Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beaches Turks & Caicos Family Vacation 2012

We just arrived home from an amazing family vacation to Turks & Caicos!  One of the first things on the list was to download the 1000 pictures I took this week to see if any of them turned out!  So while I'm doing laundry and putting this things away, I thought I'd take a moment to write down some highlights of our trip!

****LOTS of time spent in the water!  Marissa is such a fantastic swimmer now that is was nice to have her be independant!  She absolutely loved the time spent in the pools.  We spent some of each day at the beach swimming but a majority of the water time was spent in one of the many pools!

****Waterpark fun:  The kids loved spending time at the waterpark too.  Marissa was hesistant at first of going down the big waterslides but after she did it once she was hooked!  A big deal for her!  The lazy river, splash pad, pirate ship and surf simulator were all big hits too!

****Watersports at the beach:  We had to wait until the tide and waves would cooperate but as soon as they did, we headed to the watersports area and had lots of fun riding the Hobie Cat sail boat and kayaking.  Marissa did a great job with helping paddle while kayaking!

****Of course, what would any beach vacation be without the opportunity each day to play in the beautiful, white sand and build sand castles.  Marissa and I even did our own exploration to find seashells but came up pretty empty handed!  BOO!

****Sesame Street:  Beaches resorts has a partnership with Sesame Street so they have everything themed around the characters of Sesame Street.  We enjoyed watching the nightly stage shows.  Brody was absolutely HILARIOUS watching him enjoy the shows.  The meet n'greet's each day were fun too.  Marissa did a great job taking pictures but Brody needed Daddy to go with him each time!

****The last time we were at a Beaches resort, Marissa got Cookie Monster as her toy so this time she had been looking forward to getting Abby Cadabby.  Brody got his favorite, Elmo and they both loved them from the moment they set eyes on them!  Those stuffed toys came with us everywhere!

****Train Rides:  The resort had a kids train that gave rides every morning.  Brody always wants to do this whenever we go to the mall so he was super excited to get to do it at the beach!

****Baking Cookies with Cookie Monster:  Another favorite activity is getting to bake cookies with cookie monster!  What's not to love?  Free cookies and spending time with one of your favorite characters? 

****The FOOD:  A category all in itself :)  One of the best parts about vacation is not having to cook and do dishes but the cherry on top:  ALL-INCLUSIVE....never having to worry about paying for a meal is SO awesome!  In fact, Marissa kept worrying that we had to pay for our meals!  It was really cute!  We ate really, really delicious food and enjoyed every bit of it!  Tony and I got to sneak away late a few nights and go out for sushi!  SO SO GOOD!  I think the kids loved the ice cream shoppe and cotton candy the best!  We all enjoyed the teppanyaki restaurant, Kimonos!!!  Oh, and I can't forget to mention the always delicious CHOCOLATE buffet!  YUMMY!

****The Parade:  Each week the resort puts on a sesame street parade!  Marissa got to be in it and she LOVED feeling like a rock star!  HA!!!!  SO SO cute!

****Sesame Sail Away Catamaran Cruise:  We got to go on a breakfast cruise with the sesame street characters.  It was fun to ride the boat and get to see more of the island.  Brody and Marissa both enjoyed the ride, the dance party with the characters and getting to play games with Elmo where they both won cups!

****Braids:  Marissa really wanted to try getting her hair braided this time so one afternoon she went and got it done.  It looks super cute and is still in!  She wants to keep it in to show her friends at school!

****Kids Camp:  Some of the days Marissa wanted to go to Kids Club so we would sign her up for an hour in the afternoon.  She got to do lots of fun things like treasure hunts, exploring with Grover, face painting, Xbox garage, waterpark time and arts & crafts. 

****FRIENDS:  I'll never forget how Marissa made SO many friends on this trip.  Every time I turned around she had a new friend she was playing with.  She was quite the social butterfly! 

****Beach Party:  Friday night Beach Party is always a fun way to end the vacation!  Stage show on the beach with the Sesame Street characters, bounce house, limbo contest (yes, Marissa got me up there to do it), face painting and dance party along with delicious food made a great finale to a fantastic trip!


The kids did a really good job traveling even though it wasn't the most convenient times with their normal schedules!  We had so much fun and I'm so thankful for this time spent together!  I took so many pictures so I'll just post a few here! 



















Friday, October 12, 2012

14 years and counting.....

Today marks our 14-year anniversary.....on this day a short 14 years ago, we were driving in "Big Red" (The nickname Tony's car got in college) and heading over to Tony's parent's house to watch professional wrestling on TV.  Why you ask, I have no idea.  However, I guess I must have been smitten to think that I would want to watch that!  Anyways, I remember that a friend of Tony's had written on his hand in class, "I love Keia" that day and that was quite the topic of conversation for the night.  In the middle of driving down I-694 Tony asked me to be his girl and we've never looked back.  Every year we've celebrated by doing something special to mark this day.  Well today is no different!  We are heading with the kids to Turks & Caicos in the morning so we are going to spend the night in the hotel and go out for a nice dinner!  We are all excited to get away from the hussle and bussle of life and just be together.  I know lots of memories will be made on this trip.  We are lucky enough to share this trip my Grammy too!  I think we will all enjoy the beach, the food, the sun and all the activities that this resort has to offer! 

Happy Anniversary to my one and only love!

Our 1st picture together 14 years ago......


Now to catch up on life within the last week or so!  We've been doing a lot of raking and the kids have been enjoying helping and of course jumping in the leaf piles!  Brody's tubes fell out in his ears so what comes next, yep you guessed it:  an ear infection!  After a week of crabbiness, I think he is on the road to recovery!  Both kids have had colds for 3 weeks so I'm hoping the heat of the Caribbean sun bakes it out of them! 


My helpers!

We took advantage of the last beautiful warm day and spent it having a picnic at the park followed by a long nature walk.  We found many things including caterpillars.  Brody had no fear of picking it up but he needs to learn "gentle" still because he threw it down hard on the ground.  Marissa tried nursing it back by creating a little "fort" for it to protect it from mean little brothers :) 





We've had a busy week preparing for our trip and with an unexpected death of our microwave that added one extra project to the list.  Ugh!  We did manage to sneak away and get our nails done so we are ready for vacation!  Marissa went with us this time and she wasn't so sure at first but she really liked it and it was fun to watch her do a "big girl" thing!





Well, I'm off to finish packing!  Have a fabulous week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sparks, Nature Walks & Cabin Weekend!

Well, here it is Monday again and I haven't got a chance to write an update again this week!  We had a fun-filled week with lots of time spent outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather!

Last Monday after school, Marissa & I headed over to dance as usual.  She has a huge class this year and it's very chaotic but I know she is really enjoying having Emma in her class.  Then we headed to Andover High School to watch our niece, Meghan, be the Homecoming Princess at Coronation.  She looked adorable!

Most days last week, we made it to the park at least twice a day.  We even got to bike ride to the park again which was fun since I thought the summer days were over!!!  I took the kids on a nature walk at Bunker Park.  We even got to have popsicles again!  I am loving these warm days! 

Marissa earned her new Awana Sparks vest on Tuesday night and she couldn't be more proud and excited about it!  This year is definitely going to be much more difficult but she makes it look easy! 

Tony and the kids headed to the cabin for the weekend.  It sounds like a lot of fishing and boat rides took place!  The kids came back with a fun report and they sure were exhausted but it was the perfect weekend weather-wise to be there! 

When they got home, we headed over to Anoka County Farms to let them look for pumpkins, go on pony rides and play outside!  We made sure we got some playground time and a little walk in to enjoy the fall colors! 

So, I think I'm caught up again!  Looking forward to another fun and busy week!

Awana Sparks Vest!

Park time with daddy!

Walk in the park....

My two loves....

Taking a break from our walk....

Leading the way....

Playing Tarzan...

Cabin girl

Fishing with Grandpa

Pony rides...

Pumpkins!!!

All he cared about was the trucks!