Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas in Cancun

This year, we spent Christmas in the Riviera Maya, a.k.a. Cancun, on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Eric’s dad treated our family, Eric’s two sisters and their families to Cancun for Christmas and his upcoming 70th birthday. There were 12 of us all together: seven adults and five grandkids ages 8 to 18. We were there from December 20-27 and made lots of fun memories together.

We swam in the ocean, swam in the pool, swam with dolphins, (it was so cool), saw Chichén Itzá, ate Hawaiian pizza, picked a coconut, lounged under a grass hut, made lots of crafts, played soccer on the beach, gathered tons of sea shells, (all within our reach), ate Mexican and sea food three times a day, did water aerobics and other water play, got second place in a ping pong tournament, first place on the stage, read books and magazines (page after page), bought a hat and sunglasses, took sushi-making and towel-folding classes, did the bungee trampoline, played bingo by the pool, saw a real live burro, (or was it a mule?), made lots of new friends, saw Santa and his elves, and took hundreds of pictures for the scrapbooks on my shelves.

The girls and I also re-wrote "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and sang it on Christmas day.

I’m Dreaming of a Cancun Christmas
By the Hodge Lodge Family

I’m dreaming of a Cancun Christmas
Just like the one I never had
Where the palm trees blow
And the coconuts grow
And all the Canadians are glad.

I’m dreaming of a Cancun Christmas
With every fish taco I eat
Making friends with the strangers I meet
And walking around in my bare feet.

I’m dreaming of a Cancun Christmas
Just like the one on the website
Where the pool is open
And everyone’s hopin’
That the sand is the only thing that’s white.

I’m dreaming of a Cancun Christmas
With every bus tour that I take
Where the dolphins take you on a ride
And you see where the Mayans used to hide.
Coconuts galore!
The resort we stayed at.

Swimming in one of the many pools.

A family walk on the beach.

Swimming in the warm ocean.

Family dinner at the Mexican restaurant on the resort property.

One of the resident iguanas.

The entire Hodge family in front of Chichén Itzá, one of the Mayan ruins.

Chichén Itzá is one of the Modern Wonders of the World!

Autumn on the bungee trampoline at the resort.

Amber doing a flip on the bungee trampoline.

Eric won a "who can act most like a Mexican" contest.

Eric, his sisters and dad (and the bottle of Mexican tequila that Eric won).

Christine and the girls ready to swim with the dolphins.

Pictures with Santa and an elf.

The girls with their cousins, Rachel and Sarah.

The girls with cousin Pieter.

Eric and his sisters, Amy and Sonja.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Swimming with the Dolphins

We just got back from Cancun at 1:30 this morning. Eric's dad treated the whole family to a Mexican Christmas (more about that later). I have lots of unpacking and loads of laundry to do, so it may be awhile before I post about our vacation. However, I just couldn't wait to show you some pictures of our favorite thing we did in Mexico.

Amber, Autumn and I swam with two adorable dolphins. The dolphins took us on rides and we got to hug and kiss them. They even pushed us up out of the water! With one dolphin behind each leg, their noses (rostrums) pushed the back of each foot and gave us a ride up to the water's surface. The straighter we held our legs, the longer the ride. The famous "foot push" was our favorite part of the adventure. Amber laughed the whole time during the foot push. Autumn was very serious, trying to follow the instructions so she could get a proper ride. I was taken by surprise and screamed with delight the whole time. The photographer got it all on film. Check out our photos below.

Merry Christmas from the Hodge Lodge 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Santa Thing

Out of the blue the other day, my 10-year-old, Amber, said, "You know the Santa Claus thing? I just realized it's not fair to people in poor countries. They believe in Santa but don't get presents. Only people with enough money can believe in Santa Claus. That's sad. It leaves a lot of kids in the world behind."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Autumn's Lalaloopsy Birthday Party

Autumn turned 8 this weekend! We threw a Lalaloopsy party for her, themed out to the max! Everyone had a wonderful time, but I think I may have had the most fun! Here's lots of Lala-pictures!

The birthday girl, Autumn. We gave her "Teddy Honey Pots" for her birthday and dressed her up to match the doll. We borrowed the pink wig and pieced together her outfit from things she had in her closet!

Autumn and mommy!

Autumn and daddy!
The Lala-guests!

The Lala-cake I made!

The Lala-table. I made the big buttons from dollar-store plates. For the button "holes," I punched out black circles and glued them to the plates.

I made button flowers and placed them in a little flower pot for decoration. I also glued a button the the end of each fork.

We used spools of thread and Autumn's mini Lalaloopsy dolls to decorate the table.

Lala-crafts. The girls colored pictures of Lalaloopsy dolls. They also designed their own Lalaloopsy dolls from a template and made bracelets out of buttons and stretchy string. 

I made this Lala-face and each girl had their picture taken. I will print out the pictures and include them with the "thank you" cards we send.

I made this game: "Pin the Crown on Jewel Sparkles."

After the party, the girls got to take home their crown to use on their own dolls.

Button Toss: each girl got 5 buttons to toss into the bucket.

Another game: Autumn hid Jewel's crown and the girls tried to find it. We also placed buttons around the house and the girls had to find them. The one with the most buttons was the winner.