Cayman Again

Our last day in Cayman we decided to explore the island a bit. We hit the Turtle Farm. I’d hardly say it was value for money but it was still an interesting excursion.

Turtle Farm

Just the shear volume of turtle alone was shocking. Judging by the size, many were probably over 100 years old, which made me feel almost youthful somehow. Thanks turtles.

Predator Reef

Predator Reef had this great underwater viewing area that would have kept me in awe if I were not so spoiled by the Lincoln Park Zoo and Shedd Aquarium.

There were two cool splash pool areas where you could wade with the fish but again, we were so spoiled by Seven Mile Beach’s white sandy beach, clear waters and great snorkeling that we skipped it and headed back to the villa after a quick walk around.

And of course, after our morning out, Aunt Hopey came by bearing all the good Jamiacan food from my childhood, Ox Tail, Jerk Pork, Curry Chicken, Callaloo, Rice and Beans, Fried Plantains, Cassava Cake and a first for me, Grape Nut Ice Cream. 

Our Jamaican Feast

We pigged again. I’m on a serious diet when we return.

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Hopey the Matchmaker

Last night, in the spirit of continued gluttony, we had dinner last night at Ragazzi with the beautiful and always kind spirited Aunt Hopey.

Hopey and Tom

Although we met at Andrew and Karen’s wedding, Hopey has been given the title of first matchmaker. She wasn’t the only one pushing Adam and I together but she was the first one who eyed us both over and it clicked in her head. She made no secret of it. Instead she came right up to the both of us, while we were standing together, and informed us that the other one was single while raising her eyebrows knowingly. It made for an awkward silence which I filled with the comment, ‘well this is awkward’.

Now that there is nothing left to be awkward about, it was lovely to see her and her charming partner Tom for dinner and to learn a bit more about the island and what it’s like to live here.

The huge dinner last night didn’t stop us from our vacation eating frenzy. Without hesitation we woke up and headed to the Ritz Carlton for the buffet breakfast…

Ritz Breakfast Buffet


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Another Day in Paradise

The vacation continues…

Another beautiful day

 Today Adam and I took turns helping Jack make a huge ‘man’ cave, complete with an opening for water to rush in.

Jack’s Man Cave

Ben stayed closer to the shore for most of the morning, content to fill trucks with sand.

Ben takes over the other Ben's toys

 This was followed by an enormous buffet lunch. When I saw they had Jamiacan rice and beans I had to dive in. Then I found out they did a wicked ackee and saltfish so I ignored the little voice inside of my head that said, “you are going to spontaniously explode if you eat anything else” and ordered that too.

Yummy Ackee and Saltfish

 This vacation is not for dieting, which is why, after a 2 and 1/2 hour nap for all the kids and most of the adults, I woke and started to dent all the juicy tropical fruits on our counter.

And so another day in paradise continues. After this post I’m headed back to the beach for more messy, sandy, watery fun followed by another huge dinner.

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More Reunion Fun

The weekend continues at a fast pace. If we keep this up for the rest of our vacation I think I’ll need a vacation after this vacation  just to get some rest!

Yesterday morning we took the boys to Quiet Waters Park Splash Adventure. It was obvious from all the giggling and smiling that the boys had a blast, and we had even more of a blast watching all that happiness.

Quiet Waters Splash Adventure

If you are ever in South Florida, it’s a great park. Since it was summer they divided the time into a little under 2 hour session. That amount of time was perfect for the age our boys are at. Anything longer would mean stopping for meals or snacks. The parking was $3 and the entrance fee was $5 a head.

That evening we called not one but TWO sitters to watch the boys. Hey, when they are free it makes the decision a lot easier. My Aunt Doris and my mom both watched to boys while we went to the second night of my reunion. There were a lot less people there than the first night but it was equally as enjoyable. At one point my high school buddy turned college roommate, Holly and I actually had a dance off on the dance floor. Maybe it will make my monthly video. Or I might bury it in case my kids see it in the future…

Two out of Three of us are pregnant...

Finally today we spent the day at the hotel pool where a small amount of people trickled in from the reunion. The best part of the day and perhaps the entire reunion weekend was a barbeque pool party hosted by our good friend Kate. Ironically she didn’t graduate in our year but hung out with us all so much she is considered an honorary member.

Adam pretending to be a Sea Monster

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GBN Reunion

A good friend of Adam’s from high school and his agreeable girlfriend Virginia graced our house with their presence this week. They made for excellent play pals for the kids and adults both.

Ben and Jack welcome Brian

No visit from an ex-Chicagoan is complete without Chicago style pizza and we wasted no time ordering up Lou Malnati’s for dinner.

Former Glen Brook North friends joined us, making for a nice mini-reunion for Adam ironically right before the weekend of my own high school reunion.

Target practice while the Adults catch up


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People who see Jack’s hair often ask me where I get it cut. Believe me, Jack had a lot of lopsided haircuts before I found the perfect hair dresser. Theresa at Snippets in Lincoln Park is amazing. She is so good I’ve even considered getting my haircut by her.

Ben picks the Police Car

They have these cute little vehicles for the kids to sit in while watching G rated TV shows like Dora and Diego. On the other side there are a bunch of TVs with video games for older kids. They also have a small assortment of toys for kids to play with while waiting. And finally, stickers and lollypops for deserving, freshly cut kids.

Jack prefers the Silver Convertible

Some of you remember that I bought our Firemen Raincoat and Boots from this place. They also sell cute girly purses and hair accessories that I like to peruse, even though, sadly, I’ll probably never get the chance to buy them.

Haircuts are only $10 each and last about 15 or 20 minutes, not including tip.

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Finally! The Beach

I know summer started over a month ago. And for weeks now it’s been the kind of heat wave just perfect for beach weather. But so far it hasn’t worked out to organize a day for one of my favorite summer past times, beach days.

Digging a huge hole is hours of entertainment

From our house it’s only a 20 minute jog in the stroller so we took advantage of the chance to multi-task, exercising our way to our destination. And miss out on the expensive and limited parking.

Since this was the first beach visit this year, the changes from last year were quite noticeable. Jack has completely lost his fear of water and is on his way to becoming a swimmer.

Conquering the Water

Ben, on the other hand, did not change much from last year. He is still eating lots of dirt. He face planted a few times, and some were even on purpose! Luckily it’s Ben and nothing seems to upset him.

Sandy Faced Ben with the Hancock Building Behind

The Chicago Beaches are great. Most are wheel chair accessible. Ben is sitting in front of the ramp that goes all the way to the water and there are little alcoves to park your stroller on. Also North Avenue Beach has bathroom in the fake boat structure as well as a place to eat and a small convenience store. And don’t forget the outdoor showers. It’s the only way to clean off a bit before heading home. Did I mention the ice cream peddlers come by often?

Morning Ice Cream Break

It was a great prelude to our trip to the Cayman Islands, where I plan to spend every day on the pristine and practically private beach in front of our resort. An endless sandpit + an endless amount of water = an endless amounts of fun.

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Blueberry Picking

I know what you are thinking. After Strawberry picking, why would I subject myself to another round of manual labor, followed by the challenge of trying to consume a huge vat of the same fruit again?

The answer? I have no idea.

I must admit I approached today (which was well over 90°), with trepidation. I envisioned another day where I not only did manual labor, but over paid for the privilege in expensive fruit.

Well, I was delighted to learn that blueberries, unlike strawberries, do not grow on the ground. You do not need to crouch over in the heat to pick them. Much nicer to stand and forage than squat. Although they don’t fill a bucket as easily as an apple, they don’t cost an arm and a leg either.

Ben ate every blueberry he could pick, even the green ones.

Our friends, the Hutchinsons invited us on an annual tradition they have with a group of lovely friends of theirs.

The Hutchinson 4, soon to be 5...

They organize a trip to State Line Blueberries in Michigan City, IN. It took about 1 and 1/2 hours to get there, or in kid terms, the length of one movie.

In the end, after a chat about our upcoming vacation and the fact that we completely over picked with strawberries, we ended up with a 10 pound bucket of blueberries. What I learned from this is that we don’t learn from past mistakes, even after we talk about how we should learn from them.

The cost? $15 for TEN POUNDS! And that does not include all the free ones we stuffed in our faces before we paid!

State Line Blueberries

After all the doubt I will say we had a lovely time. Living in big cities for over 15 years can really make a person appreciate fresh air, open space, and the simple pleasure of gardening. Best of all, big city or not, it is always a joy spending the day with friends.


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