Sunday, February 10, 2019

Back in Siesta Keys

We try to visit my mother in Florida as much as we can. She moved there last year and Our trip to Siesta Keys to visit my mom was a great time!  I wanted to visit her over the summer, just the kids and I, but the red tide had plans of it's own. So we rescheduled for October and Ty got to come with us. We stayed with my mom for part of the time and then rented a Beach Cottage for the other part of the trip. Our cottage was just around the corner from the beach and this made for amazing sunsets and sunrises. I will link everything we did and where we stayed.

We stayed at Tropical Breeze Resort in Siesta Keys . We LOVED this place!! Super friendly and accommodating, so close to the beach and lots of room options. Check out our "Siesta Key" highlight reel on instagram at @itslaurenrebecca for all of our vaca details and tour of where we stayed. 

As I had told you in a past post,  I was going to try and be more intentional about working out and eating healthier. And I did for the most part. We are usually pretty active on our vacations anyhow. Always out swimming or walking or doing some sort of adventure. But I made sure to get in a few workouts even if they were quick ones. It felt good to stay on track. Generally on vacation, I abandon all routine workouts and eating is a free for all. And sometimes that is ok because often you might not have enough time to workout or you just deserve a good break from trying to eat so on point all the time, and just enjoy eating and drinking whatever you please. Sometimes this doesn't work well for people because they feel like they fall off the wagon and it's like starting all over again when they return. For me, by the end of vacation, I am craving healthy foods, balance and some good fitness. So it is not a problem for me. This time it was more about not wanting to feel sick and bloated. So I made sure I incorporated a lot of healthy, clean meals and still had some full-on unhealthy, super chocolatey, greasy meals also. I'm a sucker for some good onion rings!! We had a full kitchen in our cottage so we also bought food and made some meals in our place.  Some places that we ate at were: Another Broken Egg (this was around the corner from where we stayed and they had the best breakfast. We ate here a lot), Green Zebra Cafe (this place had organic options and it was where we went when we needed a healthy meal), Meaney's Mini Donuts (We can't come to Siesta Keys without grabbing some of these deliciously amazing mini donuts), Osyter Bar or SKOB (My mom took the kids one night and Ty and I did some restaurant and live music searching. This place was great for seafood and some live music), Bon Jour French Cafe (They had GF and Vegan options),  Made in Rome Organic Gelato (Obv we had to try this place), The Cottage (this place was right around the corner from where we stayed too and they had great food and the drinks were good too)
Marina Jacks  (We ate dinner outdoors overlooking the ocean at this restaurant. Very cool atmosphere and they also had live music)

Things To Do:
We went to Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota, which I highly recommend! It wasn't expensive and it was so cool to see all of the wild cats. I had NO idea that a Liger was a real thing! No clue why we had no photos of the cats but I do recommend it. We rented little scooter cars and drove around the beaches.  The kids thought this was the best thing ever. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens was another favorite for the kids. They had the coolest gardens and fun little exploratory places included a tree with roots that they found amazing!
We also took one day and went to Busch Gardens. It was so empty there as far as people. We lucked out and got the place to ourselves. Kids loved the animals, rides, getting their faces painted and games there. We also really enjoyed just hanging out at the beach. Red Tide was just ending and when we went to the beach, we had a manatee come right up to us and stick his snout out of the water!!! Coolest thing ever!! The beach is such a therapeutic place. We spent lots of evenings and mornings there. The kids can never get enough of it.

On our way home, we flew Southwest and the pilots & staff were the best! They let the kids take a look at the cockpit and where they fly. Maxwell was in his glory! We had an awesome time as always and look forward to visiting my mother again.

Busch Gardens
Tropical Breeze Resort
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Another Broken Egg

Big Cat Habitat Sanctuary 
Marina Jacks

The Cottage

Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmas Vacation: Back to New York

In the Chicago airport on a 2 hour layover after being up since 3 am, I looked like I had been reincarnated as a dishrag. Ty chased the kids as they ran about the waiting area like the overtired, wild beasts that they were. I sat down at the computer station, ignoring the fact that my kids were acting like straight up hoodlums, and tried to download more photos from our trip. Anything to keep me awake since I knew we had another 3 hour flight to go! We flew back to Texas on Dec 30th from a 13 day trip back to New York. And I will declare that we had an amazingly fun time.  The entire trip was jam-packed with fun things happening non-stop. It inevitably exhausted us all, but it was still worth the exhausted trip back, the day before New Year's Eve.  Let me give you a recap before I bombard you with all of the photos...

We got to visit with Ty's family on Saratoga Lake. We did an early Christmas with his side of the family. Ty's dad always cooks a feast fit for an army. So we did dinner and then breakfast. After breakfast and mimosas one morning, we discovered a stash of Nerf guns and it turned into an all out battle with the entire family and "Run, Run Rudolph" playing in the background. That's what good memories are made of. We woke up on Christmas Eve morning to snow falling from the sky. It's been awhile since we've seen that glorious white stuff, so we were pretty thrilled even if it was just a dusting (to those NorthEast folks).

We got dressed on Christmas Eve and headed to my sister's house who lives near the mountains in upstate NY, about 25 min from Saratoga. My mom flew in from Florida, both of my sisters were there and it was great to have us all together again. My time with my family was (and always is) memorable. We did Christmas Eve food shopping at the grocery store and some last minute gift shopping. 5 girls in a truck, windows rolled down in the middle of winter singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs while riding around upstate NY.....not something all those bystanders, or us for that matter, see everyday. We had some mouth-watering brick oven pizza for lunch and then we did our normal crazy Christmas Eve: Games, moose mugs filled with eggnog, the best dang Gingerbread Martinis I've ever tasted, Christmas Vacation playing in the background, laughs, more games and lots of appetizers. Oh! And let's not forget the "naughty" gingerbread cookies that my hilarious sister made...(She is too funny!) Ty has finally warmed up to the fact that when you come to a Hutchinson girl's party, you WILL be playing some sort of charades game. And he's pretty good actually!

On Christmas morning we woke up and everyone gathered downstairs to watch the kids open presents. My brother in law made some delicious Biscuits and Gravy for breakfasts and of course, more mimosas. After presents, my sisters, niece and I headed out for Christmas Day hike. And it was A BEAUTIFUL day for one! Not too cold but brisk enough that we wore our mittens and gloves. The sun was shining and it warmed me up despite the fact that I could see my breath. The lake that we walked beside was showing off with it's beauty. That icy, shimmering glamour that the NorthEast does so well every winter. I think a Christmas Day hike should be a new tradition for the Hutchinson girls. We relaxed the rest of the day and watched movies, ate more food and visited. Later on we lounged around and did nothing but relax.
We ended up staying at my sisters for an extra night because they were having such a blast. Maxwell and my sister's son are only 6 months apart. Last year they were not really into playing together but this year we barely saw them! They were in the playroom together most of the time. 

 The day after Christmas we headed to the mountain (which is a hop, skip and a jump from my sister's house). We went snow tubing with the kids. We had lunch in the lodge and then hot toddies outside by the fire. It made me REALLY miss NY. BUT, I will say that by the end of the two weeks, I could feel my body craving sun. Every year in Feb, I would go through some sort of sunlight-deprivation or winter blues. If you ask Ty, he says that I start to complicate everything and overreact upon everything. Almost as if I was going through a mini-life-crisis every Jan/ I'd say he's fairly accurate about that. It was like clockwork and I can only assume it was from lack of sunlight. The past 2 years, in Texas, I have NOT had this. That Texas weather has made for pleasant winters for me. So when we got home and it was in the 60's and 70's, I took a couple long walks and soaked up that sunlight!! 

We ate at 2 new restaurants in town and a couple oldie but goodies. Met with friends, old neighbors, went to Christmas parties and I even got to meet up with my work crew a couple times!! All around, a wonderful trip. The one question I was asked a lot, was how we did Christmas away from home as far as gifts. Last year we did Christmas in Siesta Keys and we told the kids that Santa would leave the a few small things but he would leave the rest of their gifts at home. So we brought one small suitcase 1/2 full of small gifts wrapped for the kids. Mostly things they could use on a plane ;) Anything we bought for family, we had shipped to my sister's house there in NY and wrapped when we got there. Then we told everyone to only get them small things. Worked both years!
 And now, without further ado, my endless photo overload. lol. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!! XOXO miss all of my peeps from back East! Until next time...