last week.

last week we

jumped on a plane

for our yearly

trip to akumal, mexico with


dad’s side of

the family

(including us, i think it was 28 people)

this was maddy’s

fourth trip

(or fifth, if you include the time we flew from mexico to chicago to meet oprah, then flew back to mexico to finish up our trip)

to akumal.

during each of her

previous visits, she

as a little too little

to really enjoy

it, so i was excited to

be visiting the

place with an older,

more excitable madeline.

we were greeted

at the airport by

grandpa tom and grandma candee

(auntie debbie couldn’t make it for this trip)

and then drove the

1.5 hours down

to our hotel.

it wasn’t until

the next day

that maddy realized

where we were,


playing in the sand.

watering the sand.

on the beach.

on the beach.

going under the bridge.

in the pool.

but once she did,

i knew that it

was going to

be nearly impossible to

get her away from

the water.

she even ate

her lunch


and relaxed by

the pool

the scribbles are hers.

while she napped with

grandma candee,

tom, brooke and i

went to the ya-kul lagoon

and did a

little snorkeling.

i was eager to

do so because

i was excited to

use the christmas

gift that

tom and candee

bought for me…

an water-proof bag

for my camera.

well, brooke’s camera.

she was kind enough

to let me test

the bag out on

her camera

before i risked mine

(she’s so kind).

snorkeling in the lagoon in akumal.


grandp tom snorkeling.

snorkeling in the lagoon in akumal.


after our snorkeling trip,

we went back

to our hotel

and found maddy

and grandma candee

–where else?–

a the pool.

maddy was playing with

all of her

little cousins

around her age.

interactions with children

around this age

are pretty hilarious,

and maddy’s interactions

with her cousin are

no different.

she seems to

have inherited

my cousin josh’s love

of giving

people nicknames,

calling her

cousin robin, “robbery”

(which had me laughing pretty fucking hard the whole trip).

the next day maddy

stayed with her

grandparents while brooke

and i drove north

to meet some friends

for an afternoon

of zip lining through

the jungle



then into a cenote

ziplining into a cenote.

ziplining into a cenote.

in a cenote.

brooke taking photos of chris and tiffany.

ziplining into a cenote.

brooke and tiffany ziplining into a cenote.

holding on.

neither brooke nor i

had ever done something

like this before

but we enjoyed

the hell out of

it, even though i

have dislike

of heights and brooke

has a general fear

of just about everything.

we made it back

to akumal in time

to see the moon rise


rising moon.

and for a late dinner

with the entire family.


the crowd grows.

on sunday we visited

the pre-columbian mayan

ruins of coba.


i had been here

years before,

with tom and


and i was excited

to be bring madeline

to the place for

the first time.

i remembered everything

about the place,

from the way the road

wound to the

left past the lake with

the crocodiles,

to the stories that

the guide told

us about the sites inside.

i never get sick

or reexploring these

places, especially

for madeline.

i watched as she

did a little exploring





then did a

little exploration of

our own










then got a

little ride,





stopping along the way

to see some ruins



and take some photos





we finally arrived

at the nohoch mul pyramid.

maddy insisted

on joining us

on our trip

to the top


i was hopeful that

she’d walk

most of the way,



but quickly

realized that she’d

never make it up

all 120 steps,

so about a quarter

of the way up

i picked her

up and carried her

the rest of the way.

i needed a long

rest when we

got to the top







because i knew

i had to carry

her back down,

which would be far

more difficult than

the ascent.

by the time we

descended all 138 feet

of the pyramid,

in front of the nohoch mul pyramid.

in front of the nohoch mul pyramid.

leaving the nohoch mul pyramid.

my legs were

shaking and i

was thankful that

someone else would

be peddling us back

to the entrance.

walking with her cousin piper.

walking with her cousin piper.

after a great

lunch with the

other family members

who joined us

for the trip,

we headed back

to akumal.

excited about something.

taking a drink.

parrot envy.

playing with a parrot.

maddy spent a little

time playing on

the beach

on the beach.

on the beach with grandma candee.


on the beach with grandma candee.

before we headed

to my favorite

bar in the world

for a snack and

some swinging.

on a swing in a bar.

on a swing at la buena vida.

it was very cool

to be back in

the spot that held

so many memories

for me.

last year i was

sitting at a table

on the beach

working on my book.

the year before that

i was wathing aj

sing some karaokee

and for years

before that,

i spent countless

hours here with


the next day,

our last full day

in akumal,

we headed back

to the ya-kul lagoon.

it turns out brooke

really, really

likes to snorkel.

on our earlier visit

to the lagoon,

it took her about 15

minutes to

get in the water

because she was

a little frightened

of the fish

(i had to remind her that the fish were the whole reason we chose to snorkel there).

it didn’t help

that we were teasing

her a bit

about crocodiles and

huge, woman-eating fish

as she stood on

the banks…

but this time,

she jumped right in.

snorkeling in the lagoon in akumal.

(one of my favorite things about brooke is that she will go to incredible lengths to conquer her fears…but don’t tell her i paid her that compliment).

maddy also wanted

to get in on

the action, and

even though she’s a

little too young

to understand how to

use the snorkeling gear,

she was pretty

damn cute sight

to see

she wanted to give it a shot...




maddy hung out with

her grandparents

about to snorkel with grandma and grandpa.

about to snorkel with grandma and grandpa.

while we explored

the lagoon




in and out of the water.



eventually madeline

need to be warmed up

trying to warm up.

so we headed

back to our hotel.

but as soon

as we got back,

madeline was ready

to get into the pool.

so happy.

playing in the pool.

turning her toy on her.

playing with her new water toy.


my vacations used

to be all about adventure

and exploration,

but with madeline

i find myself mixing

adventure with time

spent sitting

on the beach or

at the pool, listening

to her laugh,

watching her

enjoy her life.

and that’s more fun than

i imagined it would be.

the next day

we were on our

way back to los angeles.

maddy didn’t

get a nap in,

and she was

more than a little

sad to be saying

goodbye to her

grandparents so

i was anticipating a

rather long

and difficult

flight home, but

somehow we end up

with this:


i can’t begin to

tell you how incredibly

lucky brooke

and i felt, especially

because this is the

first time she’s

actually slept on a

plane in a very, very

long time.

the night after

returning to

los angeles,

i met up with

some friends to

see another of

my favorite bands

play at one of

my favorite venues

in the city.

wednesday night.

haven’t been to a

concert in months.

i was

exhausted, but i’m damn

happy i didn’t skip it,

even though this

was my view the

entire night:


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