The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: vacation

Celebrating 10 Years: Mexico

Luke and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in December. I know people say it all the time, but seriously, it goes by SO FAST.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that it was the night before our wedding and I was painting my toe nails that beautiful dark red and crying because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find my undergarments for the next day?

And now I’m here, sitting in my warm house at my Steelcase desk (12 years of hubby working at Steelcase will do that to your office), while one son plays Legos, the other colors sweetly at the table, and two daughters are lying on the couches reading books.

It might sound blase to you, but to me…this is the stuff I always wished for. God has fulfilled my dreams!

And at the top of the list of fulfilled dreams is a godly man to lead our family.

That Godly Man and I were able to celebrate our decade together by flying off to Mexico, sans children. (Thanks, Mom and Dad Liabenow, for taking care of them for us!)

It was a beautiful, relaxing week.

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We stayed at the Ocean Maya Royale in Playa del Carmen. Isn’t it beautiful?

Actually, when we first arrived, we sat down in this beautiful little area, and after enjoying it for about 15 minutes, we were very nicely told that it was for Privileged guests only. Hahahaheeheeheehohoho. Not sure why it makes me giggle, but at least we enjoyed it for a few minutes before we were kicked out to the peasants’ beach.

Thankfully, the peasants’ beach was still beautiful and had those canopy beds and chairs. But it was much more crowded, difficult to find a spot to land, and didn’t come with a waitress to serve us our favorite beverages. Eh, you get what you pay for, I guess!

So, speaking of beverages, Luke and I are not drinkers. And all-inclusive resorts tend to be popular with the drinking crowd, since there’s free-flowing alcohol.

BUT this resort had a GREAT alternative for us: a smoothie bar. Mmmmmmmmm. They had various fruits and veggies, and we could either choose a recipe from their list or tell them which fruits/veggies to put in. Our favorite ended up being the Conga – orange, pineapple, apple, watermelon, papaya, and strawberry.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip besides the oh-so-tasty Conga was the water sports. We swam in the pools and ocean, of course, but even more enjoyable was the kayaking.

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We also tried snorkeling near the hotel, but the ocean had been too stirred up that week by weather changes. So, we paid a fee to be taken on a boat out to a coral reef for some snorkeling. It was worth the money, definitely a highlight of the trip.

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We spent three nights at this hotel, and then we were given the opportunity to transfer to the Ocean chain’s “newest hotel” in Puerto Morales. We took them up on it, and found out that what they meant was “most newly acquired hotel.” It was NOT new by any stretch of the imagination. But for the most part it was still nice(ish) – just much different in layout and feel of the resort.

The water was too choppy for kayaking at this resort, but were still able to play tennis, which we had done a couple times at the first one. We pretty much stink at it, but it was fun to play together.

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We also enjoyed a romantic dinner by the pool in honor of our anniversary.

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And the last morning we were there, before we had to head to the airport, we were able to have breakfast delivered to our room, and we ate overlooking a beautiful ocean scene.

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In all, it was a very refreshing, relaxing trip. It was good for us to break away from the demands of every day to just relax together, have fun together, and spend some time focusing on our relationship. I sure am thankful that God gave me this man, and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years together…and the vacation that will follow! 😉

San Diego Vacation

One of the perks of being a homeschooling mama is flexibility in our schedule. So, when Luke had a business conference to attend in San Diego this April, I shipped the kids off to grandparents/friends and went along with him!

We took a trip to San Francisco in 2011, so this was our second time in sunny California.

If I had to choose between the two cities, San Diego would be the clear winner. It was beautiful there. More tropical feeling. More laid back. Less big city. More green. Ahh, loved it.

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We flew out of O’Hare, and were pleasantly surprised on one of the flights to have been seated in the Economy Comfort…so Luke’s loooooong legs had more than enough room! Praise God! That has never happened before! (Usually his knees are up by his ears, or in the back of the person in front of him.) 🙂

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When we arrived at the rental car place, who did we see on the TV? The Michigan Wolverines in the playoffs! Of course we had to cheer for them and banter with the little girl who was cheering for the other team.

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The first night, we stayed at a hotel on Shelter Island Drive that we Pricelined. It looked really nice on the outside, but it smelled really old on the inside. We were still thankful to pay such a small amount to stay an extra night in San Diego, and we awoke to some beautiful views and the sound of a bugler from the nearby Navy base.

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Since we arrived on a Saturday night, we had the opportunity to worship with some Californian brothers and sisters on Sunday. After church, I had my first experience with In-n-Out Burgers (yum), and then we rushed over to the shore to board a whale-watching tour.

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We were excited. We had no idea.

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Really glad I brought this stuff with me…Although, I don’t think it helped. So, scratch that.

The water was choppy that day. Luke and half of the other people on the boat spent 2/3 of the trip barfing over the side of the boat (or into plastic bags that the nice tour guides provided). It was disgusting. And so sad for Luke.

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Thankfully, he recovered once we hit terra firma, and we spent three nights at a luxurious hotel on the marina, compliments of Steelcase (it was a business trip, remember?). 🙂

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This was the view from our room.

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I could’ve stayed forever.

Luke was in a conference for work, so I entertained myself by writing Base Camp curriculum, working out in their oh-so-nice gym (where they had a person handing out towels and little water bottles while you sweated), swimming in the pool, taking naps, having ice cream at Seaport Village…It was torture, can’t you tell?

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And the two of us had time to walk around the Gaslamp Quarter and eat yummy meals together in the evenings.

I’ve always wanted to try The Melting Pot, and we were able to do it this time. We split a meal and were satisfied. I have no idea how one person could eat that much food by themselves!

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We also went to a nice Italian restaurant that had buffalo mozzarella cheese (like we had in Italy in 2010, but not quite as fresh). We sat outside, and watched the crazy Padres fans go down the streets screaming and acting nutso. It was opening day, and we were on the same street as the stadium. (Oops.) I also watched this lamp in terror, sure it was going to tip over and light us on fire.

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It ended up being fine. 🙂

Our last morning in downtown San Diego, we ate breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House.

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We split a meal, and it was HUMONGOUS!

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This trip wasn’t great for our waistlines.

From there, we spent our last day/night in La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya). Here we are, ready for a kayaking trip…

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I wish we had thought to bring a waterproof camera. Neither of us was willing to risk our iPhones getting wet or falling in the ocean, so we don’t have any pictures of the trip. But it was the highlight of the vacation for me. I would definitely do it again. It was the perfect weather, the sea was calm, the sea lions were playing…We saw two dolphins about 100 yards from us. Beautiful.

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The next day, we flew home to our kiddos. As they get older, it gets easier to leave them for a short time. And I find it more necessary to break away to be refreshed. I’m thankful that God provided this opportunity for Luke and me to reconnect and relax! (And I’m thankful for grandparents and friends who are willing to care for our kids while we’re away!)

Family Vacation: Great Wolf Lodge

Back in the summer of 2010, we took our kids on a little vacation at a cottage on Lake Michigan. It was wonderful and relaxing and refreshing.

It was our only family vacation ever, until now!

Luke and I got a great deal on the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. So, we decided to make some more memories!

You know, there is something to be said for not overindulging in activities like this. Because vacationing is so rare for us, our kids were BEYOND thrilled with the whole experience. Checking into the hotel room, making ourselves at home, playing in the waterpark, eating out, EVERYTHING was an adventure for them.

They actually got along nearly the entire time. Smiling, playing together.

It was GREAT.

So, let’s get to the pictures!

So happy to be on our way!

They napped on the way there.

We got there, unloaded, and here’s a pic of the kids waiting in the lobby as Luke parked the car.

The lobby has a really warm and welcoming feel. It’s huge, for one thing. But it also smells like a cinnamony potpurri, and there’s a fire in the fireplace.

Oh, and there are taxidermied animals everywhere. That gives me warm fuzzy memories of my childhood, as my deer-hunting dad mounted five deer in our living room.

We splurged and got a KidCabin Suite, which had a little log cabin room with bunk beds for the kiddos to sleep in. They LOVED it!

We spent the entire first afternoon in the waterpark area of the hotel. It was great fun! There is enough in there to keep a family busy, that’s for sure!

The only bummer was that Jaden was not really liking the water. I floated on the lazy river with him for quite a while that afternoon (in lieu of naptime). 🙂 You can see his grumpiness in this picture…

When dinner time rolled around, we went up to our room, got dried and dressed, and ate at the restaurant in the hotel.

The pizza was fine, but the kids were much more entertained by the decor…Trees with flashing lights, fake bugs, other fake animals, etc, etc…And a faux campfire.

That first night, they slept like ROCKS. They fell asleep quickly, and slept hard all night. That was a blessing! I did hear them a couple of times through the night, but not as much as I thought I might.

The next morning – bagels, bananas, and juice in our room!

And then it was back to the waterpark! Yippee!!!

And the good news was, Jaden loosened up a lot, and really enjoyed his second day in the water!

First, he loved these water guns that he could shoot at Daddy and Caleb.

And then he got used to the little kid slides (going down by himself!)…

And eventually he loved the bigger slides (after I shoved him down them the first time, hehehe)…

(That was Grace on the yellow slide, by the way.)

Ava’s favorite part was the swimming pool. She enjoyed floating around in there, tossing a ball back and forth, and kicking her feet.

Grace and Caleb loved riding the big tube slides with Luke and/or me. I wish we had pictures of those, but we were having too much fun to stop and take pictures. 🙂

Oh, the other favorite was the big ol’ bucket at the top of the big play structure. See it there, on top?

It dumps 1,000 gallons of water every 5 minutes.

Caleb loved standing under it. Jaden loved watching it.

None of us loved saying goodbye to the waterpark that night.

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Luke Pricelined a different hotel for that night (hello, $45!). So, we were able to stay at the water park until almost 9pm, and then head over to the other hotel for a good night’s rest.

The next day, we had a yummy breakfast at the hotel, and then drove along the Grand Traverse Bay for a little while, enjoying the sunshine.

We got out to play at a roadside park for a few minutes, but it ended up being MUCH colder than we expected!

As corny as it sounds, our next stop was the mall to let the kiddos ride the carousel. They loved their little ride.



And then we headed home. And for one last hoorah, we stopped for ice cream in Cedar Springs. YUM.

Family vacation was super successful. Thank you, Lord!

Sunny San Fran

At the end of March, Luke had a conference for work in San Francisco, CA, and I was blessed to be able to tag along with him. We left the kiddos with Luke’s parents in the Chicago area, and hopped a plane out of O’Hare.

When we left Chicago, I believe it was in the 30’s. When we reached California, this is what greeted us…

The weather was beautiful! It was in the 70’s and even 80’s while we were there, with not a drop of rain. PERFECT!

We then went and checked into our hotel, which was also wonderful!

Not only was it a very nice/modern hotel, but it was very centrally located. Just down the street from the conference, and pretty much smack dab in the middle of the shopping district.

One of my favorite parts of the hotel was the water they offered in the lobby. I apparently didn’t take a picture of it, but they had three glass water containers – one was just plain ol’ ice water, and the other two were flavored with slices of fresh fruit. My absolute favorite was the strawberry water. I think I drank it every time I entered the lobby. Yum. And so refreshing after walking in the warm city.

So, the first day, we got adventurous and walked all the way from our hotel on Market St. (for those of you familiar with SF) to Fisherman’s Wharf.

We went through Chinatown…

And through a whooooole lot more of the city (or at least it felt that way).

Aren’t these trees cool? Anyone know what kind of tree they are? I think they look like they could be in a fairy tale.

We also passed by the famous Lombard Street, a.k.a. the crookedest street in the world. We didn’t actually go down it until our last night in the city (and HOLY MOLY was it steep!), but it was pretty cool even to look at. (Sorry it’s hard to see in the picture. It’s the green squiggly part at the top of the street.)

Annnnd we eventually made it to the wharf, which, not surprisingly, smelled fishy. The wharf is definitely a touristy place to be, so there was quite a lot to entertain us.

There was some brown water…

And there were street performers…

And there was Alcatraz (the island behind us)…

And Pier 39 (the backside of it shown here)…

And sea lions!…

Fisherman’s Wharf was pretty cool. And we were going to catch the bus back to the hotel, which would cost a mere $2 per person…But you had to have correct change (cash), which we did not. So, we started walking back toward the hotel, thinking we’d catch a cab. And we never did.

And when someone tells you to take walking shoes to San Francisco, don’t think, “Pshaw! I can wear my boots! I wear boots everywhere!” because, trust me, your feet will NOT thank you. Mine didn’t.

Besides walking, which we did a LOT of, we also did a lot of eating out that week.

First at The Urban Tavern, which had a great atmosphere and kind of *meh* food, if you know what I mean. (Or maybe we just weren’t that hungry since it was probably 7:30pm when we got our food, and that’s 10:30pm at home, which is an odd time to eat dinner!)

Then we had breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In. Mmm, fresh-squeezed OJ…

Sack lunch (from the conference) at beautiful Union Square…

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory…

Breakfast at Little Joe’s…By the way, we met Little Joe, who we discovered was from a town near Milan, and we got to say “ciao” to him as we left. That was fun.

Oh, and we also had a breakfast that pretty much clogged all our arteries but was SO fatteningly delicious!

And dinner at Cioppino’s, who had the MOST amazing bruschetta ever.

While Luke was in his conference, I was able to spend some time working on the curriculum for Base Camp 2011. It was SO relaxing to sit in silence in the hotel room, or at the coffee shop with Chris Rice’s The Living Room Sessions playing on the iPod. I was able to get quite a bit done, although not three days’ worth of curriculum like I’d hoped. Bummer. I guess someone will have to send me back to SF to finish up. 🙂

OH OH OH, I almost forgot to mention a highlight of our trip! We were able to connect with our dear friend Murphy! Although her trip up from Mount Vernon, CA was a little delayed due to some iPhone difficulties, we were still able to spend a couple hours catching up on our last night in town. You gotta love friendships that don’t stale with time! Love ya, Murph!

And just for the record, if anyone wonders, I would love to visit San Francisco again…As long as I can remember to bring walking shoes.

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