Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ethan Mark Professional Pictures

I always get so excited when Ethan takes professional photos! We've been fortunate enough to have 2 amazing photographers work with us - Jenice Ray who is doing Ethan's 3, 6, 9, and 12 month photos - and my friend, Megan Squires, who was extremely generous to gift us with our newborn pictures of Ethan for my baby shower and another set of pictures when Ethan was used to promote her new photography studio, the Portrait Boutique, in a video bit of her taking pictures of him... we were lucky enough to keep the pictures that she captured! (video will be up soon we hope!)

Here are the pictures we've collected so far...

The Newborn Session
Megan Squires Photography

3 Month Session
Jenice Ray Photography

6 Month Session
Jenice Ray Photography

Megan Squire's Photography Photo Shoot

Ethan will be taking his 9 month photo sesh with Jenice on November 6th... we're hoping to get them back in time for Christmas pictures! We'll see.... :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mark Swingin' into the Falls

Touch of Death

Early GPS tracking for slaves... onces these plants are touched, they close up!

Zipline Views

Babymoon in Jamaica!

He's still Jamaican' Me Crazy in love! After over 6 years of marriage and 1 baby boy... there is much to celebrate! So we decided to take that celebration to Jamaica... no problem, mon!

Ethan is (and has been - praise God!) sleeping through the night for some time now and I am not breastfeeding anymore so... what's the the hold-up? We have two loving, attentive, and supportive Grandmas and Grandpas who were more than willing to watch our smiley boy for a week (9 days to be exact)... so for us, this recipe spelled F-R-E-E-D-O-M! Ahhhhhhhhhhh ! :)

We used free flights that we earned through JetBlue (love this company!) and what we didn't pay out of our wallets, we paid for in sleep... or lack there of! Since JetBlue caters mainly to the East Coast, we had to fly to NY's JFK first (5 1/2 hours) from Oakland b/c for some reason JB wasn't offering flights from Sac to JFK (the joys!)... so we drove 1 1/2 hours to OAK (or more like my Mom drove us.... Thanks Mama!) + 5 1/2 hours to JFK (redeye!) + 2 hour layover (bonus - Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast!!) + 3 1/2 hours to the Kingston Airport in Jamaica  = 12 1/2 hours of travel... here's the kicker! + 4 more hours to drive to the resort! Yes, we literally laughed at the lady who told us this until she laughed back then realized we were joking and said, "Actually, it is a 4 hour drive."  !!!!!!!!! Just shoot me, lady! You know what? Nevermind, we're going home! Did I mention that we don't sleep on planes? Oooooh Lord were we tired!

So we get into the van to start our journey to the resort - hungry, sleep deprived, and ironic as it may be... longing for a vacation... Our driver is like the rest of the drivers on the road. You'd think they all trained at the Missed an Accident by a Hair School of Drivers as it was by some miracle we just missed hitting every other car. Their driver's seat is opposite of ours, so maybe they can see just how close they are with head-on traffic. To add to the scene, we saw men with machetes watching us pass on the side of the road with no obvious purpose. Hmmmm... what's in that Jerk Chicken anyway?

Finally we get to the resort and are welcomed with a cool drink, a cool (fabulous smelling!) towel, and a group of ladies traditionally dressed singing "Welcome to Jamaica". Let it begin!!!

Here are some of our first snaps of the resort, Sandals Jamaica Whitehouse

Where many weddings took place. Apparently 10-10-10 was a popular date!

All inclusive... smiles too!
Our favorite drink was called the Jamaican Smile :)

Mark and I love all-inclusive resorts! We wake-up whenever we want, throw on a bathing suit, eat, lay-out and read (Allie) or play pool volleyball (Mark), eat, get a tan (Allie) or burn (Mark), eat, walk the beach, drink, head back to shower, dress up for dinner (maybe a few dinners!), dessert, see a show or go dancing... all in a day's vacation!

Here are some pics of us doing our day time activities:

We wind sailed for the first time

 Beach Walking

Here are some pictures of our nights out on the island!

 Ooooh the Paris Cafe! We visited this dessert shop every night (and sometimes for a snack too)! The crepes - sad to say - were much better than the ones we had in Paris! You could create your own. My favorite was apple filling, caramel, and cinnamon sugar. "Oh my gracious!" as Paula Dean would say :)

 Mark enjoyed banana splits just about every night :)

 Wine with dinner! After 9 months of pregnancy and months of breastfeeding, it really is a joy to have a glass care-free!!

 I just love shopping for vacations! It's all about date night :)

 Mark said his dinner was peacocking
Double fisting dessert
 Night time show...

 Can't get enough sweets!

 Custom pizzas cooked in a brick oven

About half way through our trip, we met two couples who were taking a vacation away from their little ones too - Ashley & Jeb and Jamie & Michael. The husbands had just returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan... Special Forces. We asked if they knew Mark's brother, Eric Young, since he's SF too (and one of the few dentists in SF). It turns out Jeb is a medic and was also in Afgan. where "Captian Young" showed him how to pull teeth. Awesome! Such a small world!! We enjoyed hanging out with these guys so much that we ended up going on several triple dates.

Here are the girls:
Jamie - Me - Ashley
Jeb - Michael - Mark
There was dancing!
And plenty of lounging :)

We took two day trips while we were there: Zipline Tour and the YS Falls Tour

The YS Falls tour was a 3 part tour. First we went on a river boat where we saw crocodiles, then to the YS Falls where we swung into the falls with a rope swing, and we concluded the trip with an Appleton Rum Tour.

Part 1: River Boat

 The tour guide said Jamaican Crocs are friendly...
 A good rule of thumb: If it looks like a dinosaur... don't try and befriend it.

On the road to the YS Falls - Part 2

Climbing up the falls...

At the falls... Mark is literally holding me up as I'm quietly falling into the river. Slippery rocks!

They use this rope for pictures. You can see a lady in the background using the real one!
(videos of us swinging to follow...)

Part 3 - Rum Tour!

Sometimes we get bored on tours... what can we say?

A visual of aged rum
Taste test...
The winner: COCO MANIA with pineapple juice. What can I say? We're not big on rum... Pepsi people,  really.

Ziplining was a blast! I only wish we had a longer platform to get a running start! The views were amazing and the coolest part was pretending to be a modern day Jane with my Tarzan man in the Jamaican Jungle.

(videos to follow!)

All in all, we had a beautiful time and thank God, we didn't get hacked to death by the men with machetes on the side of the road! Jamaica was a beautiful island, but we probably will not return... there is so much to see and discover in the world! And to be honest, both Mark and I agree that we have seen more of God's beauty in other parts that we would revisit because they are that striking. Also, this was one of our more expensive get-aways and we've stayed in (my opinion) nicer resorts for much less. But the food at Sandals Whitehouse was better than the other all-inclusives... I'll give them that!

It was amazing to revisit life without a baby. Although I truly wouldn't go back to that life now having met Ethan and receiving him as the best gift Mark has given me... it's still important to focus on each other and reconnect. I'm still striving to keep my priorities in the following order: God - Mark - Family and Friends...

While we were reconnecting, Ethan was working on his studies with Grandma Wager

And running around with Ryan and Louise

Looking forward to our next babymoon :)