Chicago Marathon 2016

And just like that, marathon weekend was here. Steve, Kai and I managed to be up and on the road Saturday morning before 8:30am, which is huge and highly impressive for us. We made the drive down to my brother’s condo, and didn’t hit traffic until the last few miles where there is always a back up. My mom and Joe had arrived about an hour before us, and Mike and his wife Omoleye retuned home from the store a few minutes after we got there. We decided to walk to a new to them (and us) restaurant for brunch called G & O.

I was boring and ordered eggs, toast and potatoes because I am always worried about how my system is going to handle race day. Steve had a burger and Kai had a waffle. The food was delicious, and I would love to eat here again and order something a little more adventurous. After brunch, we headed back to the condo and put Kai down for his nap. Steve and I then took the train to the race expo to pick up our stuff. We had to walk about a mile from the train to McCormick Place, then what seemed like another mile inside the massive building. We got our packets and glanced at a few things in the expo, but it was very crowded and we opted to be in and out rather quickly.

We walked back to the train and I texted by brother asking him to pick us up at the stop near his house (which we were apparently made fun of for since it is only 1/2 mile, but we already felt like we had walked a ton and I wanted to get off my feet as much as possible). Kai woke up just as we got back and after he had a snack, we walked a couple blocks to a park for him to run around for a while.

We went back to the condo around 5pm so Mike and Omoleye could start making dinner. They made a delicious looking baked pasta dish (which sadly I did not try because pasta does not agree with me before running). I baked a sweet potato and had that with half a chicken breast, sautéed kale and marinara sauce. Omoleye also made a carrot cake for my mom’s birthday which was the day before, which I had to pass on but I did take a piece home after the race. We put Kai to bed shortly after 8pm, and he took forever and a day to fall asleep in his pack n play. We were all sleeping in the same room, so I couldn’t go in and go to bed until he fell asleep, which was well after 9pm.

I had probably the worst night of sleep I have ever had before a race. Between hearing Kai throughout the night, sharing a small futon with Steve, and pre-race excitement there was little sleep to be had. I was already wide awake at 4:30am, 10 mins before my alarm was set to go off. I got up and tip toed out (Kai woke up and said “I cheer mama daddy,” and I had to tell him it was still dark outside and not quite time to cheer yet :))

I drank my coffee, got dressed, made sure I had everything I needed in my drop bag, and around 5:40 I woke up my brother to drive us to the train (thanks Mike!). I ate a banana in the car, and had two more with me to eat at some point before the race. We rode the train with some other racers, and then we were deposited just a block or two from Grant Park. It took us a while to get through the security check and into the park, I think it was about 6:40 by the time we got through. I ate another banana while we were waiting. We went straight to the gear check and dropped off our bags, and then lined up for the port o potties. I got two bites in on my last banana, but I just couldn’t do it. The lines are crazy, and after a while I became nervous about even making it into the starting corrals before they closed at 7:20. Luckily, we got to the front of the line around 7:15. I said bye and good luck to Steve (we were in different starting corrals), emptied my bladder, and made it into corral B just in time, as the national anthem was playing.

Next thing I knew, everyone was moving forward and it was time to start! I didn’t feel very nervous, just excited to run my favorite course on a perfect day. Seriously, it was highs in the low 60’s and clear. The first few miles wind through downtown, and between the tall buildings and running under some bridges, GPS watches don’t really work so it was hard to know what pace I was running. My watch told me I was ticking off miles in the low 7’s, but I knew I wasn’t running that fast. In actuality, my average for the first 5k ended up being 8:07, which was slower than I planned but I was happy with myself for not going out to0 fast.

After the first 5k, my pace dropped into the 7:30’s and stayed in that range through the half way point. I knew that I would see my family sometime just after mile 14, so that was my only focus. The miles were ticking by fast and when I hit mile 14 I got a little choked up knowing I would see them any second. I saw Joe first, as he was a little bit ahead of everyone else, then I saw my mom, Kai, Mike and Omoleye.

I was so excited to see them! I veered off the course so I could give Kai a kiss. He was so cute sitting in his stroller just looking at all of the runners. I am positive he wouldn’t have actually seen me if I hadn’t stopped, and it was totally worth the 5 seconds.

I headed back out with a little pep in my step, but I also knew I wouldn’t see them again until mile 25 (if they could even make it there).

They waited for Steve to pass through mile 14 and saw him a short while after me.

Best cheer squad:

The next couple miles flew by and I remember hitting mile 16 and thinking holy cow, I only have 10 miles to go! (Ha. The foreshadowing. Hint: there is no such thing as ONLY 10 miles to go in a marathon). At mile 18 my legs did not feel great. My pace slowed into the low 8’s, then the mid 8’s. I was struggling, but I knew I could still finish in a pretty good time if I just kept running. Looking back now, I think I was crazy dehydrated from taking in too many salt tablets, despite drinking water at every aid station. I took 5 of them over the course of the race, which is about what I would do if it was 85 degrees outside and I was sweating like crazy. When my legs started to cramp, I took more to try to alleviate that issue (which usually helps), but I think it actually made things worse. I wasn’t lacking in nutrition, having taken in 4.5 gels as well, so I really think it had to do with the salt.

I got a boost at mile 21 running though Chinatown because the crowds there are awesome and there is so much energy. By mile 23, my good old GI system decided to act up on me. I debated stopping to use the bathroom, but I just wanted to finish the dang race and never run a marathon again. I ended up walking most of mile 24. Every time I would try to run, I was moments away from pooping my pants (TMI, sorry just keeping it real), so walking it was. There was an aid station one mile from the finish, and I realized it was either use the bathroom there, or walk slowly to the finish line whilst clenching my butt cheeks. I used the port o potty, felt much better, and was able to run it in at sub 8 min pace again. Around mile 25.5, I heard my cheer squad yelling from the opposite side of the street. I waved like a maniac and couldn’t believe the race was finally just about over.

I was so happy to cross the finish line and stop running. I finished in 3:37:12, about 12 minutes over my goal time. I really thought I could finish in the 3:20-3:25 range. Here are my official splits:

The finishers area at Chicago is huge and probably about a half mile long. I got my space blanket, medal, food, etc. and made my way through to the other side. After another bathroom stop, I picked up my gear bag and walked slowly to the runners reunite area where I would be meeting Steve and my family. It was super crowded and I just plopped down on the grass by the letter C and figured someone would find me. I got my warm clothes on and tried eating a few pretzels. A short while later, Mike and Omoleye found me. I was so glad when they told me that my mom, Joe and Kai were waiting to cheer on Steve (they never saw him) versus bringing Kai into the crowds at the post race area. They took the train back to the condo while we waited for Steve.

Side note: Kai’s favorite part of the entire weekend was riding on the train. He got to do it twice, and both times he didn’t want to get off and wanted to “go fast again.”

After a while, Steve finished and made his way towards the meeting area. He had some problems with his ankle during the race and wasn’t able to run as fast as he wanted to either.


And a photobomb on the way out. We took the train back to the condo, and I was elated to find out that Mike parked his car at the train stop so we wouldn’t have to walk the 1/2 mile back. We called in an order of Thai food on the way back. Steve and I showered and then I devoured two bowls of pad thai. Unfortunately we had to get everything packed up and head home right after lunch. It was after 3pm by the time we hit the road and Kai had not taken a nap. We said our goodbyes and headed out, and Kai was asleep approximately 4 seconds into the drive.

This race was almost surreal for me. I was so excited for it (it had been 8 years since I last ran Chicago!), and then it went by so fast it was almost as if it didn’t happen. Later that night at home, I told Steve that while my legs could tell I ran a marathon, I couldn’t believe it was over and just like that we were home. The last 6 miles of the race were really tough, and all I could think about was how happy I was that I didn’t have to run another marathon for a very long time (or ever). Now I feel like I totally have to do this race again next year. Ha. The course, the spectators, everything about it is just awesome. Until next time Chicago…




Filed under Marathon, Races

A Day in the Life – Summer 2016

Sunday July 3rd, 2016

Steve is 39

Laura is 35

Kai will be 2 in 12 days (hold me)

This day in the life was recorded as we were camping in Door County for the holiday weekend. It will probably be slightly less detailed than usual but I will do my best. Also WordPress editor is being a jerk and will not let me add spaces between paragraphs. Maddening.

7:37am – I hear Kai awake on his side of the camper after rough night of sleep. He was up crying for a few minutes seemingly every hour starting at midnight. I’m pretty sure it’s because he was over tired from camping (this was our second night of three). I change his diaper and get him dressed, and then pour his milk and set him up with his videos in the camper.


8:05am – Kai is ready to head outside, so I help him out of the camper and he goes to sit with my mom. I make much needed coffee for my mom and myself.

While drinking my coffee, I whip up some pancakes on our outdoor camp stove. I forgot to bring syrup, so my mom rides her bike over to my aunt and uncle’s campsite to borrow theirs.

Pancakes are literally one of Kai’s two favorite foods, along with mac and cheese. Today he is being a stinker though, and refuses to eat anything for breakfast until we offer him cheerios.

After breakfast we get ready for a bike ride. A bunch of family members arrive at our campsite on their bikes and we are ready to go. I load Kai into the Burley bike trailer and put his helmet on. He selects a dinosaur, a giraffe, and his yellow car to accompany us on the ride. Kid loves bike rides.

9:00am –  We leave for the ride. We take a scenic road with great views of the water and decide to make a stop at the lighthouse to enjoy the views. Please excuse my sweaty helmet hair.

10:15am – We arrive back at the campsite. My mom and Joe leave to go play tennis. I start packing up all of our stuff to head over to my aunt and uncle’s house. We are bringing Kai’s pack n play and all of his sleep equipment in hopes that he takes a great nap over there so it will be possible to take him to the fireworks tonight. He probably had a snack and watched some videos so that we could get ready.
11:15am – We leave and make the 10 min drive to the house. I get Kai’s stuff set up in my cousin’s bedroom and we hang out for a bit.
11:45am – We walk over to the tennis court/playground area where Kai watches a little tennis before hitting the swing.

Though you can’t see it in his face, Kai loved swinging with Auntie Beth and Grandma Joanie.

We all played at the playground a little longer, just hanging around.

12:15pm – We walk back to house. There is a conversation about the perfect blue sky today, and how we could not have asked for better weather this weekend.

Back at the house, Kai eats strawberries and string cheese for lunch. There is also half of an iced donut on his plate that he refuses to touch. Crazy kid.
12:55pm – Kai goes down for his nap and everyone else attacks some snacks that have been put out on the counter for lunch. We all just hang out for a bit, and I sit down on the couch. I am so tired. I also have no pictures from this entire part of the day apparently. Oops.

2:00pm – Steve leaves to go golfing with a few of the guys on the little community par 3 course. Almost everyone else goes to the pool, and I take full advantage of a quite house by falling asleep on the couch for 30 mins or so. When I wake up, Kai is still asleep and I browse the internet on my phone. I find a sweet pair of shoes that I decide must be mine. You know, for the olympics and such.

3:15pm – The guys are back from golf. I show Steve the shoes and he basically offers to get them for me. He’s a keeper, I tell ya.
3:25pm – I crack open a Mang-o-rita. OMG is is so sweet, like drinking syrup. Not until I am almost done with it do I get the idea that it would be much better mixed with a beer like Corona or something. Too late. Kai is still asleep. I am SO glad he is taking a long nap as he needed it so bad.

4:00pm – Some of the family returns from the pool and my cousin’s dog starts barking so freaking loud. Kai is awake. Oh well, three hours is a pretty darn good nap. I get him changed and he wants to find Grandma of course. I get him a plate of chips and pretzels and he goes out on the deck to eat.

For the next couple hours we all hang out, eat snacks, and drink wine. At some point before dinner we all shower. Normally Kai loves being in the shower with Daddy, but today in an unfamiliar shower you would think he was being tortured with razor blade water or something. He screams the entire time, and Steve does his best to get him clean quickly so he can get out. Very traumatic. I enjoy my solo shower and actually get to shave my legs (it’s kind of difficult in our tiny camper shower). We are all fresh and I hang out on the couch for a bit with Kai.

My cousin Emily and her friend Nicole make banana cream pies and show them off.

6:00pm – The pizza’s arrive for dinner. The family completely demolishes five large pizza’s, two salads, and a vat of mac and cheese. Kai steps up his game and actually eats the Kraft Dinner even though it is not his beloved Annie’s mac. I am shocked, as last time he tried the Kraft he immediately spit it out and wouldn’t take another bite. After pizza we enjoy the pies with whipped cream and frozen custard. Kai says he wants ice cream, but won’t try it when I offer him chocolate custard.
7:30pm – We leave for the fireworks in Egg Harbor. It’s a 10 minute drive, and we find a parking spot that is about half a mile from the target area. We get one block away, and Steve realizes he left his phone in the car. He gets it, and I ask him if he wants to bring his fleece jacket since we are still right by the car. He responds that he’s fine, it’s not cold out. Earlier in the day, some of the family members stopped and set out a bunch of chairs and blankets to save our spot. It was right down in front, perfect.

Kai immediately demands to walk around with Grandma. My mom and Joe take him for a walk and are gone for quite a while.

We hang out in our chairs and drink a beer.

We are right by the water, and the sunset is gorgeous. As the sun sets, it gets chilly and Steve is cold. He walks back to the car for his fleece.

My mom and Joe return with Kai, and we pose for a picture with our firecracker shirts circa 1992. Not everyone still has theirs, but six of us busted them out for the occasion.

I give Kai his flag and try to get a picture of him smiling. Not so much.

Steve plays with Kai, giving him a shoulder ride and then flinging him into the air, resulting in my favorite pic of the day.

Kai plays with his cousins, and is especially smitten with Mason this weekend. Mason is 13, and he is so great with the younger kids, they all love him.

While the big kids do sparklers, we bust out Kai’s dollar store glow wand, and it is a big hit.

9:30pm-ish – The fireworks start. Kai is sitting on Steve’s lap, and after the first few go off, he says “again!” Great, he likes them.

Then they start going off a little more rapidly, and Kai says “turn it off!” Haha. He says it a few more times, then says “I sit by Grandma.” He went down and sat by my mom on the blanket, and then all was fine. From then on we got a running commentary through the whole thing. “A green one. Oh, a red one. White lights, etc. etc.

Towards the end of the show I look down to see Kai sitting with my mom next to Mason, and he is holding both of Mason’s hands. So cute.
10:05pm – The fireworks are over and we walk back to car. When we get there, I decide to lay Kai’s pack n play mattress on the grass and change his diaper and get his jammies on since it might take a little while to get out of there with all of the cars.
10:27pm – We drive back to the house to drop off my mom and Joe at their car. I also run in to grab Kai’s milk that I accidentally left in the fridge. He downs it immediately. We drive back to the campsite and let Kai watch videos for a few minutes while I quickly get all of his sleep stuff set back up.
11:15pm – We put Kai down for bed. I really hope he sleeps well tonight with going to bed so late. Thank goodness again that he had a great nap and we were able to make it though the fireworks. I am so tired at this point, my mom goes straight to bed, and Steve is making a fire. Really, so late? He says it’s our last night and he wants to enjoy one more fire. I agree to sit out there for a few minutes with him and Joe.

11:45pm-ish – I go to bed and leave the guys out there. Pretty sure I am asleep almost immediately. I do not even hear Steve come in to bed. Good night!


Filed under Family, Holidays, Miscellany, Travel

Door County Half Marathon 2016

This past weekend, Steve and I went on a little weekend getaway to Door County and ran the half marathon there on Saturday. Steve got off work a little bit early on Friday, and when Kai woke up from his nap we loaded up the car and headed to Steve’s parents house, where Kai would be spending his weekend. We got him all settled in and hung out for a bit before hitting the road around 5:30.

We originally planned to eat dinner in Sturgeon Bay, but I realized we wouldn’t be there until around 8pm, so I consulted Yelp and found a brew pub in Green Bay instead called Titletown Brewing.


The restaurant was across the street from the actual brewery, and inside of an old train station. The beer was excellent (we both had the IPA), and the food was delicious as well. I had a cranberry turkey melt which was served on freshly baked zucchini bread. Genius.

After dinner we made the rest of the drive up to Door County, arriving in Fish Creek around 9:15pm. We stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house and they have been having problems with their internet, so Steve worked on that for a little bit while I passed out on the couch watching Modern Family. Super exciting start to the weekend!

Saturday was race day, and I think I woke up a little after 6am. The race didn’t start until 10am, so it was nice not to have to rush around. I had my coffee and then around 7:45 I ate a larabar and a banana.


We left around 8:25am and made the 5 min drive to the park. Once inside the park, we had another few miles to drive to get to Nicolet Bay where the race was starting. I was wondering where they were going to park all of the cars, and when we got there we found out the answer – on the campsites! We ended up parking on a site that was really close to the one we camped on last year. We walked over to the beach and picked up our packets, then headed back to the car to wait. It was around 54 degrees, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear arm warmers or not. There was a cold wind coming off of the lake, so in the end I decided to wear them and ditch them on the course if I got too warm. I ate another half of a banana around 9am and sipped on water with Nuun until the race start.


Pretty soon it was time to use the port-o-potties one last time and head to the start. Little did we know, the start was actually a 5 or so min walk from the beach, so by the time we got to the starting area (along with many many others), they had already sung the national anthem and it was minutes until race time. We snaked our way up in front of all of the slower pace groups because I didn’t want to get stuck running around people for the first mile or two. Pretty soon it was go time. I gave Steve a kiss and we were off.

I didn’t have a major goal set for this race. I knew that it was hilly and though I am in much better shape now than I was a couple months ago, I still don’t feel like I am in great running shape at the moment. I figured I would be happy with a 1:40, and my main goal was to enjoy the course. Peninsula State Park is my favorite place in the world to run (and one of my favorite places to be period), so I was excited to take in the scenery and see some areas of the park that I don’t normally get to see.


I hit mile 1 in 7:38, and was surprised to see the 7’s. I felt like I was running over 8 min pace, so it was a nice surprise. The first 4 miles were fairly flat compared to the middle of the course, with some gradual and rolling hills. Miles 2-4 went by really fast, splits were 7:21, 7:14, 7:27. I thought maybe I was going a little too fast, but I knew there were some major hills coming up and I decided to just go with it since I was feeling good.


The biggest hill on the course started just before mile 4 and ended just after mile 5, so it was pretty much uphill for a whole mile. My legs were feeling the lack of hill training that I did, and I knew I was slowing down. I made a new goal to have all of my miles under 8:00. My watched buzzed for mile 5 and it was 8:05. Dang. At least the huge hill was almost over, and there was an aid station at the top of the hill that was run by pirates, complete with a wooden pirate ship. I ate a gel here, hoping it would give me a boost. Miles 6-7 were 7:48, 7:55 and my legs did not feel like they were recovering from the big hill.


Somewhere in these middle miles, my attitude about the race became really laid back, which isn’t like me. I just didn’t really care that I was slowing down. I was still enjoying the course and I guess I kind of decided that I wasn’t going to kill myself in the second half. My stomach was not feeling great (what’s new) and I just didn’t feel like pushing it. Not much of a race mentality, but whatever. Miles 8-9 were 8:01, 7:38. Mile 10 was 8:03 even with the start of a big downhill in there, and then we were back out onto shore road for the last three miles to the finish. I was kind of dreading the last miles thinking they would go by really slow, but they didn’t. In fact, the entire race seemed to go by really fast. Miles 11-13 were 8:02, 7:51, 7:36. Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line.


Official Stats:

Time: 1:40:39, 7:41 average pace

19/943 women

6/169 age group

I am happy with how it went (I did say I would like to run a 1:40 after all, but I would have like to be a little under rather than a little over). I hung out at the finish line waiting for Steve, who finished in 1:48. We walked back to the car to get our warm clothes (it was probably in the upper 50’s at this point and I was freezing). Then we hung out and watched the awards while drinking our free beers from Door Co. Brewing Company.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to the house for beer and snacks. At the house we devoured almost an entire wedge of aged apple cheddar with crackers and then his the hot tub. We also played a game of horse in the pool (I lost) before heading back to shower. We waited for the cable guy to come and luckily he was able to fix the internet problem. By the time he left it was almost 6:30 and I was famished.

We went to dinner at The Cookery because they were one of the restaurants that was offering a free beer to racers. Steve and I split fried cheese curds, pulled pork nachos, and a club sandwich, all of which was delicious.


After dinner we drove into Peninsula State Park again to check out the campsite we have reserved for the 4th of July weekend. On the way out the sun was setting, so we parked and walked down by the water. Imagine our surprise when we saw two huge bald eagles sitting in the tree!



So cool! Once the sun was set we stopped for frozen custard for dessert, obviously.


I am slightly ashamed to admit that I could not finish that turtle sundae. We were pretty beat by this point, so we headed back to the house, watched a movie, and went to bed.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in so badly. Of course I woke up at 6:25, womp, womp. I spent a nice early morning relaxing with coffee and my iPad before I finally woke up Steve because I was starving. We went out to a late breakfast at Julie’s before heading home, and it was just nice enough to sit outside.


I was missing my little stinker pants and couldn’t wait to see him. He was still napping when we arrived to pick him up, so we went in to wake him. Instead of being excited to see us, all he wanted in his tired state was Grammy. Ha. Once he was fully awake he did seem happy to see his parents after all. We hung out there talking to Steve’s parents for a little while before heading home. We had stopped to get flowers for Steve’s mom, and Steve also bought me a beautiful waterfall orchid. My goal is not to kill it like I have every single other plant I have ever owned.


Mother’s Day evening was spend unpacking, giving Kai a bath, and eating Qdoba (for some reason I was craving a burrito bowl). Even though Kai was really acting up last night (I’m sure he was tired and a little out of sorts from the weekend), as I put him to bed I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am to be his Mom. He brings me so much joy and so much frustration and everything in between and challenges me on a daily basis to be the best Mama I can be for him.

I also can’t finish this post without a shout out to my own Mom (we gave her her Mother’s Day present on Friday before we left). She is the most selfless, generous, amazing lady around, and I don’t know what we would do without her.





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Filed under Family, Holidays, Kai, The run, Travel

A day in the life – Spring 2016

Tuesday April 12, 2016

I am 35

Steve is 39

Kai will be 21 months on Friday

4:40am – I wake up from a really weird dream. Jack from Lost is making Kai do some sort of stunt in the jungle (why I have no idea). Then it is my birthday and for some reason I am sad, so some friends decide to take me to Great America. No clue what any of it means, but luckily I am able to go back to sleep.
5:53am –  I wake up again. Ugh. I try to go back to sleep, but I have to pee so it is futile.
6:04am – I finally get up and immediately turn on the coffee maker.  I check our new weather center and see that it is 29 degrees outside. Will I ever be able to run outside without tights and a jacket? I sit at my computer and sip my coffee while checking email, Facebook, etc.

6:28am – Kai wakes up. Man, I loved it when he used to sleep in past 7am. Lately he has been waking up right around 6:30am. I go in and find him standing in his crib. He looks at me like I am crazy for taking his picture first thing in the morning. For some reason my glasses case is on his shelf and he wants it. He plays with is while I change his diaper.

6:37am – I pour Kai his milk and he immediately requests to watch videos, as he does every morning. It’s a bad habit that I’ve let him get into, but it gives me time to get a few things done in the morning and get ready for the day. I make him a waffle and cut up some grapes, all of which he eats while watching his videos.

Also in this time I make my pre-run breakfast of banana with almond butter, jam and coconut, and take my vitamins. Usually on Tuesdays we go to music class at 9:30 and I often run in the afternoon, but today I have a client in the afternoon so I know I need to get my run in this morning. I calculate that if we hop to, I might have time to run and still make it to music class. I get Kai dressed and he plays with his toys while I get dressed and pack my gym bag.
7:52am – I say bye to Steve who is still sleeping since he was working from home last night and we drive to the gym.


8:00am – I drop off Kai at the Kids Club the moment they open. I quickly put my stuff in the locker room and head out the door. My plan today calls for a 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at tempo pace (7:05-7:22), and a 1 mile cool down. After my warm up mile I slowly begin to drop the pace, but I am not feeling it right away. My first 2 tempo miles are 7:35 and 7:26. Dang. During my 3rd tempo mile my girl Brittany Spears comes on with one of my current favorite running songs. When Brittany tells me “you better work, bitch!” I listen. Mile 3 – 7:07. That’s more like it. Somewhere during mile 4 my music cuts out (I use Google Play on my phone). I am beyond irritated that I have to stop and fix it, but I cannot get through the last couple miles without music. The last two tempo miles are 6:55 and 7:07, so I am happy with it in the end. I end up cutting the cool down a quarter mile short and high tail it into the locker room.

I take the world’s fastest  shower, get dressed and kinda sorta dry my hair.

9:15am – I pick up Kai, and one of the ladies that works in the Kids Club tells me she can’t believe the things that come out of his mouth sometimes. Apparently he was identifying all of the colors of different blocks for her as they were cleaning them up (“a red block, a black block”, etc.), my little smarty pants. We hustle to the car and I drink a chocolate milk (recovery drink of champions) while Kai eats a fruit strip on the way to music class, and we arrive right on time.

9:30am – Music class. There are a ton of kids at class today, almost too many so it is a little chaotic. At one point Kai was being chased by this cute little girl Violet. They were running in circles and Kai wiped out. He was crying and when I picked him up he had a bloody lip, poor guy. This was our first of two bloody lips for the day (and the second one was not Kai). A little while later they hugged each other and it was so adorable. I only got one pic of the kids playing after class.

10:40am – We leave for home, and pull in the driveway at 10:44am. Kai immediately says he is hungry and requests another fruit strip. Uh, no. Then I hear him open the fridge as I am putting my gym stuff away. I come back to find him running around with a big jar of peanut butter, which incidentally he is allergic to. He puts that back and then pulls out a yogurt, demanding to eat it. I know for a fact that he is not going to eat it, so I say no and he throws a fit. I finally get him calmed down by letting him watch videos for a few minutes while I make him a veggie burger with strawberries and pretzel crackers.

I also make myself a delicious coffee with coconut cream and scarf down a small energy bar.

11:15am – Kai eats his lunch of a veggie burger, pretzel crackers, and strawberries. Of course he eats all of the crackers first and requests more, but I tell him he must eat the rest of his lunch first. He finishes the burger and strawberries, so I give him a few more crackers. Out of nowhere he says “ouchie tummy” and requests to take a nap (?) but then he keeps right on eating. He finishes the crackers and I give him his milk, which he slams.


He requests kisses on his cheek as I get him out of his chair, and I take the opportunity to snap a selfie with my boy. He then wants to do play-doh, so I get it out for him and we do that for a little bit.

After play-doh, we play with toys for a while and then I ask Kai if he wants to help with laundry.


12:10pm – Kai helps me sort the dirty laundry by putting items in the basket, and we get a load started. Then it is time to get ready for his nap, so we go to his room to read books. He requests “Nemo book” so we read that one. I don’t actually read this one because he won’t sit through it, so I just make up the story with the pictures. I think we also read Little Blue Truck and Color Zoo before singing Twinkle Twinkle.


12:33pm – Kai is down for his nap, but he is talking/singing/yelling up a storm. He probably didn’t fall asleep until 12:50 or so. As soon as I put him down I was starving, so I heated up my lunch of leftover butternut squash and quinoa stew and an apple with peanut butter. I ate at my computer while working on training plans for my coaching clients.


During the rest of Kai’s nap, I switched out the laundry and folded the first load, did some other stuff on the computer, ate an un-pictured piece of zucchini bread, and cleaned up the kitchen. I also got changed for work.
2:25pm – Kai is up. That was not a very long nap for him, he usually sleeps until around 3pm. I go in to his room, and he doesn’t want to get out of his crib right away, which is normal. I sit in the chair while he plays around and talks to me, then I tell him he better get out and get his diaper changed since Grandma will be over any minute.

2:40pm –  My mom arrives to babysit, and I ask Kai if he wants a snack. He asks for pea crisps, but what he really wants it to go outside and swing on the new (to us) swing set. He eats a few bites while my mom puts his shoes on. They head outside as I leave.


2:50pm – I arrive at the office an start the space heater to warm up the room, since the building manager feels the need to keep it super cold. I just have one client today, from 3-4pm. After her massage, we chat and get her scheduled for her next one. Then I quickly change the sheets and I’m outta there.

4:20pm – I arrive home (I LOVE living 5 mins from the office) and my mom and Kai are still outside. Kai immediately runs over, grabs my hand, and shows me where he is “cleaning up” some of our dead landscaping from last year. I get the report that he was in the swing for approximately 40 mins, went down the slide once, and spent the rest of the time walking around the yard.

4:25pm – My mom leaves and we go inside where Kai eats the rest of his pea crisps, and I have carrots & hummus for a snack. I spend a little bit of time on the computer while Kai plays. He has his little plastic astronauts and he keeps calling the blue one Cookie Monster.

4:55pm – I pick up Kai to change his wet diaper, and he hits me in face. I demand that he says sorry, he does and gives me a kiss, the little stinker. He complains that he is hungry for dinner. I tell him that Daddy will be home soon with tortillas to make his quesadilla.
5:00pm – Kai asks for a fruit strip and I say he can have grapes. He wants to eat said grapes while watching videos, and throws a fit when I tell him no and that he can eat them at the table.

5:05pm – Steve is home, hallelujah. Kai finally agrees to eat his grapes at the table and I make his quesadilla.

5:15pm – Kai eats his quesadilla by peeling apart each bite while saying “open… open… surprise!” He got that from one of his videos where they crack open eggs and there are surprises inside each one. I wish I had a video of this, because the inflection he says it with is hilarious. While Kai is eating I change into my lounge clothes, ie. sweat pants and a sweat shirt. Kai is now counting the quesadilla pieces on his plate. I declare it time for a beer, as it is after 5pm. Shipwrecked IPA brought home from Door County over the weekend. Yes.

5:45pm – Kai is done eating, and gets out of his chair to play with his toys.
5:55pm – Kai poops, so I declare it bath time. Steve is about to start his workout on the bike trainer. I sit in the bathroom with Kai while he plays in the bath. He points to his chest and informs me that there are “two nipples.” I swear, I could listen to this kid talk in the bath tub all day long.

6:35pm – He is done in the bath and he requests his monster jammies. We hang out on the couch for a bit which is one of his favorite things. He loves to climb and jump around while Steve or I sit with him so he can jump on us and we can tickle him.


At one point he gets too wild and ends up slamming me in the tooth and lip with the back of his head, thus our second bloody lip of the day. He cracked me so hard I am just glad to not have a loose front tooth. He only cries for a sec, so at least it wasn’t as bad for him. Steve is done working out and sits down to take my place on the couch.


7:00pm – I eat my dinner of leftover baked sweet potato, broccoli and chicken bacon topped with a fried egg and salsa while Steve plays with Kai. Then we allow Kai his beloved fruit strip since he ate dinner pretty early.

7:30pm – I change Kai’s diaper and he gets to watch his 15 mins of tv and drink his milk before bed.


7:50pm – We brush Kai’s teeth (two person job) and then Steve says goodnight before handing him over to me for stories. I thing we read Little Blue Truck again, and perhaps his favorite dinosaur book. I sing Twinkle Twinkle while holding Kai and he sings along with me, which is basically the cutest ever. I put him down in his crib, which Steve had to rig to be lower than the lowest setting, since he proved he could climb right out onto the attached changing table.


8:00pm – I fold the last load of laundry and clean up a little bit.


8:15pm – I eat my nightly dark chocolate while sitting on the couch with my laptop. I spend the next hour and a half or two hours typing this post while talking to Steve and watching Cutthroat Kitchen on Netflix, our latest show addiction. Thrilling night over here, I know.


10:10pm – I go to bed and read a book on my Kindle for a little while until I cannot keep my eyes open.





Filed under Miscellany

Glorious sunshine

We have finally been getting some unbelievably nice weather here in Wisconsin, and we have been taking advantage whenever we can. It has been in the 60’s with sunshine for several days in a row now, which basically feels like heaven. We have been playing in the yard, went running with the stroller (that is harder than I remember, though Kai is so big now that the stroller is easily pushing 60 lbs), and playing at the park.

Kai loves to find sticks on the ground, and once he has some good ones he carries them around indefinitely.

This kid loves being outside so much. Today after his nap he wanted to go outside immediately, forgoing his usual post-nap snack. It looks like it is going to stay nice out for the next week or so, which is awesome. There is nothing worse than having a day or two of nice teaser weather followed by a snowstorm (which I am aware might still happen, let’s not talk about it).

He contemplated the slide for a while, but didn’t end up going down. Last summer he had no fear about going down face first, he loved it. I think once he gets over the initial fear and tries it, he will love it this year as well.

So what else is new with Mr. Kai? Most notably, this kid is so incredibly vocal. He talks non-stop, and his vocabulary is growing every day. He is speaking in short 3-4 word sentences often, and he repeats absolutely everything we say. Everything. He can count to 10 by himself, knows his colors, and can identify tons of animals and make the corresponding sounds. He is like a little sponge, and continuously surprises me by saying something that he heard us say yesterday. He also sings nursery rhymes, which is pretty much the cutest. He doesn’t get nearly all of the words, but he gets the melody right and i can always tell which song he is singing. I guess the time he spends watching his nursery rhyme videos on youtube is paying off. Here is a video of him doing his animal flashcards:

Man, I love this kid. He is certainly a challenge at times, but aren’t all toddlers?

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Filed under Fun, Kai, Nature

Cruising on the Norwegian Escape 2016

Photo credit

The last week in January, we took a break from wretched winter and boarded a ship bound for the sunny Caribbean. It had been seven years (since our honeymoon in Belize) since we took an actual tropical vacation, so I was just a little bit excited to blow the literal popsicle stand that is Wisconsin in winter. We were traveling with my mom and her husband Joe, and my step brother Justin and his family (wife Ashley, kids Ashtin (2) and Lily (11 months)). It was so nice to be traveling with family that has kids the same age as Kai, as he is right in the middle of their two kids.

We left on Friday 1/22 and boarded a 6:10am flight to Fort Lauderdale. We woke Kai up around 3:30am, and though he seemed a bit confused, once he was up and dressed he was running around the house ready to go. We used a private parking lot near the airport that had a valet service for a very cheap price, so we were able to leave our car at the entrance and hop right on a shuttle. We got to the airport, checked in and went through security with no problems. There was a kids play area near our gate, so we let the kids get a little bit of energy out before boarding.

We flew Southwest so there were no assigned seats, but luckily families with small children get to board right after the A group, so there were plenty of seats left when we got on.

Of the whole trip, I was the most nervous about the flights. We took Kai on as a lap child, so he did not have his own seat. The flight down was totally full, so we had another person in our row. She ended up being a super cool lady, a marine going to FL for a drill weekend. She even offered to help with Kai if our laps got tired because she was the oldest of 5 kids and was used to taking care of them 🙂 I was relieved to have an understanding person with us in case he started to act up.

Kai enjoyed looking out the window and watching the de-iceing process. Then he was asleep within seconds of takeoff. I was both surprised and relieved.

He slept for about 40 mins, and for the rest of the flight we kept him entertained with toys from the dollar store and a few small toys from Christmas that we had put away for this purpose. He also watched some videos for a while towards the end. Two other passengers commented on how good he was during the flight, and I was so happy not to have a screaming toddler on the plane. It did get a little long for all involved when the plane ended up having to circle for an extra 30 mins before landing because of weather, but overall Kai’s first flight was a success!

Finally we landed in Fort Lauderdale, got our bags and found our shuttle that would take us to Miami.

There was a small problem when we got to the shuttle, in that they only had a booster seat for Kai instead of a carseat. Justin and Ashley had brought their own carseats, but we didn’t, knowing we couldn’t use it on the plane. Definitely not an ideal situation but there was nothing we could do about it (and carseats actually are not required in commercial vehicles in FL). So Kai rode in a booster seat made for a much larger child, and Steve kept his arm across Kai in case of a sudden stop.

Kai loved looking out the window until he passed out for the last 20 mins of the trip.

Eventually we arrived at the hotel only to be told that our room was not ready yet. It was about 1pm and official check in time was 4pm. I had called the week before to request an early check in, but apparently they couldn’t make it happen. The lady at the front desk was less than helpful and slightly rude, and when I asked about a restaurant within walking distance where we could get lunch, she recommended a steak house. Mind you we are 4 adults and 3 less than happy kids 2 and under. It was raining, but I consulted Yelp and found a Gastropub about 5 blocks away that sounded good.

We ended up having a delicious lunch, and the waitstaff was awesome with the kids. Good choice! We got back to the hotel around 3pm and our room was ready, finally. We stayed all together in a 2 bedroom condo type deal, which worked out well. Unfortunately, the crappy weather stuck around all day so we didn’t get to use the pool or anything. We just kind of hung out, ordered pizza for dinner, and got excited about boarding the ship in the morning.

Saturday 1/23/16 – Embarkation day

This morning we basically got up and started to get everyone ready to leave. We had the front desk call for a cab around 9:30 I believe, and the cab company sent a regular sized car to transport 7 people and a mountain of luggage. After much standing around waiting for a bigger cab to arrive, a minivan finally showed up. It was not really big enough for us, but there’s no way at that point that we weren’t going to make it work. We sat 3 in the back with a kid on each lap and one in the front.

A short while later, we arrived at the port. We got checked in for the cruise and headed to the boarding area where we met up with my mom and Joe. They were in boarding group 4, and we were in 10. We just went in with them and pretended it was all legit. At the boarding gate where they were letting people onto the ship, there was some kind of hold up (mechanical problem with the gangway I think), so me, Steve, my mom and Kai got held back after the rest of our group had already gone on. We waited for another 20ish minutes until they finally let us board. We met up with the rest of the group who had already gotten a table for lunch. I immediately ordered a cocktail and felt like vacation had officially begun.

I also had chicken fajitas which were tasty, Kai had a grilled cheese, and Steve had a burger which he said was not good. After lunch we went to our rooms to see if they were ready, and they were! We immediately checked out the balconies, and Kai was super excited.

His running commentary at this point was awesome. “A ocean! A fish! A cars!” He was so excited to point everything out. The best part about our rooms was by far the balcony situation. Our three rooms were next to each other, and we were able to open the balcony dividers so we basically had one long triple balcony where the kids could run around and we could go from room to room. We hung out for a little while before it was time to go to the safety drill. Kai fell asleep in the stroller and slept through the whole thing, which was perfect. He is used to sleeping and napping on a pretty consistent schedule, but he was a champ about going with the flow as far as sleeping on the whole trip. After the safety drill we headed outside to watch the ship set sail at 4pm, with more cocktails of course. We had the unlimited beverage package which was a promotion when we booked the cruise, so we definitely tried to take advantage 🙂

Bye bye Miami, see you in a week!

Somehow I have no more pictures from this day. We all went to dinner at 6:30pm, and there was a problem with our reservation which involved waiting and a makeshift table for 9. I remember having some sort of steak and ordering mac and cheese for Kai. He was really excited about it until he tasted it and it wasn’t the same as his Annie’s Mac that he has at home. He promptly spit it out and wouldn’t try it again at all. Thus began his weeklong diet of french fries, banana bread, bananas, chips, cereal, and the occasional grilled cheese. He did also eat some sort of pancake or waffle and bacon most mornings, and of course he drank plenty of his beloved milk each day. I’m sure no one was up too late this night, as we were all tired from traveling still.

Sunday & Monday, 1/24-1/25/16 – Sailing

The first two days of the cruise were at sea. The weather, though much better than WI, was a bit of a bummer. It was low 70’s and kind of windy and overcast. It wasn’t ideal for swimming or water slides, but luckily there was other stuff to do on the ship. Each morning the Guppies program had an activity for kids under 3 with their parents at 9:30am. We took Kai and Ashtin to it on Monday, and they got to paint a picture with vegetable based paints. We were very glad we stripped them down to their diapers before starting, and most of the other parents followed suit.

Kai and Ashtin were hard at work on their masterpieces.

Their artwork was hung on the wall when they finished.

There was a very cool ropes course on top of the ship that Steve and I did.

Not my photo

Also not my photo

It had beams and ropes to walk across, as well as zip lines and a plank that literally walked off of the side of the ship and was wobbly (see above). I did not do that part because I am a chicken, but Steve did. The whole thing was challenging but fun. I don’t have any pics of us doing it because we weren’t allowed to have anything at all in our pockets, so we left our phones in the room.

The ship had a bar that was all craft beers, so naturally we hit that up several times throughout the week. I got the Dogfish Head IPA every time, it was so good.

We spent some time exploring the ship and Kai did some laps on the running track to warm up for some Bocce Ball.

Kai and Ashtin both wore their animal backpacks that they got from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas pretty much any time we left the rooms. Kai’s was a monkey and Ashtin’s was a dog, and they both had a detachable “safety tether” (AKA leash) on the bottom. Yes, we put our kids on a leash, and yes, it did come in handy on more than one occasion. Those kids are fast, man. Kai’s backpack held some small toys, his water cup, and some hand wipes, so it was nice to have that stuff along anytime we were eating as well. He loved putting it on because he knew it meant we were leaving the room.

There was a Guppies playroom that was open all of the time where you could take your little kid to play with toys. We took Kai there a couple times, but he only really played in there for 5-10 mins before he wanted to get out of the room and sprint down the hall.

Our first towel animal was a dog notifying us that there would be a time change so we would have to set our clocks forward.

We hung out on the balcony while my mom and Joe went to a show, and we stole all of their bedding to keep us warm.

Monday night, we signed all three kids up for the Guppies Nursery where you pay $20 per kid and drop them off from 6:30-8:50pm so that all of the adults could have a nice quiet dinner. We started at the wine bar where they had a delicious cabernet that I went back for several times later in the week.

We went to dinner in one of the smaller dining rooms, and the service was so.slow. It was awful. The food was great as usual, but we were there what seemed like forever waiting for our food. Around 8:15, our pager went off from the nursery and we were told that Kai wouldn’t stop crying and we had to go check on him. Ugh. I was surprised because he does fine at the gym day care at home all the time, but when we got there he was really upset. I’m not sure what set him off, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to calm down, so we had to take him with us. Now we had one kid at the dinner table (past his bedtime), and still no main course. By 8:40, we STILL did not have our main course and Justin and Ashley now had to pick up there two kids from the nursery because it ended at 8:50. They got back and we now had three cranky kids at the dinner table late at night. They finally brought our main course and we ate, then requested our desserts be sent back to the rooms. They weren’t going to do it for us, but finally the waiter said ok, probably just to get us out of there. The whole thing was ridiculous. Dinner should not take 2+ hours to come out, especially when you order everything (appetizer, salad, main course) at the same time. So basically it was a waste of paying for daycare, since we didn’t even get to enjoy the quiet dinner. Oh well.

After dinner we hung out on the balcony and noticed the very apparent shift in temperature. Warm Caribbean air at last!

Tuesday 1/26/16 – St. Thomas

Around 8am on Tuesday we pulled into port in St. Thomas. Again, having the balconies was so cool because we could go outside and watch our ship approach the island. It was a perfectly sunny, hot day, exactly what I had been waiting for! We had plans to go to Sapphire Bay beach, and meet up with my friend Robin who lives on the island (I know). After eating breakfast at the buffet, we got off the ship. Now, there were open air taxis right there that we could have taken for about $8/person, but my mom said last time they were there they walked “just a couple blocks” and took a bus to the beach for $2/person. Ok great. Well about 2 MILES later, we got to the bus stop, dripping sweat from pushing the strollers and carrying our beach bags. I declared then and there that we would be taking a taxi for the return trip.

We were finally dropped off at the beach, and after walking down a huge hill we were treated with the beautiful Caribbean sand and water.

We got situated under a tree for shade, and waded into the water. True to form and unsurprisingly, Kai was not a fan. He didn’t want his feet to touch the sand. He didn’t want to be held where our feet were touching the water.

He whined and whined until we finally asked him if he wanted to sit in his stroller and he said “stroller! stroller!” So we had the one kid at the beach who just wanted to sit in his stroller. Figures, he is such a pickle sometimes.

After a little while my mom took him for a walk and he thankfully fell asleep for over an hour.

We just hung out and soaked up the sunshine, and a little while later Robin arrived with her two kids.

It was great catching up with her, as I hadn’t seen her since Kai was a little baby and she was in Wisconsin for a visit. Kai eventually woke up, and lo and behold, he warmed up to touching the sand. Before long he was actually enjoying himself with the beach toys we brought.

We ordered some food and drinks and hung out a little while longer before heading back. My mom and Joe opted to hike back up the hill and take the bus again, while we opted for a taxi. It ended up being $10/person, but at that point it was worth it. Steve, Kai and I got dropped off at the shops right by the ship, and we did a little shopping. We were waiting for Robin’s husband Matt to get off work. When he did, we met up again and went to one of the bars nearby for some beers. Kai played with their kids while the adults sipped some cold drinks.

It was great being able to hang out with them for a while, but before long we had to board the ship again.

Bye bye St. Thomas!

This night my mom and Joe offered to go to dinner early and then watch the kids while Steve, Justin, Ashley and I went to dinner. We took the kids to the buffet while they were eating, and then it was our turn.

We stopped for a glass of good wine from the wine bar before dinner, and then had a nice meal without the kids. After dinner, we stopped back at the room to check on things. Kai was asleep, and Justin and Ashley put their kids to bed before the four of us headed to the show that we had reserved at 10pm. The show was Million Dollar Quartet, and it was so good. It was probably the best show I have seen on a cruise ship, all of the actors were so talented. It was about a day at Sun Studios where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins were together for a recording session for the first and last time. The music was awesome, and I stayed awake for almost all of it despite being out way past my bedtime.

Wednesday 1/27/16 – Tortola

When I woke up on Wednesday, we were already docked in Tortolla, and a brief downpour produced quite a rainbow.

My mom and Joe got off the ship bright and early to go on their excursion to The Baths, and the rest of us opted to stay on the ship all day and enjoy the less crowded swimming areas with the kids. We were only in port until 3pm and there was really nothing for us to do on land that didn’t involve a taxi, so the ship it was.

After breakfast, we took the kids to the splash pad for some fun. Again true to form, Kai did not want to be put down or get his feet wet for a good 15-20 mins.

After a while he warmed up to the idea, and before long he was running around.

Lily is just so darn cute with her little teeth.

After the splash pad we dried off and got the kids dressed back in the room. There was some talk of getting off the ship to check out the shops, but in the end we decided to go get lunch at the buffet. After lunch, I decided to take a nap when Kai did, and Steve and Justin went to the hot tub. We dressed up for dinner that night and I literally have no pictures. I’m pretty sure the kids were being terrible and this was the last time we attempted the big group dinner. It was just too much for the kids and they were miserable waiting around at the table for dinner to be finished. The only picture I have of Kai in his fancy outfit. Total fail. Kai had also developed a runny nose this day, which lasted through Thursday and he had a pretty bad cough for the rest of the trip. He probably caught it in the nursery, but what are you going to do.

I think this night involved drinks on the balcony and possibly the bar, I can’t remember. Oh, the vacation life.

Thursday 1/28/16 – Sailing

Thursday was our last ‘at sea’ day, and we spent it enjoying the fun stuff on the ship like the waterslides.

Photo credit

The green and blue slides on the left are the “drop slides,” and the blue one on the right is the tube slide. The yellow slide on the left is a small basic water slide. Steve was most excited to try the drop slide, and I was most nervous. You stand in a capsule, and when the guy pushes the button the floor slides out from under you and you literally fall straight down before going halfway upside down and finally coming to the bottom. The whole thing lasts only 8 seconds, and I don’t think I have ever screamed so loud in my life. It was very cool and we ended up doing it twice. The big tube slide was fun as well. Steve and I went together on a double tube and if you look at the picture you can see a small clear section in the slide. That part is over the side of the ship so you can look right down to the water. I don’t have any pictures from during the day on Thursday, because we left our phones in the room. This one was on the balcony.

After a day of fun, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the balconies.

This was another night where my mom and Joe ate early, and we took the kids to the buffet before going to our own dinner. We also saw another show this night, After Midnight. It was ok, but not nearly as good as the first show and I could not stay awake to save my life.

Friday 1/29/16 – Nassau, Bahamas

We were scheduled to be docked in Nassau from 12-7pm on Friday, so we had the morning to enjoy on the ship. We took the kids to the farewell disco party in the Guppies room where they each got a little stuffed Nemo fish to take home.

The party was complete with music and disco lights, which was cute.

A little before noon, we watch the ship pulling into port. The air was cooler, which didn’t surprise me since we were pretty close to Florida again, but I was bummed that we had left the tropical feel of the Caribbean already.

Steve and I booked a SCUBA diving excursion this day, and the rest of the group went to the zoo. I have no pictures of our dive trip because we didn’t bring our phones, and I never picked up a disposable water camera to use. Really wish I would have, but oh well. The dive trip was not the greatest. It was a 45 min shuttle ride to the dive shop clear on the other side of the island. The first dive was a wreck dive at about 70 feet of water. Steve thought it was cool because the ships were very intact, but I thought it was a little boring. I much prefer reef dives where there are tons of corals and marine life. We did see a big sting ray and a shark, but that was about it. It was windy, so the seas were rough, and back on the boat after dive one I was freezing cold and getting nauseous. I really didn’t want to dive again because I was so cold, but I knew that I would get sick if I stayed on the boat.

The second dive was a “reef” dive, again about 65-70 feet of water. We were told it was one of the top 5 dive spots in the area, and honestly there was not much to see at all. It was less of a reef and more of a mound of sand with a few corals, kind of disappointing. We did see a big sea turtle which was cool, but not much else. It seemed the seas were even rougher when we surfaced, so between that and the diesel fumes on the boat I was just trying not to be sick on the way back in. Once back on dry land I felt fine, and we made the 45 min trip back to the port. Overall, I do not think diving here was worth the money we spent, but then again we have been spoiled with our last dives done in Cozumel and Belize.

The rest of the group had fun at the zoo, where there were apparently a lot of flamingoes.

The boys were wearing their matching outfits that day, but of course it was impossible to get a picture of them.

Steve and I didn’t get back to the ship until 6pm or so, and again my mom and Joe went to dinner first. We spent that time packing since it was already our last night on the ship 😦 When my mom and Joe returned, we put Kai to bed since it was already almost 8pm and he had only napped for 10 mins in the stroller all day. Then we went out to enjoy our last dinner. I sure will miss ordering a 5-6 course meal every night, including chocolate lava cake. Can’t believe I don’t have a picture of that one, as I enjoyed it 6 out of 7 nights. We didn’t stay up too late the last night because we had to be up and off the ship by 8:30am.

Saturday 1/30/16 – Debarkation

I woke up around 6am on Saturday and took a quick shower, then Steve and Kai were up shortly after. We finished packing up our last few things and went to the buffet for one last breakfast around 7:30am. We opted to carry all of our luggage off the ship ourselves because otherwise you have to wait until at least 10am to get your luggage back, and we needed to get back to Fort Lauderdale for a 12:40pm flight.

The debarkation process was very smooth, thanks to Justin and Ashley having an extra luggage strap that we could borrow to make a luggage train with our four suitcases.

Once we were off the ship, we went through customs and found the shuttle we had booked to take us back to Fort Lauderdale. They assured me they had a carseat this time, but when we arrived at the shuttle we saw it was actually a high backed booster seat. Whatever. At least we could buckle Kai in with the full seatbelt this time. We arrived at the airport about three hours before our flight and waited in a huge long line to check in. Then we made our way through security and to the gate, where we had maybe an hour and a half more to wait.

Don’t even care that he’s laying on the airport floor at this point. On Southwest, families with kids under 6 get to board right after the A group. This is huge, because there are no assigned seats on Southwest, so this pretty much guarantees that families will be able to sit together. My mom carried Kai on and Joe carried Ashtin so they could board with us too. The flight was once again totally full, so my mom sat in the row with us, Joe sat right behind on the aisle, and Justin & Ashley’s family was right across the row. This time it took Kai a good hour before he succumbed to a nap, which he needed badly. He slept for about 40 mins again and then we entertained him with some videos.

Back in Milwaukee while we waited for our bags, I let Kai get out of the stroller and after he ran around a little bit he had a full blown meltdown when it was time to corral him and put his jacket on. He screamed, cried and kicked the entire time we walked out to the shuttle and rode the shuttle back to the parking lot. He finally calmed down when he saw our car with his own familiar carseat, and I was glad that it was the only full boar five alarm meltdown of the trip. We made it back home, and it definitely took Kai a few days to adjust to being back on his schedule. The first few days were a little rough with a super tired and crabby toddler on our hands. It was totally worth it though. As always, the entire vacation that we had looked forward to for nearly a year was over in the blink of an eye. Until next time…










Filed under Family, Travel

Kai – 18 months


It’s been way to long since I’ve done a proper update on Mr. Man. Kai is officially one-and-a-half, somebody hold me. He has turned into such a fun, sassy, goofy and smart little guy, it kind of blows my mind.


He hasn’t been officially measured since his 15 month check up, but I believe he is right around 30-31 lbs, and he seems to be taller every time I look at him. He wears mostly 2T clothes, and size 5 diapers.

Kai continues to be a good sleeper, usually going to bed around 8pm and waking around 7am. For a while there he was regularly sleeping in until 7:30-7:45 which was awesome, but lately he has been up a little before 7am, still not bad. He takes one nap a day around 12:45, and will sleep anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours. I usually don’t let him sleep past 3:15 or it will take him forever to fall asleep that night.


Kai is still the pickiest eater on the planet due to his outright refusal to try new foods. His acceptable food list includes mac and cheese (favorite), pancakes, cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, rice, veggie burgers (only one specific kind from Costco) and an occasional bean burrito (again, from Costco). He will also eat any type of cereal or snack food (crackers, pretzels, chips, etc). He will eat an occasional applesauce pouch and very occasionally will try some fruit, but this is his only produce intake. There is one exception in which he will try almost anything, and that is if it is served in a sample cup at Costco. Seriously, things Kai has eaten at Costco include meatballs, quiche, tamales, calamari, pomegranate seeds, black bean burgers, bacon, teriyaki chicken, pizza, and probably a bunch that I am forgetting. These are all things that he wouldn’t touch with a ten food pole if I served them at home. He is such a little stinker. Kid also loves organic whole milk, and goes through a gallon all by himself in less than a week. We have resorted to not giving him his milk until he is done eating his meal, because otherwise he will just drink the whole thing and then not want to eat.


Kai loves taking baths, and runs for the bathroom at the mention of the word. He also loves taking showers with Steve, and tends to throw a fit when it is time to get out. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but Kai’s bath must not contain bubbles, or a complete meltdown will occur.


I am continuously amazed at how smart this kid is, and he is at the age where his brain is a little sponge. He talks all of the time, a lot of babbling still but also a ton of words. He is finally saying Mama and Daddy, though both were far from his first words. He says several phrases such as careful, now (usually when standing on a bed or couch, and he doesn’t say the ‘c’ so it sounds like awful now), all done now, what happened?, and all wet. He says ‘a’ before almost everything he identifies (a ball, a key, etc.). He can identify all of the numbers between 1-10, and regularly stacks things up saying one, two three. He can also identify all of the basic colors, and many shapes. He has a ton of flashcards and can tell you what they all are, and he also loves the First 100 Words book. He loves balls, cars, trucks, and trains. He also loves to roughhouse, he is very much all boy. Every day he says something to me that I didn’t know he knew.


Kai has a very sassy side as well, and loves to mimic our reactions to the naughty things he does. He will regularly pinch us and say ouch, or bite us and say not nice. He will also bang his toys on the floor and say too rough. Kai is obsessed with the vacuum (sounds like ah-keem), and sweeping with the broom (sounds like seep). Sometimes I wonder if he is my child with his passion for floor cleanliness. He still hates having his diaper changed, and usually when I ask if he is wet he says no. He is interested in the toilet (potty! potty!), but when we were at Target last week I showed him a froggy potty seat and when I asked if he wanted it he whined and shook his head no.

Kai is very sensitive to noises, and announces every time he hears a beep or a buzz. He is very concerned every time the doorbell rings, and will babble nonstop about it for several minutes every time. He is also afraid of mylar balloons. A quirky one, he is.


Though Kai is obsessed with being outside (it’s been a little rough since winter hit), he was not too keen to play in the snow. He liked walking around in it, but as soon as some got on his mittens he started crying. I also tried getting out the little sled again this year, and we had the exact same result as last time.


Maybe one day he will warm up to the possibility of outdoor fun in the winter, but for now I am happy not to have to go outside and freeze my butt off. We still go to the gym on most weekdays and Kai enjoys playing in the Kids Club while I work out.


My mom and I took Kai to the Zoo the week after Christmas, and he was a fan. His favorites included the big aquariums and the farm building where he could run around and drive a tractor.


I am sure I am leaving out a ton of stuff, but to sum up, Kai is the best. He makes me laugh every day, and also frustrates me every day. I love watching him learn and grow, and I seriously can’t wait to hear what comes out of his mouth as he starts talking more and more. It is sure to be awesome and hilarious. I will leave you with our attempt at a family photo on Christmas. As always, nailed it.


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