"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Monday, April 26, 2010

Can We Just Fast-Forward?

I rocked my daughter until she fell asleep tonight -- after she cried for nearly an hour because she didn't get to have any brownies.

Oh, the torture...to smell the warm brownies but not get to taste them! Am I a horrible mother to put her through such agony? It was her own doing. She didn't get to have any brownies because she threw a tantrum when she learned that I (in a hurry to clean the kitchen before piano lessons) had already rinsed the bowl of leftover batter and put it in the dishwasher. Apparently, licking the bowl is her favorite thing in the entire world. Well, who could blame her? But sometimes there just isn't time or patience for such messy activities.

Tantrum = no brownies.

It's a hard lesson to learn. Yes, she's disappointed, but disappointment is part of life. It's okay to be disappointed and to be angry. But she has to learn to control those feelings. And that seems to be a theme for her right now.

As the tears grew louder and more genuine, I almost gave in about 10 times...especially when she said that she had prayed I would change my mind. But my love for her means that I can't give in. I have to sacrifice her happiness today so that she can learn this lesson and have a happier tomorrow. She doesn't believe me, but this decision was so much harder for me than it was for her. Just like my parents always said. :-)

I keep questioning myself, though. Is this lesson worth an hour of sobbing? I keep thinking back through the series of events, trying to remember why I made this decision and how this decision led to that reaction, which led to this other decision. Am I being too hard on her? Do we expect too much? Ryley said she wishes she were a grown-up so she wouldn't be bossed around all the time; she's tired of being a kid. Am I bossy? Don't I have good reasons for my decisions, and doesn't she understand that? I feel incompetent...like I don't really know what I'm doing sometimes.

Parenting is a series of situations and events and conversations in which you reiterate the same lesson 100 times in 100 different ways, hoping that this time will be the time she finally gets it. It is so incredibly exhausting.

It's been a rough day for all of us.

I was making the brownies to give as a peace offering to Ryan's co-worker, who stayed two hours late this afternoon so that Ryan could leave work and come change my flat tire. In the process of changing the flat tire, our jack broke, and the hydraulics of the van suddenly giving out caused a metal piece of the jack to snap off and fly into Ryan's hand, injuring it.

Like I said, rough day.

It's a good thing His mercies are new every morning.

I wish I could have some brownies (chocolate makes everything better!), but I promised Ryley that I would wait for her and have some with her tomorrow.

It was the least I could do. :-)

His mercies are new every morning. Morning, come quickly.

In my haste to vent of my parenting challenges, I forgot to praise God for His miracle of the day:

With a broken jack and an injured hand, Ryan and I were at a loss as to what to do next... Leave the van and come back later with a new jack? Call a tow truck? Ryan was one-handed and needed to return to work. I was supposed to pick up Ryley from school and then teach piano.

So we prayed. For help.

No sooner had we said "amen" than the door of the house I was parked in front of swung open, and a man called out, "Do you guys want to use my jack?" It turns out that he used to work in a tire shop AND he is a fellow believer.

God answers prayer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Siestas Y Fiestas!

I just know you have been waiting on pins and needles for the moment when I would reveal our great pictures of our vacation to Puerto Vallarta! Well, wait no longer, my friends. Your moment has arrived. It has literally taken me hours of uploading, here and there as I've found the time. But now it's done, and our beautiful vacation (pictures and commentary!) is recorded for all of posterity.


When we left Denver on March 27, there was snow on the ground! We were so excited to go some place infinitely warmer!

We arrived at the Grand Mayan Resort and Spa in Nuevo Vallarta. Our suite was absolutely gorgeous...bigger than any place we've ever lived (with the exception of our current house).

We had a pool on our balcony! It was about three feet deep. This was a lifesaver for us since Ryley loves to swim, and it was nice for her to have a place to do that even when we weren't at the pools or beach. She hopped into the balcony pool within 20 minutes of our arrival!

When we got there, we were worn out and hot and thirsty and hungry, but we had nothing to eat or drink.

So we hopped in a cab and went to Super Walmart, which turned out to be more confusing and wearying than we had expected it to be.

We wandered the aisles looking for food items we recognized that we could put together into meals...like canned tuna, mayo, relish, bread, Oscar Meyer bologna, American cheese, milk, chocolate syrup, water, Coke, chips, cereal, canned fruit cocktail, etc. By this point, we were tired and cranky. We were racking our brains for basic Spanish vocabulary words, and we were growing tired of doing math to figure out the exchange rate for every item. Definitely an experience! We bought a bunch of groceries, but by the time we got them all back to the resort and to our suite, we didn't feel like making anything, so we just ordered room service, hung out in our balcony pool, and called it a day! :-)


Ryan's 32nd birthday dawned beautiful and clear, and we were off to explore the resort! We found this perfect cabana bed close to the ocean and to the pools, and we camped out there all day long. It was a heavenly day. Ryan got to read his book within earshot of the waves, and Ryley and I went off to explore our swimming options.

Two wave pools, a big water slide, a lazy river, five interconnecting pools, and a kids' area....

Then we returned to our cabana bed for a delicious lunch!

This is the view from the fifth floor lobby of our hotel building....

Ryan says that it was quite possibly his best birthday ever.

That evening, we ate a very expensive birthday dinner at one of the resort's restaurants, and we introduced Ryley to the movie "The Three Amigos," which she loved. :-) It was indeed a good day.


We decided it was time to explore the town of Puerto Vallarta!

Still being careful not to spend too many pesos too quickly, we opted to take the local bus to town instead of a taxi. That was a "local experience," for sure! I'm glad we did it, but we do not need to repeat it! For the record, it cost us $6 roundtrip, as opposed to $40 roundtrip via taxi.

We ate at a delicious restaurant called PiPi's, and we walked up the boardwalk and through the flea market. Puerto Vallarta is so quaint with its cobblestone streets. The town is built against the mountains, too, so it was very beautiful!

It was interesting to see how many American chains/eateries are prevalent. Ryan would venture a guess that the number would rival any medium-sized American town.


My mom arrived! We picked her up from the airport around 10 a.m. and brought her back to explore the resort, walk over to the beach, and swim in the plethora of pools!

Ryley finally got to swim up to the bar and have a virgin daiquiri, which she thought was super cool!

Ryley models one of the beautiful sundresses that her great aunt Coleen made for her before we left! Isn't it lovely?

We walked over to an adjoining hotel's restaurant for dinner and then returned to the suite to play card games until bedtime.

A little sidenote here....The sun went down around 7:00, and the lighting and lack of heat in the pool area made it difficult to swim after that, so most evenings we returned to the suite to play board games and watch movies. We tried not to take personal belongings with us down to the pool area, so we didn't have phones, watches, money, or cameras with us very much of the time. All we needed was Ryan's room key, which he kept zipped up in his swimming suit pocket. We could charge all food to our room, and we kept time by noticing where the sun was placed in the sky. I can honestly say that it was the first time in my life that I've been able to do that....I could look at the sun and figure out if it was approximately 2:00 or 5:00. I didn't really care, but it was nice to know. That, my friends, is pure relaxation. :-)


Oh, what a day! We awoke early for our boat tour/eco discovery trip to the Marietas Islands. This was my favorite day of the entire vacation. The boat crew was so, so good...very entertaining and gracious and smart and funny. We had a blast!

Dolphins swam alongside our boat! How amazing that was!!!

We were able to snorkel and kayak! Ryan and I both got stung by tiny jellyfish, but it was worth it!

The boat ride back to Puerto Vallarta was a party!

And the perfect day got even more perfect when my mom spotted a whale! Whale season had just ended, so they had said we probably wouldn't see one. But we did!!!!

Let the dancing commence! Apparently, Ryley knows how to line-dance! She said she learned at school, so she had no problem joining in.

Seriously...great food, open bar (ha!), happy music, the fresh air of the sea, and salt on our skin and in our hair.... Mmmmmmmm. Absolutely amazing day.

Playing card games in the eventide...


It was time for Ryley to meet the dolphins! What an awesome experience for her!!!

We had been promising Ryley some quality time at the beach, so we came back to the resort that afternoon and built a sandcastle.

I felt bad that we didn't get more time in the ocean, but in all honesty, the beach at the resort wasn't the greatest....the sand was hurtful to the feet, the waves were much too rough, and in general, we found that the wave pools were a lot more fun and less hassle than the beach itself. But we had fun building her first sandcastle ever!!!


We wanted to take my mom to downtown Puerto Vallarta and show her the sites! This time, however, we were smart and splurged on the cost of a taxi. :-)

We ate at PiPi's again (because it was so good!), took my mom down to the boardwalk, and introduced her to the flea market. My mom surprised us all with her impressive bargaining skills! The day was not as clear and pretty as the first day we spent in town, but it was still a beautiful day together!

Our maid was wonderful...She figured out which bed was Ryley's, found all her stuffed animals and babies, and placed them nicely on her bed. Such a sweetheart!!!

The trip was winding down, so it was time to review the bill. Oh, what fun!


Our last hurrah was a wonderful buffet breakfast, which (very likely) caused Ryan's sickness. But it was delicious at the time!

Ryley had trouble saying good-bye. She was very reflective and shed a few tears....

All good things must come to an end, I suppose.

And this one did, too.

But we returned to Colorado refreshed, happy, and feeling incredibly, incredibly blessed. :-)