Friday, May 29, 2015

The One When the Webers Take a Grown up Vacation

It had been since our honeymoon that Gary and I had taken a vacation. Seven years, you guys. SEVEN! Sure, we've had a few little weekend getaways since then: Santa Barbara, Vegas, a couple trips to San Diego with the kiddos. But a real take-your-time, enjoy-the-scenery vacation? Seven years. 
We had started planning one and after some back-and-forth about where to go, we decided on Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and another couple friends of ours came too. 
I didn't really know what to expect, but this place exceeding any expectations I didn't know I had (if that makes sense!). The country was so beautiful and everyone was so nice. Our resort was stunning. Seriously, I could live there. We did have a little mix-up with our rooms when we got there, but it was quickly resolved. It's really hard to stress out about anything at this place. We had upgraded to the Elegance Club so we were able to take advantage of the many benefits that provides. It wasn't very much extra, so I would do it again in a heartbeat.

This was my first experience with an all-inclusive resort, so it took a couple days to get used to not paying for food or drinks, which was all delicious. We were also able to do various activities for free. We went kayaking one afternoon which I loved. Another day, Gary and I went out on a big innertube-type contraption and that was so much fun! 

Everyone who worked there spoke English very well, but the native language is Spanish with a lot of French speakers as well from those who came over from Haiti. I was surprised at how much of my high school Spanish came back to me. Everyone was so nice and tried to help you out if you were trying to speak Spanish to them. It made me want to take some refresher courses so I could be better next time! (Gracias a la señora DeMaster, señora Schrock, señora Medina, y Profé Logterman por ensenandome español muy bien por lo que recuerdo después 13 años). (<-- I hope that was right!)
They have a big open-air theater where they have shows every night. One night they were doing a music quiz, so we thought, "This could be fun." They would play part of a song and if you knew it, you had to run up to the stage and give the song title and singer. Thinking it was harmless to give it a shot, I went up and guessed "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. They gave the winners a small prize and had us sit on the stage. After all the songs were guessed, they threw us a curveball. The second part of the game, for a chance at a free massage at the spa, we all had to SING THE SONG WE GUESSED!!! I was freaking out! I've been singing in choirs and such my whole life practically, but solos? No way. And taking on a Whitney song? HELL NO! I did the best I could, but I was shaking so hard. Gary so lovingly got the performance on video. I suppose it wasn't as bad as I thought while I was up there, but it wasn't good either. It was a fun experience though! 

We initially weren't planning on taking any excursions outside the resort, but we got caught up by someone at the airport. According to this guy, all we had to do was go visit a new resort and we could pick an excursion at a discount. The discount was so good, we felt it was worth the 90 minutes he said it would take. Plus, we got breakfast too!  Well, breakfast was fine, but 90 minutes somehow turned into 3 hours. Our guide was a douchebag and the hotel was nice, I guess, but we all liked ours a lot better. And at the beginning, we were told this isn't a sales pitch. Well, the sales pitch we got at the end of the tour would beg to differ. By the end of it, we were all so annoyed. Fast forward to a week later when we got home and looked more into this company? We dodged a HUGE bullet. They are a big scam. Terrible reviews from pretty much everyone. Awful experiences. I don't know how they are still in business.
The plus side is our excursion was still discounted and we had a great time! We got to ride buggies into the Dominican countryside. We were introduced to a woman named Francesca and were taught a little bit about the culture of this little off-the-grid mining village. Then we got to go into a cave, which was very cool. The people who ran the excursion had turned the upper part of the cave into a little Flinstone's tribute. It was kitschy and cheesy, but it was also undeniable cute and fun. I think Gary liked the ride back the best because since we weren't making any stops, he got to drive very fast over bumpy roads. It was a blast!

I loved the country and the resort. I know with certainty we will be back! It was pretty family friendly, so maybe we'll take the kids next time! And get a swim up suite! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Open Letter to New Parents

Dear New Parents, or Veteran Parents, or Parents-to-Be,
It is with much certainty that I can say you either have already heard, or will hear in the nearest of futures, the phrase "Enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast." It is a lovely sentiment and I know the people who say it mean well and are saying it with love, but please let this serve as your permission to ignore it. You do not have to enjoy every moment, because let's be honest, not every moment is enjoyable. We are talking about children here, and even though they are yours and you love them with every fiber of your being and you would die for them, they are children and they can be the worst at times.
You don't have to enjoy the meltdowns in the "terrible twos" or the temper tantrums thrown by your "threenager." Or when your 5-year-old suddenly starts lying about everything and talking back to you when all you asked him to do was finish his chicken nuggets or put on his pajama pants a little bit faster than frozen molasses.
Speaking of chicken nuggets, you don't have to fondly look upon dinner time when you struggled to get your kid to eat anything other than chicken nuggets or when you other kid would eat just about anything but if you wanted her to eat more than two bites, you had to feed her yourself, lest she just play with her fork.
You don't have to soak up the moments when your kids are "playing together" and all you here are "No!" "Stop it!" "That's mine!" and all other instances of yelling and crying and doors slamming.
Or potty training (enjoy it when you can trade in the -ing for -ed). Or teething. You don't have to enjoy those moments when your baby is crying and there isn't anything you can do about it except pray that the damn tooth will just break through already.
I read an article once that said this: "There are plenty of moments in motherhood that quite honestly, I could do without...the ridiculous and nonsensical meltdowns of toddlers, siblings bickering at each other over every little thing, losing my mind and showing my ugly side to my children... We've created a myth that if we're not loving every single moment, we're doing something completely wrong. " (Sorry, I really don't mean to steal this, but I honestly don't remember where I found the article or who wrote it.)
There are going to be a multitude of wonderful moments with your children that you will hold onto, moments you will cherish for all time. Those are the moments you will look back fondly on. Those are the moments that make the not-great ones worth it. Enjoy those moments, and if you have bad ones, even phases of bad ones that seem to never end (spoiler alert: they will), don't be hard on yourself. Put the kids to bed, pour yourself a glass of wine, and look forward to tomorrow.

Grown-up Shopping

So, the older I get, the more I realize how much I really don't like shopping. I remember when I was a teenager, I used to love going shopping. Now, the though of trying on clothes makes me cringe.  So many times I've gone shopping and walked out with nothing and felt like it was just a waste of time. More often than not, I'll end up just buying clothes for my kids while I still wear the same stuff; after all, they need clothes since they are still growing.
My other issue with shopping is that it seems like clothes these days are for the young. I have a hard time finding clothes that I feel like I can wear. I'm not old--only 30--but I am a mom. I don't want to dress too young-- I'm grown up, my wardrobe should be too. But I don't want to dress too old either. I'm not fashion-challenged, but I do depend on mannequins at the store that show how you should wear certain things. And maybe I'm being hypercritical, but my waist is naturally pretty high (I have long legs), so I feel that many things that may technically fit me, don't look good on me.
All that being said, I'm really working on it. I'm working on shopping more for my body type and wearing what makes me feel good. My husband and I went shopping at the Camarillo Outlets this past weekend and it was a goal from the beginning that this was a shopping trip for us. No kids stuff (even though we did get JJ a couple pairs of jeans. He really needed them and they were only $7.99 at the Carter's outlet store, so I would be dumb to not get them!). We gave ourselves a budget and just went for it.
We started off at Tommy Hilfiger. First of all, this store takes me back because I remember wearing a lot of Tommy stuff when I was in high school. They even had Tommy Girl perfume out and that is what I used to wear. These days I'm a pretty tried-and-true Old Navy girl, and I do have Old Navy jeans, but I have to be honest: they are pretty terrible. They don't fit right. They lose their shape after about 10 minutes of wearing them and they are just not figure flattering at all. I don't mind the fit of their skinny jeans or Rock Star jeans, but the regular ones aren't doing anyone any favors. My mom gave me a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans a few months ago and I fell in love with them.  Gary also had a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans, but they got a big hole in the knee, so that left him with one pair of jeans. Total. He was in dire straits. We both ended up getting a few pairs of jeans (bonus! mine were 40% off because of a Mother's Day sale they were having!).
Next we went to the Levi store. Gary got a couple more pairs of jeans. I tried on a super cute dress, but once I got it on, it looked horrible, so back on the hanger it went. Here is also where I learned that apparently overalls for those over the age of 5 are back in. I have to admit that while I wouldn't wear them now, overalls were a huge staple of my wardrobe in high school. Everyone wore them and then all of a sudden, they were gone. Apparently, they've found their way back.
Last time we went to the outlets was the day before I was due with Kathryn, so I couldn't get anything because I was roughly the size of a house, but I remember seeing a lot of stuff I liked at Banana Republic, so that was our next stop. I have to say, I was loving it! They were also having a 50% off all women's clothes sale for Mother's Day, so score! I started pulling things off the shelves and racks like crazy. I don't know if it was the Old Navy connection that I was drawn to since they are owned by the same company, but this was what I was looking for. Cute styles, not too old, not too young. And the quality is great.  There were a couple misses in the dressing room, but most stuff was exactly what I was looking for.  Gary got a few t-shirts (which is what he needed), but they didn't really have anything else he needed right now.
We went to a few more stores and thanks to some unexpected HUGE Mother's Day sales, we ended up only spending half of our budget.
This is probably one of the most successful shopping trips I've had in years. We ended up going out to dinner and a movie afterwards and it was a great day. Even for my husband who dreads shopping! It is more encouraging when you have a different outlook on clothes. Maybe it's a bummer when something that's cute on the rack isn't so cute on you, but it isn't the end of the world. Not everything looks good on everyone, but everyone can find something that looks good on them.
Can't wait to wear my new clothes!

Post shopping cocktail. Another perk to grown-up shopping.

*End note: None of the above applies to bathing suit shopping. Terrifying.