Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3.19.16 - 3.22.16 My parents come to visit

My parents came to visit after spending some time with friends who winter near Naples. It was fun to have them here. We were a little low energy because we both caught some type of weird virus during our travels to Mexico. We still managed to have a good time.

Saturday, we had a low key day by the pool.

Sunday, we headed to the casino and enjoyed dinner at Marc Murphy's new restaurant Salt. It was very good. The slots were not kind to me. :(

Monday, both Glenn and I worked and my parents explored on their own. Monday night we enjoyed hanging out here at home with some great take out sushi.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3.11.16 - 3.15.16 El Dorado Casitas

We headed to Cancun for a long weekend at El Dorado Casitas. I had visited El Dorado as part of a travel agent conference in October 2015. I recommended it to my parents and they visited in January 2016. I was excited to explore the resort myself for a few days.

Our room was amazing - an infinity pool swim up suite. I loved it. We could relax in our own pool or swim to the swim bar.

Our private pool

Glenn on the patio

The food at the resort was really good. We had room service for breakfast. Lunch was a little different every day. We had dinners at Santa Fe, the Wine Kitchen, the Culinary Theater, and the Italian restaurant. The highlights were the Wine Kitchen and the Culinary Theater. The food at the Culinary Theater was fantastic. The event dragged on a bit. The Wine Kitchen was over at Generations - the family resort next door. We ended up buying bottles of wine at dinner because the hosue wine was not our taste.

Glenn enjoying the mussels at Santa Fe

We decided to take a tour the first full day in Mexico. Glenn had really wanted to see the Mayan ruins. We arranged for a private driver and guide and headed down to Tulum. It was fantastic. We got there just as Tulum was opening so we had the place to ourselves. Our guide was so passionate about the history and the culture. It started pouring down rain - which was nice because it cooled things off a bit. Then we headed to Coba. This is a smaller set of ruins that you can climb. After all the history, we headed back toward the resort and had lunch at a great spot in Playa del Carmen.




The red dot at the top is Glenn

Our stop in Playa del Carmen

The rest of the weekend passed quickly. We spent most of our time at the Swim Up Bar. It was a wonderful relaxing weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2016

3.4.16 - 3.6.16 Grandma's Memorial

In early March, we headed back to the Midwest for my Grandma's memorial. The upside was that I got to spend time with Marisa, Bob, Lily and my extended family.

I had the honor of speaking at the memorial. Here's a copy of my speech:

As a family, we shared many memories of Grandma over the last months. I combined those memories and made a Word Cloud.
It was no surprise that some of the most used words were: Mom, Aunt, loved, play, cards, family, cookies, church, fun, and Christmas. Hair even snuck in there.

Family and Church were so important to Grandma and Grandpa. Every Sunday as my mom and Aunt Cheryll were growing up, they would go to church and have a family dinner together. Often times, Uncle Glenn and Aunt Eleanor would come. On Christmas Eve, the family would go to late church and come to a living room full of presents. It took decades for my mom to make the connection between Grandpa’s always running back for something and the roomful of presents.

Grandma loved to find that perfect gift and send notes and cards to those she loved - even making sure that her card would find its way to her great nephew Jonathan in Indonesia. When she and Grandpa lived in Arkansas she wanted to make sure she was an important part of her grandchildren’s lives so she made tapes of her singing or reading stories. I remember sitting on my mom’s bed listening and then making tapes to send back. It’s a tradition I carry on via Facetime with Chloe and Connor.

Grandma loved being the hostess with the mostest. In fact, she chose what songs you are hearing today. One year when everyone was visiting from Kansas, Grandma invited everyone over for breakfast. She made pancakes for everyone--tons of pancakes because they liked them so much. She had so much fun cooking and laughing.

She loved to have a good time. The kids had fun too. And, I know we all still dream about the cut out Christmas cookies with homemade icing and the peanut cake. Grandma would try to hide the pans of cookies without much success especially with Alvie at home. My mom, Aunt Cheryll and Uncle Alvie would eat the cookies from the second layer so it did not look like the top layer of cookies had been touched. I can see the look on her face now when pealed back that wax paper and there was no more cookies.

Grandma was always up for an adventure and dressed to impress. She loved new clothes, getting her hair done and wearing pretty jewelry. In the last 20 years, she traveled to California, Texas, Carolinas, New Orleans and went on a cruise. She even drove to Texas pulling a RV!!! And you wonder where I get my love for travel? Grandma loved to be “funny” telling jokes or stories. We never knew what she was going to say, but something would always make us laugh and most of time it was 40% true. I definitely inherited that from her - what is good is the truth if it’s not funny?

When living in her apartment in South Bend, her neighbor’s apartment caught fire and the fireman was evacuating Grandma out of her apartment. He asked if anyone else was in her apartment. Grandma answered, “Just Mr. Grant in my bedroom.” , just trying to be funny. But the fireman was not amused to find out Mr. Grant was a $50 bill in her dresser drawer.

Grandma was so happy and proud to have 3 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. She even got to see all 4 great - grandchildren together this past November. Now, These are all lovely memories, but we need to talk about cards. That woman was a card shark! Pinochle, Hearts, Euchre, Trioply, Skippo, Gin Rummy - it did not matter. The competition was on. She even made Greg play double handed pinochle - just the two of them. That is a lot of cards to hold And she lived by the rule “End on a High Note” so you had to play until she won.

Grandma had a zest for life and she did not let anything hold her back. She lost many people she loved, but that didn’t stop her from getting up every day looking to make new connections and relationships. She was fierce and we all miss her very much.