Never Quit

163701_702013547656_5719756_nAround Christmas time my grandpa became ill. He collapsed early in the morning and was rushed to the hospital. They found out his body was full of infection and while we were worried, he’s a tough guy who’s battled many things in his life so we didn’t think it was too serious.

A few days went by and he was still in the hospital. They couldn’t get his blood cell counts within normal range and at the same time we learned his lung cancer was back. There was a chance he wasn’t going to be coming home for the holidays which meant no Christmas Eve at my grandparents, for the first time in our lives. Things were serious!

Luckily the meds he was taking improved conditions enough that he could come home for Christmas. I was relieved, but also worried that it might be too soon and our large, overwhelming family would be too much for him to handle. When we got there he was visibly ill and I worried that we shouldn’t be there, but then I remembered how important his family is to him. No matter the conditions, he was going to be there with us that night!

Our entire family is very close, so I’m sure each one of us feels that we have a special connection with grandpa, but I feel like he & I have always understood each other. He comes off as a stern man, but if you truly know him, you know he’s soft. You can tell by looking into his soft brown eyes. He is also the pillar of our family. The one who is strong and bull headed and taught us all many things, including to never quit.

At one point in the night I sat with him to talk. It was just the two of us and I knew the conversation we were about to have was going to be an important one. As I held his hand he looked at me and said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’ve been battling for so long, I don’t have any fight left in me.”

I’m a lot like my grandpa when it comes to being stubborn and never willing to quit, so I think he thought I was going to argue and lecture him on all the reasons he needed to keep pushing. I could have said all of those things, but instead I put aside my selfish need for him in my life and told him the choice was his. It almost killed me to say those words, but I knew it wasn’t my decision to make and that only he could decide to continue on.

Here we are almost 4 months later and he’s still here! Shortly after our talk, he made the choice to not quit and underwent an aggressive round of radiation for his cancer! He recently welcomed two more great-grand babies (twins) and he’ll watch another granddaughter walk down the aisle in a few months. I’m grateful for many things he’s given our family, but right now I’m most thankful for his fight and the choice he made to keep going for our family. I’m sure he is too!16018_10100279013398559_6624051771182122952_n


Mexican Minute

We always rave about our trip to Costa Rica and find ourselves comparing every trip since then to it, only to find they all fall short…until now!

We’re pretty lucky since we stumbled upon this trip by chance. We were hoping to go to Punta Cana or Puerto Rico, but during our travel dates the prices were pretty high and the resorts weren’t as nice as we were hoping for. With the only requirement of warm weather, we decided to look for the nicest resort at the lowest price.

That’s when we found Secrets in Huatulco, Mexico. I knew Secrets had a great reputation but I had never heard of Huatulco. The resort was rated 5 stars and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was leaps & bounds nicer than the other all-inclusive chains (RIU & Grand Bahia) we’ve stayed at in the past.

We flew into Huatulco so the trip to the resort was a short 30 minute bus ride. We were surprised and impressed with the quality of the roads – we learned that they had just finished paving two months prior. Once again, we visited during their dry season so the surrounding vegetation was pretty brown.┬áLike all other trips though, it rained a few sprinkles on our first day there but at this point we view it as a sign of good luck!

Normally we jam pack as many activities as possible in the short time we are there. This time we wanted a blend with some relaxation too and the resort was the perfect setting to do so. At all times, no matter where you were at the resort you had a beautiful view of the ocean. You could see and hear the ocean from the bed and shower! It was awesome to wake up to that every single day.

The weather was phenomenal with every day being full sun and temperatures in the 90’s. The endless pools were nestled right on the beach and the water temps were perfect. The resort was smaller than those we’ve stayed at in the past, kid-free and located in the middle of nowhere so it wasn’t overcrowded. At certain times we had the upper pool all to ourselves and even had the entire beach one day for snorkeling on our own. Note: the ocean was pretty rough so if your goal is to lounge in the ocean, it might not be the trip for you.

On our past trips the food was just okay and we lived off the buffet most of the time since all restaurants required dinner reservations. That was not the case this trip! The food was amazing and there were no reservations required for any of the 7 different restaurants, plus all drinks were individually hand mixed and you could actually taste the alcohol!

We couldn’t lay around the entire time so we took a boat from Santa Cruz to view the 7 Bays of Huatulco and enjoyed more snorkeling. The water was very blue and we were able to see some beautiful fish & coral. On our boat ride back we were even lucky enough to see two humpback whales and a sea turtle!

We spent another day traveling into the city of La Crucecita. The town square was very nice and housed a million local shops for souvenirs. One of the main attractions was the Iglesias Church which features the largest mural painting of Mother Mary in North America. We were able to grab an authentic lunch & sip on Dos Equis.

Costa Rica will always hold a special place in our hearts and still outranks in some categories, but when it comes to kid-free relaxation, Secrets in Huatulco definitely moves to the top of the list!