Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Travels

The winter perma-cloud has settled over southwest Ohio, and the days are short and dreary. We've been slow to get into the Christmas spirit, with not one Christmas decoration up, not one Christmas card written, and a slew of last-minute Christmas shopping/crafting yet to finish.

All of this dreariness was set aside for a moment last weekend as Ted and I travelled to the DC area for three days. We met our newest nephew, played with our other quickly-growing nieces and nephew, brunched with old friends and new babies, and mingled with extended family.

And of course, we made the obligatory lunchtime pit stop at our favorite chicken joint, El Pollo Rico.

Seriously delicious

The highlight of the weekend was probably all the time we got to spend with our two nieces and two nephews who live in the area - though they rarely hold still long enough to snap a photo:

It's good to see them so active, though. :)

We head out to Oregon next week, so I'll post a Christmas update sometime while we're there.  Until then...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sometimes We Vacation...

Ahhhh.... we finally got a little vacation time around here!

This year, instead of hosting a family Thanksgiving as we usually do, Ted and I escaped to the seaside in Puerto Rico for the wedding of two great friends.

I mean, look at this setting!

It was a quick trip, but we managed to fit in snorkeling, boogie boarding, and many, many games of euchre.

Euchre is a favorite midwest card game amongst our group of friends.

I have to apologize up front for the dearth of sunny seaside photos in this post, but then again I don't apologize. Upon arrival in Puerto Rico I decided this would be a true vacation - I would not be tied to my phone, checking work email or answering text messages. All our friends were at our same hotel, so I figured we'd be able to find each other by the pool if needed. And we did.

The downside of that is that we did not have a camera handy to take photos of things like the giant iguana terrorizing children in the pool, Mackenzie having the boogie board ride of her life all the way up onto the sandy beach (and high-fiving Ted on the way), Ted snorkeling with jelly fish and parrot fish, kids jumping off the upper deck of the snorkeling boat... I hope you can picture it all in your mind.

That being said, Ted or I managed to snap a photo here and there:

Snorkeling was one of our two outings on this trip. We took a boat with many other wedding guests to three different islands off the coast. We snorkeled with all kinds of fish on the first stop (one of our friends saw a sea turtle, but he swam away by the time we got there), collected washed up coral and ate lunch on the boat at the second stop (or rather, sat and focused on the horizon during lunch so as not to yark into the ocean), and sunbathed and swam around trying to spot eagle rays at the third stop.

Our other outing - just Ted and I - was to Old San Juan. 

It is a cat city (yay!), with many bowls of cat food set out for the strays. It seems to be a comfortable place to be an alley cat. 

Apropos graffiti in Old San Juan

Of course, what's a trip to an old fort city without visiting the fort?! Which just happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site...

fort selfie

view from the lookout tower

The quick history of the fort is that the Spanish were the first to sail to Puerto Rico. After weeks at sea, Puerto Rico was the first island in the path of the trade winds that offered fresh water, food, and shelter, making it desirable land to be in control of. In the 1500s the Spanish built two forts on the northeast corner of the island to defend their claim, and since everyone in Puerto Rico today speaks Spanish, I think you can guess how that went.

So that's pretty much it. It was a quick trip to freshen up in the sunshine and salty sea air. It was tough coming back to work after that, but Ted and I are fully back into the swing of things now. Classes just ended, and final exams are this coming week. After that, Ted will be on vacation and I'll be wrapping up Spring admissions and registering continuing students for their January classes.

Coming up we've got a trip to Virginia next weekend to see Ted's family and a trip to Oregon a couple weeks after that to see mine. We are looking forward to both of these visits very much. :)