Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mexican Vacation Update

This was a vacation that we were all looking forward to for the last several months, I on the other hand was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. A very bittersweet trip for sure. The only reason that I agreed to go was because we were going with a group of friends. There was 6 families and 23 total people going. There should have been 25 however, but 2 people were missing, Chris and our good friend Ryan. Ryan passed away 2 years ago from leukemia. His parents came all the way down from Rochester, NY to fly with us as a group. Our friend Danny put everything together for everyone and did a great job coordinating everything for us.

We left Thursday evening and stayed at a hotel near Dulles airport (near DC). We were able to leave the cars at the hotel and caught a shuttle to the airport for our 9Am flight on Friday. We landed around 12:30 in Cancun and by 2PM we were at our resort in Playa Del Carmen. It is about 45 minutes south of Cancun. Our resort was an all-inclusive and right on the ocean. It was directly across from the island of Cozumel and at night you could see the lights on the island many miles away. During the day you could see the cruise ships docked for the day.

The trip was sort of a "spring break" type trip. There were older kids (18 - 21) who would go out to some clubs in downtown with the resort staff. Alex was one of them. They had a great time and were able to look out for one another while away from the resort. Tyler was part of a younger highschool group. They were able to go to a resort across the street where there was a nightclub that allowed young teens to attend. They went there a few times and spent some late nights out "clubbing" for their 1st time. Michael was one of those kids where was too young to hang with the older kids. It's too bad but he and I buddied up and made the best of the week. It was not a problem at all and we both had a pretty good time.

On Monday we all boarded a couple of buses and went to a natural theme park called Xel-Ha. This was a wonderful area where water comes in from the ocean and flows into a beautiful lagoon/lake are. There are paths all around the water area with rope swings, cliff diving, tubing, and most importantly snorkeling! Michael and I spent 4 hours in the water snorkeling around the lagoon. We saw thousands of fish and some of them were pretty large, 3 to 4 feet! Tyler thought he'd be smart and try to touch one while it was feeding on something. Needless to say the cut on his finger proved to him that they have teeth and they are "sharp".

The rest of the week we spent at the beach and at the pool soaking up some much needed rest and relaxation. Each day we utilized the swim up bar and the all you can eat (and we did) buffet. The food was spectacular and we found ourselves making our own fish tacos with all the fixings from the buffet. Each day our room was made up and the maid would leave an animal on our bed made out of one of the towels along with real flowers. They were really cool and always fun to look at when we came back from a long day at the beach.

The trip home was uneventful. We got home late Thursday and found that Ramsey (our cat) was missing. He left the day before while our neighbor was watching the house. We got a call on Friday evening from someone who got our number from his collar. He's home now and will be staying in the house for awhile.

The weather was just perfect for a vacation. Hot and humid but no rain at all until the night before we left. Also the day we left it started pouring down rain about 1/2 hour before we boarded the bus to the airport. We felt a little bad for the poor people who were still there, wondering what the heck we would do if we were there and it was raining. We were busy every day with swimming, eating and relaxing!

I could not have done this vacation without the support from my many friends who were there with me. Chris and I were trying for 3 years to go to Mexico and we were never able to get away because of treatments. In hindsight we should have just gone, but we didn't. the kids had a good time and I did as well, but there was never a minute that I did not have her on my mind. Seeing families and couples walking on the resort brought a constant reminder to me that our wife/mom was no longer with us in body. She still is there in mind and soul. There were a couple of moments during the week that I thought that I wouldn't be able to make it. Again, it was my group of friends that helped me through it. One day at a time... even in Mexico.

Golf a year ago!

Last year Chris attended her first and only golf outting. It was an outting put on by the local radio station which she did a great deal of business with through COMSTAR. I was lucky enough to be able to play in that outting and seeing her ride around in a cart is a memory that I will never forget.

Chris and her "cart partner" Linda from the radio station had a great time.  Linda and Chris were business associates, but more importantly were friends as well. Linda sent me this picture a while ago but now that golf season is in full swing (not for me) I thought I would get it posted for everyone to see and remember. It's been over a year since I've even considered picking up my clubs to play. Hopefully Tyler and I can get out soon. I bought him a new set of irons for getting all A's on his final report card.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We're back...

Made it back from vacation late Thursday evening. Pictures are posted here. I will write more soon. Off to a pig roast...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Headed for vacation...

Tonight we leave for vacation. We are headed to Mexico with 5 other families. 23 in total.
We are headed to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun.

Google Map

Resort Link

I'll be away for a little while so please be patient with me. I'll fill you in when I get back...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Frederick Keys Honor Chris

The Frederick Keys, minor league team to the Orioles, in conjunction with COMSTAR are having a very special evening to honor Chris and other women affected by breast cancer. the date is July 13th at 6PM. This flyer has most of the details. The local radio stations will be running some advertisements and the Frederick News Post is planning an article about Chris and the event sometime in early July. Click on the flyer to see a more readable version.

The Keys have been and continue to be a big part of our lives. The boys and I went last week to watch a game on a very pleasant evening. Tyler was able to get a bat that was used in the game by the up and coming Matt Wieters. He is just a phenomenal player and was given a $6 Million signing bonus by the Orioles last year. Matt broke the bat during the game and Ty used his charm to get it from the dugout. He basically asked nicely. He then went to the clubhouse where Matt was signing autographs and was able to get the bat signed as well! He has it hanging in the basement on a bat rack that he made in school.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Letter from NIH FCU

I received a letter from NIH Federal Credit Union yesterday. They were the credit union that received the inaugural Christine DeWitt Memorial Award for Excellence in Marketing. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

3 years ago....

This week is the annual MD/DC Credit Union League Convention. 3 years ago Chris attended and was honored with the very prestigious Judith A. Burgin Memorial Credit Union Professional of the Year Award.

I thought that it would be a good time ro post the information for those who did not see the article in the Frederick News Post.

Read about the award directly from the newspaper by clicking here.

Award winner excels while battling illness
Originally published October 04, 2005

By Gina Gallucci
News-Post Staff
CLARKSBURG -- Christine DeWitt had attended the Maryland Credit Union League's annual conference every year since she began working for the company 22 years ago.

This year, Ms. DeWitt, who is the vice president of operations for COMSTAR Federal Credit Union in Clarksburg, had decided not to attend. She had been diagnosed in September 2004 with breast cancer and was not sure if she wanted to make the trip to Ocean City for the conference in late June.

Her CEO, Lisa Whitaker, encouraged her to attend because she had nominated her for an award.

"She said, 'I think you need to go because you have won an award'," said Ms. DeWitt, who was honored with the 2005 Judith A. Burgin Memorial Credit Union Professional of the Year Award.

"It was very emotional and very gratifying," said Ms. DeWitt. It was an honor to be nominated by the CEO and given the award in front of colleagues.

The contenders were judged on their ability to achieve effective and efficient results in the areas of management and supervision; ability to motivate staff and volunteers and instill in credit union personnel a spirit of teamwork and cooperation; participation in credit union activities at the local, chapter, league and national levels; and professional training and educational achievements.

The award was created to honor, Judith A. Burgin, who was responsible for directing and managing the operations of all Tower Federal Credit Union branches. Ms. Burgin began her career at Tower in 1969 and worked until her death in 1983.

Ms. DeWitt was able to do her job while going through a 12-week round of chemotherapy.

"A lot has to do with technology," said Ms. DeWitt. "Fortunately, the credit union set up a computer at (her) home so I could check my e-mail. I also checked my voice mail. A number of the managers are independent and got the job done and kept everything running. ...I have not missed much work. I come into work as much as I can. Keeping a normal schedule has helped."

To boost her spirits during chemotherapy, co-workers took up a collection and hired a cleaning person to tidy up her house once a week and a chef to prepare meals for her and her family.

"It was a huge help," said Ms. DeWitt. "I did not have many side effects (due to treatment), but there were a lot of things I couldn't do."

Currently, Ms. DeWitt is undergoing radiation treatments and going in for regular check-ups.

"Its an ongoing process," said Ms. DeWitt. "I play it by ear. One test to another."

Ms. DeWitt lives in Frederick with her husband Charles and three children.

Sunday, June 8, 2008