Feb 21, 2017

Mexico 2017

We just got back from an AMAZING vacation to Mexico!  We decided last year to take the girls, as this year seemed to be the perfect year with them all being good ages and no jobs yet!  We threw the idea out to a bunch of our friends and ended up going with 2 other families, and it truly was the BEST trip ever!

The Sunday before we left Rachel had a volleyball tournament in town, and they ended up coming in 1st place!  They were so much fun to watch and it was a great start to our vacation!

Monday night the girls and I got pedis/manis.  It was so fun as 2 of our good friends and their daughters were there at the same time!

Valentines morning I made the girls heart shaped pancakes and they each got a small purse to take with to Mexico.  Old Navy had the CUTEST purses for $15.

Tuesday after work we headed to the cities to stay overnight at a hotel as our flight left at 7:30 the next morning, which meant we would have to leave our house at 3.  Jim and Melissa always stay at the Park Plaza hotel which is 15 minutes from the airport and then we can leave our vehicle there free of charge.

We got there around 7:30 and had some drinks in the lobby bar.  We were all tucked in by 9:30.

Wednesday morning we were up bright and early as our shuttle left at 5.  We were there plenty early which was perfect.  Everyone made it through security without any issues, and it wasn't super busy.  We found a great little restaurant bar and had some breakfast and bloody marys/screwdrivers.

If you know me at all, then you know I HATE flying.  Hate it.  There is nothing fun or enjoyable about it.  There is no reason on earth that something that big should be flying in the air.  I was fine until the descent, which was very rough.    Thankfully we didn't die, and successfully made it through customs and got our luggage.

One thing I will say with this trip is how smooth everything went!  No long lines in customs, no lost luggage, and always made it to our destinations quickly.

We got to our resort around 1:30.  We stayed at Ocean Coral and Turquesa in Puerto Morales.  We LOVED it!  Our rooms were perfect, 2 double beds and a pull out couch.  Our patio (we were on the 1st floor) was really nice, and it you craned your head enough, you could see the ocean. 

When we were checking in, they gave you a champagne glass of fruit punch, the kids thought this was the coolest thing ever, haha!  The best part is when you see the ocean for the first time  from the lobby.

Emma and I got a quick selfie in!

And then the whole fam got in on the action.

We immediately dropped off our luggage and got our suits on.  The beaches were gorgeous!

That first night we ate at the Carribean restaurant that was amazing!  I had the salmon, and it was the best I've ever had!

The view of our hotel and pools at night.

The one thing I'm so glad we did, was get up every morning to watch the sunrise.  There is nothing better than watching the sun come up over the ocean drinking coffee!  We were usually out there by 6:45 and it was so peaceful.  We also learned that you need to reserve spots on the beach by that time, so it worked out well!  The girls even came out 2 mornings with us.

The resort had several restaurants to choose from.  Some of the reviews I had read complained that you had to wait forever to get in to eat because they don't take reservations.  We had no issues.  We were always standing in line by 6, and would wait maybe 10 minutes to get a seat.

This restaurant was a big disappointment.  The adults went to Bluemoon which was an adults  only restaurant, and the kids went to Route 66 which was like an American burger joint.  They said they food and service was horrible.  We felt so bad!

We spent lots of time at the beach collecting shells, and Brad even found a starfish that we brought home with us.

Rach and I beaching it!

The restaurants were awesome!  This was the Italian restaurant, and I had the mushroom risotto that was incredible!

Our three beauties all dressed up...

The ladies...

And the kiddos...

This might be my fave pic of the whole week!  It was so nice that kids got along all week, it was a great group to be with!

On Saturday we took the kids to swim with the dolphins.  None of my pics really turned out, but thankfully we spent 4.8 billion dollars buying pics and videos of all the kids with the dolphins.  :)

Here's the three fellas...

Alayna and her bestie, Brielle.

Being on the beach was my favorite.  The pools were really nice, but you can sit by a pool anywhere, I made sure to be on the beach as often as we could!  I even managed to read almost 2 books!

Getting all dressed up for supper at the hibachi grill, this was SUCH a fun night!  The food was amazing, and our chef was a riot!

The was the last morning, and the prettiest sunrise.  I was a little sad to leave the ocean, but I was so ready to come home!  I missed our animals, my bed and shower, haha!

One last walk on the beach..

I had been praying for weeks that this vacation would be amazing.  I prayed for safe travels, good health, and no injuries.  He exceeded my expectations!  No one got sick (and we have been pummeled with colds, stomach issues, etc. before the trip), or injured, it was truly the perfect trip!

I am so, so glad we did this, I was a bit of a nervous wreck leading up to it, just all the "what ifs".  I am not really a travel-out-of-the-country kind of gal.  And especially where our country is right now, made me nervous.  I will say that this trip was worth every single minute of lost sleep/appetite I had!  Everything went so smooth and we all just really had the best time!

Linking up with Erika!

Feb 10, 2017

Friday Favorites

Time for another edition of Friday Favorites with Andrea, Erika and Narci!

Another crazy week is behind us, where does the time go???  Unfortunately,  this week brought some sickness to our house.  Rachel came down with the stomach flu Sunday night and was home Monday and Tuesday and Tuesday the mouse stayed home too, although she really didn't have anything specific.  Insert eye roll here.

Rachel sent me this pic of the sleeping mouse and Maci.  So sweet!

Here's what we've been up to this week:

Wednesday I shared how we keep our marriage strong...

I really loved going through and reading every one's posts about this!  So interesting to see what works and how others keep their marriage strong.

Last night I finished this book:

Product Details

If you are looking for a book that sucks you in, you NEED to read this one!  It's not a feel good book at all, it's about a family in England who is dealing with their daughters anorexia.  It really opened my eyes to many things.  From not only the terror that the parents are feeling thinking it is all their fault, but from the daughters, and how she looks at food as poison.  It was truly one of my absolute FAVORITE books!  

I've been killing it in the kitchen with my meal planning and prepping and it feels SO good!  Here's what we had this week:

Monday:  Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Tuesday:  Taco Casserole
Wednesday:  Fresh Venison Sausage (which Brad and his brothers make and smoke themselves) and Fried Potatoes
Thursday: Leftovers!
Friday:  Homemade Pizza

The taco casserole was a huge hit, very flavorful!  Alayna scarfed it down too, you know it's a good one when she likes it, haha!

This weekend will be busy, Brad has been out of town for work all week and the girls and I have some last minute shopping to get done for vacation coming up.  Rachel has a volleyball tourney on Sunday, so it will be a busy one!

Our basement is coming along nicely, this week we had a guy here taping and spraying the walls.  I will be ecstatic when he's done.  Bless his heart, but I have white crap ALL over my house!  I end up scrubbing floors everyday when I get home and find this shit EVERYWHERE!!

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This is pretty much what I look like everyday.  So. much. Dust.  

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Feb 8, 2017

Workin It Wednesdays

Today I am linking up with Shay and Erika for a another Workin' It Wednesday.  Today is "Keeping Your Marriage Strong".

Brad and I have been married for almost 19 years.  It sounds crazy, actually, to type that out.  19 years is a LONG time, but I am SO glad God brought us together!

We met on a blind date and while we had our share of dating troubles, we managed to survive!  One of the biggest things I remember from our wedding day, was when my dad and I were getting ready to walk down the isle, and I thought, "what if we hate each other in 2 years?  What if we aren't the people we thought we were??"  I felt a little panicky, not gonna lie.  My parents were married for over 20 years and then divorced.  I was afraid that would be us.

Thankfully, God knew what he was doing when he paired us!!  Do we have the ideal perfect marriage?  Nope.  Is our life just soooo "hashtag blessed" all the time?  Hell no.  But I will say that for now, we have a decent handle on this thing called marriage.

So, what do we do to keep our marriage strong?

We make time together.  Period.  Now, I will say the last few months have been absolutely CRAZY, and we have really failed in this department, but that's life.  It happens.

Brad and I are both early risers, so we like to get up early and drink coffee while catching up on work, kids, life.  We used to have our evenings together, but with 3 kids, 2 of which are teenagers, we are usually in bed before they are, haha!

Spring/Summer/Fall is our favorite, because we love sitting on the porch in the mornings.  It's SO peaceful and there are no distractions.  

We will also go out to eat at least once a month.  With the girls' crazy schedules, it's something we now have to literally plan.

Another thing that's huge is communication.  You HAVE to talk to each other, everyday!  Again, it's so easy to high five each other on the way to and from somewhere, but you have to actually talk.  Even after 19 years of marriage, my feelings (and his!) still get hurt, and 99% of the time it's from poor communication.  He needs to know how I feel about certain things, and if I've learned anything in this marriage, it's that HE CANNOT READ MY MIND!!!  I still struggle with that sometimes...

I am so happy that God entrusted us together.  When I look back on how we started out, it's amazing we got this far!  But there is no one in the world I would rather come home to, he is truly my best friend and soul mate.  

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Feb 2, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's time for another addition of Friday Favorites with Andrea, Narci and Erika!

It's been kind of a crazy week, and even though I will fully admit that I may have acted like a crazy woman for a portion of the week and may or may not have had a pity party for a portion of that portion, we all made it safe and sound to Friday!!

I am REALLY struggling with exhaustion lately, the last 2.5 weeks I have been absolutely WIPED out.  It's been super frustrating, I am eating well, exercising, drinking tons of water, but nothing has helped.  Then I read up on adrenal fatigue and literally every.single.symptom I have.  Adrenal fatigue can be brought on by major stress, and I really believe that the stress from trial earlier in January through me for a loop.  

The last couple days I feel like I am sloooooowly getting back to normal.

One thing I have done differently this week is drinking bulletproof coffee.  I have had this the last couple mornings and I really enjoy it!  I mix my coffee (Aldi's organic medium roast) with one tablespoon coconut oil and one tablespoon Kerrygold butter with a touch of pure vanilla.  That's all I have for breakfast.  There is around 320 calories and 35 grams of fat, so I am definitely not deprived!  I have found my energy levels to be much higher than they have been, which has been wonderful.  I won't have this everyday, but will a couple days/week. 

bulletproof coffee vertical final

One thing I have been rocking is in the meal planning department.  I have to stuck to my plan and we have enjoyed some really yummy recipes!

First off was Italian Sausage Tortellini.  This one was a huge hit!

Next up was this Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce from Damn Delicious.  Everyone gobbled this one up!


We also had Hamburger, Wild Rice and Broccoli Hotdish.  This is another favorite of ours, the water chestnuts make the whole dish, haha!!!

Tonight I kept it simple and we had venison sausage and waffles.  Now, if you like homemade waffles, you HAVE to make this recipe.  My family gobbles these up like nobody's business!!  They are light and golden and truly amazing!

For lunches I made the usual Italian Turkey Burger Soup for Monday and Tuesday.  I put everything in the crockpot on Saturday and let it cook all day.  It's so full of flavor!  I add quinoa to my soup and wild rice for Brad's.  For the rest of the week, I had salads from Fresh Thyme (which just opened and I LOVE it!!) made up, they were scrumptious.

The other area I have succeeded in is in the workouts.  I have done some form of workout everyday this week.  I have done my 10 Minute Trainer from Beachbody and Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown.  I love Yoga Meltdown because it feels SO good, all the stretching, but it totally kicks your ass at the same time!

So, with all that being said, here is where I am NOT succeeding....

Trusting in Him.  I have had quite the pity party the last few weeks, feeling sorry for myself.  It has gotten me nowhere and I'm tired.  I am tired of looking ahead and dreading what is coming next.  I'm tired of my "to do" list.  I'm tired of dreading the very things that I truly love doing.  I'm in a funk, and I need out.

I read this verse from Proverbs 31 and I've read it a million times, but today it really hit home.

I love taking care of my family.  LOVE it.  I love keeping a neat (notice I didn't say clean) home, making homemade meals, decorating for all the holidays and planning special things to do.  Lately everything feels like such a chore and I want the joy back.  I love the Proverbs 31 woman, she is the very person  I strive to be but fail on a daily basis.  I look to far ahead and stress about things that haven't even happened.  Today I decided I'm all done with that.  I am only going to focus on TODAY.  What can I do TODAY to make it great?  Who can I bless?

I know this is going to be a work in progress, but all I can do it strive to be better everyday.  I love reading blogs, I feel such a connection to so many of you, but sometimes reading them makes me feel like less of a mother and I know it's all me.  It isn't anything that they have written, it's my own demons, the ones that tell me I'm not good enough.  Well guess what?  I am!

So here's to a new me!  Ok maybe just an updated version, and I can't even guarantee this will last...but I'm giving it my all!

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Happy Friday everyone, I hope you have an amazing weekend!!