17 October 2010

A Weekend with Friends, Part 1

Friday night we caught up with the Gourley's and Rappaports. Now that Shanna is a working woman again, we only have the weekends to hang out. It's great for her, but sad for me (and Jenn)! We had a kid friendly dinner at Fuddruckers and then spent a little time at the Magic House. Fuddrucker's has a game room that we let the kids play around in before dinner. This is one of the only times you will see a gun in my son's hand (that is until I'm completely overrun by Matt, Steve, Brian and Janet)! Cute picture though, right?

 The Magic House had a "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" themed display. Noah enjoyed driving the Smart Car and the Recycler Truck. Really, because they had steering wheels, certainly not because they were environmentally friendly!
Next, we worked on composting.
Then he used the compost to fertilize the garden!
He worked on recycling experiments.

 I love this little cutie!

Next, we hit up the Legislative and Judicial Branches, along with President Obama's office. All the boys were anxious to speak into the microphone in the courtroom, and as cute as Noah was, Aidan won the entertainer award by boldly singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game!" He's such a ham! Abe, Jude and Jenn can be seen behind Aidan as he makes his presence known!
Saturday morning, we bundled up and took a walk to the park. We walked around the Farmer's Market, let Noah play on the playground, and then we attempted to join the Malones in a little soccer practice. Noah, however, was more interested in picking up the soccer ball with his hands, and then losing his mind when he got knocked down. We didn't force it.  Matt ended up just letting him roam the grounds, which made our little wanderer extremely happy! We ran into several friends in the park too. I love living in a place where we run into people we know. St. Louis continues to feel more and more like home. I'm really digging that feeling!

Tomorrow, Pumpkin Patch!

16 October 2010

Jamaican Me Crazy

I imagine that a "resort" vacation isn't for everyone, but if all you want is to relax, it's the thing to do.  I have never had a vacation like this! It was incredible!

On to the pictures...

We saw this sign on our way out of Montego Bay. Hilarious!

 This was the view from our balcony. See that pool down there? It was actually a hot tub that we spent a couple of rainy afternoons in. Lovely!

 This was the view from our side balcony.

 This was the view from our front door. I took this picture our first night in Jamaica. We were stunned by the beauty. We actually walked out on the beach, and one of the resort photographers caught us and roped us into an impromptu photo session. He made us do some of the cheesiest poses, including creating a "heart" with our arms, and holding our fingers so that it looked like we were pinching the sun.  We were laughing the whole time! We didn't order any of the photos! (mainly because they wanted an arm and a leg for them.)

 One of the special dinners out on the beach side patio. I had a lobster salad...it was delicious! Unfortunately my throat was hurting pretty badly on this particular night. This was the night of the whiskey!

 And here goes the shot of whiskey! It was absolutely awful! My throat felt better for a few minutes afterward though...mainly because it was burning so much, I couldn't feel anything!

 Later that night, we walked to the resort theater. The talent was...interesting. Now, when Simon from American Idol makes one of his, "you sound like resort karaoke" comments, I will know exactly what he means.

 It gets worse though. Matt was literally dragged on stage and made to dance with this tribal group. Poor poor Matt. I could do nothing but laugh and take pictures!

 These beautiful peacocks roamed the grounds. They were so lovely and tame.

 This is the place where we spent a large majority of our time! This pool was incredible! A swim up bar, umbrellas, huge beach towels, the ocean literally steps away, employees walking around serving water and specialty drinks, my book, my iPod, Matt beside me, a little sun tan oil mixed with the sun block (of course) - it was majestic! I miss it just reminiscing.

 Just about every afternoon around 2 or 3 o'clock, it would rain. We generally stayed at the pool until then, and once the rain started, we'd head over to "Bayside" for their immense lunch buffet. This was not your typical Shoney's buffet. It was fresh and massive and delicious. My favorite part of these lunches was the dessert - banana fosters! Made fresh right in front of us! One of the best desserts of my life, I kid you not! We always sat outside. I didn't want to miss a second of the landscape. It was lovely to watch the rain during these lunches. After we finished eating, we would either read, chat with new friends, or grab a daiquiri and make a run for the hot tub!
 A few of the mornings we went diving, which was included in the price of our "all inclusive." Diving is so expensive, so we wanted to take full advantage of this inclusion. The water was clear and beautiful. Before our first dive, we took a refresher course since it had been a few years since we'd been diving. This was when we realized that Jamaicans have a whole different philosophy on time management! Our instructor spent over an hour trying to configure our equipment while we sat and waited. I tried really hard not to be annoyed! It did get better.  
I only dove twice because of my sinus issues. I hated being sick while I was there, but I tried to not let it slow me down too much. After feeling pain in my forehead after my second dive though, I decided I better stop. Matt dove once more without me, while I read and soaked up the sun poolside.
We also were able to sail, kayak and water ski. Matt and I loved sailing! We wish we had more opportunities to do it. We'd both really like to learn how to actually sail. I'm not sure steering a Hobie Cat around a bay qualifies!
 On the dive boat out to the reef.

 The resort offered several restaurant choices each night. We tried each of them while we were there, and developed a couple favorites. Eleanor's was one of them, so we went twice. The food was superb, as was the wine!

This was just another one of the magnificent views.  

 On our last night, the resort threw a beach party. They set up dinner on the beach, and after dinner a DJ set up and got us dancing. We ate and danced with new friends. We were literally one of the last couples to leave. Afterward, we went back to our room, changed into our bathing suits and took a swim in an attempt to savor our last night in Jamaica. It was serene and I have to say, straight out of a movie! We were the only two in this huge, underwater lit, pool. Such a lovely memory!

 Goodbye Jamiaca! You were everything I'd hoped you'd be and more.