So Close I Can Taste It

I’m tired. I have been on mommy duty by myself since Friday and I’m pooped. The girls are good, but I’m exhausted and trying to get the last-minute purchases done for the girls while I am married-single-parenting is exhausting. Thank goodness I had planned ahead and booked Nanny to the rescue for today. She came in just in time for me to go to Crossfit and since she was curious about the whole thing, we packed everybody in the car and Béa and Nanny came to watch me workout!

I did my usual solo warm-up and then I went onto the rig to try some TTB. I managed the usual 2 and went for an extra one and managed this one as well! I got greedy and tried for a 4th, but no luck. Still, a PR during the warm-up was nice! I teased Rob about it on Facebook (we have a bet as to whom will get to 10 TTB first. Although, now that I think of it, I don’t think we’ve ever established what the winner gets… Rob, if you’re reading, I say bragging rights!) and then moved onto the team warm-up:

I teamed up with Marie who recently graduated from the OnRamp and since we’re about the same height, I figured it would take us similar time to get through the erg.

 

Skill: Back Squat 5×3 E90s

I was trying to PR on this one and go for 140#. It would have been a 5# PR. It didn’t happen, but I was close and considering I was still feeling my new depth at the bottom of the squat, it felt REALLY good. I felt strong, more able to keep my chest up and didn’t feel like I was “butt-stripping” getting out of the squat. Here was my progression:

120#-125#-130#-135#-140# (managed 1 rep and bailed coming out of my 2nd).

I think there was a lot happening for me on these:

  1. I was seeing stars coming up from my 1st rep @ 140# and I didn’t take a long enough pause to breathe and recoup at the top
  2. I was in my head a lot. I knew that if I managed to do this today, I was literally 5# away from my bodyweight back squat and I’ve been chasing this one for close to 2 years now. My heart was pumping fast and I could tell I was in a hyper mode.

I may not have PR’d my 5×3 and I don’t have a 1RM, but I’m confident that 140# was an amazing 1RM for me! The fact that I felt so good and strong during my reps gave me a ton of confidence. Also, being able to bail out of the lift safely made me feel good too. It’s nice to know that I not only have the technique to do my lifts in a safe manner, but I also have the knowledge to get out of them if I can’t complete a rep.

WOD: 4 Hundred

I paired up with Marie again and even though she was doing the FG+, I firmly believe that we both were working equally hard at it. I decided to try this one RX and it did not disappoint! I started us off on the wallballs because, well, in all honesty, I just wanted to get them done and over with! Lol! We broke them up in sets of 10 and I then had to break my sets into 2×5, pretty early in the game. Marie was doing squats while holding the med ball because of shoulder issues, which meant that she was done a lot quicker for her sets and I had less time to recover. She was nice enough to get us started on the push-ups and surprisingly to me, I was really struggling through those. We both did them all RX and Marie was so strong and straight throughout them all, I was super impressed! We split them up into sets of 5.

I took over for the reverse lunges and I was apprehensive about those as any split movement is usually what gives me sciatic pain. I tried my best to brace my deep abdominals and so far, *knocks on wood*, no butt pain! We split those up into 10s and got through them fairly quick.

I started us off for the Plates ground to overhead and it was my 1st time using the 25# plate for those. They felt really strong. It felt like I was really able to keep the plate close to my body and really use my hips to get it overhead. There were two reps towards the end where I struggled to get the plate to actually touched the ground, but even if we finished last, I felt really good about our work today.

Once I was done, I clean dup quickly in the bathroom and BeZU, Nanny and I were off to hit the stores. I managed to find one item on the girls’ Santa list and I was happy with that. I hid my purchases in the trunk and Béa was none the wiser.

After lunch, we came back home where I finished laundry and relaxed a bit on the couch. We then went to pick-up Rina at themes stop and we trooped everyone to a smaller mall where I was hoping to get the girls’ picture taken with Santa.  I had scoped the hours ahead of time and I knew the big guy was supposed to be there until 5pm. To my surprise, there was nobody in line when we got there. I forked out the $14 for one 5×7 pic (not without some grumbling) and approached the jolly red dude. Béatrice was scared to death and wanted nothing to do with him. She kept hiding behind my legs and I could feel her little body shaking against my leg. I asked Santa if I could sit next to him to warm her up to him and once he said it was fine, she climbed on my lap. I tried to get her to sit on his lap: No. I tried to get her to sit next to him: No. I tried to get her to stand in front of here sister (who was, by then, telling Santa everything she wanted for Christmas): No. In the end, I decided it was going to be a family picture and I got in there with the girls. After all, I wanted them both to have their picture taken, but I wasn’t gonna hang around there forever!

I turned out much better than I thought and at least both girls are smiling. I look like an exhausted, sweaty mom (because I am), but I couldn't care less!

It turned out much better than I thought and at least both girls are smiling. I look like an exhausted, sweaty mom (because I am), but I couldn’t care less!

Once we were done, I went to get the envelope with the picture and noticed there was another sheet in there. At first I thought it was an order sheet to order extras, but when I took it out, I saw this:

Rina, handing Santa a drawing she had done

Rina, handing Santa a drawing she had done

I was so unaware that the photographer had taken this one and I was really touched that she had included it in the envelope. I thanked her profusely and we all went on our merry way home, where we had dinner, I bathed everyone, made lunches for tomorrow, took my work clothes out and now, I’m about to make myself a cup of broth with my hot water bottle on my back and do my version of #NetflixandChill which is #Netflixandbroth 🙂

 

Womanhood

*Sorry gents, this one will discuss women problems/issues. You’re more than welcome to read through, but I doubt you’ll be able to relate much*

So, I haven’t blogged in a little while and there’s a few good reasons for it.

  1. Sometimes, I just need a break from the blogging world. I try to cram so much in a day and instead of giving you crappy posts, I just take a time out and focus on me instead
  2. I have been having pretty painful sciatic pain for 8 days now and I’ve been trying to deal with that, hence the title of my post. I did my first WOD since last Wednesday yesterday and will talk about it more below

I have breached this topic before, but let me dive in today. I have had pretty consistent sciatic pain since my pregnancy with Rina, 5 years ago. I have done chiropractic treatments before that have given some positive outcomes, but it always ends up coming back. It has seemed that over the years, it gets aggravated, no matter what I do. It was painful when I was an inactive mom, it is painful whether I work out or not, so before you go thinking that it’s all because of Crossfit, let me tell you right now, it isn’t. It does flare up when I squat or deadlift heavy (over 100lbs), but this last flare-up started after a WOD where there wasn’t any heavy lifting involved.

I just happened to mention to fellow Crossfitters that I’d been dealing with this for a while now and what I’d been doing in order to try to get better, when Michelle mentioned she was a PT and I should go see her. I was able to get an appointment with her the same day and I’m hoping to be able to solve some issues.

After 2 visits with her, here’s what we have discovered.

  1. My sciatic pain might not be related to my sciatic at all.
  2. I may be too flexible for my own good.
  3. I may benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy.

I have breached the topic lightly before on the blog, but as a Crossfit woman, it’s no surprise that I suffer from “leakage” when lifting heavy or doing box jumps or attempting DUs or even sneezing, if I’m not careful. Apparently, this could all be improved with some pelvic floor PT.

You see, apparently childbirth can be traumatic and damaging to a body (no sh** Sherlock!) I’m diving deep right now so if you’re squeamish, STOP READING NOW!

When I delivered Rina, I tore my perineum (the area between your anus and your vagina. Not sorry about the TMI right now because I’m sure I’m not the only ) to the 3rd degree and required 15 stitches in my nether region. Also, I attempted to push her out for 3 1/2 hrs. That may (or may not) have injured my coccyx. Add to that a second pregnancy with a second tear (only 7 stitches this time around!) and some baby carrying on the same hip (I am right-handed and have a tendency to carry my girls nicely propped on my left hip in order to have my right hand free for other stuff) and I have a slight shift (about an inch or so) between my hips. My left hip sits higher than my right one, resulting in an imbalance on EVERYTHING I do when I move.

Because I am so limber, I haven’t really felt the imbalance before, but after a few years of having to do extra work, my left hip, pelvis and sciatic have finally said: “Enough!” and I’m listening. It turns out that the Pelvic Floor Physio could help with what my PT thinks is mostly a coccyx injury that needs decompression. She is, unfortunately not allowed to do such a thing, but a pelvic floor PT is. I have an appointment next week and I will keep you posted when I go. As for now, I have also been told to stop stretching (just until we figure out the origin of my sciatic pain), which means I haven’t done any ROMWOD since last week. 😦 I have to say, I kind of miss it, but I’ll listen to the expert’s advice until further notice.

In the meantime, I dream of a day when I wouldn’t need to sit on the couch with my hot water bottle up my butt/lower back in order to obtain some relief. That and no leakage would be awesome too! 😉

After Kath canceled our Kitty and Cougar WOD yesterday (turns out she had too much on her plate and couldn’t fit this in her schedule), I decided to do the Box WOD at home, since it didn’t give me much time to get my stuff together for the 0930 class. Kath felt super guilty about backing out of the competition, but to me, it was just an excuse to get together with her and WOD together, we can do that anytime and don’t need the extra stress of the competition in order to do that!

Here’s what I did yesterday:

We only had a 25# KB at home so I went out and decided to get myself a little treat: a brand new 35# KB! I had both girls with me (Rina had stayed home from school with a cold and Béa was on a day off from preschool) and Rina didn’t want to be left in the dust, so she convinced me to get her a cute little 5# KB.

A family that lifts together... gets strong together! Lol!

A family that lifts together… gets strong together! Lol!

I packed the girls in their double stroller and set off for my run. I had a choice between running a 720m or 920m in my neighbourhood, so I aimed high and went for the 920m loop. Because I have the memory of a fly, I couldn’t remember that I had to do taters and did AKBS.  Pushing the stroller up the hills was interesting, seeing as the girls and the stroller combined added close to 80# of lump I had to get up 3 little hills. 1 was short, 1 was medium and long and the third was short but at a steep incline which had me walking. The fun part was that I also had to go a steady downhill on my way back home. I had to pause my timer, get the girls out of the stroller and get Béatrice set up with something to occupy her while Rina and I got to work on the AKBS. Rina was more interested in chalking up her little hands than actually lifting the KB, but she did about 20 reps with me. I broke mine up in sets of 10 and only started to lose my grip on rep #47. I finished my 3 reps and looked at my timer: 9:52. Not too bad considering I had last done this one RX (without having to push a heavy stroller up a hill) so I’m guessing I probably could have done a similar time as well!

So there you go, I should be back for more Crossfit tales tomorrow, if I feel like blogging about it! 😉

Rina-Ism #6

Rina has the day off from school today. However, as I get breakfast ready, she’s playing and pretending to get ready for school.

Rina: “Bye Maman! Bonne journée”

Me: “Bye love, have a good day!”

 

A few minutes later, she comes back…

Rina: “Hi Mom! I’m back!”

Me: “Oh good! How was your day love?”
Rina: “Good! I didn’t die!”

Perspective is everything and this kiddo has it right! Every day you come home alive is a good day! Bahaha!

“If It’s Hard, You’re Doing It Right!”

I was happy Ben and I came to a pact that I could still go to the 0600 Oly class on Thursdays if I wasn’t working. The evening classes were just impossible for me to attend having to deal with the girls and Ben has agreed to be on “school duty” an extra morning so that I could go lift some weights! He is pretty amazing! Over the weekend, he told me he loved my determination at getting fit and doing Crossfit. If that’s not a supportive husband, I don’t know what is! #hesakeeper

 

I got up before sunrise (hello autumn) and made my way to the Box for this:

Photo 2015-09-17, 5 57 04 AM

The snatch balance from the warm-up somehow were hurting my neck, but I was fine afterwards.

Snatch 10×2 OTM

I am still using my “fake 1RM” of 65#, therefore I went with 52# for these. I failed 2 reps total (I repeated one and half made up for the other one) during the 10 rounds and the hardest was catching my breath during the rest. That little sequence got my heart pumping and I got sweaty fast doing these. Still pretty happy with having managed to do all 10 rounds, even though it was hard. Coach Caleb said: “If it’s hard, you’re doing it right!” 😉

Hang Snatch 6×3 E2M

Since I had managed 90#x2 a few weeks ago (90# is also my C&J 1RM), I used that to calculate my weight and did 76.5# for all 6 rounds. The last rep was hard and I was having a hard time hanging onto the bar (we weren’t allowed to drop the bar between reps) and I could definitely feel it, but I managed all reps successfully. Getting up from the squat was much harder on some reps, but I managed to get up for all!

I rushed home so I could walk Rina to the bus stop and then, Ben dropped Béatrice at preschool. I had time to take a bath and cook some food for my night shifts uninterrupted. It was nice, but weird to have the house empty of kids. Something I will have to get used to for sure… For now, I get to enjoy some alone-time with Béatrice and it’s quite nice to focus on be able to spend some one-on-one time with her. She’s such a cuddle-bug!

Our New Normal

So, I have two kids in school as of today! Rina is in kindergarten full-time and Béatrice has started preschool 2 mornings a week yesterday.

When it was time for us to leave Béatrice in her classroom yesterday, Rina burst into tears. She didn’t want to leave her little sister! That almost broke my heart, but she soon forgot about her heartache once I took her to the playground! 😉

These are the best pictures I could take of Béatrice on her first day of pre-school! Typical Béa!

These are the best pictures I could take of Béatrice on her first day of pre-school! Typical Béa!

This morning, we had to wake up much earlier than our usual. Rina was starting school and the bus comes by really early to pick her up.

Rina is now in kindergarten!

Rina is now in kindergarten!

She did really well getting on the bus, sat next to another little girl and forgot all about us! She’s so freakin’ independent that one!

With her starting school early, that also means that I won’t be able to go to the 0600 WOD anymore because Ben isn’t an early riser and I need to pitch in to get the girls ready to go in time when I’m not at work. I’m hoping to still be able to go to the Olympic lifting class at 0600 though, but I’ll have to negotiate that with my other half! We do things very give and take and since he’s not an early riser, I’ll pitch in A LOT when I’m not working. When I’m at work, he’ll have to do it all by himself, so I feel it’s only fair! Parenting is a 2-person job in this household!

After we dropped her off on the bus, I went to get some groceries, came back home and rested a bit before I headed out for the 0930 WOD. I was not excited because to me, it’s a new class, which means, new people who I don’t know and also, the WOD was crazy. I looked at it last night and thought: “I may need 45-60 mins to finish this one.” And there you have it: my goal was to finish sub 45:00!

 

WOD: The Pyramid Effect

We all got ready outside and we took off for the 1st mile (1600m, broken into 4x400m out and back). That was brutal, but I managed to do it without rest. Of course, everybody was done before me, but I didn’t care!

I was really hoping to do my pull-ups strict with the blue and purple bands, but even in the warm-up to the WOD, I knew I would struggle. On my 1st round of pull-ups, I asked advice from Coach France as to how to exactly DO a strict pull-up! I have never been really good at doing them and she told me I was kipping them. I paused at the bottom to really stop the swing and plowed through doing that for the rest of the reps. I broke up the pull-ups into sets of 3, the push-ups, I did Rx and broke them up into sets of 5.

Then, I was onto the 100 lunges that I broke into sets of 10. I was much more effective at doing them almost without pause and they were the easy part of this WOD for me.

Back to the push-ups (again, broken into sets of 5 mostly and Rx) and banded pull-ups. I was the last one out on the mile run and I took a lot of little walking breaks. I really was trying to not walk, but my legs were toast! I kept pushing and finished my 3rd and did all of my 4th running round by myself. I tried to pick up the pace on the 4th round and came back inside with a time of 42:19. Goal crushed!I was done though! That was a tough one!

Sweaty mess!

Sweaty mess!

I rushed home to shower quickly before Ben left for work and I’m now waiting for Rina to come back home from school. I can’t wait to hear how her first morning went! Now, I just need to figure out when I’ll have time to do all my cleaning since I was out for most of the morning and I need to nap before tonight’s night shift!

 

 

 

 

 

How Low Can You Go!

Its 2230, I’m dozing off on the couch after a day at work and decide to go to bed. My husband tries to get me to stick around and watch some Star Wars Clone crap. Let it be known that I have an aversion to anything Star Wars, Star Trek, space sci-fi related, almost as big as my hatred of tea:

 

Seriously!

 
I pretty much get up and tell him it’s even more of an incentive to go to bed. He then taunts me by saying: Even if I give you a foot rub?

I’m a nurse, on my feet a lot and am a HUGE sucker for foot rubs. The husband rarely offers them. I pause and say: Do I have to actually watch?

He says: yes, there will be a quiz at the end.

I tell him: I’m too tired to stay awake for that crap tonight, I would surely fall asleep on it, but maybe tomorrow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel slightly dirty at entertaining the thought of stooping so low for a foot rub and I need to shower before bed…

Cuba Sì

As promised, here’s a review of our week-long vacation in Cuba.

We were traveling from Victoria to Montreal, in order to meet up with everybody else on our trip at the Montreal airport. We made our way the day before our Cuban departure, sleep in a hotel by the airport that had a shuttle service and had no issue with that at all. We repeated the same experience on the way back with the same service. I had to call for the shuttle bus to come and get us and it was there within 20 minutes. From Montreal, our flight to Santa Clara was close to 4hrs-long, followed by a bus ride of about 90 mins to the resort. I was ready to go sit and relax when we finally got to the resort. The girls traveled beautifully, sleeping on my lap at times, playing, eating, iPad-ing, and signing songs. Béatrice was being potty-trained and we put her in pull-ups for the flights, but she was good about asking to use the washroom and mostly ended up with a dry diaper after the flights.

Currency: If you love in Canada, don’t bother changing your money for some US funds before your departure as you get penalized once in Cuba. Their currency for tourists is the CUC (a tourist cuban peso) and isn’t worth anything outside of Cuba. Bring your Canadian currency and change it once in Cuba (either at the airport or at some local currency office (we had one on the resort with the rate exchange similar to the US $ ($1 CAN = $0.70 CUC). Make sure you get rid of all your CUC before exiting the country as you won’t be able to do so once back in Canada.

Medical Clinic: Yep, I even got to try this one out! I had started an eye infection on the flight from Edmonton to Montreal and despite using Polysporin eyedrops for 48hrs, it wasn’t improving and I ended up with a huge black eye from the infection, so I hired a cab (1927 Ford!) and made my way to the closest medical clinic on Tuesday. I walked in at 1330, saw the MD at 1332 and walked back out with my bill and prescriptions at 1345. It took a little longer because I had been told by the customer service rep at our resort that I could pay my meds with a credit card. Turned out I couldn’t and had to take a cab to the closest ATM to get some money. My cab driver was nice and waited for me while I sorted all of this and even waited for me while I was being seen at the clinic! I was given steroids, antibiotic drops and anti-inflammatory ointment, all for 50 CUC, including the medical consult. Total cost: 60 CUC including the cab rides. Not too bad!

Cuban Accommodations: We went along on this trip with my parents, my brother and my niece and my brother’s girlfriend (one of my friends 🙂 ) and her kids too. All in all, there were 6 adults and 6 children on this trip. Our resorts was Cayo Playa Santa Maria, located in Santa Maria (north or Cayo Coco). The resort itself was nice enough, but not super luxurious. I seem to remember we had chosen this one because they had a “Kids’ Club”, to which we didn’t end up taking advantage of. Live and learn! The rooms were clean. We had issued with the tub and shower draining properly, and although we had someone look into it for us, it never got resolved. The rooms were done on a daily basis, although sometimes, late in the afternoon when we were trying to get the kids to rest a bit. The fridge was filled with beer, pop and water everyday as well. One thing I was missing when we were there were facecloths. Apparently, they are nowhere to be found in Cuba, so I’d bring a couple if you really can’t do without them. I ended up using a bath mat / towel when I needed one. I think the only drawback was for checking-in. Long line-up, with only 2 clerks at the desk to do 2 buses worth of check-ins: fail! The staff we had to deal with were all very friendly and attentive, on the other hand. AC was available in both the adjoining rooms we had (King bed and 2 twin beds for the girls) as well as a ceiling fan.We never had our patio door open (other than to go hang laundry out on the chairs) as it was too hot to do so with temperatures between 32-35ºC everyday. E only had one day of partly cloudy skies, no rain over the 7 days we were there and saw plenty of heat lightning.

Food: We had a choice of 3 À La Carte restaurants for dinner, but were only able to book 2. All the other time slots had been booked solid after our 2nd day on the resort. My advice would be to go on book those early on in your trip. One of our restaurant was the Asian one and the food was ok, with limited choices for kids. The other one was the Seafood one and only 4 of us ended up going to this one because our reservations was for 7:30pm , after a long day on a Catamaran excursion, on the eve of our departure and the children were too tired to come out to eat. (More on that later).

The buffet was ok in my book. Not terribly bad, not amazingly good. I think, overall, there were only 2 dishes I really didn’t like. Most of the fish I had was absolutely delicious, although, I was the unlucky one with all the bones in the fish. They made a pretty awesome fried rice where you could chose your components, same with omelettes in the morning. You had to be there early though as the lines filled up fast. Not a lot of choices for Whole30-compliant food, but I was on vacation, so I didn’t stress about it. I tried to focus on fruits, meats, vegetables and rice.

Lettuce is almost unheard of there and the only “greens” they had were green bell pepper and cabbage. That got old pretty quick.

I can’t really comment on the booze as I’m not a big drinker. We had wine a few times, I had a Sex On The Beach and a few sips of Mojitos and that’s about it. The drinks were good, from the few I had.

Gym:  I had a quick look at the gym (usual treadmills, stationary bikes, some free weights and benches for presses) and the AC wasn’t supper effective in the little facility so I decided to make my own WOD on the beach:

4RFT:

  • 400m run
  • 25 burpees

I didn’t time myself, but tried to hustle as best as the 33ºC permitted. I would go in the water to rinse off the sand and cool off before the runs. That was my one and only workout while I was there. My bother had brought his TRX and managed a few more workouts than I did. Good for him for not slacking off!

Spa: Ben and I booked ourselves a 1hr-long couple’s massage and it was nice to go relax while my parents watched the girls. The only thing is they had a musical cue on their CD that told them when to move from limb to limb. It was a bit distracting. We were allowed 1hr of relaxation in the jetted pool, but we hadn’t brought our bathing suits. No problem, we were allowed to come back the next day to enjoy the pool.

Beach: This is where we spent most of our time everyday. We would go after breakfast and never had any trouble finding 12 lounge chairs under the shade. We had brought our own tarp and pegs for shade on the beach and never ended up using it.

There were a lot of big rocks/boulders submerged under the sand where the chairs were and you had to be careful about your steps making your way down to the water. The sand was soft and white and, apparently, the beach had suffered some erosion since the previous year (as per previous vacationers).

The water was a ver clear aqua colour and you spot some barracudas often. We only saw 2 small jellyfish on our entire trip. Depending on the wind, some days the water was calm and others, the waves were a bit stronger.

There were free smaller catamarans excursions (max. 4 people) that lasted about 30 mins and free-kayak rental as well.

Animation was on the beach in the morning and moved over to the main pool in the afternoon. We never partook in the activities as we wanted to sit and relax.

Pools: We had a pool very close to our room and although there was music poolside, I think they closed the pools around 6pm daily, which meant you could get a full restful night of sleep. The pools were well maintained, although lots of sand and oil residue from the sunscreen could be found. The water was hot all the time and even hotter in the afternoons. Finding chairs in the shade was a little harder at the pool than it was at the beach, but we were never there very long and usually retreated to our rooms for some shade and nap time when we’d had enough. The little ones enjoyed the pool more and the big kids enjoyed the ocean more. We compromised by doing the beach in the morning and the pool in the afternoon.

The girls and Ben, playing in the pool

The girls and Ben, playing in the pool

Excursions: There were a few tempting excursions I would have liked to do had we been without kids, but we settled on only the one full day Catamaran excursion. There was one where they flew you into La Havana overnight that I would have liked to do (too expensive with the kids), another one where you went to see Buena Vista Social Club perform live (finished around midnight, again, not happening with the kids) and one where you went into Santa Maria to see the Che Guevara Memorial as well as some of the city and churches. I would have love to learn more about that piece of history, but with temperatures being what they were beach-side, I really didn’t want to drag the kids too far from the water.

The one excursion we settled on was the day-long catamaran excursion. We booked it for our last full day in Cuba, Saturday (so that all the kids could get on for free). Kids are free all the time if they’re 6 and under, and on Saturday, it’s free for kids 12 and under.  We had to be ready to go at 0800 which left us ample time to grab breakfast at the buffet (starts at 0700). We hoped on a bus that took us to the marina (20 mins), where we boarded a super clean catamaran, with a crew of 3 on board. There were 2 bathrooms that were kept immaculate throughout the day. The rest of the boat was wiped off of water often and kept immaculate as well throughout the day. We left using the motor for the first part of the day, making our way to the “reef” where we had 1hr to go snorkelling. All kids had to wear life vests and adults who were strong swimmers didn’t have to. Ben brought his GoPro with him so we were able to capture some pretty cool photos and videos.

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Once we were done with that, they served us a light snack of tuna salad on crackers. It was a hit with everyone and was gone in minutes! We motored around, until they brought us to a the dolphin sanctuary. This would not have been my choice had it not been included in the day. I’m not a fan of dolphins in captivity, but the girls liked the little show they put on:

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Once the show was done, we also had the opportunity to interact with the dolphins. Ben had his gGoPro and took some footage, but it was a bit hard seeing as we had to hold the girls in our arms. We had water up to our chest and the dolphins swam up to us so we could touch them. Our dolphin had one cloudy eye and the other one had plenty of scars on its back… 😦 We had lunch at the sanctuary of lobster tails for the adults and chicken for the kids. After lunch, we got back on board and Rina needed the First Aid kit (she cut her toe and was bleeding) and the staff was quick and attentive.  They teased us with sights of beautiful sandy beaches before dropping us off in a sandbar that was rocky and choppy. Not my favourite part of the day (and I think nobody enjoyed this very much out of our little group).  We quickly came back on board and we set out on the water and finally opened the sails and cut off the motor. That was MY favourite part of the day, fo’ sho’!

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The music was blaring, people were dancing and drinking and we all had a blast! We came back to the marina, back on the bus and everybody was tired. I debated about going for our dinner reservation (at 7:30pm) at all, but Ben offered to take the girls to the buffet and put them to bed so I could enjoy a last dinner with my parents and brother. His girlfriend fed their brood at the buffet as well so it was just our little family of 4 that night. It was nice to reconnect with that part of my life and although the food was ok, we laughed a lot at my mom’s fear f the gecko that was inching closer on the ceiling and just life in general.

We had to check out at 0545 the next morning, back on the bus at 0645 (late as per Cuban time) to make our way to the airport for our flight at 1145. That was a long wait at the airport, but we managed fairly well. Béatrice sang the whole time she was on the plane and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to all my lovely family. It had been almost 2 years since I’d seen them all and with the cost of flights to go back home, who knows when we’ll be able to afford to go back? That’s also why I didn’t really care about our accommodation or the quality of the food. To me, this trip was about spending time with my family, for my daughters to get to know their cousins and for us all to really soak in the sun and relax. I’d say our goal has been surpassed x 100 and to me, that means a very successful trip!