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365/52 week 16 (i think)

my orderly process was waylaid by puerto rico, so my numbering is probably off, and the order of this week's pix are most definitely off.


and i'm back-tracking a bit, starting the day after we returned home. that seems fair.



harper and her cousin, kayla, hugging goodbye. (yes, harper is really that much taller than her cousin, who is almost exactly the same age ... to. the. day.)



marc's new toy.



henry's track clinic. (he's in the hoodie.) he hated shot-put.



my 10-year-old's feet are officially bigger than mine.


harp's turn as "star child of the day." she took her most special things: her baby chuck taylors, tiny stuffed puppy, softy blanket, yadda-yadda.


first swim meet ... she kicked 5-and-under butt.



painting daddy's new toy's shipping box and turning it into a modest cape cod.



my lilacs are amazing.



we've been all over the caprese salad lately. can't wait until the tomatoes are fresh off the vine!


the inspiration color/porch for our build.


maybe next week i can be back on my game.


the closest he'll get to a bmw for awhile

while we were on a plane coming back from puerto rico, marc flipped through a computer mag he picked up in the airport. all of a sudden, i heard palpitations and heavy breathing. marc saw an ad for this:

he was gushing over all the stats and angles and components of this new, high-tech, super sleek and sexy computer case. then he read that it was built by (or in conjunction with? don't remember) bmw.

well, guess what showed up on our doorstep monday afternoon.

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i'm not totally happy about it, but a) it will save valuable space (he'll be able to consolidate several existing computer cases into just this one), b) it will run like a champ (so i've been told), and c) he has his own savings for work-related items, so i can't complain about the money coming out of the house fund.


and d) when he mentions that m5 he'd really, really like to have someday, i'll just remind him that he already has a bmw.

i win.

and to balance the marc-iness of this post, here's a little michele-ness: these girls' cover of fleet foxes' tiger mountain peasant song is *amazing*! so talented!!


sigh ... puerto rico!


(above image was created for andie smith designs blog, using andie smith backgrounds and template, for my most recent article. plug over.)

so ... we're back. obviously.

it was amazing. beyond expectations. amazing. red hat did a perfect job, and the ladies coordinating this thing were so detail-oriented; not a single thing was missed or less than stellar.

basically - and i didn't share this last week because there hadn't yet been an official announcement within the company - this trip was an award for the top 1% of red hat producers and sellers. this was a huge pat on the back to less than 60 people, and we were there with some real bigwigs. it was ... impressive. and so, so humbling. i've always been proud of how genius marc is and how good he is at what he does, but this was proof that others see it, too, and that was pretty darn cool.

okay. gushing over.

thursday we took off at 7 a.m. and flew to atlanta, then san juan. it was a long day on a plane, but we were so excited that the time went quickly. and soon enough, below us was turquoise water and our first glimpse of puerto rico. (full album of pix is here.)

we landed and boarded a bus to el conquistador. the rum started flowing immediately. which was fine by me.

after an hour on the road, we pulled into a hilly, manicured landscape of a rolling golf course, palm trees, mountains, and bougainvillea everywhere. the resort looked huge ... until we walked into the main area and looked out the back and saw the *rest* of the resort and the ocean. this place was massive. and stunning.


(the garden just outside our hotel room door.)

we discovered that to go from the main area of the resort to the marina 250' below, we had to ride a funicular. i shared that news with henry that evening over the phone and he was totally jealous. we've been watching "amazing race" together, and on the first stop the contestants got to ride a funicular and henry thought it looked pretty awesome. so i had to tell him that yes, it was.

that evening there was a welcome party with appetizers, a buffet, an opening address from the ceo, and more rum. we met many nice people, marc got to talk with a few people he's met before, and we got even more excited about the rest of our stay.

friday morning marc had a short meeting, then we headed out on a catamaran snorkeling trip to a small reef about 30 minutes away. for two hours we swam around, looking at fish and feeding them small pieces of bread. we would lay on the surface and schools of fish of all sizes and colors swam just below us. they got so close that marc got nipped on the finger by one. in the last five minutes of our stay at the reef, another snorkeler saw a stingray, so marc and i quickly swam over by him to see. at that point we were the only three people left in the water; i think marc and i could have stayed there all day. we had a buffet lunch on the catamaran, more rum, then the crew put up the sail and we made our way back to the resort.

it was amazing.

and i didn't take my camera.

that night was another buffet dinner, which is misleading for just how elegant it really was. the tables were set up on a terrace, and all the cushions were covered in red (*red* hat ... get it?), the food was fantastic, and the breeze was perfect. it was such a good time.

(i didn't take my camera to that either. this is courtesy of marc's iphone.)

saturday morning was yet another short meeting, then we got on a bus to go to el viejo san juan for the day. we wandered around el morro, the nearly 500 year old fort protecting the island. incredible.

on the grounds of el morro is a large open area where people flock to fly kites. the wind coming off the water was so strong, and the kites were soaring. it was a breathtaking sight.

the fort itself was astonishing ... how something that massive was built so long ago without engineers, technology, etc., is just mind-boggling.

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after wandering around el morro, we headed into the town. the architecture was so cool, and the whole vibe was very welcoming.

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we ate lunch at barrichina, the birthplace of the pina colada (yes, more rum), and had a yummy seafood paella. marc and i sat with Tour Guide (he didn't give us his real name, and always referred to himself as "tour guide.") and listened to all his stories about his life and puerto rico. he was an amazing man ... degrees in engineering, marine biology, getting his master's in environmental science, and yet he's been a tour guide for 20 years. he takes care of his elderly mother and can't move on with his life. sad, but yet he is so full of enthusiasm for knowledge and sharing that information with everyone who crosses his path. his catchphrase, "check it out!", was heard after every new piece of info he shared with the group. speaking of attention to detail that red hat put into this event? look at Tour Guide's hat:

like i said, nothing was missed.

that night was our night to have dinner on our own. we ate at an amazing seafood place at the resort, then wandered around after dinner to look at the million dollar-plus yachts in the marina.

then we went back to the room, exhausted, and watched "it's complicated." (can i just interject how amazing the kitchen is in meryl streep's house???)

sunday was our day to do whatever we wanted, so we took a seven-minute boat ride to the resort's island, where the beach was. because the resort is on a cliff, the island is where people go when they want sun and sand. we ate lunch as soon as we got off the boat, and realized that there were some locals wandering around ...

after lunch we trekked away from the populated beach and found a quiet, deserted reef. we spent the next two hours bobbing in the water and looking for shells for the kids.

marc found the best conch shell that harper would have adored, but the darn thing still had a crab in it. had to leave it behind, which was such a bummer.

it wasn't the only shell with a crab still inhabiting it ...

we boated back to el con, swam in the pool for awhile, took a photo of ourselves in the elevator ... me on tiptoes and using marc's shoulder as a tripod, which sort of worked ...

then we cleaned up and went to the final night formal banquet, then dancing at a nightclub in the resort. (yes, if you know marc at all you know that we *watched* people dancing at the nightclub for about 20 minutes. then we left.)

and monday morning we were back on a plane home.

what a wonderful, amazing, perfect weekend. thank you, red hat, and from now on i won't whine when marc is gone every week if it means he might get invited back next year.

now i have some context.

time has run away from me ...

but i mentioned something about palm trees, didn't i?

(hee hee)

as of this time tomorrow, marc and i will be on the beach in puerto rico, baby!!

it's a work thing for him (of course ... when is he NOT working?!), but i get to go. and where, exactly, will i get to walk on the beach and sip rummy drinks?

this piece of heaven on earth ...

oh yes. views ... sand ... photo ops ... time alone with marc ...

while the poor guy is stuck in meetings,

i can wander off to places like this ...

or this ...

and they will set him free in the afternoon, so we can take a tour of san juan and, hopefully, the forts. and on saturday we are going on a catamaran snorkeling outing ...

and i think i mentioned the rum.

sorry ... i'm getting a little punchy at the thought of being on an actual vacation!! one that requires an airplane and sun lotion!! marc and i realized that in our 17 years together, we've been on a beach a grand total of three times: a week at the beach in ecuador when we were dating (and were with his entire family, so not exactly romantic), an hour on the beach in the outer banks on our honeymoon, and a day at the beach in michigan with henry when he was three.

and that's it.

so the next four days are HUGE for us. (and the kids. they are getting some solid grandma and aunt and cousin time here at the house. thrilled kiddos.)

regardless of marc's meetings.

so, hasta luego, mis amigos! see you next week!

365/52 week 14

and this is all i have for you this week. the past six days have left me fried. so, you get pix and that's it. and worse than that, the last three days of the week were all technically taken yesterday ... the camera didn't come out on tuesday or wednesday.

whatever. i can't worry about that now.

enjoy, and enjoy your weekend! i know we will ... we'll actually see marc for most of it. that's HUGE.



harper's easter craft from preschool. i thought it was pretty genius ... especially the little flowers.



green fingers, a rainbow of eggs.



i think i already posted this one, but tough. i like it.


these pretty little flowers showed up in my yard last week. i should know what they are ... i planted them ...  but i don't. i do like them, though, and wish i had them all across the front bed.



a bird in hand is worth a sweet little photo op.



cool sculpture at the macy's/bachman's spring garden show downtown.


per tradition, we went with our friends, heather and kate (and baby evie). kate and harp even played nice for a sec, which was misleadingly sweet.


okay then. friday is half over, we may see marc by dinnertime, and then we can just chill for a day and a half. then, more company. then, three more days of crazy. then ... i'll tell you monday. it needs its own post.


gears, that is.

there has been so much stress and uncertainty and murphy's stupid laws happening here and there since before the holidays, but now ... now i feel it changing. the leaves are starting to come, the weather is starting to warm, the moods are starting to lighten, and instead of problem after problem facing us, now we actually have things to look forward to.

the winds are changing.

my parents were here for easter, and we had a great time.

on saturday we went out to our lot to check it out, walk to the lake, see the neighborhood, etc. the weather was gray and really windy, but we had fun on our walk, and the kids had a great time checking out the lake and the little pond next to it, and harper begged grandpa to please pick her a cattail.

he did.

(see that gray roof at the top center-right of the pic? that's our former/future neighbor's roof. ours will be 300ish' to the right.)

my mom thought it would be fun to go through the $1.4 million model home across the street from our lot (trust me, our house won't be anything NEAR that price. we'll just let the model pull up the value of our house. ha ha.) we went through and laughed at all the insane, over-the-top features, then saw rain on the windows and decided it was time to go home.

saturday, mom and i did some shopping in the morning, and in the afternoon it was time to color easter eggs.

then marc and i left the kids and parents so we could have a real date. just the two of us. alone. bliss.

easter morning, harper woke up bright and early and went to check out her easter basket, then woke the rest of us up. her enthusiasm was so sweet.

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then we cleaned up real nice and headed to church.

in the afternoon, mom and i left marc playing "call of duty" (shocker) and dad napping (again, shocker) and took the kids down to the park. they played for hours in the beautiful sunshine.


and now i look forward to marc's mom and sister and our niece coming up THIS weekend ... they are staying next week so marc and i can ... well ... i'll tell you more later. but here's a hint:



365/52 week 13

i'm avoiding vacuuming the basement and cleaning the upstairs bathroom in order to bring you this week's photos of the day.

you can thank me later.


it's sidewalk chalk season.



did a little future-master-bath-hardware daydreaming.


my new favorite piece of art, from local artist/illustrator katie daisy.



we blew lots and lots of bubbles.


mommy's helper.



yesterday was so gorgeous that the play date turned into a few hours at the beach park. heavenly! (yes, buck hill's snow is still melting. give us time ... it JUST became spring around here.)


how my little helper helped this morning. yes, that's cat food. a whole bucket of it. yes, that's clean laundry at the bottom of the steps. five loads of it. i told harper it was okay if she wanted to stop helping now.


the plumber came and went this morning. he also said the smell was probably just a leak in the joint, and $200 later we have new pipes leading from the laundry tub. fingers crossed that there will be no more pain involved.

my parents will be here around dinnertime, enchiladas are in the crock pot, marc should be home mid-afternoon, and the sun is shining. things are looking waaayyy up from where they were at 9 a.m.

happy april fool's day! i always forget to pull one over on the kids ... maybe next year. any suggestions?