Monday, February 27, 2017

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew had been counting the days until he could be 5 and not 4 1/2.


By the time Andrew's birthday came around, the kids were pros at the present routine. 

One of his presents was the very first Nerf gun to enter this household.  A right of passage for sure.

A certain two year old was still figuring out it wasn't his birthday.  He kept walking around saying, "Where's my bike?"  because he had gotten a bike for his birthday a few months before.  He was not happy when we reminded him the bike was in the garage.  

Another hit was the Lego Star Wars movie.  Andrew is really into Star Wars (like most boys his age), but we mostly read the books.

This kid LOVES bacon.  He got a shirt that said, "I ate all the bacon by snackcident" 

Goodness, I love that smile.


His birthday fell on a Wednesday, so he spent part of his day at school.

For a little birthday celebration, I brought pizza, cheetos, juice boxes and cupcakes to his class for lunch.


Later that afternoon once all the kiddos had been picked up from school, Andrew had Taekwondo (more on that later).

He got a new piece of tape, which is big in TKD world.

We came home and had pre-dinner cupcakes.  And don't all mommies LOVE the colorful icing that stains everything within a 5 foot radius? :)

A little bit later my mom came over before dinner and introduced a second nerf gun to the house.

Unfortunately GiGi did not hear our "don't shoot at people" rule and Andrew ended up with a battle wound.  This sounds terrible, but it was SO funny (even Andrew was laughing).  Apparently the power in these things have changed since my brother was five.

The week before his birthday we discussed dinner options.  After explaining the concept of Hibachi to him, he was sold.  So off to the Hibachi we went.  The Noto clan joined us, which made the night even more festive.

He wanted to start the evening out with "cheers."  I'd also like to note that he said he wanted to "sit by Aimee, not you Mom."



We ordered sushi for an appetizer and let the kids try it for the first time.

Unfortunately, this is about as far as the bites went.  There's just no good way to disguise seaweed.

After appetizers it was time for the main event.  Check out the look on his face.  It was worth every penny just for this picture!


Sister Sue was NOT impressed.  She was covering her face because she said she didn't want to catch on fire.

Preston was a huge fan of chopsticks.  Once the waitress rigged them up for the kids, all three were pretty good at using them.




We sang "Happy Birthday" and my not so little man ate this giant dessert.



He then told us he was going to put on a cooking show.


After we left, Andrew asked if we could eat Hibachi every night for dinner.  We all had a blast and it was a great way to spend Andrew's 5th birthday!

Trip to Punta Cana

In November Maria and I were discussing her upcoming job transition, and the month she would have off in between.  We thought it would be fun to take a trip together, so we planned a trip with Jon and Ryan to Punta Cana.  None of us had been before, and I'm so glad we went!

We rolled the dice and chose to stay at a new resort, Secrets Cap Cana, that had only been open for a few weeks before we arrived.  The location, resort, island and people were ALL amazing and we had the best time!  The flights were long (4 hours), but direct.

I had to laugh, because on the flight in, we were about to land and this was our view.  We could have been in Iowa and not known.

Landed and HAPPY!

By the time we got to the resort it was later in the afternoon.  Cap Cana is an exclusive part of the island, so we were not in the hotel zone.  There was hardly anything around us!




The first night we ate at a Hibachi grill.


The evening was nice, so we sat by the pool and chatted.

Our first full day was devoted to this...

...and this.

As much as Jon and I like traveling together, it's nice to travel with other couples.  Case in point:  Maria and I could sit on the beach like this for hours.  DAYS.  Give us books and magazine, and we're set.  The boys lasted about an hour before they got bored, so they went off to do their own thing.  

They eventually came back with these coconut drinks.


Pouting because we were missing the rest of the fam.  

I don't remember what we had for lunch, but with a view like this who cares.


The afternoon consisted of a nap by the pool.

 We made a vacation foul and picked chairs on the opposite side of food/drinks.  Maria and Jon took turns balancing across the pool wall to bring back refreshments.

This would be Ryan threatening to push Maria in the water, until he realized it would probably ruin the rest of his trip.

For dinner that night we ate outside at an Italian restaurant.

The menus lit up.  Pretty nifty!




The next morning the boys left for a fishing trip and the girls went to the Spa.   This was the spa view...

 And these were the only two pictures Jon took on the fishing trip.  Unfortunately they did not catch any fish.


Once the guys got back we enjoyed some pool time.


YES, this is a swimming pool.  Craziness.

We moved to the beach, and Maria and I joined a yoga class.  

 Jon and Ryan went sailing.


Apparently we're gluttons for punishment, and decided to get a two person kayak to catch up with the guys.  Needless to say, we did not catch them.  One was powered by wind and the other was powered by our sticks of arms.  We could not stop laughing....or move our arms the next day.


After all our hard work decided refreshments were in order.

That night we had dinner at the "fancy" French restaurant.


Let's just say the four of us are not fancy restaurant people.  Everytime they brought out an appetizer/new plate, we got the giggles.  Bad.  These dishes made tapas look like Thanksgiving.




The next day we had booked a snorkel/snuba/speed boat driving trip.  It was also our first time to go exploring Punta Cana.



We boarded the boat (not the pirate ship) and got decked out in out Snuba gear.  After a short ride up the coast, it was Snuba time!


SO.  Jon was super excited about it.  I was not.  I'm claustrophobic, and as weird as it sounds, the thought of not being able to breathe how/when I want to under water sent me in a panic.  I had visions of accidentally swallowing water and not being able to get to the surface.  I told myself I'd power through.

I made it about 5 feet under and started flipping out.  Sigh.  Maria was not a fan either (different apples, same tree).  Instead we took some pictures with our underwater camera.

The guys were underwater for about 15 minutes and loved it.


 Hey, look!  It's Dory!

Next up was driving speed boats.  



Oh my goodness, this was SO SO SO much fun!!  

This excursion ended up lasting a few hours later than we thought, so by the time we got back to the resort we were famished.  And thirsty. 




We had not had beach time that day, so we squeezed it in at sunset.







For dinner that night we at an outside restaurant, then went to the nightly resort show.


Jon loved it.  Obviously.

On the last morning we paid one more visit to the coffee bar.  How neat are these wall decorations?  It was just clipboards with printed papers.

Last day. BOO!



A HUGE thank you to my parents and Aimee who held down the fort so we could enjoy this trip.  While we always miss the kiddos, it was good to get away and we had so much fun traveling with Maria and Ryan!