Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nate's Swimming Lessons {week 1 and 2}

Nate is our third and final kiddo going through ISR swimming with Miss Kayte. We tried making it happen in the Spring, but between Kayte's schedule and ours we just couldn't do it. So, summer it is. Which is kind of a bummer because it is four nights a week in Escondido in the evening. The drive is minimum 30 minutes,but usually more like way. So yes, it is a pain. And we are giving up a lot of summer nights - and that stings. But, I believe so strongly in this method and making sure the kids are safe in their swimming skills. And even though the drive is a pain and I am grieving the loss of summer nights, it is so rewarding watching him learn how to swim. It is simply amazing how fast he has come so quickly. I look forward to watching him every night because it is just unbelievable the transformation.

Here are a few clips documenting the last 2 weeks (7 classes)

The second week was a little tougher than the first. There was more crying and resistance the first couple of days of the second week. On the third day I had to leave because she was teaching him to float and he kept crying for me. BUT, we ended the week with a bang! Something clicked for him adn he knew it. There were actually smiles instead of the pained look on his face. He was so proud of himself as he did the swim, float, swim. Of course there is still a lot of work to be done...4-6 weeks of it. But, tonight the little guy crushed it! 

Is that a smile I see???

This kid. He is so fun to watch. He, verbally tells Miss Kayte he doesn't want to do something and looks super worried most of the time. But, he always does what she asks. Tonight she said he was one of her hardest workers. Which sounds right on cue for Nate. I am so insanely proud of him and very excited to have our third swimmer this summer!!! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

think quick

It was a Saturday morning karate class when I thought to ask Declan's sensei if he could help teach the class when he reached his purple belt. I noticed that some of the older kids assisted in teaching and was wondering how to make that happen. Sensei was very receptive an encouraging. After class I told Declan about it and he seemed interested, but I didn't think it would go much further than that for awhile. He still has 2 belts to go before he reaches purple.
So I was extremely surprised when only two days later during the Monday class Sensei walked into class, and said "Declan will be running the warm up today" and then walked out. It was like someone slapped him in the face. I froze, nervous to see how he would handle it. After a few seconds of silence and not moving, he walked up to the front of the class and did it! He had them do bicycles, split stretches, and kicks. It was awesome. When I asked him if he liked doing it after class he responded, "no", but the quiet smile on his face told me something different. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Last Day of School {Kinder and 2nd}

The last day of school was a whirlwind! We got back from Mexico late Tuesday night. On Wednesday while the kids were in school I was busy unpacking, going to the grocery store and Costco, and doing laundry.  Still on a vacation high, at some point during the day I got it in my head that we should have an end of the year party. So I texted a bunch of moms, picked up the 350 water balloon packet at Costco, ordered a Summer cake that said "Happy Summer McAuliffe Kids" and set the wheels in motion. 
It was such a fun couple of days! Wednesday night we went to an end of the year BBQ at school, Thursday morning was Lexi's Kinder Promotion, and after Declan got out of school at 1:00 that day, a bunch of kids and moms met in the park by our house. Another mom jumped on board of the party idea and had pizza delivered for everyone. It was an awesome day - a great way to end the year and kick off summer!!

And before I get into the fun details of the last day of school, I just have to say how incredibly proud I am of both of them. They over came hurdles, met new friends, and learned so much. Declan's reading skills grew by leaps and bounds - he turned a huge corner in this category. And Lexi rocked Kindergarten. Both brought home stellar report cards. But most importantly, they had fun and throughout the year I saw their pride as they watched hard work pay off. 

Not to be left out...

I bummed because I forgot to take a picture of the cute cake! 

The kids played and ate and then we separated the boys and girls, said "ready, set, go"  and let them go for it. 350 water balloons actually lasted quite a while - a good five minutes at least! It was awesome!!

The fight ended and then this happened:

Such an awesome group of kids - I'm so thankful for the year Declan and Lexi had - the friends they made and the teachers they had!!

And now....SUMMER!!!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lexi's Kindergarten Promotion

Christa McAuliffe keeps Kindergarten Promotion fairly simple and sweet, just the way I like it. Lexi's class performed with Mrs G's at 9:15am. They did an adorable show, talking about the different things they learned throughout the year with lots of songs. Lexi was the first one to speak with Stella. Her line was " Come with us as we look back at our busy year in Kindergarten". Afterward we hung out on the Kinder playground, said our good byes, took some photos and that was that. She is now, officially a first grader. Ugh. That happened way to fast. 
Zoe asked her to come over for the day, which eneded up being perfect because we were hosting an End of the Year Party later that day so it gave me some time to get some things done for that. 
I have to say, I am so grateful for this Kindergarten year. It was an easy one. Her teacher was amazing, she learned and grew so much, and we made a really special group of friends. I couldn't have asked for anything more. 
Here are a few photos from the day -
Daddy wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it, so glad he did!! 
 Here's our girl! She did seem a little shy and unsure of herself during the show. Probably because we had just returned from vacation and she wasn't in the practices for this cute little show. Oh well. 

some video:

 Lexi, Alex, and Nathan
 Mrs. MacMitchell - best Kindergarten teacher ever. Truly, she was mesmerizing to watch with the kids. 
 So lucky they were in the same class! ♥
 Kinder besties

Such an amazing fun year!!! I am so proud of her and how far she has come!! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Playa Del Carmen Vacation 🌴

This is basically a post of a ridiculous overload of photos from our Playa Del Carmen vacation. A vacation that was loooong over due! We wanted to go away for Adam's 40th, which happened to coincided with the kids last week of school. I must say, a great week to take a vacation!! I booked the resort with very little research. We knew we wanted all inclusive and were able to book it with primarily credit cards points. The reviews on trip ad visor looked good, and the website boasted 7 pools including a wave pool and lazy river. No cooking or worrying about money and plenty to entertain the kids sounded good enough for me, but really my expectations were not that high. I had never heard of the hotel chain before and since we were booking with credit card points, our options were somewhat limited. I didn't really want to do a lot of research and find out it wasn't very good. So I booked it and hoped for the best. It was the best. The best place I've ever stayed. Truly. When the taxi driver pulled onto the grounds I said to Adam, "I don't think this is it, this looks too nice". Then I was bumming because I thought we'd find out it wasn't it and then everyone would be disappointed. But, to my surprise and delight, we were at the right place! I had butterflies in my stomach I was so excited!!!

But, let's back up to the airport. Because, after all - it was Nate's first airplane ride!! And Lexi hadn't been on an airplane since she was 2, and Declan since he was 4! So the travel alone was very exciting!!!

Getting ready for take off was a little loud

And I had to take a video of Mr. Nate's reaction to his first take off...

We arrived at the hotel that felt like a palace with plenty of excitement!
And were immediately treated with some lemonade while we checked in. Fancy stuff, especially for a 2 year old!! 
Every day we were outside 7-8 hours. There were so many pools and so much to do, we usually had to drag the kids in at the end of the day. It was unreal. There were a few days where I thought, maybe we'll call it quits early. But it never happened. We were all on a vacation high! No agenda. Just going were we wanted when we wanted. it couldn't have been more perfect. 
The wave pool was a favorite with our three.

Endless ice cream! Another perk that these three took full advantage of. There were ice cream bars every where! And we rarely said no. ☺

Playing with double exposure was a little obsession of mine during the trip

The swim up bar was frequented often

Our traveling clan. From pool to beach to pool to lazy river to pirate water park. It was so much fun! And they were highly annoyed with me for this for taking this photo! 
Jet bath tubs always bring lots of giggles!

The beach was my favorite. Every other time I've been to the carribean the beach has always been more like a lagoon. It was so fun that this one actually had waves. They also had a casual restaurant that was part of the hotel, and of course, an ice cream bar. It was so fun to have this and then head over to the pools. 

The lazy river

We were in our hotel room much less than I expected. I kind of thought we'd be taking breaks during the day or go in early some days. But no. We did however enjoy lazy mornings and let the kids play on their kindles for while. Just to give them some down time. I don't think they've ever played so hard in their lives! When we got home, Lexi even said to me, "It's so weird how the nights are shorter in Mexico. Why is that?" If that doesn't say it all!!

The resort was so big that little trams were everywhere to take you around. The kids thought this was the best! 
Where we ate breakfast every morning. The food was delicious and it was so fun for the kids to peruse and grab whatever they wanted. There was a ridiculous amount to choose from. 

We debated on a lot on doing an excursion with the kids. It is kind of a tradition that we do - in the past it has always been the highlight of the trip. We looked into swimming with the dolphins and heavily considered it. But when we actually talked to the kids about it and showed them photos, we asked if they thought they would be scared. When they hesitated and said maybe we decided to save that adventure for when they were just a little older. Plus, I would like Nate to remember it. Nothing else really jumped out at us. But, we thought we'd go into town one day...which was our only regret. It was hot, humid, and totally boring for the kids. We took a bus from the hotel which was supposed to pick us up four hours later. Within two minutes we knew it was a bad idea. So we decided to grab lunch, and then take a taxi back. Which eased all of us. Here we are in the streets of Playa Del Carmen

coke bottles are so fun!

Adios Playa! Back to the pools for us!!! 

Our hotel was so rad! The hallways were so fun and pretty. This one reminded Lexi of Frozen, so she twirled! 

The walkways through the jungle were so fun! They had a statue of a real looking cheetah on the side that we always had to stop and look at. 

There were hammocks everywhere! On our balcony, by the pools. It was awesome! 

The obligatory donut raft photo. ☺

Heading out to the beach

I wanted one photo of our family on the beach. It was so hard to get. My camera was fogged up when we'd first arrive and by the time it adjusted the kids were over the beach and ready to head to the pools.  So this is a photo that was really hazy/foggy that I tried to save in PS, hence the wonky colors.
 Our book worm. He tor through two Diary of a Wimpy Kids books in a week. Constantly reading on our trip.
 Heart sunglasses ♥ overload

Playing with double exposure and sand
There was plenty of wild life to look at while we were there! Nate hated the pool lizards. He'd scream every time he saw one and say over and over "I scared I scared, hold me mama". While the other two were absolutely fascinated!

 This was my favorite day. I couldn't tell you why exactly. I just loved this area of the pool and the vibe we had going on. Being in the pool every day the kids swimming skills exceeded. Declan swam the whole length of this pool and back. It's hard to tell, but it was a good distance. I was so proud of him!

Ice cream break🍦

I'm not sure when, but somewhat early in the trip, we started ending our day at the Pirate Pool. It was close to our hotel room and the kids just LOVED it. They were able to play on their own and Adam and I could lay on the lounge chairs and read. It was the perfect way to finish the days. We usually were there for 1-2 hours.
The water wall was what made this are so entertaining for them!

 Pure JOY

 flirting with the water wall

 Lexi was so excited to discover a peacock on the way to dinner one night!

 This night was one of my favorite dinners.

 There was an area where people were selling all different kinds of fun things. The kids loved walking through there.
 My absolutel favorite moment of the whole trip! When Declan and Lexi were teaching Nathan how to swim. And he listened so intently and did exactly what they said.

The closeness of the three of them during the vacation was amazing to watch.
Hand holding

 Nathan and Lexi were making Adam pancakes and salad in the sand, acting so goofy and having the best time!

Finally got a fog free family pic ☺

They were being so goofy, hiding from the wall of water

This kid

 There was a canoe paddling around the pool with fruit sticks. The kids were so excited to get one!
 blurry, but they got their fruit sticks!
They loved going up to the bar and ordering a cherry coke. There was no shortage of treats during this trip!

Lexi named her unicorn float Rose. But Adam, being the tease that he is, kept calling it Chuck. Which totally annoyed Lexi - especially when she started accidentally referring to it as Chuck! We all got a good laugh out of that!
A little down time before dinner

Coati were everywhere and so fun to spot! They kind of look like monkeys.

I think Nate was about to fall asleep standing up.

 My other favorite dinner was our last one. The waiter brought out tequila and sombreos "berros" as Lexi called them. She was obsessed with these things and sooooo excited to get to wear one. She wanted to buy one so badly, but I couldn't justify a $40 hat that would most likely end up in her closet. I negotiated a beenie boo keep sake instead.
 Nate fell asleep at almost every lunch and every dinner. Usually while chewing food. It was hilarious to watch. He take a 20 minute cat nap, wake up with a smile and be raring to go again.

 Lexi met a little girl from Germany. They didn't speak the same language, but played together for hours.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end! It was hard to let go of this one. The entire time we were in Mexico, Nathan kept asking to go on the airplane again. I don't think he realized it meant we were going home! I guess he likes traveling. The kid even pulled his own weight. He would get so upset if we didn't let him pull this black suitcase around. And I have to say he did an incredible job keeping up, pulling it around! 

Best trip ever! I wish we could go back and do it all again! When I look at all the photos I just see so much happiness and connection. It was just pure joy the entire time we were there! What a gift of a week! 
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