A Few Photos From Our Valentine's Day

posted on: Monday, February 15, 2016

1. Ever was the cutest little galentine in her festive outfit courtesy of her very fashionable aunts.
2. Valentines for all three kiddos to hand out. Free download courtesy of Melanie. Just add your own lollipops and washi tape.
3. Delicious brunch with my love at Spice.
4. Oren has a candy problem. (Which explains his cavity problem.)
5. Volunteered at Wes's class party and made origami hearts with the kids.
6. Abby made mini flourless cakes for dessert. They were adorable and decadent.
7. I know the way to my children's hearts. Sugar for breakfast and...
8. Minecraft.
Hope you all had a happy day with the ones you love. And lots of sugar too.

A New Favorite Series

posted on: Friday, February 12, 2016

Have you heard of the series of books by Italian author, Elena Ferrante called the Neapolitan novels? I've been working my way through them these past of couple months and I just finished book four the other day. I haven't been so engrossed in a series like this in ages. From what I understand, these books and their author have quite the cult following in Italy and now abroad as well. Adding to the intrigue the author's true identity is unknown and Ferrante is only a pen name used to protect her privacy. The novels read like an autobiography but it's hard to know whether they are the true story of Ferrante's life since so little is actually known about her. The books follow Elena Greco (possibly Ferrante) and her friend Lila from early childhood through late adulthood. They are incredibly written; a detailed look into the private lives of two friends as they navigate school, the Neapolitan neighborhood they grow up in (and return to again and again), jealousy, love, heartbreak, failed marriages and aging. The writing is different than anything else I have ever read. Ferrante is so honest, so real in her description of  the dichotomy of female friendships that what she describes is both familiar and shocking. She writes the things we think but never say. If this isn't an autobiography Ferrante's ability for story telling is unsurpassed. It feels incredibly real. If this is autobiographical than the author has given us a voyeuristic view into the deepest parts of her life and relationships in an incredibly vulnerable way. 

The books are long, and Ferrante writes the story of Lila and Elena with meticulous care. It's a slow, delicious unfurling of their lives that left me wanting more even after consuming four books and hundreds of pages.  Have you read them? Would you? They're all I want to talk about now that I've finished them. If you have, let's discuss! Hit me up in the comments!

Chichen Itza and Valladolid

posted on: Monday, February 1, 2016

One more little post on Mexico today to remember this trip by. These photos are from the day we took a private tour out to Chichen Itza. Looking back, we probably could have rented a car and done the trip ourselves but we weren't sure how the roads were, or how difficult it would have been to find on our own since it was about a two hour drive from Tulum. That said, going on the tour was awesome. It was private, so it was just Josh and I, a driver and a guide who picked us up from our hotel in a very nice, comfortable commercial van. The owner of the company, Jay, was actually our driver that day and he has the tour timed perfectly to get you to sights before any of the crowds get there. He's also an expat from Santa Fe, so we had fun chatting with him and hearing about his life in Mexico.  Our tour guide, Roberto, was a proverbial fountain of knowledge about Chichen Itza, and Mexico as a whole, and I learned SO much about the history of the Mayans that I would have never been able to understand if we'd gone without a guide.

obligatory big arms
...and look! a picture of Josh and I in the same photo! thanks, Roberto!

After Chichen Itza we headed over to what is probably the most famous and arguably the most beautiful cenote in the Yucatan; Cenote Ik Kil. Seeing photos of this place before we left for Mexico is what really got me excited for this trip. It is unreal. Jay got us there right as visiting hours began and to my utter disbelief we had this entire place to ourselves. We could not have had better luck throughout this whole trip avoiding crowds and getting a really private, personalized experience at each place we visited. We were able to swim around in this beautiful place, completely undisturbed. It was a moment I will never forget.

And finally, on our way back to Tulum we stopped in the city of Valladolid to see some of the breathtaking Spanish colonial architecture. I'd emailed Jay when we booked the tour and asked if we could stop here and visit the Coqui Coqui since we would be so close. He graciously made arrangements to meet my request and Josh and I were able to soak in the beautiful architecture and enjoy a very memorable and delicious cup of tea in the CafĂ© de los Frailes before returning to Tulum. It was a perfect day.
I couldn't think of a much better place to spend a few nights away celebrating nine years of marriage. This country, at least what we were able to see of it in our short time there, exceeded our expectations in just about every way. I hope to return again and again.

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