Saturday, 22 January 2011

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Go Jayhawks!

Ever since we got back from Kansas, Z has been into "tatooing" himself with his magic markers. Since they're washable, it seems harmless enough. (I'm sure I'll regret those words when he comes home at 16 with a real tattoo!) This morning he asked for a Jayhawk tattoo. You can tell where and with whom he spent his vacation!

Although I am not the world's best tattoo artist, when I was done, Z looked at it in awe and said, "That is so cool!"




Saturday, 8 January 2011

Christmas 2010

We just got back from two weeks Christmas vacation! We spent the first 10 days in Kansas with all the Stegall clan, and then Nathan and I got a short but wonderful vacation of our own in Orlando!

The Kansas time was lots of fun, although very busy with seeing everyone. We got to go to Charis' 5th birthday party, we went swimming with all the little cousins, and we had a New Year's Eve party at Yaya and Papu's! We also saw Abe, who came from Houston, which was great since we haven't seen him in almost a year, and we saw Liz at Christmas and the December/January joint birthday party. Ann demonstrated their new WiiFit for me (and we both willingly made fools of ourselves in various ways -- hulahooping, obstacle coursing, etc), and Nathan helped Caleb and the older boys set traps for beavers. That was a little sad. Apparently the trap crunches their head and neck when they swim into it.

Below are pictures from Christmas Eve, which is when we did our big Stegall celebration:


Charis, Ethan, Quentin, Theo and Grady play Wits and Wagers at Yaya and Papu's house.




Papu and Caleb watch the present opening. Caleb is starting a new job on Monday as the General Council to the Kansas state governor. Apparently his office is the whole second floor of the west wing of the capital building. Pretty cool!


The coffee crowd -- Micah, Abe and Liz.


Each of the adults drew one kid's name and gave him or her a Christmas present. This is the sword Z got from Uncle Micah.


General mayhem.


On Christmas Eve night many people went to a Christmas Eve service, but the Hitchcocks stayed home and did more presents and stockings. Here is Z digging into his stocking.


And here he is with his favorite present of all -- Spectacular Spiderman! That grin didn't leave his face for the rest of the night!


He also got a pirate ship that came with a big rubber octopus -- a fitting bad guy for Spiderman.


A quiet moment with the boy.


Z watching a movie with Yaya.


And then Nathan and I went to Orlando for four nights while Mom and Dad and then Micah and Christie watched Z. Thanks to them, we had a great time, and Z had a great time, too! The first thing Z said when we came to pick him up (after being gone nearly 5 days) was, "I want to stay at Charis' house!"

We had a wonderful time in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Our goal was to simply relax and enjoy each other and a little sunshine. We did both beautifully.

We arrived on Saturday after what was for us a luxurious flight from KC to Orlando. Travelocity had switched around our travel plans a little, so when we complained we got upgraded to business class. We were very excited about this, and when we got on the plane Nathan asked the stewardess (what's the PC title?) what the perks were. She told him, with a queer look on her face. I explained, "It's our first time!" So after free chocolate milk and scotch (I'll let you guess who had what) and a comfortable ride in significantly larger seats, we reached Orlando and took a taxi to our hotel. It was lovely and lovely weather -- a balmy mid-70s. After looking around we ate dinner and walked the grounds.

Sunday we slept in (or at least I did), and then spent the whole morning by the pool. Ah, sunshine that you can actually feel! The temperature was in the low 80s! Then we ate lunch with some dear friends of ours who live in Orlando, which was such a treat. We also had some of the best pizza ever! Sunday evening we decided to dress up a little and eat at one of the fancier restaurants at the resort. We were a little confused by the requirement to wear "resort casual" and still don't know exactly what that means, but they let us in. In fact, we were the only ones in the restaurant and therefore received the royal treatment. Wine, appetizers, duck with fig sauce and osso buco made up our menu. Absolutely delicious.

Monday morning we went for a nature walk around the hotel grounds (there are 230 acres total) and saw blue heron, beavers, and many other water birds. Supposedly there is an alligator on site, but we never saw it. After our walk, we went to the driving range and wacked some balls for half an hour, which, in my opinion, is very cathartic. Forget golf, I'll just stick with the driving range. Monday afternoon was again spent by the pool and followed by another delicious dinner.

Tuesday we tried not to think about the fact that it was our last day and instead spent the morning in bed, finishing up the first season of Battlestar Gallactica. Then lunch and the spa! For my birthday Nathan had given me a professional massage to be booked at my convenience, so I had it at the resort spa. I've never been to a spa before and again, felt completely pampered. The spa was divided into a men's section and women's section. The women's was dimly lighted with quiet music. Beautifully tiled showers, hot tub, sauna and steam room were all accompanied by drinks and fruit, robes and slippers. And I got a wonderful 50 minute massage which actually made my hips feel better for the following 24 hours. I guess I need a massage every other day.

And on Wednesday we came home. We were very happy to see Z again and to see that he'd had such a good time while we were gone. Thanks again to Yaya and Aunt Christie for letting us take our vacation!!

Below are some pictures from Florida:

The entrance to the resort.



The restaurant where we dined alone Sunday evening.


There were three pools and two hottubs outside the hotel. All very nice. It turned out we were at the resort at exactly the right time because it was nearly empty. We had the pools as well as the restaurants to ourselves almost entirely. That is certainly my idea of a happy vacation!


The back of the hotel.


The happy couple. Yes, it was as warm as it looks.