Thursday, February 28, 2013

When I Grow Up

Tory and I were watching PBS' Dinosaur Train the other day and I remembered my childhood aspiration to be an archaeologist when I grew up. When I was little, we'd visit the local Children's Museum and there was a dinosaur fossil table kids could dig and find fossils (which in hindsight I realize was likley sand and rocks). Of course, I never grew up to be an archaeologist because math and science are not my bag, but it got me thinking about what I want to do when my career as a stay-at-home-ends.

Financially permitting, I plan to be a stay-at-home-mom for several more years, so it's not like this decision is pressing by any means. I'd like to have the opportunity to raise my kids at home until the youngest child enters school full-time. Then I envision myself re-joining the work force. With all this contemplation, I realized I'll have the unique opportunity to reinvent myself and start down a completely new career path if I choose. 

As a (future) 40-something woman... what do I want to be when I grow up (again)?

If I had to decide today, I don't think I'd go back into Marketing. Strange, I know, because it comes to me like second nature. There's little math involved (which is good because I stink at it) and the only science is the skill of bull-shitting. Ha! I like to write, so I could do something similar to my old job where I wrote many internal reports and publications. For some reason though, that sounds as exciting as watching paint dry.

In recent years, I've developed an interest in the environment and as my past employer's sustainability leader, I have some experience influencing the corporate world in this area. Andi often says I should be an environmental consultant and then I could work from home/set my own hours/projects base, but I don't know.... I'd definitely need to go back to school and obtain some sort of degree in sustainability.

Having recently experienced pregnancy and child birth, working as a Labor and Delivery Nurse sounds intriguing. There's the part about math and science which would be needed to get the degree to do the job, so that's likely a big fat NO. As amazing as helping parents through the life-changing experience of having a baby sounds, I also imagine it would be a pretty tough job to assist families who don't show great care for their babies or worse, the event of infant death or tragedy.

I also think Massage Therapy sounds interesting, but I know my husband would say I give the worst massages in the world. Also, touching icky people would be ... icky.

I'd love to become a Graphic Designer and have the ability to use my creative side with my Marketing background. I don't think I'd want to work for an advertising agency, but maybe a company where I'd design internal pieces like brochures, flyers, etc. On a personal side, it'd be nice to have design skills to use on party invites and household projects.  

When I was little, I also wanted to be a Meteorologist. Again with the math and science thing ... so, probably not.

Sometimes, I think I want a mind-less job where I could just show up, do the work and come home without feeling like work was following me. Wouldn't it be nice to report to work at 8:00am and punch out at 5:00pm, leaving it all behind? Then again, I wouldn't have the flexibility of my past jobs where I could leave work early for appointments or come in later when needed. I guess there's benefits to jobs in both worlds.

It feels crazy to have this "pause" in my career to care for my kid(s). I love what I'm doing today, but I can't help but wonder what's in store for tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Put a Spring in My Step

I might be one of the few people not rushing winter out the door. I actually love living in a place with four different seasons because there's always something new to experience; the novelty of different activities and various types of clothing that won't hang around too long. Since I'm not faced with the dread of a slow, white-knuckle commute to and from work this year (my absolute least favorite part about this time of year), I find myself wishing for more snow to visit our neck of the woods. Bring it, Mother Nature! We want to go snowmobiling!

The cabin has helped Andi and I to embrace winter weather this year. We've spent many of our recent weekends ice fishing on the lake, pulling Tory in her pint-sized toboggan and taking beautiful rides through the snow-covered woods in the Ranger. As long as the temperature stays above 20 degrees and it doesn't physically hurt to be outside, I'm all about the snow staying around through March. I haven't felt stir-crazy at all this winter because we've taken advantage of the season and spent a lot of our time outdoors.

That said, I'm definitely ready for Spring indoors. December filled my house with pretty Christmas lights and warm reds and woody decor. January felt cold and stark in comparison, after all the Christmas pretties came down. I decorated for Valentine's Day by the third week in January just to bring some color back into the mix. Tory helped by adding homemade valentines all around the house. Now that February's almost over, the pink and red hearts had to go. My house is left feeling bare and boring.

So, bring on the Spring decor! This week, I busted out the Easter decorations (I decided to skip over St. Patrick's Day all together since Easter is so early this year) and now everything around here feels so fresh and happy.

I made an Easter egg tree like many of those I've seen floating around the Internet. First, I drug a step ladder and a garden hoe out of the garage and over to the birch tree in our front yard. There's a big branch lodged in the center of the tree so my intention was to climb the ladder, swing the garden hoe at the branch and knock it out of the tree. Turns out, my step ladder was too short to reach the branch but I was able to knock a few smaller twigs loose with the garden hoe. I *may* have looked like the neighborhood idiot standing in my drive-way swinging a gardening tool in the air but it worked like magic and I was able to shake loose a few perfectly-sized twigs for my creation.

Next, I gathered a clear flower vase, some plastic Easter eggs and raffia ribbon from around the house. I was pleasantly surprised to discover plastic Easter eggs have two holes in the top of each egg, so it was easy to thread the ribbon through each hole and tie a knot inside the egg. I let Tory hang the eggs on the branches because, as per usual, she was already sitting on the dining room table anyway. Last, I filled the vase with candy jelly bean eggs and voila! Super cheap and festive Easter table centerpiece.

I also changed out my table runner to my spring-y green and white one and it really helped to brighten up the kitchen / dining / living room. Tory loves the egg tree so much! It's no secret, plastic Easter eggs are one of her favorite toys and now that they decorate our table, she points to (and messes with) them all day. (It is not the greatest decoration to reinforce my commands to stay off the table, however).

To continue the spring theme, I bought this adorable bunny for $14 at TJ Maxx the other day. I haven't bought a new piece of home decor in forever, so I felt like I could justify something new for spring. I have no idea why I love this bunny so much, but he makes me smile every time I see him. I added silver candlestick holders, which used to be displayed on my dining room table, and changed out the candles from dark red to cream-colored ones. Finally, I added white and green potpourri which I already had to a clear square vase and poof! New Spring touches to the living room.  

Finally, I splurged on a bouquet of hydrangeas at Trader Joe's yesterday and added them to an existing water pitcher I had stashed in the cabinet. Paired next to an Easter bunny candy dish I bought years and years ago, it brightens my entire kitchen. I'm not usually one to buy fresh flowers (although I do love having them in the house) but my parents are visiting this weekend and I wanted to have things nice for them. They really do make me feel like Spring is on its way.

For a total of $26 ($14 for the bunny rabbit, $5 for the flowers and $5 for the jelly beans candies), I added three points of fresh spring decor to our home. In doing all this, I forced myself to re-purpose items I already had on hand (potpourri, candles and candlesticks, sticks, vases and water pitchers) and use them in ways I hadn't thought of previously. I've had a big itch to re-decorate our basement family room, specifically the built-in bookshelves and fireplace mantle, so I'm going to scour Pinterest and see what other I ideas I can come up with on the cheap.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

While We Were Away

I've had a bit of writer's block since we returned from our Mexican vacation. Turns out, the mundane details of life seem less blog-worthy when you've just spent five days by the ocean where people waited on you hand and foot.

Not much new around here since we returned from our trip. Our office in the basement is back to normal after the pipe burst inside the wall the week before our trip. It was a cluster dealing with the clean-up company, as per usual with those sort of things. It's all said and done so whatever, but I did learn a few things about dealing with contractor-type people. (AKA: get every word they say in writing, less one worker tell you one thing and another one completely jack up the estimate days later because "that guy shouldn't have told you that"). I felt embarrassed Andi had to call and complain to the company after they were giving me the run-around because he asked me to handle the project but whatever, it's done and over. I will be writing an Angie's List review on our experience since that's how we discovered the company in the first place.

In other flood-related news, we returned home from the cabin yesterday afternoon to find our entire garage flooded with water. Somehow a pipe valve got turned "on" while were were away this weekend (??) and when we opened the garage door, water poured out of there. Thankfully the water was contained to our garage only (strange) and the valve seemed to have just been turned on (even stranger since no one was here and our garage was locked) but no harm done. February shall now be renamed "Floodageddon 2013."


In other more adorable news ...

Andi dumped photos off his camera last night and found these gems of Tory, Grandma and Grandpa while we on away on vacation. It makes me happy to see how Tory spent her days while we were on vacation. Honestly, it wasn't hard leaving her for a few days because I knew she was in such capable hands with Andi's family. We're so lucky to have them in our lives.

Here is Tory's weekend in photos while Mommy and Daddy were away:

Painting a new water color picture she received in her Valentine's gift from Mom and Dad

Cheese face

Playing outside in the snow with Grandpa Jim

Sledding in her pink cowboy boots - Ha!

Reading the newspaper, as one does on the weekend

Typical Tory face when she doesn't want her picture taken

Welcome home Mommy and Daddy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ixtapa, Mexico: Day 5

Day 5: the last day of our Mexican vacation.

We woke up late Monday morning and ordered breakfast from room service one last time. My final chance to drink coffee when it was still hot, to sit back and enjoy my meal at a leisurely pace. Once we're back home, I'll be shoveling a bite of frozen waffles in my mouth while unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up yogurt smeared into Tory's highchair and balancing a babbling toddler on my hip.

After we ate, Andi and I checked out of our hotel and hopped in a cab to Zihuataejo. Andi signed us up for a Mexican cooking class at Patio Mexica restaurant. Monica, the cooking instructor, warmly welcomed us into her open-air kitchen located behind the restaurant. It's quite an amazing establishment she runs - everything's outdoors including the restaurant seating on a shady patio and the small kitchen and the cooking area behind the restaurant for her class instruction. Today, we learned how to make five different types of chili rellenos (stuffed chiles). 

First, Monica demonstrated how to roast the poblano and jalapeno chili peppers over the gas fire. Once roasted, we peeled the charcoaled skin from each, then stuffed them with fresh Mexican cheese.

Andi peeling the ancho chili pepper

Forgive me if I'm the only one in the world who didn't know this, but I learned a poblano chili is called an ancho chili when roasted and a jalapeno chili is called a chipolte pepper when roasted. Interesting!

Next, Monica worked over the stove to prepare a ground beef and pork mixture for stuffing for Chili Enogada and demonstrated how she prepared a tuna salad mixture for the others.

It was amazing to watch Monica work in such simple conditions. With just a small gas stove and one or two pots, she was able to prepare a feast for the 12 class participants.

For Mexican salsa used in these chili dishes as well as enchiladas, Monica blends onion and garlic together, then mixes it in a saucepan with fresh (or canned) tomatoes and lets it reduce. The secret to perfect Mexican salsa, she said, is a pinch of cinnamon with cumin and pepper as desired. How much better would this be to make than buying canned enchilada sauce at the store?!

Finally, the last step in preparing Chili Rellenos Poblanos was to dip the stuffed chiles in batter and lightly fry them in hot oil. Each of the class participants took a turn dipping and frying.

My turn at making Chili Rellenos Poblanos

The Mexican cooking class was a great experience and something very authentic to do in our last few hours in Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo. After the class, Andi and I killed the last 45 minutes before the airport by walking around the pier and having one last cerveza by the ocean.

A fabulous few days spent with the man I love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ixtapa, Mexico: Day 4

Andi and I decided to take it easy on our fourth day in Ixtapa. (As if our vacation has been all that taxing. Ha! It definitely been the most relaxing few days we've experienced in some time).

Our morning wake-up time has become increasingly later each day of vacation. Today, we woke up at 8:30am and finally made our way down to breakfast at the hotel restaurant 45 minutes later. I ordered the usual - fruit, house-made granola, and lovely buttery, flaky croissants while reminding myself to keep my eating in check. My stomach is seriously so full from all the delicious food we've been eating. Andi branched out with a breakfast bruschetta dish, topped with marinated chicken, red salsa and sour cream. Capella also makes the most delicious freshly squeezed fruit smoothies and juices for breakfast. I've become hooked on the "Green juice," a mixture of a few different green fruits and veggies (one of them cactus!). Andi likes the Capella sunrise.

Healthy breakfast smoothies and juices

We hurried through breakfast to claim prime spots by the pool for today's relaxation adventure. Free for the taking, Capella has private cabanas to use, you just have to get there first. We wanted a cabana all to ourselves and once we secured it, we spent the better part of our day curled up on the comfortable lounges. Both Andi and I were still fairly sunburned from the first day in Ixtapa, so the shady cabana was just what the doctor ordered. It was as glamorous as in my dreams - a straw roof, complete with a ceiling fan to keep the warm breeze moving over us and a waiter to bring us beverages and snacks all day.

I read What Alice Forgot, cover to cover, under the cabana while Andi finished his book Wild laying right next to me. I can't remember the last time I so lazily laid down and devoured a book in one sitting. I didn't think it was in Andi's DNA to sit still for so long, but he did it! At one point, I looked over at him and he was fast asleep and it made me beam from ear to ear. It feels so good to see Andi relaxed because he works so hard most of the time. He deserves it!

For our last night in Ixtapa, we decided to have a fancier dinner at La Casa Que Canta. Once again, my romantic husband rented the entire restaurant for our dining pleasure! Just kidding. Apparently, we're the only people in the world who like to eat dinner before 9:00pm. Andi and I were the only people seated on the restaurant patio, with sweeping ocean views as we watched the sun go down. Fine by me, is all I can say. It was a lovely dinner, just the two of us. We shared a sampler platter of tuna ceviche, caprese salad, sashimi and toasted house-made breads. For dinner, Andi ordered a dual plate of seared tuna and shrimp and I had a filet with chicken tortilla soup on the side. It was all delicious. (I know I say everything was delicious but all the food we've eaten has been so good!)

Sunset dinner

Sampler platter

The happiest girl in the world

Last day in Mexico tomorrow...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ixtapa, Mexico: Day 3

Andi and I had the best time on our third day in Ixtapa.  We started with room service on our hotel room balcony, listening to the ocean waves roar below us and carving out plans for the day ahead. We have been so spoiled with food on this trip. There hasn't been time for either of us to feel hungry because every time we turn around, we're eating something deliciously prepared for us again. For breakfast, Andi ordered the enchiladas again, with fruit and coffee. I tried the chilaquiles (tortilla chips with shredded chicken in red sauce, topped with sour cream, cheese, onion and cilantro). They were a bit more mushy than I'd envisioned, but still tasty.

Our breakfast spread



On this day, we decided to adventure to Ixtapa Island. The pier was a five minute taxi from our hotel and a completely different experience than anything we'd seen in central Ixtapa or Zihautanejo.

Upon first arrival at Ixtapa Island, we saw the usual shops selling t-shirts, magnets and other random crap vacation trinkets which we bypassed right over. Andi had read on Trip Advisor the area was known for pushy salespeople, so he gave me the usual "keep your head down and stay close" pep talk. Luckily, no one really bothered us. We've both been pleasantly surprised how genuine and helpful the local people of the area have been to us on this trip.

As we walked along the road to the dock area to catch our ferry to the island, we passed a chain link fenced-in area with a sign saying "cocodriles en estado natural." I don't speak Spanish, but I gathered enough to determine there were crocodiles in the swamp, just 10 feet away. I was fascinated.

Natural crocodile swamp habitat

Andi had to peel me away from the fence post. I could've watched them wade around for hours.

Alas, the beach was calling our name so we walked down to the ferry boat and paid 80 Pesos (or $6 roundtrip for two tickets). It was one of the traveling situations when we're completely out of our element, crammed in a tiny boat with ten other locals. What do you do, but just roll with it? I sat back and enjoyed the 5 minute ride along the ocean.

Somewhere along the way, a guy named Ismael started chatting with Andi. He works on the island at Playa Coral and took to giving us a quick tour when we arrived. Ismael was the nicest, most hard-working guy. Actually, there's a lot of people we've encountered here that seem this way. Ismael got us set up on Coral Beach, dusting off a few lounge chairs for us and dug a hole in the sand for a big umbrella to shade us.

Andi enjoying the sunshine and relaxation

Ismael brought us a few Coronas and asked if we'd be interested in lunch a bit later from his restaurant. How could we even think about eating again! Yes of course, we said, and asked for his lunch menu suggestions. A few minutes later, Ismael brought out a giant tray showcasing today's fresh catch of red snapper, lobster, shrimp and mackerel. We selected red snapper for lunch and Ismael said the restaurant would prepare it BBQ'd with fresh guacamole and rice on the side.

Andi and I rented snorkels from Ismael for 60 Pesos and spent most of the afternoon alternating between beach reading and swimming in the ocean. The snorkeling on Playa Coral was great - the water was much calmer here than in other parts of Ixtapa and clear blue. Andi was so proud of my snorkel capabilities on this trip because I usually spend the first 10 minutes in the water flailing around, drinking sea water and having a mini panic attack as I acclimate to breathing underwater.

At some point, we decided it was time to eat and placed our lunch order with Ismael. Andi ordered a coconut in the meantime, and we laid around and read some more.

Soon, our lunch was delivered chair-side and both Andi and I were floored with the spread. Our red snapper had been butterflied and grilled to perfection. It was the best meal we've eaten in Mexico.

A while later, we left Playa Coral and headed back to the hotel. Andi ordered churros and ice cream from room service (Really? How can we seriously eat another bite!) and we lounged around our room a bit before dinner.

Andi wanted to watch the sunset along the beach somewhere in Ixtapa, so we cabbed into town. We asked to be dropped off at the marina but turns out, it wasn't the best place to watch the sun go down. As we were walking along the road, a guy and his wife stopped and asked if we wanted a ride into Ixtapa. I was surprised when Andi jumped right into the car (did he even look to see who these people were?) but he said later he'd been reading the book Wild on the beach and it didn't seem like a big deal to hitchhike a ride with these nice people. Ha! Luckily, our escorts Joe and Nancy were very nice folks from Chicago who winter in Ixtapa six months out of the year. They invited us join them for dinner somewhere in Zihautanejo but we politely declined and instead, decided to walk along the beach.

Ixtapa sunset

After sunset, Andi and I hopped in a cab to Rufo's Grill, a cute patio cafe with Christmas lights and a relaxed vibe. The restaurant was full of American tourists and many walking along the streets nearby. We couldn't quite figure out why so many Americans were around this area, but it seems like many of them were snow birds living down in Mexico for the winter. A favorite local joint to have dinner, perhaps? It was somewhat comforting being around familiar people talking about Nebraska and Minnesota anecdotes. At Rufo's, Andi ordered a rib eye steak for dinner, served with roasted zucchini, tomatoes and bell peppers. I had the cheese quesadilla with chips and salsa. We couldn't get over the one-man band playing the electronic keyboard for the restaurant's entertainment. This guy was so, so into his music with head-bobbing and theatrical hand movements along the piano keys. Andi swore at one point he laid his head down and began to play with his cheek. We had to fake a "take a picture of me and my cheesy grin while you actually snap a photograph of the guy behind me" photo to capture the moment.

After dinner, we walked around the neighborhood of Madeira Beach for a bit before heading back to Capella. We had the perfect day in Ixtapa / Zihua: a mixture of adventure and relaxation. Vacation mode has set in and Andi and I have constant smiles, are enjoying lots of laughs and are truly loving our time together.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ixtapa, Mexico: Day 2

Day 2 of our Ixtapa vacation began with a very late start to our morning. Andi and I slept for twelve straight hours Thursday night. TWELVE! I can't even remember the last time I slept until 9:00am and was afforded the luxury of leisurely laying around in bed. It is no surprise to anyone who knows me, I prefer to move at my own pace in the morning so this was one of vacation's most simplest pleasures. Absolutely delightful.

When we finally got our butts in gear, Andi and I had breakfast at Las Rocas restaurant within our hotel. Breakfast is included in our room package, so I choose Option #1: fresh fruit, granola and a selection of baked breads. The fresh croissants were particularly wonderful. Andi selected Option #2 and when he asked to substitute his eggs for enchiladas, the hotel staff happily obliged. It's one of the greatest parts about staying at Capella so far; the staff here does whatever they can to make our experience the best it can be. Andi's authentic enchiladas were deliciously warm and flavorful. He raved about them all day long.

Enjoying a beautiful outdoor breakfast.
Color-coordinating with the flowers - total coincidence.

Next, we staked a spot in comfy lounge chairs by the pool where we spent the next few hours alternating between wading in the pool and laying in the sun. Unfortunately all the umbrellas were being used, so we lathered ourselves in sunscreen and hoped for the best. Oh, stark white Minnesotans, what a mistake! Around 2:00pm, Andi and I both knew we needed to peel ourselves away from the sun. My chest and Andi's back were beet red, despite our best efforts at repeatedly and generously applying sunscreen. The hotel staff did do their best to keep us cool in the hot sun with complimentary poolside frozen hibiscus pops. Nice touch.

We decided to venture into nearby Zihuatanjeo and putz around on La Ropa beach for a few hours. By luck of the draw, we had a fantastic taxi driver named Thomas who spoke perfect English and gave us a quick little tour of Zihua on his own goodwill before dropping us off at the beach.

Playa la Ropa Overlook 

Once at Playa la Ropa, we stopped at La Perla restaurant for Coronas and lunch. Andi and I split guacamole and chips (because I'm quite obsessed) and chicken fajitas. Perched at the bar, the people watching was excellent and the music was pumping with a mariachi band performing in the sand.

Next door to the restaurant, a beachside massage parlor was calling our names so we stopped at Yadi's Spa for a little pampering action. I was fully expecting a half-ass 15 minute massage because beach treatments are never really that great, but I was surprisingly mistaken. Our 60 minute massage (for 200 Pesos or $15 each!) were pretty fantastic. I'd left my wet swimming suit back at the hotel and changed into regular clothes by this point so it was a bit awkward laying on a beachside table stripped down to my underwear somewhat (but not really) protected from the random slue of people walking the beach and restaurant patrons next door. Half-way through my massage, I decided not to care and enjoyed the pampering. When we were finished, Andi outwardly laughed at my fro-hair standing straight up from my head. The massage lady ran her lotion-covered hands along my scalp and I was left feeling super greasy from head to toe. A shower was definitely in order, so I convinced Andi to head back to the hotel to clean up a bit before dinner.

Private / not-so-private beach massages

Greasy beast, but relaxed

Playa la Ropa

Freshly-made guacamole, tortilla chips and two local beers awaited us in our room when we arrived back to the hotel. I was seriously stuffed by this point, having eaten so much food on this trip, but I made room for a few more delicious house-made tortilla chips. We changed and made our way back into Ixtapa for dinner, then drinks with Andi's business partner who happened to be vacationing nearby.

Andi was craving fresh lobster and I was too stuffed to even think about eating again, so he chose The Lobster House for dinner. The restaurant had overlooking views of central Ixtapa, so we watched tourists on the streets wander in and out of nearby restaurants, bars and local shops as we ate. Andi ordered a grilled lobster with butter and I ate chips and guacamole with a side salad because I felt horrible for the waiter not to order anything to eat at all.

Andi's Lobster dinner

After dinner, we met up with Tom and Niki and had beers at a few bars in town. Everyone says to visit General's Sports Bar where a lot of Midwestern tourists gather, but it was packed so we went to a few others instead including one tree-house bar and Beer Planet. At the second place, the bathrooms were discusting enough to make you hold it, they didn't have any limes, were out of Corona and the service was horrible. (Great beer joint, eh?) ... But! While we were sitting on the patio, we say a guy unload a giant truckload of tuna fish, just caught in the ocean. Andi grabbed his camera and went to investigate. Their size was unreal.

A great end to Day 2 in Ixtapa.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ixtapa, Mexico: Day 1

Andi and I left Thursday morning for our vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico. We drove to the airport amongst a few inches of fresh, dense snowfall and bumper-to-bumper traffic. If that doesn’t say “ready for vacation,” I don’t know what does.

I was perfectly fine leaving Tory in the care of family until the night before we left for our trip. Then, the butterflies in my stomach set in and I felt anxious about leaving her for even a few days. I knew she’d be in capable hands, but still. I was really going to miss her.

We arrived in Mexico around 2:00pm Thursday and took a taxi for the 30 minute ride from the airport to our hotel, called Capella. A free bus shuttle was included in our room package but knowing Andi and I, that just wouldn't fly. A giant bus full of tourists, making stops at a dozen different resorts before reaching ours or, a $40 taxi ride by ourselves directly to our destination? Money well spent.

Just an hour later, Andi and I were having a bite to eat at one of Capella’s restaurants, Las Rocas. We were served with fresh, house-made tortilla chips and guacamole to start (absolutely to die for – best chips I've ever eaten!) and split an order of fish tacos between the two of us. I’m not a big fish lover, but the fresh catch has been very good so far on our trip. The fish tacos were marinated in Capella’s house sauce, grilled nicely and served Mexican-style with onion, cilantro and pineapple on the side.

After a late-afternoon lunch, Andi and I laid by the pool to relax and let the feeling of vacation swoosh over us. He was still feeling a bit twitchy about work and for some odd reason, I was paralyzed by not having my iPhone in hand 24/7. Apparently, SAHM-hood means I have constant access to social media and it took a stark separation to break the habit.

Our hotel room at Capella is absolutely breathtaking. Our room is suite-style containing a typical bedroom, bathroom, shower and walk-in closet. There’s a private outdoor patio, complete with two lounge chairs and our own infinity pool overlooking the ocean. As I type this now, I’m watching the ocean waves roll in over cliff-side rocks below the property. It’s pretty magical.

Our hotel suite

Hotel suite's private pool overlooking the ocean

View of the Pacific Ocean from our patio

Side view from our patio - the entire hotel is built with ocean views

All the staff at our hotel has been so friendly and helpful. I know we’re in Mexico so we shouldn’t expect everyone to speak English, but it’s nice all the staff at the hotel does with ease. They also don’t seem annoyed by our broken attempts at Spanish. Everyone gives us a “ha ha, you’re so cute, that’s not even close to the way you pronounce that word” chuckle and instead, says “No problem, I’m happy to do that for you.”

The food so far has been fantastic. For dinner Thursday night (on Valentine’s Day), Andi and I ate at Capella’s Seafood Market restaurant. We made a 7:00pm reservation and funny enough, we were the only people at the restaurant so “early.” I joked to Andi how sweet he was for reserving the entire restaurant for a romantic candlelight dinner by the water.

At the seafood market, we were ushered to a display area with fresh fish and a scale to select our dinner. The waiter told us about all the various local fish – Red Snapper, Lobster, shrimp, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and some flounder-type fish of which the name escapes me – and suggested various marinades which would compliment each one. For dinner, we were served a first course of lobster soup; second, tuna ceviche; and third, our main entrĂ©e selections of red snapper, shrimp and the flounder fish. Everything was delicious.

Fresh catch of the day - Seafood Market

Andi and I were both beat from traveling and still hadn’t shaken the stresses of real-life, so we turned in early and fell fast asleep in our comfy bed as we listened to the ocean waves outside our window. Quite a lovely Valentine's Day and first day of our Mexican vacation.