway. 

We've been planning this vacation since June, 2015. Now it's over. Crazy how that happens! Laundry is put away, schedules are back to normal (read: hectic), and so I suppose I can officially post my vacation blog. Waaaaah.

Here's a little run-down of our trip (and some info for anyone who's made it here from our AirBNB review!).

St. Maarten. I had never thought much about this place (and possibly never heard of it) prior to our planning in June. I'm glad it was on Brett's radar. 

St. Maarten delivered.

Hands-down, our favorite beach on the island. We made sure to arrive early (before 10, for sure) and enjoyed a quiet bay, practically empty. Crystal clear water, fish swimming around out feet, and no waves. 

We liked Mullet Bay so much, we returned for more toward the end of our trip! 

We all agreed that Hilma's Windsor Castle was delicious! Hilma was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain's episodes over 10 years ago, and it's still creating a buzz today. Hilma was exactly as we imagined - sweet, personable, funny, and sassy. 

What do you do when you've finally arrived at Hilma's? You hug. That's what you do.
The johney cake breakfast sandwiches were incredible. We hoped to make it back to try her 'meat pocket' (our best description of what looked to be pork/chicken/beef in a johney cake pocket), but weren't able to fit it into our schedule. 

Bummer, I guess we'll have to go back :)

We followed a road to the highest point of the island - Pic Paradis. The term 'road' is used lightly here.

Drive with caution :)

Jump on ferry (don't be late), get off ferry, look around, pick your jaw up off the sand.

Yes, it's that amazing. The pictures do not lie.

This was another spot where arriving early worked in our favor. Trek over to the Karibuni Restaurant side of the island for the better view. It's worth the extra 100 steps.

This is us, being friends. Four friends (not two sets of friends that happen to be married).

We were here on Sunday morning. We fellowshipped. Real fellowship. Real love. This is church.

We climbed a bit to get to this spot - a perfect place to watch a sunset in late-May. It was a bit cloudy, but still breathtaking.

It only took us 12 tries, using the timer, to get this photo. Guys, I had to run across jagged rock and get in place - all in less than 10 seconds.

Brett stumbled upon this awesome find - we were the inaugural sunset cruise for the Swaliga 2. Lucky for us, we had the entire catamaran to ourselves.

This was a great find, and such an enjoyable cruise. The sunset was a total flop (not because of the Swaliga 2, but because of the clouds lined up in exactly the wrong place) - but the views, the pineapple juice, the stories, the laughs - they all delivered.


It was a great re-charge for me. I was worried that I'd be using this vacation as an escape from my real-life. The truth is, I missed my kids almost the entire trip. Instead of using our time away as an escape, I used it as a re-charge. And we strategized about what it could look like to have these re-charges more frequently. Can we do a re-charge without a vacation? I think so.

Special thanks to my mom & Brad for taking an entire week out of your lives to love our kids while we were away. We are incredibly grateful for your help, and have only had to do a small amount of 'behavior boot camp' since coming home. Mostly for Macy :) Truly, though, you both loved our kids well and it allowed us to relax knowing they were in such good hands.

That's it. Vacation over. Our little getaway, with two fantastic friends, and nobody yanking on my dang arm while I ate my meals. It was pretty spectacular.


Of all the views I took in during this getaway, none of them compete with my view over the top of my little coffee cup each morning - two kids, eating - playing - laughing - sleeping - bathing - crying - swimming - throwing fits. It's good to be home.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Re-charge. It's oh so good.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Hello '8' + Goodbye First Grade

Over the past week, Carter has celebrated his 8th birthday, and also said goodbye to first grade.

We have an 8-year-old 2nd grader.

How did this happen?

For Carter, this was the year of 'happy'.  We have many goals for Carter. We have mental lists of our hopes and dreams for his future. Of all the things that we hope Carter will embrace and enjoy, happiness is at the top of our list.

When I struggle with the things Carter could be doing - should be doing - isn't doing - I stop and ask myself: Is he happy?

This year, every single time, the answer has been 'yes'.

So much happy. He'll even tell us: "HAPPY!!!"

Progress is slow in this area over here. Over in that other area, we aren't even trying. And then there's that one thing we've been working on forever.

Yeah. Uh-huh. But is he happy?

He's happy.


Dear Carter,

First Grade is over, and you rocked it. You showed up every single day, ready to work. You didn't always want to. Sometimes you told us. But you still showed up, game face on, ready to do your thing.

Speech, math, OT, art - music - gym (not your favorites), writing...all important parts of your day. You did it all (mostly) daily (sort of).

But the area you excelled? Happy.

Your happiness flowed out of you and on to the people around you. It's contagious, you know.

We had a rough patch at the end of the year. It was hard on all of us. Someday, I hope you'll be able to tell us why you aren't happy. Until then, we'll just keep trying to understand you.

Here's to your 8th year of life, and your 2nd grade of school.

May happiness abound in your life. May you be understood. May you be appreciated and loved by those around you.

We love you, sweet brother bear. Here's to another year of Happy.

One Thing I Know For Sure: "HAPPY!!!!"
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