Where did the time go from September until now. I feel like we just got back home from our summer getaway in NS. Now, it is almost December.
Samuel Doiron, became the newest member of our family for the last 3 months. I cannot believe that he only has a week left in PEI. We had our last Sunday brunch this morning, and the turkey is in the oven for supper. The first weekend he was here, we went to Anne of Green Gables house. Since then we have been trying to introduce him to various fun things we do I PEI. He evengot to Basin Head on October 5th. I managed to convince Dan and Sam to jump in. Yes it was crazy, but I think they had fun. I know that the other people there, myself included had lots of fun watching them. It is amazing at how close you become living together for a few months. I am sure Dan will have an amazing time in Quebec with Sam’s family.
Work has been busy. I taught Psychology 271: Statistices on Thursday nights this fall. My last class is this week. On top of that my work as a research consultant has continued to be steady. I also started working the the UPEI Psychology Department part-time in September. They have such an amazing team. It has been great getting out of the house a few days a week. I never realized how many social rewards I got from work.
My December focus with be health and balance. I just have to get back into balance, so that I can continue to post to the blog, and have some time with friends as well as work and family. I also need to focus on my own health. January / February is usually when my asthma flairs up, so this December I am being proactive by joining Pam MacDonald’s team to focus on eating well and exercise.
The plan is for me to be posting more regularly now. Talk to you all again soon.
I surprised my husband on his 30th birthday with an all inclusive vacation. I had booked his time off and we left for an all inclusive resort for sun and relaxation. It is over ten years since then. We have stayed at many different resorts in the years since. Moving up the scale from 3 star to five star resorts. I have had my favorites over the years, the following come to mind right now (but I am sure I am forgetting some great spots):
Our first spot Puerto Plata Village. Some great memories and amazing staff in the Playa Doranda complex Puerto Plata Dominican Republic.
The Breezes Bella Costa in Veradero Cuba. We got upgraded to a suite with an amazing balcony and sitting room. I also loved the pizza at lunch.
The Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton near Montego Bay Jamaica has an amazing spa and adults only section. We were only able to afford this the year they were undergoing renovations.
This year is our 20th anniversary. I really want to have a vacation that will give me a more local feel. Maybe a smaller resort or renting a villa for our entire group. I may need something that gives me some more local flavor. I am leaning towards Jamaica, as I love the coffee and jerk chicken. Does anyone have a suggestion that might take me off the beaten path but still be budget conscious?
I am not usually on time, so it is not odd that I usually get to my “Spring Cleaning” in September. Just before school starts is a great time to go through the house. It gets us all organized for the year ahead.
Ask my hubby, I kick and scream harder than our children when it comes to spending a holiday day cleaning. Once I get into it, I find it cathartic. I love to share so books that my kids are finished with go to kids who want new stories to enjoy. Clothing gets passed down to the next cousin. I love seeing a clean drawer or cupboard. Even when I know that by tomorrow it will be a mess again. Better get back at it.
Recently, I was requested to think about an opportunity to work with an amazing team at a local nonprofit. I saw what I could do to help and got really excited about the opportunity. I let my imagination run away with dreams and ideas of what this opportunity could be. Then one night I went to a meeting of a local group. I realized just how much these volunteers did, and how I could become so immersed in their issues. I connected on a personal level with these people. I was not sure that I could disconnect from their needs at the end of the day to focus on my own.
I realized that as much as I wanted to help and be there for the team, this position would take up all my energy. Not just physical energy, but emotions would be involved, and memories that are painful to relive. Not that I would not want to give, but I still have three children at home and a husband that I need to be there for. I have been overwhelmed before by giving too much of myself and could see the potential here, especially when everyone around me would be giving of themselves too.
Even with all those reasons running through my head. I spent a weekend trying to convince myself that I could do it, I was stronger now, and would love to help. Then my daughter had a small teenage crisis, nothing major but she needed mom. Add to that responsibilities of my business and I was swamped. I could not add any additional needs. Especially, a full time position that had the potential for lots of overtime. It was the hardest message I drafted. This person had wanted me to fill this void, she thought I had the skills, and I do. It is really hard to say “N0″ when you want to help. Ultimately, my “no” became about maintaining my good health and my family dynamic.
It was years ago now that I knit a cotton baby afghan for Gavin (he is now in school). I found a recycled cotton yarn and only bought a enough for the blanket. His Mom, Cathy, loved the blanket and used it constantly for both him and his sister. It has worn extremely well for such a favourite. But of course the yarn is discontinued, and I still have not found a cotton that I like the feel of as well as that one.
Recently, a mutual friend, Sheena, wanted the pattern for Gavin’s blanket. I got some Bernat baby coordinates and started another one for my Etsy shop. I do write all my patterns down, but sometimes forget key notes so wanted to work through it before I gave her the pattern. I used some Bernat Baby Coordinates that I found in orange (who knew that orange was tough to find in baby yarn). It will not probably wear as well as the original cotton, but seems to be knitting up fine.
Baby Afghan for Gavin is a great pattern for those evenings when I need to knit but do not want to think.
A new take on the Cinderella… well if Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing. There is the classic stepmother, Adri, and two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. But, in this story, Cinder likes Peony. Cinder is a second class citizen as a cyborg, and really does not know much about her past. Her stepfather, who knew where she came from, is dead.
Cinder is a gifted mechanic, as such, Prince Kai seeks her out to fix his outdated childhood android. Iko, Cinder’s fantasy prone ancient android, is so excited to see the prince. (Iko is one of my favourite characters). Shortly after the prince leaves, the market is shut down due to a live case of plague, so Cinder heads home. Since she is home early, Adri expects Cinder to fix the hover right away. While, her stepsisters get fitted for their custom made dresses, leaving no money for Cinder to get a dress or go to the ball.
Meyer‘s take on the classic story is engaging, and suspenseful, especially when you add the drama of a potential lunar invasion. The characters were well developed, and the plot moved well, with added twists. I was so excited to read the next book that I had to buy the hardcover.
I surprised my husband on his 30th birthday with a trip to Peurto Plata in the Dominican Republic. We loved it. Just getting away to be a couple again was revitalizing. In the years since, we’ve visited the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, and Jamaica. I love getting a little bit of summer in the winter and have favourite aspects of each. We get better knowing what we want to splurge on and what I would not pay extra for.
Dominican Republic will always have a place in my heart. It was the first spot we went. The people were so amazing, and the food was good.I will always remember learning to barter. Of course, it was after I paid way too much for a sarong. Our first two years (2003 & 2004), we stayed at Peurto Plata Village. It is a small resort in the Playa Dorando complex. I loved the entertainment team, the pizza at night, and the beach shuttle. We were so relaxed there. In 2008, we returned to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic but stayed at Rio Mambo. It was a nice resort with a casino included. Although the staff was very friendly, it did not give the cosy atmosphere of Peurto Plata Village, but there were many more amenities and ratings were higher there.
I love the Cuban people, especially the well trained staff. Their cigars, and rum aren’t bad either. However, I find their food is not as spicy as I would like. In 2005, we tagged along on Mark & Cathy’s honeymoon at the Iberostar Daiquiri, on Cayo Guillermo. This is a little island with just a couple of resorts on it. It was a very quiet relaxing place to get away. Many of my group walked to the local bowling alley one night, they had a blast. But by far the best deal of the trip was $20 US paid for VIP service in the airport on the way back. We got food and drink in the airport while we waited for our flights. There was a private lounge with couches, and we walked onto the plane before the rest of the flight. In 2006, we went to Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca. I loved the late night bar and the pool bar, especially the bartenders. They really made you feel at home. In 2011, we stayed at the Breezes Bella Costa in Varadero, Cuba. I was amazed at the service, and their food was much better than anywhere else we were in Cuba. We got upgraded to a suite with a sitting area, and our every need was anticipated. You have to go for the pizza at lunch, you get to choose your own toppings and watch it bake. I still drool a little thinking about it.
Mexico is great. It is more americanized than the other countries. You see familiar chains when you go to town. We have only ever stayed in the Yucatan. You must go to some of the Mayan ruins. I did love Tulum and Coba (especially seeing where the jungle still covers some of the ruins). In 2007, we went to the Mayan Riveria to stay at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba. It is one of three Bahia Principe resorts grouped together on site. I loved the three-story villas where our rooms were. It was such a clean hotel, and staff were amazing. I loved the shuttles. It only took a short time to get figure out where to go. Our most amazing meal was at the Mikado restaurant. The Hacienda Doña Isabel was great at night, especially the Fiesta Mexicana. It was situated away from the villas, so those of us who wanted to stay up late did not disturb people who wanted to sleep. In 2009, we stayed at Grand Bahia Principe Coba, again, this time for a wedding. They really know how to do things up for a special event. I was so impressed.
To date our favourite escape is Jamaica. I love that there is no language barrier, the laid back attitude, and of course their jerk chicken. In 2010, we stayed at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton. I absolutely loved their steam room and spa. The adults only section was great for those of us who left our children at home. Their food was amazing, especially the jerk chicken at lunch. This year we are flying with West Jet and staying at the Bahia Principe. We have stayed a couple of times at Grand Bahia Principe Coba (in Mexico), and really enjoyed it. I hope that the Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica can live up to my expectations. I know that the Bahia Principe chain is great too. I am so excited to be returning to them. I think there will be lots of fun things to choose from.