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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mid-Winter Respite

The Travelers
Last night around 9pm Annalisse, Nic and I returned home from our whirlwind getaway to Puerto Rico. It was a wonderful trip! The weather was (mostly) great, with just a little bit of rain here and there, and the hotel (San Juan Marriott Sellaris) was really nice, right on the beach.

While I was tied up in my meeting the girls' goal was to lay on the beach. Well, mission accomplished! They spent two days sprawled out on beach lounges under an umbrella, where they still managed to get quite a bit of sun. The ocean was incredibly warm, but really, really rough.

My meeting went well and it was awesome, as always to spend time with, and to be inspired by, my NAGAP colleagues. We ate at delicious restaurants, and I enjoyed a mojito or two (or three)! We took a really interesting and enjoyable trip to the El Yunque rain forest, the only rain forest in the U.S., where we, of course, got rained on. May I recommend: Louie's VIP Tours in San Juan. Louie was a great guide for the rain forest trip, and gave quite the history lesson about Puerto Rico, as well as being well studied on plants and animals of the rain forest.

I totally think I could get used to life on a tropical island!

The view from our room
Mina Falls

Tower in the rainforest 
Sun kissed 
Rough Surf 
Mother - Daughter 

It's 5:00 somewhere
Now it's back to reality, with gloomy cold freezing rain. Well, there's always Groundhog Day to look forward to.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spa Day

Make mine a double!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to do something I rarely allow myself to do. ("What could it be? What could it be?" You ask anxiously...)

 I enjoyed the gift of a spa treatment with a Swedish massage and pedicure at Elan Spa (The Lodge at Woodcliff), courtesy of Mark's Christmas gift. The package I chose came complete with a pomegranate martini and chocolate truffles. Mark and Annalisse joined me after the massage for a nice lunch, then Annalisse and I had pedis. THIS IS LIVING! 
Mean mom made her study
for her bio test during her pedi

I'm so glad Mark thought of such a unique gift for me as spa treatments are never anything I do for myself (with the rare exception of prompting from my girlfriends on a girls weekend or other getaway). It was super refreshing and relaxing after a pretty stressful week at work. In fact, when I become rich I am going to get a pedi and a massage once a month. If I had a million dollars...!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Many Days Until Groundhog's Day?

The countdown is on for my favorite holiday: GROUNDHOG'S DAY (16 more days)! The work picnic is scheduled (although a little disappointing that GD falls on a Saturday and we'll be celebrating the following Monday - it just won't have the same anticipation of the actual day...), and I'll be watching closely for that giant buck-toothed rodent to stay out of that damn hole.

To get us through the dark days of winter we have our trip to Puerto Rico next Thursday (the excitement is building), but before that fun comes Annalisse's two mid-term exams on Tuesday, for which we will be spending a lot of the weekend studying. On Saturday, I'll be enjoying a massage and pedicure at Woodcliff thanks to a very thoughtful surprise Christmas gift from Mark (his own idea, according to Annalisse). I'll be having my massage at 11, then Mark and Annalisse will join me for lunch at noon, then after lunch A. and I will get pedis. A perfect way to spend the day! I expect that while we're sitting in the chairs we may be reviewing AP Bio notes. That should be fun for the pedi person to hear for an hour...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Six for Six

Today's acceptance: Good 'ole Nazareth College. Last one to hear from: Dickinson College. But to tell you the truth, it doesn't really matter at this point as I think the decision is made...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five For Five

Annalisse got her fifth college acceptance yesterday, to Susquehanna University. That's gotta make a girl feel good!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Depressing January

It's not been a super happy week at the Bakers as Annalisse has been upset about her classmate, Blake's decline in health. Unfortunately, he passed away last evening and she, and the rest of the Fairport community, is feeling pretty down about that. One bright spot is that the school as able to present Blake with his diploma a couple of days before he passed away. His actual diploma, not an honorary one. I'm sure that made him feel great. The ravages of cancer are so unfair...it's hard to believe we have not yet found a way to conquer it. Some, like Blake and also my childhood neighbor, Scott LaPointe (who, like Blake was diagnosed just this past February), who lost his battle right before Christmas, go too, too soon. So, so sad.

We are so happy to be able to look forward to our trip to Puerto Rico on January 24. It will be nice "girl time" (Nic and Annalisse are going with me) with some relaxing time on the beach for the girls while I'm in my meetings. Although it's just for a long weekend I think it will do wonders to rejuvenate us and give us the "push" we need to get through the rest of the winter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Four for Four

Yesterday, Annalisse got her fourth college acceptance - from Allegheny College. She was excited, but the excitement was tempered by the sadness felt by her and the kids at school about one of their fellow senior classmates who has been battling cancer and was most likely not going to make it.

I have mixed feelings about Allegheny. I liked the college but still feel Mercyhurst would be the best fit academically for her - not to mention the full scholarship. I think it's been a great boost to her confidence to get these acceptances. It's been a really fun process!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What Did You Like Most About Today?

Thursday was a great day. For having such an unlucky number (1/3/13), it sure turned out to be a lucky day.

It reminded me of when the kids were little, before bedtime, we would say our prayers and I would ask them, "What did You like most about today?" Sadly, neither bedtime routine has survived past grade school, BUT, if I were still asking "What did You like most about today?", Annalisse would have had a lot to like about Thursday, such as:

  • We received a tuition exchange scholarship to Mercyhurst University!! Yippee ki oh ki-yay! We don't know the exact details yet, but it usually means tuition for all four years up to a certain amount (traditionally around $30,000). While we still need to hear from the other four schools before making a definitive decision, I think her mind is pretty well set on Mercyhurst.
  • She had to work but got out early, around 7pm, then we went to the mall and she bought some elusive black leggings. That girl loves to shop.
  • She heard Celine Dion on the radio (twice) and sang at the top of her lungs in her "Celine Dion" voice. Then, Train (50 Ways to Say Goodbye) came on the radio. What a day!
  • Three weeks from Thursday we will be in San Juan. Sun and fun!
We are so excited and relieved about the scholarship. If we play our cards right (and plan wisely) she could leave college with little or no student debt. A great bright spot!!