Had to write today…

I wanted to write a little bit about my dad. He passed away one year ago today. We were all at his house with him, singing songs, listening to his CD from his band Ridin’ The Faultline.  They were great! I believe he was in and out of this world during that last night, getting ready to take the next step in his life’s journey.

My brother Lee shared one of my dad’s favorite stories at his funeral. The Lamp Lighter. I don’t remember all the specifics but it goes something like this.

“There is an old city. In this city there is a lamp lighter. He goes from street to street lighting the lamps for those in the town. No one sees him, or talks with him but you know he has passed through because of the light he has left and shared.”

My dad was the ultimate sharer of light. I watch this video from time to time to see that light-His smile while he’s playing the banjo, singing with his girl. He made me sing that song with him every time we went up to hear his band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm5mhNP6XUw

The Vow

I decided to watch the Vow on my flight today. Maybe it was the fact that Channing Tatum is People magazines Sexiest Man Alive, maybe not.

I love this movie. Some may call it depressing. I loved it the first time I saw it. I love that it was based on a real life couple. One of my fave actresses, since seeing her in The Notebook, is Rachel McAdams and she’s the lead girl. Mix that with “Chan” (as I read his wife calls him) and you’ve got a great duo. I happen to think they are both good actors as well. (Actors? Actor and actress? I don’t know what is PC on this matter.) I am not overly picky on this subject but they are among my faves nonetheless.

If you haven’t seen the movie don’t read on- go rent it on the double.

I am fascinated that she loses her memory of that past five years. She never does regain these memories but finds her life leading her in the same path as before-according to the movie version. I’d love to sit down and drill the real life couple on what’s real and what’s “Hollywood” in The Vow.

What if this happened to me? I’d still be madly in love with Brian. I would remember that I have two kids (I would not be able to recount the sass of my daughter’s earlier years being that she’s 5 and 1/2.) I would look at my kids like they went into some kind of time machine. They grow up so fast! There would be so many things I would have missed, the memories, the fun, the tears, the growth…I don’t even want to think about it. I can’t imagine. I had a world class melt down when I thought I lost my pics on our computer when it crashed. Imagine not being able to remember those times AT ALL!!! Luckily for me, we were able to get those pictures back.

One thing that always comes to mind when I watch this movie is Zumba. I have been involved one way or another with Zumba for a little over 4 years now. Can you imagine? Waking up in the hospital and someone saying “you really like Latin music…you actually teach this class to people all over the world” I would fall over dead!!! I had no intention on ever being an instructor. My mom was a great instructor and I loved going to her classes but didn’t think teaching was for me, even when she had grand ideas of one day retiring and handing over the dumbbells.

I have changed my ways over the past years and absolutely LOVE what I do. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! I love teaching and spreading this passion I have and not only seeing the smiles in the crowds but the stress relief and escape it is for me is such a blessing. It continues to push me and help me grow as a person as well. I used to not be able to get on a flight without having Brian go over the steps one by one of what I was to do to get to my destination and now I am navigating through unknown cities (still a little nervous) like a pro. 😉

Anyway…time to get on another plane. Massachusetts here I come!
Until next time,
Kass

too many good times to forget! 😀

Mexico days 3-4

Now that Brian and I have our gifts we are ready to cash in. Starting with hour couples massages at the swanky golf course spa.

We took a great walk to the golf course. I had it in my mind this glorious peaceful walk would take about 20 minutes. Once those 20 minutes passed we realized there was a lot further to go so we picked up the pace even faster and got a good sweat going to try and make our appt. I always underestimate the time it takes to get somewhere-or rather underestimate my fastness- and so this was no different than norm.

This massage was paradise!!! My body has been in some considerable pain with my back lately so this was heaven sent. It is odd however being “naked” with your spouse in a public setting-with two masseuses in the room. Haha.

Time for beach and pool! I love the beach but there is a convenience with dipping in the water poolside and reading without the itty bits of sand. Call me a sissy if you want.

We laid there like lazy bums all day gettin our tab on, then we headed to our Mexican Fiesta!!! Ayayay!!! All you can eat mexican food YUM and drink if you’re a drinker-(we aren’t drinkers but we did get a fair share of diet coke and virgin piña coladas) they had an awesome night of entertainment and booths with things to buy. When you’re greeted with a mariachi (sp) band you can’t go wrong. I loved it!!!

We ate ourselves sick-we literally left early to keep ourselves from more helpings which would no doubt have caused us to 1-throw up or 2-go into a sugar induced coma. We plopped our big full bellies down on the couch and could not move if someone paid us a million dollars! It was awesome! FaceTime and out like a light.

Day 4-
We woke up early and went by boat to this amazing island called Las Caletas. This is a private island (think of the show Lost but with all the amenities you could think of and a full service staff ready to serve-heaven!!) is only available to those who paid through this Vallarta Adventures company-no access to the public. The hour boat ride there was of course filled with lots of drinking-getting the party started early for you drinkers out there and entertainment. The crew was hilarious and awesome!

Once you arrive, there are all kinds of things you can do-kayaking, snorkeling, laying out, paddle boarding, scuba diving, lounging in hammocks…we did all of this with the exception of scuba diving. I won’t do it. I physically cannot do it…one day maybe I’ll get some sort of monster guts of steel and get over my fears. Until then I’ll entertain pretty much anything else.

We did however power snorkel. This was awesome. We each had individual motors which went 3-8 miles an hour. They made it so you could really see the sea life. The brightness of the fish was amazing!!! Our guide showed us things the average snorkeler, trying to keep your tube above water wouldn’t have seen and these motors were perfect for swimming down deep and then making a fast break for air. I held a puffer fish which was oddly slimy and really adorable. I got sea sick and headed back a little early and missed the sea turtle. In the grand scheme of things I was happy I went back bc feeling awful the rest of the time would have been a real bummer.

Needless to say Brian and I loved it!!! The lunch alone was worth the price we paid-incredible food. We again ate way too much (this is all making sense now as to why the scale was so high when we got home) but it was ohhhh sooo gooood!!! And you only celebrate your TEN year anniversary ONCE! 🙂

The paddle boarding was really fun for me as I saw Brian fall into the water while I had balance like a cat. 😉 he’s pretty much better at all things like this than me so watching him scramble was too fun. I have to take small triumphs where I can.

We would have been happy as clams to stay there in Las Caletas for the remainder of our trip but the boat back was leaving and we got back on only to laugh so hard at the lip synching show they had in store for us. So fun. Please do this if you ever visit there. We loved it!!! It was the perfect mixture of entertainment, relaxation, adventure, romance…

Always a daddy’s girl

I have to admit I’m struggling. I just got back from literal paradise-a week vacation with only Brian. It was amazing!!!.. Yet, I feel empty because I want to check in with my dad and tell him all about it. That’s how it’s always been until last year.

There are times in a girls life where you just want to call your dad. Dads, (if you are one of the lucky ones) are meant to make you feel like all is well in the world. They are there to vent to, get advise from, brag to, tell about your highs your lows, talk about life and what’s to come…

My dad’s number is still on my speed dial, “Pops”. Ready to call at a push of a button when I need him. He never screened my call. Not once. He always had time for his girl-his kids.

I have lots to tell him. So much has happened this past year since he passed away.

I cannot remove his name from my favorites. He will always remain at the top of the list. I am after all still daddy’s little girl.

Day 2 Mexico

Sleeping in is such a luxury. I may not be waking up everyday at 6am-heavens no, I actually wake up at 8:05am everyday BUT sleeping in, just waking up when you’re fully rested is such a gift. Especially considering the prior nights Red Eye.

Bri and I lazily got up, had breakfast and headed to the beauty of PV. The sand is like flour and the water like a warm bath. We hung out at one of the two pools at our resort and under the cabana on the beach until our time share presentation at noon.

I wasn’t thrilled about any part of this BUT if you know me you know I live for a good deal so saving was the name of the game.

We started with lunch and took a tour around the property. The 90 minute obligation we signed on for had already succeeded at this point. Then our guide tells us more about their program-reminding us of the vacation places we want to go, the things we want to see, which he discovered in our questionnaire over lunch.

The resort was really great-don’t get me wrong BUT we actually own a time share. Haha, that’s how we were in PV-we traded out our week in Florida for a week in Mexico. “Blah blah blah…our time share is better than the one your own…” “why thank you sir” Our guide then brought in the “closer”, the “big guns”. The closer’s job is to make you feel crazy if you don’t buy. We have been there before, hence the time share we currently own but we don’t need an additional one. Ok, now one more stop for a quick survey of the presentation and we are free.

We are brought to another holding area where a woman named Trudy comes and tells us “the guys up stairs are overpriced…and I have an unbeatable offer instead” Brian and I knowing full well they all work together. When she asked how I was doing I answered “Honestly? This 90 minute turned 4 hour presentation is getting me quite impatient when all I want to do is enjoy my vacation out in that sunshine outside” She didn’t budge. (Brian squirmed at his discomfort) Trudy had a job to do, she had a sales pitch regardless of my plans. After another half hour we were released to the gift area which took another half hour to get all sorted out.

In the end we got a smokin good deal on some great activities we were really looking forward to. And asked if I’d do the presentation again, for saving as much as we did…the answer would be yes. Probably a hesitant yes, but we would mentally prepare for 5 hours not 90 minutes.

We enjoyed the pool the rest of what we had in the day, dinner and the hot tub. For me, just hanging out, stress and worry free with Brian is as fun as it gets.

The next morning we had couples massages scheduled which we could hardly wait for!!! Ahhhh….relaxation at its best!

Puerto Vallarta

Wow! This trip has been amazing. I’ll be posting about it day at a time. So…here goes.

Let’s start with day one.

We are stoked! We have been talking about November 3 for months how and finally it is here. Brian and I have been married almost 10 years!!!! (actual date 12/12/02). We always wanted to do a big trip for our ten year and Brian made all the arrangements for us and it’s been flawless! But there were a few bumps in the road first getting here. Like always, right?

I had a Zumba event in NJ-then we were headed to PV. I had been looking forward to this event. I did the same event-Zumbathon for ALS to (raise money for Lou Guerics disease) last year and it was sooo fun! Huge master class at Asbury Park in Atlantic City.

With hurricane Sandy the event was cancelled-rightfully so. I have felt terrible for those effected by this storm. 😦 people’s homes destroyed, damaged…I can’t imagine and my heart goes out to those put there. With airports closed and that change of plan, we were quickly scrambling trying to figure out how we were flying to PV since we were now coming from SLC instead. Delta was great at accommodating our needs and we set off on our trip.

I fly so much. Almost every weekend I am hopping on a plane for work. I am diamond status with delta (woohoo) and was looking forward to Brian getting the first class perks I usually get…comfy seats, lots of refills on our soda, extra snacks…but…I guess the way they do it is you get bumped DOWN to the persons status who you’re traveling with. Not cool. We tried to wriggle out way bak UP with lots of smiles (haha) but best we got was “economy comfort” for the first leg then back down to “economy discomfort” for the second leg. I joked with Brian that this wasn’t the first time my status has been lowered because of him. Haha. (opposite really)

We flew to Atlanta where they have a Delta Sky Club and went and plopped ourselves down for a long 3.5 hour layover. We were exhausted being that we just had a red eye. A four hour red eye flight so at best we had slept 3 hours. I sleep like a champ on flights. But Bri…??? not so much.

We found this back, dark room to sleep in. They had lounge chairs, pretty pictures for a serene scenery, and calm sounds. That is until this woman walks in talking really loud and then once she settled in, starts snoring even louder.

Another woman tried to shake the snore out of her a few times with little success… Maybe 1 minute snore free at best. Then I went to shake the snore out of her. “miss?…miss?…miss!!!” nothing. This woman was dead to the world, happily zonked in the sleeping room during her layover. Awesome for her to be able to check out so easily. Not as awesome for us.

I grew up with an award winning snoring dad. His snores were a master piece. Getting loud then soft then loud then soft then the grand finale!!!!…then on to the next number. Loud, soft, loud….even with how good he was at his craft, you could ALWAYS shake it out of him. Once in a while you’d just give him a good shake and he’d have a back hand instinct you had to watch out for which only made us laugh really hard but not this woman. Once in the zone she was in the zone.

Anyway…Luckily I remembered there’s an app for that. I have an app on my phone that makes noise maker sounds-white noise, waves, fan… I put it on “airplane” (really loud) and away her snores went.

We had one more leg to go. It was another 4 hours but not too shabby.

We have arrived!!!! Woohoo!!! Yippee!!!

We made it to Mexico. First time for both of us-as long as you’re not including my 1/2 hour I went to Tijuana when I was 18. (so just a couple years ago right? Haha)

Customs wasn’t too bad and we quickly got a cab and made it safely to the hotel. My eyes were closed most the time bc if they were open I would have been terrified of the driving. Lots of swerving and not the same rules I am accustom to in the states. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a terrible back seat driver.

We checked in, walked the resort and then headed to Walmart for groceries for our temporary apartment for the week.

We had fun at the store buying things we had no clue what they were. I bought “candy” then realized it was bubble gum. Brian was asked a question from the worker in spanish and he quickly answered “no habla ingles” so she asked again to which he replied “no habla ingles”. Then the woman looked at him funny and said “amigo?” so he just said “uhh…I’ll just grab these eggs” Then as he was walking toward me he realized what he was saying-opposite of what he was meaning to say which is “no habla espanol” We laughed and laughed over that.

I get the giggles whenever things like that happen to Bri b/c if you know him you know he’s very pulled together. Unlike me. Things like that happen to me…and have been happening to me here too, don’t you worry…but…when they happen to Brian it’s something I can laugh at for days. I answered “Very good thank you” to “Good evening”. It’s like when you ask a kid “What’s up?” and they say “Good”. Well that’s me here.

You’d think all my singing in Spanish with my Zumba songs would have given me an edge. Nope. I’m no better off than the next BUT I have recognized a TON of songs on the radio which makes me feel somewhat cool. Until someone asks “Habla espanol?” and I sheepishly answer again “Nope”

After Walmart we got in the hot tub and did face time with our kids and Brian’s parents who are awesome and watching them for us.

We are old farts and went to bed early to catch up on our lack of sleep getting here to PV. Plus we had a big day coming up. We were going to a timeshare presentation the next morning and needed our beauty sleep. 😉

End of day 1.

Halloween

This time of year is a tricky one for me. It hasn’t always been but last year changed everything.

I have always loved Halloween. I love dressing up. I ALWAYS dress up-usually in more costumes than one. I have been 4 different things for Halloween. It’s so fun to me and…I don’t want to “grow up” and NOT wear costumes. Simply refuse.

There’s more to it than that,  I love the leaves falling off the trees, Jack O Lanterns on porches, cooler weather, hot chocolate, trick or treating and getting together with family. We usually all start the night off at my sister’s house with soup or take and bake pizza (we are easy to please) the kids rally together and trick or treat around her neighborhood and then we finish up around our own home. It’s filled with family, fun and love-what more does one need?

Last year was the first Halloween my dad didn’t come down from Salt Lake to see his kids and grandkids.  This wasn’t his choice of course, he didn’t spend a spare second without his family. He couldn’t come. His brain cancer had progressed to the point where he was no longer able to leave the house which was heartbreaking for us.

My dad was our biggest fan-in life. He loved the costumes and got the giggles out of seeing everyone in their alter egos for the evening. He praised us on our creativity.

We spent majority of our afternoons last fall up at his home with him. He was on Hospice Care and we didn’t want him to be alone. We packed up the kids everyday and headed to visit Grandad with crafts, snacks and things to keep them entertained for hours. We just wanted to be with him.

This year is the first Halloween since his death. It’s just not the same. His laugh, his charm, his personality would fill the room so without him it’s somewhat empty.

As his kids, as children of Mike Akin we don’t want his legacy to go to waste. He was amazing to everyone. He was happy and fun no matter what. We still dressed up in our Halloween best and I know he would have got a kick out of us this year just like every year in the past and probably snuck a little peek just because he couldn’t stand to miss the fun.

One of those days!!!

Today has been one of those days. I woke up with an aching back. I couldn’t round my back at all, I felt 85 years old and wanted to jump back into the covers, ever so gently of course being that I was in major pain but I had kids to get off to school and a class to teach.

I love my classes at home, Utah, my people. They know my music, style, moves, cuing…all these things make for a fun, energetic, party of a workout…BUT…being that I travel a lot and miss more than the average instructor I feel I can’t miss a class when I am “in town” even when I have the aching back described above. Of course I know they would be understanding of the situation BUT I appreciate that they come and show up day in day out and truth is I want to see them and feed of their energy as well. A win win.

So…I was going to teach regardless. I did some stretching which helped and put on a smile which helped even more.  But there was still B’s hair to do which is a nightmare on any given day, even when I’m in the highest of spirits. After her “hiding” a few times which although she’s adorable, this game of “mom, come find me” can be tiring as I’m in a hurry to get to a room full of people, I finally got started on the process. It goes as follows:

1. spray hair with water and leave in conditioner/detangler
2. brush ever so gently with the greatest thing since the apple computer “The Wet Brush”
3. B starts whining that I’m brushing too fast
4. I show her how gentle I am brushing and explain that I’m doing my best
5. B escalates her whine into a cry (yes every morning)
6. I brush faster to get the misery over with
7. I style her hair
8. pick a bow or flower
9. hear more whining as I put said bow or flower in her hair
10. finish the hair and kiss her face even though I want to spank her-and some days I apologize b/c I let myself get mad and I don’t want to fight with her and some days I even have spanked her. She gets crazy when I’m “making her hair” and there’s only so many mornings I have the patience of a giant to deal with it.

so….luckily class was a great stress reliever as it always is.

I have decided something about B. She is hard. She is strong willed. She is defiant. She has caused me more tears in motherhood than I thought possible BUT she’s is amazingly sweet and kind and FUN and I have come to the conclusion that she and I were best friends before this life and we she will grow up to be my best friends once again. We are a lot alike, I guess. 😉

We are in the process of possibly buying a different house. The going back and forth and negotiating and appraisals and all the jazz included in the process is exhausting. To add to that I have paper work from my previous training, emails to send out for my upcoming trainings, papers to print off for my next training and a whole slew of other things I need to do to be ready to fly out again come Friday evening. In addition to that I ran into some unexpected scheduling problems with work. I could almost feel a migraine boiling with all these issues along with homework, carpool, chores…Like I said, it was just one of those days.

Here’s the good part. There are so many good things to be grateful for in my life. I am very blessed. Instead of letting these problems get me down I decided to have some one on one time with Brian when our kids were at a primary party and just focus on other things. Us. 😀 He is my stress reliever. Just being snuggled up next to each other in the booth (yes we sit side by side at restaurants) was so nice. He makes me laugh. I got the giggles on the ride home and we laughed so hard. It felt so good.

I am now heading to Walmart. Typical late night Walmart run for me. I listen to music, walking the isles looking at ingredients for meals I won’t make b/c I don’t cook. It’s just not my time to be a chef-one day it’ll happen, one day.  I have a baby shower at my house for one of my best friends since 7th grade tomorrow and I have got to try and fix something yummy for it, and fast, my night is quickly creeping away from me…

Until next time…
Kass

Weekend Review

This weekend has been somewhat of a different experience. I did my Basic Zumba® training in Michigan and then a master class that night with a TON of high energy Zumba® enthusiasts. Usually I would stay and do an additional training-a ZumbAtomic training or rather Zumba for kids training but I had a special event come up. Fast forward a few hours and I am now in Arkansas. What brought me to Arkansas? Well, keep reading and you will soon see.

There is an alliance making a difference in America’s children. This alliance is called “Alliance for a Healthier Generation”. They are in full swing making our elementary schools healthier and more active. What a great association! They have partnered up with the Clinton Foundation to further their pursuits in a healthier tomorrow and now they are partnering up with ZUMBA!

They are initiating short periods of activity throughout the day in schools with videos that demonstrate 3-5 minutes long workouts that schools across America will be playing regularly in their classes. I love this concept!

There is what they call a forum happening this weekend in Arkansas. Representatives from schools across the nation whether teachers, administrators, school lunch workers, principals as well as researchers, doctors, government representatives all coming together to set goals, see how far they’ve come and brainstorm on what’s coming up.

In this busy day I got the privilege of speaking about Zumba® and demonstrating what is to be expected from these videos soon to be playing on their screens at school. Teachers kicked off their heels, took off their business jackets and boogied with me. Also sharing the stage was non other than Billy Blanks of TaeBo. What a cool guy he is!!! WOW! I had a great time chatting with him and getting to know him. He’s awesome and yes-he has a successful company and fitness program but the man embodies strength, power, and taking charge of your own lives. He gave a great demonstration of how educators can help get kids attention and help kids take control of their lives, their health and their well being.

We were whisked away into another room, a “holding room” where we took these pics, chatted and waited to take pictures with the final speaker of the day President Bill Clinton. Secret service opened the door and ushered him in….I didn’t know what to say. This is the former president of the United States and I get to take a picture with him and be part of his organization in getting kids fit and America healthier.

I waited my turn, shook his hand, took a picture with him (will post later once I get it), introduced myself “Hi, I’m Kass Martin with Zumba” what he said next surprised me, “I want to Zumba just so I can wear the cool pants” gesturing to my Zumba cargo pants. Really??? Did Bill Clinton really just compliment my cargo pants? Yes he sure did. Haha. I am determined to get him and Hilary a pair so they can feel cool. 😉

I’m now alone in my hotel room getting ready for bed, unwinding after a very intense couple days. I have a class I am teaching the participants of the alliance tomorrow morning at 6 am. You read that correct 6 am. I don’t even know if my body knows how to do anything at the hour. I am hoping to hop on an early flight home once I am finished and head back to my one and only and my kids I miss so much. 

Until then my body needs to rest.

Me and Billy, showing our guns, Pres Clinton giving his speech and my pic “with” Pres Clinton until my professional one gets to me. 😀

Life is beautiful.

Interesting little tidbits of awareness this morning:

1. When traveling, check weather where you are heading. Fall is here, winter approaching and many destinations are much cooler than expected. I am in Michigan. I am freezing as I try and defrost the frozen dew on my car window. Now at the airport I just passed a fellow flyer in Ugg boots, a heavy coat and scarf. I’m in flip flops, workout pants and a thin Zumba wrap. I am ill prepared.

2. I realize my water bottle, courtesy of Pennock hospital, will be confiscated by TSA if I don’t quickly drink my liquids. I have a full stomach of water, I’m now rethinking the parfait I was going to buy. Scratch that-I’m now rethinking the SECOND parfait I was going to buy. I feel satisfied. One parfait will be sufficient. 😉 I am going to make this a ritual. Makes me think before I eat. Yes, I catch on slowly.

3. I am now on the hunt for the iPhone case that has the little wallet like attachment. Have you seen these? How handy is this?! I travel so much where I have my phone and photo ID in my pocket and this way I can keep them together. My boarding pass (via phone) and ID, credit card will now be together, in one place, and not at the bottom of my purse or black hole where everything seems to disappear. Seems like a dream!

4. Life is beautiful. Much to be grateful for. I am surrounded by amazing people and meet amazing people everywhere I go. After a long day of basic Zumba training and master class in a new town I now have familiar faces and friends in Michigan. Wonderful people. I then went to dinner with a fellow ZES (which we don’t usually get to do) which was a treat. Gabbed on the phone with the kids, Brian, sis in law, sis, friends…went to bed way too late and am now headed on a new adventure which I’ll update later. Super exciting.

Yes! Life is beautiful!