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2 posts from May 2014

May 21, 2014

We've had our share

of interesting anniversary celebrations over the past few years.  Last year's was, well, not really happening.  We ended up having a dinner out a few days after Peter came home, but for the actual date, he was still in Kabul. May 2012 was equally crazy, thanks to his impending departure for Kabul, and the 'gate, as we call it.  Nothing like a little excitement to get things going right before a PCS!

While Peter was here for the anniversary in 2011, it is safe to say I was still in a funk. I had only just finished radiation, and that whole spring/summer was sort of a depressing wash for me.  Knowing we were bidding on Kabul due to my inability to stay healthy during his Iraq tour didn't help matters.  Even 2010 was nuts, as we were just weeks away from packout and our trip back to the Virginia area for his UT.

So for the first time in years, we were...no, Peter, was able to plan a weekend away.  We were not stressed (relatively speaking), we are healthy, we are not moving (not even bidding this summer!), and it was only one night so we figured the kids could deal.  We both had a busy work day on Friday, so our weekend actually began Saturday morning, when we packed up and headed off to the area of Tola.  Our actual destination was the Aqua Wellness Resort.  I can't describe it better than they can, so please click through and see what they have to offer.

I had *liked* them on Facebook years ago, upon learing about our assignment and have been eager to go ever since.  It was approximately a 2 hour drive through somewhat rugged areas (an SUV here is never a bad idea).  We passed through the usual rural areas and our only scare was a goat who decided it simply must run in front of our car as we drove through its town. No tragedies, and on the way home, same story but with pigs.  We arrived, found security easily, and then drove up a windy road. One has to be careful, as there isn't much signage. If you see the small, brown sign that says "recepcion," follow it, as that's your clue you have arrived at Aqua Nicaragua.

Yes, this was our suite. Bedroom on the right and kitchen area on the left, with the pool in between.

We checked in and after being given a description of the facilities, the classes, and the hours of the restaurant, we were led to our "room" (see above).  Apparently, they had to upgrade us due to our original room being renovated.  Oh, gee, okay...

Obligatory selfie.


The pool was small, but lovely...especially after a hard day of lollygagging about on the beach and being tossed about by the waves.

I was apparently so excited to have a whole night to ourselves, that I forgot to take a photo of the room.  It was a high ceiling-ed wonder with everything designed in a gorgeous wood fashion with the exception of gorgeous metal hooks in the bathroom area.  Even the floor of the shower was constructed of wood planks. The bed was a comfy, king-size masterpiece that had (with the screen doors open) an impressive view of the surrounding woods and the ocean.  Nothing like napping with the doors open and hearing nothing but a few birds chirping and the roar of the ocean in the background.

It's safe to say we had a bit of the beach to ourselves.


We noshed on ceviche and fish tacos, soaked up sun, were tossed about the waves, had a beachy beverage, napped, ate some more, enjoyed the pool...you get the picture.  We relaxed!  It was amazing...quiet, refreshing, and just what we've needed for a long time.


I drank my frosty beverage while Peter checked on our dinner reservations or some such thing... 

I even managed to finagle a massage combo.  A relaxing, but thorough massage followed by half an hour of foot reflexology.  Oh, and a glass of freshly-squeezed calala juice (passion fruit). I just can't get enough of calala....


The view from the massage area. I highly recommend visiting....

Now, while I was thinking about this trip, I realized it seems in some respects (well, minus several airline flights and about 6 days) similar to our honeymoon. It was the first time in a very long time that we've been able to truly relax on a trip, for a variety of reasons.  It occurred to me that not only did I not ever really do a honeymoon scrapbook (which I'm now going to tackle full throttle), but, of course,  I couldn't blog about it.  So, how about a little look-see at that journey?


Yes, we spent 8 days in Ireland!  Peter actually wanted to travel State-side, but I had never left the country (minus one trip when I was three) and I was desperate to do so. Ironically, I had this awful nagging fear that we otherwise never would leave the country and I would spend my whole life living and working in the States without seeing the rest of the world.  Funny that....

Now, it's been a few years, so pardon the condensed description.  Also, it's a honeymoon tale so, really thinking that a basic review will suffice.  We landed in Shannon, rented a car (first time for Peter driving stick on the opposite side of the road...fun!) from Dan Dooley rent-a-car and headed off to see the Cliffs of Mohr.  Peter posed with a scruffily cute mutt and his owner near the Cliffs and learned quickly you don't actually pet the dog, you just pose with him.  The Cliffs? Utterly amazing...

Maybe outside Bunratty Castle? Oh, why I didn't keep a diary....

We spent the night at Dromoland Castle and it was just beautiful.  Perhaps the only negative was Peter packing up the car the next day and forgetting my overnight bag in the parking lot.  He promptly remembered upon our arrival in Dingle.  Oops.  I mean, who really needs a toothbrush or what-have-you, right?

It was a windy drive to Dingle, but the town was amazing and the views were gorgeous.  We were doing the B&B route, so spent a lovely night in a local house and couldn't help but get take-out fish and chips fresh from the sea.

I think the sign says it all....


We spent the rest of the trip driving throughout the country. We passed through Kilkenny, Cork (where my ancestors on my father's side hail from), Dublin, and Waterford.  I wish I had a better diary of the days (though I prolly still have the itinerary somewhere), but we were so busy just seeing, driving, and soaking in everything Ireland had to offer.  


Can't tell I had to remove this photo from a collage to scan, can you?

We ended the trip with a night in Shannon.  We had a rather sumptious dinner at Bunratty Castle and spent the last night at hotel in Shannon.  Somewhat ironically, Peter ended up back in that same hotel on an SD trip about 5 years later.  

Obigatory touristy photo.

Oh, to recreate that honeymoon at some point.  It's not a trip we have planned right now, but there was so much we saw and yet, how we wished we could have spent so much more time there.  I suppose there is always next year's bid list....

May 07, 2014


On Monday morning, I will get up, help get the kids on the bus, and then go back to bed. And,that, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle. Not the getting up or going back to bed...nope, the "putting on the bus."

You see, for the past few weeks, school has been canceled. It has been a bizarre limbo-like experience where each week (sometimes as late as Sunday) we wait to hear if schools will reopen.  Finally, today, we got the news we have been waiting for since the end of Easter break.

Why was school canceled? The basic reason is that the area was under a Code Red alert due to the earthquake we had on April 10th.  Somewhat logically, schools were closed April 11, in order to assess damage.  However, then the code red continued, as we had further seismic activity.  Nothing like the April 10th quake, but school was canceled nonetheless.  

The long and short of it is that my kids ended up spending three extra weeks at home that were not always as fun as they might seem.  Since I work, I cannot stay home with them on sudden breaks. While they received distance learning assignments, they did not get the social interaction from school that they needed, nor nearly as much out of the house since we could not simply stay home.

I must admit, never in my wildest dreams did I foresee this happening. I've thought that a lot of things could happen overseas, but an extended, unexpected break from school was not one of them. I've realized now that I need a lot more ideas in my mental "go bag" as well as having a larger evacuation fund in case something like this happens again. And since the kids were already in school, and doing "distance learning," I couldn't arbitrarily start up a homeschooling program.  I've also learned that I really like my kids going to regular school.  I have yet to find an absolutely perfect school, but my kids getting out of the house, having social time, and being able to see their friends even on days I work is especially important.

And now...now I will celebrate a wee bit.  We have a return to normalcy as of Monday and that is long overdue.  Even better?  Now I feel like I can really work on our R&R plans, since those went on hold during the school hiatus.  Oh, and maybe a glass of wine poolside...I think I've earned it!