Monday, March 31, 2014

Random phone pics

 Dad and Ian took Lily and Brookie to a b-ball game in Denver

 Us at a soccer game in Denver with Christy and Ian.

 Elich Gardens

 At the drive in
 Mia's 4th birthday

 A bike race began just behind our house.

 Emma at a dance performance

 Brooklyn's first race

 Daddy daughter dance

 Ellie's choir singing at a hockey game

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cabo 2014

 The first few pictures are out of order because they are from Kyle's phone and so they downloaded first
 They were not allowed to take a camera ziplining but Kyle snuck this one

 This writing is from Kyle's journal that he kept every day while we were on the trip.
 Monday March 17th
We got up at 5:30 am to head for the airport. We were a little worried about time as dad decided he needed to drop something off at his office in LaSalle on the way. It took us about 20 minutes longer than usual that way, but still made it in plenty of time. The flight to Mexico was very good. It was about 2.5 hrs long and went by very quickly.  It was exciting to see the ocean from the air and all of the boats and sand! We made it through customs alright and were hit by the hot air as we exited the airport (we actually first felt the heat getting off the plane as we de-planed onto the runway and walked into the airport).  We were hoping to see the Spiegelbergs right away, but they were no where to be seen. We figured it was because we were early. Stef gave them a ring and dad went to get the rental car (our first time being taken advantage of). We waited forever for dad to get the car and then finally found him as he couldn't get to where we were waiting. Finally we got on the road to Sam and Martin's house with a stop at the Mega grocery store in San Jose del Cabo to stock up on provisions. It was interesting to see the different products in the store, although it was a very big modern store.   The girls especially liked seeing the well stocked seafood and fish display. Mom figured out how to properly purchase donuts and muffins the Mexican way too. We were fascinated at how different Mexico looks to Colorado and how fast people drive! Very fancy is right beside very humble everywhere you look. After the tour of the Spiegelbergs  beautiful home and checking out the roof (they have a beautiful view of land's end and the water), we broke out some lunch.

  While eating lunch we meet the first of Sam and Martin's Mexican friends, Enrique and his sister visiting from Peru, Hemana.  Wet had a good time chatting and ended up at the neighborhood pool and playground. We chatted some more and Hemana and mia developed a strong friendship.  After swimming and play we decided to get some frozen yogurt and walk the pier before dinner back at the house. 

 We walked through a beautiful mall with fancy stores and restaurants to the pier where you got a sense of the party atmosphere Cabo is famous for.   We ate our frozen yogurt and kept walking, which was growing increasingly hard for the pooped Lambert. We meet some of Maggie's family before wet met Maggie, at their store on the pier and watched a spray painting demonstration, very cool! We think we may go back and buy a piece of spray paint art. We say goodbye to Enrique and Hemana and head for home.  

  At home Martin prepares an epic dinner of bbq steak, baked potatoes, prawns, salad amongst other things! It was delicious after an amazing first day!  We cleaned up, put the girls to bed and chatted more before giving up and going to bed.
 Tuesday March 18th
Brookie was up early of course and we began another day in paradise with beautiful views of cruise ships in the bay and stunning nature surrounding them. Unckie made breakfast and stuffed us full of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. The girls finished watching frozen and played hide and go seek.  Martin had an appointment at the bank and  picked up Maggie and her girls, Regina and Camilla.  Wet all met and chatted and Maggie helped us book some fun for later on in the week and we gave her little girls some clothes and stuffed animals we had brought for them.

  We then packed up and headed for Cerritos beach, about a 40 minute drive north of Cabo, close to the hotel California in Todos Santos.  It looks like a movie scene with its mission style hotel overlooking the amazing beach on a wide unspoiled bay hemmed in by desert mountains and saguaro cactus.   The girls attacked the ocean and played hard for hours. Emma, Brookie and Ellie boogie boarding, mia karate chopping the waves and McKinley, Regina, and Camilla splashing and making merry. 

  After a little more fun we rolled over to the restaurant right on the beach and had lunch, about 10 yards behind us. Funny story, they first brought us some tortilla chips before our chicken fingers, and mia dipped one into one of the salsas on the side. Camilla tried to warn her as best she could, but unfortunately in Spanish. Mia ate it and two seconds later very anxiously wanted some augua! 
  Mom and Brookie explored some rocks beneath the mission style resort and were soon joined by Sam plus dad and mia. They saw some amazing crashing waves against the rocks and were stunned by an impromptu humpback whale jumping contest just off the coast! Unfortunately not everyone got to see it.
  Everyone is fearless in the water and we enjoy watching the surfers too. We laugh at the little naked boy borrowing our boogie board, especially Ellie! It's that Pedro?!   Even a huge pelican stopped by to watch us enjoying ourselves, before being run off by the beach patrol dog.  We relax and watch the sun set behind the hotel before packing up and heading home.

  After eating right on the beach, mom went for a massage and the little girls went for a horseback ride on the beach (mom was pretty close to naked right on the beach for get massage, but it looked worth it).  Back to the water for more fun and shell collecting. 

  We dropped off Maggie and her girls at home which was quite an adventure getting to.  Lumpy dirty roads to a humble shack, really. They just upgraded to a tin roof from tarp with plywood walls and no running water. Maggie's mom runs a small store out of the front of the house. 
 Dad went to fetch some clothes from the car for the now chilly beach goers and met a lady in her suv with the passenger and back seats filed with fancy rolls and breads. Dad bought some for the girls and they loved it! 
 Maggie gave us the tour and the girls got to hold new puppies, one of which preceded to poo on McKinley, but they were still stinking cute! :-) Seeing how little they have and how happy they are makes you stop and count your own blessings and helps you to realize that things aren't so important!   Unckie helped Maggie and her mom learn to operate a gas stove they have before we left.  

 We stopped by the new soccer field on the way home and also picked up some hotdogs and beef burritos at a street vendor for a bedtime snack. Somehow the big girls managed a quick night swim at the pool after a friendly gecko greeted us on our arrival home. No late night chit chats tonight. You can tell we're having fun as we arrive home dirty, wiped out, and covered in sand!  To bed!

 Wednesday March 19th
Dad and the big girls woke up a little early today for their zip lining adventure. We met at a gas station close to the Spiegelbergs house for a ride to the hills and some fun! The ride to the zip lining wasn't too far, but at least half of the trip was over dirty, dusty, twisty, rolling, rutted roads. It was hot and packed in the van too, which made for a stomach turning journey before anything really got started! After were arrived they got us decked out in our harnesses and other gear and gave us the safety and technique talk and we were off zip lining. We did eight lines in total with some hiking in between. It wouldn't have been too bad, but the hikes were hot and steep. We noticed at least 6 or 8 people dropping out of completing the runs, but Ellie and Emma stuck with it and had a blast finishing the course! They did make dad carry their heavy pulleys whenever they could however. :-)  We got to zip together a few times  in a train formation with feet tucked under armpits, pretty cool. Dad even did one line backwards and upside down! We only got stuck short of the landing pad a couple times and just barely. Emma didn't like that very much! After we were done and while we were waiting for the shuttle, we checked out and fed some birds. The shuttle didn't quite get us back to the gas station where we parked our car, so we had to cross a busy road Mexican style and backtrack to our car. We got home ate some lunch and reported on our days to that point to each other. 

  Everyone else had done some swimming at the pool and then some shopping at one of Sam's favorite stores. Martin had some unfinished business at the bank and had to go back, so we met him back at the pier shortly after lunch.
  After some souvenir shopping at the mall we hoped a water taxi to head to el Arco and lovers beach. On our way our captain pointed out cool shapes in the rocks on land's end and fish and other marine life. We saw quite a few sea lions on land and in the water. Wet hit a few rough patches of water, which Emma really didn't like! 

 They finally dropped us off at lovers beach for an hour and we saw some eguanas, explored some caves, climbed some rocks, and walked over to divorce beach and watched some crazy people swim. We weren't as graceful getting off and back on the boat as we had hoped, but there were some nice men to help you for a few bucks of course. After getting back to land we headed back to the cars to try and find a photographic book of Cabo for the Lamberts without any luck. 

  We then had dinner at a little road side restaurant featured on diners, drive-ins, and dives. It's a little hole in the wall with tons of character and great food. It was a very busy and popular place. Spiegelbergs realtor introduced them to it and we're glad he did!  Lastly, we did a quick Costco stop for a few items and headed home, ready for bed and an early whale watching boat ride tomorrow. We can't find the source of some loud bangs we hear at night, other than that we're pretty happy with our trip thus far!

 Thursday March 20th
Our day started early. We had a whale watching cruise scheduled for 9 am, but had to be there at 8. It seemed a little early to be there and it was.  We had to hang around for about half an hour before we even got on the catamaran.  The cruise out past land's end was nice and smooth, as it was out into the Pacific.

 We didn't get the show we wanted, but saw lots of spouting, backs and a few tails. Unlike Hawaii, these boats rush up at a sighting to get as close as they can. The kids had a great time and after some slight trepidation, Emma and Brookie had a great time! Pretty good considering the boat trauma from yesterday.  Mom, Sam and dad got a little queasy on the way back into port, but thankfully no leaks. :-)  

 We checked out some dolphins after getting back on terra firma then drove over to this cool glass making factory. We watched them make some small bowls, a dolphin and some hearts. Very cool and interesting. Martin, Brookie, Emma,  mia and dad even got to try their luck at glass blowing!  We then headed over to the locals mall for lunch in the food court.  Before we left we picked up a few wish lanterns for the kids to launch of the roof tonight (think “Tangled” lanterns). 

  After lunch we head down to Madano beach, which is resort and party central.  We bought a few knick knacks, pool dresses, wood salt and pepper shakers that Sam and Martin's friend Victor made, and Ellie and Emma had their hair braided. And voila, cash gone! After the beach and also meeting another good friend of Sam and Martin's, Dinelly. We decided to head back to the Casa spiegelberg and eat leftovers and hit the pool again. 

 After watching a bit of frozen and playing and the return of Martin from a meeting, we set up the wishing lanterns on the roof and watched them sail into the night. It was so cool! What a way to end the day!

 Friday March 21st
Today was a good day. We got up with the smell of unkie's breakfast, bacon, eggs, and hash browns. We then drove over to Camila's elementary school to watch her presentation.  Her 1st grade class danced and sang and put on a great show. It was fun for the girls to see a Mexican school and see them do many of the same things that they do and have done. It reminded us of watching some of uncle Todd's videos of Melly except wet got to be there! They performed outside at 9:30 am and it was stinking hot.

  We then drove over to San Jose del Cabo, where the airport is and about 25 minutes from Cabo. It is very nice in San Jose. Lots of big resorts there too, but we really enjoyed the very pretty old town. San Jose is a bit slower than Cabo, not such a party town and the old town is much more quaint and pedestrian friendly. We walked around a bit and talked to a few acquaintances of Sam and Martin, they seem to know everyone. This was confirmed again as we walked over to a bank machine in an old community hall where a meeting of beach vendors was being held.  There was a man talking on stage with a speaker behind him and lots of people shouting in unison from time to time.  It was all very exciting and very “Evita” esque.  So, I get my money out of the bank machine and go back over to where Sam was standing and she’s talking to another one of her and Martin’s friends that she’s just happened into, Felix.  After we’re done chatting up Felix we continue walking down the picturesque streets of old San Jose and take a peek inside an old Catholic Mission church, very simple, but very beautiful.  We continue a little further down the street and stop for lunch at a restaurant owned by Steven Yip, from Lethbridge and, you guessed it, another friend of Sam and Martins.  The restaurant is called Chuppas and we relax and lunch on the rooftop terrace.  After lunch we continue our walk about around the old town and buy a few more knick knacks for loved ones, and co-workers back home. 

 After making it back to our cars we head for a beach that Sam and Martin know about where the sand is a mixture of light and dark.  When we get there we discover the sand is smoking hot!  We head for the nearest water, but quickly discover that a lady has decided that this is a clothing optional beach, so we steer the kids to the next bay over and a little more foot pain.  None of us have brought, or worn, our swim suits, so at first our water adventure at this beach is limited to dipping feet etc.  But finally the sun and warmth get the better of us and MacKinley leads the way to just jumping in with our clothes on.  Dad’s the only one of the adults to follow suit, but a good time was had by all. Ellie decided to show solidarity with her mom and aunt and uncle and stayed dry too.  After the beach we headed back to the house for a little siesta, snacking and play.  Before long it was time to head back out for dinner at Pisa and to stuff ourselves silly again.  On the way there, we stopped to check out the LDS chapel in Cabo.  On our way home we hit Walmart for a few odds and ends and to prepare for another beach day at Cerritos tomorrow.  But just for good luck we hit the swimming pool again to wash off some of the days sweat and sun and had a bowl of ice cream before bed.  Sufficiently suffonsified we are packing it in…

 Saturday March 22nd
A slow morning.  Mia slept in until 10:15 and we just chilaxed and got ready to go back to ‘our’ beach, Cerritos.  We picked up Dinelli on the way and enjoyed another drive through the Baja countryside.  Cerritos was a little busier today, but nothing crazy by any stretch of the imagination.  We eased into our beach day by having some ice cream bars and Emma hit the water again…. all day!  She must have been in the water the whole time we were there, around 4 hours!  Dad tried boogie boarding for a few minutes to try out all the good advice he was giving Emma, but wasn’t so successful, so he was a little quieter the rest of the day.  A nice couple lent us a better boogie board, so after dad tried it once or twice before surrendering it to Emma.  By the end of the day, Emma was doing a lot better and had some really good runs into the beach.  Dad, Martin and Dinelli walked around the rocky cove and Dinelli brought back a little sea urchin for the girls pet.  The waves were a little bigger this time back to Cerritos and a little breezy, but still an amazing day.  We went back to the little beach restaurant for lunch and enjoyed some live music from a John Dever-esque type of folk singer.  It was hard sitting eating delicious food on the beach listening to some great tunes, but we managed.  Mia ended up with a sea urchin type spikey thing in her butt.  It was operated on by Dr. Mom and she has seemed fine since, thankfully.  Sammie and Ellie created some great sand/beach art too.  After getting so dirty that no one would recognize us, and having so much fun that we couldn’t imagine leaving, we finally did have to head back to Cabo.  We dropped off Dinelli and we went home to shower before heading to Maggie’s place for dinner.  

 After getting presentable, we swung by Maggie’s work to pick her up and we pick Dinelli back up too.  On our way over to Maggie’s Mia was sitting with Stef in the front seat and had her window rolled down.  She would yell ‘Hola’ to all the passing cars.  We happened to be stopped at a light and a nice man rolled down his window and yelled ‘Hola’ back and asked her her name in spanish.  Mia went all shy at getting the attention she thought she’d never get!  We headed over to Maggie’s house to pick up her kids and mom, but her mom had a headache and decided to stay home and not join us for dinner.  For dinner we drove a few blocks over to the main road and dined under the stars.  Some ladies have an outside kitchen setup and we had a traditional mexican feast.  Martin and dad tries some taco made from meat from the head of the cow, sheep, or whatever they got the meat from.  Martin told dad that it was really good and dad thought so too for the first couple of bites, but then ran into a gelatinous mass and had to discreetly spit it out under the table and bury it under some dirt after he couldn’t quite swallow it.  Everything else was delicious and it was a great experience.  Martin had walked up the street when we first got there and bought some pop for us to drink with dinner.  As we waited for everyone to finish dad and Mia walked a few blocks up the street to watch some soccer.  The other kids learned to play a few new games after they were done diner.  It was finally time to go back to Maggie’s place to say goodbye and deliver dinner to her mom.  Maggie was kind enough to cut up an aloe plant to rub on dad’s burntf belly.  Mia got to try a toilet with no running water and we also said goodbye to the puppies.  We dropped off Dinelli and said our goodbyes again.  Brookie couldn’t quite wait until we got home for the toilet, so she ran into the gas station by Dinelli’s place and Unckie and dad talked with a guy as he washed our car windows, who had lived in Vegas for quite a while and still has a daughter there.  A little ice cream for a bedtime snack and the girls were off to bed.  Sam and Martin started some of their preparations to head back to Alberta tomorrow and we called it a day after sending dad to Walmart for a little more milk for breakfast.  

 Sunday March 23rd
Preparations for home are in full swing for the Spiegelbergs.  The girls are sad to see our fun coming to an end.  After a lazy morning, Stef got them over to the pool to drown some sorrows and try and have a little more fun.  Unckie got everything watered again and met with Jonathan, his property manager, to get preparations made to pay bills and get everything in order for the renters coming on April 1st.  Their house is rented through June.  Other than that the morning consisted of reminiscing, cleaning and lazing. The Spiegs finally had to force themselves to the car at about 1pm to get to the airport on time. Lots of hugs and tears saying goodbye, not to mention promises to do it all again sometime soon.  Earlier in the week Martin, dad, Brookie and MacKinley toured the house next to Sam and Martin's that is vacant. As the week draws to a close thoughts about trying to buy it from the bank and renovate start to creep in, but realize it's just the sun, sand and escape from reality talking... but man they're convincing!

 After the Spiegs had really gone, we headed down to Asi & Asano for lunch, our triple d joint we had frequented earlier in the week.  We enjoyed again just as much the second time. We then headed towards San Jose to check out Chileno beach. It came recommended by trip advisor, but more importantly, Sam.  It was quite busy as it was Sunday and there looked to be a lot of local families there enjoying the weekend together.  We hadn't brought our swim suits, but that didn't stop Mia and Brooklyn from jumping in,swimming around and rolling with the waves. Ellie, Emma, and mom hiked around some rocks and took some beautiful pictures. A blue and white yacht that had been anchored by lands end for most of the week was now at Chileno beach.  After a good time at the playa we headed back to the ranch and the little girls and dad went swimming at the pool. The little girls are in their swimming specific sits this time, but dad ended up going in his clothes as he had originally planned to only supervise, but Brookie finally prevailed upon him and he was too lazy to take the 20 steps back to the house to get his suit on. After the pool were showers and laundry and some initial packing. We then rewarded ourselves with some dinner down at the pier inside the swanky mall at Johnny rockets, a retro burger and milkshake joint. We sat out on the patio overlooking the fancy yachts, palm trees, and beautiful people out and about to see and be seen.  You couldn't get two meals at more opposite ends of the spectrum from the meal last night to the one tonight if you tried!  To be honest, we all enjoyed the one with Maggie and friends in her hood better, barring the milkshakes tonight... 😊 they were good, I'm not gonna lie!  We made it back home to casa Spiegelberg and put the little ones down and started the last of the laundry and preparations to head home in the morning.  We love you Cabo!

 Monday March 24th
Woke and started working to get to the airport on time and leave casa Spiegelberg in good shape.  We were able to give some of the food away to some neighbors playing some soccer out on the street yesterday.  The rest was eaten or thrown away.  We locked up Sam and Martin’s private closet, checked the air conditioners were off, loaded up the car and locked the front door.  We left the house at 9:30 am and headed out of Cabo for the last time.  After having followed Martin around for the week, we felt pretty confident getting back to the airport and dropping off the rental car.  We tried to burn the images of the last week into our minds and the memories into our hearts.  We took the toll road to the airport, an accident as we had hoped to take the original road Martin brought us in on, back to the airport, so we’re not as tough and local as we thought.  Dad dropped off the girls and luggage at the terminal and he went to drop off the car.  Check-in and car drop off went smoothly and we met back up to go through security.  We made it in plenty of time and enjoyed some treats and fancy drinks from Starbucks.  After takeoff, Brooklyn got upset that we were actually leaving and wanted assurances that we would go back.  After passing through customs and Brookie telling the agent everything that she had bought in Mexico, Brookie wanted to follow those going back through security to board another flight.  She thought we should correct our mistake of leaving Mexico right there and head back now!  We convinced her to join us on the walk to the car and to go home.  We arrived back at our place about 5:00 pm all suffering from some post vacation blues, but determined to get back into the rhythm of regular life.
Thoughts on the trip….
Mexicans really drive fast!  Mexico is not the affordably cheap place we had envisioned.  Mexico is beautiful both in natural/scenic beauty and the people are great too!  It’s not hard to see why the Spiegelbergs have fallen in love with it and purchased a home there.   Even in the poorest parts of Cabo that we saw, and we saw the poor parts, everyone has a satellite dish.   We all escaped without experiencing Montezuma’s revenge.  Apparently we have the stomachs of goats, or we were lucky.  Whatever it was, we’ll take it!  We didn’t just eat at McDonalds either, not by a long shot!  There is some kind of weird 4 way rolling stop thing going on at most intersections, even on roundabouts that dad couldn’t quite get the hang of.  He’d do well, then blow it, like on the way home from the beach in San Jose del Cabo!  The  nice Mexican driver we almost bumped into gave us a forgiving smile and wave.  Probably not the first gringo he had to avoid driving over!  The perfect week with the Spiegelbergs, we hope to be able to do it again someday soon!