Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Volunteer Tea @ Horace Mann

The 2nd grade performed for all the parents that volunteer throughout the year at the school.  Here is a video of Jack performing.

We are in Mexico – Wednesday June 17th & Thursday the 18th

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Today Wednesday, we celebrated Miss Maddie’s Birthday which isn’t until the 19th but we wanted to celebrate while all the kids were together.  We got her a coconut purse with a little beaded Mexican doll necklace.

The kids ended the party with an authentic pinata!

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Our little sweeties after dinner on one of the beds at the beach.


Today we mostly packed up and played in the pool before we had to go to the airport.  Ryan and Marsha took all the kids to the pool while Rog and I packed everything up in the hotel room.  We got done quickly and still had time to take a dip in the pool.  Then we hurried back to our room at noon called the bell boy to pick up our bags showered, dressed and went to lunch.  After lunch we said good bye to the Plasse family.  When we got to the airport we had our temperatures taken and filled out surveys about our health before we could go to  the airline counter.  When we got to the US Airways counter the man helping us was cracking up over Asher’s passport because his pictures is from when he was like 6 months old.  The US Airways employee went so far as showing it to everyone behind the counter with him, they were all chuckling about it, then he told us to take care of our kids as we were leaving.  That is one of the most wonderful things I noticed about the Mexican culture while  I was there was how loved and kind everyone is to children there.  People recognize children wherever you go with a smile or a pat on the head. 

We loved Mexico and I hope we will get the chance to go again someday!

We are in Mexico – Tuesday June 16th



This is what they looked like going to bed.


This is what they looked like at 8:30 in the morning.


This is the view from our room in the morning! I am so sad to be leaving this!

Today reality started to set in that we have to leave paradise soon.  Today we enjoyed the pool, Marsha and I went into Puerto Morales  to shop and we took  a lot of pictures today. 

The above album is of the kids in the pool mostly.


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My big brother Ryan and my sister-in-law Marsha.

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Miss Maddie in her new Mexican dress almost eight years old, bonita senorita!

We are in Mexico – Monday June 15th


Today the big highlight of the day was going for a catamaran ride and snorkel tour. 


This is the building we stayed in at our hotel, 3rd floor on the middle left side of the building. Ryan and Marsha were directly below us on the 2nd floor.

This album is of everyone on the boat.

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They took the snorkeling people in two groups so all the boys went on the first group.  Miss Maddie went with me and Ryan on the 2nd group.  This was the best snorkeling I have ever experienced!!  I saw three sea turtles, lots of beautiful coral in several colors, tons of fish, a barracuda, a blowfish, a starfish, some conch, 2 big lobster, a colorful crab, Christmas tree worm and lots of things I don’t have names for!


They even let me drive the boat, scary!

Friday, June 19, 2009

We are in Mexico – Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 12th 13th & 14th

We went to the Mercado today in Cancun.  We first went to a huge market, Market 28 had lots of tourist stuff.   It was very hot and people were very persistent because business has been slow due to the swine flu scare.  I enjoyed bartering but Roger did not.  I bought some jewelry, vanilla and t-shirts.  Then we went to lunch where Grady had a full blown melt down and would not even come into the restaurant and Asher was asleep and stayed asleep  thru lunch.  When we talked Grady down he came in and fell asleep on two chairs without eating lunch.

After lunch we went to the fish and meat Mercado, Market 24 here was a candy store there and Ryan got a piƱata for Maddie’s birthday.  We also found a toy booth, we let each of the boys buy something.  Jack and Grady bought sling shots or razor terra in Spanish.  Asher got some plastic lizards.

Saturday we stayed at the resort and played in the pool.  Everyone needed a break from the heat and riding in the car.  Marsha and I went kayaking and to the spa.  The kids went to kid’s club and played in the sand and the pool.  Ryan and Roger built sand castles.

Sunday we went to Ek Balam one of the big highlights of our vacation!  These ruins are some of the only ruins that you can still climb.  It was so incredible to see this city and wonder at the Mayan people that once lived here.  They are doing extensive restoration and you can see in come of the pictures what it would of looked like when it was inhabited with stucco covering the stones and thatch on the roofs.  I felt so blessed to be able to experience this incredible place.  We climbed to the top of the largest intact structure and as you look around you can see how much work that has gone into putting these structures back together.  On either side of the main structures there are hills of what looks like rubble I wonder if that is what it looked like for each of the structures when they were first discovered.  This was truly one of the neatest experiences.  The number of people that must of inhabited this city was larger than Tulum and they are still uncovering more structures.

After Ek Balam we drove thru a little village and saw how people lived in the more rural areas.  My camera died at Ek Balam or I would have captured some of this village because people live in huts built out of sticks with thatch roofs and dirt floors. We could see one family’s cooking fire thru the gaps in the wall of their little hut.  The families in this village mostly live in one room huts so no bedrooms for privacy and no bathroom in their hut.  There was baseball field complete with dugouts that was nice and there was a school with open air classrooms kind of like a self carwash building, there was a roof and two walls  and a concrete floor.  The town also had a restaurant and hotel probably to service the tourists of Ek Balam.  As we drove into a more wealthy village I saw a gated church that was very nicely kept and noticed it was and LDS church.

Chichen Itza

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above is the ball court  There is a hoop above my head, we all discussed how difficult that would be to get the ball thru those hoops.  The hoop is small and is more than 12 feet off the ground.

This city was enormous.  There were archeological digs open for you to see how much more there is to uncover if they could dig down another 4 feet throughout the city.

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Above is the jaguar bench.  The jaguar and the serpent are very popular in the carvings throughout the city.

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The kids were getting tired at this point in the day and you can’t climb on these structures so the children were not as interested at Chichen Itza.  It was a very large city though and there were people everywhere set up to sell their wares.  When were done looking at the city I bought some Mexican style shirts for everyone and then we all hoped in the van and headed back to the resort.

We are in Mexico – Thursday June 11th

We (Lydia, Maddie, Jack, Carson and I) swam with dolphins today at Xel-Ha an ecopark near Tulum.




We also did some snorkeling!  Everyone except Grady and Asher who were perfectly happy to sit in the sand and play.


We also floated down a river on inner tubes.  Initially Asher did not want to go but he had a great time when we got into the water.  Below is a picture before we all did the float trip.  Roger was corralling Asher and I was the camera woman.


We also walked across a floating bridge that was rocking pretty hard then swam in a small cave.  It was a very hot but fun day.

We are in Mexico – Wednesday June 10

Today we visited Tulum!  This city sits literally on the waters edge of the gulf.  It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Our taxi driver Siestu even took us to Wal-Mart so we did not have to pay 20$ for one bottle of sunscreen like in the gift shop at the hotel.  The exchange rate is 12 pesos to 1 us dollar and I had to pay 219 pesos the second day we arrived in the gift shop because I forgot to pack our sunscreen. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We are in Mexico – Tuesday the 9th

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Asher stealing gum still in his jammies before breakfast.  He has his shoes on because he wouldn’t change his clothes to go to breakfast.

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The highlight of Roger’s day was catching a large grouper.  The restaurant at the marina prepared our fish for dinner and it was excellent, I even ate it and I do not like fish.

We are in Mexico-Sunday & Monday


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Today we played on the beach and some of us snorkeled.  The beach has huts all up and down the beach and a waiter comes by every half hour replenishing drinks as you relax in a hammock or lay on a lounge chair.  The sand is very fine sugar white sand, the kids spend hours digging for coral pieces and making castles. 

Jack has decided he does not like the beach but prefers the pool that is 4 foot deep and has a large slide and 9 footcliff jump into a deeper secluded pool.

There is a kids club that has activities all day for the children and today was the first day we talked our kids into trying it out.  My nieces and nephew had no reservations to trying it but we had to almost forcibly put our kids in and of course they enjoyed themselves once they gave it a chance.

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Monday was a pool day all day.  Grady is a cliff diver now I (Mandy) went with him three times and after that he has been a pro.  Asher played in the kiddie pool and got really comfortable swimming with his little tube, Grady is using Asher’s life jacket.  Jack swims all over the pool playing with kids his age and just exploring.  Roger and I are both enjoying just being at the hotel but I am getting antsy to get out to the ruins and I want to see Mexico.

We are in Mexico – Friday & Saturday

Friday was a lazy day.  We got the lay of the land, walked around the hotel and up and down the beach.  Mostly we played in the pool.  Most important today I got us a bigger room!  We could upgrade for free to a one room suite or for a great deal we could pay a little more we could be completely comfortable for the two weeks and get a two room suite with three bathrooms.  We decided to treat ourselves so we could enjoy our vacation and our kids, we got the two room suite.  It is sooooooo much better than our first room.

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Saturday was spent checking out Puerto Morelos going to the market and around the pool in wait of our cousins, Aunt Marsha and Uncle Ryan.  When they finally got here we found out their room would be directly under us in the same building!  We all had dinner together and the kids all played in the pool together.  Carson and Jack are already inseparable, Maddie and Lydia get along great with Grady and Asher has claimed Maddie as his friend.

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The kids all had popcorn with gummi worms and watched some tv together then the older boys had a sleepover.  It is so fantastic to be with family!