Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer Recap Part 2: A Mexican Cruise or Babies, What Babies?

In the beginning of August we had an Ellis family reunion sans grandkids, so all of the Ellis kids and spouses (except, sadly, Mark and Aup) made our way down to Galveston for a 5-day Mexican cruise.  I was definitely looking forward to the vacation but was a little apprehensive about leaving my babies for that long.  I don't think I'd been away from them for 5 hours, so 5 days was tough to wrap my mind around.

But, I hoodwinked recruited Cami, a good friend home from college for the summer, into watching the girls while we were gone.  She came over, I gave her the lowdown on the routine/schedule, I kissed my girls goodbye and then walked out the door without a diaper bag, snacks, toys, or babies.  It was quite the shock to my system and I may have been a little teary-eyed as we drove away. 

As the following pictures will demonstrate, however, we did have a great time on the cruise.  Games were played, food was eaten, laughs were laughed, and a lot of great memories were made. 
Rob getting artistic with the camera
Our first port of call was Progresso, Mexico.  We decided to take a 2 hour bus ride to see Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city. 
The bus ride wasn't bad after we got used to the sweat trickling down our backs when the air conditioning stopped working.  And though it would have been nice to have a guide that spoke English with slightly less of an accent (meaning, his "English" was some mix of Spanish and Mayan, with enough English words thrown in to keep the poor Koreans in our group wondering if they were the only ones not understanding)...
The Mayans were into human sacrifice, so we were pretty worried about this huge snake...
... we still had fun seeing the ruins and interacting with the locals trying to sell us souvenirs.  One of the best techniques we encountered happened when we'd casually ask what some dress/bowl/knife/jewelry/toy cost.  The vendor would shrewdly look us up and down, nod to himself and say, "For you, almost free!" 
All of the locals were pretty little, but this was the smallest woman I've ever seen. 
The second stop on the cruise was Cozumel, Mexico.  Our goals here were to do a little shopping and enjoy some time on the beach. 
Lucky "John" Day, Dusty "Rob" Bottoms, and Ned "Emily"Nederlander
First, though, who could pass up an opportunity to pose as one of the Three Amigos?  Not us (obviously)!
This is very appropriate b/c Rob's nickname is El Guapo, and I'm a dead-ringer for Carmen...
After Rob and I walked all the way into Cozumel (b/c we thought the taxi drivers were trying to bamboozle us when they told us it was 3 miles to town) and did our shopping, we met up with some of our crew and went to the beach. 
What's an Ellis vacation without a few games of Wizard?
The sun was shining, the sand was soft, the water was warm and blue, and we were happy to be there! 
The Girls (Me, Kit, Joy, Natalie)
And we realized we were especially happy to be there after we got home, turned on the TV and saw that a hurricane was scheduled to hit Cozumel in the next week!  
The Manly Men (Kevin, Matt, Rob, Darrell)
By the end of the cruise as my body started to remember what life was like when I could sleep in, didn't have any diapers to change, and wasn't always 'on duty', I kind of started to wonder, "Did I just dream this last year??"  Which was a MAJOR sign that it was time to GET BACK HOME!  :) 
The Nice, Normal Ellises
So even though 5 days felt a little long for this new mama to be gone from her babies, we had a GREAT time and were so glad to be with our wonderful family!
The Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking Ellises

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer Recap Part 1: The Oregon Coast or Death (slowly) by Airplane

This July my Dad's side of the family had a week-long reunion planned on the Oregon Coast.  I hardly ever get to see that side of the family, but Rob couldn't take off work and I definitely wasn't brave enough to fly with 2 babies alone, so I thought we wouldn't be able to go.
The Allan-Schneiber Clan
Then my Mom proposed that she could fly from Minneapolis to Houston, and we could both fly from Houston to Portland.  As sad as I was to miss a week of the lovely Houston summer, I jumped at the chance.
The kiddos got lots of 2 on 2 grandparent time
The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was a really fun, relaxing week.  I hadn't seen most of my cousins in about 5 years and couldn't believe how much everyone has grown up.  They were all (of course) enamored with Savannah and Lily, so I got a lot of baby-free time while the cousins and aunties babysat. 
Grandpa-Great and Grandma-Great Allan
The only hiccups came in the physical getting to Oregon and back.  In short, the flights were a killer.  On the way there the girls only slept for about 30 mins of a 4+ hour flight and screamed for at least twice that.
3 very tired ladies--I think my mom was pretty relieved to kiss us good-bye after taking this picture in Houston! 
On the way home we had a similar experience except that after our 4+ hour flight we had to wait over an hour on the tarmac in Houston because of a thunderstorm.  And then I had to wait another 1.5 hours only to discover they had sent my luggage (and my car seats) to MN with my mother.  

So, rather than wait longer and make a bigger stink, we drove the 25 minutes home using my arms as child restraints.   And with about 5 minutes to go, the girls finally gave in and fell asleep in my arms. 
3 VERY tired ladies...
So, all in all I think it was worth the trip.  But I was definitely glad that the rest of our summer plans did NOT involve any airplanes!!   And, in the future, I'm pretty sure my Mom will think twice (at least) before offering to help us fly anywhere.  ;)