The Country!

So now that we are equipped with a nice, new, spacious car, Yves was anxious to go on a little road trip. We took this opportunity to finally go up to visit Tammy and see her new house in Cold Spring, NY! The country! It was only an hour and 45 minute drive so it wasn’t really bad. It’s not a straight shot up and exits came by pretty quickly and we actually missed one! Yves was driving and I was the navigator but Yves took that time to tell me the merits of all the gauges on the new car so I wasn’t paying attention and we missed the exit! We are such city people, we were freaking out a bit because we didn’t know what to do and we didn’t know where we were and the road map I have is from 1995. HA! I had the google map directions but it doesn’t help you when you miss an exit! Of course, normally we would just get off the next exit and turn back around and exit from the other side. Ok, did that except there was no exit on the other side! HA! So we ended up having to go back down and around to the road we were originally on and made the exit. It’s just a little more nerve racking when you have a toddler with you. Normally, if it was just us, it would be mildly annoying and we would easily figure it out!

Ok so I can officially say it is indeed the boondocks! Once you turn onto her road, it’s still a ways down the windy road. I can’t even imagine how spooky it would be at night time! We finally made it at about 10:30 and I was a little chilly! I had to borrow a fleece from Tammy. It did get warmer out later when the sun came out (mind you the sun was out in Brooklyn when we left!). Anyway, her house is so very cool and definitely unconventional! Sienna loved running around and going up and down the windy stairs (there were a couple of sets of windy stairs!). There were a couple of kitchens and a couple of bathrooms, so super funky! After a little tour and chat, Tammy fired up the grill and we got our burgers on. Had a nice lunch and after some playing, Sienna said “Nenna go home.” Perhaps she is not ready to be a country bumpkin! HA!

Why is this chick playing in my sandbox?
Check out Zack standing!
The backyard!
First her, now this big dude, I’m outta here!
The look
Sienna is ready to dig in!
One of the windy set of stairs Sienna liked. That’s kitchen #1 Tammy is in.
Awwww! That’s kitchen #2 on the left side in the back there!
Now she’s playing with my inside toys??
Ready to get back to city life!

Jamaica Holgas

Here are some holgas I took in Jamaica. I’ve never been a beach person but I’m sure that would be different if I grew up with beaches like the ones in Jamaica!





Jamaica Finale!


Sunday was our last full day in Jamaica. It was a wonderful week in Jamaica and I’m really glad we came and that Sienna got to experience it. I was hesitant at first because of being nervous to travel with Sienna (energetic child + 4 hour flight = parents pulling hair out) and thinking of all the stuff to bring for her. Thankfully, we did not have to pack as much for her since there was a good supply of baby things because of Gaby. Plus, I am glad to learn that Sienna is a great traveler! She has a pretty set routine when we are at home and we knew it wasn’t going to be followed while on vacation and we were ready for it. Sienna adjusted so well! She fell asleep most times while going down the mountain, she actually told us she was tired and wanted to go to sleep (for nap and nighttime!) Wow! So unexpected that now I’m thinking, cool! Where can we go next? 😉 This vacation was very super relaxing and I had that in mind even before going. (I’m one of those vacationers that enjoy having something to do every day.) I mean, I only had 2 cameras with me (vs. the usual at least 4!)  I did not end up taking as many pictures as I usually do (I forgot the cord to download the photos) so please make sure to check out Yves’ photos here! My only regret is that I did not think to get a group photo while I had the chance when JP and CA were up!


We took our last walk around the grounds that morning. It was also our last chance to have a real Jamaican patty so we went to Mothers, since it is the only patty place open on Sundays! Definitely not as good as Tastees but in all fairness, it just came out of the oven and was super piping hot!

Anyway, we’ve been here almost a whole week and did not do any socializing so today was the day. Since we didn’t want to get back up the mountain too late, we made our visits very quick. Yves and my father in law didn’t believe my mother in law could keep the visits short but to her credit, they were! We went to visit Auntie Judy, whom I’ve heard about for many years. It’s nice to finally have a face to put with the name. Then we went to visit the DuMeres (sp?), a frenchman married to a jamaican. They were very nice and Sienna loved their back area (and with a wonderful view of Kingston!). We did a quick shopping trip for stuff to bring home (whole wheat hard dough bread! YUM!) and last minute Christmas presents. A drive by to meet Auntie Denise, also a very lovely person! And then back up the mountain around 5!

We came home to an invasion of red ants in the bedroom, all over the window and the floor where Sienna’s pack and play was. Gross! I’m a really squealy girly girl when it comes to bugs. Yves sprayed them with bug spray and was pretty much able to kill most of them. Of course, I was packing our clothes and some were on our clothes! YUK! But I braved it and even managed to kill some on my own!

We had to go to bed early since we were getting up at 4 am to be able to catch our 8:30 am flight. It was a rough night as me and Yves had trouble sleeping. We managed to get up and Sienna got up shortly after us from the noise we were making. She was in a decent mood considering! We make it down to the airport at around 6, said our goodbyes and went into the airport. Well, guess what?! Our 8:30 am flight was delayed until 2:30! The woman at the line said they might be able to accommodate us on a connecting flight from Montego Bay that leaves at 8. Well, if it didn’t take 1.5 hours to get through the line, maybe we could have gotten on that flight! UGH! Then to top it off, our ONE suitcase (that was for the THREE of us) was overweight by 12 lbs and they wanted to charge us $100! They didn’t care that they were delaying our flight 6 hours or that it was 1 suitcase for 3 paying seats! We had to scurry and throw some things into our carry ons and the one extra bag I had (the beach bag my MIL gave to me!). I was so beyond annoyed and probably more in shock that we were treated like this. We got meal vouchers and I tried to get some sort of phone card or something since there was no way we could get in contact with anyone. My cell phone didn’t work in Jamaica and while I had my MIL’s cell number, she was using my FIL’s cell phone! So we really had no choice but to wait at the airport.
photo by Shuggy

Sienna was a trooper! We took turns running around with her and she only got fussy maybe 2 or 3 times. Mostly because she could see outside and wanted to go outside so badly. Another time was when she saw a stuffed monkey in the window of one of those kiosks. Of course, I had to buy one for her! I managed to talk her out of the one she originally saw (it vibrated and sang some song that I don’t mind that I forgot as it seemed to go on forever!) and got her one with long arms. She was happy after that. She did take over a 2 hour nap in her car seat!  Yves’ mom had paged Yves around 11:30, when they got back to the house and found out about the delay! My dad ended up calling her because even he couldn’t believe such a long delay could happen! And we finally boarded the flight and left at 3:40 instead of 2:30 (that turned into 2:45). It was a mostly empty flight! We figured that they probably didn’t want to fly a half empty plane up to NY so waited for the 1:45 flight coming in (the same one we took the previous Monday into Kingston) and used that plane instead! I hate to end such a wonderful trip on a negative note but we are NEVER, EVER flying Air Jamaica again! We will connect if we have to! But I swear, never again!

Anyway, by the time we landed and got home, it was almost 8ish. Thankfully, my parents had some food for us and after we ate, Sienna went to sleep and all was well again (besides it being freezing cold, of course!) Home. Ahhh

Jamaica – Road trip! (part 2)

After breakfast on Saturday and a final dip in the bath (Sienna and Yves did not partake), we headed over to Reach Falls, about half an hour to 40 minutes away. Sienna had fallen asleep during that ride (she actually fell asleep quite frequently going down the mountain!). The falls were very quaint and not what I had imagined when I think of waterfalls (I tend to think of Niagara Falls when I think of waterfalls-LOL! That’s a lot to live up to!) The water was colder so I didn’t bother changing into a bathing suit nor did Yves or Sienna. I guess I should have changed Sienna because she couldn’t get enough of the water, even tho it was cold! She wanted to go in it and ended up with a wet butt. I waded in it a bit and it felt good after awhile although the rocks made it a bit uncomfortable. Carol-Anne went all the way in, shivering at first! Gaby didn’t want to go in nor my mother in law!


After this dip, we went to have lunch at Hotel Jamaican Colors,  a cute hotel by the water that my in-laws stayed at for their anniversary. It is owned by a french couple that came to Jamaica on vacation about 5 years ago, fell in love with Jamaica and decided to move there. I believe they bought the land and built the hotel on there. How crazy is that? Instead of rooms, there are little stand alone rooms and the views of the water were really nice! The girls liked running around and the pool. They dipped their feet into the pool (of course Sienna wanted to go all the way in!) There was a very cute moment where Sienna was telling Gaby something and pointing at something, as if to say “look at that.” So cute!! Lunch was good although the wait for it was pretty long. We did not end up getting back to Kingston until around 5ish so decided to order Chinese and bring it up the mountain. We got up the mountain at around 8. I wish you could see the beautiful stars in the sky that night and apparently every night! So beautiful!!

Jamaica – Road trip! (part 1)

Yves and the girls are ready to go!

Friday was a road trip! My mother in law wanted to take us to the waterfalls and there were 2 in Jamaica that she has been to. It was decided to go to Reach Falls and we can stay overnight at Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa since it was a 2 hour drive from Kingston. Carol-Anne was able to borrow a car from a friend so we were all able to go. I was in the car with my FIL, Yves and Sienna and CA, my MIL and Gaby were in the other. It was typical Jamaican roads to Bath, passing through sugar cane fields, little villages, windy roads around the water… We got to Bath around 4 and were allowed 2 soaks in the tub during our stay. The water at Bath has been tested and it has one of the highest mineral contents in the world. It’s supposed to help such ailments as gout, some skin conditions and chronic rheumitism and disorders of the spleen and liver. Unfortunately, mosquito bites was not listed so it didn’t help me with those (the salt water from the beach did wonders though!) and I also got new ones there! It was an interesting place and I agreed with Yves when he said it had an old age home sort of feel to it, especially since the workers were wearing a sort of an orderly looking uniform on. We had a nice room with a balcony and my inlaws shared a room on the top floor. Sienna enjoyed the bath! The dinner wasn’t anything to write about although Sienna enjoyed the spicy soup they served!
Arriving at Bath
Holding hands at Bath
Here’s a cute video of Sienna giving Gaby a kiss (or 2)- please comment or e-mail me for the password!

Kiss at Bath from Lisa on Vimeo.

Hallway leading to the reception
The bath
At dinner
Enjoying the balcony

Jamaica Mountains

On Thursday (the 18th) there was a power outtage in the morning. Yves had warned me this might happen and I was familiar with it from hearing about it from my in-laws. It was quite windy with a bit of rain the night before and during the early hours of the morning. Yves knew it went out because he heard the neighbor’s powerful generator come on. I wasn’t bothered by it at all. It was hard to be bothered by it when it was a bright sunny morning. If it would have happened at night, it would have been a bit spooky! Of course, if this happened at home, I’d be pissed! My father in law started the generator (after some initial trouble) and was able to plug the refrigerator in. Rema, their housekeeper, came in early to make us some johnnycakes. YUM! (I might give the recipe a try! They tasted just as good without butter as they did with butter!jamjohnnycakesblog.jpg
Rema’s Johnnycakes!

Gaby eats a sausage!
Sienna’s chatting with Gaby
A tired Gaby with Rema

We decided to head over to the neighbor’s yard because they have a swing and slide set for the girls. Their kids are a bit older but told my mother in law that they were welcome to come over and use the set at anytime. Sienna was quite happy about that!
Trying to coordinate double swinging unsuccessfully!
The 2nd or 3rd rainbow seen so far on the trip!

In the afternoon, we went for another little walk in search of a cow we heard the other day. The walk was not as steep as the first day. It was a nice walk and got to see the sunset. We didn’t find any cows though but did see some roosters.

Yves holding a tired Gaby!

Jamaica, the beach!


Wednesday we went to the beach called Hellshire, a locals beach, no tourists at all and JP met us there. It’s about an hour from Kingston and since it takes almost an hour to get down the mountain, it was about a 2 hour ride to the beach. And since we were only visiting for a week, we only got a chance to go once. It’s a beach the family has been going to for years and they always go to Shorty’s Joint. The beach has a bunch of shacks that people make food in and they have wooden lounges in front. Shorty’s was the one we went to. We had fried fish, festival (a fried dough) and bammy’s. YUM! (Although I got a fish bone stabbed into my gums relatively early, I still enjoyed the fish!)

photo by Shuggy

While waiting for our lunch, my father in law enjoyed some fresh raw oysters. There were various people walking around trying to sell stuff to people. Such as horse rides, fresh lobster (any of the shacks will cook it up for you), fresh oysters and massages (!). The rest of us enjoyed the wonderful, warm, blue water. Sienna loved it and would not stop laughing or smiling. The water was a tad rough but wonderful all the same. Sienna went in quite a few times and I know I probably could have stayed in it all day! Gaby seemed to be enjoying the sand more that day and Sienna was just as content in doing that as well!jamoystersblog.jpgbeachkidsblog.jpgwaterkidsblog.jpgjamyvessiennablog.jpgbeachkids2blog.jpg

On the way back from the beach, we finally enjoyed our first truly Jamaican patty! My mother in law picked us up some from Tastees, as we were told this is the best place. It was quite delicious and the crust was thinner than the ones we are used to at Golden Krust in NY and the meat seemed to be all meat! YUM! I wish I could have one right now! We also got to see a beautiful rainbow going up the mountain. It turned out to be the first in at least 3 more rainbows to be seen on this trip!

Sienna helping her grandpa mix up the salad for dinner.

Jamaica, the first part

We spent a week in Jamaica to visit with Yves’ family. We stayed with his parents up in the mountain. Yves grew up in Jamaica and spent about 2-3 years at the mountain house during his early teen years right before moving to Chicago. Before that they lived at the beach house and I’ve heard about both these places for awhile. It was nice to finally be able to see where he grew up.


My main concern was the flight with Sienna. The flight itself was almost 4 hours and then from the airport to the mountain was almost another 2 hours. Sienna was awesome! We got her her own seat and I’m glad we did. Although she only slept half an hour on the flight, she was relatively well behaved! The only tension was landing because of her ears popping and she wouldn’t drink anything but I kept offering her water. Once we got out of customs after an hour, Yves’ parents and brother were there waiting for us. We felt the heat and humidity right away and of course I got a mosquito bite straight away! I pulled out a dress for Sienna to change into so she didn’t have to suffer too much. We headed over to pick up her cousin Gaby from day care and then spent some time at Carol-Anne’s apartment to break up the traveling. The first time up the mountain was rough for me and my bladder! Yves’ warned me about the roads but I really had no idea! It’s only 10 miles but it’s winding and bumpy so takes about 45 minutes to go up to their house.

We made it up the mountain! In front of the main house.
Going to the cottage where we’ll be living and sleeping.

Night view from the main house

Tuesday we stayed up in the mountain and roamed around the area. It’s cool up there at night and in the morning. We took a walk/hike in the morning to see the coffee plants and the mountain and wonderful views. It was also CA’s birthday so her and JP came up later for cake and dinner.
Watching the Muppets DVD in the morning
These benches are made of concrete!
Going for a tractor ride with Daddy and Grandpa!
Coffee picked and ready to be sent to the factory!
Gaby and Sienna help Grandma decorate the tree!

The next post will be about our trip to the beach at Hellshire! Yves also has a flickr set that he’s updating faster than I am posting! Check it out here!



We had our first official family beach vacation earlier this week on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Overall it was a nice time, great to get away and not be sucked in by my computer. There were some trying moments and general things we learned from the trip but I am glad we went. Originally, we were looking to rent a house for a week but it didn’t work out so we found a room at the Sea Spray Motel. It turned out to be more money but with the heated pool option, it was worth it.

We got there around 2:30ish and after a few minute wait, our room was ready. Once Sienna woke up from her afternoon nap, we jumped into the pool! It was nice to be able to get in right away without shivering from the cold water. For dinner, we went to Fred’s Beach Haven and while the food wasn’t terrible, we didn’t have a desire to get back there again. The evening was a little bit challenging as we were not used to being all together in one small room. Her pack and play fit nicely next to the bed and it took her about half an hour before she finally fell asleep while we quietly read our books on the bed. (I noticed that each night, she fell asleep at 8:30 no matter what time we put her down.)
Monday morning was the beach! (Of course, after having a delicious breakfast at The Chicken or the Egg where our faith in good dining on LBI has been restored) Besides a quick toe dip in the sands of Coney Island, this is Sienna’s first time on the beach. At first it seemed she did not like the sand but quickly took a liking to it. The water was COLD!!! I did not expect it to be so cold! So Yves and Sienna developed a quick game of “run away from the water” in between making sandcastles.

Beach Fun at LBI from Lisa on Vimeo.

So one of the things we learned not to do on vacation next time is change up Sienna’s routine. There were a few days before vacation where it was hard for us to get her to take her morning nap. I knew the time was going to come where her morning nap was going to end and thought it was now. So we decided to forego her morning nap and just put her down right after lunch a little earlier. It seemed to work out ok at first but then she just seemed to be more irritable later in the day. Another thing we learned is not to do too much. Monday and Tuesday we’d go to the beach in the morning and then the pool in the afternoon. I think that might be too much for her especially since we usually only have one outing on a regular day.
I had her pool seat on the side of the crib on top of the luggage rack and found her sleeping on it!

Lunch on Monday, we just walked over to the local deli, Black Dog Cafe where Yves got a delicious sandwich (we went back there again on Wednesday). Dinner, we decided to try “LBI’s best thin crust pizza” at O’Malley’s Pizza and Grille although I was skeptical about how good an Irish person can make a pizza. HAHA It was not bad! Yves thought it was okay but he has such high thin crust pizza standards!

Tuesday afternoon, we checked out the playground that was a block away from the hotel. They had some nice slides and there was no one there! It was nice to be able to go down the slide and not have to wait for the other kids to use it. Although Sienna did have to wait for her daddy to finish using the slide. HAHAlbislideblog.jpg
Too bad the sun was blinding when you come out of the slide! And of course we got some ice cream afterwards!
For dinner Tuesday night we went to Panzone’s for some pasta and discovered Sienna’s like for spaghetti! The food was pretty good even though the waiter screwed up my order.

Spaghetti! from Lisa on Vimeo.

Wednesday we had breakfast at Uncle Will’s pancake house. It was yummy! You can see what we got by the pictures and this time we learned not to order Sienna her own dish since she only takes a couple of bites from it!
After giving her her morning nap this time (!) we went back into the pool for the last time where we encountered admirers of Sienna. They were totally enamored by her and would not stop following her around the pool! It was cute at first but they were totally violating personal space and it was getting annoying. Their dad finally told them to ease off after we had to tell the girls to give us our space!
We decided to head back home after the pool on Wednesday instead of Thursday morning. We did feel a little cramped in the room but mostly because we haven’t gotten a good nights sleep since the bed was just horrible. For some reason, the mattress was higher in the middle so the sides were kind of sloped down. So we figured there wasn’t any point in staying another night since we were leaving early in the morning anyway.

Road Trip!


Saturday morning we left for a trip to the Poconos. Yves was assisting Jim on a wedding shoot for his dentist’s family. I thought it would be a nice little getaway for me and Sienna so we tagged along. I forgot how much you need to pack for the little one! It was too bad I was doing it only for an overnight trip! We had to find a new place to stay to bring Skippy along and we found these cute little cottages called Rimrock Cottages. It was interesting. We got one of the A frame chalets. It was cute, the downstairs had a double bed, sofa, fireplace, bathroom and little kitchenette. There was a loft with 2 single beds. I was a little perturbed about a couple of things. The main one being all the cobwebs! I know it’s the country and it’s rustic but they couldn’t bring in a little duster and do a few swipes? And then we seemed to be in the only cottage with a broken front door screen held in place on the bottom with duct tape, which Skippy promptly broke through. LOL I didn’t make a big issue of it since I didn’t think it was going to be cool enough to leave the door open. I was wrong! It was cool in the evening and the morning! And the AC was not cooling the place at all! I had to go upstairs in the loft, get on my belly and reach out to change the coolness of the AC. It was much better after that. Anyway, I guess I sound like a true city girl with all this complaining but in retrospect, it was nice and was nice to getaway for a day. We got there within 2 hours and was in the pool shortly after that! We had lunch back at the room and went for a little walk around the grounds after that. After a little nap, Yves had to go meet Jim and me and Sienna went to the outlets. I’m not an outlet person at all, I can’t understand the draw. The prices are not much cheaper and the selection isn’t any different. The only thing I bought was ice cream and candy! LOL. We killed a little more time at Kohl’s and had dinner at Red Robin, I haven’t been to one in ages! I have to say I was pretty impressed with all the different selections and healthy sides on the kids menu. I got a regular cheeseburger and Sienna got pizza and apple slices (she ate all the apples up!)

We managed to get back to the room without getting too wet. It was raining off and on since being at the outlets and really poured while we were in Red Robin and poured again when we got back.
We were on the road by 9 am.

In the pool by 11:30!

Took a walk around 1:30
I love this picture that Yves took!
I’m telling Sienna not to put a yucky stick in her mouth.
The outlets
Red Robin
We had breakfast at Friendly’s the next morning. Haven’t been to a Friendly’s in ages either!
Sienna took a 3 hour nap when we got home Sunday!!

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