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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bachelorette Ending Badly...

Wow, where oh where to begin? 

I've been a bit silent as of late on this 'ole blog and for that, I apologize. The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy, what with travel schedules and sicknesses and just overall life in general getting in the way. I'm finally coming up for air and wanted to give y'all an update on the happenings as of late.

The last time I posted, I was very much looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend away in one of my favorite vacation destinations, Los Cabos. For my sister's bachelorette party, instead of a penis-filled weekend of debauchery in Vegas, she decided a trip to a tropical locale where the only thing we needed to worry about was where our next margarita was going to come from was in order. I happily obliged, planning a wonderful getaway with our Quintess host, Prem for seven gals and one gent (who's probably girlier than any of us - love you, Curtis!), filled with yummy dinners, spa treatments and a little bit of touristy fun at the local bars. Whitney, who's hasn't had the most carefree engagement for a variety of reasons, needed this vacation more than anyone and we were all excited to get to Mexico, change into our swimsuits and park our asses poolside for 3-4 days to celebrate her upcoming nuptials.


The trip was great - house was perfect for our group, everyone got along, Whitney had fun and got some much needed R&R and by the time I left on Sunday, I was relieved that the vacation went off without a hitch and that the bachelorette was a success.

Yep, that's a penis on Penny's head...
The Surviving Odile crew...

And then that bitch Odile, a category 4 hurricane, decided to join the party on Sunday evening and make a real muck of everything. It's easy to look back now and make light of the situation (especially for myself, who luckily escaped Cabo on one of the last flights out) but Sunday - Wednesday of last week were some of the longest days of my life. 

When we booked the vacation, half of us planned on leaving on Sunday (kids and jobs to get back to) and the other half planned on leaving on Monday so they could luxuriate one more day with the bride-to-be. We were told before we left on Thursday that there was some bad weather heading Cabo's way so wanting to keep our options open, we booked a few one-way tickets back on Sunday for those staying, to have just in case. Well on Saturday, the storm changed it's path and it looked like Cabo was in the clear so we promptly called the airlines and canceled the one-way tickets (mistake #1). After all, we weren't going to cut the vacation short on account of a little rain!

Sunday morning, I awoke to an email from our host, telling us that the storm looked like it was, in fact, headed straight to Cabo and advising us to all try and get out on flights that day. Unfortunately, it was too late - all of the flights were now either sold out or canceled so those with Monday flights were SOL. I left my mother, sister and 3 others at the house with a couple 35 packs of water, a bit of food, a lot of wine and some nervous jokes about enjoying the hurricane party.

It wasn't until I touched down in LA and saw some footage of the rain that my sister had posted that I began to panic. If the rain and wind was that strong 10 hours before the hurricane was officially supposed to hit, what was it going to look like that night? 

I kept in touch throughout the day and enjoyed their instagram posts about surviving Odile and Jesus candles. I went to bed that night feeling so guilty that I had left them there - not that I could have done anything, but I had wished that I had made them come to the airport or thought about taking them to a hotel, or given them a tighter hug when I said goodbye.

The storm hit Cabo at 10:45pm. At that moment, they were {smartly} all huddled in a bathroom, trying to sleep in the shower. The glass wall leading out to the pool was sucked out of it's frame. The fire alarm was going off. The electricity had gone off hours before and windows were shattering. They must have been terrified.

The next morning, they awoke to a completely raged house. Knowing that Quintess owned 14 others in the development, they went from house to house to assess the damage and see if there was somewhere better for them to stay. They ended up running into another couple who owned two houses that suffered far less damage and they graciously let them stay in one of them while everyone tried to figure out next steps. At this point, we were still in contact with them through a phone line at the security gate. They checked in every couple of hours and we tried to rebook them on the next flights out - having no idea when the airport would even reopen (we were told 10/10 by one source and that's looking pretty realistic now). 

Monday night, we lost contact with them. None of the phones were working anymore. I kept getting updates from another group of people who had friends staying in a ballroom at the Westin and it wasn't looking good. No one had any idea whether the roads were drivable. We explored every single option we could (private plane, helicopter rescue mission, you name it!) and started to panic when we realized that even if we were able to find a way out for them, we had no way of communicating the plan to them.

Finally, on Tuesday evening, my dad got word that they were being air lifted on a Aero Mexico commercial jet by the Mexican military to Mexico City, where they then spent the night and caught the first flight out to LAX on Wednesday morning. Ordeal finally over, right? Wrong. Some man goes into cardiac arrest on the flight and my sister, a nurse, is trying to revive him as they land the plane; the man, a 69 year old veteran traveling with his wife of 45 years, dies on the way to the hospital in Mexico City. I couldn't make this up.

So needless to say, when I saw my mom and sister at the airport on Wednesday morning,  the tears were flowing and I think we were all feeling relief like we'd never felt before. We're so grateful to the entire Quintess team, who took such excellent care of our group while they were stranded. It makes me so sad to think about what has happened to one of my favorite places and I hope it's able to recover quickly. It boggles my mind that the US news has barely covered what's been going on there; there are still thousands of people stranded and the situation is bleak.

Moral of the story is, I think the Mailloux girls are done with bachelorette parties in Mexico (my bachelorette ended with half of our group getting seriously ill, which pales in comparison to this!). Good thing Whitney's the last to be married off!



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor Day in Angel's Camp

For the past couple of years, we've spent Labor Day at one of my favorite places: Angel's Camp. It's a good chance for the Greats to spend some quality time with the kiddos (and us!) and it's quickly become one of my favorite weekends of the year.

This year was especially fun because Hayes is at the age where he actually enjoys doing stuff. And Angel's Camp is a small slice of heaven for the kids, what with the swimming pool, the golf course, the new toys GG and Pops have every year, the golf cart... Not to mention the fun excursions to Murphys, which has an adorable little playground right on a creek and an authentic mom and pop toy store, and my personal favorite, the old cowboy town of Columbia, where you can ride a stagecoach that's held up by robbers (Hayes told them to "scwam!"), pan for gold, visit the blacksmith and get a round of old-school bowling in.


We did it all and loved every minute. Every day started with breakfast outside overlooking the deer having their own breakfast on the golf course. Every day ended with a late afternoon swim. Hayes joined Grant and Pops when they played golf - 9 holes both days - and although I'm sad to see that I've already become a golf widow with Hayes too (at least I have Greyson, right!?), it makes me so happy to see how happy having Hayes tag along makes Grant (not to mention he was quite the lucky charm!).

Greyson desperately trying to keep up with Hayes...
GG lending a helping hand...
Fudgesicle mustache...
When Dr. Hayes is away, Dr. Grey will play...
The family that pans together...
Old Town Columbia...
My loves...
Grant kept Hayes quite occupied while Greyson napped and I hung back at the house and read my book (Me Before You - highly recommend!) and napped myself. So at the end of the weekend, we actually all felt nice and relaxed and just like every year, nobody wanted to go home - the ultimate sign of a good vacation!
Grey picking out a book for the ride home...
And the icing on the cake was that Greyson wasn't too terrible in the 6 hour car ride there and back, which leaves me hopeful for our next long roadtrip, when we return to Angel's Camp for Thanksgiving in November!

Hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend! We sure did ;-)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lake Arrowhead

We spent last weekend in Lake Arrowhead, a sleepy mountain town an hour and a half northeast of LA and I have to say, it was love at first sight!


I'm only slightly embarrassed to say that I first learned about Lake Arrowhead while reading one of Tori Spelling's terrible books. Her family vacations there quite often and after doing a little bit of research into it and finding out that it was so close (we always thought going to the "mountains" meant a 5-6 hour car ride), we decided to take a joint family long weekend with our friends, the Blakes.

I found an adorable little cabin on airbnb (for those of you who aren't familiar, airbnb is a house rental website) and we packed up the car to drive out first thing Friday morning. After getting through the LA freeways, the landscape changed from concrete and cars, to windy roads through huge mountains, surrounded on all sides by lush trees - basically the complete opposite of Los Angeles.


The house was perfect, with three bedrooms on the ground floor that our family took (Hayes slept in a bunk bed for the first time and thought it was the coolest thing ever) and a master in a loft-type setting that the Blakes and their little guy, Ryder took. The main room was everything you'd want out of a mountain cabin - plush leather couches and chairs, each with their own blanket, lots of wood, a stone fireplace and a coffee table filled with any board game you could ever want. The house was perched up on a hill so you felt like you were living in a tree house - especially nice in the early mornings when Greyson and I *enjoyed* watching the sunrise.

Grant fired up some lobsters on the grill on Friday night after the kids went to bed. Saturday, we took a tour of the lake on our own privately chartered boat (Greyson's first boat ride and Hayes even got to drive!) and had dinner in the adorable town square at a little Mexican restaurant. And Sunday, we went to a private beach club and relaxed while Hayes splashed around in the water. In between all of that, when Greyson was napping, Hayes enjoyed going on "adventures" in the woods, collecting pine cones and other mountain treasures.

We liked it so much, we actually looked at some real estate while we were there and are considering purchasing a second home. To be able to offer that kind of getaway to our boys on the reg for a relatively affordable price would be amazing - and the fact that it's so close makes it all the better!

Here are some more pics - we can't wait to go back!

Grey Grey wasn't too sure about the life jacket...
Captain Hayes...
The water in the lake literally had flecks of gold in it...
Brave Hayes letting the water go neck-high...
Rainbow sherbert in a chocolate sprinkly waffle cone? What more could a guy want?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Snova

We had an amazing weekend in Sonoma (or as it's lovingly called around here, 'Snova') with Nana and Papa. It was so nice to get away, breathe in some fresh air and do absolutely nothing for 3 days.


We stayed in a very modern manse at the top of the Lovall Valley Loop. Although the house was a little cold feeling, it was very nice and had just about the most amazing views of the Napa valley you've ever seen. We spent the majority of our time outside in the infinity pool, with pre-breakfast hot tubs and lots of swimming practice for Hayzey. Other activities included a picnic in the park in the Sonoma Square and a trip to Sonoma Train Town, an adorable little amusement park that had a ferris wheel and roller coaster, among a few other rides.
Sunset vino by the pool...
While it felt weird to go to wine country and literally not visit a single winery, we got our fill of the good stuff at dinners in town, visiting Mamma Taninos with the kids the first night (great food, not-so-great atmosphere and not a very leisurely dinner with a 8 month old who had skipped his nap that day), The Girl & the Fig (just okay, but delicious cocktails) and Cafe la Haye (simple restaurant atmosphere but amazing food, especially their daily risotto and to-die-for desserts).

Nana brought Hayes a special treat, some of my barbies from way-back-when (some of them are seriously 30 years old - heirlooms, if you will!), which he happily kept busy with for the whole weekend, dressing them up in their various outfits. He has slept with them every night since he got them and has given Greyson strict instruction that he is only to touch Ken, since he doesn't have "soft hair". I'm just happy they're getting a second life - I missed my old friends!

On our way to the airport Sunday, we stopped off in Walnut Creek and visited our favorite deli, Genova - giving both boys a taste of the good life with the most delicious turkey sandwich ever made and their famous raviolis on the side. Greyson has proven to be quite the foodie and we're having a great time introducing him to various delicacies, which he shoves in his mouth in the blink of an eye! In addition to the aforementioned sandwich and pasta, he also has cotton candy, macaroni and cheese and a quesadilla over the weekend - we're not winning any parenting awards, but I feel like we're at least offsetting the junk with plenty of fruits and veggies!

The boys enjoying dinner together...
Mac and cheese was a hit!
We really enjoyed the weekend spending time with my parents - thanks for letting us tag along on your trip! Here are some more shots. Enjoy!

pre-breakfast hot-tub...
practicing our swim lessons...
ferris wheel selfie...
successful first roller coaster!
taking a ride on the sea monster...